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Video: 'Request to appoint Ranil as Opposition Leader, not party’s decision'

Nov 22 (AD) UNP’s General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam today (21) directed a letter to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya making a request to appoint former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Leader of the Opposition. However, MP Ajith P. Perera, said the General Secretary had made the aforesaid request without discussing the matter with the MPs of the UNF. The leaders of the UNF and the majority of the MPs have agreed more..

Foreign policy challenges for new Rajapaksa Govt

Nov 22 (DM) Last Saturday’s election was more free and fair than the 2015 presidential election in more than one way. Violence and election law violations saw a drastic reduction during this election when compared to the 2015 election. Also praiseworthy is the environment-friendly or plastic-free campaign initiated by SLPP candidate Gotabya Rajapaksa and followed by others. Yet the election, some say, also stands out for another reason: Less foreign power intervention. But this is contestable. more..

OrphanCare Trust starts fund distribution benefitting over 2500 orphans

Nov 22 (FT) OrphanCare Trust has successfully completed its inaugural fund distribution among its 2,500-plus registered orphans. Amana Bank’s flagship CSR venture OrphanCare was launched earlier this year with the aim of addressing a very important yet mostly unattended need of orphan children; which is to secure the fate of orphans once they reach the age of 18 and are compelled to leave institutional care. The launch event was held under the patronage of Chandrika Kumaratunga, more..

Former PM Jayaratne’s remains lying-in-state at Parliament

Nov 22 (DN) The remains of former PM D.M. Jayaratne will be kept lying-in-state in Parliament from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., today. All present and former MPs, family members, relations and friends, as well as former Parliament staffers who wish to pay their final respects to the late PM, are requested to be present in Parliament on or before 12.30 p.m. today, Parliament Secretary-General Dammika Dissanayake said. more..

Failure to receive O/L admission cards: Principals requested to contact

Nov 22 (DN) Examinations Department advises school principals who do not receive the admission cards for the Ordinary Level Examination 2019 by today (22) to contact the Examinations Department. Examinations Commissioner-General Sanath Poojitha told news media that the admission cards and the time tables of school candidates relating to the O/L Examination 2019 have already been posted to the principals of all schools and those of private candidates to their private addresses. more..

SL national inflation hits 5.6% in October

Nov 22 (EN) Sri Lanka’s nationwide inflation hit an almost two-year high of 5.6% in October 2019, according to central bank data. The National Consumer Price Index compiled by the Census and Statistics Department had risen 5% in September and 3.4% in August 2019. The NCPI last rose over five percent 20 months ago, when it hit 5.4% in January 2018. The rise in the National Consumer Price Index in October was owing to the monthly increases of prices of food, a statement said. more..

India stresses justice for Tamils in Sri Lanka

Nov 22 (HT) The Indian govt expects SL’s new govt led by Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa to take forward the process of national reconciliation in order to meet the aspirations of the Tamil minority for equality, justice, peace and dignity. This was the message conveyed by external affairs minister S Jaishankar during a meeting with the newly elected SL president in Colombo on Tuesday. Jaishankar had visited Sri Lanka as a special envoy more..

CID Director transferred

Nov 22 (CT) The National Police Commission, yesterday (21), decided to transfer with immediate effect CID Director, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Shani Abeysekara, as Personal Assistant to the Deputy Inspector General of Police for Galle. This transfer has been made on a request by Acting IGP, Chandana Wickramaratne. SSP W. Thilakaratne, who was in charge of the Police Environment Division, has been appointed as Director CID, replacing SSP Abeysekara. more..

SL’s new president has a worrying past

Nov 22 (Economist) As Sri Lanka's long civil war was drawing to a close in 2009, the army surrounded 100,000 civilians on a tiny sliver of beach, barely three square kilometres in size. Mixed in among them were a small number of separatist guerrillas, the remnants of a once-formidable force that had been battling for an independent state for the country’s Tamil minority for 26 years. The insurgents had no compunction about using innocent villagers as human shields. more..

Karu declines to run for PM

Nov 22 (CT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya last night said that he will not accept any proposal to run for PM at the forthcoming General Election. He also said that he will not accept any proposal to lead the Party's campaign for the coming General Election. This follows a group of senior UNF MPs submitting a proposal to allow Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to take over the leadership of the Party and contest the next General Election as more..

