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Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Editorial: A threat to democracy

Nov 14 (Island) Campaigning has come to an end, and the country is ready to go to the polls, on Saturday, to elect the next President. Disturbing news comes from some parts of the country; plans are afoot to discourage the people of the North and the East from voting. Several political groups are reportedly behind this deplorable move, which is sure to deal a severe blow to democracy. They seem to be emulating the LTTE. However, some pro-LTTE groups, operating overseas, have called upon more..

Florence Nightingales & 5th time in hospital

Nov 14 (Island) My editor-cum-dear friend told me, a month ago, to write about other things as before. I want to and then asked myself what else could I write about nowadays since I hardly go to public places? Maybe when I am cured after my bone marrow transplant and when I am back as a free spirit as before, I will. Many have also asked me to pen my experiences as a cancer patient for the benefit of others. Guess that’s what I am doing now. Hey, You Cancer, (I will stop addressing you more..

Comparing manifestos: Some key highlights

Nov 14 (Roar) Popular politics has a lot to do with perception: candidates vying for votes will do all they can do to position themselves as capable and strong leaders. And during an election—such as the one we are heading towards—this is most easily achieved through imagery: it is not uncommon for candidates to use every possible avenue to be seen and to communicate their messages and promises to as many people as possible. more..

Decline of interest rate could squeeze insurance dividends

Nov 14 (DN) Partner at Willis Towers Watson Actuarial Advisory, Kunj Behari Maheshwari said that actuaries may have to account for changes in value given the new accounting regime. He was concerned with high volatility and relatively high rates in the government securities market. Maheshwari was speaking at the South Asian Actuarial Conference on Nov 13 at Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel. Willis Towers Watson is a leading provider of actuarial services in the region. more..

Thilanga says principle of natural justice violated

Nov 14 (Island) Thilanga Sumathipala denied all charges saying that the findings against him are ex parte. He said that the principle of natural justice had not been respected. "First of all, Minister of Sports has not informed me of anything. He is using third parties to ridicule me and defame me. If that is the road he wishes to take, I don’t want to comment on it. He can very well table it in Parliament. But he is not doing so. This is a very clear political plan. I have no knowledge of this document," he said. more..

Sri Lankan journalists fear situation may worsen after vote

Nov 14 (AP) Forced to flee their country a decade ago to escape allegedly state-sponsored killer squads, SL journalists living in exile doubt they’ll be able to return home soon or see justice served to their tormentors — whose alleged ringleader could come to power in this weekend’s prez election. Exiled journalists and media rights groups are disappointed by the current govt’s failure in punishing those responsible for crimes more..

ADB lends further $ 150 m to boost rural road connectivity

Nov 14 (FT) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Govt yesterday signed a $150 million Tranche 2 Loan Agreement for the Second Integrated Road Investment Program to continue ADB’s assistance to upgrade SL’s rural road network, thereby connecting vast rural populations to jobs and services. Secretary to the Treasury and Ministry of Finance Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga signed the Loan Agreement for the Govt of Sri Lanka and ADB SL Resident Mission Officer-in-Charge more..

HNB reports Rs 14.6 bn Group PBT

Nov 14 (Island) Hatton National Bank PLC (HNB) posted a profit after tax (PAT) of Rs 8.0 Bn for the nine month period ended Sept 2019 while the Group recorded a PAT of Rs 8.7Bn for the same period. The third quarter of 2019 saw HNB’s profits improving to Rs 3.2 Bn compared to the previous quarters while the Group PAT for the quarter was Rs 3.6 Bn. Sluggish economic growth, exacerbated by the prevailing uncertainty continued to impact the banking industry and affect demand for credit. more..

Thilanga faces criminal charges

Nov 14 (Island) The International Cricket Council has informed the govt of Sri Lanka that evidence has emerged against former cricket chief Thilanga Sumathipala that he committed serious criminal offence. In a report sent to Sri Lanka following the ongoing investigation into corruption in cricket, ICC has unearthed crucial information that could bring trouble to the senior-most cricket administrator in the world. more..

