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Man of the Hour

Oct 28 (SO) The swearing-in of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new Prime Minister may have taken many by surprise, but it was the inevitable result of a sequence of events that led President Maithripala Sirisena to take drastic action. Keen political observers knew that this was the only course of action available to the President that could literally save the nation from the economic and other calamities precipitated by the UNP. It has since been argued by the outgoing PM Ranil more..

Two Prime Ministers

Oct 28 (CT) The saying, In politics there are no permanent friends or enemies only permanent interests, is applicable to SL. This is in the backdrop of SLFP/UPFA Leader President Maithripala Sirisena sacking UNP/UNF Leader and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday. Sirisena reappointed his former bête noire at least up to the last presidential poll held on 8 Jan, 2015, former SLFP/UPFA Leader and President Rajapaksa whom he defeated, as the new Premier, immediately after that. more..

Defining challenges for the proposed East Container Terminal

Oct 28 (SO) The Port of Colombo has been ranked as the world’s fastest growing port among the top 30 container ports for the first half of 2018. This is a positive sign of the development of the shipping and ports industry of the country where Sri Lanka covers a huge portion of its annual dollar requirement. In the wake of these positive signs it is important defining the challenges for the proposed East Container Terminal (ECT). more..

Yahapalanaya on the rocks

Oct 28 (ST) So, Sri Lankareplaced the tourist promotion slogan Land Like No Other this week. Nothing should surprise anyone in Sri Lanka’s politics, but late Friday evening’s melodramatic happenings at the President’s House must rank high on the ratings. Sri Lanka now has one President and two Prime Ministers. Both President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe may have had a sense of déjà vuon Friday. This was second time around, in different ways for both. more..

Constitutional coup

Oct 28 (Island) Friday night’s stunning developments that caught not just the country but the UNP faction of the ruling cabal by surprise suggests that Sri Lanka, at the time of writing, is confronted by a seemingly anarchic situation of two prime ministers claiming office. Former President Rajapaksa was sworn as prime minister by President Sirisena at his Paget Road official residence on Friday evening and Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe formally informed by letter that he was replaced. more..

'Tamils game to face challenges'

Oct 28 (CT) Former Northern Province Chief Minister, C. V Wigneswaran who launched the new Political Party TMK last week says there is no rift between him and TNPF Leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam as they are birds of the same feather. Q: What is the English Translation of the TMK? A: We prefer to use English acronym for the Party - the Thamizh Makkal Kootanii (TMK). The two 'I's at the end denote two of our basic more..

Await: Mahinda magic!

Oct 28 (ST) My dear Mahinda maama, I thought I must write to you, when I heard that you had been sworn in by Maithri as PM. News came as a surprise to most of us in Paradise, though we knew something was afoot when both of you began meeting behind closed doors a few weeks ago — and then denying that you had met. We are not the only ones who are confused because the Green Man is saying that he is still the PM and that he cannot be removed without a vote of no- more..

Ocean of Uncertainty

Oct 28 (ST) An Ocean of Uncertainty! This was not a term coined by me to explain the state of affairs in a land that got a welcome nod from Lonely Planet as the best place in the world to visit but one given by Arthika, my nonsensical economist friend, during a conversation earlier in the week. We were discussing anything and everything under the weather when he came up with this beauty; not bad for a guy who eternally talks gibberish on economics. more..

JVP press conference

MR’s sudden appointment as PM

Oct 28 (Island) Sri Lankan politics is full of surprises and on Friday came the biggest surprise of our lifetimes – Mahinda Rajapaksa was suddenly sworn in as PM by President Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe was sent a letter informing him that he has been sacked. Later, the newly sacked Mr. Wickremesinghe summoned a press conference and defiantly claimed that he was still the PM and that this matter will have to be settled in Parliament where he claimed he has the majority. more..

The logic of paying reparations after defeating terrorism

Oct 28 (Island) The Office for Reparations Bill was passed in Parliament on Oct 10, 2018. This was yet another commitment that the newly ousted yahapalana govt had undertaken in UNHRC Resolution 30/1 in October 2015 and it follows the setting of the Office of Missing Persons and passing the Act to make the International Convention against Enforced Disappearances operational in Sri Lanka and other such laws. One cannot but help notice the expeditious manner in which yahapalana govt more..

