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Omnibus Cabinet & Opulent ministers

Dec 21 (CT) After weeks of no govt, Ranil Wickremesinghe has legally secured his right to form one, to an embarrassing humiliation of President Sirisena, who was adamant in preventing RW from coming back. A president who vowed not to remain in his position even for one hour if RW were to return as PM is now set to remain at least until the end of the rest of the term of this govt. Mr. President! Never say never in politics. However, the RW govt is really on life support, and more..

Upholding Democracy

Dec 21 (DN) The Supreme Court seven-judge-bench headed by Chief Justice Nalin Perera on Dec 13 unanimously ruled that the gazette notification issued by President to dissolve the Parliament prematurely was inconsistent with the Constitution. Chief Justice Nalin Perera delivered the judgement and held that the Proclamation to dissolve Parliament has been issued outside legal limits and has resulted in a violation of Petitioners’ fundamental rights. more..

Malik’s u-turn on Cabinet Portfolio

Dec 21 (CT) UNP second-tier MPs and backbenchers have railed against Malik Samarawickrama, a close ally of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, for backtracking on his promise of not accepting a position in the new Cabinet. Samarawickrama announced at the group meeting of the UNF earlier this week that he would not take up a position in the new Cabinet. Thilak Marapana and D.M. Swaminathan, two other national list MPs of more..

Back to work

Dec 21 (DN) After a period of political turbulence, normalcy has been restored thanks to the flexibility displayed by the top leaders by settling issues with an attitude of give and take. While President Sirisena can be happy about the conciliatory policy adopted by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe during prolonged consultations to select Cabinet of ministers, the latter can be happy about the possibility of carrying out the policy implementation that was halted nearly two months ago. more..

Pig-headed Ranil Wickremesinghe’s downfall!

Dec 21 (CT) SL is politically bankrupt! The two main players in SL’s political arena – UNP & SLFP – have outlived their lifespan. Further, each time they form new coalitions and their identities and symbols are changed more frequently than their underwear, the average voter is left so utterly confused, they don’t know who the hell they are voting for anymore, because the UNP and the SLFP have vanished into oblivion. In fact, I had to do a Google search to locate the original SLFP symbol. more..

The murders that inspired the Movie: The crimes of Father Mathew Peiris

Dec 21 (Roar) Veteran filmmaker Chandran Rutnam’s highly anticipated film According to Mathew finally premiered in November, after almost five years in the making. In the process, it drew the ire of the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, who disapproved of the clergy being cast in a negative light. The film tells the sordid tale of the infamous Anglican priest, Father Mathew Peiris, more..

Festive season and consumer exploitation

Dec 21 (CT) It is the, then, President of the USA who declared at a public gathering, at Consumers International, in 1963, that the consumers are the most exploited group. As they are always exploited they need the attention/protection of society. Their rights need to be protected, as they are a neglected group within the society. Today things have improved in the West due to organized consumer movements and consumer education, with media playing a role and with legal backing and more..

Forgotten Pioneer

Dec 21 (CT) The SL architect Geoffrey Bawa is known around the world as the father of tropical modernism. Many of his iconic buildings, including SL’s Parliament, remain in use and he is regarded as having been one of the most important and influential Asian architects of the 20th Century. But Bawa owes a huge debt to a woman who pioneered SL modernism a decade before him and whose work is largely forgotten by history. Minnette de Silva was SL’s first modernist architect and more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Corporate Sri Lanka braces for new budget proposals

Dec 21 (Island) Businesspeople won't throw up their arms in despair and tell you that they are nervous about what the budget for the year 2019 would bring, but they are anxiously awaiting its details, and are bracing themselves for any impacts of new tax laws and reforms. This was revealed by Lahiru Pathmalal, CEO of Takas (Pvt) Ltd. when, launched its flagship store in Colombo 4, to enable its customers to enjoy a seamless shopping experience that encompasses online, more..

Confused and confusing 19-A

Dec 21 (Island) I have written much about the manner in which the 19th amendment was introduced, but this has been in different places. A coherent narrative looking only at just the amendment may be useful so that if ever there is another attempt at constitutional reform, those responsible will work more effectively. The main problem that we now face arose on the first day way back in 2014 on which those tasked with Maithripala Sirisena’s Presidential manifesto met. more..

