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Special high courts to try 60 offences; speedy trials

Feb 12 (ST) Permanent High Court at Bar, to be set up shortly, will be empowered to try, hear and determine more than 60 offences, including those committed under the Foreign Exchange Act, Registered Stocks and Securities Ordinance and the Local Treasury Bills Act. The special High Court will also try offences such as money laundering and those related to bribery of judicial offers and MPs, acceptance of more..

Russia in strong comeback to Colombo Tea Auction

Feb 12 (CT) Russia has returned to the Colombo Tea Auction with a vengeance after 18 January and has been the mainstay of Sri Lanka's Tea exports. Russia has come out very strongly and account for over 40% of the total tea exports, Vice Chairman of the Tea Exports Association, Sanjaya Herath said. They are continuing with their strong buying spree, but have also expressed concern about high prices that Colombo Tea Auction more..

Increasing dangers of rail travel

Feb 12 (CT) Trains have now become the most popular option for most commuters who want to get away from the insane traffic congestion. At times, even the slowest train would take you to your destination faster than the fastest car on the road. While it is the fastest mode of domestic transport, it has also become a dangerous one due to many reasons. In SL, commuters who travel by train risk their lives on a daily basis more..

President, PM urged to step down

Feb 12 (Island) SLPP/JO demanded that Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition give up parliamentary power to pave the way for a new administration in the wake of debilitating defeat they had suffered at countrywide local govt poll on Feb. 10. JO parliamentary group leader and MP Dinesh Gunawardena, SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris, MP Dullas Alahapperuma, MP Udaya Gammanpila, MP Wimal Weerawansa, MP Pavitradevi more..

Door opens for women to run for office. But will they be allowed in?

Feb 12 (NYT) Madhu Hettiarachchi has no time right now for the brain surgery her doctors have recommended. She’s busy trying to take advantage of an unprecedented chance to get women elected in Sri Lanka. After more than a generation of struggle by women’s rights activists, Sri Lanka’s patriarchal political scheme has, reluctantly, opened up a bit to require that 25% of candidates in local elections be women. more..

Bid to introduce new Constitution suffers irrevocable setback: SLPP

Feb 12 (Island) SLPP Chairman and top JO spokesman Prof. G.L. Peiris said that in the wake of the heavy defeat suffered by the ruling coalition at the first countrywide election since 2015 presidential and parliamentary polls, Sirisena-Wickremesinghe regime could no longer rush through with the controversial constitution making process as planned. He said the govt lacked wherewithal to sustain that grandiose project. more..

Election losses test Sri Lanka’s leader, and the country’s direction

Feb 12 (NYT) Local elections across Sri Lanka on Saturday were supposed to be about small issues, like installing street lighting for some neighborhoods and improving garbage sweeping in others. But the country’s first post-war national govt has stagnated, with the governing coalition partners at each other’s throats. Suddenly, the local vote has become a referendum on the national govt’s performance. more..

President likely to allow disappointed SLFP ministers to leave govt

Feb 12 (AM) President Maithripala Sirisena is likely to allow SLFP Ministers dissatisfied with the result of the LG election to resign from their ministerial portfolios. It is also learnt that about 10 senior Cabinet ministers representing the SLFP have informed the President that the party should not continue in the unity govt. "Election results clearly indicate that the decision to accept ministerial positions in the govt has cost us dearly. more..

Mahinda’s SLPP wins near landslide victory

Feb 12 (CT) Saturday's LG elections had many firsts. A brand new party, the SLPP led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, won a near landslide victory. The UNP led by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe came second and the country's other major party or alliance the SLFP/UPFA led by President Maithripala Sirisena, came, a poor third. It was the biggest ever electoral exercise held in Sri Lanka, with 15.8 million registered voters electing 8,200 Councillors to 340 local authorities. more..

Iran & SL to expand mutual cooperation

Feb 12 (GDI) Iran and Sri Lanka have signed documents to expand cooperation in various areas, including trade and economy. The documents were signed during a two-day visit of an Iranian delegation to Colombo with Sri Lankan officials. The delegation which was headed by the Iranian Energy Ministry official Hamid Reza Tashaoei discussed ways for expanding cooperation with his host officials and explored impediments on the way of implementing the existing agreements. more..

