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Harin & Malik re-appointed with title changes amid PM's attempt to appoint 2 more min.

Dec 29 (AM) Minister Harin Fernando and Malik Samarawickrama have been re-appointed with changes to the titles. Fernando has been re-appointed as the Minister of Telecom, Foreign Employment and Sports while Samarawickrama has been re-appointed as the Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade. The subject of digital infrastructure has been taken away from Fernando with the latest revision. Samarawickrama has lost Ministry of Science & Technology. more..

JVP seeking legal advice

Dec 29 (CT) The JVP is currently engaged in seeking legal advice in connection with proposing new legislation to punish those involved in the 26 Oct conspiracy against the Constitution, including primarily Prez Sirisena and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa. JVP also noted that they expected PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and/or Minister of Justice Thalatha Atukorale to present a report in Parliament, once Sittings commence, on the Govt’s stance on the 20th Amendment Bill presented by the JVP, more..

BASL to write to Prez and CC

Dec 29 (CT) Following a unanimous decision taken by the Bar Council, Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) is expected to write to President Sirisena and the Constitutional Council (CC) urging that judicial appointments to fill vacancies in the Apex Courts be made as quickly as possible. Secretary of the BASL, Kaushalya Nawaratne said they would definitely be sending the letter in the course of the first week of Jan 2019. more..

SL student's case: Aussie cricketer Khawaja's brother re-arrested

Dec 29 (TG) Arsalan Tariq Khawaja, the brother of Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja, is back behind bars after police say he attempted to contact a witness, allegedly breaching his bail conditions. Khawaja, who allegedly tried to frame a colleague as a terrorist, was arrested on Thursday after allegedly contacting the brother of a woman called witness A to persuade her to provide false evidence, or withhold evidence. The 39-year-old was first arrested in early December more..

Jamiyyathul Ulama condemns attack on Buddha statues in Mawanella

Dec 29 (FT) The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) has condemned the attack on Buddha statues in Mawanella, requesting authorities to take strict legal action against the offenders, whoever they are. In a letter to the IGP Pujith Jayasundara, the General Secretary of the ACJU requested to implement “very strict law and order” on such incidents which no religion permits. “We strictly condemn this type of incident happening and request all concerned authorities to take strict more..

Destruction of Buddha statues: PM promises tough action against culprits

Dec 29 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremasinghe said, in Kandy, yesterday, that severe punishment would be meted out to those who destroyed Buddha statues. He said he had directed Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the CID to apprehend the culprits and apply the full weight of the law against them. PM said so, addressing the media at Malwatte Maha Viharaya, after calling on the Most Venerable more..

Defeat extremism, abolish executive presidency: Speaker

Dec 29 (DM) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has urged all concerned citizens to work towards defeating extremism and the abolishing of the executive presidency in the New Year. He said this at an inter-religious congress held at his official residence on Wednesday. “It seems that religious and ethnic extremism has raised its head again. This seems to have been shaped by politics. It is important that the inter-religious congress takes steps to arrest this trend,” the Speaker said. more..

President appoints representatives to 3 state media institutions

Dec 29 (AM) Representatives of Prez Sirisena have been appointed to the senior management of three state media institutions. Saranga Wijeyaratne, a President's representative, has been appointed the Director General of the SL Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC). He held the same position before the sudden govt change on Oct 26. Sampath Deshapriyam, a former Editor of the Lakbima newspaper, has been appointed to Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (ANCL), more..

Loan payments for flood-affected areas suspended: PM

Dec 29 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe assured necessary funds would be disbursed to the flood-affected people in the north and said steps would be taken to suspend payments of loans taken by people that were displaced by floods. He made these statements at the Kilinochchi District Secretariat when officials met to discuss what steps could be taken to assist those affected in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts. more..

2019: True spirituality for national unity

Dec 30 (SO) This week the country enters the year 2019 at a moment in time when our collective future is uncertain, shorn, as we are, of the certitude of stable governance and, threatened by dark forces from the past. Even as we transit from the old year to the new, we are reminded of past evils by the antics of some of our citizens. In Mawanella last week, the nation was disturbed out of its festivities by an ugly incident of sacrilege. Several icons of Sakyamuni Gotama Buddha were found to more..