Edtorial: Stale toddy in a new pot

Dec 21 (Island) A new Cabinet has been appointed. One sees the same old faces in it. The only salutary feature thereof, in our book, is its size. It is not out of choice that the UNF has decided on a 30-member Cabinet. It did its damnedest to rope in another party, represented in Parliament, to form a national govt and increase the number of ministers. Thankfully, it failed in its endeavour, and the people have been spared the trouble of more..

Peace on earth & goodwill to all Sri Lankans!

Dec 21 (Island) Cassandra echoes Alexander Pope in proclaiming: "Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always to be blest". The last bit needs a qualifier from Cassandra, who is bounceful after six weeks of shock followed by annoyance and desperation and, at last, the ability to be optimistic. Correction to Pope please: man is blest sometimes as we Sri Lankans were very recently. You may consider Cass a confirmed pess. But she is not; she loves looking on bright more..

All await the holding of the AGM of SLC

Dec 21 (DN) Cricket fans, cricketers and all concerned with the progress of the game in the country will heave a sigh of relief now that the Competent Authority that was running cricket has announced that the long delayed Annual General Meeting of Sri Lanka Cricket will be held by February 7, 2019. There was upheaval and a lot of uncertainty when the scheduled elections were postponed. This did not cut a good image for SLC on the World’s turf. more..

Tamil asylum seeker family to be deported to Sri Lanka next year

Dec 21 (SBS) A Tamil asylum seeker family who made their home in a small Queensland town will be deported to Sri Lanka, after the Federal Court on Friday rejected their bid to stay in Australia. Nadesalingam, Priya and their two daughters made an eleventh-hour appeal to the Federal Court in August after they were taken into detention in March, but their appeal was rejected on Friday. The judge ordered the deportation more..

HNB completes SME awareness workshop at Kuliyapitiya

Dec 21 (CT) HNB PLC announced the recent successful conclusion of another awareness and financial capacity building workshop for SME customers in the Kuliyapitiya region. The half a day workshop hosted on 5 Nov 2018 was focused on building knowledge and awareness among SME customers on subjects vital for SME business development including: Financial literacy, human resource management, resolving business challenges, ensuring compliance, raising more..

Uber launches Safety Toolkit in Sri Lanka

Dec 21 (CT) Uber recently announced three new special safety features in their ridesharing app, celebrating their third anniversary of operations in Sri Lanka at Movenpick, Colombo. Uber started in Sri Lanka in December 2015. Currently, Uber operates in 600-plus cities in 80-plus countries, with over two million driver partners and millions of riders. The three new features were added based on the feedback of these Uber riders and drivers in Sri Lanka. more..

UL management decision making defies logic

Dec 21 (Island) SriLankan Airlines management entrusted former CFO, S.A. Chandrasekera with formulating two business plans, in 2008 and 2010, but none of the recommendations had been implemented, the PCoI was told. Chandrasekera said he had been appointed by SriLankan Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe to prepare a strategic business plan for SriLankan, within three months for four financial years in April 2010. more..

Uva Province Badminton Championships: Chandrika wins triple crown

Dec 21 (DN) Former National champion Chandrika de Silva won the triple crown at the Uva Province Open Badminton championships which concluded at the Bandarawela St Thomas College Indoor Stadium on Tuesday. this tournament was successfully conducted by the Uva Province Badminton Association more than 700 shuttlers participated in this tournament. It was a fine come back for veteran Chandrika de Silva who won her last National championship in 2010. more..

New Sports Minister has challenging road ahead

Dec 21 (CT) Former Josephian 1st XV Rugby player, Harin Fernando was appointed as the Minister of Sports yesterday. This was apart from his other portfolios of Telecom, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment. Apart from playing for his school, Minister also captained the Uva Rugby Club 2005-06. In 2005, he was elected a member of Uva PC, contesting from the UNP, with the highest number of preferential votes. At the 2010 General Elections, he was elected to Parliament. more..

17 TN fishermen found guilty by Sri Lanka

Dec 21 (Hindu) The 17 fishermen, who were arrested by SL Navy in October, were declared guilty of unlawful entry and fishing in SL waters, before they returned home last month. Their 2-year imprisonment was suspended for 5 years and eventually they were released, the Centre has informed the Lok Sabha. “In case these Indian fishermen re-enter the SL waters and get arrested by SL Navy once again, they would have to more..