Sri Lanka’s banks’ negative outlook remains with rising bad loans: Fitch

Nov 14 (EN) Ratings agency Fitch said SL’s negative banking sector outlook is likely to remain in the short-term due to a continued rise in bad loans and subdued economic growth. “Fitch Ratings’ 2019 negative banking-sector outlook for SL reflected our expectations of continued pressure on banks’ financial profiles due to the challenging operating conditions,” a Fitch report said. “These trends have become more apparent in banks’ 1H19 results, and are likely to remain in the short-term.” more..

No matter who wins the prez election in Sri Lanka, minorities will lose again

Nov 14 (WT) The race to be the next president of Sri Lanka is moving along. Voters will go to the polls on Saturday; the field includes 35 candidates. No matter who prevails, members of the island nation’s minority communities — particularly Tamils and Muslims — are bound to lose. When it comes to Sri Lankan politics, reaching out to ethnic and religious minorities has never been in vogue and would require serious political courage. The question is how badly minorities will lose. more..

Facebook under spotlight following EC’s request for removing polls propaganda

Nov 14 (Island) EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said that the Commission had requested Facebook to remove sponsored pages and paid election-related advertisements. Deshapriya said that they had noted a number of sponsored pages on Facebook linked to some candidates contesting the Nov. 16 election. Deshapriya said that there were also several paid advertisements appearing on Facebook. more..

Cabinet stamp does not make MCC Compact legal: Amunugama

Nov 14 (Island) The mere approval by the Cabinet of Ministers did not mean that a bill or any other important proposal received legal sanction as in the case of the Millennium Challenger Corporation (MCC) said former Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, MP on Saturday. An important proposal like the MCC should receive the approval of the Parliament after a broad debate over the pros and cons of it and if required should be approved by the people at a referendum, he told a media briefing more..

Airtel secures 900MHz spectrum allocation from TRCSL13

Nov 14 (FT) Bharti Airtel Lanka, announced that it had secured the allocation of 5MHz of the 900MHz spectrum band from the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of SL (TRCSL). The allocation was on an administrative basis and based on a pre-published criteria. The criteria mentioned, among other things, “in order to create a level playing field for all 4 Mobile Operators every operator shall have equal amount of spectrum at all possible times in such economical bands. more..

No interest in verifying citizenship status of candidates: Polls Chief

Nov 14 (FT) Election Commission (EC) Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said that the EC has no interest in verifying the citizenship status of candidates contesting the Prez Election, as it only accepts nomination papers of those who fulfil the legal requirements to contest the poll. “Our interest is in ensuring that the person handing over the nominations fulfils the provisions of the Prez Elections Act of 1981, which lays down more..

SLTB assigns more than 1,300 buses for election duties

Nov 14 (DM) More than 1,300 Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) buses would be assigned for election duties according to based on a request by the Elections Commission fewer than three categories, SLTB DGM (Operations) P.H.R.T. Chandrasiri said yesterday. He said buses would be assigned for transporting ballot boxes, transporting officials and for the Sri Lanka Police Department to transport police officers. “More buses will be assigned for transporting ballot boxes,” he said. more..

EU monitors to release data on social media usage during Presidential Poll

Nov 14 (FT) The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) will be releasing a body of data on social media usage during the Presidential Election and this data could be made use of in future polls, an official said yesterday. According to the EU EOM Chief Observer and Member of the European Parliament Marisa Matias, a team of five will be observing social media activity, including accounts and fake news. “We have a team observing social media. more..

Anura pledges country free of corruption

Nov 14 (FT) NPP prez aspirant Anura Kumara Dissanayake pledged, if elected, to uphold democratic rights and create a country free from corruption and extremism, declaring himself as the cleanest candidate. Addressing his final rally in Maharagama, Dissanayake said the country needs a new vision that is capable of leading the nation towards a prosperous future. He reiterated only a group that was not accused of more..

PM claims Gotabaya is promoting abattoirs

Nov 14 (Island) SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa was promoting the establishment of abattoirs in each household, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. On the other hand NDF candidate, Sajith Premadasa was committed to promoting Buddhism in the country, Wickremesinghe said. "Look at Gotabaya’s manifesto. Page 44 of the manifesto says that ‘financial and technical support will be provided to commence organic meat production at the household level. more..

