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Sampanthan to continue as Opposition Leader?

Dec 18 (Island) TNA leader R. Sampanthan would continue as the Opposition Leader If the UNP formed a unity govt with the UPFA, TNA MP Charles Nirmalanathan said. However, if the UPFA did not join the government and sat in the Opposition, the TNA was prepared to let go of the position. "This is the stance of the TNA MPs right now. So based on the actions of the SLFP, we will make a final decision," he said. more..

With stability re-established, three SL business delegations off to Germany in 2019

Dec 18 (Island) In January 2019, AHK Sri Lanka will organize three business delegation to major trade fairs in Germany : IMM -the world’s leading fair for furniture, BAU -the world’s leading fair for construction and architecture and Green Week-the world’s leading trade fair for Agriculture, Andreas Hergenröther, chief delegate of the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK Sri Lanka) said issuing a news letter yesterday. The Delegation of German Industry and more..

Sri Lankan given permanent residence after saving woman from fire

Dec 18 (KT) After saving a woman, 90, from a burning house in North Gyeongsang Province last year, a Sri Lankan migrant worker in South Korea has been awarded permanent residency status. The Daegu Immigration Office will officially grant the status to Katabilla Ketiye Ge-Dara Nimal Siri at the office on Dec 18, according to the Ministry of Justice on Sunday. The decision was made on Dec 13 when the ministry held a meeting for protection and improvement of human rights of foreigners. more..

Mangala, Ravi tussle for Finance Minister post

Dec 18 (FT) Heavyweights Mangala Samaraweera and Ravi Karunanayake are alleged to be fighting over the key Finance Ministry portfolio whilst political analysts claim it would not be a surprise if either fails to secure it. Karunanayake is keen to regain the once lost portfolio though he also briefly held the Foreign Minister title. Given the speculation, sections of civil society have been strongly opposed to returning Finance more..

Parliament to debate abolition of Executive Presidency today

Dec 18 (DM) Parliament would debate a motion calling for the abolition of Executive Presidency today when it meets on the first occasion after the reappointment of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the PM, sources said. The JVP, which played a pivotal role in ousting the Mahinda Rajapaksa Govt, would move an adjournment motion calling for this. It is a step towards the enactment of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution to prune further the powers of the Executive Presidency. more..

Sri Lanka think tank challenges official migration data

Dec 18 (EN) A Colombo-based think tank said that SL has not yet achieved net inward migration, challenging the data published by the Central Bank and the Registrar General's Dept which is including changes in tourist arrivals in population estimates. This could have implications on the officially published data on SL's resident population. "Sri Lanka has NOT yet reached the stage of net inward migration (immigration>emigration)," IPS Research Fellow Bilesha Weeraratne said in a tweet, more..

Resurgent Ranil revs up rallying call

Dec 18 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday led from the front by calling on the public to give a two-thirds majority to a coalition led by the UNP at the next general election to abolish the Executive Presidency and outlined plans to form a new coalition titled the National Democratic Front (NDF), insisting the constitutional crisis had shown that no other major party could be depended on to implement the changes more..

Stolen gold Buddha statue recovered by CCD

Dec 18 (Island) Six suspects have been arrested by the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) for robbing a gold Buddha statue worth Rs. 700 million from a house in Narahenpita recently. The 65 kilo statue was also recovered. Earlier it was stolen from a temple in Matara by a Buddhist monk, a police constable and several other associates. After stealing the statue they had transported it to a house in Narahenpita, which belongs to the monk and were trying to sell it. more..

Ranil vacates Temple Trees

Dec 18 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe vacated Temple Trees and moved to his private residence in Kollupitiya several hours after his swearing in on Sunday. Wickremesinghe had been occupying Temple Trees since Oct 26 to resist his sudden removal from the post of PM by Prez Sirisena. The UNP was of the view that Wickremesinghe’s removal was unconstitutional and therefore invalid from the outset. Wickremesinghe had spent only two nights at Temple Trees during the period more..