පාලකයින්ට පාඩම් කියා දුන් පළත් පාලන ඡන්දය

UK’s all party parliamentary group for Tamils responds to Navin D.’s belligerence

Feb 12 (CT) Joan Ryan and Siobhain McDonagh have written to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson in response to what they claim was defamatory correspondence received from Navin Dissanayake, with regard to the controversy surrounding SL’s Minister Counsellor (Defence) Brigadier Priyanka Fernando. Two MPs, while taking objection to Dissanayake’s claims and his belligerent tone which they believe is deeply disrespectful towards more..

University ragging: Destroying the creativity of a generation

Feb 12 (FT) Those who can secure admission to a state university in Sri Lanka consider themselves a lucky lot. That is because the state university system has a few places far short of the number that qualifies for admission at the GCE (A/L) Exam. According to the official data, the lucky lot is 1 to 6. The large majority of others are in a quandary as to what they should do to have their aspirations for higher education fulfilled. A few of the rest have to find educational opportunities more..

Will do what it takes to cleanup, strengthen UNP: Harsha

Feb 12 (DM) Commenting on LG election results, UNP Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva assured that he will do what it takes to cleanup and strengthen the UNP to deliver on their promises. In a Facebook post, he thanked everyone in Kotte and across the country who voted for the UNP understanding that they are trying to deliver under difficult circumstances. “To them, let me assure you that I will do what it takes to more..

Namal’s travel ban temporarily lifted

Feb 12 (DM) The Fort Magistrate’s Court today permitted Namal Rajapaksa to travel abroad. He was previously not allowed to do so because of the magisterial inquiry into the alleged misappropriation of funds in the Krish deal. Permission was granted on the basis of a request he had made to attend the Commonwealth parliamentary conference and two youth conferences in Nepal and Russia. Mr. Rajapaksa has been allowed to be away from February 24 to May 18. more..

'Mandate received by govt has strengthened'

Feb 12 (NR) Minister Rajitha Senaratne says the people’s mandate received by the good governance govt on the 8th of Jan 2015 has been further strengthened through the LG Election. Accordingly, he said a change of the PM or the resignation of the govt is unnecessary. SLPP obtained 45% of the all-island cumulative based on the total valid votes. He stressed that Former Prez Rajapaksa received a lower percentage of votes than the percentage he received at Prez Election in 2015. more..

මැතිවරණයෙන් මිනිස්සු මෛත්රීට දීපු පණිවිඩය

Court allows CID to obtain statements from Aloysius, Palisena

Feb 12 (AD) Colombo Fort Magistrate granted permission to CID to obtain statements from Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) beneficiary owner Arjun Aloysius and its CEO Kasun Palisena who are currently under remand custody. Court issued a written order to the Prisons Superintendent asking him to allow the CID to record the statements from Feb 13, 14, 15. Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne made this order after considering the request made by CID from Court, more..

Civil societies & President to hold special discussion

Feb 12 (NR) Representatives of civil societies and President Maithripala Sirisena are scheduled to hold a special discussion today. Representative of the Puravasi Balaya, Gamini Viyangoda said the discussion is expected to focus on the result of the 2018 Local Authority Election. Meanwhile, Co-Convenor of the Puravasi Balaya Organisation venerable Dambara Amila thera said the mechanism to punish perpetrators should be fast-tracked by establishing a special court system. more..

Vass Gunawardena sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment

Feb 12 (NR) Former Senior DIG Vass Gunawardena has been sentenced to a five year rigorous imprisonment over levelling death threats and verbally assaulting former ASP Shani Abeysekera in 2013. Order was issued by Colombo High Court Judge Gihan Kulathunga. The suspect was also fined 25,000 rupees in addition to the prison term. Meanwhile the Judge also ordered the extension of the imprisonment by one year if more..

