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Mahinda Rajapaksa may be down but is certainly not out yet

Dec 22 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s attempt to seize power through the backdoor with the support of President Sirisena has been roundly defeated by a courageous display of united resistance by concerned citizens in combination with decisive votes in the legislature and unanimous rulings by the Judiciary. After clinging on stubbornly from Oct 26 for 51 days, former prez and Kurunegala district MP more..

From two Premiers to two Opposition Leaders

Dec 22 (DM) Battered by the high-handed decisions of the Executive for 50 turbulent days from Oct 26, which made inroads into Parliamentary democracy, a loud and renewed call came from the Legislature this week to abolish the Executive Presidency. The first thing Parliament took up following the historical defeat of what one may call a coup, which shook up the entire political establishment of the country, was an adjournment debate calling for the abolition of the Executive Presidency, more..

Mahela, Sanga hope Akila’s remodelling will create strong comeback

Dec 22 (CT) Former Cricketing legend Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene hope that spinner Akila Dhananjaya action remodelling will result in him making a strong comeback prior to the World Cup. The Duo of ex-Test skippers shared their thoughts on Thursday at the SSC during a press conference. “From the reports that we have received he will not have to make any serious changes but remodel his action slightly to get back soon said Mahela wishing that everyone more..

VoA puts public finance on track

Dec 22 (FT) The Vote on Account (VOA) seeking House approval to spend Rs. 1,765 billion during the first four months of 2019 to settle the Govt’s capital and recurrent expenses along with debt servicing was passed yesterday in Parliament with 102 lawmakers voting in favour. JVP MPs Anura Dissanayake, Nihal Galappaththi, Vijitha Herath, Sunil Handunnetti, Bimal Rathnayake, and Nalinda Jayatissa voted against the motion. more..

Buddhism, the Boundless Domain

Dec 22 (Island) Spiritual and intellectual progression as defined in the unique philosophy is totally independent of an individual’s maturity in age. Some were as old as 80 when they reached the summit of wisdom, some as tender as seven. Whilst personages as Arahant Bakkula stood at the farther end, the world was mesmerized by the attainment of the supreme mental state ever possible by younglings such as Sopaka, Suneetha, Sumana, Sukha, Seevali and Kumara Kassapa all in more..

Haul of military-grade weapons found at gem merchant’s residence

Dec 22 (ST) This week’s discovery of 13 firearms and a haul of ammunition at Beruwala are among a series of discoveries in recent weeks that show a proliferation of illegally acquired sophisticated automatic weapons. Among the weapons in the latest detection were a mini Uzi Sub Machine Gun (SMG), with two magazines and the 9 mm ammunition used for it. A smaller, improved version to the famous Israeli made Uzi SMG. The mini Uzi is widely used in SL for the protection of VIPs. more..

Sri Lanka eyes four million tourists with US$ 5 bn foreign exchange income next year

Dec 22 (DM) Sri Lanka Tourism is targeting four million tourist arrivals and US$ 5 billion foreign exchange earnings for 2019 with the launch of the long-delayed Global Tourism Promotion campaign in March next year, the Minister of Tourism Development, Christian Affairs and Wildlife, John Amaratunga announced. Amaratunga yesterday assumed duties as the Minister of Tourism and Christian Affairs and more..

Political crisis not over yet

Dec 22 (DM) When President Maithripala Sirisena finally succumbed to pressure and reappointed UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesimnghe as the PM, the dust looked settled as far as the political crisis was concerned. Instead, it was a relative lull. The crisis is not yet over as the UNP is struggling to finalise the list of Cabinet Ministers. It is true by all means that the path is cleared for the UNP to form the Govt. Be that as it may, it would not be a smooth sailing for the UNP to run the Govt under a President more..

MR denies unconstitutional takeover

Dec 22 (FT) Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa denied his appointment as PM on 26 Oct was unconstitutional and called on the Govt to follow people-friendly economic policies. Joining the Vote on Account debate in Parliament, MP Rajapaksa held that no govt was established with a coup. “We didn’t do any coup. But please keep that in mind that your chairs are not safe with us in the Opposition. Along with the people the Opposition will stand against your program, which is unfavourable more..

Sri Lanka’s October trade gap widens, tea, garment exports down

Dec 22 (EN) SL's trade deficit widened significantly in Oct 2018 to US$ 903 billion from US$ 752 million a year ago owing to higher growth in imports alongside a marginal growth in exports, the central bank said. “However, it is expected that the trend of increasing imports will reduce in the coming months with the lagged impact of recently introduced restrictions on certain import categories,” a statement said. more..