Bad eggs in political omelet

Dec 30 (Island) The SL political omelet is becoming increasingly smelly; and there are a lot of bad eggs in it as everybody knows. Having gone through the bizarre situation of having two prime ministers only a few weeks ago, we are now saddled with two Leaders of the Opposition! Some may even claim that we have three because President Sirisena is fast looking like the main leader of the opposition in the country because he remains the principal opponent of the govt more..

'UNF govt ready to work with President'

Dec 30 (SO) Non-Cabinet Minister of Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology Ajith P. Perera said the UNP led UNF Govt is ready to work with President Sirisena based on political understanding and policies but, that they seek more responsible political conduct on the part of the President to work for the betterment of the country. He said there is no reason for UNP to go for an early election in April or May next year. more..

Legality of MR as MP

Dec 30 (CT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya at a meeting with religious leaders at his official residence on Wednesday has said that he appointed former President and SLFP/UPFA MP Mahinda Rajapaksa as Opposition Leader as per standing orders. He had further said as to which political party that Rajapaksa belongs to, can only be decided by Courts. After the 17 August 2015 Parliamentary Poll, TNA Leader R. Sampanthan, MP was appointed Opposition Leader. more..

2019; Go for a proper power- sharing model

Dec 30 (ST) With the conclusion of an eventful year, climaxing with the dramatic events since October 26, one might need to anticipate another year where politics is probably going to take centre-stage. The President has told his dwindling party faithful to look forward to an election year. It could be any one, or all three – presidential, parliamentary, provincial. The political leaders have been already off the starting blocks, best seen by the way the President gave orders to govt agencies to more..

'National Govt panacea for ethnic issue'

Dec 30 (CT) We publish below a candid interview the writer had with Former Chief Minister of the Northern Province, Justice C.V. Wigneswaran where he says a National Govt would end the woes of the Tamil people and put an end to the ethnic issue. When asked recently you suggested that a National Govt be formed between PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa and all other parties more..

Lo and Behold, The Three Unwise Men…..

Dec 30 (DM) Merry Christmas to all our readers! It is a relief indeed that after 51 days of political jugglery, trickery and tom foolery, we are back on terra firma; not that we are home and dry by any stretch of the imagination. Far from it; the dark, looming non prospects that have been lurking in the background in terms of a future for our sons and daughters are as ominous and bleak as ever. But one will have to concede, the hungry wolves have been beaten to the periphery, at least for now. more..

Just another day

Dec 30 (ST) The somewhat rainy weather had improved on this Thursday morning for Kussi Amma Sera to have her usual under-the- Margosa tree conversation with down-the-lane friends, Serapina and Mabel Rasthiyadu. With Christmas just gone by and New Year looming ahead (three days more), the trio were in an animated discussion about year 2018 that was to end. "Karadara wediyen thibba mey avurudde (there was too much trouble this year),” said Kussi Amma Sera, referring to troubled more..

ගම්මැද්ද ජනතා මෙහෙවරක මතක සුවඳ

UNP hierarchy now seeing effects of 19th Amendment

Dec 30 (Island) As the year ends, what we see on the news bulletins are members of the UNP or their allies demanding ministerial positions. Demands were made by many including Palitha Range Bandara and V. Radhakrishnan. Range Bandara has been saying that he has no interest in a State Minister’s or Deputy Minister’s position and what he deserves is a Cabinet position, no less. UNP back benchers Chaminda Wijesiri, Hesha Vitanage, Hector Appuhamy have all voiced complaints more..

Though opposition is a hopeless task, acquiescence would be worse

Dec 30 (ST) My dear Sampanthan seeya, I thought I must write to you because we have been suddenly told that you have lost your job as Leader of the Opposition. Karu has decided that the job should go to Mahinda maama, who too lost his job as PM and was even interdicted for a few weeks following a court decision. If you feel annoyed and angry, we completely understand, Sampanthan seeya. When the Blues suddenly withdrew their support to the Greens because Aiyo Sirisena asked more..

Will 2019 see abolition of Executive Presidency?

Dec 30 (CT) The majority of Cabinet Ministers and MPs in the Govt and Opposition are enjoying vacations overseas with family members for the Christmas and New Year holiday period while, few other MPs were holidaying in the cool climes of Nuwara Eliya and are unlikely to return to Colombo till the dawn of 2019. Parliament which last convened under Speaker Jayasuriya on 21 Dec is expected to reconvene only on 8 Jan 2019. more..

