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The collapse of the old guard and the wait for the young turks

Nov 12 (Island) Prez Wickremesinghe’s political days are numbered in more ways than one. There are virtually none left for Mahinda Rajapaksa. The oldest of them, R. Sampanthan, is under pressure to formally retire. Vasudeva Nanayakkara has not been heard in a while, but he too belongs to the cohort of politicians who entered parliament in 1970 or 1977. They respectively came from Colombo, Hambantota, Galle/Kiriella and Trincomalee, and belonged to the UNP, SLFP, TULF and LSSP – four parties more..

Nuwara Eliya Post Office sparks nostalgia among tourists

Nov 12 (CT) Ekaterina, who over the years has made it an integral part of her tour to Sri Lanka to post more than 50 postcards to her loved ones across the world, couldn’t fathom the fact that she will not be able to repeat the travel ritual at the Pink Post Office the next time she visit the country. “I come from Russia and look forward to doing this every time I make my travel itinerary in SL. Why would they want to close this already more..

The Cricket time bomb

Nov 12 (TM) The people of this bankrupt country, who have done everything they possibly could within the democratic realm to usher in a new political culture but have hopelessly failed due to the powers that be, whom they helped to install in office last year, acting deaf and blind to their demands, finally began to see light at the end of the tunnel last week in the most unlikeliest of circumstances. It is indeed intriguing that the initial trigger for the long chain of events that more..

SL taking people’s voice to World Court

Nov 12 (SO) Sri Lankans woke up to a Saturday morning shock and many had a sleepless night after learning that the International Cricket Council (ICC) had banned their team. Groping for answers they found one come their way that for the first time SL which could not win the World Cup will go the World Court with a litany of woes that brought the country’s only pride and adored passion to zero levels. “We informed the ICC officially in writing about the corruption taking place at SLC. more..

ලංකාවේ ක්‍රිකට් තහනම් කරන්න...

Parliament and the Cricket Board

Nov 12 (Island) We publish today a letter from an exultant reader, who is a frequent contributor to these columns, cheering the unanimity achieved in parliament on Thursday on doing something tangible about setting right the affairs of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). We need not labour the fact that all Lankans, be they cricket fans or not, have long been aware that SLC has been a corrupt institution awash with money for a very long time. Despite sporadic efforts to set it right, including the appointment of more..

Beira Lake area to be converted to a major entertainment destination

Nov 12 (SO) Beira Lake area would be converted to a major entertainment destination, Minister Harin Fernando said. He said that this task was handed over to him personally by President Ranil Wickremesinghe who was keen to develop this area as a major entertainment destination similar to Clarke Quay River in Singapore which offers amusement, dining and entertainment. “We are also keen to have a few floating restaurants, entertainment options, street food corners more..

No decision on 2024 Under-19 World Cup yet as SLC suspension row rumbles on

Nov 12 (CI) SLC president Shammi Silva has warned that the country could lose out on hosting the men's U-19 World Cup in January and February if the ICC's suspension of SLC was not lifted. He also said the ICC wanted to suspend Sri Lanka back in July, but he prevented it. However, the ICC has not yet made a decision on the U-19 World Cup and will discuss the hosting of that tournament only at the next board meeting on Nov 21. more..

WC Match 44: England beat Pakistan

Nov 12 (CI) England's soon-to-be-deposed world champions bade farewell to the 2023 World Cup with a glimpse of their former domineering selves, as they marched to an emphatic 93-run win over Pakistan at Eden Gardens. The result means that Babar Azam's men are officially out of semi-final contention. David Willey marked the final appearance of his international career with a sparky all-round display that included his 100th and final ODI wicket, and after Ben Stokes had more..

WC Match 43: Australia beat Bangladesh

Nov 12 (CI) Australia's aversion to chasing has disappeared ahead of a semi-final with old foes South Africa after a statement innings of 177 not out from Mitchell Marsh at No.3 helped his side cruise to their second-successive record World Cup chase against Bangladesh in Pune, running down 307 with eight wickets and 32 balls to spare. Marsh made his highest ODI score and his first century at first drop, thumping 177 off 132 balls with 17 fours and nine sixes in brutal fashion. more..

