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US urges Sri Lanka president to immediately reconvene parliament

Oct 29 (AFP) US State Department called on SL’s president to immediately reconvene parliament to allow representatives there to quell a violent constitutional crisis sparked by the prime minister’s sudden sacking. “We urge all sides to refrain from intimidation and violence,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. “We call on the President, in consultation with the Speaker, to immediately reconvene parliament and allow the democratically elected more..

Country First!

Oct 29 (CT) The unexpected whirlwind change which took place with former President Rajapaksa becoming the newly appointed PM and removing incumbent PM Ranil Wickremesinghe putting the entire country in total surprise. The cold war which existed between President Sirisena and former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe for the past several months had turned into a political tsunami creating uncertainty in the country with President Sirisena proroguing Parliament until 16 Nov. more..

Video: Special message from former PM

Oct 29 (AD) Former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe urges everyone to forget political differences and rally around him to re-establish the democracy in the country to ensure a better future. He mentioned this holding a special media conference in Temple Trees, a short while ago. Stating that the Yahapalana govt protected human rights of everyone, Wickremesinghe says that they provided various relieves to the public and more..

Sri Lanka biz chambers urge early resolution of political crisis

Oct 29 (EN) SL's Chamber of Commerce have called on parties to resolve an ongoing political crisis early though democratically established Institutions, triggered by the sudden appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM. The call came as Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that he feared bloodshed on the streets and it should be resolved in parliament. "The undersigned, representing Chambers of Commerce are concerned that the current political uncertainty will result in many adverse more..

Canada concerned and closely monitoring Sri Lanka political situation

Oct 29 (AD) Canadian High Commissioner to SL and Ambassador to the Maldives, David McKinnon has stated today (29) that Canada is very concerned by the recent events in Sri Lanka and is closely monitoring the situation. He states that respect for the rule of law is a cornerstone of democracy. Canadian High Commissioner urges all parties to uphold Sri Lankan constitution and to refrain from violence. “Govt of SL needs to take concrete steps to meet its commitments to its own people- more..

Arjuna arrested over fatal shooting

Oct 29 (AFP) Police arrested petroleum minister Monday, a day after a man was killed when bodyguards opened fire to rescue him from a group loyal to the country's president. Arjuna Ranatunga, captain of SL's 1996 cricket WC winning side and an ally of ousted PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, was taken in after trade unions accused him of ordering the shooting. Sunday's shooting was the first since Prez Sirisena more..

SL merchandise exports up 3.7% in August

Oct 29 (EN) Sri Lanka’s merchandise export earnings exceeded a billion US dollars for the third straight month in August 2018, rising 3.7% to US$ 1,037 million from a year ago. Growth was mainly driven by higher performance in industrial exports while agricultural and mineral exports declined. Spending on merchandise imports increased by 1.6% to US$ 1,887 million in August 2018 over the same period, mainly due to the high expenditure on fuel and vehicle imports. more..

Civil Society and Academics alarmed by Rajapaksa appointment as PM

Oct 29 (CT) A group of civil society activists and academics have stated that they are alarmed by President Maithripala Sirisena’s move to appoint former President Rajapaksa as the PM without the support of a Parliamentary majority. Issuing a statement, the group has stressed the need for all parties to uphold constitutional provisions, rule of law and democratic processes and bring the current constitutional crisis to an end. The full statement issued by the group is as follows: more..

නාමල් දැන් මෙහෙමනම් හරියට බලය ලැබුනම කොහොම වේවිද?

How President Maithripala Sirisena fell into the trap laid by Mahinda Rajapaksa

Oct 29 (ET) Prez Sirisena turned out to be a willy fox, contrary to all expectations, and yet he fell into the trap carefully laid by former president and newly-appointed PM Mahinda Rajapaksa. Like in 2014-15 when Sirisena ousted pro-China Rajapaksa, he has once again stunned Sri Lanka. This time though with a bloodless coup against Ranil Wickremesinghe. And when Wickremesinghe refused to step down as PM and sought to prove majority, Sirisena moved fast to suspend the parliament. more..