Let PM demonstrate parliamentary confidence

Oct 28 (CT) There were clear signs that the troubled Yahapalanaya Govt was in serious trouble and was closing in on becoming completely dysfunctional in the ten days or so before the dramatic announcement that the former President Rajapaksa had been sworn in as the new PM by President Maithripala Sirisena, and the incumbent Ranil Wickremesinghe had been sacked. Over the past few days disagreements between more..

When Herath was killed in Sydney

Oct 28 (Island) Quite a few SL journalists representing several publications had toured Australia for the Test series down under in 2012-2013. During the New Year Test in Sydney our respective sports desks woke us up in the middle of the night, some unaware that Sydney was five and half hours ahead of Colombo. It was a bizarre call. We were informed about social media reports that were doing the rounds on a car crash in Sydney involving several SL players and that more..

Selector blunders cost SL another game

Oct 28 (ST) Fickle selection policy was once again in full exhibition as Sri Lanka succumbed to yet another heavy defeat in the one-off T20 international against England here at the R. Premadasa Stadium last night. Chasing 188 to win, SL could muster 157 runs all out, suffer a 30-run defeat as England wrapped up the match in style. The hosts, who had condemned England to their heaviest defeat on Tuesday in the fifth and final ODI match, may have expected to perform a similar feat more..

National Youth Sports Festival: Anjani shatters 24-year-old record

Oct 28 (CT) Despite a rain-affected muddy track in Matara, Long-Jumper Anjani Pulwansa excelled with a 5.96-metre leap to shatter a 24-year-old record on the second day of the National Youth Sports festival, yesterday. Competing in soggy condition, the National Champion shattered the over-20 women’s long-jump record of 5.76 metres, which was earlier set by Nimmi de Soyza, 24-years-ago, in 1994. more..

Higgoda ends round robin campaign with unbeaten record

Oct 28 (ST) Anuruddha Higgoda of Otters AC ended his round robin campaign of the ongoing 66th National Snooker Championship with an unbeaten record when he recorded back to back wins on day three played at the Moors SC billiards table yesterday. Higgoda in the morning session coasted to a convincing four frames to nil win over M. Sherifdeen of Army in the seven frame encounter and then followed it up with another easy win against M.R.M. Razeen of Sea Endless in more..

Is Sri Lanaka doing it the right way?

Oct 28 (SO) With just over 200 days left for the 2019 World Cup, Sri Lanka does not have a stable pair of openers. There were stable openers who laid the foundation brilliantly and batted out the first 15 overs briskly yet steadily by taking a lot of calculated risks. The combo of Jayasuriya and Tharanga in the 2007 World Cup and Dilshan and Tharanga in the 2011 sits right up there. From Jan 1, 2018 until Oct 24, 2018 SL played 17 ODIs, won six, lost 10 and one was washed out due to rain. more..

England easily beat Sri Lanka in one-off T20

Oct 28 (CI) Jason Roy - dropped three times - thwacked 69 off 36, Moeen Ali smote 27 off 11 while the lower-middle order rallied, and England lurched in fits and starts to 187 for 8, which would prove 30 too many for SL. The target was imposing enough by itself, with only one greater total having been successfully chased at Khettarama. But when Joe Denly, playing in his first England international in almost nine years, more..

A gold medal so precious for Hasini

Oct 28 (SO) The gold medal won by Hasini Ambalangodage in the badminton team event at the Youth Olympic Games held in Argentina is by no means an unrecognized achievement. No matter who she represented in the team, that also consisted players from six other countries, the feat should go down as a glorious achievement for SL as well. 18-year-old advanced level student of Visakha Vidyalaya, Hasini was selected by Sri Lanka Badminton and her name was forwarded to more..

Boat Show and Boating Festival SL 2018

Oct 28 (CT) Boat Show and Boating Festival Sri Lanka 2018 is organized by Boat Building Technology Improvement Institute (BTI) and Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), in association with Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade, Ministry of Ports and Shipping and SL Ports Authority at Galle Yacht Marina, Port of Galle 26–28 Oct 2018. Boat Building industry has identified as a leading industry and an emerging export sector more..