ICC තහනමින් පසු ශම්මි කටඅරියි

Budget 2024: Long-term interests vs short-term gains

Nov 12 (ST) Next week’s Budget 2024 is on the legislative cards and what’s on the Finance Minister’s menu card is what is at stake. It is an unenviable task to find the money for the country to stay afloat and at the same time ensure its citizens stay afloat. Trade unions and even professional bodies are baying for the Minister’s blood as fiscal reforms at the insistence of the IMF continue to bite the ordinary people and make their day-to-day life, and those of small and medium businesses, more..

Roshan fears he may be poisoned at Presidential Secretariat

Nov 12 (DM) Reiterating an earlier claim that he had received threats to his life, Sports Minister said that he would not drink even a glass of water at the Presidential Secretariat because it could be poisoned. "I have faith in the President (Wickremesinghe), I go to see him. But I will never drink even a glass of water from the Presidential Secretariat because I can't be sure if it has been poisoned," Minister alleged. “I am concerned about my life to that extent,” Minister said. more..

Sri Lanka midnight tax drama takes new turn with price controllers policing sugar stocks

Nov 12 (EN) SL’s mid night sugar tax controversy took a new turn Friday with the Trade Minister promising to deploy CAA officials to monitor the stocks and enforce price controls. SL raised the import tax from 25 cents to 50 rupees on sugar overnight with effect from Nov 4, without a type of pre-parliamentary sovereign prerogative delegated to the minister in charge. SL’s ad-hoc tax policies have created more hardships for consumers more..

SriLankan Airlines reports operating profit but loss in latest accounts

Nov 12 (ST) While SriLankan Airlines’ revenue for the year ending March 31, 2023 saw group revenue soar to Rs. 369,470 million against Rs. 134,301 million in the earlier year, the year ended with a reduced loss of Rs. 71,306 million compared to Rs.163,583 million in 2021/2222, according to the latest annual performance of the national carrier posted recently on its website. The loss included finance charges and exchange fluctuations. The operating profit was Rs.43,371 million more..

Official remittances up 46% in October on improved exchange rate policies

Nov 12 (EN) Sri Lanka's remittances coming through official channels went up to $517.4 million in Oct 2023, up 46% from $355.4 million a year earlier, as more expatriates send their earnings due to improved exchange rate after better monetary policy. However official remittances are down for the fourth month in a row. SL’s external sector started to stabilize in Sept 2022, when the central bank started to run balance of payments surpluses after ending money printing to sterilize interventions more..

Power generation: CEB accused of manipulating Renewable Energy Plan

Nov 12 (TM) Allegations have been levelled against the top management of CEB for allegedly manipulating the Renewable Energy Plan. The plan, prepared by the CEB and incorporated into Long-Term Generation Expansion Plan (LTGEP) 2023-2042, is allegedly being tampered with to facilitate two mega, unsolicited solar investments. The controversial claims, brought to light last week, suggest a deliberate manipulation within more..

Sri Lanka gross foreign reserves at US$ 3562 million in Oct

Nov 12 (EN) Sri Lanka’s gross foreign reserves grew marginally to US$ 3,562 million in October from US$ 3,540 million in September after falling in the previous three months, in the wake of a reserve ratio cut. Sri Lanka cut the statutory reserve ratio in August dumping large volumes of liquidity into the interbank market, though the central bank sold some of the bills it bought in the previous two years to target potential output and trigger a currency crisis and mop some of it up. more..

Demand for ministry’s low-interest loans soars

Nov 12 (TM) The demand among small and medium-scale entrepreneurs for the low fixed interest rate loan schemes offered by the Ministry of Industries has skyrocketed amidst the current economic crisis, far exceeding its capacity to cater in terms of budgetary allocations. Ministry of Industries Project Management Unit Deputy Project Director K.M. Rizvi revealed that since the inception of the current economic crisis, the demand for the two low fixed interest rate loan schemes offered by more..

ක්‍රිකට් මාෆියාවේ හැංගුන කතාවක්....