New Cabinet to be sworn in today

Nov 22 (DM) 15 Cabinet ministers to be sworn in this morning to serve in the govt for an interim period till the general election is conducted, following the dissolution of parliament after March 1 next year. The MPs have been requested to be present at the Presidential Secretariat at 8am today. PM Mahinda Rajapaksa informed the leaders of the parties in the new govt yesterday morning that this would be only an interim arrangement. He said the proper Cabinet would be formed after snap general election more..

Environmentalists too count on President Rajapaksa to come to rescue of endangered

Nov 22 (Island) Scientists, researchers and environmentalists have expressed confidence that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will do his utmost to protect the country’s biodiversity. President Rajapaksa has acknowledged the importance of preserving the environment for future generations and pledged to work towards it while aiming to fulfill the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015. Dr. Anslem de Silva, who recently clinched the prestigious IUCN prize, more..

Video: Cardinal requests Prez to take action against those responsible for Easter attacks

Nov 22 (AD) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today (21) requested Archbishop of Colombo, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith to nominate a representative from the archdiocese for the proposed committee on Easter Sunday attacks which is to be established soon. Meanwhile, Cardinal Ranjith has urged Prez Rajapaksa to take legal action against those who are responsible for the attacks despite their status, more..

Let’s get attached to other communities

Nov 22 (DM) As much as the recent Presidential Elections showed how much Sri Lanka is divided, certain posts on social media underscore the fact that we need to work more on reconciliation. Incidents like the April 21 Easter attacks, mostly targeting churches, would have given the majority community the opportunity to unite with others and get accustomed to different cultures. But in SL this didn’t happen to the expectations of right minded people who’ll choose peace over power. more..

New Prez: What’s in store for minorities?

Nov 22 (DM) Analyses of results of last Saturday’s prez election seem to run counter to recent history. The main reason for the assumptions of political analysts seems to be the popular but wrong presumption that people always support candidates on the basis of their policies and past performances. SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa won the election by a majority of 1,360,016 votes over his closest rival Sajith Premadasa from NDF. Rajapaksa mustered 6,924,255 votes or 52.25% more..

Key areas under scrutiny of election observer groups

Nov 22 (DM) SL’s eighth prez election, with a record number of 35 candidates vying for the highest office of the state, concluded on Sunday. While polling was underway on Saturday, a number of independent parties and NGOs conducted their election observations, in accordance with international election standards. Local and foreign observers who arrived in the island were deployed to polling stations more..

Court blocks Boswell Residencies auction by Sampath

Nov 22 (TM) The Commercial High Court of Colombo has issued an enjoining order restraining Sampath Bank PLC from auctioning Boswell Residencies. The order comes as the developer of Boswell Residencies, Ben Consortium Constructions (Pvt.) Ltd. mortgaged the residency to Sampath Bank without the consensus of residency occupants. The order was issued on 23 October by Commercial HC Judge Prasantha De Silva by more..

Butterfly boom sees crowds of yellow visitors suddenly appear

Nov 22 (ST) Sri Lanka is experiencing a butterfly boom these days with even suburbs of congested cities such as Colombo seeing an increase in the fluttering visitors. Many of them belong to the yellow Lemon Emigrant (Catopsilia pomona) species that traditionally begin a seasonal movement at this time of year, says butterfly expert Rajika Gamage. Mr. Gamage, who is observing butterflies in the Thanamalwila area, more..

'Gotabaya will bring Sri Lanka into a neutral position’

Nov 22 (AD) Gotabaya Rajapaksa swept to power in the recent prez polls in Sri Lanka, marking the return to centre stage of his powerful political family on the island nation. Asanga Abeyagoonasekera, director general of the Institute of National Security Studies SL, spoke with Rudroneel Ghosh about the political and regional implications of the election result. Q: What are the main factors that contributed to Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s victory more..

Video: President on how heads of state institutions will be appointed

Nov 22 (AD) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says that the interim govt appointed for the duration until parliamentary polls are held will be a govt only limited to implementing the preliminary promises made to the public in the plan presented by them. That is why we appointed a Cabinet comprised of 15 ministers, he said, addressing newly sworn in ministers and ruling party MPs at the Prez Secretariat this morning. more..

