Victor Melder


SRI LANKA NEWS (MARCH 2020) – Compiled by Victor Melder.

Victor Meldor



Sri Lanka’s national carrier SriLankan Airlines is expected to lose 130 million US dollars (about 26 billion rupees) in the year to March 2020, officials said, taking total losses under full state ownership and management to 232 billion rupees. The airline would also need a 300 million dollar capital injection to reduce a spiral of debt, officials said. “We estimate that by this March we will lose about 130 million US dollars,” newly appointed SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage told the parliament’s Committee on Public Enterprises. The Easter Sunday bombings had hurt the airline and it the ongoing Coronavirus epidemic was also negative with flight to China being cut. However in 2021, the Airline was expecting to cut losses to about 30 million dollars, he said. The Airlines started to lose money under state management, from 2008. Losses would total of 232 billion rupees by March 2020, including 115 million dollars paid to cancel a controversial Airbus deal. Sri Lankan needs a 300 million US dollar (about 54.6 billion rupees) capital injection to reduce gearing, Pathirage said. The airline is undercapitalized due to past losses. Earlier capital injections from the tax-payer had been burned in losses. As of March 2019, SriLankan had a 168 billion rupee gap in its balance sheet. SriLankan Airlines was making losses when it was managed by Emirates, who owned 40 percent of the stock. SriLankan is looking at acquiring 4-5 year old Airbus A330 aircraft and resuming flights to Frankfurt, Pathirage said. It is also looking to start flights to Sydney in Australia. Chief Executive Vipula Gunatilleke said leasing second hand aircraft was much cheaper than getting brand new aircraft. Sri Lankan Airlines is paying above market lease installments for seven Airbus A330 CEOs it had acquired as part of a controversial deal in which is subject to a corruption probe. SriLankan is one of several state enterprises that has pushed up national debt, and has worsened the country’s debt profile. Losses at SriLankan were also hurting other state enterprises, a phenomenon known as circular debt. (Sunday Island, 1.3.2020)

By end of 2020, Sri Lanka’s central government debt was about 83 percent of gross domestic product, publicly guaranteed debt was about 5.2 percent and state enterprise debt was 14.6 percent, taking the total up to 99.4 percent of debt. SriLankan Airlines debt obligations by end 2018 was 250 billion rupees or about 1.7 percent of gross domestic product and a part of its debt was also directly guarantee by the Treasury about to 32 billion rupees or 0.2 percent of GDP, according to the International Monetary Fund estimate. SriLankan is also contributing to losses and debt at state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, which had debt of 612 billion rupees or 4.2 percent of GDP and was indirectly financing SriLankan. In 2018, the CPC lost 80 billion rupees by borrowing unhedged dollars, despite having a price formula that brought in cash. Pathirage said SriLankan bought about 14 million US dollars of fuel a month from CPC, and it was only settling about6 million US dollars. But it has now been increase to 8 million dollars. He said his intention was to eventually settle all current purchases from CPC on time, though accumulated arrears will have to be settled separately. (Sunday Island, 1.3.2020)

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                               SRI LANKA NEWS
                                         (FEBRUARY  2020)
                                    Compiled by Victor Melder.

Victor Meldor - eLanka

A proposal to provide increased pension benefits for those who retired after 2017 has been abandoned as the plan would cost the government a staggering Rs 130 billion annually. A senior Treasury official said that instead of increasing the pensions, the Government would come up with a revised scheme where the pensions of those who retired after December 31, 2017 would be calculated on the salary scales as at the end of 2017. Under a proposal of the former Government, the pensions were to be calculated on the basis that they had served until 2020. Accordingly, those retiring were to receive a minimum of Rs 3,000 additional pension, with higher grades due to receive more than Rs 10,000 a month. The previous UNF Government’s pension plan was to apply to some 100,000 employees who retired after 2017. The official explained that the implementation of the former government’s proposal would lead to the  creation of a major salary anomaly among 600,000 pensioners, who retired before 2017. At present, the Government spends Rs 240 billion annually for the payment of pensions and if the proposal was implemented the annual pension bill would have shot up to Rs 370 billion, he said. “The increased amount will be a severe burden on the Treasury and, therefore, implementation of the proposal will not be possible.” He said under the new formula to be worked out within the next six to seven months, all pensioners would be treated equally.  (Sunday Times, 2.2.2020)

Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals dropped 7.4 percent from a year earlier to 226,094 and in January 2020, and visitors from China dropped 15 percent to 22,363, Chairperson of Sri Lanka’s Tourist Development Authority Kimarli Fernando said. Arrivals from China had dropped to 22,263 in January 2020 from 26,414 visitors last year. There has been a small drop in arrivals from other destinations, she said. Sri Lanka is expecting a sharper slowdown in tourists in February after the island stopped giving on-arrival visas Chinese visitors. Sri Lanka is now pre-approving visas to visitors only from Chinese cities where there no large concentrations of coronavirus infections. China has also stopped outgoing group tours from the country. “Tour operators have cancelled but individuals and families are still arriving,” she said. Sri Lanka has put in place procedures to handle visitors for China, with separate lines for immigration, thermal screening, doctors examination at the airport. They also have to fill a form giving their itinerary. Health officials said tourist from China and tour guides and drivers have been asked to wear masks and wash their hands frequently. (Economynext, 3.2.2020)

Sri Lanka’s inflation, as measured by the change in the Colombo Consumers’ Price Index (CCPI), increased to 5.4% in January 2020 from 4.8 in December 2019, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka reported. This was driven by monthly increase of prices of items in both food and non-food categories. Food inflation (Y-o-Y) increased substantially to a 25-month high of 11.7% in January 2020 from 6.35 in December 2019, while Nonfood inflation (Y-o-Y) stood at 2.9 per cent. The change in the CCPI measured on an annual average basis increased marginally to 4.4 per cent in January 2020 from 4.3 per cent in December 2019. Monthly change of CCPI recorded at 1.4 per cent in January 2020 and it was due to the price increases observed in the items of both Food and Non-food categories. Within the Food category, prices of vegetables increased significantly due to supply shortages caused by adverse weather conditions prevailed during the previous month. (Daily Mirror, 4.2.2020)

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Wednesday, asked Parliament to approve an increase in the debt ceiling from Rs. 721 billion to Rs. 1.078 trillion. He made this request during a speech on the country’s current economic situation. The Prime Minister also urged the House to approve a supplementary estimate which proposes to increase the allocation for recurrent expenditure by Rs. 101 billion and Rs. 55 billion for capital expenditure. The government urged the House to approve Rs. 211 billion for projects carried out with foreign loans. The previous government had obtained loans at a high interest for projects and there had been huge cost overruns, the PM said. “The government could not get loans because the debt ceiling has been exceeded. The money allocated by Parliament to pay back loans taken by previous government was insufficient.” PM Rajapaksa also said that the previous government had promised to reduce the budget deficit to 4%. However, it now stood at 7%. “When I handed the government in 2015, the budget deficit was 5%. The debt as a percentage of National revenue was 70%. Now it’s 80%. The previous government increased taxes and extended low interest loans in a bid to generate income,” he said. The economy was growing at 3%, the lowest in the region. By 2020, the budget deficit would be reduced to 4%, PM Rajapaksa said. “The previous government expected an income of Rs. 2,400 billion for 2019. By November 2019, only Rs. 1,600 was raised. Rs. 1,800 was collected by December. There is a shortfall of Rs. 600 billion. This shows that increasing taxes and complicating the tax regime had not led to an increase in income.” (Daily Island, 7.2.2020)

About 64 new cancer patients are detected daily in the country and of them around 38 are terminally ill, says Dr. Suraj Perera, Consultant Community Physician, National Cancer Control Program. Dr. Perera said that as per the latest statistics around 23,530 new cancer cases are reported annually from Sri Lanka. Of those cases around 14,013 die of the disease. Dr. Perera said: “Of the male patients the majority have oral cancer, while the majority of female patients have breast cancer. One third of cancer related deaths are caused by obesity, lack of consumption of vegetables and fruits, lack of physical exercise, high consumption of alcohol and tobacco.” Consultant Community Physician Dr. Nayana de Alwis said that controlling sugar, salt and food items containing trans-fat would help reduce the excessive amount of body fat leading to reduction in the number of obesity cases. She said that there was an increase in burning of polythene polluting air with carcinogenic particles. The increase in burning polythene was witnessed despite the ban. “Increasing air pollution, too, could be identified as a cause of increasing number of cancer patients. In many houses we still use firewood to prepare food. The World Health Organisation has advocated against using firewood as a fuel because inhaling the smoke coming from burning firewood could result in cancer. We request people to shift from firewood to another alternative fuel source and until they do so to burn firewood after opening all windows and doors in their kitchens. That would help reduce the inhaling the smoke.” She pointed out that consuming a healthy meal, avoiding consumption of alcohol and tobacco and maintaining a correct body mass index would help reduce the risk of cancer. Consultant Community Physician Dr. Udaya Usgodarachchi said that action should be taken to discourage the use of alcohol and tobacco to reduce the number of cancer cases. The government should ban the use of areca nut and sweetened betel such as babul, Dr. Usgodarachchi added. (Daily Island, 11.2.2020)

Sri Lanka reported 103 fatalities due to electrocution in the year 2019 up from 89 fatalities reported in 2018, the electrocution report 2019 released by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator, revealed. The southern province of Sri Lanka reported the highest fatalities due to electrocution in 2019 while western province reported the lowest. The southern province reported 30 fatalities due to electrocution in the year 2019. The southern province reported 97 fatalities due to electrocution in the period of 2015-19 which stood as the highest in the country compared to the electrocutions reported in other provinces in the same period.  Drawing power lines to illegally to protect cultivation or to kill wild animals has been identified as the main reasons for the highest fatalities due to electrocution in the country while small scale electric repair work at home/ workplace and Activities near power lines also have contributed to the electrocutions in 2019. The latest statistics show, males are more exposed to electrocutions as 86 per cent from total fatalities due to electrocution reported in 2019 were males which stood at 83 per cent in 2018. People who are at the age range of 40 to 50 stood as the most vulnerable age group exposed to electrocution in 2019. According to the international benchmark, the possibility of occurring electrocution, is only one (01) electrocution for one million people, per year. In 2019, the Sri Lankan electrocution index stood at five times higher than the global benchmark. The PUCSL has introduced number of safety regulations to uplift the electricity safety of the country and is in the process of building a national network of safety ambassadors representing all the villages in Sri Lanka to strengthen people with knowledge of safe use of electricity. (Times Online, 12.2.2020)

Cabinet has rejected a request by the Department of Immigration and Emigration to not extend the “free visa” facility to tourists from 48 countries.  A proposal to extend the free visa facility to visitors from these countries for a further three months from February 1 to April 30 was approved by Cabinet. The Immigration and Emigration Department though, had opposed the move to extend the facility, noting that it had resulted the department losing about Rs 1 billion a month, with total losses of approximately Rs 5.5 biillion up to date, sources told Times Online.  The previous Government had given the free visa facility to tourists from 48 countries for a six month period effective from August 1, 2019.  In deciding to extend the visa facility by a further six months, the new Government has stated that the move to provide free visas has resulted in a rise in tourists to Sri Lanka from these countries. (Times online, 13.2.2020)

Indian Navy’s Sandhayak-class ship INS Jamuna, which has arrived in Sri Lanka, will carry out detailed hydrographic surveys and several shore-based survey activities over the two-month deployment period. The ship has been deployed to Sri Lanka based on a mutual agreement to carry out a joint hydrographic survey off the south-west coast of Sri Lanka, the Indian Navy said in a statement. “Over the two months deployment period, the ship will carry out detailed hydrographic surveys and several shore-based survey activities,” the statement said. Sri Lanka Navy personnel will embark the ship during the conduct of the joint survey. Additionally, they will also be provided “hands-on survey training during every operational turn around in port,” it added. (Daily Island, 15.2.2020)

Sri Lanka currently ranks 104 out of 162 countries for Economic Freedom (Economic Freedom of the World Index, 2019). This is a 7 step drop from last year’s ranking, 97. The President, in his Independence Day address to the nation promised “I not only respect your freedom, but I will work towards improving it and guarantee the political and economic freedom in a truly democratic country”. Advocata commended this  line of thinking and believes his vision can be achieved through the recommendations listed below. Economic Freedom is the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom. The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to enter markets and compete, and security of the person and privately owned property. Sri Lanka’s rank in the indicator “Freedom to trade internationally” is alarmingly poor, ranking 113 out of 162 countries. When governments impose restrictions that reduce the ability of their residents to engage in voluntary exchange with people in other countries, economic freedom is diminished. Not only does Sri Lanka enforce exorbitant taxes on imports, trade facilitation in the country is poor. Recommendations: Replace Sri Lanka’s complex tariff system with a low and uniform tariff rate. Implementation and improvement of the National Single Window for trade, which will allow all parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents at a single-entry point to fulfil all import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements.  Reforming the Customs Ordinance. The National Export Strategy mentions that a new Customs Act, which is in line with international standards for trade facilitation, has been drafted but this hasn’t progressed beyond this stage. (Sunday Island, 16.2.2020)

United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz has been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Relations tomorrow (16) to inform the Sri Lankan government’s objection to the imposition of travel restrictions on Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and his immediate family members. On Friday, the United States said it would refuse entry to Sri Lanka’s Army chief over what it said “credible” evidence of human rights violations in the 2009 finale to the civil war in Sri Lanka.
However, issuing a statement, the Sri Lankan government said it takes strong objection to the imposition of travel restrictions on Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and his immediate family members by the United States government, based on independently unverified information. (Daily Mirror, 16.2.2020)

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SRI LANKA CRICKET NEWS – (JANUARY 2020) – Compiled by Victor Melder