Ex-Sri Lanka cricketer in rail tragedy

Dec 30 (SO) Former SL Youth cricketer and Ragama CC allrounder Akshu Fernando is currently in a critical state in hospital after being hit by a south-bound train following a training session with team-mates on the beach at Mount Lavinia on Friday evening. Medical officers at the Colombo General Hospital where Fernando was rushed to said the cricketer has a 50-50 chance of staging a recovery after he underwent head surgery performed by Dr. Saman Wadanamby, more..

Gemunu Cheitiya told to pay back tour costs

Dec 30 (SO) SL youth rugby captain Gemunu Cheitiya has been told to pay back the cost of his passage and stay at the recently concluded Under-20 Asian Rugby Championships in Taipei after he was found guilty of forcing himself on a female employee at the hotel where the team put up. Following an inquiry conducted by the SLSRFA, Cheitiya has been ordered to pay a sum of Rs. 281,250 which was the cost to have him at the event where SL lost all their matches. more..

Injured Angelo Mathews almost certain to miss Australia tour

Dec 30 (CI) Angelo Mathews has been ruled out of the limited-overs leg of the NZ tour, and will almost certainly miss Sri Lanka's two Tests in Australia as well early next year, after scans revealed a grade two strain in his left hamstring. Mathews picked up the injury while completing a run late in the afternoon session of day four of the Christchurch Test, immediately pulling up lame, and having to hop between the wickets on more..

Sri Lanka fuel prices fall 17.9%, regulated bus fares down 4.2%

Dec 30 (EN) Sri Lanka bus fares which were raised by state regulation three times this year have come down by 6% after a fuel prices were cut by 17.9%, while the minimum fare is up 33% over the year, official data shows. Since May when fuel prices were raised by formula, bus fares were raised twice amid allegations that a part of the price increase was politically motivated. Since montly formula pricing began, Lanka Auto Diesel has fallen from a peak of 123 rupees a litre to 101 rupees or 17.9%. more..

Mendis has shattered cricket’s first major record

Dec 30 (Island) It has been fully worth waking up at 3:30 in the morning just to watch Kusal Mendis bat. True the Sri Lankans have been fighting a losing battle in Christchurch, but Mendis has taken batting to a new level. He is the youngest Sri Lankan to score 1000 runs in a calendar year. He is only 23. Towards the end of the Test series against England last month, after Mendis gifted away his wicket by running himself out, there was a sense of disappointment. more..

New Zealand seal series with mammoth victory over Sri Lanka

Dec 30 (CI) New Zealand required only 14 deliveries to wipe out Sri Lanka's tail and claim a 423-run victory in the second Test at Christchurch, by extension winning the series, and moving up the No. 3 in the Test rankings. Angelo Mathews, who retired hurt with hamstring trouble at tea on day four, did not come out to bat, which meant that only three dismissals stood between New Zealand and the series win. more..

'Matt Henry's catch was the key moment'

Dec 30 (CI) If it's cliched to suggest that New Zealand are greater than the sum of their parts, and that their team spirit adds a dynamic dimension to their game, it's because they keep providing examples of their cohesiveness. Take what captain Kane Williamson said was the key moment in New Zealand's victory in the second Test against Sri Lanka, for example. In a game in which two batsmen scored big hundreds, a seventh-wicket stand rescued New Zealand from 64 for 6, more..

Long queues at BIA immigration points

Dec 30 (CT) SL Immigration Officers Association (SLIOA) complains about the difficulties faced by passengers at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) due to the setting up of new passport scanner machines at immigration points at the BIA. President of SLIOA, Aruna Kalugala said immigration clearance activities have slowed down and around 25,000 passengers who daily depart and arrive through the BIA were experiencing long queues at immigration clearance points. more..

Small car taxes likely to fall

Dec 30 (ST) Sri Lanka is mulling to reverse the tax increase on small cars while even mid-sized sedans will become cheaper under a new taxation system following intense pressure and lobbying of motor traders at the end of a political crisis, official sources said. Amidst concerns expressed by Indian automobile manufacturers, the Finance Ministry is likely to bring down small car duties back to what they were more..