Edinburgh University to return 9 human skulls to Sri Lanka

Nov 22 (EN) Edinburgh University will return a set of nine human skulls to their homeland of Sri Lanka in a repatriation ceremony today. The skulls, thought to be over 200 years old, were taken from their place of origin more than a century ago. They will be presented to Wanniya Uruwarige, chief of the jungle-dwelling Vedda people, after anatomy researchers at the University agreed to the Vedda’s claim as the earliest inhabitants of Sri Lanka. more..

Lalith Weeratunga’s overseas travel ban lifted

Nov 22 (AD) The Court of Appeal has lifted the overseas travel ban imposed on former President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga till the 13th of March 2020. The order was delivered by the Appeals Court bench consisting of Judges Deepali Wijesundara and Ruwan Fernando, taking into consideration a request made by the defendant. Speaking on behalf of Weeratunga, Attorney-at-Law Kanchana Ratwatte said his client has more..

President to call snap parliamentary election in March

Nov 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka's new president said Friday that he will call a snap parliamentary election in March following his sweeping victory at the weekend. Gotabaya Rajapaksa is hoping to ride a wave of popularity by calling an election six months before the current parliament's five-year term expires on March 1. "I will consult the people at the earliest opportunity I get under the constitution," he said, after swearing-in a new cabinet more..

Politics is a game of grit and character: Ranil

Nov 22 (DM) Politics is a hard game and it needs teamwork while one has to have the stamina to play it, the outgoing PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said after leaving Temple Trees yesterday. “Politics is more than chess. It is teamwork like cricket. You must have the stamina for a marathon. You must remember it is a hard game like rugby and it is a blood sport like boxing,” he said in his twitter message which he posted several hours after more..

Video: New Cabinet of Ministers sworn-in

Nov 22 (AD) The new Cabinet of Ministers commenced taking oaths before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa a short while ago. The swearing-in ceremony is taking place at the Presidential Secretariat with the participation of many dignitaries. Accordingly, 15 new Ministers have been appointed to the Cabinet of the interim Govt. These Ministers will serve in their respective posts until the general election is held next year. more..

Fiscal Challenges

Nov 22 (CT) The USA-based Fitch Rating, a credit rating agency, in a report released on Wednesday said that SL's external debt repayments in the next four years, i.e. from 2020 to 2023, stand at US$19 billion. These commitments have to be looked at in the context that Sri Lanka's foreign currency reserves are currently valued at $7.8 billion, the rating agency said. It further said that much of the present reserves' composition comprise commercial debt, as opposed to concessional debt, more..

Lightning result after threat to liberalise wheat imports?

Nov 22 (Island) The President of All Ceylon Bakery Owners Association N. K. Jayawardena announced the withdrawal of his association’s decision to increase the price of a loaf of bread at midnight yesterday. Jayawardena said the decision to increase the price of bread and other bakery products had been arrived at after the two main companies importing wheat flour to the country had jacked up price of the commodity by Rs.8 and the then govt didn't take any action against them. more..

Chandima Weerakkody

’56 reborn

Nov 22 (FT) The outcome of Prez Election 2019 can be regarded as a miracle in the political sphere rather than an ordinary election victory of a political party. The prevailing view in Sri Lanka was that a Prez Election could not be solely won on the vote of the majority without the support of minority communities. The Prez Election 2019 can be considered the first time that this theory has been proven false. In the 2005 Prez Election, there were some close supporters of prez candidate more..

'Education industry needs major reforms'

Nov 22 (NR) Minister of Education Dullas Alahapperuma says the education industry is in need of major reforms. Speaking at the Education Ministry after assuming duties as the new Minister in charge, Alahapperuma said increasing funds allocated for education is also a timely requirement. Minister noted that although demands were made for 6% of the GDP to be allocated for education, it remained a mere slogan to date. He pointed out that only 1.9% of the GDP was set aside more..