Vasu files another case against shipping industry monopolisation

Feb 12 (DM) Court of Appeal last week issued notices on Ocean Network Express (O.N.E) and alleged partners on trade monopolisation and others returnable for March 19. The bench comprised Justices Padman Surasena (President/CA) and Shiran Gooneratne. MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara, the whistle-blower in this case, filed Writ petition citing Director General of Merchant Shipping, Ports & Shipping Minister, Finance & Mass Media Minister, Hayleys Advants Ltd, McLarens Investments more..

Sri Lanka Tourism holds photography contest to promote destination

Feb 12 (DM) Sri Lanka Tourism collaborated with Cinnamon Hotels to encourage local and foreign photographers to highlight their talent and capture unique locations of SL, to fascinate the world, by providing prize money to winners of the Cinnamon Photography Contest 2017. Cinnamon Photography Contest, which was initiated in 2016 at the World Travel Market, (WTM) London, highlighted more than 3000 images of Sri Lanka, photographed with excellent skill and patience. more..

මැතිවරණය ජවිපෙට දීපු පණිවිඩය

Landmark Cooperation Agreement signed with Czech Republic

Feb 12 (GDI) SL and Czech Republic signed a landmark agreement on Mutual Cooperation aiming to formulate and implement a framework of economic engagement through the establishment of a joint committee to promote bilateral trade, investment and economic relations. Minister Malik Samarawickrama plans to formulate the action framework under this Agreement. Special emphasis will be given to encourage investment cooperation in economic sectors through non-traditional more..

First sitting of LG bodies on March 2

Feb 12 (DN) First sitting of new Local Govt Authorities will be held on March 2, Provincial Councils and Local Govt Ministry Secretary Kamal Pathmasiri said. He said a fresh Gazette would be issued in this regard either today or tomorrow. He said this decision was arrived at a discussion with EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya last week. “Earlier the date for the first sitting had been fixed as Feb 15. However, holding the first sitting on this date is practically impossible as more..

PM to form UNP Govt

Feb 12 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe obtained the consent of President Maithripala Sirisena to form a UNP govt in place of the current unity govt between the UNP and the SLFP, a source close to the UNP said. PM met the President in the wake of the Feb 10 local council elections which saw the defeat of both the UNP and the SLFP. Sources close to the PM said that the President had informed PM Wickremesinghe to form a govt more..

Video: Violating election laws: 85 candidates among those arrested

Feb 12 (DM) Some 85 candidates were arrested on charges of violating election laws during the LG elections, Police Media Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said. He said no serious offenses were reported during campaigning and a peaceful election was conducted because the Elections Commission strictly upheld the law, the assistance of the media and the Police maintaining law and order without fear or favour. 692 complaints were received during the pre-election period with 138 suspects more..

President under pressure to give up SLFP leadership: But MR doesn't want it

Feb 12 (AM) President Maithripala Sirisena, who led a disastrous election campaign at the LG polls, has now come under pressure to step down from the SLFP leadership. While some of the SLFP ministers representing the Cabinet negotiating with the UNP, some are holding talks with the Joint Opposition to work together in Parliament. Some party seniors who threw their weight behind President Sirisena have suggested that the SLFP should leave the govt and sit in the opposition. more..

පොහොට්ටුවට, මහින්දට අපේ සුභපැතුම්

Initial crossover talks fruitful: PM to show majority in house: All set for a UNF govt

Feb 12 (AM) The discussions to form a United National Front govt, with the support of over 10 SLFP Cabinet ministers, are successful, our sources within the Temple Trees conformed. The defection of SLFP ministers to the UNP will allow PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to show a simple majority in the House. "The initial discussions have been successful. They have agreed to join the United National Front, led by the UNP," a highly placed UNP source said. more..

LG Election was a wake up call: Mangala

Feb 12 (NR) Minister Mangala Samaraweera says 2018 LG Election is a timely wake up call for the govt. He said the public has communicated that govt has not done enough to ensure election promises made during the 2015 Presidential and General Elections. Minister stressed the message issued by the public has sunk deep into the UNP and therefore the party is committed to take drastic measures to fulfil the promises made three years ago and to maintain the public trust. more..

SLFP heading towards natural death?