UNP MP Vadivel Suresh pledges support to Wickremesinghe

Oct 29 (AM) UNP MP Vadivel Suresh, who had yesterday met with former President Rajapaksa, has pledged his support to UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe this morning. With his support, the number of UNP MPs said to have deflected to the Sirisena-Rajapaksa camp has dwindled. Also yesterday, UNP MP Wasantha Senanayake, who had initially pledged his support to former President Rajapaksa, arrived at Temple Trees to support Wickremesinghe. more..

CPC TUs called off strike

Oct 29 (DM) Petroleum trade unions have called off their strike following the arrest of former Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Trade Union Collective said. Its Convener D.J. Rajakaruna said employees had immediately resumed work to ensure an uninterrupted supply. However, he stated that there would be a delay in supplies as only 30 bowsers could be dispatched per hour. more..

‘Political crisis will lead country into turmoil’

Oct 29 (NR) The Speaker of House Karu Jayasuriya has requested the Chief Prelates to remind all political leaders of the need to immediately convene Parliament and work democratically according to the opinion of the majority. Speaking to media following discussions with the Chief Prelates of the Malwathu and Asgiri Chapters Speaker Jayasuriya said he is of the stance that the country will be in turmoil as a result of the prevailing political situation. Speaker added if present deadlock is not addressed, more..

India scrambles to claw back ground in Sri Lanka after pro-China leader named PM

Oct 29 (Reuters) India, caught flatfooted by the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka’s premier, has opened urgent diplomatic and political contacts with the strongman who drew close to China during his previous tenure as president, officials said on Monday. Sri Lanka has become an arena of tussle between New Delhi and Beijing, which has built ports, power stations and highways as part of its Belt and Road Initiative of trade and transport links across Asia. more..

GMOA to urge new Health Minister to investigate charges on Rajitha

Oct 29 (DM) GMOA urged the Health Minister that is to be appointed to immediately investigate the charges on former Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne. GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said a Presidential Investigation Committee should be appointed over the matter. Despite properly acquiring Dr. Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH), Dr. Aluthge said former Minister Senaratne had pumped over Rs 250 million to NFTH more..

England Test squad exercising vigilance in SL amid rising political tension and violence

Oct 29 (Independent) England's cricket squad are exercising vigilance and liaising with the British High Commission about rising political tensions in SL. President Maithripala Sirisena last week moved to replace sitting PM Ranil Wickremesinghe with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and sack the cabinet. Wickremesinghe's supporters claim that is unconstitutional and the matter escalated over the weekend when former SL cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga, who had been serving as more..

Observing, not interfering in Sri Lanka's political crisis, says China

Oct 29 (NDTV) China on Monday said it was closely monitoring the political turmoil in Sri Lanka but maintained that it is the internal affairs of the country and hoped that the relevant political parties can resolve their differences through dialogue and consultations. Sri Lanka had plunged into political crisis since President Maithripala Sirisena sacked PM Ranil Wickramasinge and appointed pro-China former president Mahinda Rajapaksa as his successor. more..

High risk of political control in SL media

Oct 29 (EN) Print media owners in SL have the most political affiliations, Media Ownership Monitor, a database of mass media owners, has revealed. Nine out of 12, or 75% of print media owners, have direct or indirect political affiliations, according to the monitor, a joint project between Verité Research and Reporters without Borders. This number was 55% for radio and online, and 50% for television, said the report, more..

US issues security alert for its citizens in SL

Oct 29 (DM) The US on Monday issued a security alert for its citizens, who are in Sri Lanka, after taking into consideration the current political developments in the country. In a statement, US Embassy in Colombo advised US citizens of an increased likelihood of political turmoil, civil unrest, and demonstrations as a result of the President’s decision to dismiss the PM and suspend parliament. “The Embassy reminds citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful more..