Sacked PM given deadline to vacate residence

Oct 28 (AJ) Political opponents of SL's sacked leader Ranil Wickremesinghe have given him a Sunday deadline to vacate the PM's official residence amid a deepening constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka. Wimal Weerawansa, a MP, told reporters on Saturday that Wickremesinghe - who insists his dismissal on Friday was unconstitutional - has until 8am local time on Sunday to leave the house in a dignified manner. more..

Deliberate attempt to stifle investment promotion

Oct 28 (ST) Certain vested interests are conniving against the present regime by rubbishing the Colombo Stock Exchange’s (CSE) recent efforts in the UK to lure foreign investments, insiders say. A high-ranking official in the previous regime has visited certain foreign investors in London to negate the sentiment created by the CSE and the Securities and Exchange Commission-organised road shows in mid-October in the UK. Insiders say that he is known to foreign investors as he had dealt with them more..

Economic analysts stress on policy reforms

Oct 28 (SO) With little over a week to go for the presentation of the 2019 Budget economists, tax experts and analysts say that given the enormous challenges and uncertainties of the economy in the coming year the Govt should not present a comfortable budget until economic improvements with policy reforms take place. Professor of Economics, Uni of Colombo, Sirimal Abeyratne said 2019 Budget will be presented amidst many economic challenges & uncertainties. more..

New Cabinet in two days

Oct 28 (CT) MP representing the JO and various Political Party Leaders, including the SLPP, said that within the next two days a new Cabinet will be appointed under the aegies of newly-appointed PM Mahinda Rajapaksa. MP Wimal Weerawansa said that if the former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has an issue regarding who holds a solid majority to run the country, he can prove that when Parliament’s prorogation is lifted on 16 Nov. more..

Inter Club Cricket Under-23 tournament still in abeyance

Oct 28 (ST) The revival of the scuttled Under (U)-23 tournament still seems to be in abeyance, even though the Premier League Tier ‘A’ tournament will begin as scheduled on Nov 30. When inquired Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Head of Operations Chinthaka Edirimanna said that right now, plans for the U-23 tournament are on hold. He explained, “The tournament is not on our schedule and we have to initially get clearance from the SLC CEO Ashley de Silva, to have the tournament, more..

UNF urges Speaker to summon party leaders’ meeting

Oct 28 (ST) The UNP and its UNF constituent partners wrote yesterday to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya urging him to summon a meeting of party leaders with a view to convening Parliament early as they could prove they had the majority in the House. A spokesman for the Office of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Sunday Times last night that UNP chairman Kabeer Hashim and secretary Akila Kariyawasam had sent the letter to the Speaker saying the ouster of PM more..

Health Ministry offices sealed

Oct 28 (Island) A Presidential Secretariat team accompanied by police officers yesterday sealed the Health Ministry following information that some unidentified persons were attempting to remove certain files from the premises, sources said. An official had informed the President’s office that a group believed to be lackeys of a politician had entered the Ministry and were rummaging through the files. more..

‘Over 20 UNPers to cross over’

Oct 28 (SO) UNP MP Ananda Aluthgamage, who pledged his support to PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, said that more than 20 UNP MPs would join the Govt to support the newly appointed PM. He revealed this at a media briefing. However, the MP said that PM Rajapaksa had asked him not to reveal their names due to security concerns. “A few months ago at the time of the No Confidence Motion against ex-PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, 21 backbenchers of the UNP were ready to vote in favour of the Motion. more..

Shake-up in govt positions: Ranil’s secretary removed

Oct 28 (ST) Top govt positions have begun to change after the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as the PM on Friday. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s secretary Saman Ekanayake, a Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS) officer, was removed by a special gazette notification. Mr. Ekanayake said he was not informed about the removal, but he was made aware after he was told that the Govt Printer’s Department had posted the gazette notification announcing his removal. more..

SLPP loyalists forcibly take over state media institutions

Oct 28 (ST) SLPP loyalists have taken control of most state media institutions after the swearing in of Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM. SLPP union leaders or members at state media institutions, including Lake House, SL Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), ITN and SLBC, were issuing directives while previously appointed staff members in senior positions kept away from work yesterday. SLPP union members moved in swiftly more..

