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A brand new Presidential regime

Nov 24 (SO) Just one week ago, Gotabaya Rajapaksa won a convincing victory at the Prez Election, becoming the country’s 7th Executive President. One could be forgiven for thinking that the Rajapaksa name or being the brother of former Prez Mahinda Rajapaksa propelled him to victory. But the most immediate reason for his triumph was his impressive track record as Defence and Urban Development Secretary and his thrust on national security at a time when Sri Lankans felt more..

'Premadasa is the hope of the Opposition'

Nov 24 (SO) Sunday Observer met with Former State Minister and UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne for his post-mortem on the Prez election. “We will iron out all differences and face the next general election predicted in March 2020, as a revived political force” he said. Speaking of the defeat he said that Sajith Premadasa had to bridge a big deficit on a campaign, within 3 weeks, but the campaign had been long planned and more..

Some priorities for the new govt

Nov 24 (ST) If confirmation was ever required, the prez election of last Saturday further reiterated the fact that cohabitation govt just does not work in SL. An imitation of the French Gaullist Executive Prez system, bipartisanship and a National Govt of the country’s two main political parties — UNP & SLFP — has not only failed, but the two are fast disintegrating in the process. From the muddied waters of local politics has emerged the lotus bud, the symbol of the victorious SLPP. more..

The people have spoken

Nov 24 (Island) One of Sri Lanka’s best known criminal lawyers (long departed) said decades ago that "many murderers are walking free today because the witnesses chose to improve on the facts." In such a scenario, it is not difficult for a clever lawyer to discredit some of the evidence destroying the total credibility of the witness. We all know the legal maxim that the accused gets the benefit of the doubt and that, perhaps, is how murderers walk free despite their crimes. more..

Is Gotabaya Rajapaksa the Prez SL need?

What matters now, is what will be done for all of us

Nov 24 (ST) My dear Gota maamey, I am writing to congratulate you on your very convincing victory in the big race last week. Most people, which I suspect includes yourself, expected a tight contest. In the end you won with a wide margin, leaving no doubt as to who the winner was and without any need for a second count. I hope you appreciate your unique position. You got the top job in the country with absolutely no experience in public office- whereas Mahinda maama got there 35 years after more..

Reaction of a downtrodden majority

Nov 24 (Island) What we just experienced was undoubtedly the most eventful week since Jan 2015. The people of SL have voted to end a five year long nightmare. Gota’s victory was not unexpected, but the sheer magnitude of the victory certainly was. What we saw was the reaction of a down trodden, persecuted, humiliated majority community to all the suffering and indignities they had undergone for the past 5 years. The events that took place in SL between Jan2015 & Nov2019 more..

Is UNP heading for an inevitable split?

Nov 24 (CT) "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," PM Ranil Wickremesinghe tweeted several hours after leaving the Temple Trees having resigned from his post. He had to resign little less than one year after he was re-instated following dismissal on 26 Oct 2018. more..

Domestic cricket hit a snag

Nov 24 (ST) SL’s premier domestic cricket event, Major Club Tournament, has hit a snag with game’s governing body failing to approve the proposed new structure in time for the 2019-2020 edition. The season was scheduled to start in the first week of Dec (6) but there will now be at least a few weeks’ delay as the proposed structure awaits approval of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) general membership at an Emergency General Meeting (EGM). The Tournament Committee has revised structure more..

Para athlete Herath has a score to settle

Nov 24 (SO) SL’s Paralympic bronze medallist Dinesh Herath who won the Silver in the T-46 javelin event at the recently concluded World Para Athletic Championships in Dubai said his ambition now is to win the Gold at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. Herath, 33-year-old Para athlete finished second with 60.59m at the T-46 javelin event to win the Silver making it the second time he was placed second following his feat in 2017 in London. SL’s only two Para athletes Pradeep Sanjaya, more..

Avishka, Nuwan & Dilhara file action to clear their names of match-fixing allegations

Nov 24 (ST) Faced with suspension over allegation of match-fixing, three former SL cricketers have appealed to the Geneva-based Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) against ICC Anti-Corruption Unit’s (ACU) decision to proceed with the arbitration without giving a fair hearing. Michael Beloff QC, Chair of ICC Code of Conduct Commission dismissed trio’s challenge to jurisdiction and declined to lift provisional suspensions more..