Victor Meldor

The national cricket team will undertake their first assignment of this year taking wings to India today for a three match T-20 series. The opening encounter will be played on Sunday (January 5) in the eastern city of Guwahati. The port city in the state of Assam is bordering China. The remaining two games will be played in Indore (January 7) and Pune (January 10). The team will fly to Madras today morning, where they have a five hour layover before taking the next flight to Guwahati. The Sri Lankan series is sandwiched between the tours of West Indies and Australia. Lasith Malinga’s side will not be playing in any of the major cities with all premier cricket centers allocated for the West Indies and the Australians. The tour was not on the Future Tour Programme (FTP) and the Sri Lankans are replacing Zimbabwe. Former captain Angelo Mathews returns to the side after being overlooked for the shortest version of the game for more than a year. Mathews last played a T-20 International in August last year. The selectors had indicated that Mathews should start bowling again if he were to be considered for T-20 cricket. The injury prone all-rounder has resumed bowling and he is expected to share the new ball with skipper Lasith Malinga in the three match series. The spotlight is on Malinga’s captaincy after the team suffered successive series losses under his leadership. Dasun Shanaka, meanwhile, led the team for a 3-0 whitewash against Pakistan away from home after several seniors pulled out of the tour due to security reasons. Fast bowler Kasun Rajitha was drafted into the 16 member squad after Nuwan Pradeep got injured while training lead up to the tour. The squad was approved by the Ministry of Sports only last evening. Sports Minister Dallas Allaperuma had instructed SLC to submit squads for approval 14 days prior to the team’s departure. SLC sources said that practically it will be impossible to submit teams two weeks prior to the departure. SLC is expected to take up the matter with the Minister. There will be a lot of focus on T-20 cricket this year with the T-20 World Cup scheduled later this year in Australia. Sri Lanka needs to play a qualifying round ahead of the tournament also in Australia. The former champions will play Ireland, Papua New Guinea and Oman in the qualifying round in Geelong in the state of Victoria before the tournament proper gets underway. Prior to that, Sri Lanka will host South Africa and India for T-20 series. (Daily Island, 2.1.2020)

The first T20 match between the touring Sri Lankans and India, scheduled to be played at Barsapaa Cricket Stadium, Guwahati, was abandoned due to rain. India won the toss and chose to bowl, but that’s as far as the weather allowed.

India beat the touring Sri Lankans by 7 wickets to win the second T20 played at Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore. Scores:

Sri Lanka – 142/9 in 20 Overs (M.Perera 34, Fernando 22, Gunathilaka 20,  Thakur 3/23, Saini 2/18, Yadav 2/38, Sundar 1/29)

India – 144/3 in 17.3 Overs (Rahul 45, Iyer 34, Dhawan 32, Kohli 30no, de Silva 2/30, Kumara 1/30)

Player of the match: Navdeep Saini (India)    

India beat the touring Sri Lankans by 78 runs to win the third and final T20, played at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune. Scores:

India – 201/6 in 20 Overs (Rahul 54, Dhawan 52, Pandey 31no, Sandakan 3/35, de Silva 1/27, Kumara 1/46)

Sri Lanka – 123 in 15.5 Overs (de Silva 57, Mathews 31, Saini 3/28, Thakur 2/19, Sundar 2/37, Bumrah 1/5)

Player of the match: Shardul Thakur (India)

Player of the series: Navdeep Saini (India)

India won the 3-match series 2-0.

The national cricket team has got a hectic schedule in 2020 where they will play nine Test matches, 12 ODIs and at least 16 T-20s. They will be playing more T-20s than the other two formats for the obvious reason that this year the World T-20 will be staged in Australia in late October. This is apart from the Asia Cup, also a T-20 tournament to be played in Pakistan. Accordingly, Sri Lanka will host England and Bangladesh in Tests at home while their Test tours will be only to the African continent. Later this month, they will travel to Zimbabwe and will spend Christmas in South Africa. While the series against Bangladesh consists three games, all other series scheduled are two Test series, Sri Lanka Cricket officials told The Island yesterday. Bangladesh will be here in June. The biggest attraction of them all will be India’s tour to the island. Virat Kohli’s side will play three ODIs and three T-20s followed by South Africa who will also play a similar number of games. West Indies are due in February to play three ODIs and two T-20s. A home series against Zimbabwe comprising three ODIs and two T-20s is unconfirmed. In October, Pakistan will arrive for three ODIs and two T-20s. Sri Lanka need to play a qualifying round ahead of the World T-20 where their opponents will be Ireland, Oman and Papua New Guinea. Currently, Sri Lanka are ranked sixth in Tests, eighth in ODIs and seventh in T-20s. Lasith Malinga’s side needs to win at least one of the three T-20s in India to avoid slipping to number eight in T-20 Rankings. If they lose all the games, Afghanistan will overtake them. (Daily Island, 3.1.2020

Sri Lanka Cricket

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) this week decided to terminate the contract of suspended Head Cricket Coach Chandika Hathurusingha after a one-man committee found him guilty for all six charges of failing to discharge his obligations under the contract, creating disharmony within the team and for gross insubordination. The report which was tabled at Thursday’s Executive Committee meeting comes just days after enraged Hathurusingha sent a letter of demand to the tune of US$ 5 million for wrongful termination of his contract and causing damage to his reputation. The letter of termination will now be served to Hathurusingha who remained suspended since August last year. SLC has charged him on six counts including failing to prepare the Sri Lanka team physically and mentally for tours; failing to build confidence of players in need to [sic] support; for creating disharmony and failure to build team spirit; failure to adhere to the ICC’s Code of Conduct; insubordination; and acting in a manner which is totally unbecoming of a National Head Coach. The report was prepared by Justice Lalith Jayasuriya against the alleged breach of contractual obligations by Hathurusingha. “By the said report, Mr. Hathurusingha was found guilty for all the six charges levelled against him for failing to discharge his obligations under the contract, creating disharmony within the team and for gross insubordination,” a SLC ExCo submission reads.(Sunday Times, 12.1.2020)

Sri Lanka Tuesday named a 15-member squad for the two-match Test series in Zimbabwe, the first in the African nation since its suspension was lifted by the ICC. Both Tests will be held in Harare, the first from Sunday and the second starting on January 27th, Sri Lanka’s cricket board said. Zimbabwe last played a Test match in November 2018 when they toured Bangladesh and they were barred from ICC events in July last year because of political interference but was readmitted by the International Cricket Council three months later. Sri Lanka squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan and Suranga Lakmal. (Daily Island, 15.1.2020)

The touring Sri Lankans beat Zimbabwe by 10 wickets to win the first Test, played at Hararare Sports Club. Scores:

Zimbabwe – 1st Innings 358 (Ervine 85, Kasuza 63, Masvaure 55, Tiripano 44no, Raza 41, Embuldeniya 5/114, Lakmal 3/53, Kumara 2/82)

Sri Lanka – 1st Innings 515/9 dec (Mathews 200no, Mendis 80, de Silva 63, Dickwella 63, Raza 3/62, Nyauchi 3/69, Williams 2/104, Tiripano 1/82)

Zimbabwe – 2nd Innings – 170 (Williams 39, Taylor 38, Lakmal 4/27, Kumara 3/32, Embuldeniya 2/74)

Sri Lanka – 2nd Innings 14/0 (Karunaratne 10no, Fernando 4no)

Player of the match: Angelo Mathews (Sri Lanka)

Test debut: Ainsley Ndlovu, Victor Nyauchi, Kavin Kasuza, Brian Mudzinganayama (Zimbabwe)

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SRI LANKA NEWS (JANUARY 2020) – Compiled by Victor Melder

Victor Meldor

Three more endemic species have been added to the Sri Lanka’s endemic gecko list. With this Sri Lanka now has 39 endemic species of gecko. In 2019, 13 endemic species were discovered. More new endemic gecko species will be discovered in 2020 with the ongoing research studies. The team of scientists that discovered the latest three species are S. Karunarathna, A de Silva, M. Botejue, D. Gabadage, L. Somaratna, A Hettige, N Aberathna, M. Madawala, G. Edirisinghe, N. Perera, S. Wickramaarachchi, T. Surasinghe, N. Karunarathna, M. Wickramasinghe, KDB. Ukuwela and AM. Bauer. Three new day gecko species of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch were found in three isolated granite cave habitats in Bambaragala (Ratnapura District), Dimbulagala (Polonnaruwa District), and Mandaramnuwara (Nuwara-Eliya District). One of the Chief Scientists of the study, Suranjan Karunaratna told The Island that all of those new species were assigned to the kandiana clade based on morphology. These species are small (28–35 mm) in size. Each of these species are categorized as Critically Endangered (CR) under IUCN Red List criteria. Due to their restricted distributions (as point endemics), the habitats of these specialist species are vulnerable to fragmentation, edge effects and anthropogenic activities. Therefore, these isolated forest patches in Sri Lanka are in need of special conservation attention and management, the scientists said. (Daily Island, 2.1.2020)

The Department of Wildlife on Tuesday said that two wild elephants had been electrocuted when they came into contact with an electric fence around a house at Dematawewa, Horowpothana. The elephants were more than nine feet tall and in the ages of 20-25 years, according to officials. The house owner has been arrested by the Horowpothana Police and Horowpothana Wildlife Department office are conducting further investigations into the matter. (IN) (Daily Island, 2.1.2020)

Four SLAF personnel died in an air crash at Tambipillai mawatha, Haputale, yesterday morning, after engaging in an aerial observation mission. They were identified as Squadron Leader Buddhika Weebadde, Flight Lieutenant Lankapura Kulathunga, Sergeant I W R W Kumara and L.A.C. Hettiarachchi. The ill-fated aircraft––a Chinese built Y 12 –– was returning to its base at Weerawila when it went down. SLAF headquarters said that an inquiry was underway, though a technical fault was suspected. Villagers tried to put out the fire on the crashed aircraft. A resident saw the aircraft flying over her home shortly before it crashed close to her garden. SLAF acquired Y 12 in the 80s. The aircraft capable of taking off from short runways can carry 16 passengers. (Daily Island, 4.1.2020)

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has announced yesterday that he accepted United National Front (UNF) MP Sajith Premadasa as the Opposition Leader of the 4th Session of the 8th Parliament. He also announced that Ministers Dinesh Gunaradena and Johnston Fernando had been appointed as the Leader of the House and the Chief Government Whip respectively while announcing UNF MP Gayantha Karunatileka as the Chief Opposition Whip. Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena and Chief Government Whip Johnston Fernando assumed duties in their respective positions last morning. (Daily News, 4.1.2020)

Sri Lanka tea exports for November 2019 totaled 21.9 M/kgs, showing a marginal gain of 0.6 M/kgs vis-à-vis 21.3 M/kgs of November 2018, a new report showed. Packeted tea has shown a growth YOY, whilst bulk tea has remained static, Forbes and Walker Tea Brokers said in their monthly report. “Meanwhile, tea bags have shown a decline compared to November 2018.” Total revenue of Rs. 18.2 B for November 2019 has remained static compared to the corresponding month of 2018. Total FOB value, however, of Rs. 832.70 for November 2019 has shown a decrease of Rs. 22.92 vis-à-vis Rs. 855.62 of November 2018. Turkey has secured the No. 1 position as the largest importer of Sri Lankan Tea for the period under review, followed by Iraq and Russia. Other noteworthy importers are Iran, Libya, China, Azerbaijan, Syria and UAE. Meanwhile, destinations such as USA, Germany, India and Saudi Arabia have shown a significant growth in 2019 compared to the corresponding period of 2018. (Daily Island, 5.1.2020)

Giving a taste of what awaits Sri Lanka in the next five years, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday outlined core policies of his Government, centering on significant changes to develop Sri Lanka’s economy, including revamping the public sector, infusing technology in agriculture, and plans to improve investment and reduce poverty. President Rajapaksa inaugurated the fourth session of the eighth Parliament on Friday morning, inviting all to join hands to develop the country, establish peace and harmony without neglecting national security, and reject the role played by minorities as kingmakers. The President reached the Parliament Complex at 9.30 a.m. with two security vehicles escorted by three police motorcycles deviating from traditional motorcades and mounted police. Taking part in a simple ceremony which lacked a guard of honour, the 21-gun salute, and traditional drums and dancers, the President and First Lady Ioma Rajapaksa were received by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Secretary-General Dhammika Dassanayake, and Sergeant-at-Arms Narendra Fernando. The quorum bell was rung at 9.55 a.m., and the President arrived in the Chamber along with the Speaker and the secretaries. He was seen being greeted by lawmakers on both sides. The President commenced his Policy Statement at 10.05 a.m. and it lasted for 35 minutes. He adjourned the House at 10.40 a.m. at the end of the Throne Speech till 1 pm to make room for the Parliament sitting. During the speech, he touched on the importance of restoring the respect of Parliament and the long political history of his family. President Rajapaksa devoted the lion’s share of his speech to discuss the economic challenges before Sri Lanka and the need to focus on achieving greater expectations of the public. He pointed out that the first steps to turning around Sri Lanka’s economy has already been taken with the stimulus package, loan moratorium and restrictions on imports of spices, but insisted that much more needs to be done. “We must ensure that the benefits of development reach every group of people. We must employ modern methodologies and indicators to gauge whether the needs of the people are truly being met and whether they are happy. It is no longer necessary to wait for elections to find out how people feel about the work program of the Government,” he said. “We need everyone’s support for our efforts to reduce the cost of living of the people. The corporate sector must ensure that some percentage of the benefits of the tax concessions recently provided to them are passed on to the public as well. Accordingly, we expect a reduction in the price of all goods and services on which taxes have been reduced.” The President emphasised that the main aim of the stimulus package is to ensure economic stability for all citizens, provide equal opportunities for citizens, to establish a clean and efficient State sector that is committed to public service, and to protect and empower local entrepreneurs. “In order to successfully establish a people-centric economy, it is important that every official from the highest to the lowest level of government becomes aware of our vision and aims. That will enable them to perform their duties more productively.” He backed implementing a special program to combat corruption and fraud. He also said legal action must be taken promptly against all who engage in corrupt practices, irrespective of their status. “Today, most countries have employed technology as a means of enhancing the efficiency of the State sector. Through this, it will also be possible to provide equal opportunities for all. As such, we will pay special attention to increasing the use of technology in government institutions. “If we work according to a proper plan, we will be able to encourage international businesses to locate themselves in Sri Lanka and supply goods and services to regional neighbouring countries. To encourage such investors, we must be prepared to swiftly provide all the facilities they require within Sri Lanka.” Continued improvement of infrastructure would also be necessary and will remain a focus of the Government, Rajapaksa said. It will be broadened to include train travel and improve urbanisation issues, such as traffic. (Daily Financial Times, 4.1.2020)