PM faces fresh trouble in portfolio tussle

Dec 18 (EN) Sri Lanka's reinstated PM Ranil Wickremesinghe marked his first day back in office Monday with a hostile president resisting his nominations to a new cabinet. Party officials said Wickremesinghe was battling to form a govt as Maithripala Sirisena insisted that he wanted to retain media and the law-and-order portfolios. Wickremesinghe's UNP was against giving the key portfolios to Sirisena. more..

It’s time for UNF to ensure country on right footing

Dec 18 (DM) Of the two crises that had engulfed the country for 50 days since October 26, the Constitutional deadlock is over, but not the political crisis. We cannot give credit to the politicians for ending the Constitutional gridlock since they had been intransigent on their stances until the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the dissolution of Parliament by President Maithripala Sirisena was unconstitutional. The political crisis that had been intertwined with the Constitutional imbroglio more..

The problem in undermining the minorities

Dec 18 (DM) Prez Sirisena restored a shaky and unhealthy political situation in the country to a certain degree by reappointing Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM. Political analysts term this move more as the need of the hour rather than accepting Sirisena’s explanation that the reappointment was done to honour parliamentary traditions. If the political impasse continued under the Sirisena-Rajapaksa regime there was a threat that SL was heading for a govt shutdown’ more..

Three ways the post-coup political capital could be squandered

Dec 18 (DM) After an uphill battle by the people, who are not necessarily the fans of the UNP, a good deal of activism by the civil society, lawyers and online chatter; and finally an unanimous Supreme Court verdict that ruled the dissolution of Parliament as illegal and ultra-vires, Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as PM on Sunday. Now the state media believes that the people of this country owe him for being the PM. more..

To cope with higher maritime traffic, SL Customs launches Vessel Rummaging Team

Dec 18 (ST) Sri Lanka Customs last week commissioned a newly-trained Vessel Rummaging Team with assistance from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and in partnership with the UK Border Force. The Customs had not fielded a dedicated Vessel Rummaging Team since the early 1990s due to the closure of their Marine Branch (the seagoing enforcement arm). The 10-member team is headed by Mr Buddhadasa, more..

Mathews makes a statement with push-ups celebration

Dec 18 (CI) In what was probably another dig at the decision to cut him from the ODI team in September, Angelo Mathews performed 10 push ups upon reaching an outstanding rearguard hundred in Wellington. He then flexed his biceps in the direction of the dressing room, from where coach Chandika Hathurusingha - who had been involved in the decision to drop him - was no doubt looking on. more..

'When I saw Angie get hit, I thought there's no way I'm getting out'

Dec 18 (CI) Watching a resolute Angelo Mathews face down hostile New Zealand bowling, inspired Kusal Mendis to hunker down, dig deep, and put a high value on his own wicket. Sometimes guilty of playing attractive but insubstantial innings, Mendis partnered a steadfast Mathews for the entirety of day four in Wellington, as the pair became the first to survive an entire day of Test cricket in over a decade. Their partnership, worth 246, more..

Army released over 69,000 acres of land in North and East since 2009

Dec 18 (GDI) SL Army said over 69,000 acres of land that was used by the Army in the North East following the end of the war had been released since 2009. Army said since 18th May 2009, Army has used 84524 acres of land in the N&E and 69755 acres of that land had been released in a manner that would not be harmful to the national security. This extent of private and state land had been released until 25th Nov 2018. more..

Mendis and Mathews bat all day to give Sri Lanka hope

Dec 18 (CI) On day four in Wellington, facing a monumental first-innings deficit, and in what seemed like a hopeless match situation, Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews went to the trenches. They absorbed NZ's many attacks. They delivered a few glancing blows of their own. They made a hundred apiece, and for only the 22nd time in the history of Test cricket, they batted out an entire day without losing a wicket. more..

Wiggy insists on war crimes inquiry

Dec 18 (Island) Former Chief Minister of the Northern Province CV Wigneshawaran says there will not be any political solution to the country’s national problem unless the process of conflict transformation went through a war crimes inquiry with an international input. Addressing the media in Jaffna on Sunday, the former Chief Minister said that the decisions of the local courts indicated that the courts had upheld the rule of law. more..

Malik and Mano turn down minister posts?