Super Provincial Women's T20 Cricket tournament: Starts today at the SSC

Nov 24 (CT) Super Provincial Women's T20 Cricket Tournament will begin today (24) conducted by SLC at SSC with 4 provinces, namely Colombo, Dambulla, Galle and Kandy. Team Colombo will be led by Oshadee Ranasinghe and Chamari Atapatthu will lead Team Dambulla. Nilakshi De Silva will Skipper Team Galle and Team Kandy will be led by teenager Harshitha Madhavi. Each team will play three matches on the first round on 24, 25 and 27 Nov at the SSC. more..

Awaiting a new dawn, SLC shopping spree not over yet

Nov 24 (SO) There is a new dawn for the country and hopefully a new dawn for Sri Lanka Cricket as well. And the downward slide will be arrested by the SLC administration’s new blood who will be brought in. But before that there has been much window shopping, as it were, in the cricket coaching World Market for a Head Coach and Fielding Coach, Sri Lanka Cricket has finally picked on Mickey Arthur and Shane McDermott. At the time of writing what has not ended is the shopping spree. more..

National Audit Office asks SLC to follow proper procedure

Nov 24 (ST) The National Audit Office (NAO) has recommended strict adherence to procedure when implementing the proposed Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) campus in Kandy. In an ambitious plan to improve the overall standards of the game, SLC took initial steps in 2017 to set up a million rupee campus on land leased from the Malwathu Maha Vihara in Kandy but the project didn’t start after an administration change in May last year. more..

RPCs propose productivity based, self-managed wage model

Nov 24 (SO) Moving away from the 150-year-old attendance based, management dependent wage model towards a productivity based, self-managed, wage model is the way out for the plantation sector which is going through a tough time due internal and external factors, do not augur well for the perennial and one time lucrative industry, a well-known tea industry veteran said. Hayleys Plantations Managing Director and Past Chairman of the Planters’ Association, Dr. Roshan Rajadurai said more..

‘Winning is also another aspect but we need to develop as well’

Nov 24 (DN) SL’s 0-4 defeat at the hands of Bangladesh in the recently concluded under 19 ODI series in normal circumstances would have raised eyebrows and caused much consternation among the cricketing fraternity especially with the Under 19 World Cup around the corner. However Sri Lanka’s under 19 cricket coach Hashan Tillakaratne is quite unruffled about the result and sees no reason to panic. “I am not really disappointed with the result. Winning is also another aspect but more..

State agencies ordered to cut spending

Nov 24 (ST) All state agencies have been directed to confine spending to compulsory payments further curtailing their capital expenditure, one of the first post-election decisions by new Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle. Ministries, provincial councils departments, corporations and statutory boards have been directed by the Treasury to utilise available cash account balances to pay for small and, routine expenses only. more..

Sri Lankans Emerge towards disaster

Nov 24 (SO) The defending champions of the Emerging Teams Asia Cup, SL, were knocked out of the Emerging Asian Cup cricket tournament after they lost their third and final game against Afghanistan Emerging at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. At the start of the tournament, SL’s so-called emerging players or players of the future were comprehensively beaten by the Oman and Pakistan Emerging teams in their first two matches and the defeats meant Lankans returning empty more..

Katukurunda Circuit Meet 2019: Stage set for motor car and bike racing

Nov 24 (CT) For the 12th consecutive year the Katukurunda Circuit Meet 2019 is to be held at the Sri Lanka Air Force Station today in collaboration with Sri Lanka Auto Sport Drivers Association (SLADA) at 8:30 a.m. Undoubtedly, this racing event at Katukurunda is now considered as one of the best motor racing events in the calendar. The motor car and bike racing competition will be worked off at the Katukurunda Airstrip, now renowned as a premier motor racing venue, more..

Sri Lanka industrial zone shelved as expropriation thwarted

Nov 24 (EN) Sri Lanka has shelved plans to set up an industrial zone with Thailand’s Rojana as an attempt to expropriate leased land from a previously privatized company was thwarted in court. An official of BoI confirmed that the plans for the industrial park had been shelved after a plantations company went to court. Thai investor had also been unhappy over the delay in getting land, the official said. more..