Research paper says possible accounting fraud by some firms

Dec 22 (ST) A research paper written by university students has shown possible accounting manipulations of some listed firms over three financial years. The Research Journal of the CA Sri Lanka published in connection with the second Research Conference of CA SL held recently published research paper appearing on pages 106-121 titled “Using Beneish M Score Model to Detect Red Flags of Corporate Financial Statement Fraud in Sri Lanka” by three undergraduates from more..

Elections to all PCs on same day: Minister

Dec 22 (DM) The elections to all nine Provincial Councils (PC) will be held on the same day without further delay, Minister Vajira Abeywardane said. Addressing those who were present at the ministry at the assumption of duties he said, elections were previously held for each PC separately by misusing public resources with the intention of winning elections. “We will change this tradition and hold elections to all the PCs on a single day and if possible this govt will hold presidential and more..

Rajitha pledges to reintroduce sugar tax

Dec 22 (FT) Minister Rajitha Senaratne yesterday said the tax on sugar removed by MP Mahinda Rajapaksa would be reintroduced. “I am making decisions on behalf of the people of this country, not companies that produce soft drinks,” Minister said, addressing staff at the Ministry of Health after assuming duties. He noted that as Minister of Health he would stand with the public and not with private firms and would continue his more..

US warship in Colombo on a goodwill visit

Dec 22 (SLN) US Naval ship USS Rushmore arrived at the port of Colombo today (21), on a goodwill visit. Ship was welcomed by the SL Navy in accordance with naval traditions. 185m long vessel which has a displacement of 18000 tons is manned by 380 officers and sailors and she is commanded by Commander RC Tryan. During the visit, the ship’s crew is scheduled to engage in several programmes organized by SL Navy and expected to visit some of the places of tourist interest in the island. more..

Remanded fmr DIG allowed to see sick child

Dec 22 (CT) Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate, Ranga Dissanayaka yesterday granted approval to imprisoned former DIG of the Terrorism Investigation Division Nalaka de Silva to visit his sick child in hospital every two days under the protection of Prisons Department officers. The child has been diagnosed with Dengue. The Chief Magistrate gave the Order after considering a request filed through a Motion by lawyers for the defendant. The lawyers informed Court on 18 Dec that more..

Appointing the Cabinet: I'll make a statement in Jan: PM

Dec 22 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said, that in January, he would make a statement in Parliament on the appointment of the Cabinet of Ministers. Referring to media reports on the President striking off names of some MPs from the list sent to him, PM said he had not sent the name of Vijith Wijithamuni de Soysa to the President. “It was sad to see these reports in the media. I think Mr. De Soysa will be able to more..

Hilton to manage US$12mn beach resort near Sri Lanka wildlife park

Dec 22 (EN) Sri Lanka’s investment promotion agency has approved construction of a beach resort near the Yala wildlife park on the south coast with an investment of US$12 million to be managed by Hilton. The Board of Investment said in a statement that the Wild Beach Resorts (Private Ltd) project is to build and operate a 42-roomed hotel located at the Yala Wildlife Tourism Zone at Palatupana, Yala. It had signed an investment agreement with the developer Melwa Hotels and Resorts. more..

Shipping pillar of SL economy: Sagala

Dec 22 (FT) Efforts would be made to implement policies swiftly so that effects of the political turmoil in the past few weeks would be reversed, Ports and Shipping Minister Sagala Ratnayake said, noting that shipping needs to continue as a key sector of SL’s economy. Ratnayaka, after assuming duties on Friday, said PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had advised his Cabinet to start working immediately to ensure the stability of the country. “Ministry of Ports and Shipping has contributed a great deal to more..

MR tells Ranil govt to be people-friendly

Dec 22 (DM) Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa urged the govt to be more people-friendly when taking economic decisions without blindly following the instructions of the IMF. He said people were inconvenienced by the high cost of living and the tax burden. "There are people who can't afford to a single meal a day as mentioned by the Cardinal in his Christmas message. The govt should be people friendly. Don't try to do only what IMF says. more..