Video: Ranil denies claims he hampered Sajith’s election campaign

Nov 22 (AD) Former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has rejected the claims leveled against him for allegedly hampering the election campaign of NDF’s prez contender Sajith Premadasa. He responded to these claims today while addressing a media briefing held at Sirikotha premises. He said: “I suggested Sajith Premadasa’s name as our prez candidate, which was unanimously accepted by the party and more..

Sajith loyalists to lobby for complete reforms within UNP

Nov 22 (DM) Sajith loyalists will struggle for a complete reform within the UNP initially while forming another party would be the second option, an MP who lobbied for Mr. Premadasa’s candidacy said yesterday. MP Kabir Hashim told journalists at the Vauxhall Street campaign office of Mr. Premadasa that they will initially fight for reforms within the UNP. “We will initially try to lobby for a complete reform in the UNP rather than rushing through to form another party,” more..

Gammanpila rejects ministerial portfolio

Nov 22 (DM) PHU Leader Udaya Gammanpila said today the reason why he had decided not to accept any ministerial portfolio was to ease the pressure exerted on the President and PM when appointing a cabinet with limited number of ministers. The letter in this regard was sent to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday. He said that since the cabinet had been limited to 15 ministers, both the Prez & PM must have found it extremely difficult to choose a limited number of ministers. more..

Confusion over defence portfolio

Nov 22 (RN) Following this morning’s swearing-in of the caretaker Cabinet of Ministers, there appears to be some confusion over who was assigned the all-important Defence Ministry. Some earlier reports indicated that newly appointed PM Mahinda Rajapaksa had been assigned the Defence portfolio in addition to the Ministries of Finance, Buddha Sasana, Urban Development and others. In the English version of a list of appointments more..

Prima Ceylon reverses wheat flour price hike

Nov 22 (EN) Prima Ceylon (Pvt) Ltd, said a recent increase in wheat flour has been reversed pending talks with the new govt. “As the newly elected President is making the best effort to put the SL economy back on a strong recovery path, while addressing many challenges, Prima Ceylon will assist the prez’s endeavors by withdrawing the recent price increase, pending discussions with the new govt. “Accordingly, bakery owners and retail traders have been informed of price reversal.” more..

50kg cement bag increased by Rs.100

Nov 22 (NR) The National Movement for Protection of Consumer Rights says the Consumer Affairs Authority has taken steps to increase the price of a 50kg bag of cement by Rs. 100. The Movement said the Consumer Affairs Authority granted five cement companies the opportunity to increase the price of a 50kg bag of cement, without taking into consideration the expenditure. The Movement added the decision was reached prior to the resignation of the Former Chairman of CAA. more..

More than 40 incidents of post-election violence reported: CMEV

Nov 22 (RN) Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) says that 45 incidents of post-election violence were reported during the period that ended yesterday (21) midnight. The 45 incidents reported to CMEV include 23 assaults, 10 intimidation or threats, 4 damage to property, 5 election offences, 2 illegal campaignings and one other. The most number of incidents were reported from Kalutara district which is 9 while more..

The economy must be understood: Amaraweera

Nov 22 (NR) Minister of Passenger Transport and Power and Energy Mahinda Amaraweera says all individuals must be committed to ensuring a strong transport service. Assuming duties today Minister Amaraweera said the country’s economy must be understood in order to move forward with development. The Minister noted that the implications of a bus or train strike results in state officers slacking in daily routines. He pointed out that the public in turn is severely affected. more..

Warning issued for heavy rainfall, severe lightning and strong winds

Nov 22 (AD) Thundershowers accompanied by severe lightning are likely to occur at several places in Western, Central, Sabaragamuwa, North-western, Uva, North-central and southern provinces and in Mannar, Vavuniya and Ampara districts during the evening or night. Heavy falls above 100 mm can be expected at some places in the above areas, Dept of Meteorology said issuing a weather warning. Temporarily strong gusty winds up to 70-80 kmph also possible during thundershowers, it said. more..

Selection Board to make appointments to Govt institutions: Prez

Nov 22 (DM) The appointments of heads to State corporations, boards and other institutions would be made through a Selection Board to ensure only the qualified and professionals would be appointed as chairpersons and directors, Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa said today. Addressing the newly appointed ministers and to be appointed ministers at the Presidential Secretariat, President Rajapaksa said the statutory bodies and corporations more..