A young male leopard, with its limbs and several teeth missing, was found dead close to the 14th-milepost outside the Udawalawe National Park on January 1, Udawalawe National Park Warden said. He said the leopard was a well-grown specimen, 157 cm long. It was found at the end of the canal connecting to the Mau-Ara Tank. Wildlife officer had later removed the body for investigations. “We suspect foul play as the cause of the death of the leopard,” said adding that several deaths of leopards was reported some two years ago. He said the body was handed over to the Veterinary Department of Udawalawe Ath Athuru Sevana (Elephant Transit Home) to conduct a postmortem examination. According to a survey less than ten leopards were found at this National Park. Wildlife Conservation Department spokesperson Hasini Sarachchandra said there were more than 1,000 leopards found in national parks and surveys are ongoing. (Daily Mirror, 5.1.2020)

The seal which was seen resting among the rocks in the sea off Bambalapitiya has gone missing since December 18, the Wildlife Conservation Department said. The department’s spokesperson Hasini Sarachchandra said yesterday there were no signs of the seal which was last seen on December 18. “The seal must have returned to its home grounds,” she said. Ms. Sarachchandra said the seal had completed moulting when it was last seen and said it was first spotted in the sea off Mirissa on November 21 later in the sea off Bambalapitiya. She said these creatures moult once a year, usually after the breeding season and during this period the seals cannot enter the water because they lack the insulation to keep them warm and approach land to have their skin exposed to sunlight.  Wildlife veterinary officers, wildlife western regional officers, coast conservation department officers and navy personnel were deployed to protect the seal during its stay off Bambalapitiya. (Daily Mirror, 5.1.2020)

More than 21,800 people had sought treatment against rabies at the Kalubowila Teaching Hospital in the past year. Hospital Director Dr Asela Gunawardena, told the Sunday Times that 21,820 persons had been given the anti rabies vaccine following incidents of dog bites, and scratches by cats in 2019. He said the number of anti rabies injections administered to patients differed according to the place of the injury, the bite and the condition of the wound. Dr Gunawardena pointed out some patients were administered a series of six injections, for which government spent over Rs 4,000. He added that doctors had to use immunoglobuilin injections on a patient, if an animal which attacked the victim died following the attack. He added immunoglobuilin vaccines were much more expansive than the anti rabies vaccines. Explaining further Dr Gunawardena said there are two varieties of anti rabies vaccines. He said government spends around Rs 18,000 to provide Equine Immunoglobulin vaccine (ERIG) per patient who have allergic reactions to the vaccine.(Sunday Times, 5.1.2020).

Four individuals including two hunters were arrested last Sunday in connection with the death of a young but fully-grown leopard at the Udawalawe National Park. The carcass with its limbs severed and teeth missing was found on January 1 in close proximity to the 14th milepost outside the Udawalawe National Park. The police have now launched a probe to determine what exactly happened in this regard . The suspects were arrested based on information gathered by the police investigations division. The suspects had set up a trap for animals but unfortunately, the leopard had got caught in it. It was when one of the suspects took the carcass home and his family asked him to dispose it that he, along with the other suspects, hired a trishaw and threw the dead animal to the canal connecting to the Mau-Ara tank. According to Udawalawe National Park Warden R.G.R.S. Ranatunga, the carcass had been handed over to the Veterinary Department of Udawalawe Ath Athuru Sevana (Elephant Transit Home) on January 1 for an autopsy. The suspects were ordered to be remanded till January 17 when they were produced in the Embilipitiya Magistrate’s Court yesterday. (Daily Mirror Online, 7.1.2020)

The death toll of yesterday’s , bus accident in Badulla has arisen to 12, police said noting that 30 individuals had been injured in the incident.  The bus, belonging to the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB), had toppled down a slope for about 200 metres after tumbling off a precipice along the Passara – Madulsima road.. It is believed that the bus had veered off the road while attempting to allow another vehicle to overtake it.  A post-mortem examination is to be carried out on the deceased victims which includes two school children, at the Badulla General Hospital. Four police officers are among the injured victims. The Police and the SLTB have launched an investigation into the incident. (Times Online, 7.1.2020)

Workers’ remittances have declined by 7.2%, year-on-year in November to $ 515 million, Central Bank said on Friday. On a cumulative basis, workers’ remittances declined by 5.9% to $ 6.05 billion during the first 11 months of 2019, compared to the corresponding period of 2018.The dip in November comes after workers’ remittances grew by 1.3%, year-on-year, to $ 607 million in October 2019 and by 3.3% year-on-year to $ 516 million in September 2019. (Times online, 20.1.2020)

Wildlife Department has recorded the presence of a black leopard in Sri Lanka during a research conducted in the major .wildlife reserves in the country. The images of the leopard was captured by a camera placed in the forest. Earlier it was believed that the species was extinct in the country. Malaka Abeywardena, a veterinary surgeon attached to the Wildlife Department, said, the leopard, seen in the central hills, is a male. Abeywardena said, they had received information that there were black leopards living in several places in the central hills and the Sinharaja forest range. The cameras were placed after that. Earlier parts of carcasses of two black leopards killed by hunters were found in Pitadeniya in Sinharaja and on another occasion the body of another black leopard caught in a trap was found. (Daily Island, 21.1.2020.

The black leopard found in the wilds of Sri Pada recently is not a different species of leopard and it has got dark skin due to melanism, undue development of dark-coloured pigment in the skin, the Department of Wildlife Conservation says. Department’s Publicity Officer, Hasini Sarathchandra told The Island that it was definitely not a different species but a colour variation. ‘We found similar type of a leopard in Sinharaja World Heritage Forest sometime ago. However, the Department would continue with ongoing research programmes to find whether there were other species in the cat family or species closely related to our leopard species -Panthera pardus kotiya.” Cat species expert, Dr. Sriyanie Miththapala, also believes that the black leopard is not a new species of leopard. Quoting directly an extract about black panthers by Dr. John Seidensticker and Dr. Susan Lumpkin, she said ,‘Everyone has heard of a black panther, which in reality, is just a leopard with black background fur, which obscures the cat’s spots. It is not a separate species; in fact, black furred and spotted cubs can be siblings born of the same litter. Known as melanism, black fur in leopards and domestic cats is the result of a single recessive gene for coat colour, whereas in jaguars it results from a single dominant gene. Melanistic or black individuals appear in many, if not all species [of wild cats] but do so frequently among leopards, jaguars, margays, ocelots.’ Of the eight species of panthers living in the world, the sub-species, Sri Lankan Panther is extraordinary due to its very limited population. An investigation into them was held recently, headed by Dr. Malaka Abeywardene and Dr. Manoj Akalanka of the Wildlife Department. Abeywardene said: “The reason for these animals being black is mainly an adaptation for hunting purposes and for protection of their kind since they mostly roam in cold and dark places. We request the general public to come forward to protect these animals since they are an important gift given by Mother Nature”

Of the 23 individuals suspected to have been infected by the new coronavirus and were admitted to the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) since last Friday (January 24), only 16 individuals are now in the IDH. The condition of the Chinese tourist who tested positive for the Coronavius is improving. She had a mild sickness at the time of admission to the IDH. Samples collected from eight patients were sent to the Medical Research Institute (MRI) for testing, and the reports of three patients were negative. Only one female Chinese National had been positive. Students and all other people returning from China are advised to stay at home for 14 days and seek medical treatment immediately from the 12 hospitals designated for Coronavirus Treatment if they show symptoms of the virus. They should inform the MOH and PHI immediately. Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi stated on Tuesday that the National Action Committee appointed under the direction of President meets every day and discuss the measures that need to be taken to prevent coronavirus infections and ensure the safety of the country. Everything is done according to the International rules and regulations and the rules and regulations recommended by the WHO. According to the 8th Situation Report issued by the WHO on Monday, January 28 a total of 4,593 confirmed coronavirus patients had been reported from around the world while 4,537 of them are from China with 106 deaths. Outside China, there were 56 cases from 14 countries in the world. According to the WHO Risk Assessment, China is in the Very High Risk category while the risk exists at Regional and Global level. (Daily News, 30.1.2020)

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Victor Meldor


                               ACQUISITIONS   FOR  THE  MONTH  OF  DECEMBER  2019


  1. My Island Paradise by Dodwell Keyt 2019. (Donated by the Author, Rosebud, Victoria)


  1. ‘Serendib’, The Inflight Magazine of Srilankan Airlines, Vol 39, No 9, November 2019

 (Donated by Neville Fernando, Westmeadows, Victoria)

  1. ‘Hi’ Magazine, The Society Magazine, Sri Lanka, Series 17, Vol 5, 2019

 (Donated by T.R, Keysborough, with assistance of Mr B. Sanjaya, Sri Lanka)


  1. Newsletter – St Peter’s College Old Boy’s Union, Colombo, Vol 1, July – September 2019
  2. Newsletter – Burgher Association (Australia) Inc, Summer Newsletter, December 2019
  3. Newsletter – Burgher Welfare League of WA Inc, Vol 30.2, November 2019.
  4. “Outreach” Newsletter – Voluntary Outreach Club Inc (VOC), December 2019.
  5. “The Vine”, Evergreens Newsletter, Operation Hope Inc, December 2019.
  6. ‘The Old Aloysian’ –  Journal of The Old Aloysians Sports  Club (Australia) Inc, December 2019. 


  1. CD – Burial Records, Dutch Reformed Churches in Colombo (Wolvendaal, Pettah & Bambalapitiya) – Kabristan Archives.

(Donated by Jacky & Windsor Morris, Croydon, UK)

  1. Articles – offprints: . Ceylon: The Continuing Crisis by Robert N. Kearney, Asian Survey, Vol 111, No 2, February 1963, pp 123- 127.
  2. Ceylon: A Year of Consolidation by Robert N. Kearney, Asian Survey, Vol Iv, No 2, February 1964, pp 729 – 734.
  3. Ceylon: A Time of  Troubles by A. Jeyaratnam Wilson, Asian Survey, Vol Xii, No 2, February 1972, pp 109 – 115.
  4. The April Revolt in Ceylon by ‘Politicus’, Asian Survey, Vol XII, No 3, March 1972, pp 259 – 274.
  5. Sri Lanka in 1972: Tension and Change by W. A. Wiswa Warnapala, Asian Survey, Vol XIII, No 2, February 1973, pp 217 – 230.
  6. Major Trends in Sri Lanka’s Non-Alignment Policy after 1956 by S.U. Kodikara, Asian Survey, Vol XIII, No 12, Dec 1973, pp 1121 – 1136.
  7. The Management of External & Internal Finances in Sri Lanka: problems & policies by B. Hewavitharana, A. S., Vol XIII, No 12, Dec 1973,  pp
  8. 1137 –   1154
  9. The Five Year Plan & Development Policy in Sri Lanka: Socio-Political Perspectives & the Plan by N. Balakrishnan, A.S., Vol XIII, No 12, Dec

  1973, pp  1155- 1168.        

  1. Education” An Era of Reform by D. D. de Saram, Asian Survey, Vol XIII, No 12, December 1973, pp 1169 – 1178.
  2. The New Constitution of Sri Lanka by W. A.Wiswa Warnapala, Asian Survey, Vol XIII, No 12, December 1973, pp 1179 – 1192. 
  3. Sri Lanka in 1973: A test for Both the Rules & the Ruled by W.A.Wiswa Warnapala, A.S, Vol XIV, No 2, Feb 1974, pp 148 – 156.  
  4. Sri Lanka in 1975: Political Crisis and Split in the Coalition by N. Balakrishnan, Asian Survey, Vol XVI, No 2, February 1976, pp 130 – 139.
  5. An Overview of Settlement Schemes in Sri Lanka by Nihal Amerasinghe, Asian Survey, Vol XVI, No 7, July 1976, pp 620 – 636.
  6. Sri Lanka in 1976: Changing Strategies and Confrontation by P. V. J. Jayasekera, Asian Survey, Vol XVII, No 2, February 1977, pp 208 – 217.
  7. Sri Lanka’s 1977 General Election: The Resurgence of the UNP by Vijaya Samaraweera,, A.S, Vol XVII, No 12, Dec 1977, pp 1195 – 1206.
  8. Sri Lanka.1976: Reversal of Policies and Strategies by W. A. Wiswa Warnapala, Asian Survey, Vol XIX, No 2, February 1979, pp 178 – 190.
  9. Language and the Rise of Tamil Separatism in Sri Lanka by Robert N. Kearney, Asian Survey, Vol XVII, No 5, May 1978, pp 521 – 634.
  10. Sri Lanka in 1979: New Stresses in the Economy and the Polity by W.A. Wiswa Warnapala, A. S. Vol XX, No 2, Feb 1980, pp 206 – 216.
  11. Continuity & Change in Sri Lanka;’ Foreign policy: 1974 – 1979 by S.U. Kodikara, Asian Survey, Vol XX, No 9, Sept 1980, pp 879 – 890.
  12. Economic Policies & Trends in Sri Lanka by N. Balakrishnan, Asian Survey, Vol XX, No 9, September 1980, pp 891 – 902.
  13. Recent Developments in Sinhala-Tamil Relations by W. I. Siriweera, Asian Survey, Vol XX, No 9, Sept 1980, pp 903 – 913.   
  14. Sri Lanka’s New Constitution by W. A. Wiswa Warnapala, Asian Survey, Vol XX, No 9, September 1980, pp 915 – 930.
  15. Sri Lanka in 1980: The Year of Constraints by W. Howard Wriggins, Asian Survey, Vol XXI, No 2, February 1981, pp 203 – 211.
  16. The Green Revolution in Rice: The Role of the Risk Factor with Special Reference to Sri Lanka by H. M. Gamini Herath, Asian Survey, Vol

   XXI, No 6. June 1981, pp 664 – 675.