Christmas celebration at President’s House

Dec 22 (FT) A special function was organised by the Presidential Secretariat to celebrate Christmas. It was held under the patronage of Archbishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Malcom Ranjith and President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s House in Colombo last Thursday (20). These Christmas celebrations included many colourful events, including Christmas carols. Delivering a special sermon, Archbishop Rt. Rev Dr. Malcom Ranjith said that the true spirit of Christmas lies not in the decorations or e more..

UNP-led Kandy MC budget defeated

Dec 22 (Island) For the first time, in the 104-year history of the Kandy Municipal Council, the annual Budget was defeated yesterday. It was tabled by Mayor Kesara D. Senanayake. At the meeting in the Council assembly hall Mayor Kesara D. Senanayake presented the Budget for 2019 with a surplus of Rs. 87,000. After a debate the mayor Senanayake called for a division. When the voting took place by raising hands the Budget received 20 for and 21 against it. The UNP members and the single member of more..

Mangala promises a bigger Cabinet...

Dec 22 (Island) Minister Mangala Samaraweera says that members of the previous cabinet couldn't be re-appointed as a result of a court ruling. Once that problem was overcome, the Cabinet could be expanded, Samaraweera said at the Finance Ministry on Wednesday. The UNPer said so when the media asked Samaraweera as to why UPFA lawmaker Vijith Wijayamuni Zoysa (National List) had been denied a ministerial more..

Ranil threatens to expose yellow journalism

Dec 22 (Island) PM Wickremesinghe condemned the conduct of some print and electronic media which he referred to as Black Media. H said that a debate on these Black Media would be held in January in the House. "The names of these Black Media will be listed out from top to bottom. I hope media will give us a live coverage for this debate. Remember, two can play this game." he said. The PM said that legal action could be taken against some of the press and media stations more..

ICCSL urges govt. to focus on development agenda

Dec 22 (DM) The International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ICCSL) is grateful to the President, Prime Minister, Speaker and leaders of political leaders for restoring normalcy and urges all parties concerned to work towards a common development agenda. The patience of the Sri Lankan people was tested during this period and it is the responsibility of the government now to deliver on the promises made not just to the people of Sri Lanka but to the international donors as well. more..

Bond scams: Parliament sabotaged probe: Prez Office

Dec 22 (Island) Presidential Secretariat alleged that a parliamentary Sectoral Committee had deliberately undermined the process to amend laws required to handle CB bond scams in 2015 and 2016. The alleged scams involved the CB and Perpetual Treasuries. Prez Secretariat also alleged though the PcoI that probed CB bond scams had recommended a forensic audit on Jan 18, 2018, it had not been launched. more..

Democracy rescued, economy next

Dec 23 (SO) Restored PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and his re-formed cabinet will look forward to the New Year with a sense of challenge beyond the normal expectations that ensue with the annual calendar transition. He and his colleagues must now work even harder than they would have anticipated before the storm of Oct 26. The aftermath is that of a drastically worsened economic outlook and a nation that is, itself, picking up the pieces from that battering of constitutional norms and more..


Dec 23 (CT) Yesterday, this newspaper, quoting former President and current SLFP/UPFA MP Mahinda Rajapaksa’s advice to the Ranil Wickremesinghe Govt, said, “…You don’t need to follow every instruction issued by the IMF. You should follow more people-oriented policies.” Rajapaksa may be speaking out of experience. At the height of the Rajapaksa Govt, more than six years and 10 months ago, on 12 February, 2012, a now defunct Sunday newspaper, carried more..

'Independence of Judiciary is crystal clear'

Dec 23 (SO) State Minister of Finance, Eran Wickramaratne, said the independence of the judiciary is crystal clear because of its ruling against the Presidential Act of dissolving the Govt. MP Wickramaratne in an interview, said that it was witnessed in the recent past that the Courts and the Judiciary vigorously worked to uphold the law and also acted independently. This was seen right throughout and not just on more..

Realpolitik, not principle, name of the game

Dec 23 (Island) Any hope that the aborted constitutional coup attempted by President Sirisena in cahoots with his onetime sworn enemy Mahinda Rajapaksa would have taught the political class of this country some salutary lessons was demonstrated to be forlorn by last week’s exercise in cabinet making. Although the cabinet at the moment is restricted to 30, various moves are afoot to increase this number through the national govt device successfully exploited last time round more..

