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Aitken Spence revenue up up 8.2%

Nov 15 (Island) Against an extremely challenging macro-economic environment, the leading conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC’s Group gross revenue grew by 8.2% to Rs. 28.6 billion for the period ending 30th Sept ‘19. Main growth in revenue were from the strategic investments and the maritime & logistics sectors. The integrated logistics segment performed exceptionally well recording a 30% y-o-y growth in revenue. This momentum is expected to continue for the rest of the year. more..

Video: EC sounds warning over social media

Nov 15 (AD) Chairman of Elections Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya, says that the commission continues to receive complaints regarding the spread of misinformation, hate speech, posts and images promoting candidates on social media. He said that false statements claiming to be from the Chairman of Election Commission has once again started to spread on social media and that steps were taken to remove them more..

Strong Q3 steadies ComBank Group against impacts of external currents

Nov 15 (Island) Significant improvements in the third quarter, which positively impacted its year-to-date performance, have enabled the Commercial Bank Group to post creditable results for the nine months ended 30th Sept. Comprising of Commercial Bank of Ceylon, its subsidiaries and associates, the Group reported operating profit before taxes on financial services of Rs 22.211 b for the period, converting a decline of 3.31% at the end of June 2019 to a growth of 2.27% at the end of Sept 2019. more..

ACC Emerging Teams Cup: Oman stun defending champs Sri Lanka

Nov 15 (DN) Oman coached by former SL captain Duleep Mendis stunned defending champs Sri Lanka Emerging in the opening Group B fixture of the ACC Emerging Teams Cup cricket tournament when they pulled off a creditable four wickets win with seven balls to spare at Cox’s Bazar on Thursday. Invited to bat first SL Emerging Team were dismissed off the last ball for 268 with skipper Charith Asalanka (57 off 65 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes) and Ashen Bandara (62 off 51 balls, more..

TISL uses Right to Information to find out how costly SLAF chopper rides are paid for

Nov 15 (Island) Transparency International SL (TISL) had made an RTI request to SL Air Force over the use of state-owned helicopters to transport candidates and other politicians, Sashee de Mel, Senior Programme Manager of TISL said. "We have seen the use of helicopters in Trinco, Nuwara Eliya, Seruwila, Badulla & Galle. We want to know whether the Air Force has been paid for the use of helicopters and if so, who paid the bill. more..

PSL 2020 draft: Mathews, Thisara among 28 foreign names

Nov 15 (CI) With the Pakistan Super League (PSL) returning in full to Pakistan next season, 28 foreign players including Dale Steyn, Colin Munro, Alex Hales and Jason Roy registered themselves to be drafted in the fifth edition as platinum players. Australia's Ben Cutting and Chris Lynn have also expressed their interest in being part of the fifth season. Each PSL franchise has an option of retaining up to eight players from their previous roster, but they can do so while adhering to more..

Top Three to vote in Mirihana, Hambantotota and Panchikawatta

Nov 15 (CT) SLPP Prez candidate, Gotabaya Rajapaksa is scheduled to cast his vote at a polling booth to be set up at the Pengiriwatta Sri Vivekarama Temple in Mirihana, Nugegoda during the Prez Poll tomorrow, NDF Prez candidate, Sajith Premadasa will cast his vote at the Suranimala Primary School in Abhayapura, Hambantota, while NPP Prez candidate, Anura Kumara Dissanayake will cast his vote at the polling centre at Abhayasingharama Temple in Panchikawatta. more..

Naseby disclosure not discussed at all during Lord Ahmad’s recent visit to Colombo

Nov 15 (Island) Lord Naseby who provided SL with unimpeachable evidence to counter unsubstantiated war crimes allegations propagated by the UN, recently discussed the situation in Northern SL with NP Governor Dr. Suren Raghavan. In response to The Island query regarding him meeting Dr. Raghavan, Lord Naseby’s Office has sent The Island the following statement: Lord Naseby discussed the latest progress more..

Video: 83 arrested for violating election laws

Nov 15 (AD) SL Police says that 83 persons have been arrested so far across the country in connection with violations of election laws. Police stations in the country have received a total of 105 complaints pertaining to the prez election in addition to 111 reported incidents of election law violations. Accordingly 83 suspects have been arrested so far in connection with those complaints and law violations. SSP Ruwan Gunasekara revealed this during a press conference more..

