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Sri Lanka’s crisis of democracy

Dec 3 (DM) On Nov 26, 2014, President Sirisena joined hands with the then leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe to contest former President Rajapaksa at the 2015 presidential election. A curious coalition of political foes coming together -- not on principles, but with a common aim of unseating the sitting president. In the after-glow of his presidential election victory, the new president appointed his comrade-in-arms Wickremesinghe as Premier though the latter was not the leader more..

North in Crisis Times

Dec 3 (DM) Even as the political crisis in the parliament and of govt rages on, a near silence pervades the North. People are either indifferent or intentionally avoiding public engagement. The Tamil media, while extensively reporting political developments, paints the crisis as unrelated to the Tamil community, or uses it to bash the TNA, or in turn to claim that strong Tamil demands should be placed by the TNA on the parties vying for power in the South. more..

12-year old tusker Mugalan found dead near the Udawalawe tank

Dec 3 (ST) A 12 year-old tusker, identified as Mugalan was killed by a muzzleloader gun near the Udawalawe tank, a senior wildlife officer said. Chandana Sooriyabandara, Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation said the elephant died due to the injuries caused to its cranium. Wildlife officials have lodged a complaint in this connection with the Hambegawmuwa police and made submissions to more..

Sri Lanka trying to stabilize growth and inflation: Central Bank

Dec 3 (EN) SL's central bank is trying to stabilize growth and inflation under its existing mandate, a top official said as attempts to target a policy rate by printing money while intervening in forex markets at the same time has plunged the country in to another period of balance of payments pressure. "The misunderstanding that has arisen, is that a lot of people think we want to stabilize the exchange rate and interest rate," more..

No link to Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, claims LTTE

Dec 3 Dec 3 (ANI) In an alleged statement, the LTTE has claimed that they had no link in the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991. The alleged letter from LTTE has been signed by their Political Wing representative Kurburan Guruswami and Legal Wing representative Lathan Chandralingam. Claiming itself to be an organization by the people, for the people and of the people of Tamil Eelam, LTTE, in its alleged statement, more..

Speaker moots masterplan for rubber industry

Dec 3 (FT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Friday insisted the need for a comprehensive rubber masterplan to drive the industry to the next level. Speaking as the Chief Guest of the Colombo Rubber Traders’ Association’s (CRTA) Centennial Celebratory Gala Dinner, he called on the industry stakeholders to push for an inclusive master plan to make rubber a significant contributor to the economic growth of the country. more..

Ven. Gnanasara Thera’s fate in AG’s hands

Dec 3 (CT) Final decision on granting a presidential pardon to controversial Buddhist Monk Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera will be taken based on the Attorney General’s report on the matter, President Sirisena emphasized. Asked whether he was willing to consider granting a presidential pardon to the imprisoned General Secretary of the BBS, President Sirisena said that it entirely lies in the hands of Attorney General. more..

Police Hospital in doldrums

Dec 3 (CT) The Police Hospital in Narahenpita is on the blink owing to the zero availability of medicines starting from a simple Aspirin to essential drugs and equipment needed in the operating theatre, senior officials disclosed yesterday. The prevailing situation at the 200-bed hospital is the non-payment of a credit of Rs 42 million, Police Department owes to State-owned Pharmaceutical Corporation Osu Sala, more..

Ranil’s Economic Advisor gave money to LTTE: Bandula

Dec 3 (CT) Minister Bandula Gunawardena challenged MP Eran Wickramaratne to prove, the statement he had made in a television programme, that Mahinda Rajapaksa and former MP Tiran Alles had given money to the LTTE when Mahinda Rajapaksa was the President. Speaking at a Media briefing, he said PM Mahinda Rajapaksa or former MP Tiran Alles didn’t have any connection with the LTTE and more..

TNA support for UNP: TELO insists on written agreement citing 5 demands

Dec 3 (DM) The Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO), which is an ally of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), has resolved that any form of support given to the UNP to form a govt should be based on a written agreement to address the issues concerning Tamils, a party official said. The TNA said last week that it would support the UNP to form a govt, but without accepting any portfolio in that govt. more..

