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Shiromala: First Adiwasi public representative

Feb 19 (CT) The sound of crunching gravel alerted the evergreens of Henanigala to its latest inhabitants. A silhouette of a cart could be seen appearing from a distance, swaying to an uneven rhythm with a bearded man leading it. A little girl peered out from the cart to take in her surroundings. The place looked nothing like home. This was Shiromala's first impression of Henanigala, where her family resettled. more..

Questions over most peaceful poll as post-poll violence increases

Feb 19 (ST) Incidents of post-election violence have seen a noticeable uptick this week compared to incidents that occurred before the Feb 10 LG Elections. The period leading up to the election had widely been described as the most peaceful in living memory. No major incidents were reported on election day either. Lack of violence was attributed to the new electoral system and police taking a far more proactive role towards more..

Bellanwila Thera was moved from CSGTH against medical advice

Feb 19 (CT) The late Bellanwilla Wimalarathana Thera was removed from the Colombo South General Teaching Hospital (CSGTH) in Kalubowila against medical advice, prompting calls for a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to his death, it was revealed this week. Thera was in a stable condition and conscious at the time close relatives and temple officials decided to transfer him to a nearby more..

Number of female members to LG bodies: Parties to be notified this week

Feb 19 (DN) The number of female members elected to Local Govt bodies from each party will be counted and notified to the respective parties within this week, Additional Commissioner of Election M. M. Mohamed said. “Although March 6 is the date for constituting Local Govt Institutions, there is a possibility of the date being postponed,” Mohamed said. Additional Election Commissioner said the General Secretaries of more..

Warnasinghe defends UNPers

Feb 19 (Island) SLPP candidates and their supporters were systematically attacking and intimidating UNP supporters and state officials, JHU Media Spokesperson Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe alleged adding that UNP MPs should go to their electorates immediately to protect them. "We have received a significant amount of complaints of attacks and intimidation on not only UNPers but also on state officials more..

President can remove PM if required: GL

Feb 19 (DM) President Sirisena has the sole power to remove PM as the Constitution outlined the provision as to how a President could remove a PM, SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris said today. He said the constitution envisaged that the PM shall continue to hold office throughout the period during which the Cabinet of Ministers continues to function, and added as there seemed to be neither a govt nor a cabinet right now, more..

All UNP MPs sign a letter pedging support to RW to continue as PM

Feb 19 (AM) All members of the UNP Parliamentary group signed a letter this morning at the party headquarters Sirikotha pledging support to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to continue in his position. They were invited for a luncheon meeting at the UNP headquarters. The meeting was convened amid speculations that a handful of UNP MPs had signed a letter supporting Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva's bid to become the PM. more..

Video: Parliament to debate current political situation

Feb 19 (AD) The Parliament will debate the country’s current political situation today, in an attempt to quell the political uncertainty after a local council poll in which the two main ruling parties were defeated. Party leaders decided to hold a three-hour debate from 4pm today following a request made by the JO. Parliament was adjourned for 15 minutes earlier for a party leaders’ meeting after a request was made by MP Dinesh Gunawardane more..

Country First!

Feb 19 (CT) As the outcome of LG polls is creating a tremor in the Unity Govt, Governor of CB, Indrajit Coomaraswamy has issued a warning that if the present crisis situation continues, country's economy will be in peril with foreign investors rethinking their endeavours to invest in the Island. Several political and economic think tanks as well as high profile spiritual leaders have also alerted President & PM to act wisely to prevent the Govt destabilizing in the best interest of the country. more..

ime is running out for Sri Lanka

Feb 19 (FT) CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy, while announcing the Bank’s monetary policy stance for the next two months, is reported to have emphasised on the need for a quick resolution of the ongoing political stalemate in the country. Coomaraswamy, according to reports, has rung “an alarm bell over SL’s political leaders calling for a quick end to the political standoff triggered by the LG poll results before it affected growth, warning there was no scope for loosening fiscal policy”. more..