Rains expected in coming days

Nov 15 (DM) Fairly heavy falls about 75 to 100 mm can be expected at some places in Sabaragamuwa, Central and Western provinces and in Galle, Matara and Kurunegala districts in the coming days. Showers or thundershowers are also expected in several places in the sea areas extending from Puttalam to Hambantota via Colombo and Galle during the afternoons or nights. “Temporarily strong gusty winds (up to 70-80 kmph) and very rough seas can be expected during thundershowers,” more..

Sri Lanka prosperity index rises on better performance in all provinces: CB

Nov 15 (FT) Sri Lanka Prosperity Index (SLPI) increased to 0.783 in 2018 from 0.548 recorded in 2017, the Central Bank said, with positive outcomes seen in all provinces across all indices. All three sub-indices of SLPI, namely Economy and Business Climate, Well-being of the People and Socio-Economic Infrastructure contributed to this increase. Economy and Business Climate sub-index improved mainly due to more..

EC urged to pursue prosecutions for offences against public property

Nov 15 (AD) Transparency International SL (TISL) today called on the Elections Commission of SL (ECSL), to pursue prosecutions against individuals and parties who have committed offences against public property in the run up to the 2019 prez poll. As at the beginning of the campaign moratorium on 13 Nov, TISL’s election monitoring arm, the Program for the Protection of Public Resources (PPPR) had received 112 complaints and had submitted 88 verified complaints to the ECSL. more..

7.1 magnitude earthquake near Indonesia, no tsunami threats for Sri Lanka

Nov 15 (AD) An Earthquake has occurred near Indonesia (Northern Molucca Sea) at around 9.47 pm last night (14) with a magnitude of 7.1. Sri Lanka currently faces no threats of a tsunami due to the effect of the aforesaid earthquake. Accordingly, the coastal areas of SL have been declared safe. Meanwhile, the Met Dept further stated that there is a high possibility for afternoon thundershowers with severe lightning in Sabaragamuwa, Central (particularly in Kandy district), Western and more..

Monitors cry foul over polls propaganda on Facebook

Nov 15 (Island) Election monitors yesterday said they were were not satisfied with the steps taken by Facebook to curb election propaganda during the silent period. CMEV and CaFFE said that election propaganda was being freely carried out in social media. Manjula Gajanayaka, national Coordinator of CMEV said that both SLPP and NDF had not stopped their social media campaigning. more..

Ahimsa contests US District Court decision

Nov 15 (DM) Slain journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge's daughter, Ahimsa and her legal team filed a notice of appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday, contesting the US District Court’s decision to grant former SL Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa immunity for the suit related to the assassination of her father, San Francisco based The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) said. US District Court for the Central District of California held that more..

Chinese Navy ship arrives in Sri Lanka

Nov 15 (SLN) People's Liberation Army Navy ship Zhu Ke Zhen arrived at the port of Colombo today (14) on an official visit. The ship was ceremonially welcomed by the SL Navy in accordance with Naval traditions on her arrival. Deputy Commander of Maritime Surveying Division of People's Liberation Army Navy, Senior Captain Yang Boran and the Commanding Officer of the ship called on the Commander Western Naval Area, Rear Admiral Sumith Weerasinghe more..

Total cost of 2019 presidential poll might reach Rs. 7. 5 bn: EC

Nov 15 (DM) Elections Commission (EC) Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya commenting on the election expenses said he was worried that it was possible that the total cost of the 2019 prez poll could reach Rs. 7.5 billion and lawmakers must think of a strategy to prevent pseudo or fake candidates with ulterior motives contesting the prez election. “Until the election concludes, Treasury issues the EC with any amount of funds. more..

Thera ends protest fast on candidate citizenship issue

Nov 15 (DN) Ven. Dr. Inguruwatte Sumangala Thera had ended his protest fast at around 12.30 am yesterday. Ven. Sumangala Thera commenced an indefinite fast on the 10th Nov at the Independence Square in Colombo demanding that a prominent prez candidate prove his renunciation of a foreign citizenship. EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said on Wednesday that fasting could not be allowed for any reason during the election silence period which commenced from midnight Wednesday (13). more..

Australian pleads guilty over framing SL colleague with fake terror notebook

Nov 15 (SMH) The older brother of Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and dishonestly influencing a public official after police accused him of creating a fake terror plot to frame another man. Arsalan Khawaja, 39, was arrested last year after authorities were alerted to a notebook found at the Sydney campus of the University of NSW which appeared to detail plans to kill politicians and attack landmarks in the city. more..

