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UNPer flays Ven. Rathana, alleges crossovers bane of parliament

Dec 21 (Island) UNP MP Wijeyapala Hettiarachchi warned of dire consequences unless crossovers were constitutionally prohibited immediately. He insisted that the Parliament couldn’t allow those switching their allegiance for personal gain to cause turmoil. Hettiarachchi urged leaders of political parties represented in parliament to initiate discussion on this matter now. The UNPer said so when The Island sought an explanation from more..

Rishad returns to a bigger MIC, vows to recover slashed IDP funds

Dec 21 (FT) SL’s victorious Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, who was given a bigger Ministerial mandate on 20 December, welcomed PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s entry to Northern Development work, and vowed to re-instate IDP funds wrongfully slashed by the recently-dismissed administration. “As an MP representing the Northern Vanni District, I congratulate our PM’s appointment as more..

Prez to appoint new impermanent secretaries

Dec 21 (EN) President is expected to appoint impermanent secretaries shortly after the appointment of cabinet ministers Thursday, furthering a broken system of politicized administration that exists in the country now according to critics. Sri Lanka at one time had an apolitical permanent civil service, which helped curb corruption and also ensured stability of policy and fair treatment of all citizens. Permanent secretaries with security of tenure more..

Vote on Account tabled in Parliament

Dec 21 (AD) Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera tabled the Vote on Account, for govt expenditure for the first four months of the year 2019, in Parliament today. Addressing the House, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that they had to resort to present a Vote on Account due to the recent political turmoil in the country. Accordingly, out of Rs 1765 billion, which has been allocated for the first 4 months of year 2019, more..

Enrolling students for 2019: Devapriya violating circular: CTU

Dec 21 (CT) The Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) alleged that Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya is violating the circular of enrolling students for the year 2019, and said the Union has filed a petition opposing the move at the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. CTU General Secretary Joseph Stalin yesterday (20), claimed that Devapriya is instructing principals of popular schools in the Province to vacate the Priority List, more..

Video: Fuel prices slashed, petrol reduced by Rs.10

Dec 21 (AD) A decision has been taken to cut fuel prices with effect from midnight today, says PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. He announced this while addressing today’s parliament session. He said that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) will reduce petrol prices by Rs 10 per litre, Auto Diesel by Rs 5 and Super Diesel by Rs 10 per litre. Accordingly, the price of Lanka Auto Diesel (LAD) will be reduced to Rs 101 and more..

Sri Lanka crisis proved parliament had control of finances: PM

Dec 21 (EN) Sri Lanka has presented an interim budget for the first four months of 2019 to parliament Friday following the delay of a full budget due to a political crisis, where Mahinda Rajapaksa was suddenly appointed the PM on Oct 26. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said the crisis firmly established that parliament had full control of finances. However several taxes were changed by Rajapaksa through mid-night gazette without more..

Prez to retain Law and Order portfolio till assassination plot investigation completed

Dec 21 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena will retain the Law and Order portfolio until the investigation into the alleged plot to assassinate him is complete, highly-placed UNP sources said. However, the portfolio is expected to be reassigned as soon as the investigators working on the case complete their work within what is expected to be the next 20 days, the source said. “The investigators told us that their work is nearing completion more..

UN welcomes Sri Lanka’s recent political developments

Dec 21 (NR) UN Secretary General Antònio Guterres whilst praising Sri Lanka’s democratic institutions, has welcomed the resolution of the political crisis in the island. A Spokesman for the UN Chief said “The Secretary-General welcomes the resolution of the political crisis in Sri Lanka through peaceful, constitutional means, and applauds the resilience of the country’s democratic institutions.” The Secretary-General also called on all political actors to seize the opportunity more..

Mangala’s PA seen worshipping his picture at finance ministry

Dec 21 (CT) Newly-reinstated Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s Personal Assistant (PA) Sameera Manhara who quit in August 2017 after he was arrested for allegedly carrying drugs, was spotted worshipping Samaraweera’s picture at the Finance Ministry yesterday. He was seen with Samaraweera when the latter assumed duties at the Finance Ministry yesterday (20). The photograph of Manahara worshipping Sanaraweera’s picture went viral today. more..