Analysing the legal aspects of this Political country

One more batch leaves for UN assignment in Lebanon

Feb 19 (MoD) The first batch of Sri Lanka Army's 12th Force Protection Company (FPC) for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) left the country for their mission on Sunday (18th). The first advance party of the FPC contingent includes two Officers and fourteen Other Rank personnel. Sri Lanka's 150-strong Army contingent is made up of 10 Officers and 140 Other Rank personnel drawn from 13 Regiments. It will serve in the UNIFIL for one year. more..

Telecom minister's home district has worst connectivity

Feb 19 (EN) Badulla, the home district of telecom minister Harin Fernando is trailing telephone connectivity, after former war-torn areas in the north and east saw strong gains in recent years. The most recent Household Income and Expenditure Survey of the statistics office said 17.1% of households in Badulla district did not have any kind of telephone, down slightly from 17.5% in the 2012/2013 survey. Amparai which had 26.3% of household without any type of phone had improved to 9.1%. more..

Political uncertainty persists as MPs play cards close to chests

Feb 19 (CT) More than a week after the voters inflicted a shock defeat on the ruling UNP-SLFP coalition at LG polls there are no signs of the crisis in governance being resolved. While it is clear that the movers and shakers of the SLFP and UNP, who contested the election separately, are lobbying MPs of all parties feverishly to secure a majority in Parliament, majority of MPs are tight-lipped about their plans, again an indication of uncertainty. more..

Sri Lankan housemaid kills herself

Feb 19 (AN) A Sri Lankan housemaid committed suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling of her room using a rope inside her sponsor’s house in Rabya area, says Al-Seyassah. According to security sources, when the Operations Room of Ministry of Interior received information from the sponsor about the incident, security men and paramedics rushed to the location and found the corpse of the housemaid dangling from the ceiling of her room with a noose around her neck. more..

MR: What is this govt doing?

Feb 19 (Island) A week had elapsed since LG elections, but there was still a great deal of political instability which had left people wandering what the rulers were doing, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa said. He said: "I don’t know whether there is a govt or not. The former President said there was something wrong with the manner in which the LG election Act had been passed and the economy was in jeopardy. "Govt has apparently told local councilors to work without pay and more..

International trade expert says signing FTAs won’t help revive SL’s export sector

Feb 19 (FT) A top int'l trade expert was rather sceptical about the overall benefit that free trade agreements (FTAs) could boost SL exports but insisted it could be complementary provided the country had the capacity to produce products that were competitive enough to meet demand and request standards in respective markets. Reiterating that the recently signed FTA with Singapore was not a game changer, she pointed out that if the Govt more..

Musthapha says LG polls laws cannot be amended retrospectively

Feb 19 (Island) Minister Faiszer Musthapha has, in a letter to the Election Commission, said that the local govt election laws can’t be changed with retrospective effect to be applicable the Feb 10 polls and any amendments thereto will apply to future polls. "The Election Commission has declared that the LG Elections (Amendment) Act, No. 16 Of 2017 needs to be changed to solve the issues arising from the 25% female quota. When the Act was amended the views of the Commission more..

Katchatheevu Church Feast: Sinhala mass for the first time: 13,000 to land on island

Feb 19 (CT) Some 5,000 Indian pilgrims along with 8,000 locals are due to land on the Katchatheevu Island on Friday (23) to celebrate the annual St. Anthony's Feast, a senior naval official said. The pilgrims, mainly from South India will be escorted to the Island from the IMBL after a head count, Naval Spokesman Cmdr. Dinesh Bandara said. For the first time at this traditional event a high mass will also be conducted in the Sinhala language along with Tamil, he said. more..

Act against COPE MPs who contacted Aloysius: JO

Feb 19 (NR) The JO says the Speaker of House should take action against members of the COPE Committee who had alleged contacts with the owner of Perpetual Treasuries Arjun Aloysius while the investigations were underway. Speaking in Parliament MP Tharaka Balasuriya accused the govt of disregarding several proposals forwarded by the members representing the JO. MP claimed members of the COPE committee more..

Is growing Chinese presence in Sri Lanka a cause of worry for India?

Feb 19 (IANS) My wife and I recently visited Sri Lanka on a holiday with friends. For both of us, it was the first visit after almost 15 years. At that time, the idyllic island country was caught up in a deadly civil war that claimed countless lives and devastated the economy. When Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed power as the Sri Lankan President, he made the elimination of the Tamil Tigers his foremost objective. After 30 months of relentless assaults, the 26-year-old civil war finally ended more..

