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11 independent commissions defunct amidst political drama

Dec 16 (ST) SL’s independent commissions appointed to oversee the public service, judiciary, finance, the police, elections, and human rights, etc have become defunct as at Nov 19 following the expiry of the 3-year term of office of its chairmen and members. Prez Sirisena has to re-appoint them or new members following the approval of the Constitutional Council in accordance with 19th Amendment to the Constitution. more..

Once a couple of guys got in, it was tough work: Tim Southee

Dec 16 (CI) Sri Lanka may have recovered well after they had been gasping at 9 for 3 early in the day, but NZ's own batsmen might not be disappointed at how this Basin Reserve pitch is playing. Those were the thoughts of Tim Southee, who claimed figures of 5 for 67 and was the architect of SL's early wobble, taking three wickets in his first two overs. Once batsmen got in though, it was possible for them to succeed. Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews, for example, put on a 133-run partnership more..

Goodwill luxury cruise between SL & India

Dec 16 (ST) Goodwill cruise between SL’s northwest Talaimannar port and India’s southern Rameswaram port is an ambition that the country’s top luxury yacht builder is working towards – to achieve by end 2019. Pierre Pringiers, 74 years, a long-standing SL resident from Belgium and Chairman of Sail Lanka Yachting Group, made this promise during an interview, where he spoke at length on his vision to create an industry which has the capacity to build 500 to 600 super luxury yachts. more..

Estate workers’ issue: Unrest settling down

Dec 16 (SO) The Planters Association (PA) officials said the current cost of tea production is over Rs. 600 per kilo. The net sales average was Rs. 532, incurring a loss of Rs. 68 per kilo. Most plantations were making continuous losses because tea prices and rubber prices were low, far below cost at estate level. 60% of the costs on estates was for labour wages. The PA official said considering the minus economic position on estates, more..

Port performance: CASA lauds SLPA

Dec 16 (SO) Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents (CASA) lauded the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) for its epoch making performance at the Colombo Port, but stressed that the need of the hour was to expedite the construction of Colombo East Port. “We congratulate the SLPA and the officials of the Colombo Port on the epoch-making and robust performances of being the fastest growing port in the world in the first half of 2018 and also touching the seven million TEU landmark this year. more..

CSE on naughty list

Dec 16 (ST) In a bid to make listed firms accountable, the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) will be communicating the reasons as to why a company is on their naughty list or Watch List. Firms are now transferred to this list, but it doesn’t show as to why they are in it. “We will be introducing a new column on the CSE website to inform the reasons for the transfer to the Watch List,” Head of Trading, Market Surveillance and Corporate Affairs Nilupa Perera told a group of media professionals more..

Good news for corporation, state workers

Dec 16 (ST) Here is good news for employees of govt corporations and fully govt-owned companies. Despite the current situation of work paralysis in state institutions triggered by the present political impasse, staff of these institutions including loss-making ones will be receiving a year-end bonus ranging from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 15,000 from the govt. This was revealed in a public administration circular issued by Treasury Secretary S.R. Atygalle more..

The Southern Railway extension: A reflection

Dec 16 (Island) Southern railway extension from Matara to Hambantota, that is being built, is a kind of dream coming true to this writer as well as for thousands who live down there. This extension is scheduled to be completed up to Beliatta in December and its extension thereafter to Hambantota where the new port operates. The potential development outcome of these two projects, the railway and the new port together with Mattala airport would indeed be immense more..

Protesting for democracy, in their own way

Dec 16 (Hindu) In the whirlwind seven weeks of political impasse, Colombo witnessed a string of incessant protests by concerned citizens, including women’s groups, members of the LGBTQ community, artistes and professionals. A little different from each other, the agitations — at the Liberty roundabout, Lipton Circus or Independence Square in the heart of Colombo — had an underlying call: for the country’s democracy to be restored. more..

Mahinda did not agree to TNA conditions: GL

Dec 16 (CT) Ranil Wickremesinghe has to seek the help of the TNA to pass the 2019 Budget, MP Rohitha Abeygunewardena said yesterday, adding that therefore, the TNA has the power and control over the new govt. “Ranil Wickremesinghe should give the post of Chief Govt Whip to the guardian of democracy, MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, for his support to the UNF during the past 6 weeks,” he said. more..