SL fiscal data delayed amid political crisis

Dec 30 (EN) Sri Lanka's fiscal data releases have been delayed following a political crisis, which derailed a budget which is usually presented to parliament in November. Under SL's fiscal management responsibility law a Fiscal Management Report is published covering borrowings, spending, revenues, deviations from original plans and also interim data on state enterprises. The report usually comes out shortly before the budget. more..

Northern floods and an urgent task at hand

Dec 30 (Hindu) The recent flash floods in Sri Lanka caught people of the Northern Province unawares. Many in the Tamil-majority area, across Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna, were yet to fully recover from the harsh drought over the past few years when the unexpected, heavy showers ravaged their villages. According to data provided by the Disaster Management Centre on Saturday, nearly 1,25,000 persons from 40,000 families have been affected over the last week. more..

Video: Ruggerite killed in elevator tragedy

Dec 30 (AD) A 24 year old CR&FC Rugby player had died this morning (29) as a result of a malfunctioning electric elevator at a night club on Navam Mawatha, Colombo 2. The incident which took place at around 1.50 am this morning had also resulted in the injury of two other persons. An electric elevator of a privately-owned night club situated on the Nawam Mawatha, had malfunctioned and crashed down to the basement floor from more..

Ministerial portfolio: Why have I been overlooked: Wijemanne

Dec 30 (DM) UNP Kalutara District MP Lakshman Wijemanne said yesterday said he would take a serious political decision if he was not given a ministerial portfolio. He said it was unfair for UNPers like himself not to be given a ministerial portfolio. “We have never left the party at times of trouble and defended both the party and the leadership and therefore it is unfair not to be given a ministry,” he said. “Ministerial portfolios have been given to some who are junior to me. more..

Pro-democracy public will have fresh battles in 2019: Dullas

Dec 30 (FT) UPFA MP Dullas Alahapperuma rejected PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s remarks in Parliament over media reports and called for media freedom to be protected in SL. “PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s behaviour is something we cannot agree with or condone. His remarks contradict the fundamentals of democracy, the UNP and its leader claim to believe,” he said. According to Alahapperuma, civil society activists had been silent over remarks made by PM in P'ment more..

Despite presidential order to release lands by 31 Dec: Army still holds 14,769 acres

Dec 30 (CT) Despite Prez Sirisena’s directives to the relevant authorities to release lands, in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, to their original owners, before 31 Dec, SL Army still holds a total 14,769 acres. Army has assured that 263.55 acres of lands to be released out of a total 14,769 acres being held. Army was occupying a total of 12,200 acres of State and 2,569 acres of private lands, in both N&E Provinces, as of 25 Nov 2018. more..

Mathews sent for scans after hamstring trouble

Dec 30 (CI) Sri Lanka's chances of saving the Christchurch Test was dealt a major blow after Angelo Mathews pulled up lame late in the second session on day four, with apparent hamstring trouble. Although not out, he did not take the field after tea, and will undergo scans at some point in the day before it is decided whether he can bat again in the match. At first glance, however, the injury appeared fairly serious. Mathews was batting on 14 off 38 balls when more..

USAID partners with the govt to strengthen the judiciary

Dec 30 (ST) SL’s judicial institutions have been weakened by several years of authoritarian governance of the previous regime and the recent political impasse violating the Constitution, legal professionals alleged. Since coming to power in 2015, govt has publicly committed to reforming the justice system and strengthening the rule of law but no action has been taken to accelerate judicial reforms, they said. Under these circumstances, USAID has stepped into assist the Ministry of more..

Mawanella incident: CID probes monetary transactions

Dec 30 (SO) Money transactions among those who vandalised the Buddha statues in the Mawanella police division and any other person or parties affiliated to a political party is being investigated by the CID. “The bank accounts of the suspects and any money transfer are being investigated by the CID,” an officer from the Mawanella police, speaking on the condition of anonymity said yesterday. more..

Flood damage in North yet to be estimated

Dec 30 (CT) The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said they are yet to estimate the damages caused by the heavy floods in the Vanni District last week. Director DMC, Pradeep Kodippili said they are yet to survey the damage and the total cost the State has to bear. He added that the DMC had no external collecting centres for dry rations by which the public could donate, but said they are collecting relief materials in DMC offices in each Divisional Secretariat. more..