Attempts to buy allegiance of elected LG members?

Feb 19 (AD) Following the recently concluded LG Election, the Hatton Dickoya UC is facing a predicament where no single party is able to establish power to govern the institution. The results of the election saw the UNP win 7 seats, CWC win 6 seats and the SLPP and CP secured 2 and 1 bonus seat respectively. Under this situation, none of the parties are able to establish power alone and as a result of this certain elected members of the LG body have been approached by individuals more..

Life in the Bambalapitiya of the 60s & 70s

Feb 19 (Roar) Bambalapitiya, in the heart of downtown Colombo, is arguably one of the most exciting places to be in the city, with shopping malls, bookshops, restaurants, and hotels lining its streets. The name is still quite intriguing as no one has been able to convincingly trace its origins. Whether it took its name from the Bambalosi or shaddocks that may have grown here in abundance, or that pungent salted fish more..

Suspend ETCA negotiations: PNF

Feb 19 (NR) Professionals’ National Front has called for the suspension of negotiations on the Indo-Lanka Economic and Technical Co-operation Agreement. In a letter to President Sirisena, the Professionals’ National Front called for the 8th round of ETCA talks scheduled to get underway in New Delhi with the participation of a group of 19 representatives. Front stressed that it observed that the Prez severely criticized the economic policy of the govt during the recently concluded LG Election campaign. more..

Youth representatives of Nippon Maru ship meet President

Feb 19 (PSL) Youth representatives of the Nippon Maru ship met President Maithripala Sirisena today (15) at the presidential secretariat. Nippon Maru youth programme is to be held with the presence of 142 youth of 11 countries in Sri Lanka, Japan and India and SL with diplomatic status. Nippon Maru youth programme, organized by the Cabinet Office in Japan, commenced its journey on last January 29 and the ship anchored in India on 11th February and after a stay of 3 days more..

Civil society orgs demand referendum: Want Executive Presidency abolished

Feb 19 (CT) Civil Society Movements are forcing the Govt to immediately hold a referendum for the abolishment of the Executive Presidency, saying that the main reason for the political crisis, which has arisen subsequent to the LG elections, is the behaviour of the Executive President. Purawesi Balaya and The National Movement for a Just Society, which provided strong support to bring this Govt to power in 2015, more..

Record blood donations from Kattankudy

Feb 19 (Island) Batticaloa District is considered the worst blood donor community in the country. Director of the National Blood Transfusion Services Dr Rukshan Bellana took a team to the province and inspected the blood centres mainly at the Batticaloa Teaching Hospital, Kattankudi Base Hospital and Kaluwanchikudi Base Hospital within the past three days. Speaking to the people and community and religious leaders Dr Bellana emphasised the importance of donating blood as more..

'MS has no right to remain SLFP Chairman'

Feb 19 (NR) Leader of the NFF MP Wimal Weerawansa says President Maithripala Sirisena does not have the ethical right to remain as the Chairman of the SLFP following the results of the 2018 LG Election. Speaking in Parliament during the adjournment debate on the current political situation in the country, MP said the defeated parties are attempting to cover up their defeat through inaccurate arguments. MP Weerawansa said the President himself stated the UNP destroyed more..

Sri Lanka political crisis ends as President’s party fails

Feb 19 (EN) President Sirisena’s party on Monday aborted its move to topple PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, but vowed to press for a major reform of the unity govt’s cabinet. Sirisena’s spokesman and minister S.B. Dissanayake said SLFP and its UPFA decided to remain in the govt and end the uncertainty over the future of their coalition. The humiliating defeat for Wickremesinghe’s UNP at the LG elections triggered calls for his resignation although Sirisena’s more..

President urges UPFA to wait for SC’s opinion before quitting

Feb 19 (AD) President Sirisena has requested the UPFA members in the govt not to quit the National Govt, until the Supreme Court conveys its opinion, as it could destabilize the country, MP Thilanga Sumathipala said. SLFP Spokesman was delivering a statement during the Parliament debate today, in reference to a statement he made to the media last night after talks held with the President. Sumathipala told media last night that the SLFP has decided to leave the National Govt and more..