Mathews could have avoided Timed Out dismissal by alerting umpires

Nov 12 (ST) MCC says that Angelo Mathews could have avoided the Timed Out if he had alerted the umpires the helmet issue. Mathews became the first in history of int'l cricket to be dismissed Timed Out during their game against Bangladesh last Monday. Walking in to bat at the fall of Sadeera Samarawickrema’s wicket, Mathews was getting ready to take guard to face the bowler. But when he tried to adjust the strap of his helmet, it came out in what he said was an equipment malfunction. more..

SLC saga: ICC accused of violating procedure in SLC ban

Nov 12 (TM) Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe asserted that the ICC had not adhered to proper procedures before imposing any ban or suspension. Ranasinghe revealed that he had learnt about SL’s ban by the ICC through the media. Subsequently, he had promptly sought legal advice on the necessary steps the ministry should take to overturn the ban. Minister expressed his disappointment that appropriate protocols had not been followed when enforcing this suspension. more..

Price controls on essential meds: Pharmacy owners urge unified pricing formula

Nov 12 (TM) All-Island Private Pharmacy Owners’ Association (AIPPOA) has called on the Govt to eliminate price controls on 60 identified medicines and implement a unified pricing formula for all medications based on their Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) values. AIPPOA President Chandika Gankanda said that Sri Lanka was at a significant risk of losing access to high-quality pharmaceutical products more..

Govt to launch islandwide mobile SIM card registration verification programme

Nov 12 (EN) SL govt has requested the general public to update their mobile phone SIM (subscriber identity module) card registration and ensure that the details are accurate, Dept of Govt Information said, ahead of a move to introduce a unique identity card to facilitate digitalization in taxation and other govt services. SL has nearly 8 million more registered mobile phone numbers than its 22 million population as some people have more than one mobile SIM card registered under their names. more..

Sri Lanka will appeal against ICC suspension: Sports Minister

Nov 12 (AD) Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe has questioned the recent ban imposed by the ICC against SLC, and assured that Sri Lanka would appeal to the global cricket governing body in this regard. Ranasinghe stated that the ban comes as a shock, given its sudden implementation by the ICC. Minister explained that the ban was imposed without any prior notice or warning, and is thereby inconsistent with the required ICC procedures usually followed in such matters. more..

හිරු ටීවී පත්තරේ විස්තරේ

More post office buildings for hotel projects

Nov 12 (ST) Two more post office buildings in Diyatalawa and Galle and three more ancient buildings in Kandy and Nuwara Eliya are to be offered for hotel projects through UDA in addition to the historic Nuwara Eliya post office. The income generated from the post office buildings offered to the hotel sector would be transferred to the loss-making Postal Dept, an official said. UDA Director General Prasad Ranaweera said that the Diyathalawa and Galle post offices more..

IRD probe into recent sugar import scam

Nov 12 (ST) A comprehensive investigation is now underway on the alleged importation of an unusually large amount of sugar days before the special commodity levy hike to Rs. 50 from 25 cents per kg came in effect on Nov 2, Finance Ministry sources said. The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has initiated an audit inspection to find out whether the sugar importers had gained undue profits due to the increase in the Special Commodity Levy on sugar, State Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. more..

The Saga continues…

Nov 12 (ST) The elected President of SLC, Shammi Silva furiously slammed the country’s Minister of Sports, Roshan Ranasinghe for ruining the reputation of cricket, by unnecessarily exploiting politics into the sport. Silva, who has been accused of corruption, as well as influencing the ICC to impose an indefinite global suspension on SL, categorically denied any involvement from his part. “Am I insane to do that,” he said more..

President’s welfare budget tomorrow

Nov 12 (ST) Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe, as Finance Minister, will present tomorrow in parliament the Social Protection and Welfare Budget 2024 based on a medium-term fiscal framework with a sharp increase in welfare spending. SL’s welfare allocation for 2024 would be a sizable Rs. 200 billion compared to the previous budget’s Rs. 65 billion, a Finance Ministry official said. Existing tax system would be maintained by introducing some new direct taxes, including property and land taxes, more..

Sri Lanka will lose US$ 50mn if ICC suspension continues: Shammi Silva

Nov 12 (AD) President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Shammi Silva has warned that in the event the International Cricket Council (ICC) does not lift the ongoing suspension against the country’s membership, the country stands to lose US$ 50 millions. Silva explained that it was after several discussions and deliberations that the ICC allowed the island nation to host both the U19 Cricket World Cup and the AGM of the ICC in 2024, and the Women’s World Cup later in 2027. more..

