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Kabir Hashim

LeapFrog invests over Rs. 2 b for 19% stake in Softlogic Life Insurance

Dec 20 (FT) LeapFrog Investments, the leading Profit with Purpose investor, made a $12 million (over Rs. 2 billion) investment in Softlogic Life Insurance PLC, purchasing the shares of FMO, the Dutch development Bank. Softlogic Life, growing at 2x the market, is one of SL’s fastest growing life insurers, providing Sri Lankans with individual life and health, group life, and other policies. The main shareholders of the Company will now comprise Softlogic Capital, DEG & LeapFrog more..

Somebody stole my Christmas

Dec 20 (Island) Christmas is special, rather very special. Everybody looks forward to Christmas. Silent nights and silver bells, mistletoe and pine smells, all wrapped up in wishes and kisses and the hugs and gifts that are so very special at Christmas time. Looking forward to Christmas is a world wide phenomenon; the mighty and the humble, the rich and the poor, the holy, the unholy and the super unholy, they all await the yuletide. The haves revel and the have-nots scramble. more..

SAGT breaks through 2 million TEU in 2018

Dec 20 (FT) South Asia Gateway Terminals Ltd. (SAGT), SL’s first Private-Public Partnership (PPP) and a flagship venture of the BOI, has achieved an impressive two million TEU (20-foot equivalent container units) in a calendar-year for the first time yesterday. SAGT commenced operations in 1999 and along its 19-year journey has consistently established ground breaking benchmarks, securing several global and more..

Seed Bombs to increase forest cover

Dec 20 (DN) SL Air Force undertook a unique mission to drop Seed Bombs in a forest reserve in the North Central region during an aerial operation on Wednesday (12). According to Air Force media, this operation was launched as a part of an ambitious project to restore and increase the forest cover of the country. An Air Force Mi 17 Helicopter was utilized to drop approximately 5,000 Seed Bombs over a five-acre land patch in the Ranorawa forest in Nochchiyagama. more..

Edtorial: Cliffhangers galore

Dec 20 (Island) Never a dull moment in Sri Lanka! The country’s new destination brand is So Sri Lanka—whatever that means. On seeing its leaders behaving like bears with sore heads, one may wonder whether that tag line should be changed to Sore Sri Lanka. The credit for entertaining poor Citizen Perera, who is struggling to dull the pangs of hunger and keeping him on the edge of his seat should go to all politicians. It is thanks to them that our national politics and Hollywood thrillers more..

How a chat to Sanga brought the best out of Mathews

Dec 20 (Island) How true is the old saying, smooth seas do not make skilful sailors. Stripped of the captaincy and axed from the ODI side, Angelo Mathews was going through hell in the last couple of weeks. It doesn’t look too good when the Head Coach questions the side’s seniormost players’ commitment, fitness and running between the wickets. Since being dropped from shorter formats of the game, Angelo Mathews more..

Contraction in Net Indirect Tax impacted economic growth: Analyst

Dec 20 (DN) Sri Lanka’s economic growth slowed to a two-year low 2.9% after averaging 3.5% yoy for the past four quarters according to report by Economic Analyst of HSBC Aayushi Chaudhary. Statistically, part of the slowdown can be explained by a contraction in Net Indirect Tax (NIT) collections, which pulled down GDP growth by 40bps, the report adds. The rest of the weakness in growth numbers can be explained by slower growth in services and continued weakness in the industrial sector. more..

Private bus driver killed in clash

Dec 20 (DM) A driver of a private passenger bus had been killed following an assault by a driver of an SLTB bus crew in Welimada this afternoon. The victim driver was admitted to Hospital after the assault but succumbed to injuries at the hospital. He was assaulted following an issue over the timetable. Clash occurred at the Welimada Bus Terminal. SLTB bus driver and the conductor had assaulted the private bus driver following an argument over departure time. more..

Tussle over Opposition Leader intensifies

Dec 20 (FT) The appointment of MP Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Opposition Leader was challenged yesterday in parliament by ITAK MP Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, who held that he is the Opposition Leader unless the Speaker decides otherwise and removes him. According to MP Sampanthan, the Speaker will have to remove him from the post before appointing a new Opposition Leader, regardless of the UPFA membership more..