Int’l community invited to support new PM

Oct 28 (SO) Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa invited the international community to support the new PM Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday. Addressing the media after Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the new PM, he said that the international community extended its support to another person after the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime was defeated and they saw what happened in this country thereafter. “So I request request them not to allow the country to deteriorate,” more..

Ranil meets Diplomatic Corp

Oct 28 (CT) United States (US) on seeing the political turmoil in Sri Lanka urged all parties to act in accordance with the Constitution, to refrain from violence, and follow the due process. US State Department tweeted, “We expect the Govt of SL to uphold its Geneva commitments to human rights, reform, accountability, justice, and reconciliation.” Also, the Delegation of the European Union (EU) issued a Media statement, in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission resident in Colombo, more..

President to swear in 30-member Cabinet; address the nation

Oct 28 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena will swear-in a 30 member Cabinet of Ministers tomorrow and address the nation this morning to give details of why he formed a new govt with his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM, as SLPP supporters moved into take control of key state institutions on Friday night and yesterday. Friday evening’s move to appoint a new PM has given rise to a constitutional crisis & been challenged by more..

Video: GL explains how PM was removed and why Parliament was prorogued

Oct 28 (AD) Chairman of the SLPP G.L. Peiris says a legal problem does not exist with regard to the new govt established in the country and that a fictional issue has been deliberately constructed to mislead the public. He stated that there has been a great deal of discussion during the last 12 to 14 hours about the legality of the new govt that has been established in this country. “Now there is no legal issue at all. This is an artificial creation which has no basis or foundation whatsoever,” more..

President says plot linked to Fonseka was game changer

Oct 28 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena said last night that the main reason he decided to form a new govt with PM Mahinda Rajapaksa was the plot to assassinate him. He claimed that the name of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka had surfaced during investigations by the CID, but it was suppressed due to political interference. President was addressing some 95 SLFP and Joint Opposition MPs who have chosen to extend support to the new govt. Also present were UNP MP Ananda Aluthgamage more..

Friday night political bombshell: The breaking point of Yahapalana regime

Oct 28 (ST) A Maithri-Mahinda deal, wrapped up early this week, remained a closely guarded secret. Not even the SLFP MPs who met President Sirisena at his official residence on Friday evening were told what was in store for them. “I want to form a new govt and want to assure you I will look after all of you,” he declared. There are 24 SLFP MPs supporting Sirisena. Those who hold portfolios will retain the same ones, he said and more..

Lousy Parliaments will always resist reform

Oct 28 (Island) How often do we hear the desperate cry: If only we could get some decent people into Parliament! The lamentable fact is that, as long as we have undemocratic political parties of the types that we now have, there are no obvious means by which concerned citizens would be able to influence the central oligarchies of any of these parties to refrain from sponsoring crooked and incompetent persons as candidates for election. Most Sri Lankans who have followed the politics of more..

Prez plunges country into unchartered waters

Oct 28 (Island) The details of the drama that unfolded on Friday night are now well known. In a palpably unconstitutional but politically daring move, President Sirisena had Mahinda Rajapaksa sworn in as the new PM 3 hours before faxing a firing letter to incumbent PM Wickremesinghe. Mr. Sirisena has now done it twice, taking everyone by surprise with no one seeing anything coming. Last time it was Mahinda Rajapaksa who was at the receiving end. This time it is Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

President expresses concern over UN action against Army officer

Oct 28 (ST) A memorandum by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, part of an assurance given to the UNHRC, has triggered many issues. When the matter came up for discussion at last Tuesday’s weekly Cabinet meeting, Prez Sirisena asked why, despite all measures now being taken, an officer of the Sri Lanka Army was being accused of human rights violations. more..

'Sri Lankan crisis and chaos not by chance, but by design'

Oct 28 (Island) Today Sri Lanka is facing its biggest crisis since independence. It is not only an economic crisis, but also both political and social. The state of chaos that is growing has led to expressions of the need for a Hitler and even for the LTTE, to take over in the north, and bring things under control, LSSP leader, Prof. Tissa Vitarana said in a statement last week. In addition to the breakdown of society as a community, more..