Your future depends on the SLPP: MR

Nov 14 (CT) Addressing the final rally in support of SLPP Prez candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former President and incumbent Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, yesterday (13) said, "There's nothing to talk about Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa's citizenship. We are D.A. Rajapaksa's sons. Therefore, even if citizenship was renounced, he is still a Sri Lankan citizen. These days, many false rumours are being circulated." more..

GR pledges to deliver on entire manifesto

Nov 14 (FT) Billing himself as the most competent contender, SLPP prez candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa insisted he alone has the capacity to wipe out corruption, secure national security, and turn around the economy. Speaking at the final rally at Homagama, SLPP prez aspirant Gotabaya Rajapaksa thanked the audience for braving the weather and coming out to show their support. more..

MCSL calls for peaceful election

Nov 14 (FT) Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) has urged all prez candidates to take necessary measures to conduct a peaceful election with the cooperation of all concerned parties. Issuing a statement, the MCSL urged the new president to uphold the democratic values that the country has been built upon over centuries. “We hope that all parties, candidates and the new dispensation will ensure that rule of law is upheld in full and the aspiration of the people is fulfilled based on more..

Special bus services from today

Nov 14 (DM) Additional buses would be assigned by SLTB from today to provide necessary transport facilities for the people to visit their hometowns from Colombo for the upcoming Prez Election, SLTB DGM P.H.R.T. Chandrasiri said. He said the SLTB had identified the coming weekdays as a long weekend including Saturday and Sunday and people would leave Colombo from today. “Therefore, steps had been taken to deploy additional buses from 12 provinces to Colombo as required,” more..

Sajith promises to put social welfare at core of development

Nov 14 (FT) NDF prez candidate Sajith Premadasa said that the tourist industry will be categorised as an export industry within 48 hours of his winning the election. This will make available to it all relief provided to export industries. In addition to this, steps towards poverty alleviation will be taken, firstly in identifying what poverty is and who falls under the category. “For decades, no one had a proper understanding of poverty. more..

‘Lowest level of election violence since year 2000’

Nov 14 (Island) Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, founder Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), and co-convener of Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) said there has been a reduction in election related violence in the run up to the 2019 prez poll. He said that the abuse of state resources had been the monopoly of the governing party at past elections but at this election both sides had access to state resources and been implicated in the offence. more..

SL steps up security for final vote rallies

Nov 14 (AFP) Police stepped up security across Sri Lanka on Wednesday over fears of violence on the final day of campaigning for the fiercely contested presidential election, officials said. Elite police commandos reinforced police as the two front runners Sajith Premadasa and Gotabhaya Rajapakse held rival rallies at the end of a gruelling campaign. “There are reports of possible violence,” a senior police official told AFP. “Additional strength has been deployed in vulnerable areas. more..

Politicking for presidency ends

Nov 14 (FT) Clean governance, boosting economic growth, and ensuring national security were at the forefront of key messages delivered by the main prez contenders yesterday, as they wound up their campaigns and sought to set their credentials in the minds of voters as being the best option to be the next president of Sri Lanka, ahead of the vote on Saturday. SLPP prez candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, more..

Together, we can make tomorrow better than today

Nov 14 (DM) SL’s day of reckoning or the day of destiny as it were, is only a touching distance away. The fever-pitch and keenly-contested, presidential election campaign which began in earnest soon after the close of nominations on October 7 will culminate on Election Day, Nov 16. A 48-hour cooling down period is being observed from midnight yesterday to midnight tomorrow after which out of SL’s population of 21 million, nearly 16 million voters, including several thousands of first-timers, more..

Making sense of Memes

Nov 14 (DM) From trolling the recently killed ISIS leader, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, to coping with successive defeats of the SL cricket team, memes are a popular form of interaction and exchange for many netizens of the island. Current events in SL, often confusing and entertaining, seem to supply endless fodder for the most hilarious memes as well. If you are a user of popular social media platforms such as Facebook, the chances are you’ll come across a meme in a matter of seconds. more..