Swimmers perform creditably in Hangzhou

Dec 20 (CT) Three of the four Sri Lanka swimmers - Sandu Savindi, Cherantha de Silva and Kyle Abeysinghe - maintained their overall personal best times in their respective events, while Thimali Bandara performed below her personal best in her first major international championship, at the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships 2018 in Hangzhou, China, which was held from 11–16 December. Sandu Savindi erased her 100 -metre free style personal best time of 1:00:07, more..

Swift Cabinet appointment needed: Eran

Dec 20 (FT) UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne yesterday called on President Maithripala Sirisena to cooperate with the Legislature by allowing a Cabinet to be sworn in as soon as possible, to end the political turmoil that gripped the country in the last few weeks. Criticising the Rajapaksa regime for maintaining large Cabinets not affordable for Sri Lanka, MP Wickramaratne said: “There were jumbo-Cabinets in Sri Lanka, and a small country like ours does not need such large Cabinets. more..

Saga of how a high office went a-begging!

Dec 20 (DM) The origin of this story has been traced to a very high place in the country. According to the story, a well- known political heavyweight had given his solemn undertaking to accept the country’s Number Two office prior to Number One offering it to the former strongman. And that person had badly let down Number One at the eleventh hour. This heavyweight, a prominent front-liner of a main political party had even informed more..

Tea prices continue to weaken

Dec 20 (DN) Tea prices continued to weaken further with the total Auction average declining to Rs. 536.69 from Rs. 610.28 during the corresponding period in 2017 (11%). Exports totaled Rs. 58.7 billion compared to Rs. 63 billion in 2017, a negative of Rs. 4.3 billion (7%). Sri Lankan tea production in 2019, consequent to the Govt’s decision to lift the ban on the use of glyphosate (weedicide) is likely to give much relief to the producers and in particular, to the large-scale plantations more..

Tender dispute on luggage services at BIA: CA fixes writ petition for Jan 31

Dec 20 (DM) The Court of Appeal issued notice and fixed for support on January 31, 2019 for an interim order in respect of a writ petition, which alleged that awarding of the tender for the provision of luggage wrapping services at the departure check-in area of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) was unlawful. The writ petition filed by Airdora (Pvt) Ltd., which is currently operating from a shop at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, Colombo, came up before Justice Arjuna Obeysekara recently. more..

Hayleys Advantis unveils Sri Lanka’s largest distribution hub

Dec 20 (DM) Hayleys Advantis Limited ceremonially unveiled Sri Lanka’s largest distribution hub – Advantis 3PL Plus Logistics City – in Kotugoda, Ja-Ela recently. This is part of the company’s strategic capacity-building and expansion efforts aimed at serving its clients better through greater efficiencies and economies of scale. The move bodes well for the nation’s vision of establishing Sri Lanka as a key logistics hub more..

Australian Presence Legal launches migration strategic advisory services in SL

Dec 20 (ST) Australian Presence Legal (APL), an established full-service commercial and immigration law firm based in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, is set to continue the expansion of its consultancy services to provide face to face consultations in SL, to meet the growing need for skilled migrants in Australia. These advisory services will be available in January 2019 for Sri Lankans interested in relocating to Australia, the company said in a media statement. more..

JVP takes exception to resident’s refusal to appoint crossovers as ministers

Dec 20 (Island) JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake urged all members of parliament to support the move to abolish the executive presidency. Participating in the debate on the abolishing of executive presidency, the MP said they were amused to see the opposition members, who had tried to throw chilli powder and chairs at the Speaker, praising him when he appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa the Opposition Leader. Ratnayake also said the UNF was now trying to get together with the President and more..

'Work in compliance or give up Presidency'

Dec 20 (CT) The Lawyers’ Collective yesterday, stressed that President Maithripala Sirisena should resign if he was unable to act according to the PM’s instructions when appointing the new Cabinet. The Collective pointed out that the President should work sans any conditions together with the Legislature and other institutions, without dragging the country into a constitutional crisis once again. “Either work in compliance with Constitution more..

Opposition Leader seat vacant

Dec 20 (Island) Opposition leader seat remained vacant yesterday as neither the TNA leader R Sampanthan nor Mahinda Rajapaksa took it. Mahinda Rajapaksa did not come to the Chamber. TNA Leader Sampanthan did not occupy the seat and was seen seated on a front row seat near the main entrance. Seating arrangements in the chamber have been changed and the JVP MPs who had been in the front row have been shifted to the isle. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s ruling on more..