Feb 12 (AM) Several Cabinet Ministers representing the SLFP have expressed willingness to join the UNP, sources within the UNP confirmed. This comes in the wake of a landslide defeat suffered by SLFP at the LG polls. It is learnt that these Ministers are not willing to join the SLPP, mainly due to personal reasons. "They have opened up channels of communication. Some of them were previously in UNP. So, they can come back more..

What went wrong?

Feb 13 (CT) On the 8th of Jan 2015, fifty one percent of Sri Lankans voted for the vision put forth to them by our unity candidate Maithripala Sirisena: that the time for dictatorship in our country was over, and that those committed to re-establishing democracy in Sri Lanka must unite to ensure that govt serves all of the people, and not a single family and their loyal disciples. On that day, the UNP, several stalwarts of SLFP, JVP, SLMC, TNA, DPF, and all together over 30 political more..

Mahinda: As Messiah?

Feb 13 (CT) Mahinda has won. Statics of 44.46% is never an indicator of the density of the people’s political will. Now he is even more powerful than in post January 2015. Because in a post state world order in a country that tries to negotiate postwar-ontological anxieties no policy is valid. No project is delivering. From Trump to Markel to Modi it is a person who people are willing to look up to. Liberal political theorists may still disagree in their lofty analysis over a glass of wine. more..

The nine provincial flags of Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (Roar) At the recent celebrations of SL’s 70th Independence Day, the national flag was, in all its vibrant colour, hoisted once again. By now, most of us would be familiar with the colours and motifs on the flag, each representing the different religious and ethnic groups in the country. What we’re probably less familiar with, however, are the flags representing each SL province. Here’s a look at the nine flags of the nine provinces more..

Another faux pas and bow to hypocrisy

Feb 13 (ST) Who ordered the suspension of Brigadier Priyanka Fernando from his post at the SL High Commission in London last week? The order came from the foreign ministry which under the yahapalanaya govt has often acted in strange ways. Did the foreign ministry act on its own volition or did a political hand move expeditiously in this matter adding to the diplomatic mess created in the last three years? Without a political shove, the ministry’s officialdom would have hesitated to take more..

Dual power and the Mahinda Magic

Feb 13 (Island) Last year, 2017, the Govt and Opposition separately commemorated the centenary of the Russian revolution --actually of twin revolutions, liberal and socialist, of Feb and Oct 1917. In an interesting twist, the result of the LG election of Feb 10th 2018 takes us back to a situation best described by a term first used during the Russian Revolution of 1917: Dual Power. Parliament (Duma) was held by the liberal govt but the elections to parallel bodies, the Soviets, more..

Powered by their iron will

Feb 13 (ST) There’s hardly a day when the Galle Face Green isn’t peppered with families, power walkers and the smell of isso wade. But if you stopped by the Green over these last two months on a lazy Sunday morning, you would see energetic crowds lining the shoreline, ready to embrace the bracing 6 a.m. sea and 1.9 km swim they exuberantly take on in preparation for Ironman 70.3 Colombo, to be held later this month. more..

Sir D. Baron Jayatilaka

Feb 13 (DN) Tomorrow marks the 150th birth anniversary of one of Lanka’s greatest sons’, Sir Don Baron Jayatilaka, (Sir D.B). He was a true son of the soil, born on Feb 13, 1868, in a remote village in Waragoda, Kelaniya. He was the eldest son of Don Daniel Jayatilaka and Dona Elisa Jayatilaka, a highly respected noble Buddhist family in Kelaniya. His primary education at the Vidyalankara Pirivena, inculcated in him true Buddhist values, under the tutelage of scholarly monks, more..

Where from here after the LG polls?

Feb 13 (Island) Grant it to Basil Rajapaksa’s political acumen and electoral organisation. At last count, his pre-poll prediction of Mahinda R-led SLPP would bag 225-250 LG institutions across the nation has come closer to the truth. The last time round, his calculations were equally correct in that he predicted that for incumbent Mahinda to win the presidential polls in Jan 2015, they would require a minimum of 25-30% of the Tamil and Muslim votes. Mahinda did not get them, and lost. more..