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Why President Sirisena cannot have an extended term

Jul 14 (ST) Efforts to remain in office after the end of his current five-year term, legal experts have now warned President Sirisena, would be an impossible task. His term comes to an end on Jan 8, 2020. In a bid to hold office beyond this date, he was to seek a determination this week from the Supreme Court on when his term of office began. Earlier, Prez Sirisena was told by his advisors that his tenure should begin on May 15, 2015 — more..

Sri Lanka keen on enhancing connectivity with Indian ports

Jul 14 (Hindu) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) is keen on enhancing connectivity with Indian ports using ferry services to facilitate easier trade and tourism, its chairman Kavan Ratnayaka said. “If the two countries can set up a ferry service connecting Kankesanthurai port (KKS) in Jaffna with Karaikal near Puducherry, and similarly between Colombo and Tuticorin in south India, there is scope for increased trade activity and tourism,” he told The Hindu. more..

MPs world cup: Lanka plays safe

Jul 14 (ST) The Easter Sunday terrorist attacks prompted SL’s Parliament to decline sending a team for the inaugural Inter-Parliamentary Cricket World Cup (IPCWC), the Speaker’s Office said. The IPCWC took place in England this week in conjunction with the Cricket World Cup. Squads from the legislative assemblies of most of the countries taking part in the World Cup participated — including those from England, Australia, NZ, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh & Afghanistan. more..

PC polls possible before presidential election

Jul 14 (ST) The prospects of Provincial Council elections ahead of this year’s presidential poll will form the subject of discussion when Prez Sirisena meets National Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya. Prez, who returned to Colombo from a private visit to Britain, is to schedule a meeting with the Polls Chief in the light of Mr. Deshapriya’s intimation that PC polls could be followed by the presidential election. more..

MCC compact before Cabinet soon

Jul 14 (SO) A Cabinet paper on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funding will be put before the Cabinet of Ministers for approval by the 22 July. Speaking to the Sunday Observer an official attached to the project office said that the cabinet paper will be presented the week after next since the Finance Minister will not be available next week. The MCC compact will extend US$ 480 million to Sri Lanka by way of a development assistance grant, to be disbursed over five years. more..

Working overtime to defend a defence deal

Jul 14 (Hindu) Over the last two months, the U.S. finds itself constantly under scrutiny in Sri Lanka, where it has been accused of pushing the Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA), or at least a version of it. With stiff resistance emerging at the top-most level, from President Sirisena, the U.S. mission here is working overtime to defend the proposed agreement. Tweeting on an article claiming that the U.S. was planning to turn SL into a military colony, U.S. Amb. in Colombo, Alaina Teplitz, said: more..

CPC threatens fuel cuts to SriLankan

Jul 14 (SO) In the wake of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation’s (CPC) decision to suspend its fuel supply to SriLankan Airlines in two months’ time, State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne plans to hold immediate discussions with the CPC to find a solution to the issue. “We have to understand that both are state owned entities (SOE). Therefore, both institutions can come up with a solution” the State Minister said. more..

Clamp down on foreign travel

Jul 14 (ST) Ministry of Finance is clamping down on officials’ foreign travel as standard procedure has not been followed in nominating officers for foreign programmes. A 2- page circular issued by Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. R.H.S Samaratunga is aimed at regulating and restricting foreign visits of Ministry officials. It has been observed that when nominating officials for foreign programmes (Training, Workshops, Conferences, Seminars etc.), standard procedure has not been followed by Insts. more..

Video: UNP backbenchers preparing to bring no-confidence motion

Jul 14 (AD) Backbencher MPs of the United National Party (UNP) are preparing to bring forth another motion of no confidence. UNP MP Chaminda Wijesiri said that this motion would seek to punish the true wrongdoers responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks. Speaking at a press briefing in Colombo, he said that once they prepare, sign and present the motion to the Parliament and that the MPs will have to keep their spines straight and sign the motion. more..

NIA raids Chennai areas, looking for Lankan bomb attack links

Jul 14 (IT) National Investigation Agency (NIA) carried out raids at multiple places in Chennai and Nagapattinam. The city offices of Wahdathe Islami Hind at Mannady and Vepery were searched by the investigating officers in connection with Easter Day blasts in Sri Lanka recently. Three persons are being questioned in connection with the raids. Wahdathe Islami Hind has its headquarters in Uttar Pradesh and branches at Mannady and more..

Video: Fonseka hits out at Sajith for supporting death penalty

Jul 14 (AD) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka says that UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa always fulfills the needs of the President and supports his statements. UNP MP also said that if the incumbent PM does not stand for candidacy at the upcoming presidential election and if the alternative candidate is not an individual who can contribute to the country, he is opposed to that. Responding to a question from reporters regarding the implementation of the death penalty, more..

Dr. Rohantha Athukorala bags Icon: Public Sector Leadership Award

Jul 14 (Island) Dr. Rohantha Athukorala, a respected professional in Sri Lanka’s business sphere, was honored with the Icon - Public Sector Leadership award for his service to the country by Business World International at the awards ceremony at Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo. Athukorala has worked for private sector multinationals Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever and Diverseylever in India, and thereafter served United Nations (UNOPS). He has bagged a string of coveted accolades for outstanding more..