Guinea-Bissau national caught smuggling Cocaine worth Rs 30 mn

Dec 16 (AD) A foreign national has been apprehended by the Sri Lanka Customs at the BIA over an attempt to smuggle in Cocaine. The arrest has been made by the officials of the Narcotic Control Unit attached to the BIA. The 28 year Guinea-Bissau national who had been arriving from Nigeria via Doha, had concealed over 2 kg of Cocaine inside a false bottom of his luggage. The value of the seized haul of Cocaine is estimated to be Rs 30 million, state the Customs. more..

Damage caused to Parliament Chamber: CID begins investigations

Dec 16 (SO) The CID has commenced investigations into the damage caused to the Parliament Chamber by its members in several incidents during the past month. Secretary of the Committee for Protecting the Rights of Prisoners (CPRP), Sudesh Nandimal Silva was called by the CID yesterday to make a statement further to his earlier complaint, Chairman of the organisation, Senaka Perera said. “We were surprised when we were asked to make a further statement more..

Ranil may form national govt

Dec 16 (ST) Ranil Wickremesinghe, who will be sworn in today as PM, is likely to head a national govt where the Cabinet will comprise those from the UNF and SLFP. Initially, 30 ministers are to be sworn in later today or tomorrow. A motion to increase the number of ministers, now under consideration, is to be introduced in Parliament when it resumes sittings on Dec 18. In keeping with a directive issued to SLFP MPs by Prez, more..

New govt to fire illegally appointed officials

Dec 16 (ST) UNF Govt, after re-assuming duties will review dozens of appointments and promotions granted during the seven week period after the removal of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, former Minister Vajira Abeywardena said. He said that, in keeping with the court rulings this week, they would take action to remove officials who had been illegally appointed to positions replacing those who had been legally appointed. In key institutions, dozens of officials were removed from their posts more..

Vote-on-Account for two months

Dec 16 (ST) UNF Govt will present a Vote on Account, a mini budget, effective for two months before presenting a formal budget for the rest of next year. UNP MP Eran Wickremaratne said the Vote on Account would make provision for payment of public sector salaries, emergency purchases, including fuel, and repayment of foreign loans. It is expected that the Vote on Account would be presented on Dec 26. He said the UNF had already decided that the remaining 2 weeks were not sufficient to more..

An anatomy of a political tsunami

Dec 16 (ST) Many are the untold stories during the days when President Maithripala Sirisena held secret talks with his predecessor and arch enemy Mahinda Rajapaksa paving the way for a new govt. It ended the same way it began — in chaos. The final stages of such talks took place at the Battaramulla residence of S.B. Dissanayake, the juggler of words that he is. He first denied that such meetings took place. more..

Constitutionless-governmentless anarchy

Dec 17 (Island) Corrosion of public morals started well before Sirisena though his drollness gave it comical colour. The last six weeks may have outraged some; others may have split their sides in mirth. Corruption is not new - in an interview posted on Facebook and YouTube Sirisena blurted out that the going rate for the purchase of MP’s had risen to Rs 500 million! This time however there is a crucial difference; never before has the Constitution been so barefacedly dishonoured. more..

A Karmic Ruling: President overruled, Mahinda resigns and Ranil returns

Dec 17 (Island) The Supreme Court picked a Thursday to deliver its long anticipated ruling after seven weeks of Fridays that saw the govt of the country stumble from one level of illegality to another. The Court ruled unanimously that the dissolution of parliament by the President is unconstitutional and illegal – that the President’s proclamation to that effect is "null, void ab initio and without force or effect in law." The after effects have been swift and smooth. more..

Sri Lanka's leaders warned on good governance, economic threats

Dec 17 (TP) A Sri Lanka activist has asked the political leadershp to follow principles of good governance with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe set to be re-appointed PM following the defeat of a constitutional coup also act swiftly against emerging economic and financial stress. Any new administration should follow, transparent Good Governance upholding Democracy, the Rule of Law, Human Rights, Freedoms and more..