  1. Women in Politics by Robert. N. Keraney, Asian Survey, Vol XXI, No 7, July 1981, pp 729 – 746.
  2. The Cultural Dimension in Tamil Separatism in Sri Lanka by Bryan Pfaffenberger, Asian Survey, Vol XXI, No 11, Nov 1981, pp 1154 – 1157.
  3. Sri Lanka in 1981: Year of Austerity, Development Councils & Communal Disorders by W. Howard Wriggins, A.S, Vol XXII, No 2, Feb 1982,

            Pp  171 – 179.

  1. District development Councils in Sri Lanka by Bruce Matthews, Asian Survey, Vol XXII, No 11, November 1982, pp 1117 – 1134.
  2. Sri Lanka in 1982: A Year of Elections by S.W.R. De A Samarasinghe, Asian Survey, Vol XXIII, No 2, February 1983, pp 158 – 164.
  3. The Private Sector in Sri Lanka Since 1977 by John Stuart Blackton, Asian Survey, Vol XXIII, No 6, June 1983, pp 736 – 751.      
  4. Sri Lanka in 1983: Ethnic Conflict & the Search for a Solution by S.W.R.De A. Samarasinghe, A. S., Vol XXIV, No 2, Feb 1984, pp 250 – 256.
  5. Islamic Revivalism in Harmony & Conflict: The Experience in Sri Lanka & Malaysia by A. Ameer Ali, A.S., Vol XXIV, No 3, Mar 1984, pp 296

  – 313.

  1. Ethnic Conflict & the Tamil Separatist Movement in Sri Lanka by Robert N. Kearney, Asian Survey, Vol XXV, No 9, Sept 1985, pp 898 – 917. 36.    Sri Lanka in 1985: The Persistence of Conflict by Robert N. Kearney, Asian Survey, Vol XXVI, No 2, February 1986, pp 219 – 223.
  2. The Economic Impact of the Recent Ethnic Disturbances in Sri Lanka by Lee Ann Ross & Tilak Samaranayake, A.S. Vol XXVI, No 11, Nov

            1985, pp 1240 – 1255.

  1. Sri Lanka in 1986: A Nation at the Crossroads by Bryan Pfaffenberger, Asian Survey, Vol XXVII, No 2, February 1987, pp 155 – 162.
  2. Policing a Communal Society: The Case of Sri Lanka by Angela S. Burger, Asian Survey, Vol XXVII, No7, July 1987, pp 822 – 833.
  3. The Devolution of Power in Sri Lanka: A Solution to the Separatist Movement ?, by L. Kenneth Hubel, Asian Survey, Vol XXVII, No

11, November 1987, pp 1176 – 1187.

  1. Sri Lanka in 1987: Indian Intervention & Resurgence of the JVP by Bryan Pfaffenberger, Asian Survey, Vol XXVIII, No 2, February 1988, pp 137 – 147.
  2. Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka: India’s Role & Perception by P. Venkateshwar Rao, Asian Survey, Vol XXVIII, No 4, April 1988, pp 419 – 436.
  3. Sri Lanka’s Ethnic Conflict: The Indo Lanka Peace Accord by Ralph R. Premdas & S.W.R.De A Samarasinghe, Asian Survey, Vol XXVIII, No 6, June 1988, pp 676 – 690.
  4. Sri Lanka in 1988: Seeds of the Accord by Bruce Matthews, Asian Survey, Vol XXIX, No 2, February 1989, pp 229 – 235.
  5. The Peace Accord & the Tamilsin Sri Lanka by Shantha K. Hennayake, Asian Survy, Vol XXIX, No 4, April 1989, pp 410 – 415.
  6. The Continuing Crisis in Sri Lanka: The JVP, Indian Troops & Tamil Politics by Shelton U. Kodikara,, Asian Survey, Vol XXIX, No 7,July 1989, pp 716 – 724.
  7. Sri Lanka in 1989: Peril & Good Luck by Bruce Matthews, Asian Survey, Vol XXX, No 2, February 1990, pp 144 – 149.
  8. New Realities in Sri Lankan Politics by Marshall R. Singer, Asian Survey, Vol XXX, No 4, April 1990, pp 409 – 425.
  9. Sri Lanka in 1990: The Ethnic Strife Continues by Marshall R. Singer, Asian Survey , Vol XXXI, No 2, February 991, pp 140 – 145.
  10. Economic Liberalization & the development of Manufacturing in Sri Lanka by Sriyani Dias, Asian Survey, Vol XXXI, No7. July 1991, pp 613 – 629.
  11. Sri Lanka in 1991: Some Surprising Twists by Marshall. R. Singer, Vol XXXII, No 2, February 1992, pp 168 – 174.
  12. Changing Civil-Military Relations in Sri Lanka by Angela S. Burger, Asian Survey, Vol XXXII, No 8, August 1992, pp 744 – 756.
  13. Sri Lanka in 1992: Opportunity Missed in the Ethno-Nationalist Crisis, by Shantha K. Hennanayake, Asian Survey, Vol XXXIII, No 2, February 1993, pp 157 – 164.     
  14. Sri Lanka in 1993: Eruptions & Flow by Gamini Keerawella & Rohan Samarajiva, Asian Survey, Vol XXXIV, No 2, February 1994, pp168 – 174
  15. The 1994 Parliamentary Elections in Sri Lanka: A Vote for Good Governance by S.W.R.De A. Samarasinghe, Asian Survey, Vol XXXIV, No 12, December 1994, pp 1019 – 1034.
  16. Sri Lanka in 1994: A Mandate for Peace, by Gamini Keerawella & Rohan Samarajiva, Asian Survey, Vol XXXV, No 2, February 1995, pp 153 – 159
  17. Sri Lanka in 1995: A Difficult & Disappointing Year by Howard B. Schaffer, Asian Survey, Vol XXXVI, No 2, February 1996, pp 216 – 223.
  18. Sri Lanka’s Ethnic Conflict: Have Bombs Shattered Hopes for Peace ?, by Marshall S. Singer, Asian Survey, Vol XXXVI, No 11, November 1996, pp 1146 – 1155.
  19. Sri Lanka in 1996: Promise & Disappointment, by Howard B. Schaffer, Asian Survey, Vol XXXVII, No 2, February 1997, pp 143 – 148.

            (No’s  2 – 59, Ofprints, Donated by Lal Kuruppu, Waniassa, ACT)





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SRI LANKA CRICKET NEWS (DECEMBER 2019) – Compiled by Victor Melder

Victor Meldor

Pakistan will be hosting Test cricket for the first time in more than ten years, that too against a full-strength Sri Lanka line-up, in December 2019. Dimuth Karunaratne will lead the Sri Lanka side, with experienced batsmen Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal present in the 16-member squad. The team leaves for Pakistan on December 8 to play two Test matches that will count towards the World Test Championship. Less than three months ago, Sri Lanka had toured Pakistan for a series of limited-overs matches, but as many as ten high-profile players had opted against travelling. The Test series was originally scheduled for October at a neutral venue because of security concerns, but the PCB requested Sri Lanka to play the entire bilateral series in Pakistan. The white-ball games were played as a test of sorts for the security measures taken by the hosts, and following the success of that tour, Sri Lanka agreed to play the Tests in Pakistan too. There was only one change to the Sri Lanka squad that played the second Test against New Zealand at home in August. Kasun Rajitha, the right-arm fast bowler, replaced leg spinner Akila Dananjaya, who is currently serving a one-year suspension for an illegal action. The first Test will start on December 11 in Rawalpindi, followed by the second in Karachi from December 19. Pakistan has not hosted a Test match since the 2009 Lahore attack that wounded several Sri Lankan cricketers, support staff members and others. Of the current players, fast bowler Suranga Lakmal was part of Sri Lanka’s squad back then as well. (ESPN cricinfo)

The Sri Lanka Test Squad for the Pakistan tour: Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Oshada Fernando, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, Kusal Mendis, Diiruwan Perera, Lahiru Kumara, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Vishwa Fernando, Kusal Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Kasun Rajitha and Niroshan Dickwella.

The first Test between the touring Sri Lankans and Pakistan, played at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawapindia, ended in a draw, with rain affecting play. Scores:

Sri Lanka – 1st Innings – 308/6dec (de Silva 102no, Karunaratne 59, B.O.P Fernando 40, Dickwella 33, Mathews 31, Afridi 2/58, Shah

                                          2/92, Shinwari 1/54, Abbas 1/72

Pakistan – 1st Innings – 252/2  Abid.Ali 109no,Azam 102 no, Azhar Ali 36,  Rajitha 1/5, Kumara 1/46)

Player of the Match: Abid Ali (Pakistan)

Test debut: Abid Ali & Usman Shinwari (Pakistan)

Pakistan defeated the touring Sri Lankans by 263 runs to win the second and final test played at Karachi National Stadium, Karachi. Scores:

Pakistan – 1st Innings – 191 (Shafiq 63, Azam 60, Abid Ali 38, Kumara 4/49, Embuldeniya 4/71Fernando 2/31)

Sri Lanka – 1st Innings – 271 (Chandimal 74, Perera 48, de Silva 32, Karunaratne 25,  Afridi 5/77, Abbas 4/55, Sohail 1/11)

Pakistan – 2nd Innings – 555/3 dec (Abid Ali 174, Masood 135, Azar Ali 118, Azam 100no, Kumara 2/139, Embuldeniya 1/193)

Sri Lanka – 2nd Innings – 212 (Fernando 102, Dickwella 65, N. Shah 5/31, Y. Shah 2/84, Sohail 1/10, Abbas 1/33, Afridi 1/51)

Player of the match: Abid Ali (Pakistan)

Player of the series: Abid Ali (Pakistan)

Leading all-rounder Thisara Perera has joined Sri Lanka Army. Thisara has enlisted to the Gajaba Regiment and holds the rank of Brevet Major. He will be playing domestic cricket for Army this season. “General Shavendra Silva invited me to join Army. I have enormous respect for General Shavendra and it was a request that I could not turn down,” Thisara tsaid. Army has been investing a lot to improve their cricket and become a force in the domestic season. Before the ongoing season got underway, Army recruited former Test captain Dinesh Chandimal. Thisara is unlikely to feature in the upcoming three match T-20 series in India. Instead, he will be in Bangladesh playing in the BPL. Army has been nurturing quite a few cricketers over the years. Ajantha Mendis and Seekkuge Prasanna made quite an impact for the soldiers before going onto represent Sri Lanka. Mendis was the hero as Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup in 2008 in Karachi as his mystery spin humbled India’s famous batting line-up. (Daily Island, 3.12.2019)



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SRI LANKA NEWS – (DECEMBER 2019) – Compiled by Victor Melder.

Victor Meldor - eLanka

About 4,126 persons from to 1,156 families had been affected by the inclement weather conditions in several districts of the country, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said. Five persons are dead and one is missing in the Matale, Polonnaruwa and Nuwara Eliya districts owing to landslides. According to DMC Assistant Director Pradeep Kodipilli 569 persons of 158 families are being sheltered at four welfare centres in the Ampara District. Lunugala Divisional Secretary Nimal Dissanayake said that 35 families of Galula Estate in Madolsima have been evacuated and sent to welfare centres in schools in safer areas as there were landslide threats. Three persons have been killed while two others have gone missing in an earth slip which occurred in Malapattawa, Nuwara Eliya. Meanwhile, the National Building Research Organization (NBRO) has declared the Ratnapura, Badulla and Kegalle districts as landslide-prone districts. Landslide warnings have been issued for these areas. Vehicle traffic was disrupted in several areas including the Haldummulla-Kiriwanagama Road in the Badulla District and the Welimada Road and Badulla-Passara Road in the Nuwara Eliya District. Later, yesterday a single lane of Badulla Passara road was opened for vehicle movements. The Badulla-Haldummulla and the Ragala-Nuwara Eliya roads have become impassible due to earth slips. (Daily Island, 2.12.2019)

Parliament has been prorogued on the instructions of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.The Gazette notification announcing the prorogation was issued, last night. The new session of Parliament will be held on January 03, 2020. A prorogation which is a temporary recess of Parliament, should not extend beyond more than two months, However, such date for summoning Parliament may be advanced by another presidential proclamation provided it is summoned for a date not less than three days from the date of such fresh proclamation. During the prorogation the Speaker continues to function and the MPs retain their membership even though they do not attend meetings of Parliament. The effect of a prorogation is to suspend all current business before the House and all proceedings pending at the time are quashed except impeachments. When the new sessions starts, the President is empowered to make a statement of Government Policy at the commencement of each new Session. In the past, it was known as the Throne Speech, which was delivered by the Governor-General. President Rajapaksa will open the new session of Parliament and is expected to deliver the policy statement of his Government. The President can prorogue Parliament under Article 70 of the Constitution and is empowered to make a Statement of Government Policy at the commencement of each Session of Parliament and to preside at ceremonial sittings of Parliament. Last week, President Rajapaksa appointed his Cabinet of 16 ministers as well as 38 State Ministers as part of the interim government which will be in place till the next general election. The President is constitutionally empowered to dissolve Parliament on 1 March 2020 when it completes four-and-a-half years. The next Parliamentary Election is expected in late April or the first week of May. President Rajapaksa is heading a minority government with the UPFA, which had 95 MPs. The UNP has 106 MPs, ITAK has 16 MPs, JVP 6 MPs, and the EPDP and SLMC one MP each in the 225-member Parliament. (Daily Island, 3.12.2019)

Scientists say protecting Sri Lanka’s Blue Tarantula (Chilobrachys jonitriantisvansicklei) is of foremost importance especially in view of the ever expanding exotic pet trade. Researcher and field biologist Amila Prasanna Sumanapala told The Island that the Blue Tarantuala species were very rare. He believes Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) committee would include Blue Tarantula in its endangered species list. The spider measuring up to five inches and is a predator that hunts insects from underground burrows. It is found in a section of Sri Lanka’s southwestern rainforest, surrounded by tea and rubber plantations. Blue tarantula was given the scientific name Chilobrachys jonitriantisvansicklei, in honor of Joni Triantis Van Sickle conservationist and founder of IDEA WILD, a project dedicated to protecting biodiversity around the world. Amila noticed the beautiful spider in a small patch of rainforest in the western province in 2012, when conducting a research for the University of Colombo. He wasn’t completely sure if the blue spider was a new species and he sent his colleague, Ranil Nanayakkara, a conservation biologist specialising in arachnology (study of spiders), to the rainforest to take photographs. (Daily Island, 5.12.2019).