Govt proposes unified employment law

Jul 14 (ST) The Govt is going ahead with a new unified employment law gradually replacing 54 archaic labour legislations currently in force, the Labour Ministry revealed. The unified employment law which is yet to be made public, as a draft, was presented to the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) last Tuesday without any discussions. The draft was prepared under USAID supervision by private legal consultants. more..

Railway Unions warn of strike action

Jul 14 (DM) Railway Trade Union Alliance (RTUA) warned that they would stage another railway strike if all the casual employees of the Railway Department were not made permanent immediately. Alliance Co-Convener S.P. Withanage said that they would request for a quick discussion to the solution to this employee crisis with Minister Arjuna Ranatunga. “There is an alleged move to recruit more employees in such a situation where there are existing casual, temporary & contract more..

China produces new diesel trains for SL

Jul 14 (Xinhua) China's rolling-stock maker CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co. Ltd. has produced nine diesel trains for Sri Lanka. The new type of diesel trains, equipped with 90 train cars, rolled off the production line on Friday. They are the fourth batch of diesel trains the company produced for Sri Lanka. The trains were designed to travel at a speed of 120 km per hour. Compared to trains currently used in Sri Lanka, the new trains have more air-conditioned carriages and are equipped with facilities more..

CMC inspects Colombo Sports Club kitchens

Jul 14 (DM) The Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) inspected 12 sports clubs throughout the week and took legal action against six of them for maintaining their kitchens in an unhygienic manner in violation of food safety regulations. Health Department’s City Food Safety and Hygiene Promotion Unit’s Dr. Subash Mendis said only two out of the 12 sports clubs had maintained kitchens up to the standards. more..

Elephant calf to be offered to ward off PM’s bad luck: Ananda Sagara Thero

Jul 14 (AD) Chairman of the Protect Sri Lanka national movement Ven. Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thero handed over a letter to the PM’s Office against an alleged attempt to transfer an elephant calf from the Ridiyagama safari park to private custody, due to political interests. Thero arrived at Temple Trees and somewhat forced his way through the security at the PM’s Office in anger after being told to use a different entrance, resulting in a brief tense situation. more..

Kalmunai north gets fully fledged divisional secretariat

Jul 14 (DM) The govt has set up a fully-fledged divisional secretariat in Kalmunai north having acceded to a request by the TNA ahead of the vote on the no-confidence motion on Thursday, a MP said. Earlier, it functioned as a sub office of the Kalmunai Divisional Secretariat but the TNA wanted it elevated to a fully-fledged divisional secretariat to function independently of the Kalmunai main divisional secretariat located in the Muslim majority area. more..

World Cup discard Upul Tharanga confident of a comeback

Jul 14 (ST) Upul Tharanga is one of Sri Lanka’s best left-handed batsmen. Since he made his debut in 2005, over the years, Tharanga has been a prolific opener for the National team. In 2017, he took over the captaincy, after Angelo Mathews abruptly stepped down. He was among the top contenders for the 2019 World Cup (WC) squad in England, but unfortunately, his performances in the recent past have not been great and, more..

Netball WC: Sri Lanka crash to second straight defeat

Jul 14 (ST) Sri Lanka crashed to their second successive defeat when they went down fighting 50-67 against Northern Ireland in the Netball World Cup Group ‘A’ fixture worked off at the M and S Bank Arena Indoor Stadium in Liverpool, yesterday. After their heavy 49-79 defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe in the opening game of the tournament on Friday, SL produced an inspired performance before losing by a 17-goal margin. Even then, SL were trailing throughout the game as they conceded more..

Sri Lankan World Cup Stars off the Field

Jul 14 (SO) Listening to the many television cricket commentators on the 2019 World Cup in the home of cricket England and Wales, the writer makes bold to say that the most outstanding of the galaxy was Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara. The International Cricket Council the organizers of the World Cup, who decides and picks on the TV commentators, had picked an outstanding array of illustrious commentators with all of them being excellent cricketers during their day. more..

Home of cricket ready for final showdown

Jul 14 (ST) There’s no India, no Australia —two teams that have shared the last five titles but England and New Zealand—one of whom will wear the silverware for the first time in their cricketing history when seven-week long Cricket World Cup culminate today at cricket’s iconic venue—Lord’s. England is credited with making cricket a global game through their colonising past. But while their former colonies have got more..

A World Cup, waiting for a new taker

Jul 14 (ST) England are going into today’s ICC World Cup final full of confidence. They have backed up their pre-tournament’s favourites tag with some brilliant cricket in their last three must-win matches. They have played their best cricket under pressure and, buoyed by home support, they look the strongest team. NZ can be very proud of their semi-final performance against India, inflicting a massive upset with some exceptional fast bowling. However, if England play to their current top form, more..