Squash Nationals starts 27 Dec

Dec 21 (CT) The 38th Senior National Squash Championship, organised by the SL Army and conducted by the SL Squash Association, will be held at the Panagoda Army Cantonment Indoor Stadium from 27 to 30 December. The country’s top squash players are expected to participate in this event. Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake said, “SL Army takes pride in organising the National Squash Championship 2018 towards the end of this month on a grand more..

Commercial Bank to raise Rs. 7.5 billion through new debenture

Dec 21 (Island) Commercial Bank of Ceylon said it plans to raise Rs. 7.5 billion through a new debenture issue with an option to double the amount in the event of an over-subscription, Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) sources said. The bank will issue 75 million listed, unsecured, rated, redeemable subordinated Basel III compliant debentures at 100 rupees each with a non-viability conversion feature, making them hybrid instruments convertible into equity. more..

Sri Lanka busts half billion dollars on soft-peg during coup

Dec 21 (EN) Sri Lanka has spent half a billion US dollars to defend a soft-peg on the rupee in Nov 2018, during a so called constitutional coup which de-stabilized markets and triggered credit downgrades. Unlike a hard peg, a soft-pegged central bank prints money after defending the currency by injecting more new rupees in the banking system to maintain artificial interest rates, provide non-existent deposits for banks to more..

Sri Lanka’s markets regulator upgrades qualification framework

Dec 21 (EN) Sri Lanka’s capital markets regulator said it was updating its training programs and certification to improve professional standards among stock brokers and investment advisors with a new qualification framework from January 2019. The revised qualification framework provides for the certification of aptitude in each asset class, be it equity, debt, derivatives or unit trusts, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said in a statement. more..

Ceylon Chamber welcomes new Cabinet; urges focus on development

Dec 21 (FT) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) in a statement welcomed the appointment of the new Cabinet and urged a focus on development. “A new Cabinet has been appointed and the expectation of the CCC remains, as always, that the political leadership will focus on the development of the country,” it said. “We hold the President and the PM responsible and accountable for the choice of ministers. We have serious challenges to overcome including the challenge of meaningful more..

Dispute over ministerial appointment of SF

Dec 21 (DM) Minister Varija Abeywardene said a dispute arose as to how Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka as a retired military officer could work with President Sirisena as the Commander in Chief of the Armed forces. He said that Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka’s name was included in the list of names which were sent to the President but there was an issue on how the President who is the head of armed forces more..

Japan welcomes end of political crisis in SL

Dec 21 (Island) Japan has welcomed the resolution of political crisis. The following is the text of statement issued by the Japanese embassy: "As a long-standing friend, Japan welcomes the recent development toward political stability in SL, including the appointment of the new cabinet, through due process in accordance with the law and commends all the parties for their efforts. "Japan, in cooperation with the Govt of SL, commits to further strengthening our Comprehensive Partnership more..

Three Russian Naval ships arrive in Colombo

Dec 21 (SLN) Russian Naval ships; Varyag, Admiral Panteleev and Boris Butoma arrived at the port of Colombo on a goodwill visit today (20). Sri Lanka Navy welcomed the trio of ships in accordance with naval traditions, upon their arrival. Ship Varyag is a 187m long platform with a crew of 529. Meanwhile, Admiral Panteleev is 162.8m in length and manned by 388 naval personnel. The Russian Naval ship Boris Butoma is occupied 75 officers and sailors and the ship is a 161.1m long platform. more..

S R Attygalle tenders resignation

Dec 21 (CT) Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and the Secretary to the Treasury, S.R. Attygalle – appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena following the political changes that took place on October 26 – tendered his resignation yesterday, while Dr. R.H.S.Samaratunga, who previously held this post, is tipped to be reappointed. Attygalle will be reverting back to the Central Bank after more..

THASL welcomes reappointment of John, predicts 2019 to be record year for tourism

Dec 21 (FT) Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) welcomed the reappointment of John Amaratunga as the new Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Affairs and endorses combining wildlife with tourism as a timely initiative for the industry. “Today, safari parks are most sought-after places visited by tourists and over-visitation of parks is a challenge for the Industry. We commend this asa timely and appropriate step,” THASL President Sanath Ukwatte said in a statement. more..