The heavy downpour experienced in the tea planting districts resulted in a drastic drop in the November yield, with low growns dipping from 14.4 million kilos and high growns falling to 3.4 million kilos in comparison to the previous month’s (October) figures of 17.4 million and 7 million kilos, respectively. However, the crop decline was not restricted to Sri Lanka as other major producing countries such as Kenya and India also suffered a drop in production resulting in overall price increases at the auctions. World production figures were higher in 2018 in comparison to the previous year. Sri Lanka showed minus variance of 3.87 million kilos, while Kenya, India, China, Uganda and Malawi had plus variances. The drop in production this year led to an upward trend in prices, the Forbes & Walker (F&W) tea report confirmed. Price increases are usually experienced at this time of year because of winter buying by CIS countries and Russia. The November average was Rs. 569.67, which was higher than the Rs. 525.53 sales average for October, a significant increase of Rs. 44.24. However the report also reflected a year- on-year performance of a reduced average of about Rs. 14.00 per kilo. The trend for price increases is expected to continue with the Western quality season at hand. Subject to weather conditions returning to normal with the rains easing by mid-December, the onset of cold nights in the Western districts, production levels are bound to improve with the quality weather, the report added. Analyzing price fluctuations, the F&W report further said high growns recorded the highest increase average of Rs. 540.81 for November, an increase of Rs. 63.22 over the same month in 2018. Flowery grades sold well. Although such quantities were low, prices realized exceeded Rs. 1,000. per kilo. BOP 1 fetched Rs. 1,300, while OP 1 sold at Rs. 1,700 per kilo. (Daily Island, 8.12.2019)

The total number of international tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka during November 2019 was 176,984. In comparison to November last year, there was a decline of 9.5% when the arrivals were 195,582. This month, the largest source market for tourists was India followed by Germany and China. Almost 90% of tourists travelled by air to Sri Lanka. As of 30th November 2019, 1,672,039 of tourists had visited Sri Lanka for this year. It is a decline of 19.6% over last year when 2,08,0,627 of tourists had visited the country during the same period. However, Sri Lanka saw a 70.8% significant drop in arrivals last May due to Easter Sunday Attacks and gradually it has decreased to 9.5% by November which is a promising sign for Sri Lanka Tourism. (Daily Island, 9.12.2019)

Sri Lanka has been ranked 71 out of 189 countries according to ‘the Human Development Index (HDI) 2019’ released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) yesterday. Compared to 2018, this is an improvement by 5 ranks. Sri Lanka, with a value of ‘0.780’ in a scale ranging between 0-1, falls under the category of countries with ‘High Human Development’. Key dimensions considered in the HDI rankings were “having a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and having a decent standard of living”. According to the HDI 2019 report, Sri Lanka’s average life expectancy at birth is 80.1 years for females and 73.4 years for males. Sri Lanka’s expected years of schooling is 14 years, employment to population ratio (15 years and older) is 50.2 percent, and per capita Carbon dioxide emissions is 1.0 tonnes. It states that 34.1 percent of the country’s population uses the Internet. Compared to Sri Lanka, other South Asian countries are lagging behind in the index. Neighbouring India has been ranked at 129, Bhutan at 134, Bangladesh at 135, Nepal at 147, Pakistan at 152, Myanmar at 145, and Afghanistan at 170 in the latest HDI.Norway, Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, Hong Kong and China (SAR) are the top five countries with the highest human development respectively. According to the report’s data, the income share held by Sri Lanka’s poorest 40 percent is 17.7 percent, while the income share held by the country’s richest 10 percent is 32.9 percent. In the sector-wise analysis, the report stated that the current health expenditure of Sri Lanka is 3.9 percent of its GDP and the Government expenditure on education is 2.8 percent of GDP. The infant mortality rate is 7.5 deaths per 1,000 live births. The adult literacy rate (15 years and older) is 91.9 percent. Sri Lanka’s annual number of live births to adolescent women (15-19 years) is 20.9 per 1,000 adolescent women. The female share of employment in senior and middle management is 25.6 percent in Sri Lanka. Moreover, the mobile phone subscriptions in Sri Lanka exceed the total population and this figure is 115.1 per 100 people. This year’s Human Development Report is titled “Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: inequalities in human development in the 21st Century”. (Daily News, 10.12.2019)

Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya has found fault with political parties for unnecessary high number of candidates at the 2019 presidential poll. He says those struggling to make ends meet had to bear the burden of the heavy expenditure caused by nearly three dozen contesting the Nov 16 national poll. Deshapriya explained that sharp increase in polls-related expenditure was due to too many candidates. Responding to assertion by some representatives of political parties that the right of those interested in contesting couldn’t be denied, Deshapriya insisted such wasteful expenditure couldn’t be justified under any circumstances. The meeting was told as to how interested parties exploited loopholes in the existing law to join the fray either as proxies of two leading candidates Gotabaya Rajapaksa (Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna) and Sajith Premadasa (National Democratic Front). Jathika Hela Urumaya representative at the discussion Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe told The Island tangible measures were required to restrict the number of candidates at the next presidential election. Warnasinghe explained as to how the Election Commission had to revise expenditure estimated initially at Rs 400 mn to staggering Rs 750 mn owing to the total number of candidates being 35. Only 35 contested the presidential poll though at the onset of the process there were 41 in the fray. According to Warnasinghe of the 35 candidates, only three- Sajith Premadasa, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Anura Kumara Dissanayake conducted real countrywide polls campaign, whereas as a couple of others, namely retired General Mahesh Senanayake, Duminda Nagamuwa, Ajantha Perera and Rohan Pallewatte engaged in electioneering to some extent. Of those 35 in the fray; Sajith Premadasa had ten proxies against Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s 13. Warnasinghe said that the rest contested to enjoy some perks and privileges for several weeks. Warnasinghe’s JHU backed Sajith Premadasa at the presidential election. At the moment, those who contested on the registered political party ticket/independents had to pay Rs 50,000 and Rs 70,000, respectived. Warnasinghe underscored the need to cut down on waste to ensure the next presidential in five years from now wouldn’t attract 50 persons. (Daily Island, 13.12.2019)

Sri Lanka’s ranking in the Human Development Index (HDI) has risen from 72 to 71 out of 189 countries, maintaining the country’s status as the best performer in South Asia, says a report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) released in Colombo. The Human Development Report 2019 by the UNDP noted that Sri Lanka’s HDI climbed from 0.776 in 2017 to 0.780 in 2018. The report noted that the country has defeated malaria this year and maintained an annual 0.49 percent growth in HDI from 2010 to 2018. At 71, Sri Lanka is ranked much higher than China (at 85) and India (at 129) among 189 countries in the 2019 human development index. However, the report noted that taxation policies have increased the number of people living below the 2.50-U.S. dollar-per-day poverty line in the country. Notably, the new Sri Lankan government has recently announced widespread tax reliefs, especially on indirect taxes such as value added tax, to address this issue. Sri Lanka is the highest ranked country in South Asia in terms of HDI. Sri Lanka and Maldives are the only South Asian countries categorized as having High Human Development by the UNDP. The 2019 HDR explores inequalities in human development by going beyond income, beyond averages and beyond today and tries to set policies to redress these inequalities within a framework that links the formation of capabilities with the broader context in which markets and governments function. According to the HDI report, the incidence of multi-dimensional poverty varies enormously across countries and is still high. Out of the 1.3 billion multi-dimensional poor, 661 million are in Asia and the Pacific, which shares almost half of the multi-dimensional poor living in 101 countries of the world. South Asia alone shares more than 41 percent of the total number of multi-dimensional poor. Despite Indias significant progress, it accounts for 28 percent of the 1.3 billion multi-dimensional poor. The index includes a total of 189 nations and is topped by Norway followed by Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, Hong Kong and Australia in the top slots. Sudan, Haiti and Afghanistan were placed at the last three spots of the index respectively. (Daily Island, 17.12.2019)

More than 350 elephants and about 100 people have perished due to the human-elephant conflict so far this year, the Department of Wildlife Conservation says. Wildlife officer Maithri Madushan Wickramasinghe was killed by an elephant on Sunday in Matale. The 42-year-old father of a nine-month-old infant was the third department official to die while on duty. The remains of Wickramasinghe, who was killed while on duty at Rathgammana, Matale were brought to his residence yesterday in the Kubulweva area in Raththota. (Daily Island, 18.12.2019)

September quarter earnings declined by 9.6% year-on-year (YoY) to Rs. 45.8 billion for 264 companies, but still showed better performance than previous quarters, First Capital Research said September quarter earnings dipped by 9.6% YoY to Rs. 45.8 billion, primarily due to sluggish performance in Insurance (-48% YoY), Consumer Services (-495% YoY), Capital Goods (-39% YoY) and Food, Beverage and Tobacco (-12% YoY) sectors, a report released by First Capital Research said.  However, earnings upside was witnessed in Material (108% YoY), Consumer, Durable and Apparel (13600% YoY) and Energy (646% YoY) sectors negating the negative performance in the above-mentioned sectors. “Lacklustre performance in Insurance, Consumer Services and Food, Beverage and Tobacco was mainly owing to the lower consumer spending stemmed from subdued economic activities.” Insurance sector earnings recorded a substantial drop mainly due to earnings decline in AAIC (-85% YoY) from a deferred tax adjustment and UAL (-91% YoY) due to the increased transfer of insurance contract liabilities to the life fund. Consumer Services sector earnings declined and posted a loss of Rs. 1.67 billion relatively to a profit of Rs 0.4 billion in September 2018 as a result of drop in tourist arrivals subsequent to the Easter Sunday attacks. Food, Beverage and Tobacco sector earnings dipped by 12% YoY to Rs. 7.8 billion led by BIL, MELS and tea plantation companies.  BIL posted a loss of Rs. 1.19 billion compare to loss of Rs. 0.6 billion due to higher finance and admin cost. MELS earnings dropped by 58% due to hefty taxes while the cost of sales also surged against the last year same period. Profit dip witnessed across the tea plantation counters due to weaker tea prices further dragged down the Food Beverage and Tobacco sector earnings. Material sector saw a profit growth of 108% YoY to Rs. 1.8 billion driven by TKYO (573% YoY). TKYO profits were boosted due to operational efficiencies and increase in maximum retail price. Consumer, Durable and Apparel sector saw impressive earnings growth of 13600% YoY with TJL, MGT and GREG posting earnings growth of 84%, 83%, and 184% respectively. TJL and MGT earnings growth was supported by efficiency improvements, strong order book and stable cotton prices. (Daily Island, 20.12.2019)

National economy advanced 2.7 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2019, up from a revised 1.5 percent in the prior period. The growth was mainly boosted by an increase in services (2.8 percent compared to 1.6 percent in Q2), particularly wholesale and retail trade (2.1 percent vs 1.2 percent) and industrial activities (3.3 percent vs 1.3 percent). Releasing National Accounts Estimates for the third quarter of 2019, the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) stated that the Gross Domestic Product for Sri Lanka for the third quarter of 2019 at current price and constant (2010) price have reached up to Rs.4,027,051 million and Rs.2,507,363 million respectively against the current and constant (2010) prices of Gross Domestic Product reported for the third quarter of 2018 which was recorded as Rs.3,692,822 million and Rs.2,441,796 million respectively. The four major components of the economy; ‘Agriculture’, ‘Industry’, ‘Services’ and ‘Taxes less subsidies on products’ have contributed their share to the GOP at current prices by 6.9%, 26.8%, 60.0%, and 6.2% respectively in the third quarter of 2019. During the third quarter of 2019, Industry and Services activities recorded substantial growth rates of 3.3% and 2.8% respectively, while Agriculture activities recorded a slight positive growth rate of 0.4%. Among the sub activities of ‘Agriculture’ ‘Growing of Oleaginous fruits; including Coconut’, Fresh water fishing’ ‘Growing of Tea’ and Growing of Cereals’ have reported an outstanding positive growth rates of 13.9%, 10.9%, 10% and 8.1% respectively in the third quarter of 2019 compared to the third quarter of 2018. In addition. ‘Growing of Vegetables’, Forestry and Logging’, Growing of Fruits’ and ‘Growing of other perennial crops’ have reported considerable positive growth rates of 5.1%, 3.6%, 3.5% and 3.1% respectively in the third quarter of 2019. However some of the major agriculture activities have reported negative growth rates in this quarter when compared to the same quarter in 2018. Among those sub activities, “Growing of Rubber’, ‘Plant propagation’, Marine fishing’, ‘Animal production’ and ‘Growing of Rice’ have reported a substantial contraction during this quarter by 19.9%, 13.7%, 8.2%, 6.2% and 4.3% respectively. The ‘Industrial activities’, which shared the GDP by 26.8% at current price, has continued to expand further by 3.3% significantly. The overall manufacturing activities have grown by 2.5% during the third quarter of 2019, supported mainly by the sub-activities of ‘Manufacture of food, beverages and tobacco’ and Manufacture of textile and wearing apparels’, which recorded positive growth rates of 5% and 5.1% respectively during this period. (Daily Island, 20.12.2019)