A brief history of anti-Muslim violence in SL

Jul 14 (SO) The recent Easter attacks targeting a number of churches and hotels devastated Sri Lanka. Over 250 people were killed, and many more injured. Within days of the attack, it emerged that the perpetrators of the attack were affiliated to radical Islamist groups in Sri Lanka. However, the identification of the perpetrators as ostensibly adherents of the Islamic faith opened the floodgates of discrimination and violence against the broader Muslim community in Sri Lanka. more..

After NCM UNP backbenchers lobby for an impeachment motion against Maithri

Jul 14 (CT) The No-Confidence Motion (NCM) moved by the JVP against the Govt, for failing to prevent the 21 April, Easter Sunday, terror attacks, which killed over 250 persons, was defeated in Parliament on Thursday by a majority of 27 votes. NCM received 92 votes in favour and 119 against. The JVP and UPFA voted in favour of the Motion while the UNF and the ITAK voted against. The NCM, which was submitted to P'ment on 21 May, more..

Foreigners buy Sri Lanka rupee bonds before rate decision

Jul 14 (EN) Foreign investors bought around 2.7 billions rupees of rupee denominated bonds in the week to July 10 ahead of the monetary policy decision on July 11. Foreign holdings of rupee bonds rose to 144.83 billion rupees by July 10, from 142.16 billion rupees a week earlier. The central bank held policy rates on July 11 but signalled a possible rate cut on Aug 23. However, the de-facto target rate, the overnight repo rate at which liquidity is mopped up from money markets, more..

National schizophrenia over Executive Presidency and the next election

Jul 14 (Island) To abolish or not to abolish the executive presidency? That is Sri Lanka’s politically existential question. And who will be the non-Rajapaksa presidential candidate at the next election? That is the UNP’s existentially political question. The country is schizophrenic over abolishing the executive presidency. In the last election, abolishment was the single issue that galvanized the candidacy and ensured the victory of Maithripala Sirisena. more..


More tabs, no lats

Jul 14 (ST) It was intriguing. This was a story I read off the web under the above headline (I am borrowing it for today’s commentary), which said while the govt was giving tablets to schoolchildren, there were still schools without latrines/toilets or proper drinking water facilities! I was drawn to these statistics by a comment from Kussi Amma Sera a few weeks back. Sitting with her friends – Mabel Rasthiyadu and Serapina in their usual spot under Margosa tree on a bright & sunny morning, more..

Millennium Challenge Corporation in SL

Jul 14 (Island) The controversy over the involvement of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in Sri Lanka has now come to a head. MCC was created in the early years of the new millennium by the Bush Administration as an aid distribution programme for developing countries that are inclined to govern justly, invest in their people and encourage economic freedom. The formation of the new body was in recognition of the fact that the US development assistance programmes, more..

Dead end in Trinco-5 case?

Jul 14 (SO) The dismissal of 13 security forces personnel by the Trincomalee magistrate, could mark the end of the road in terms of achieving justice for the five young boys brutally slain on a beach in Trinco town 13 years ago, unless new evidence surfaces. The inability to locate witnesses to testify hampered the investigation by the CID, and rights activists say the case highlights the failure of SL’s justice system to hold security forces more..

Many horses in the race

Jul 14 (ST) My dear Green Man, Sajith and Karu, I thought of writing to you because your names are being suggested as possible candidates for the next big election. Everyone is talking about which one amongst you would be the best candidate for the Greens. Different people in your party are proposing different candidates and that is not a good sign. You seem to be the only party having this problem. Aiyo Sirisena thinks he is an automatic choice for the Blue party, though he may be the only person more..

Health feats; beware of comebacks

Jul 14 (ST) At a time when there’s nothing very much going right in the country, the recent news from the World Health Organisation is a silver lining in an otherwise pervasive cloud of gloom and pessimism. On July 1, Sri Lanka was declared by the WHO as having eliminated endemic measles after a detailed review of the country report, followed by an in-depth review of the measles surveillance and laboratory data, discussions and observations from field visits. more..

Inside the secret US defence agreements

Jul 14 (SO) Through a review of official records spanning nearly 25 years, Sunday Observer has traced the origin and evolution of the military agreements between the govts of SL and the US, which have entered the public spotlight for the first time after several prominent media outlets alleged that new revisions to the agreements had set the stage for armed US troops to roam freely throughout SL and construct military more..

Missing MPs

Jul 14 (Island) Our political leaders think no end of themselves. President Maithripala Sirisena, armed with his Excalibur and stingray tail or madu walige, is on a crusade against the evil forces that are hell bent on harming us. He is even ready to hang some of them. He has become SL’s Duterte—mutatis mutandis. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is talking like Superman; he claims that the military and the police, acting on his instructions, wiped out the entire ISIS network, operating on our soil, more..

Will Dr. Shafi ever find justice?

Jul 14 (SO) In Sri Lanka, the authorities of law and order have a chequered history when it comes to fulfilling their duties in consonance with the Law and the Constitution of the country. The Police have been found wanting many a time in ensuring that crimes are prevented or investigated and prosecuted. The Judiciary has stood as a bulwark of the rule of law and held the Police accountable for violations of rights and wrongful detentions and, even disappearances but more..