'MS, MR, RW should form national govt'

Dec 3 (DM) Former Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran said that the current political crisis could be resolved by forming a national govt with the involvement of President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. He expressed his views while participating at a programme to present awards to regional artistes held at the Cultural Theatre Hall in Vavuniya. more..

Petition against MR: CA ruling at 3 P.M. today

Dec 3 (EN) Court of Appeal has adjourned for deliberations in a case challenging the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM till 3 pm, when there was a possibility of an order being made. The petitioners have sought a writ of Quo Warranto asking Rajapaksa to give reasons why he should remain in office, despite losing no faith motions in parliament. They have also asked for interim relief, suspending his appointment and more..

Remembering George H. W. Bush

Dec 3 (CT) In a couple of weeks Sri Lanka will commemorate the fourteenth anniversary of the Boxing Day Tsunami of 26 December, 2004, which had terribly devastated the coastal areas of the Island killing nearly 50,000 people. As the natural disaster had destroyed several parts of South Asia and South East Asia, it was on the directive of then US President George W. Bush a mega fund-raising project was initiated to help the tsunami victims. So, as the goodwill ambassadors of more..

In the opinion of the President doesn’t mean arbitrary choice

Dec 3 (FT) The man-made constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka has now entered its second month with no solution in sight. It has entailed enormous costs on the economy, eroded the credibility of the country, and dented irreparably the fledgling institutional framework it created recently. It has brought to focus the fragility of the Parliamentary democracy when it comes under attack by forces working in their own interests. Yet, Sri Lankans have got themselves divided into two groups, more..

Sasanika Jayalath

Special commodity levy on onions & potatoes reduced

Dec 3 (EN) Sri Lanka slashed by half a special commodity levy on imported potatoes and onions ahead of the festive season. A special commodity levy of 40 rupees for a kilogramme of imported potatoes and onions will be halved to 20 rupees by midnight Monday. According to data red onions were retailing at around 190 rupees a kilogramme in the Pettah market while potatoes were selling at 200 rupees. Imported onions were sold at around 188.33 rupees and potatoes 118.33 rupees. more..

GMOA unhappy over sugar tax reduction

Dec 3 (NR) The GMOA has called for a committee to be appointed to present recommendations on the quality of carbonated drinks, when providing concessions to producers of carbonated drinks and fruit juices. GMOA made this request in a letter addressed to Mahinda Rajapaksa regarding the present administration’s decision to provide relief on the sugar tax imposed on beverages. GMOA stressed that sugar levels must be maintained at a minimum level in order to control more..

Video: Presidential candidate will be from within UNP: Harin

Dec 3 (AD) UNP MP Harin Fernando says that UNP intends to put forward its own candidate forward for the Presidential Election, instead of a common candidate. He stated this addressing a public rally held in Mahiyanganaya last evening. He said that a huge mess has been created in the country due to one person who was appointed for presidency from Polonnaruwa. Prez Sirisena should be held account for everything that happened more..

Heavy rainfall expected in Northern, North-central provinces

Dec 3 (AD) The Dept of Meteorology says that heavy rainfall (100-150 mm) can be expected at some places in Northern, North-central provinces and Trincomalee and Batticaloa districts. There may be temporary localized strong winds during thundershowers. General public is kindly requested to take adequate precautions to minimize damages caused by lightning activity. A weather advisory issued this afternoon states that active clouds are developed over the north-eastern parts of more..

Sri Lankan expats hope country’s political crisis ends

Dec 3 (AD) Sri Lankan expats in the Sultanate are hoping peace prevails back home, as the Indian Ocean island finds itself in the middle of another political crisis. A political firestorm erupted after President Sirisena decided to fire his PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe, on Oct 26, replacing him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapakse, in a move many around the world regarded as unconstitutional. With both the ruling SLFP and Wickremesinghe’s UNP taking the fight to parliament, more..

Video: Litro Gas Allowance is for CSR projects: Dambara Amila Thera

Dec 3 (DM) Ven. Dambara Amila Thera responding to reports of him receiving an allowance from the Litro Gas Company said that he requested for the allowance for his Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects. It was revealed at the Special High Court last week that the prelate was receiving a monthly allowance of Rs.95,000 from the Litro Gas Company. The Thera said he had made a request to the company asking for their more..