Co-habit or Co-perish

Dec 23 (ST) Like any employee who has been sacked from employment and reinstated by a labour tribunal, Ministers of the Cabinet – and the State and Deputy Ministers — have got their jobs back following the Oct 26 misadventure of Prez Sirisena. On Thursday, thanks to the 19th Amendment, Cabinet was mercifully limited to a stipulated maximum. SL with a population of just over 20 million and a fourth the size of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, had a Cabinet that put more..

Police take edge over drug barons

Dec 23 (CT) Starting from early this month, the authorities made significant breakthroughs in its fight against the narcotic trade with detections made on sea, land and also at the country’s main entry port in Katunayake, but officials silently concede that this may be just the tip of the iceberg in combating the scourge. The single largest detection of 231 kilogrammes of heroin with a street value of Rs 2.7 billion for this year was made more..

A new mandate? Not quite

Dec 23 (ST) My dear Green Man, I am writing to you to congratulate you on your assumption of office as PM, yet again, for a record fifth time. This time it was special because you had to fight for several weeks against Aiyo Sirisena’s devious plans. What is important, though, is that you eventually got what was rightfully yours. You must surely be proud of being appointed for a record fifth time because even the lovable Dudley managed it only thrice and the world’s first lady to hold the job, Sirima, more..

Migration trail

Dec 23 (ST) One of the first web comments from a migrant worker after SL’s new Cabinet was sworn in on Thursday was: “The SL Govt that has been appointed has to do more to protect and uphold holiday and vacation rights of its migrant workers toiling in West Asia.” This comment was further endorsed on Thursday by Kussi Amma Sera, telling her friends – Serapina and Mabel Rasthiyadu during their Margosa tree conversation – that ape meda peradiga inna lamai-te kisi udaw-wak nehe more..

Udaya Gammanpila

Dissolution of Parliament: What the SC said

Dec 23 (Island) The list of Petitioners against the dissolution of Parliament and the holding of a fresh general election read like a who’s who of the yahapalana election campaign of 2015. It included R. Sampanthan on behalf of TNA, Kabir Hashim and Akila Viraj Kariyawasam on behalf of UNP, CPA in its institutional capacity and Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu in his private capacity, Lal Wijenayake of ULF, Anura Kumara Dissayanake, Bimal Ratnayake, Vijitha Herath, more..

Sampanthan more a Statesman

Dec 23 (CT) TNA Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan proved, himself, a statesman from the time he became the Leader of the Opposition with the formation of the UNF in 2015. The political tsunami which had struck the Parliamentary system on 26 Oct and shaken the Premiership of the country has now even targeted the Leader of the Opposition position of Sampanthan. Power-hunger being the root cause of the 26 Oct political turmoil, the Supreme Court placed everything in order more..

Tension between President Maithri and the UNP settled but not solved

Dec 23 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe took oaths before President Maithripala Sirisena last Sunday by creating history as the only person who was appointed as the PM for five times and sending former President Rajapaksa down country’s political history by making him the shortest serving PM. Rajapaksa resigned from the PM’s post on 15 Dec 2018, after serving for 50 days by becoming shortest serving Prime Minister more..

Deshapriya wins Para table tennis gold

Dec 23 (SO) Sri Lankan table tennis player Dinesh Deshapriya won the gold medal at the Para Table Tennis Thailand Open championships yesterday after working against all odds to secure a passage to the event. Speaking to the Sunday Observer over the phone from Thailand, Deshapriya said it was a long drawn battle to win the gold while taking on a player from Hong Kong. He won 3-2. “I was lucky to take part in this tournament and did my best to win the gold. more..

Programme on Baseball for Tomorrow

Dec 23 (ST) Under the theme Baseball for Tomorrow a five-day baseball camp organised jointly by the Japan Women’s Baseball Federation, Japan Embassy of SL and Amateur Baseball/Softball Federation was held in Sri Lanka recently. Officials who arrived in Sri Lanka to conduct the camp were: International co-ordinating Director of Japan Baseball Federation, Hiroko Yamada, Coach of the Japan Baseball Federation, Akiko Shimura, Coach of the Australian Baseball Federation, more..

More angles to ascertain: Roshan Mahanama

Dec 23 (ST) Though there was speculation about former SL cricket captain and ICC match referee Roshan Mahanama taking over the Lankan cricket reins as its Interim Committee chief, it is not quite so. On Saturday banner headlines filled the newspapers about the new cricket appointment, Mahanama says that he needs more time to make a firm commitment. Mahanama said “I need more time to make up my mind. more..