Major Sujith Chaminda

The second freedom struggle (Part II)

Dec 21 (FT) Although the political group that deserved the ruling power has been reinstated on account of the lawful and bold judgment given by the Judiciary, it will not act as a deterrent in preventing the collapse and the decadence of the State. The malicious alienation between the Prez and the PM will invariably deepen. The ensuing conflicts will add fuel to fire expediting the degenerating process of the state into a complete collapse. Parallel to the collapse of the State of Sri Lanka, more..

40 Years of the Executive Presidency

Dec 21 (CT) SL celebrates 40 years of the Executive Presidency this year. During this period, SL has experienced five Govts of Cohabitation (GoC), the fifth being the present Govt, which Cabinet was sworn in yesterday. Prior to 1978, the year the Executive Presidency was introduced, SL, since independence in 1948, was governed by an Executive Premier. The question of cohabitation then didn’t arise, because there was no Executive Prez, in addition to a Legislature, unlike now. more..

Parliament passes Vote on Account

Dec 21 (AD) The Vote on Account, for govt expenditure for the first four months of the year 2019, was passed in Parliament with a majority of votes. A total of 102 MPs voted in favour while 6 voted against it. MPs representing the UNF and the TNA voted in favour of the special provision while the JVP voted against. The UPFA abstained from voting. Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera tabled the Vote on Account in Parliament more..

IGP sidlines Class A drug fighter

Dec 21 (Island) Inspector Neomal Rangajeewa attached to the Police Narcotics Bureau had been transferred to the Field Force Headquarters with immediate effect on the orders of IGP Pujith Jayasundera, Police Headquarters said. Jayasundera has said that the transfer was effected on a service requirement. With the transfer, the security provided to Rangajeewa has also been withdrawn. The police officer sustained serious injuries when gunmen ambushed him and more..

Harsha wants crossover chaos halted as top priority

Dec 21 (Island) UNP MP Harsha de Silva said that the parliament couldn’t afford to turn a blind eye to crossovers in parliament causing chaos. Asked whether against the backdrop of allegations pertaining to bribing of lawmakers to switch their allegiance, he believed anti-crossover provisions should have been included in the 19th Amendment, Dr. Silva said: "Absolutely. In fact, there was a clause in the 19th Amendment to deal with crossovers after giving legal redress to more..

VIP assassination plot - IGP, CID clear SF of any involvement

Dec 21 (DM) UNP MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said today the Police and CID had cleared him from any involvement in the assassination plot on President Sirisena. He told parliament that IGP Pujith Jayasundara had informed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in writing that no complaint had been lodged with the CID against MP Fonska on any involvement in a plot to assassinate the President or revealed such involvement during more..

Post of Opposition Leader: Speaker delays ruling

Dec 21 (DM) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya today announced in Parliament that he had decided to delay his ruling on the post of Opposition Leader because of fresh submissions made by some MPs. The Speaker was supposed to give a ruling on this matter today. “I have received written submission from some MPs calling for the appointment of a select committee to determine whether those who joined the SLPP can remain in Parliament as UPFA MPs and on the opposition leader’s post. more..

Softlogic Life Insurance, Lanka IOC in S&P Sri Lanka 20 Index

Dec 21 (EN) The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has included Softlogic Life Insurance and Lanka Indian Oil Corporation in the S&P Sri Lanka 20 index, which tracks the top 20 largest and most liquid stocks, in its latest revision. Other companies included in the semiannual rebalancing of the index are Ceylon Tobacco Co., Nations Trust Bank and Union Bank of Colombo, , the CSE said in a statement. They replace Ceylinco Insurance, Hemas Holdings, LOLC Holdings, Melstacorp and more..

No issue working with President: Mangala

Dec 21 (DN) Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera said they had no problem in working in co-operation with President Maithripala Sirisena. President had his own people’s mandate while the govt had a separate people’s mandate. Therefore, they had no problem in working together while honouring those two people’s mandates. Minister Samaraweera said so responding to a question more..