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says that General Elections would be held after March 3.Addressing the Foreign Correspondents Association at the Presidential Secretariat on Thursday, the President said that  a new budget would be presented  after he dissolved Parliament on March 3. P.B.Jayasundera, Secretary to the President said that expenditure maintained at efficient levels across all ministries would in time achieve the government’s goal of reducing National Debt to GDP ratio, from it’s current 90 percent to 70 percent. (Daily Island, 21.12.2019)

At least five people were killed and some 7,025 people belonging to 2,062 families in eight districts were affected by the prevailing heavy rains, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said. It warned of floods with the water levels in several reservoirs and rivers including the Mahaweli were increasing rapidly while some were overflowing because of torrential rains which had already claimed four lives. Those affected are from eight districts – Hambantota, Mullaitivu, Batticaloa, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Moneragala and Jaffna. DMC Spokesman Pradeep Kodippily said a large number of reservoirs and tanks have started overflowing. Sluice gates at the Rajangana, Parakrama Samurda, Kala Oya, Lunugamwehera, Kumbukan Oya, Inginimitiya, Tabaowa and Ulhitiya reservoirs were overflowing by last afternoon People living along the banks of the Mahaweli River were asked to be vigilant as the water level was increasing rapidly and reaching mini flood level. Landslides warnings were issued in Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Matale, Badulla Nuwara Eliya Eliya Monaragala districts. Meanwhile, the Department of Meteorology forecast heavy rains of about 150 mm in the Western, Sabaragamuwa and Central provinces and Galle District. Heavy rains of some 100mm are expected in the Eastern, Uva and North-Western provinces and in the Matara District during the next few days. The sea areas extending from Trincomalee to Negombo via Kankasanturai, Mannar and Puttalam and the sea areas extending from Galle to Pottuvil via Hambanthota are expected to fairly rough at times as the wind speed is expected increase up to 55kmph at times. Several areas have experienced heavy rains of 100 mm today with the highest rainfall of 136mm reported from Kurunegala, Hambantota, Kandy and Puttalam. (Daily Mirror, 22.12.2019)

The Department of Wildlife Conservation said the number of elephant deaths has increased during this year.About 350 elephants have died during the past 11 months for various reasons including human-elephant conflicts, natural causes, poisoning and collisions against trains. The department further said that the number of human deaths due to elephant attacks have also increased.According to figures, 92 persons were reported dead last year due to elephant attacks and this year the number has risen up to 103. The Wildlife Conservation Department also said 319 elephants had died during 2018. (Daily Mirror, 24.12.2019)

Headline inflation as measured by the year-on- year change in the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI, 2013=100)1 decreased to 4.1 per cent in November 2019 from 5.6 per cent in October 2019 contributed by the statistical effect of the high base prevailed in November 2018. Year-on-year (Y-o-Y) Food inflation decreased substantially to 4.0 per cent in November 2019 from 7.3 per cent in October 2019 while Non-food inflation (Y-o-Y) declined marginally to 4.2 per cent in November 2019 from 4.3 per cent in October 2019. The change in the NCPI measured on an annual average basis increased to 3.0 per cent in November 2019 from 2.8 per cent in October 2019. Monthly change of NCPI recorded 0.8 per cent in November 2019 and it was solely due to the price increases observed in the items of Food category. Within the Food category, prices of rice, vegetables, red onions and coconuts recorded increases. Meanwhile, prices of items in the Non-Food category recorded a marginal decrease during the month owing to price decreases of the items in Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco; and Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and other Fuels sub-categories. The core inflation, which reflects the underlying inflation in the economy, decreased to 5.5 per cent in November 2019 from 5.6 per cent in October 2019 on year-on-year basis. However, annual average core inflation increased to 5.6 per cent in November 2019 from 5.4 per cent in October 2. (Daily Island, 25.12.2019)

The media reported that the Police launched a countrwide operation during this festive season to apprehend drunk drivers. This is a common practice of the Sri Lanka Police during various festivities. During this period the policemen are kept on the road all day and night for a limited number of days. This is a limited enforcement focusing on achieving a specific object for a specific time.  In March 2010 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed a Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020, with a goal of reducing the forecasted level of road traffic fatalities around the world. Sri Lanka being a party to the “Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety;” – 2015, has undertaken to reduce by 50% road traffic deaths by the end of this decade. The Sri Lanka Police responsible for realizing this target has to do a miracle in the coming year (2020) to achieve it. The available statistics for the first seven years (2011 – 2017) of the targeted period (2011 – 2020) indicates the situation in Sri Lanka is critical. Instead of decreasing the number of people killed in road accidents in the first seven years (2011 – 2017); it increased. It is significant; the number of pedestrians knocked down and killed in road accidents; pedestrian fatality has increased. It’s 20% of the total road accident fatalities in 2017. The authorities need to wake up and be seriously concerned about this disturbing situation. Speeding, driving under the influence of liquor, and driving recklessly are often the major causes of the rising fatal road accidents. Perhaps, the increased fines, suspension of driving licence and prison terms would be a deterrent to reckless drivers, who disregard the safety of other road uses. (Daily Island, 26.12.2019)

Sri Lanka will have to repay $ 4.8 billion in debt in 2020 with the Central Bank awaiting the Government’s instructions on how the funds should be raised, a top official said, assuring there is a sufficient buffer of reserves to meet repayments for the first few months. Central Bank Senior Deputy Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe told reporters that they were awaiting directions from the Finance Ministry and said future plans will likely be clearer after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s address to Parliament, which is expected to set out the policy framework of the Government. The Central Bank as also preparing to issue its first $ 500 million Samurai bond but it is now unclear when this will take place. The Government will have to decide the repayment plan, when to go to the market, and how much to raise. There are different instruments under discussion by the previous Government but the new Government has to come up with short, medium and long-term financial plans looking at the financing requirement for the year. The large repayment of $1 billion is only coming in October, so till then, there is a smooth flow of repayments, and we have raised sufficient funds to meet at least the first few months of next year. We are in a comfortable position to meet payments at least until the new Parliament commences their activities,” he said. 
He also said the new government will have to make decision on reforms, which include amendments to the Monetary Law Act that were drawn up by the previous administration and were gazetted ahead of the Presidential Election in November. However, Dr. Weerasinghe assured that the functions of the Central Bank will not be impeded by the delay in passing the fresh legislation. A new Banking Act was also under consideration earlier. 
“A lot of reforms we were proposing was only to institutionalise what we are already doing, such as the inflation targeting framework. We will continue to do follow the monetary policy framework based on the inflation targeting framework. The other new element is macro prudential authority, which we have already been practicing from time to time, so we will continue to do all those things. The only thing that will be delayed is the governance structure. We have proposed a separate monetary policy board and governing body. That structure will come into place only if the proposed amendments are enacted. The way we do business will continue as usual.”  (Daily Financial Times, 30.12.2019)

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SRI LANKA NEWS –  (NOVEMBER  2019) –    Compiled by Victor Melder.

Victor Meldor - eLanka

Sri Lanka’s top court on Tuesday effectively blocked a plan by the president to bring back hangings for the first time since 1976 before he leaves office this month. Maithripala Sirisena said in June that he had signed death warrants for four drug offenders — mirroring the Philippines’ no-holds-barred anti-narcotics drive — alarming rights groups and the international community. A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court extended on Tuesday a stay order until the hearing of 15 petitions filed against Sirisena’s bid. “The bench extended the stay order till December 9,” a lawyer representing civil society groups, who call hanging a “cruel and degrading”, said after a brief hearing. Sirisena is not seeking re-election and must leave office as soon as a winner is declared after the November 16 election, more than three weeks before the court resumes hearings. There has been a moratorium on capital punishment in Sri Lanka since 1976. Sirisena told reporters on June 26 that he had signed the four death warrants and that he expected them to be hanged within weeks, or by before he leaves office at the latest. Sri Lanka’s last hangman retired in 2014, but officials said they had selected two out of 26 candidates to succeed him. Their names are being kept secret for fear of attacks. Sirisena justified his decision by saying there were 200,000 drug addicts in the country, and 60 percent of the 24,000-strong prison population were drug offenders. The Sri Lankan leader has also snubbed UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who urged him three months ago to reconsider. The death warrants that Sirisena says he signed will remain in force once leaves office, but his successor can withdraw them. The ruling party candidate in the election, Sajith Premadasa, has supported Sirisena’s call to resume hangings for drug offenders, but has stopped short of saying he will actually carry out executions.  His main rival Gotabhaya Rajapakse, brother of former strongman president Mahinda Rajapakse, has remained silent on the issue. (Sunday Island, 3.11.2019)

Sri Lanka government’s total debt has skyrocketed to unmanageable proportions by an increase of 71 per cent since the current administration came into power in 2015, Finance Ministry statistics showed. The present administration has to borrow money since 2016 to repay the massive loans taken by the previous regime, Treasury accounts revealed. The most significant borrowing in 2013 was the US$750 million obtained from international markets at the highest ever interest rate of 8.9 per cent at a time when the global benchmark rate for that type of loan was 1.3 per cent, a senior official said. According to Finance Ministry data, public debt has increased to over Rs. 8000 billion in 2015 from Rs.4000 billion in 2009. While the government went on a borrowing spree on international capital markets, government revenue nose-dived. In 2005, Sri Lanka’s tax-to-GDP ratio was 13.7 per cent. By 2014, it was 10.1 per cent, one of the lowest in the world. As a result, expenditure necessary for long-run growth such as health and education suffered. And Sri Lanka needed to borrow more just to repay the loans of the previous regime.  in 2014 interest payments amounted to Rs. 436 billion, 24 per cent of government expenditure. Sri Lanka’s public debt has continued to escalate placing  huge pressure on the Government budget as well, Treasury sources said. Interest payments on public debt had consumed a large part of Government revenue representing a large portion of Government expenditure. Therefore the Treasury had to finance budget deficits through more borrowings, thereby increasing the amount of public debt, sources revealed.  At this decisive moment it is essential to take prompt action towards improving the revenue base and efficient collection of taxes and implementing expenditure control at Treasury level, the official said. In addition to in-house Treasury reforms, a policy plan of public sector enterprise reforms for reducing losses, malpractices, mismanagement of resources and waste would be the only way to reduce the prevailing fiscal deficit, he added. (Sunday Times, 3.11.2019)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday completed the sixth review of Sri Lanka’s economic performance under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and approved the release of $ 164 million, bringing the total support so far to $ 1.31 billion.   This is following the IMF the granting of a waiver of non‑observance for the end‑June 2019 performance criterion on the primary balance Sri Lanka’s extended arrangement was approved on June 3, 2016, in the amount of about SDR 1.1 billion ($ 1.5 billion, or 185% of quota in the IMF at that time of approval of the arrangement. On 13 May, the Executive Board approved an extension of the arrangement by one additional year, until 2 June 2020, with rephasing of remaining disbursements.Following the Executive Board’s discussion of the review, IMF Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair Mitsuhiro Furusawa said: “The Sri Lankan economy is gradually recovering from the impact of the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. Growth is projected to strengthen to 3.5% in 2020, from 2.7% in 2019, as tourist arrivals and related activities gradually recover.”
“Sustaining fiscal policy discipline remains critical to strengthen resilience and support growth, as important downside risks remain, amid heightened external and domestic uncertainty,” he added. (Daily Financial Times, 4.11.2019)

The TNA has decided to support New Democratic Party (NDF) presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa. The decision was announced by TNA MP and spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran in Vavuniya yesterday. Sumanthiran said the TNA had made the decision not on the basis of Premadasa’s response to the demands made by the TNA but in view of the fact that Tamil people would be able to get more from Premadasa than any other candidate in the fray. The TNA members met at a private hotel in Vavuniya yesterday to take a final decision and held a press conference there to announce it. Members of the TNA allied parties namely ITAK, TELO, PLOTE, TMK party of former Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran and EPRLF of Suresh Premachandran were present. The TNA earlier forwarded a letter containing 13 demands for the benefit of people living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces to the presidential candidates from main parties. None of the presidential candidates responded directly to the TNA’s demands, and TNA Leader R Sampanthan said that they would wait until NDF candidate Premadasa made his manifesto public so that they could study the promises the latter might make for the benefit of people in the North and the East. MP Sampanthan then also promised that his party would discuss the content of the manifesto with other Northern political party leaders and make a final decision. Accordingly, the Northern Tamil parties discussed the NDF candidate’s manifesto at a full day meeting and made it public yesterday. (Daily Island, 4.11.2019)