Grama Shakthi initiative to develop 1000 villages takes off today

Dec 20 (Island) A ceremony to launch a development programme, which is a part of the Grama Shakthi initiative, will take place today at 11.30 am at Asirigama village, Palugaswewa, Anuradhapura with the participation of President Sirisena Under the initiative a 1000 villages are to be developed and one billion rupees have been allocated for the initiative. The objective of the initiative is to create a poverty free SL by 2025. "Grama Shakthi aims to organize the villagers more..

Sri Lanka ranked 100th in Global Gender Gap Index 2018

Dec 20 (CT) Sri Lanka rose nine notches in the Global Gender Gap index 2018, being ranked 100 among 149 economies, up from 109 in 2017. Global Gender Gap score is an average of the total scores of four main sub-spheres, namely Economic Participation and Opportunity, Political Empowerment, Health and Survival and Educational Attainment. “Sri Lanka rises several ranks due to improvements on the Economic Participation more..

Clarification sought on Parliament seats

Dec 20 (CT) Nine MPs submitted a motion to the Speaker’s Office, seeking a Parliament Select Committee, to decide whether former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the UPFAers who obtained SLPP membership, are still entitled to seats in Parliament. The motion had been signed by Parliamentarians Daya Gamage, Prof. Ashu Marasinghe, Rohini Kumari Wijerathna, Nalaka Prasad Colonne, M.S. Thowfeek, Ranjan Ramanayake, M.A. Sumanthiran, more..

Navy Sampath further remanded

Dec 20 (CT) Colombo Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake yesterday, ordered CID to file separate cases against the suspects, in the case of enforced disappearance of 11 youths from Colombo, under the Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act, No.04 of 2015, if the suspects pose any threat to the security of the witnesses. Head of Organised Crime, IP Nishantha Silva appeared on behalf of the prosecution. Lieutenant Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachi, alias Navy Sampath, more..

Prez should not use his power for personal benefit: Bimal

Dec 20 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena should exercise Executive Powers, not for his own benefit, but for the benefit of the country, JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake said. He told Parliament that the President had claimed that he would not give Ministerial portfolios to the SLFPers, who crossed over to the Govt but he offered portfolios to those who supported him. "President offered portfolios to those who supported to ensure more..

UNF, President yet to agree on Law and Order, Media portfolios

Dec 20 (Island) The appointment of the Cabinet, scheduled for this morning, is in the balance as the UNF and President Maithripala Sirisena have not reached an agreement on the law and order and media portfolios. As the Cabinet has to be restricted to 30, in terms of the Constitution, unless it is a National Government, former Ministers Mano Ganeshan, Rishad Bathiudeen and Malik Samarawickrema, have indicated that they were willing to sit it out, to help PM Ranil more..

New Cabinet sworn in today

Dec 20 (DN) The new Cabinet of Ministers will be sworn in today, President Sirisena had announced yesterday, nearly two months after the backdrop of the ongoing political turmoil in the country. During a meeting of the UPFA Parliamentary group yesterday, the President had said the new Cabinet of Ministers will be sworn in today, MP Nishantha Mutuhettigama said. He said the UPFA Parliamentary group had discussed about its future political plans but refused to divulge details. more..

Temporary Cabinet to be sworn in today

Dec 20 (FT) The much-awaited Cabinet is to be sworn in this morning with some major changes, following which it will meet to chart the way forward. It is speculated that today’s Cabinet will be temporary, and a proper composition is likely after the Vote on Account is passed and the legal hurdles are cleared. Mangala Samaraweera is believed to have won the battle for the Finance Minister title against an enterprising & ambitious Ravi Karunanayake, more..

Solidarity could lift people out of poverty

Dec 20 (DM) After more than 50 days of unprecedented political turmoil, the new United National Front government has recommitted itself to work towards its 2015 vision and goals -- a just, peaceful and all-inclusive society with interracial and inter-religious unity in diversity. Such pledges have often been made before and most people have become justifiably cynical. Thus we hope that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s govt will practise what it preaches and preach only what it practises. more..