Losers and winners in SL's political crisis

Dec 21 (UCAN) The restoration of Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM by President Maithripala Sirisena has brought to an end seven weeks of political crisis in which the country did not have a functioning govt. There have been many losers, and a few winners, in Sri Lanka's drawn-out constitutional crisis precipitated by Sirisena removing Wickremesinghe on Oct. 26 even though he enjoyed a parliamentary majority. On that fateful day, Sirisena's erstwhile ally was replaced more..

Aava no threat to national security: Army Commander

Dec 21 (DN) Army Commander Lt. General Mahesh Senanayake said there was no threat to national security from the so-called Aava Group. He said the security forces were equipped to deal with any type of a danger to national security. Lt. General Senanayake expressed these views at a press conference held at the Mechanical and Engineering Corps Headquarters. Commander said the military apparatus was powerful and the intelligence network was fully active. more..

New Sports Minister wants to cleanse the Augean stables before cricket election

Dec 21 (DM) New Sports Minister Harin Fernando said that he is seeking ICC advice to further delay cricket elections to clean up the place. Cricket elections are scheduled for Feb 7, 2019, just few days before an ICC deadline. Nominations were closed on Monday (17) but minister look at the possibility of going for an interim arrangement. “I would prefer an Interim Committee taking over the SLC administration until all pending matters more..

Arjuna vows to eradicate corruption at institutions under Transport Ministry

Dec 21 (AD) The responsibility of the Transport Ministry is to provide services for the public rather than turning a profit, says the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Arjuna Ranatunga. He emphasized that privatizing public utilities have not been his policy at any time. Assuming duties in his ministerial portfolio, Minister Ranatunga stated that he would take stern measures to eradicate corruption and fraud in all institution maintained under the Ministry of Transport. more..

Validity period of school uniform vouchers extended

Dec 21 (AD) Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam today directed officials to extend the validity period of the school uniforms vouchers, which were scheduled to expire on 31st of Dec, until 28 Feb 2019. The school uniforms vouchers which were initially expected to be distributed to students by the 5th of Nov was halted by the previous resulting in students not receiving their vouchers for next year. After assuming duties at the Ministry of Education today, more..

State Ministers & Deputy Ministers sworn in

Dec 21 (AD) The swearing in of several new State Ministers and Deputy Ministers commenced at the Presidential Secretariat, a short while ago. The new non-cabinet ministers and deputy ministers are being sworn in before Prez Sirisena. Several MPs representing the UNF arrived at the Presidential Secretariat by 6.30 p.m. today for the swearing in ceremony. Dr Harsha de Silva has reportedly been sworn in as the Minister of more..

Bus fares to be slashed?

Dec 21 (AD) A letter requesting that the National Transport Commission (NTC) should intervene to revise the bus fares will be handed over to the commission today (21), says the All Island Bus Passengers Association. The relevant letter was slated to be submitted to the NTC at 2.30 p.m. this afternoon. Accordingly, the letter would also call for the reduction of minimum bus fare to Rs 10. The association pointed out that in accordance with today’s revision of fuel prices, more..

Sri Lanka national inflation picks up to 1% in November

Dec 21 (EN) SL's nation-wide inflation picked up to 1% in the 12-months to Nov 2018 from 0.1% in October, reversing a declining trend, the central bank said. The increase observed in year-on-year inflation in Nov 2018 is mainly driven by the increase of the prices of food items, a statement said. The month on month change of the National Consumer Price Index, increased by 2.2% in Nov 2018 due to increase in the prices of the items in the Food category, particularly that of vegetables, more..

President should know he can’t topple govt without me: Rajitha

Dec 21 (AD) Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne says that SL’s political crisis was most disadvantageous for its health service as the affects of a two-month break could last for around two years in the health sector. Speaking to media after assuming duties at the Health Ministry today, minister said that he will reverse Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decision to reduce the tax on sugary drinks. “I will increase (the tax). more..

A strange star in the dark christmas sky: The national peoples’ movement

Dec 22 (CT) Ranil has flashed his 70 year old classy, cultured, democratic and constitutional Pidurangala political buttock to the UNPers and the people of this country. He has, for the umpteenth time, shown us who he really is. He has conveniently forgotten the people who took to the streets in the thousands to defend democracy. He has appointed his Ageing Royal Boys’ Club complete with Ravi Karunanayake, to a shameful cabinet. Although I am not a fan of saying more..