Arjuna granted bail

Oct 29 (AD) Colombo Chief Magistrate has granted bail for MP Arjuna Ranatunga, who was arrested by the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) earlier today (29). He has been released on a surety bail of Rs. 500,000. Meanwhile, the security guard of the MP, also arrested over the incident, has been remanded till 12th Nov. CCD has arrested MP Arjuna Ranatunga over the shooting incident at Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and produced him before the Colombo Magistrate’s Court. more..

New Cabinet sworn in

Oct 29 (AD) President Maithripala Sirsena Monday named Mahinda Rajapaksa, whom he appointed prime minister in a contested move last week, as the island's new minister of finance and economic affairs. Sirisena’s office announced new ministerial appointments in several Twitter messages. Mahinda Samarasinghe retained his position as Minister of Ports and Shipping along with Nimal Siripala de Silva as Minister of more..

Of Constitutions, Cabinets and Coups

Oct 30 (GV) This brief article seeks to build on what commentators have already contributed regarding the present constitutional crisis, and to suggest responses to several claims which – perhaps – have not been addressed comprehensively. In the discourse surrounding the events since the evening of October 26, 2018, the purported appointment of Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapakse as PM has taken centre-stage. Article 42 (4) reads The President shall appoint as PM the more..

Yahapalana hegemony shattered

Oct 30 (Island) The so called yahapalana govt formed after the 8th of Jan 2015 had to end, and end soon. The yahapalana govt was not just a govt but a complete yahapalana hegemony over the political system contrary to the very ideals and principles the leaders of the yahapalana set up themselves paid lip service to. After winning the Presidential election and the Parliamentary elections that were held later, yahapalana partners shared the govt and the opposition among themselves more..

Pressure mounts on President to reconvene Parliament

Oct 30 (Roar) The stand-off between UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Sirisena-Rajapaksa alliance enters its fourth day today (October 29), with UNP MPs continuing to collect signatures for an impeachment motion to be brought against President Sirisena. According to the UNP, the basis for the impeachment motion are Article 38 (1) (e) and (2) (a) (i) of the Constitution, which indicate that the President can be removed from office by more..

Stand with Ranil: Fight against Sri Lanka’s Bolsonaro moment

Oct 30 (CT) Appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM at the discretion of Prez Sirisena was unconstitutional. The argument advanced by people like Professor G.L. Peiris, that the withdrawal of the UPFA from the Joint Govt unseats the sitting PM, is inadequate, due to a very important constitutional provision – that it is the person with a clear parliamentary majority who is entitled to be PM. As many commentators have noted by now, Sirisena had other options if he was so keen to unseat more..

Hypocrisy and this murder most foul

Oct 30 (ST) Journalists have died on assignment, caught in the middle of wars and conflicts. But this was not always by accident. They have been targeted by those who did not want witnesses to their foul deeds or to coerce them into silence. Some might recall tank shells fired by US troops at a hotel in Baghdad in which international journalists covering the illegal invasion of Iraq were housed. They might also recall the targeting of the al Jazeera office in Baghdad. more..

What is at stake is democracy itself

Oct 30 (GV) What is at stake today is not the future of Ranil Wickremesinghe or the UNP. What is at stake is democracy itself, and its necessary pillars, inviolability of the constitution, rule of law and freedom of expression. There was a democratic way to remove Ranil Wickremesinghe and appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM – defeat the govt at the budget vote. That would have been constitutional and wouldn’t have plunged more..

Sacking of PM is unconstitutional

Oct 30 (FT) President Sirisena’s sacking of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place has been described by some as a constitutional coup. The phrase constitutional coup is a contradiction in terms, or an oxymoron, because it would imply that although President Sirisena’s actions amounted to a coup, his actions are sanctioned by the Constitution. There is no Constitutional basis for the President to have removed the Prime Minister. more..

An October revolution?

Oct 30 (DN) As the Buddha and Heraclitus, to name but two of the greatest minds have said millennia ago, the only thing permanent is change. Change is of two sorts. One is gradual, evolutionary, incremental, with things remaining on a continuum. The other is ruptural, discontinuous, and dramatic. The first kind of change is quantitative. The other is qualitative. These two are not separated by a Chinese Wall. There is a transition from one to another. more..