In Sri Lanka, presidential election deepens religious divisions

Nov 15 (AJ) Sitting in the tiled courtyard of a silver-domed mosque in coastal town of Negombo, Aslam Ghafoor said he fears that his neighbours no longer trust him. "So many friends in my contacts," the 54-year-old explained, gesturing to his mobile phone, "they are non-Muslims, and we have been living like brothers. [But] we can't talk to them now, to ask how they are doing, because we have lost that connection." more..

The Maithripala Sirisena Presidency

Nov 15 (DM) The final Cabinet Meeting chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena is reported to have ended with pleasantries. His tenure, however, was all but pleasant. For all the positive talk about bipartisanship, it was obvious that from Day One, it would be a challenging term. Sirisena promised that his would be a single-term presidency. It is no secret that he explored the possibility of a second term. Pledges and less articulated aspirations are no longer relevant. more..

Let no one distort will of sovereign people

Nov 15 (DM) Tomorrow’s presidential election is a D-day. It is the day on which we should feel that we are the true kings and queens of this county as we exercise our franchise to elect our chief servant. In Sri Lanka, we take pride of being Asia’s oldest democracy. We first exercised universal suffrage in 1931, four years after it was introduced in Britain. In Article 3, Sri Lanka’s present constitution states that sovereignty is in the people and is inalienable. In explaining what sovereignty is, more..

Who are WE after next Sunday?

Nov 15 (DM) We are the most important Citizens right now. All Candidates need us to elect the next Prez of SL for the eighth time tomorrow (16). We are therefore treated with respect and are spoken of as educated, intelligent and as rational decision-makers. We are told it is us who would elect the “right” candidate as the next Prez. Despite all that, all election manifestos have promises. Intelligent Voters that we are, are expected to swallow more..

Letter on prez election survey false: Police

Nov 15 (DM) The letter circulating on social media, which is alleged to have been issued by the State Intelligence Services and addressed to the President, about a survey carried out by intelligence services on the prez election is false, the police said today. They said neither the State Intelligence Service nor institutions of police had carried out any survey on the presidential election and that they had not been engaged in more..

Video: Over 68,000 police & civil defence personnel for election duties

Nov 15 (AD) A total number of 60,175 police personnel and 8,080 civil defence personnel have been deployed island-wide for election duties, says SSP Ruwan Gunasekara. The voting for the Presidential Election 2019 will take place from 7 am to 5 pm tomorrow (16). The Election Commission said transporting the ballot boxes and preparing the polling stations for the election are currently underway. more..

Mickey Arthur likely to become Sri Lanka's next head coach

Nov 15 (CI) Mickey Arthur is likely to become Sri Lanka's next head coach, despite Chandika Hathurusingha not having been officially been fired yet. Arthur has not signed a contract with Sri Lanka Cricket so far, but board officials have expressed confidence that Arthur will take up the role before SL's forthcoming Test tour of Pakistan, which begins on Dec 11. SLC has been searching for a new coach since the end of the WC, more..

Removal of posters, banners and cutouts cost Rs 60 million to date: Police

Nov 15 (RN) Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara said that although putting up posters, banners and cutouts of candidates has been considerably low this election, it has cost the authorities Rs. 60 million to date to remove them. He said the police has received a total of 222 complaints regarding the election, out of which 115 are related to election violations. He added that a total of 90 suspects have been arrested more..

Sri Lanka Sept trade gap widens to US$758mn, apparel, tea exports fall

Nov 15 (EN) Sri Lanka’s trade deficit widened in Sept 2019 to US$ 758 million from US$ 713 million a year ago with apparel export earnings falling for the first time since July 2018 and tea, the main agricultural export, also down. CB said spending on merchandise imports contracted for the eleventh consecutive month with a 3.3% decline in Sept 2019 to US$ 1,711 million from a year ago driven by lower consumer goods and more..

Video: Prima now says no hike in wheat flour price

Nov 15 (AD) Bakery Owners’ Association says that the Prima Ceylon company has now informed them that the price of wheat flour will not be increased as previously notified. Earlier today, wheat flour dealers said that the Prima company had decided to increase the price of wheat flour by Rs. 8.50 with effect from midnight yesterday. However, CAA says that approval has not been granted for such an increase in wheat flour price more..