With Colombo city turning into a business hub more than a residential area, recent studies of LankaPropertyWeb (LPW) show that apartment developers are now exploring the suburbs to cater to the growing interest for vertical living amongst the locals. The numerous developments taking place in the main city resulting in diminishing space amongst houses for rent in Colombo and reducing demand for houses for sale in Colombo has in fact contributed to this interest largely. The rising population in the country and the changing lifestyles of people has also further influenced the number of apartments for rent and condominium construction taking place in the city. However, over the years such constructions taking place within the inner city of Colombo (i.e. Colombo 1-15), has continued to decrease in number. According to the data gathered by the Condominium Management Authority (CMA), from 2014 to 2016 there is an increase in condominiums in Colombo. But from 2017 onwards an obvious reduction is seen. Apartment constructions in the other districts are following a downward slope as well. However, in the greater Colombo areas like Sri Jayawardena Pura Kotte, Mount Lavinia, Rajagiriya, etc. that exclude Colombo 1-15, a continuous rise in complex constructions has been witnessed. Commenting on this Daham Gunaratna, Managing Director of LankaPropertyWeb says “The main reason developers are moving out of Colombo could be the cost of construction in Colombo (mainly driven by high land value) and thus the price of apartments going up.” (Daily Island, 4.11.2019)

Sri Lanka Podujana Permauna (SLPP) Presidential Candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was declared as the winner of the presidential election by the Election Commission (EC) today (Nov 17). Mr Rajapaksa received 6,924,255 votes at the presidential election, outnumbering his opponent Sajith Premadasa who received 5,564,239 votes.Thirty-five candidates contested this year’s presidential election, which saw a voter turnout of 83.72 percent, EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said during a meeting with the candidates. The polls chief observed that the poll had been conducted in a peaceful manner, despite having shortcomings due to the conduct of certain state media outlets, and some religious leaders. The SLPP in a statement said Rajapaksa will take oaths as Sri Lanka’s Seventh Executive President at the Ruwanweliseya Buddhist Shrine in Anuradhapura tomorrow.  He will address the nation after being sworn in as President.  (Times Online, 17.11.2019)

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a 16-member Cabinet yesterday, establishing an interim government focused on carrying out the manifesto which he presented to the public before the Presidential Election. President Rajapaksa stated that the interim government will hold office till the General Elections, expected early next year. “That’s why we appointed a Cabinet of 15 Ministers,” he said, pointing out that the manifesto indicated a reduced Government if he is elected. There were no Muslim Parliamentarians appointed to the Cabinet. 
The President recalled that the public had placed their trust in them and asked the new Cabinet to work towards a new political culture. “In the lead up to the Election, the public rejected the old political culture. I expect you all to work together for change,” he added. President Rajapaksa, addressing the Cabinet and other Parliamentarians, urged them to work with the State Ministers, who will be appointed next week. The President stated that heads and director boards of State institutions and enterprises will be appointed by a selection committee, and instructed newly appointed Ministers to make recommendations on suitable individuals to hold such posts to the committee. . President Gotabaya Rajapaksa made history this week when he appointed his brother, Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the Prime Minister. Yesterday, he entrusted the Prime Minister with multiple portfolios. They include Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs, Policy Development, Buddha Sasana, Cultural, Water Supply and Urban Development, and Housing Facilities.The other Cabinet appointments were Nimal Siripala de Silva as Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Legal Reforms, Arumugam Thondaman as Minister of Community Empowerment and Estate Infrastructure, Dinesh Gunawardena as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations, Douglas Devananda as Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Pavithra Wanniarachchi as Minister of Women and Child Affairs, Social Security, Health and Indigenous Medicine, Bandula Gunawardene as Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Higher Education, Technology and Innovations, Janaka Bandara Tennakoon as Minister of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government, Chamal Rajapaksa as Minister of Mahaweli Development, Agriculture and Trade, Dullas Alahapperuma as Minister of Education, Sports and Youth Affairs, Johnston Fernando as Minister of Roads and Highways, Ports and Shipping, Wimal Weerawansa as Minister of Small Medium Enterprises (SME) and Enterprise Development, Industries and Supply Management, Mahinda Amaraweera as Minister of Passenger Transport, Power and Energy, S.M. Chandrasena as Minister of Environment, Wildlife, Land and Land Development, Ramesh Pathirana as Minister of Plantations and Export Agriculture, and Prasanna Ranatunga as Minister of Industrial Exports and Investment Promotions, Tourism and Aviation. (Daily Financial Times, 22.11.2019)

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is expected to lead an eight-member delegation to India next week in his first-ever overseas visit since assuming office. Among members of the Sri Lankan delegation are Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, and former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, who was yesterday granted approval for travel temporarily by the Court. President Gotabaya will visit New Delhi from 29 November to 1 December, following an invitation from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. .It was learnt that President Gotabaya is likely to visit China next. (Daily Financial Times, 23.11.2019)

Headline inflation as measured by the year-on-year change in the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI, 2013=100)* increased to 5.6 per cent in October 2019 from 5.0 per cent in September 2019. The monthly increases of prices of items in the Food category contributed to this increase. Accordingly, Food inflation (Y-o-Y) increased to 7.3 per cent in October 2019 from 4.9 per cent in September 2019. However, Non-food inflation (Y-o-Y) recorded 4.3 per cent, continuing its decreasing trend observed since May 2019. The change in the NCPI measured on an annual average basis increased to 2.8 per cent in October 2019 from 2.3 per cent in September 2019. Monthly change of NCPI recorded 1.0 per cent in October 2019 and it was solely due to the price increases observed in the items of Food category. Within the Food category, prices of big onions, rice and vegetables recorded increases. Meanwhile, prices of items in the Non-Food category declined during the month owing to price decreases of the items in Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and other Fuels; Transport; and Health sub-categories.The core inflation, which reflects the underlying inflation in the economy, remained unchanged at 5.6 per cent in October 2019 on year-on-year basis. However, annual average core inflation increased to 5.4 per cent in October 2019 from 5.2 per cent in September 2019. (Sunday Observer, 24.11.2019)

The Edinburgh University of the United Kingdom will return a set of nine human skulls to their homeland of Sri Lanka in a repatriation ceremony today.The skulls will be presented to the Chieftain of the Vedda community Uruwarige Wanniyalaththo, after anatomy researchers at the University agreed to the Vedda’s claim as the earliest inhabitants of Sri Lanka, Edinburgh Evening News reported.Vedda Chief will attend the presentation at the University’s Playfair Library in Vedda dress of a knee-length sarong and holding a traditional axe.
The skulls, thought to be over 200 years old, were taken from their place of origin more than a century ago. The Vedda plan to display the skulls in a collection that will showcase their history as traditional hunter-gatherers and forest-dwellers. Chief Uruwarige said the dead are very important in Vedda society.“Every year we hold a special ceremony to honour those who are no longer with us. Even though these remains have been in Edinburgh for many years, their spirits have remained with us in Sri Lanka.“This reuniting of spirits and physical remains – for which I thank the University – is a very special moment for my people.”University of Edinburgh Chair of Anatomy Professor Tom Gillingwater said: “We are delighted to welcome the Vedda tribes-people to Edinburgh and mark the return of their ancestral remains.”“Our vast and diverse collection is often used in research breakthroughs and teaching. We are pleased to be able to return these culturally-important artefacts to help ensure the Vedda’s legacy endures for generations to come.”The ceremony marks the end of a study by Anatomy researchers at Edinburgh University and researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Science of Human History in Germany, which confirmed the Vedda as Sri Lanka’s earliest inhabitants.(Daily Financial Times, 23.11.2019)

SriLankan Airlines has incurred a loss of over Rs. 44 billion in the financial year that ended on March 31, 2019, Auditor General, W. P.C. Wickramaratne says in his report on the state venture. The accumulated loss of the company was Rs. 230 billion. The Company’s current liabilities exceeded its current assets by Rs. 186 billion and total liabilities exceeded its total assets by Rs. 177 billion. Further, the Group (Company and its subsidiaries) incurred a loss of Rs. 41 billion during the same time with an accumulated loss of Rs. 223 billion and, as at that date, the Group’s current liabilities exceeded its current assets by Rs. 177 billion and total liabilities exceeded its total assets by Rs. 168 billion. The Auditor General has said: “These events and conditions, along with other matters as set forth in another part of the report, indicate a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt on the Group’s ability to continue as a going concern.” Wickramaratne added that his opinion of the company’s situation had not changed despite mitigatory factors such as Cabinet approval on 27 August 2019 and the letter issued by the Secretary to the Treasury on 16 September 2019 confirming the support of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) to the Company to continue its operations. Commenting on the decision to re-fleet with 14 aircraft and Termination of lease Agreements on 04 A350-900 aircraft, Wickramaratne said that: “Company had not adhered to Government Procurement Guidelines in obtaining consultative services for the entire process, selecting companies for purchasing six A 330-300 aircraft and four A350-900 aircraft, leasing another four A350-900 aircraft and sell and lease back of above six A 330-300 aircraft, within 08 years from the year 2013.” The decision for purchasing aircraft had been taken by the Board of Directors of the Company without obtaining approval of the Cabinet of Ministers and without making a proper cost benefit analysis. A sum of Rs. 17,058.1 million had paid as compensation in the process of revocation of lease agreements for obtaining four A350-900 aircraft on lease which was scheduled to be delivered in the year 2016/2017. “The Company is in negotiation with Airbus SAS Company to amend the purchase agreement of four A350-900 aircraft which are to be delivered in 2020 and 2021 to replace with A321 NEOs and/or A330 NEOs and as at the reporting date amounting to Rs. 2,528.12 million ( USD 19.21 Mn) had been paid to Airbus as pre-delivery payment. However, no final decision had been taken until the date of this report.” (Daily Island, 27.11.2019).

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday said he would renegotiate the Hambantota Port lease agreement, terming it a “mistake” and calling on the Chinese company to be open to the move while assuring that he remained committed to strong relations with the global superpower. (Daily Financial Times, 27.11.2019) 

The cabinet has agreed to reduce Value Added Taxes (VAT) and Nation Building Taxes (NBT) imposed on imported goods from December 1. Cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawardena said the cumulative value of VAT and NBT which stood at 17 percent will be reduced to eight percent.  He said Economic Service Charges, Capital Gain Taxes, Pay As You Earn (PAYE) taxes, VAT imposed on condomoniums, and Withholding Taxes on interest have also been scrapped. In addition, taxes imposed on export of tea, rubber and minor export crops has been lifted with effect from December 1, Minister Gunawardena said.  Meanwhile, the cabinet spokesman said that steps would be taken to reduce prices of rice following complaints that the rice prices had gone up . (Daily Financial Times, 27.11.2019)

Rajapaksa, giving his first interview since taking office, told Indian Journalist and Defence Analyst Nethin S. Gokhle that he remained committed to close ties with both China and India. 
In an hour-long interview aired on Gokhle’s Strategic News International (SNI) web platform and on the defence website Barthshakthi, President Rajapaksa stressed that Sri Lanka’s close relations with China during his brother’s 2005-2015 presidential tenure were misinterpreted by international analysts as a strategic military relationship, and claimed instead it was purely an economic partnership. “We don’t want to become a part of a big power rivalry,” Rajapaksa stressed, pointing out that Sri Lanka would not do anything that would negatively impact India’s national security.  Rajapaksa stated that he would seek to reassure India that Sri Lanka would not do anything to harm India’s security interests and would be seeking continued Indian investment to Sri Lanka during his upcoming visit to New Delhi.  “We were never to give control of the port [Hambantota] to China; that was a mistake,” Rajapaksa opined, pointing out that the decision was made by the previous administration.
“The previous Government gave it on a 99-year lease, and even though China is a good friend of ours and we need their assistance for development, I am not afraid to say that was a mistake.”
Rajapaksa stated that he would request the Chinese to renegotiate the joint venture. Rajapaksa highlighted that the public was unhappy with the deal and pointed out that while leasing land for commercial purposes or for property development was acceptable, giving control of a strategic “economic location like a port” was not. 
President Rajapaksa called regional and international powers such as Singapore, Japan, India and Australia to invest in Sri Lanka, acknowledging that the said countries viewed Chinese investment in Sri Lanka with suspicion. 
President Rajapaksa also claimed that there was an inaccurate perception of him as an authoritarian and racist individual. “I am a disciplined person, that doesn’t mean I am authoritarian,” he stated, pointing out that he had proved in action that he was not racist nor did he work for only one section of the population. 
“That is why I invited the Tamils, the Muslims and everybody to join me to develop the country and build it up,” he argued, pointing out that the Opposition could paint him out as a dictator but the public would see him for who he was through his actions. He called on the international media not to believe or propagate rumours, but to come speak to him and understand his ways. Rajapaksa argued that war crimes allegations against the Sri Lankan military and him were unfairly blown out of proportion while the actions of superpowers in conflicts were not highlighted. “I like the Tamil diaspora to forget about these things, nobody benefits from these things [allegations]. Work with the country to benefit all communities,” he suggested, pointing out that if minority communities acted in a manner that was suspicious, it would trigger a reaction from the majority. Rajapaksa claimed that even in so-called advanced societies, divisions existed. Nevertheless, he declared that all Sri Lankan citizens were equal. 
“There will always be differences between communities, but through understanding they can coexist and thrive,” he added. (Daily Financial Times, 27.11.2019)

India will lend Sri Lanka $ 400 million for infrastructure projects, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday after talks with the new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa aimed at improving bilateral ties. Sri Lanka, located off the southern tip of India, has become an arena of competing influence between New Delhi and China, which has built ports, power stations and highways as part of President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative, designed to boost trade and transport links across Asia .But the terms of some of those projects have drawn criticism from politicians in Sri Lanka and opened the way for countries such as India, the United States and Japan to rebuild ties in the Indian Ocean country that lies near key shipping lanes. Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s former wartime Defence Chief, is on his first visit to India after a sweeping election victory earlier this month won on a platform promising to pull the country out of its deepest economic slump in more than 15 years. He told reporters he wanted to take bilateral ties with India to a “very high level”. Modi said India would provide Sri Lanka with $ 50 million for its security needs in addition to the $ 400 million for infrastructure. “India is fully committed to the development of Sri Lanka,” he said. (Daily Financial Times, 30.11.2019)

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                               ACQUISITIONS   FOR  THE  MONTH  OF  NOVEMBER  2019


  1. The History of Royal College, 2019 (Donated by Senaka Weeraratne, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka) 
  2. Lions of Sri Lanka, Cricket – An Island Passion, Featuring the 30 Greatest Cricketers, LMD Publication, May 2019

(Donated by Roland de Silva, Media Services (Pvt) Ltd, LMD, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka)

  1. Cultures of the World: Sri Lanka by Nanda Pethiyagoda Wanasundera, 2002
  2. Sri Lanka, a Travel Survival Kit by Tony Wheeler, 1982.
  3. Tamil Tigress by Derek Bartholomeusz, 1997.
  4. Island of a Thousand Mirrors, by Nayomi Munaweera, 2012.