මෛත්රි මහින්දගෙන්, ඔහුගේ පවුලෙන් සමාව ගත යුතුයි

President Sirisena’s second coup: Reasons & Numbers

Oct 30 (CT) President Sirisena became part of yet another political coup within five years. In the first coup, he parted ways with the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt to become the common candidate of the opposition parties headed by the UNP in 2014. His shift, then, was considered as traitorous by Rajapaksa and his loyalists. The present one unfolded when he appointed former Prez Rajapaksa as the new PM on Oct 26, 2018. This move surprised almost everyone I know in SL. more..

NCCSL appeals to Prez to act with prudence

Oct 30 (Island) National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) yesterday in a statement appealed to the President to uphold the democratic traditions and the sanctity of our Constitution bearing in mind the mandate he received from the people when he was elected into office and called upon its people and leaders of every sphere to act with prudence to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of the nation. The NCCSL said in its statement: It is with a sense of shock and dismay we more..

Thirimanne to lead Board XI against England

Oct 30 (DN) Former SL Test batsman Lahiru Thirimanne will lead a SL Board XI in the two 2-day warm-up matches against the England tourists to be played at the NCC and CCC grounds respectively. Sides comprise at least five players who have been named in the 16-member SL squad for the three-Test series against England commencing at Galle on Nov 6. Batsmen Kaushal Silva, Angelo Mathews and Roshen Silva more..

Constitutionality of change in premiership

Oct 30 (Island) This is in response to comments that the removal of Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM is unconstitutional. The justification for this claim is that since the UNP with 106 members has the majority in Parliament, he as leader of the UNP commands the confidence of Parliament, as stated in Article 42 (4) of the 19th Amendment. The identical wording relating to the appointment of a PM is contained in Article 43 (3) of the 1978 Constitution. The irony is that Article 42 (4) is also stated more..

Edtorial: Tears and fears

Oct 30 (Island) Newly appointed PM Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed duties yesterday morning at the Prime Minister’s Office while recently ousted Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe was occupying Temple Trees in protest against his removal, which he considers unconstitutional. It looks as if the UNP were occupying the wrong place in that what really matters is the Prime Minister’s Office and not Temple Trees as such. (We hope that we will not be accused of giving the UNP ideas!) more..

Sri Lanka: Warnings of bloodbath as political tensions rise

Oct 30 (AJ) President Sirisena has come under increased pressure to allow legislators resolve a power struggle with his sacked prime minister, amid warnings that the country's deepening political crisis could devolve into a bloodbath. The concern over possible violence came on Monday as legislators loyal to removed PM Ranil Wickremesinghe called on their supporters to converge on Colombo, to protest against more..

The difficult questions President and the polity need to answer

Oct 30 (Island) The dismissal of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe following the withdrawal of SLFP headed by Prez Sirisena from the govt alliance has become yet another source of instability within the polity. It has also caused international ripples with the govts of many countries publicly expressing their concerns and the UK issuing a travel advisory to its citizens to be careful when travelling to SL in the near future. Therefore the sooner this crisis is resolved the better it will be for the country. more..

Kalinga, Sumeda, Ushan rewrite Army athletics record books

Oct 30 (Island) Sprinter Kalinga Kumara, high jumper Ushan Thivanka, hurdler Kaushalya Madushani and javelin thrower Sumeda Ranasinghe produced some notable performances to establish new meet records on day one of the Army Athletics Championship at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Monday. In a rare sprint feat in the men’s 200 metres, Kalinga Kumara clocked 20.71 seconds to win. That was couple of milliseconds short of the national record. more..

Udaya Gammanpila

To maintain quality of the city: Colombo needs good development plans

Oct 30 (DN) Colombo is in need of better and controlled development plans to maintain the quality of the city, a senior official representing the local architecture industry said. It was also suggested that Sri Lanka needs to have a proper policy towards the construction industry, aimed at creating an efficient construction industry, serving the national development needs through regulation, standardization, capacity building and facilitation. “If we want to maintain the quality more..