Dec 18 (AD) UNP MP Malik Samarawickrama has decided not to accept any Cabinet ministerial portfolio in the new govt, political sources said. Meanwhile MP Mano Ganesan has reportedly stated that he too would be willing to give up a ministerial portfolio if necessary. The decision was reportedly taken following the parliamentary group meeting of the United National Front (UNF) held this morning. more..

Video: Three UPFA MPs crossover to govt

Dec 18 (AD) UPFA MPs Wijith Wijayamuni Zoysa, Lakshman Seneviratne and Indika Bandaranayake have crossed over to the Govt side. The three UPFA MPs crossed over to the govt side from the opposition bench and took seat after the parliamentary session commenced today. After taking seat in the govt side, MP Wijith Wijayamuni Zoysa addressed the House. MP Zoysa says that he joined UNF as a SLFP member more..

MR recognised as Opposition Leader

Dec 18 (EN) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said he recognized Mahinda Rajapaksa as the leader of opposition amid calls for a select committee to examine whether he was still a member of parliament, following alleged joining of another party. Jayasuriya said the UPFA of President Maithripala Sirisena was now the largest opposition party now that the party was no longer in the ruling coalition. more..

Cohabitation not confrontation

Dec 18 (CT) This newspaper yesterday reported that President Maithripala Sirisena had said that he cannot assure how long he can work in collaboration with this Govt due to the seriousness of the conflict of interests. However, virtually in the same breath, he had also stated, as the paragraph that followed in that same statement spelt, he said that he does not want to enter into conflicts, because it will plunge the country further into instability. Nonetheless, if he cannot work with this Govt, more..

CBL Group recognised among Top 10 Best Corporate Citizens in Sri Lanka

Dec 18 (FT) CBL Group, one of SL’s largest FMCG conglomerates which manufactures a range of food products under the brand names of Munchee, Ritzbury, Lanka Soy, Tiara, Samaposha and Sera was recently ranked as one of the Top Ten Best Corporate Citizens for the 13th time since the inception of the competition in 2004 by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. CBL Group was awarded a total of three accolades at Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2018, more..

The Advocates: An orphan care travel show

India should be ready to help strengthen Sri Lanka’s democracy

Dec 18 (HT) Ranil Wickremesinghe has made a triumphant return as Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister after President Sirisena backed down in a nearly two-month-long power struggle. But the crisis in the island nation may be far from over. Shortly after administering the oath of office to Mr Wickremesinghe on Sunday, Mr Sirisena accused the premier of corrupt leadership and said he was unsure there were guarantees they could continue their journey together. more..

China welcomes resolution of political situation

Dec 18 (DM) The Chinese Govt today said China, as a traditional close neighbour and a most important development partner, welcomed the peaceful and proper resolution of recent political situation in Sri Lanka by all related parties. In a statement, the Chinese Embassy said China believes the Sri Lankan govt, political parties and the people have the ability and wisdom to manage well its domestic affairs, and maintain the country’s stability and development. more..

SL GDP grows 2.9% in third quarter 2018

Dec 18 (EN) Sri Lanka's gross domestic product grew 2.9% in the third quarter of 2018 from a year earlier with agriculture growing 3.3% compared to a contraction a year earlier, the state statistics office said. The second quarter growth was revised to 3.6% from 3.7%. The 9-month growth was 3.3%. Industry grew 1.9% and service grew 3.9%. Rice output grew 46.9%, reversing from a contraction of 32.8% a year earlier. more..

The quality of some justice

Dec 18 (FT) We must, if we are rational beings and not mindless beasts, treat the herd instinct with due vigour. In the week before the Incarnation of the Son of God, a Son of the Soil seems fit for Crucifixion. The UNP’s sleek bloodhounds, some crossover SLFP hyenas with tail between legs, and the Household help in the shape of the JVP are all baying for his blood. But while Maithripala Sirisena no doubt deserves the castigation he got at the hands of the Supreme Court, more..

Sri Lanka's PickMe mulls financial services

Dec 18 (EN) SL ride hailing service PickMe is considering going into financial services in the medium term after extending its existing taxi service into food delivery and logistics, its chairman Ajit Gunawardene said. “Our core business will remain ride hailing but there’s a lot more growth we believe we can achieve,” he told a forum held by the Asia Securities brokerage where its new study on the logistics sector was presented. PickMe will extend its business into food delivery and trucking, more..