Question for SLPP: Who will be its presidential candidate?

Nov 12 (ST) Last week, it was the seventh anniversary of the SLPP, one that has embodied the good, bad and the ugly in the country’s politics. A pirith ceremony, among other events, saw a family reunion of the Rajapaksas—a reminder of the political influence they would come to wield at the next presidential and parliamentary elections. There were also many other takeaways from an otherwise staid religious event. more..

Strikes and protests and re-purposing colonial era buildings

Nov 13 (DM) Earlier this week on 7 November, United Postal Trade Unions Front (UPTUF) decided to launch a 48-hour strike from midnight. According to UPTUF convenor Chinthaka Bandara a 48-hour strike action was to be launched from midnight in response to govt’s decision to sell the buildings where the Kandy and Nuwara Eliya post offices are located. According to Bandara, UPTUF would call off their 24-hour trade union action, but will resume it if the govt’s decision is not changed more..

Empty Rhetoric by United legislators shook the Cricket fields!

Nov 13 (DM) Dr. John Rockwood took the lead in establishing a national board to oversee and promote Ceylon Cricket. This initiative resulted in the formation of the Ceylon Cricket Association (CCA) in 1922, coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the first international match played on SL soil in 1832. In a rare gesture, both factions in Parliament, [of which the Aragalayist, demanded en masse resignations 17 months ago], in an overt display of panic or perhaps pretentious rhetoric, more..

Bandula gives economics lessons to relief-seeking Namal

Nov 13 (ST) SLPP MP Namal Rajapaksa and Minister Bandula Gunawardana got into a discussion on the state of the country’s economy recently when they met during a pirith chanting ceremony to mark the SLPP’s 7th anniversary at the party head office at Nelum Mawatha. Mr Gunawardana, who used to be a well-known economics teacher, proceeded to give the young MP a free tuition lesson in economics to explain more..

Roshan’s hat trick: Rugby, football and cricket

Nov 13 (ST) My dear Roshan, It is unusual to write about cricket for a second week running, but I must write to you as you are the person in the hot seat now. Last week, we wrote of how Sri Lankan Cricket died, murdered by SLC or Shammi’s Limited Company. The International Cricket Conference (ICC) has just confirmed that. We knew that there was trouble brewing in SLC for some time. Some cricketers were suspended for smoking and others were charged with more serious offences. more..

Palestine and Israel, international law and Sri Lanka’s grim experience

Nov 13 (GV) Recent events in the Middle East have left people throughout the world horrified, especially since so many of the injured and killed have been children. Those with widely varying backgrounds and beliefs have joined together in calls for an end to the Israeli armed forces’ deadly onslaught on Palestinian residents of Gaza as well as condemning mass murder and kidnap of Jewish people in Israel by Hamas fighters. Human cost has been terrible and continues to mount while escalating militarism more..

'Budget 2024: Balance between economic resurgence and public welfare'

Nov 13 (SO) State Minister of Finance, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, provides comprehensive insights into Budget 2024, to be presented in Parliament by Prez and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Addressing concerns about the high Cost of Living, Minister discusses the intricate challenges in balancing income and expenditure, the strategic measures to address tax losses and fraud, and the collaborative role of the IMF. more..

Comply and implement

Nov 13 (TM) SL will today witness one of its most important budgets to-date. We are not out of the woods, and for some 2024 may be a difficult year as 2023 and 2022 was. A large section of the SL community wants and seeks relief. However, it is unlikely that what relief that can be offered at this stage will fall short of the expectations of many. This is not to say that those who are struggling to get by don’t deserve relief, they do. However, practicality and resources at hand, dictates that little more..

Taxation too taxing for people

Nov 13 (CT) Yet another increase of the Value Added Tax (VAT) is to take effect from 1 Jan 2024. While the news of a tax hike might not come as a surprise to many given how the taxes and tariffs were increased at a rate in the recent past, an increase of VAT to 18% might not be something the public will be able to weather, especially considering the country used to enjoy much lower VAT – as low as 8% – less than five years ago. The reason why the Govt has decided to load burden after more..