Donation of necklace to Temple of the Tooth: Principal warned CP Edu Minister

Feb 19 (CT) Education Officers in Kandy have warned a principal of a popular girls' school, who donated a gold necklace worth Rs 650,000 to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. The necklace in question had allegedly been purchased with funds that had been collected from students. Central Province Education Ministry Officers told Ceylon Today that the principal had not received consent from their office, prior to collecting funds from the students. more..

Video: SLFP MPs will remain in govt backing President: SB

Feb 19 (DM) The SLFP members of the Unity Govt would continue to remain in it, backing SLFP Chairman and President Sirisena, Minister S.B. Dissanayake today said. However, he said they would continue to push for drastic changes in the govt including changes in portfolios. “Our objective of appointing one of our SLFP members as the PM remains the same. These changes should neither be delayed nor hurried,” more..

Sinking feeling with a floundering coalition

Feb 20 (CT) The so-called Unity Govt myth is finally exposed. It was an impossible coalition to begin with. To be sure, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s model of a Lichchavi style consensual govt where diverse parties with diverse interests can meet together is only good in concept. In the ancient Indian polity this was possible. Not in the contemporary Sri Lankan context. The theoretical model of a consensual govt is predicated on the prevalence of common set of core values of a fundamental nature. more..

Lessons taught but will they be learnt

Feb 20 (ST) If one might be permitted to adapt Shakespeare’s word this was the winter of the peoples’ discontent made a hopeful spring by a political shock. Much has been said by many about the recent local govt elections. Some have claimed to be the proud prognosticators of exclusive predictions. As the hours go by with no firm decisions announced as to who will do what and when and even more attractive wagers offered at betting houses where asses put their money more..

Dengue: What really is the long lasting solution?

Feb 20 (SO) So, it has finally been announced: the discovery of a once and for all solution to our dismal battle against the tiny vector responsible for carrying the deadly disease across the country irrespective of age, class or ethnic barriers. On Thursday, Feb 8, the media reported the launching of a self sustaining program that helps provide long term protection for communities from dengue, which is set to be rolled out following more..

Economic implications of the LG elections: New challenges

Feb 20 (ST) Never before has a LG election had as much implications for the economy as that of Feb 10th. The run up to the election and the defeat of the two parties forming the govt have resulted in political uncertainty, political instability and erosion of confidence in the coalition govt. These would deter investment, weaken the capacity of the govt to take bold and essential decisions needed for economic stability and growth. The opposition’s obstructionist activities may escalate and cripple economy. more..

The Maharagama saga: Is democracy in serious trouble?

Feb 20 (CT) Churchill would have gleefully nodded his head followed by a puff of his cigar had he seen the results of the Maharagama electorate after the LG election on Feb 10, 2018. Democracy is (supposedly) the supreme product of mankind in governing a civilized community, upholding justice, equality and freedom. It is the mode of governance by the people via elected representatives. What Churchill points out is that the annihilation of the system is due to the very component, more..

Colombo’s construction frenzy: Lack of policies and awareness a major issue

Feb 20 (CT) Over the last few years, SL's commercial capital has seen a tremendous boost in the construction sector thanks to various projects implemented especially by the previous govt. While it has changed the face and skyline of Colombo, the rapid increase in multi-storeyed buildings have raised questions as to whether they are built following proper procedure. During the past few months, several instances of construction more..

Sri Lanka’s gradual return to Normalcy

Feb 20 (GV) The local govt election of 10 Feb 2018 marked a triumphant return of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Though the polls were meant to elect representatives for local govt bodies (the lowest tier of govt), the sweeping victory of the brand new party he endorsed and gave his direct blessings to – the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) – has revived the possibility of Mr. Rajapaksa’s return to political leadership in the country, if not de jure at least de facto. more..

A plea for sanity in a time of uncertainty

Feb 20 (GV) The on-going political crisis following the LG elections of Feb 10 raises an issue about the constitutional and political propriety of presidential action. It revolves around the reported activities of President Maithripala Sirisena aimed at finding an immediate replacement for Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister. Let us consider the constitutional and political aspects of the issue separately. First a brief account of circumstances in which the issue has surfaced. more..