(No’s 3 – 6, Donated by Cuthbert Lethbridge, Noble Par, Vic)

  1. My Island Paradise by Dodwell Keyt, 2019.


  1. Discover Sri Lanka, January – March, 2019
  2. Discover Sri Lanka, 2019 Edition 2
  3. Living, A Celebration of Life, August 2019.
  4. Brands Annual, 2019 Edition.
  5. Most Respected Entities in Sri Lanka, Compiled by LMD, 2019 Peer Review.
  6. LMD 100, Sri Lanka’s Leading Listed Companies, Financial Year 2017/2018
  7. LMD, The Voice of Business, May 2019.
  8. LMD, The Voice of Business, September 2019.

   (No’s 1 – 8, Donated by Roland de Silva, Media Services (Pvt) Ltd, LMD, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka)

  1. National Geographic, Vol 164, No 2, August 1983.
  2. The Sri Lankan: One Island. One Nation,  Vol 5, No 5, Oct – Nov, 2014
  3. Arts of Asia, Vol 15, No 6, Nov – Dec, 1985.
  4. Arts of Asia, Vol 16, No 2, March – April 1986

(No’s 9 – 12, Donated by Cuthbert Lethbridge, Noble Park, Vic)  

  1. The ‘Ceylankan’ – Journal of the Ceylon Society of Australia, Journal 88, Vol XXII, No 4, November 2019.                                     



  1. “Silverscene”, Newsletter of The Silver Fawn Club, Qld, November//December 2019 issue.
  2. “The Harbinger”, Family Magazine of The Australia / Sri Lanka Welfare Guild Inc (ASWG), Vol 44, No 5, November 2019.
  3. Journal of The Australia Ceylon Fellowship Inc (ACF), Vol 61, No 4, November 2019
  4. Newsletter – St Peter’s College Old Boys Social Club Melbourne Inc, Spring 2019.
  5. Newsletter – Eighty Club Melbourne Inc, Newsletter 150, 3rd Edition, Nov 2019 –  March 2020.   



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Compiled by Victor Melder
(E & O.E.)
(OCTOBER  2019)

VAN STARREX – HANS ANTON, son of late Mr Hans Andreas Van Starrex and Gertrud Therese Van Starrex, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 1.10.2019)

JURIANSZ – LORENZO (SHANNON), aged 21 years, tragically in Melbourne. (Contributed)

AMBROSE – ANTHONY  (TONY), in Melbourne (Contributed)

PIETERSZ- KENNETH  (KENNY), in Melbourne. (Contributed)

MARCELINE – MARK, husband of Sonia, father of Dina, Anil, Nirmali, Zaneta and Sanayi, grandfather of Ashani, Nicolai, Camila, Marco and Marianna, great grandfather of Troy. Brother of Hedy and the late Frances, Greg, Annette, Bertha, Bernie, Billy and Hilary, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 2.10, 2019)  

FOENANDER – OLGA  (nee Gerreyn), daughter of the late Joe & Nita Gerreyn. Wife of Gordon (Weenie), mother of Karen Foenander and Denise Greep, grandmother of Jake Greep. Sister of the late Crosby, Annesley, Flo, Doreen, Lucien, Genevieve, Rita, Stelmond, Trixie and of Phyllis, late Lawrence (Lolly), Christy, Marie and late Henry, in the UK. (Daily Island, 8.10.2019)

FERNANDOPULLE – JENNIFER, wife of Bernard Sri Rajan. Daughter of Hyacinth and Joseph Holsinger, sister of Jacynth and the late Ian (Kinky) Mendis, Travice & Celine, Monty & Wendy, Bernard & Pauline, Janice & the late Iggy Paiva, sister-in-law of Nihal, Neville, Mahen and Praksah, in Sydney, On October 11, 2019 (Contributed & Sunday Observer, 13.10.2019)) 

PARSONS – HYACINTH, wife of Eric Parsons (dec), mother of Dennis (Aust), Jean (Aust), Romauld (Aust), Ralson (Aust), mother-in-law of Lorna Cole (Aust), Andrew Balfour (Aust), Liya (Aust) and Sharma (Aust), grandmother of 7, great grand Mother of 9. Daughter of Collin & Beatrice Nunna Alvis (dec), sister of Olga Peries (dec), Elmo Alvis (Can) dec, Merril, Anton, Myrtle (SL) and Gladys De Silva (Australia), in Melbourne. (Daily News 10.10.2019)

FRANCKE – RITA MAUREEN (nee Melder), wife of late Elmo Francke, mother of Collin, late Beverley and of Kevin, mother-in-law of Anne and Anouk, grandmother of Anya, Cian, Kieran, Keanu and Kiera. Daughter of late Felix and Greta Melder, sister of late Juby & Aloy, Lorna, Anette, Dawn & late John (Cuckoo), in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 10.10.2019)  

CALLANDER – HELEN MONICA, wife of Ralph, mother of Marina. Daughter of the late Hubert and Connie Congreve. Sister of the late Duncan and of Cynthia and Kenneth, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 15.10.2019)

DELAMOTTE – MARIE, friend to Joe (dec), Zalie, Dowson, Tanya and family for 40 years, in Perth. (The West Australian, 12.10.2019)

DEVADASON – DR INDRAN, father and father-in-law of Jeyanthi & Dushan and Inbam & Lashitha, grandfather of Benjamin, Sonya, Nathan, Rebekah, Ranisha, Chrishan, Sitara and Haran, in Perth, on October 8, 2019. (The West Australian, 15.10.2019) 

CASPERSZ – DAWN RITA (nee Weinman), wife of  Trevine (dec), mother of Sharon, Charlene, Tracy, Donella, Jeremy and Tamara and their partners. Grandmother of 13, great grandmother of 10, in Perth, on October 12, 2019. (The West Australian, 15.10.2019)

DE SILVA – SUNALINI (LINA), wife of late Dr D.P.K.M. De Silva (Metta), mother of Dr Chinthaka and Dr Ramela, mother-in-law of Sharmela and Mahesh, grandmother of Shehan, Shamil and Shanya, in Perth, WA. (Daily Island, 16.10.2019)

WILLIAMS – MERLE, daughter of the late Capt. Hendrick Mariampillai Williams and V.H.A.Rosaline, sister of the late Mary, Emily, Bernard, Emil and Anton, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 16.10.2019) 

SIMMONS – GERTRUDE (MONA), nee Coenraad, wife of late B.M.T. (Ben) Simmons, mother of Sherwood, Randolph (Aust), Bernadine Soertsz and Sandra Vanderlaan, mother-in-law of Indrani, Bernadette Darrell Soertsz and Ashley Vanderlaan, grandmother of Geraldine, Janine, Rozanne, Bernard, Diana, Ryan, Bradley and Stefan, great grandmother of Rihanna, Monique, Shahilyah, Shaniece, Shania, Amelia and David.

Sister of Olga Ekanayake and the late Ralph, Vere, Victoreen and Rex, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 18.10.2019)

SCHOKMAN – FELIX, husband of Mala Schokman, father of Ashan Schokman, grandfather of Swetha, Marissa, Nicole, Miron and Joel. Brother of Concey Janz and Sydney Francios Schokman, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 19.10.2019)

DIAZ – PATRICIA OLIVE, wife of late Hamilton (Bonnie), mother of Hamilton, Patrina, Keith, grandmother of Anslem, Haidy, Haily, Adele , Kimberly and Yaniah, great grandmother of Aaron, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 19.10.2019)

KRONEMBERG – DR HARRY AM, partner of Robyn, father of Ruth Ann (dec) and partner David, Coralie and partner Luke and Hugh. Grandfather of Clare, Yanni, Heather, Mischa, Alex, Lucien, Luca and Sam, great grandfather of Jasper, Odette, Elvira, Jude and Rufus, in Perth, on October 11, 2019, aged 93 years. (The West Australian, 19.10.2019) 

DAVIOT – CARL, husband of Shirley, father of Stephen and partner Lea, Bev and Phil and Mark. Grandfather of Jay and Radi, Stacey and Robin, Renee and Ryan, Matt and Brooke, Todd and Jake, great grandfather of Darcie, Ashton, Max, Elvie and Hunter, in Perth. (The West Australian, 21.10.2019)

SIMONSZ – ANTHONY TYRONE (TYRONE), husband of Paulette, father and father-in-law of Nigel and Kimber, grandfather of  Zachary and Allison. Brother to Cody, Suzie, Rosie, Arlene (dec), Maurice (dec) and Penny (dec), in Brisbane, on October 13, aged 77, years. (The Courier Mail, 21.10.2019)

MANT – WALTER EDWARD, husband of Leila, father of Tina, Bradley and Jay, father-in-law of Ross. Grandfather of Shantia and Pearl, in Brisbane, on October 18, 2019, aged 77 years. (The Courier Mail, 21.10.2019)

JANSZ – MONICA (BUDDY) nee Feltman, wife of late J. E. H (Joe) Jansz, mother of Rienze, late Trevine, late Randolph, Berny (Aust), Judy, Shane (USA) and Remo, mother-in-law of Audrey, Indranie, late Waldo, Hillery, Nadira and Indu. Sister of late Olga Jansen and late Shirley Feltman, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 22.10.2019)

MOLDRICH – JOSEPH LISTER ALLISON, (24 April 1946 – 17 October 2019), Son of Benjamin Augustus Moldrich & Constance Magdalene Holmes (both dec). Husband of Camille, nee Willenberg (dec), father of Merc, Mallory, Marvin and Mellany and their partners Abbie, Cassanra & Martina. Grandfather of Ethan, Coen, Zachry and Caleb. Brother of late Chalice (Syd), Christopher (UK), Royce and Travis (Qld),  in Sydney. (Sydney Morning Herald, 23.10.2019 & Contributed)

CRAMER – IRENE, wife of late Joseph (Joe) Cramer, mother of late Brian, mother-in-law of Rani, grandmother of Lenny, Adrian, Jacqueline, Rinnety and Darrel, great grandmother of Andrea, Keith, Spencer, Sondra, Marlon, Daphne and Jayden, in Sri Lanka, aged 103 years. (Daily News, 24.10.2019)

WILLEMBERG – TRAVIS, husband of the late Barbara, father of Brandon and Tamaris, in California, USA, aged 88 years. (Contributed)

EDMONDS – GEORGE CECIL WILLIAM, husband of Betty (dec), father & father-in-law of Robert & Gail, Stephen & Patricia and Peter and Jonathan, grandfather of Anthony &Renee, great grandfather of Aila and Kade, on October 10, 2019, aged 94 years, in Sydney (Sydney Morning Herald, 25.10.2019)

MILLS – DR BENJAMIN AMIRTHANAYAGAM, (3.4.1927 – 22.10.2019), husband of Leelawathy Pathmaranee Mills, father of Ravi & Dr Ruth, Anusha & Dr Binojan, Selvan and Dr Tiasha, grandfather of Dr Nilani, Priyanka, Jesuran, Jaden and Zale, in Sydney, aged 92 years. (Sydney Morning Herald, 25.10.2019)

DE SILVA – KARUNA (nee Siriwardena), wife of Chandana De Silva, mother of Priyani Bond, Kumari De Silva and Anjali (Kemp) De Silva,

in Sydney, Australia. (Daily News, 29.10.2019)

FREDERICKS – MELVYN ANTHONY, husband, brother, father, father-in-law, grandfather and great grandfather, in Perth, on October 19, 2019, aged 76 years – Esther, Sylvia, Nigel, Mark, Neil, Martyn, Michelle, Angela, Rebecca, Dustin, Jeremy, Amanda, Elijah, Bryce, Kaleb and

Max. (The West Australian, 30.10.2019)

VANHEER – DAVE J., husband of Minola Vanheer, father of Ivana. Son of the late Clarence Vanheer, the late Therese and Kingsley Kanangara, son-in-law of late Monty and Ayesha Janiel. Brother and brother-in-law of Valerie & Jorge (USA), Anslem & Romaine (Aus), Ophelia (Aus), Susan & Raj, Dilshan & Chamica (Aus), in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 30.10.2019)

INCH – MABEL (DOTTIE), wife of late Herbert Inch, mother of Leonard and Milroy (Can), mother-in-law of Christine and Sabrina (Can), grandmother of Andre (NZ), late Sean (Can) and Shane (Can), great grandmother of Jarryd (NZ). – 50/4, Gunasinghe Gardens, Tennekumbara, Kandy, Sri Lanka. (Daily News 30.10.2019) 

Note: All spelling of names as taken from Sri Lankan newspapers

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