CSE toasts new President

Nov 24 (ST) It doesn’t come as a big surprise that immediately after the big political changes, the stock market always reacts positively. This was seen when Prez Sirisena came to power in Jan 2015 and in Oct 2018 when Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the PM. On Monday, the same scene unfolded a day after Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected Prez. “Always when changes happen the market acts positively. We have always seen the market moving up to 100 points after these crucial events,” more..

Parliament to be prorogued?

Nov 24 (AD) The decision of proroguing the Parliament is currently under consideration. Although several rounds of discussions were reportedly held in this regard, a final decision is yet to be made. Prez is vested with the powers to prorogue the Parliament under 70 (1) of the Constitution and will accordingly issue an extraordinary Gazette notification announcing the prorogation. It is also the Head of the State who decides on date and time of recommencing more..

Police Commission criticized over Shani transfer

Nov 24 (RN) Civil Society activists and Opposition MPs are criticizing the National Police Commission (NPC) for transferring SSP Shani Abeysekara from his post as Director CID to that of a Personal Assistant to a DIG. In a letter to the Chairman of the NPC, K W T Karaliyadde, the Sri Lanka Young Journalists Association asked the question whether the Commission has lost its independence as in the post-election period more..

Milinda reiterates call to abolish Provincial Councils

Nov 24 (Island) Milinda Moragoda, Founder of the Pathfinder Foundation and former Cabinet Minister, in a statement called on the new Govt to refrain from holding Provincial Council elections prior to the parliamentary elections. He suggested that the Govt should, as part of the expected Constitutional overhaul, seek to mobilize the necessary two-thirds majority to repeal the 13th Amendment and thereby abolish the Provincial Council system at the conclusion of parliamentary elections. more..

Entire UNP leadership at fault for recent defeat : Mano

Nov 24 (DM) The entire UNP leadership is at fault for the defeat in the presidential elections as the party did not have a strategy and plan to attract more Buddhist votes at the election, former Minister and Leader of TPA Mano Ganesan said. MP said that he will not point his finger at the UNP leader alone but would blame the entire party hierarchy for the failure to attract more votes from the majority community. “It's not only Ranil Wickremesinghe but the UNP hierarchy that is at fault. more..

Uphill task in settling highway contractors’ bills

Nov 24 (ST) The SL govt is facing a gigantic task of settling outstanding payments to suppliers and contractors of highway projects at present, a progress review report of the Ministry of Highways showed. It was observed that the progress of the many foreign funded projects implemented during 2018 under review by the Ministry of Highways had remained behind the targets. The delays were caused due to more..

Rejected votes far less this time despite 26-inch ballot paper

Nov 24 (Island) The percentage of rejected votes at the Nov 16 prez polls was far less in comparison to the 2015 election despite the complexity of provision to mark preferences on a 26 inches long ballot paper with a record 35 candidates. Of the 13,387,951 votes polled in the 2019 prez polls, only 135,252 (0.85%) ballots were rejected. However, in the 2015 prez election, 12,264,377 votes were polled with a higher rejection rate of 140,925 (1.15%). Least percentage was in the Matara district more..

UK Labour Party manifesto vows to protect rights of SL minority

Nov 24 (AD) The election manifesto of UK’s Labour Party has featured Sri Lanka and promised the protection of human rights of Tamil and Muslim populations in the island nation. The Labour Party’s manifesto, aimed at securing the victory of UK’s general election in December, was launched two days ago. Many foreign media had tagged the manifesto as radical and ambitious. The Labour Party has made a pledge that, if elected, it will “work through UN and Commonwealth to insist more..

No Defence Minister still; new President faces constitutional conundrum

Nov 24 (ST) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appears restrained by a constitutional conundrum on whether he can take on the portfolio of Defence Minister. As Prez, the Constitution makes him the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, but the 19th Amendment arguably prohibits him from holding a ministry. In the 15-member caretaker cabinet that has been appointed there is no Defence Minister included, but on Friday, more..

Gazette issued calling on armed forces to maintain public order

Nov 24 (AD) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has issued a Gazette Extraordinary calling upon the armed forces to maintain public order across the country with effect from yesterday (22). The President issued the gazette notification yesterday by virtue of the powers vested in him by Section 12 of the Public Security Ordinance (Chapter 40). Accordingly, the Army, Navy and the Air Force have been called out for the maintenance of public order in the areas specified below: more..