SriLankan Airlines is World’s Leading Airline to the Indian Ocean for 3rd consecutive year

Dec 21 (FT) SriLankan Airlines, the National Carrier of Sri Lanka and a member of the oneworld alliance, won the prestigious World’s Leading Airline to the Indian Ocean title once again at the Grand Final Gala Ceremony of World Travel Awards, in Lisbon, Portugal recently. Congratulating SriLankan Airlines, World Travel Awards Founder Graham Cooke said: “SriLankan Airlines has demonstrated a relentless drive to improve its services and I am delighted that it has been acknowledged by more..

VoA in Parliament today

Dec 21 (FT) A Vote on Account (VoA) will be presented to Parliament today to regulate govt expenditure for four months and will be followed by a Budget for 2019 in January, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said, outlining plans to include more relief measures for the public starting with a revision of the fuel price formula. Despite fuel prices being reduced twice in the last few weeks, a further drop in prices more..

Navin says Cabinet can go up to 35

Dec 21 (FT) Minister Navin Dissanayake said the Govt hoped to increase the number of Cabinet Ministers to 35 in the near future. “After the discussion we had with Presiden Sirisena on Wednesday night, we are hopeful that he will consider giving ministerial posts to UNP MPs Range Bandara and Sarath Fonseka. In addition, we made representations for those SFLP MPs who made a huge sacrifice during the constitutional crisis and crossed over to get ministerial positions,” more..

Who’ll be watchdog in Parliament?

Dec 21 (DM) As SL seemed to have sorted out a large share of its political crisis by appointing a 29-member Cabinet, there still seems to be burning ashes under the fire caused by the political impasse with two individuals claiming that they hold the post of Opposition Leader. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya by informing Parliament that he had accepted Mahinda Rajapaksa as Opposition Leader gave hope to two sections of the citizenry. One is the SLPP whose members consider him to be a DemiGod who more..

Parliament Mafia: Serving themselves: More Cabinet appointments to come

Dec 21 (FT) The UNF-led Govt is set to expand its Cabinet once a final decision is reached on the formation of a national govt, Minister Vajira Abeywardena said. “PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will make the final decision regarding a national government after speaking with other party leaders who are already with the UNP to form the National United Front. I believe this will be done in the coming weeks,” he said. more..

Indian survey ship here on hydrographic mission

Dec 21 (SLN) The hydrographic survey ship Jamuna of the Indian Navy arrived at the Colombo harbour today (20), with a view to undertaking hydrographic surveys in Sri Lankan waters. Sri Lanka Navy welcomed the ship in compliance with naval traditions, upon her arrival. Assistant Defense Attaché to the High Commission of India in SL, Lieutenant Colonel Ravi Mishra was also present on this occasion. Thereupon, Lieutenant Colonel Mishra and Commanding Officer INS Jamuna, more..

Political Crisis drags racism to the fore

Dec 21 (DM) Of the twin crises that engulfed the country for 51 days with the unseating of Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM and the replacing of him with Mahinda Rajapaksa on Oct 26, the Constitutional crisis has ended with Rajapaksa’s resignation as PM on Dec 15 and the swearing of Wickremesinghe on the next day. However, the political crisis that had overlain the Constitutional gridlock still continues. As an extension of it, the legality of Rajapaksa’s Parliamentary more..

The politics of Amendments

Dec 21 (DM) Democracy was the most cherished word during the past 50 plus days, along with the Constitution. Reference to Constitutionality in every sense was important for Parliamentary proceedings to be conducted as usual. Thus democracy, the constitution and constitutionality of decisions made and steps were taken became important with Friday, Oct 26, Presidential decisions. more..

'Speaker cannot appoint Select Committee'

Dec 21 (FT) The SLPP said Speaker Karu Jayasuriya could not appoint a Select Committee to inquire into whether MPs, including MP Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had obtained SLPP membership, could remain in Parliament or be the Opposition Leader. “The UPFA's General Secretary MP Mahinda Amaraweera has already sent a letter to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya stating that MP Mahinda Rajapaksa is still a member of the UPFA. more..