What the Court of Appeal order means

Dec 3 (EN) The Court of Appeal order restraining Mahinda Rajapaksa and his purported ministers of holding public office has effectively compounded problems for the political authority of President Maithripala Sirisena. This is what the writ issued against Rajapaksa and his disputed cabinet means on a day-to-day basis. 1) Mahinda Rajapaksa will not be able to exercise any authority as Prime Minister 2) The PM’s office at Flower Road will be out of bounce for Rajapaksa. more..

Ranjan issued notice over contempt charges

Dec 3 (AD) Supreme Court today issued notice on UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake to appear before the court on Dec 7 over contempt of court charges. The court issued notice on the MP when the case was taken up before a judge bench chaired by Chief Justice Nalin Perera. This is in order to determine through a hearing whether the MP can be charged with contempt over the recent comments he had made to the media. SC had previously notified Attorney General to appear at the court more..

Video: Police fire tear gas at protesting unemployed graduates

Dec 3 (DM) Police fired tear gas to disperse a group of unemployed graduates protesting near the Lotus Roundabout in Colombo. Riot police resorted to using tear gas after the protestors attempted to push through a road blockade which had been set up to prevent them reaching the Presidential Secretariat. Meanwhile severe traffic congestion has been reported in Maradana and surrounding areas due to a public rally being more..

Indian MPs to be briefed on Sri Lanka’s political crisis

Dec 3 (DS) Top officials of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will brief a parliamentary panel on India-Sri Lanka relations, and they may be questioned on the current political crisis in the neighbouring island nation and its impact on New Delhi. Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, which is headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and has the party chief Rahul Gandhi as a member, is scheduled to be briefed by the top officials of the ministry on Dec 14, more..

Plantation workers to launch an indefinite strike from tomorrow

Dec 3 (DM) Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) Leader and MP Arumugam Thondaman today requested all plantation workers to join in an indefinite strike from tomorrow. He said this after a meeting with the senior management of plantation companies today. He said the employers did not agree with their request to increase their daily wages to Rs. 1000. MP Thondaman said they held a discussion with former Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa earlier. more..

Court can’t rely on draft documents: Respondent's Counsel

Dec 3 (DM) President's Counsel Kushan de Alwis, Ali Sabri and Romesh de Silva -- appearing for the respondents in the Quo Warranto writ petition filed by 122 MPs questioning the legitimacy of PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and his govt to hold office -- said the applications should be dismissed on the basis that the Hanzard produced as a supporting document was not a final thus not admissible in Court. more..

Four new envoys present credentials

Dec 3 (PSL) Three new Ambassadors and a High Commissioner to Sri Lanka presented their credentials to President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s House, Colombo, today. The envoys are: Mr. Petar Ljubicic – Ambassador of Croatia; Mr. Andre Poh – Ambassador of Congo; Mrs. Rita Mannella – Ambassador of Italy; Mr. Michael Oquaye – High Commissioner of Ghana. Foreign Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama and Secretary to the Prez, Udaya Seneviratne were present more..

‘Several JO MPs opposed alliance with MS’

Dec 3 (NR) UPFA MP Kumara Welgama says several MPs of the JO are opposed to the Mahinda Rajapaksa group joining hands with Prez Sirisena. MP Welgama said at a meeting at the residence of GL Peiris, MP Chamal Rajapaksa also opposed the move. Speaking at a gathering in Badulla MP Welgama said regardless of the varied opinions he will continue to support Mahinda Rajapaksa. MP noted he informed Mahinda Rajapaksa that he will not accept any Ministerial Portfolios. more..

Mahinda to file appeal with Supreme Court against interim order

Dec 3 (AD) Mahinda Rajapaksa says that they will file an appeal before the Supreme Court against the interim order issued today by the Appeals Court as they do not agree with it. Court of Appeal today issued an interim order preventing Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cabinet from holding office. This was after the court decided to proceed with hearing a Writ of Quo Warranto petition signed by 122 legislators that challenges more..