General election likely in April/May next year

Nov 24 (ST) The National Election Commission will need a minimum of two months to prepare for a parliamentary election from the date it is declared by the President, Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya told the Sunday Times. Mr Deshapriya said the NEC would be able to certify the 2019 electoral register by December 31. Accordingly, if an election is called early next year, as is likely, the Commission will be able to use the 2019 register for the parliamentary elections. more..

Gotabaya pledges: I will do it my way

Nov 24 (ST) The venue was historic. Ruvanwelisaya built by King Dutugemunu, who became King of Sri Lanka after a war where he defeated the Chola King Elara some 140 years before Christ, on a sunny Monday morning. Facing the limestone statue of King Dutugemunu, south of the imposing Dagoba, Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa, declared elected by an overwhelming vote as 7th executive Prez more..

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa: worst fears and best expectations

Nov 24 (Island) For the second time in five years Sri Lankans have peacefully chosen a new President for a new five-year term and witnessed a smooth and constitutional transfer of power. The clear verdict of the electorate, which would appear to have surprised all sides, has nonetheless been accepted by everyone who contested the election and their supporters with civility and even good sportsmanship. At the same time, the glaring electoral fissure along geo-ethnic (fault) lines more..

An honourable stance and inspiring speeches

Nov 24 (Island) I just had to write my People & Events article for Sunday Nov. 24 on Sunday Nov 16; a thing I have never done before in my freelance journalism with the Sunday Island for almost 20 years. You may ask why this urgency to write the article one entire week ahead. It was a need I felt. I just had to do it or I would not be able to rest, nor sleep at night, nor even enjoy my food and friendships. The effects of the elections! I sit down to word process this piece just after more..

Poser for Rosy: Reports of rift with new Prez

Nov 24 (ST) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) members are concerned over social media reports that the new Govt is planning to replace the council with a special commissioner because it believes that there has been mismanagement by the council. According to the reports Colombo’s Mayor Rosy Senanayake had been summoned by Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa to discuss various issues, including collection of garbage and rates. more..

State Minister appointments tomorrow

Nov 24 (SO) The newly appointed Ministers are expected to hit the ground running as they begin their duties from this week, in accordance with the direction given by Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa and, not indulge in fanfare and cultivation of loyalties. The 15-member Cabinet of Ministers start work on a tight leash with strict rules about staff appointments and a strong no-no on extravagant expenditure. Ministers of State are expected to be appointed more..

GA not examining UK garbage containers: Claims no facilities available

Nov 24 (CT) The Govt Analyst's Department maintains that they don't have enough facilities to examine the controversial garbage containers that arrived at the Colombo Port nearly one and a half years ago. While Court is set to hear arguments on the controversial garbage containers on 13 Dec, the Govt Analyst's Department is still remaining silent without examining the complaint made by the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ), more..

President Gotabaya spearheads return of Ruhunu Rajapaksas

Nov 24 (DM) The 2019 prez election is over and Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been elected as the seventh Executive President with a thumping majority. The result seems to have upset the calculations and predictions of many a commentator and analyst writing in English both in Sri Lanka and abroad. It has indeed been amusing to see some of them blaming the voters for going against the grain of their assessments. more..

Flour price hike suspended, pending talks with new government

Nov 24 (ST) The premier flour supplier to Sri Lanka has put on hold any price increase of its products pending discussions with the new govt. The move came after the company, Prima Ceylon (Private) Limited, rescinded a recent price increase of Rs. 8.50 a kilo of flour. “As the newly-elected President is making the best effort to put the Sri Lankan economy back on a strong recovery path while addressing many challenges, more..

Sampanthan denies endorsing Sajith for opposition leader

Nov 24 (SO) TNA leader R. Sampanthan denied media reports that he is endorsing MP Sajith Premadasa for the opposition leader post. “I did not make any such statement. It is a matter entirely for the UNP. I did not make any such statement to anyone,” he said. The former opposition leader said the verdict presents an explicit picture of the elections. The verdict has been delivered by every single district in the North-East. more..