Tom Latham, Kane Williamson grind Sri Lanka on batting day

Dec 17 (CI) One of Sri Lanka's two Test wins in New Zealand has come at the Basin Reserve. At the end of the second day's play, it looks increasingly possible that they are unlikely to reprise that stunning win from 2006, after Kane Williamson and Tom Latham deflated them on a batting day as New Zealand nudged ahead by 29, with eight wickets in hand. In that Test, Sri Lanka had Vaas, Murali and Malinga to call upon after posting more..

Supreme Court ruling clips wings of President, demolishes AG

Dec 17 (EN) SL’s Supreme Court shooting down President Maithripala Sirisena’s premature sacking of parliament will have far reaching consequences for him as well as future leaders, according to the landmark judgment. The cogently written judgments also demolished the state Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya and chided him for trying to confer royal prerogative powers on the SL president who is not above the law. more..

MR’s efforts to gain power through the backdoor failed: Sajith Premadasa

Dec 17 (Island) All the Rajapaksas combined failed to defeat the independence and integrity of our legislature and judiciary, and he resigned from a position he has not held for the last one month. Today, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s efforts to gain power through the backdoor have failed, UNP deputy leader, Sajith Premadasa said. "I challenge Mahinda Rajapaksa to win the confidence of the people not by more..

Laws need to be updated to facilitate disposal of narcotics in custody: Official

Dec 17 (ST) Large consignments of narcotics have been taken into custody by law enforcement authorities during the last few months. Hundreds of kilos of heroin, cocaine, synthetic drugs such as Ice and the prevalent cannabis are held as evidence in courts across the island. However, little is known about what becomes of the stockpile of evidence. In January this year, 928 kgs of seized cocaine valued at Rs16.7 b more..

India welcomes the resolution of the political situation in Sri Lanka

Dec 16 (ANI) India has welcomed the resolution of the political situation in Sri Lanka stated the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official Spokesperson. "As a close neighbour and true friend, India welcomes the resolution of the political situation in Sri Lanka. This is a reflection of the maturity demonstrated by all political forces, and also of the resilience of Sri Lankan democracy and its institutions," said Raveesh Kumar. more..

Construction of new building for Sri Lankan school in Doha begins

Dec 17 (TP) The much anticipated groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of constructing a new building for Stafford Sri Lankan School Doha was held in Doha, yesterday. The event was held at the land allocated by the govt of Qatar for the construction of Sri Lankan community school in Thumama area. The ceremony was graced by Ibrahim Yousif Abdullah Fakhro, Chief of Protocol, Ministry Foreign Affairs, more..

Video: PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s special statement

Dec 17 (AD) Delivering a special statement after he was sworn in as the PM once again, Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed his gratitude to all citizens who demanded democracy in unison during Sri Lanka’s political crisis. The leader of the UNP was reinstated as PM during a swearing in ceremony before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat this morning. Addressing party supporters afterwards at Temple Trees, more..

21 SLFP MPs want to join UNP-led govt

Dec 17 (ST) A ding-dong debate is under way at the highest levels of the UNP on whether the party should accept all 21 SLFP MPs who want to support the UNP-led govt. Some say they should pick and choose and have given the names, too. Others, however, contend that the entire lot would bolster their majority. This is in the light of the TNA, expressing support for Ranil Wickremesinghe to become PM but saying the aliance would more..

Video: Ranil sworn in as PM

Dec 17 (AD) Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the PM before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo, a short while ago. The swearing in ceremony reportedly took place behind closed doors with the participation of a few MPs and officials while the media was not allowed to cover the swearing in ceremony. This is the fifth time that Wickremesinghe has been sworn in as the PM of Sri Lanka. more..

The delights of a rural existence: Awful similarities to Venezuela

Dec 17 (CT) The recent reading of a piece on Venezuela, beginning with the emergence of Hugo Chavez and the truly desperate straits that nation is in today under the rule of Nicholas Maduro and his supporters, brought distinct discomfort to anyone observing the SL scene. While Hugo Chavez, despite his attempts to perform an unsuccessful military coup when he belonged to the Venezuelan armed forces, landing in jail for his pains, does not have a clearly identifiable counterpart in SL, more..

Damocles Sword of Judgment falls on the Presidential head

Dec 17 (ST) Supreme Court’s Damocles Sword of Judgment, which had stood dangling for a month over Prez Sirisena’s head ever since their Lordships issued a stay order on his gazette fiat dissolving Parliament in November, finally snapped from its lofty mooring and fell crashing on the presidential pate this Thursday when Seven Supreme Sentinels of the SL Constitution delivered their verdict in the dying hours of the setting sun; and found Sirisena guilty of violating the Mother of all SL’s laws. more..