MCC and the transition to economic growth

Nov 14 (DM) The much-debated MCC Compact for Sri Lanka promises funding for transport infrastructure development and land access rights. The USD 480 million Grant is viewed with skepticism by some and favourably by others. Former CB Deputy Governor and senior economist W.A. Wijewardena shared his insights on the MCC Compact. He said the grant could facilitate a promising national economic future through more..

More hot air than light at the final prez debate

Nov 14 (ST) Today, we bring you the second and final debate between prez candidates, Sajith Premadasa (SP), Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR), Anura Kumara Dissanayake (AKD) and Mahesh Senanayake (MS) with Mahinda Deshapriya (MaKo) as the moderator. MaKo: Thank you gentlemen for attending again, this is you last chance to make an impression… SP: I nearly didn’t make it because power had been cut off and more..

Every citizen held equal under one law

Nov 14 (FT) National People’s Movement (NPM) presidential candidate General (Rtd.) Mahesh Senanayake pledged to remove the legal immunity that prevents the President, PM, and Cabinet Ministers from being held accountable for any actions that could lead to corruption, if elected this weekend. The former Army Commander made the comments yesterday at the NPM’s final rally, held at the New Town Hall in Colombo. more..

Citizenship canard won’t hinder GR’s victory

Nov 14 (Island) Gotabaya Rajapaksa Campaign leader Basil Rajapaksa yesterday told the final media briefing at Kingsbury, Colombo, that there was absolutely no issue as regards SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka citizenship. SLPP strategist Basil Rajapaksa explained the circumstances under which the Election Commission (EC) accepted Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s nominations on Oct 07, 2019. more..

BASL reads riot act to Prez over granting full pardon to murder convict on death row

Nov 14 (Island) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has called for transparency in the decision-making process of a President to pardon a prisoner. In a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena, signed by BASL President Kalinga Indatissa, it has raised concerns on the President’s decision last week to pardon Shramantha Jayamaha, a death row convict over the Royal Park gruesome murder. Referring to Article 34 (1) of the constitution, more..

My pardon not arbitrary; met Rathana Thero five years ago: Royal Park convict

Nov 14 (RN) The controversial prez pardon granted to Royal Park murder convict Shramantha Jude Jayamaha was the culmination of a process that began three years, according to an open letter attributed to Jayamaha. The letter, now being circulated online, also claims his purported reform began five years ago when he first encountered MP Athuraliye Rathana Thero. “I met Ven. Rathana Thero for the first time – more..

Debt-heavy Sri Lanka seeks Japan's help and prepares samurai bond

Nov 14 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Central Bank has turned to Japan to bolster the debt-ridden South Asian island’s flagging international reserves. Sri Lanka is putting the final touches on a plan to issue $500 million in samurai bonds, marking the country’s first foray into the Japanese market. Following are excerpts of the report; The yen-denominated bond issue got a shot in the arm after the Japan Bank for International Cooperation agreed to give more..

Numerous complaints on the misuse of state buildings and vehicles: TISL

Nov 14 (RN) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) said today (14) that it has recorded complaints of a number of incidents of public resources being misused during the election period. Addressing a press conference held in Colombo this morning, TISL Senior Programme Manager Sashi De Mel said that the transparent watchdog has received a total of 112 complaints on the misuse of public resources, more..

Gota’s eligibility in doubt: Election monitor, civil society group

Nov 14 (TM) The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) today expressed concerns over anomalies with Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s affidavit submitted to the Election Commission and whether Rajapaksa continues to be a citizen of the USA. CPA and the CMEV in a statement today said, they were deeply concerned with recent developments that may impact Prez Election due on 16th Nov. more..

284 prison inmates to receive Presidential pardon

Nov 14 (AD) A total number of 284 inmates, who had received jail sentences for committing minor offences, are to be released on Presidential pardon. They will be released once Prez Sirisena’s approval is given to grant amnesty. These inmates, aged over 65 years, were primarily selected on the basis that they were not jailed for 40 particular charges including murder, theft, sexual assault, child abuse, and drug dealing. more..