When an unchanging man promises change

Dec 20 (DM) The UNP was in tatters many years ago when a sizable section of the party rebelled against its Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was on Dec 16 (Sunday) sworn in as PM for the fifth time. Being a shrewd politician Wickremesinghe survived all that, including a series of election defeats by the Green Party, to hold on to the party leadership. Later on, probably due to the maturity of other Green Party members, the rebel movement within the UNP died a natural death. more..

Professionals to replace politicians

Dec 20 (DM) There remains less than a year until SL braces for its next elections. With the recent series of political dramas that unfolded, it is no surprise for Sri Lankans to witness the advent of new parties or old alliances being reborn. That is what happened during almost all the elections that have taken place. While the most asked question who can measure up to be a politician remains debated in a country where there is no more..

'I just stood there getting hit on the body'

Dec 20 (CI) Angelo Mathews reflects on the record-breaking partnership with Kusal Mendis, the day after the pair secured a hard-fought draw for Sri Lanka in Wellington. Q: You were obviously quite hurt when you were dropped from the limited-overs teams, but you've scored a lot of Test runs over the past few weeks. Had you set yourself a goal? A: I did exactly the same things that I've been doing for the past 10 years of my career more..

Former CJ’s words have serious effect and impact on the esteem of the SC: Petitioners

Dec 20 (ST) A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday (13) against former Chief Justice (CJ) Sarath N. Silva alleging that he is in contempt of court. The petition was filed by three senior academics, Senior Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Emeritus Prof. Hewa Waduge Cyril and Senior Prof. Prishantha Gunawardhana. The petitioners state that, remarks made by the former CJ during a speech at a rally organised by more..

Fresh verbal dueling in House over Opp. Leader post

Dec 20 (Island) UPFA MP Susil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that MP Mahinda Rajapaksa had neither resigned from the UPFA/SLFP nor been expelled from the party. MP Premajayantha said that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya had no authority to appoint a Parliament Select Committee to determine whether Rajapaksa was eligible to hold the Opposition Leader’s post as per the provisions in the existing Constitution. more..

Video: Fuel prices to be reviewed tomorrow: Mangala

Dec 20 (DM) Fuel prices are to be reviewed tomorrow by comparing prices in the world market, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. “We would compare the fuel price with the global market prices and will do a fresh review tomorrow,” he said. While speaking to the media he said that the fuel prices had come down in the world market, so prices should be reduced in SL as well. “The pricing formula will be active from now on, more..

‘Stabilize Sri Lanka before abolishing Executive Presidency’

Dec 20 (NR) MP Venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thera says before steps are taken to abolish the Executive Presidency, stability must first be established within the country. The Thera expressed these views whilst speaking during the debate proposed by the JVP to abolish the Executive Presidency which has continued over the past two days in Parliament. Rathana Thera said the present govt does not have a majority, more..

Police nets navy spies at court, assassination plot feared

Dec 20 (EN) Sri Lanka’s police detained two navy intelligence officers at the Fort magistrate’s court Wednesday amid fears of a threat to the life of a key detective investigating the abduction and killing of several people allegedly by navy officers. Police spotted two navy men identified as N. M. W Janaka (38190) and A.S.N. Tony (103183) sitting among litigants and were reported to the magistrate who ordered their questioning. more..

Army releases 45.28 acres of land in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu

Dec 20 (SLA) Sri Lanka Army in Kilinochchi, throwing its weight behind ongoing project for release of private and state lands used for security purposes on Wednesday (19), in what could be considered as another gesture of reconciliation released a land portion of 45.28 acres, hitherto used by troops for security purposes in Karachchi, Kandaweli, Puthukudiyiruppu and Thunukkai areas in the Northern Province. more..

Video: IUSF protest tear-gassed

Dec 20 (DM) Police used teargas and water cannon to disperse the protesting university students outside the Colombo Fort, Police said. Heavy traffic was reported in and around the area as a result of the protest carried out by the Inter University Students' Federation (IUSF). Lotus Road in Colombo has been temporarily closed due to a protest by university students. more..

Video: Full list of Cabinet ministers

Dec 20 (AD) A new Cabinet consisting of a total of 29 ministers were sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat. New Cabinet: 1. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe: Minister of National Polices, Economic Affairs, Resettlement & Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development, Vocational Training & Skills Development & Youth Affairs; 2. John Amaratunga: Tourism Development, Wildlife more..