Managing chaos: Why Sri Lanka needs to think long term for disaster response

Dec 22 (GV) In 2017, Groundviews filed a series of RTI requests to ascertain more about Sri Lanka’s early warning system. At the time, most of the State bodies tasked to deal with disaster response appeared relatively unprepared to process RTI requests. Filing the application at the Metereological Department proved an uphill task, involving navigating through the labyrynthine corridors of the Department before finally ending up at the office of the then Director General. more..

Today is Uduwap Full Moon Poya

Dec 22 (CT) The poya this month – Uduwap Poya – is of special interest as it is now synonymous with freedom for women and also their significance in the Buddha Sasana and in the religion itself. Buddha proclaimed that for the religion to continue with significance, four foundations or supports were necessary, namely: bhikkhus (ordained monks) bhikkhunis (ordained nuns) upasaka and upasikaa (lay devotees). more..

Why civil society cannot be absolved

Dec 22 (CT) All things considered, the 52 day govt shot itself in the foot by assuming that populist legitimacy overrides constitutional legality. There are times when the one will supersede the other, but such times come about only if the govt in power is so unpopular that a Restoration is called for. The truth is that the Ranil Wickremesinghe govt did not covet enough unpopularity for it to be swept aside by a Rajapaksa Restoration. And the makers and of the latter Project let go of one constituent more..

Ranil unshakable

Dec 22 (DN) The gigantic mass uprising for PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and democracy that happened last week is probably unique in the third world. It is unique with national unity abandoning racism and communalism. In the Galle Face Green, it was inspiring to see people of all kind in a spirit of solidarity. They expect the arrival of Lankan nation and defeat of fascism. Free and fair elections are, no doubt, central to a democracy; but when conducted in the wake of questionable sacking of P'ment more..

'Twas the Hike before Christmas

Dec 22 (Roar) Joy to the world, indeed. It’s Christmas season already! For some, the festivities began in November while for others, the festivities never did. We’ve got the solution for all of you part-time Grinches who’d rather spend your Christmas on top of a mountain far away from all the chaos than surrounded by relatives you haven't seen in a year. Literally. So, if you’re ready to gather your favourite introverted fellows and hike up more..

Edtorial: The sin of defection

Dec 22 (Island) Much is being spoken, these days, about crossovers in Parliament. Political turncoats have drawn heavy flak. Among those who condemn defections are politicians belonging to the two main parties which are notorious for resorting to bribery, both in cash and kind, to engineer defections. They would have us believe that defection is a sin. There is hardly any political party which has not been affected by crossovers, in this country. UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva has, in a brief interview more..

It’s about the unwritten Laws, Sir!

Dec 22 (Island) Cricket teaches us many fine lessons, chief among which is that the Umpire’s word is Law and shall not be questioned. This, and the concept of fair play were the cornerstones on which this great game was hinged. Steeped in such tradition, many of those who played the game, carried with them the latter concept into their homes and workplaces. Along with fair play came one of the game’s greatest adjuncts: the unwritten Laws. Meaning, what passes muster and more..


Abolish the executive presidency or reduce its powers further

Dec 22 (DM) For forms of govt, let fools contend; whatever is best administered is best, said Alexander Pope. The 18th century poet’s one-liner still rings true, in the context of ceaseless constitutional crises and ubiquitous debates over political reforms. No country is an exception. Even in Saudi Arabia, arguably the most rigid monarchy, political reform is a major demand of the dissidents. This was amply reported in news items on the recent killing of journalist and democracy activist more..

Rupee plummets to record low as investor sentiment fails to pick-up

Dec 22 (Island) SL rupee fell to a record low against the dollar yesterday amid pressure on the currency due to foreign outflows from bonds and stocks as continuing political uncertainty tended to dent investor sentiment, CSE analysts said. Rupee hit a record low of 181.00 against the U.S. dollar, according to market sources, surpassing its previous low of 180.85 to the dollar on Nov 28. Retail investors are sluggish and institutional investors inactive in the CSE ahead of the vacation more..