Do you CARE enough?

Dec 17 (SO) Hold on for a moment. Dear reader, you would have heard numerous stories and read articles about sexual harassment on public transport. This is another such article, but we encourage you to take a few minutes to read on especially because sexual harassment in SL’s public transportation system is still prevalent, and experts say that reporting mechanisms are still very weak. more..

Court that stood tall above political frenzy

Dec 17 (ST) As former President Rajapaksa ignominiously retreated following the SC and the CA delivering a richly deserved lesson on constitutional propriety to Prez Sirisena, the nation faces sobering questions close to the dawn of a new year. Euphoria in preventing the President from tossing the Constitution into the waters of the Indian Ocean in front of his Secretariat on the advice of legal experts who should be hanging their heads in shame, is understandable. more..

Vision & mission on water management

Dec 17 (Island) A recent study on SL has identified it as one of the six countries that share one half of the 0.3% drinkable water this planet has. What is even more important and surprising is that ours has been identified as the only country in the world that will have drinking water even if there is going to be a shortage of drinking water in the whole world. This news has made water the biggest asset and the most valuable commodity of Sri Lanka that has put it on the top of the world. more..

'I met the President thrice to find a solution'

Dec 17 (CT) UNP MP Ashok Abeysinghe says, the Supreme Court judgment is a victory, for the just and law abiding citizens of the country. Q: The Supreme Court has issued a judgment, annulling the Extraordinary Gazette Notification, issued by the Prez on 8 Nov dissolving Parliament. How does the UNP see the present political situation? A: This unanimous judgment by all seven judges, is a historical judgment which will go down more..

SL’s deep divisions: A Burgher’s insights

Dec 17 (CT) Thank you, Michael for your amazing collection of articles on the Eelam War and its aftermath as well as the present political impasse. Alas, they will not convince people who have already made up their mind based on emotion, ethnicity or with a hatred for Rajapaksa. Meeting Bill in 1998 … and Then …. Bill Deutrom lives and works in Brisbane, Queensland, but happened to be in Sri Lanka on a work-related visit for several months when he penned these incisive lines to me. more..

Dr. Wickrema Weerasooria

Dec 17 (Island) It was a great shock to me when I learned that my superior and guru Dr. Wickrema Weerasooria had passed away. I would, therefore, offer my sincere and heart-felt condolences to his wife, children and his siblings. I had the privilege of working under him for almost a decade, 1977 to 1984 at the Ministry of Plan Implementation and then from 1984 to 1986 at the Ministry of National Security of which the Minister was late Mr. Lalith Athulathmudali. more..

Rajiva Wijesinha & Malinda Seneviratne

Judiciary’s message: Constitution and democracy first

Dec 17 (GV) In two judgments delivered in two consecutive days, Sri Lanka’s supreme court has sent out a firm message to the country’s quarrelling political leaders: constitution and democracy first. The judges have also assured SL citizens that in their fight to defend SL’s endangered democracy, the judiciary is now a reliable arbiter. The SC has also said a firm ‘no’ to a narrow and personal agenda of President Sirisena who has, by a series of bizarre words and deeds, more..

Edtorial: Grimaces, smiles and hurdles

Dec 17 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena has had to swallow his pride and make a volte-face once again. Having pulled out of the UNP-led yahapalana coalition and appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa PM on 26 Oct, he declared that he had done so because there was a plot to kill him and some UNPers were involved in it. Yesterday, he had to bite the bullet and appoint UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe PM again. Why the event was not open to the media defies comprehension. more..

Downfall of the Toddy industry

Dec 17 (CT) Toddy is an alcoholic beverage produced from the sap of various species of palm tree such as the palmyra (Borassus), date palms (Phoenix dactylifera), kithul (Caryotaurens), and coconut palms (Cocosnucifera). Indian subcontinent is famous for coconut, kithul, and palmyra toddy. However, toddy has become a dying industry. Jayasinghe, a tapper from Wadduwa, said it is necessary to climb trees early in the morning more..