US eager to work with restored Sri Lanka PM

Dec 18 (AFP) United States on Monday praised the restoration of Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe -- controversially replaced by a former strongman in October -- and voiced eagerness to work with him. "We are pleased that the leadership in SL has resolved the political crisis of the past several weeks in accordance with constitutional norms and the rule of law," State Dept spokesman Robert Palladino said. more..

Lahiru fined for use of an audible obscenity

Dec 18 (ICC) Lahiru Kumara has been fined 15% of his match fee and has also received one demerit point after being found guilty of a Level 1 breach of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel during the third day’s play in the first Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Monday. The SL bowler was found to have violated Article 2.3 of the code, which relates to “use of an audible obscenity during an international match”. more..

Aloysius, Palisena further remanded

Dec 18 (DN) Perpetual Treasuries Limited owner Arjun Aloysius and CEO Kasun Palisena, who were arrested by the CID over the CB bond scam, were further remanded till Jan 1st by the Colombo Fort Magistrate today. They were accused of allegedly aiding and abetting and conspiring with former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran to misappropriate public funds worth Rs. 688 million during the Bond auction on Feb 27, 2015. Aloysius and Palisena were also re-remanded by more..

TNA raises concerns over a UPFA Opposition Leader

Dec 18 (NR) TNA opposed the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Leader of Opposition, replacing TNA Leader R Sampanthan. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya pronounced that he recognizes Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Opposition Leader, following the re-appointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM and the subsequent announcement by the UPFA of its decision to not take up any posts in more..

ISB yields plummet, indicating confidence in Ranil‘s govt: Harsha

Dec 18 (Island) On the first of trading on the Colombo Stock Exchange after Ranil Wickremesinghe was re-appointed Prime Minister, International Sovereign Bond (ISB) rates plummeted, indicating global confidence in SL, says UNP MP Harsha de Silva. He said that within minutes of the market opening yesterday, ISB rates which had gone through the ceiling, after Mahinda Rajapaksa was appointed PM on Oct 26, had fallen, indicating worldwide investor confidence. more..

C’wealth, Canada welcome political crisis resolution in Sri Lanka

Dec 18 (DM) The Commonwealth Organisation and the Govt of Canada had welcomed the resolution of the political crisis in Sri Lanka. In a tweet, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said the resolution of the political crisis in Sri Lanka highlights the resilience of Sri Lanka’s institutions, the country’s adherence to the rule of law and the people’s strong commitment to democratic processes. Meanwhile, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said more..

'New govt the engine of drive against nepotism'

Dec 18 (NR) The incumbent govt has become the engine of all national forces against nepotism, says UNF MP Champika Ranawaka. He stated this addressing the media following parliament session held this afternoon. “Issuing a statement, Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that the control of the country, or the remote control, has been directed to the TNA. We strongly refute this,” MP Ranawaka said. more..

Kiriella says there are strangers in the House

Dec 18 (NR) Speaker of House Karu Jayasuriya today announced that Former President MP Mahinda Rajapaksa has been appointed the Leader of the Opposition. At the commencement of proceedings this morning the Speaker announced that MP Lakshman Kiriella has been appointed the Leader of the House, MP Gayantha Karunathilake the Chief Govt Whip and MP Mahinda Amaraweera the Chief Opposition Whip. Upon the announcement of the appointments Leader of the House more..

Skeletal remains: Civil society groups protest

Dec 18 (CT) Several civil society groups in Mannar staged a protest recently, demanding that Authorities should reveal the identities of the skeletal remains recovered thus far from the mass grave in Mannar. The civil society groups also demanded that the UN should get involved in identifying the skeletal remains. The protest was organised by the North-east Coordinating Committee and several organisations from the East took part in it. The protesters said that there is evidence to more..

Sri Lanka's prime minister returns, but 'crisis is far from over'

Dec 18 (AJ) At the time of his stunning election victory in 2015, SL's President Sirisena claimed he would have been buried six feet under the earth had he lost that vote to incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa. Yet, almost four years later, Sirisena was administering the prime minister's oath to his predecessor. The Oct 26 move plunged the South Asian country into a protracted political crisis, with the sacked PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, more..