Bonds scam: Reveal names of all 118 politicos: Lawyer

Dec 3 (CT) The names of the 118 politicians, who are connected to the Central Bank Treasury Bonds scam, should be revealed prior to the conducting of a General Election, said Convener of the Sathya Gaweshakayo organization, P.C. Dolewatte. Prez’s immediate attention should be drawn to this, he said. Though it has been reported, that about 118 politicians were allegedly involved during the tenure of the previous Govt, every attempt was taken so as not to reveal their names, he added. more..

President should act, after Sri Lanka makes Commonwealth history: legislator

Dec 3 (EN) President Maithripala Sirisena should appoint a Prime Minister after courts made Commonwealth history by restraining a disputed appointments, a senior lawyer and legislator said. Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal halted Mahinda Rajapaksa from acting as PM and misters and deputy ministers in their posts. "In commonwealth history for the first time a court has restricted the functioning of a purported government with quo warranto through an interim order," more..

Interim order issued preventing PM and Cabinet from functioning

Dec 3 (AD) Court of Appeal today issued an interim injunction order restraining PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Cabinet from functioning until the hearing of the Writ of Quo Warranto filed against them holding office is concluded. Court fixed dates from Dec 12 to proceed with the hearing of the petition while notice was also issued on the 49-member Cabinet including PM Rajapaksa to appear before the court on that date. more..

Political crisis retards economic recovery and development

Dec 4 (ST) The political stalemate of over one month is a severe blow to the economy. This year’s economic recovery would be retarded and next year’s economic performance would be adversely affected. Long-run economic development is being undermined by weakening macroeconomic conditions. There are serious apprehensions on what may befall the economy. The political impasse will retard this year’s economic recovery as several facets of growth, such as tourism and more..

Comments on the comparison of the present constitutional question

Dec 4 (CT) There seems to be a serious misunderstanding about SL’s Constitution with respect to the President’s power to dissolve the Parliament. It is claimed that under the parliamentary system, the President may dissolve the Parliament at his or her discretion at any time during its term. This is the central question before the Supreme Court in the proceeding challenging the Prez’s proclamation purporting to dissolve the current Parliament. more..

Far from the playing field

Dec 4 (ST) The trek up ahead is muddy after the rains the night before. We are greeted by warm, welcoming smiles all around but there’s an eeriness in the air and the jungle around us that harks back to a time of bloodshed and violence. We are in the heart of Periyamadu, Mannar – a frontline during the war between the LTTE and the govt forces. We are travelling with the English cricket team to the de-mining site more..

President’s book-fact, fiction or spin

Dec 4 (ST) In these days of gloom and doom in Sri Lanka and Britain where a tiny ray of sunshine is so welcome and the sound of laughter enlivens life, a message I received from Colombo a few days ago was sweet music to the ears. It said that Prez Sirisena announced he is writing a book which will be released by Jan 9, the day he begins another year in the presidency. One must surely be proud to have a man of letters as the country’s president. How many countries can boast of having more..

Sri Lanka’s Chief Servant: He has to go!

Dec 4 (CT) When Maithripala Sirisena addressed the nation in 2015 after being sworn in as the Executive President of SL with 6.25 million of us having voted for the man – a political nonentity – we did so with the sole purpose of getting rid of his megalomaniacal predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa and his corrupt-to-the-core regime, he said, “This country needs a Chief Servant (himself) and not a King (his predecessor)”. Well, look what our Chief Servant, Sirisena has done! more..

Revisiting the Vanishing Trails…

Dec 4 (SO) A world apart from the buzzing city of Colombo, we pass thick forest, shrub jungle, irrigation tanks, paddy fields and small hut-like houses. We are on our way to meet Velayudan, whom we were told, lives in Kunjankulam, in Madurankulam, Vakarai. As we trek the path, I’m reminded of the renowned British doctor, Charles Gabriel Seligman and his wife Brenda Seligman the first to trek these trails in search of more..

Welcome measures to the export industry

Dec 4 (DN) It was said in a recent newspaper article that in the early 1990s the export earnings of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were roughly on par, approximately about 9 Billion US dollars. Today, a quarter of a Century later, the writer points out that our exports are a little more than twice that figure, whereas Bangladesh has increased their exports several times over. A country’s achievements, as much as an individual’s, can be gauged from those they measure themselves against. more..