I opted to remain neutral paving way for free and fair poll: President

Nov 15 (DM) Prez said a free and fair election was being held in the country for the first time in its history because he had decided to remain neutral. He said this was a key feature in a govt which respects democracy. “I have instructed security and police personnel to ensure a free and fair election as Defence Minister and as the Minister in charge of the police. This election will be historical because of my decision of remaining neutral," more..

National security dominates in presidential election

Nov 15 (DW) Sri Lanka is headed to the polls to elect its next president on Saturday, with former wartime Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and current housing minister Sajith Premadasa likely to lead in the vote. One of the oldest democracies in South Asia, SL's civil war saw the country mired in ethnic violence for decades, while the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bomb attacks in April this year led to more..

Sri Lanka presidential race tightens as minorities seek to stop Rajapaksa

Nov 15 (Reuters) Sri Lankans elect a new president on Saturday in a finely balanced race between the early favorite, former defense chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and govt minister Sajith Premadasa, who has gained momentum in recent weeks. The election comes amid a deep slump in the country following Easter Sunday attacks on hotels and churches by Islamist militants that killed over 250 people and more..

Two categories of prez candidates

Nov 16 (CT) We have to elect the next president of SL on Saturday (16). More than half a million have already exercised their franchise by post because they are involved in the election process. The rest of us will visit various polling stations and cast our votes on Saturday. Whilst it may be true that most have already made up their minds, there is no logical reason why each of us could not do some re-thinking and change our minds. Theoretically, therefore, I could make the claim that any result is possible. more..

2019 Prez Election outcome: Different scenarios & possibilities

Nov 16 (CT) There are various opinion pieces in the media about the possible outcome of forthcoming Prez election in SL. Some utilise results from the previous Local Govt elections held a few years back; Others analyse campaign strategies, timing etc. of the two main candidates. Some recognise the impact of other candidates such as Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Mahesh Senanayake. The potential effect of numerically minority votes in the Northern and Eastern provinces are also mentioned. more..

Anti-MCC rhetoric dwarfs U.S. overtures in SL

Nov 16 (CT) MCC had a rough past week in Sri Lanka. Cabinet approved the pursuit of the US$ 480 million grant, as election fever gripped the country, but a petition filed at the Supreme Court is seeking an injunction on the MCC signing, ahead of the Prez Election, following Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa's concerns over the timing of the approval. His ally and PM, Wimal Weerawansa, led a multi-religious anti-MCC protest opposite the Fort Railway Station on 4 Nov. more..

Securing a people’s constitution

Nov 16 (FT) The need for making a People’s Constitution has become a topic of interest not only among the public but also among some candidates of the Prez Election. Rohan Pallewatte and Mahesh Senanayake have included it in their election manifestos. The candidate of the NPP, Anura Kumara Disanayake, has pledged to make a constitution aimed at building the nation. Sajith Premadasa, the candidate of the UNF, in a special statement made to the nation, emphasised the need to make a constitution with more..

The Millennium Challenge Corporation grant to Sri Lanka

Nov 16 (FT) A sum of $ 480 million is a lot of money. So when it is given as a grant to a middle-income country, naturally eyebrows will be raised. The Cabinet approved the MCC Compact for Sri Lanka on 29 Oct 2019. Yet there is still intense debate surrounding it, extending to fast unto death type protests. So how can Sri Lanka make the most of this grant? MCC Resident Country Director in SL, Jenner Edelman, explains: “MCC is an independent development organisation similar to USAID. more..

Will our next Prez be fair to farmers?

Nov 16 (CT) Though it is our farmers that keep us fed, a look at the manifestos of the current Prez candidates reveals that their policies stand far from ensuring that these farmers are kept from facing starvation. One of the main topics discussed by Prez candidates is the upliftment of agriculture in the country. Candidates of various parties have promised to work for the betterment of agriculture and the welfare of the peasantry in their policy statements, but more..

Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia

Nov 16 (DN) This article is written in the shadow of a final steaming week before polling for the President on the 16th. It is also time at which in New York, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia has been discussed at the UN. We are fast closing to the end of the year during which after ten years the peace was shattered on a Sunday in April where race was focused, Islamophobia and religious extremists fostered violence in the years preceding and the weeks after. more..

Why vote? Because it’s your right!

Nov 16 (DN) It is a widely accepted fact that the universal franchise is the most prominent of all rights assigned to the general public. Every vote across the country is vitally important to elect a leader through democratic means. The real democracy indicates a govt of the people elected by the people for the people. The leader is elected by voters to rule them and fulfil their needs. The universal franchise was granted to people following a long struggle in the world. more..