Sri Lanka's newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa arrives at the parliament in Colombo, Sri Lanka November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte
Sri Lanka's newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa arrives at the parliament in Colombo, Sri Lanka November. Reuters

Sri Lanka parliament halts ministers' salaries to pressure disputed prime minister



Sri Lanka's parliament on Friday voted to halt payment of ministers' salaries and travel expenses, but it remained unclear how the move would impact the disputed government of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa whose ministers boycotted the vote.

The South Asian island has been locked in political gridlock for over a month since President Maithripala Sirisena replaced former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with Rajapaksa, who was then twice sacked by parliament but has refused to resign.

Foreign countries have yet to recognise the new government.

Friday's motion, which passed 122 to none in the 225-member parliament, followed a similar vote on Thursday to cut the budget to the Prime Minister's office. Mr Rajapaksa's loyalists also skipped that vote, arguing the motion was illegal.

"The motion to cut down the expenditures of ministers, deputy ministers, and state ministers is passed," parliament's speaker Karu Jayasuriya said. He earlier said he would officially inform ministry secretaries of the decision.

The motion specifically was to prohibit top civil servants from paying out salaries and travel expenses.

However, one senior civil servant from a government ministry, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said it was unclear how such a vote would be applied in practice because there were questions over whether due process had been followed.

In a repeat of Thursday's actions, Mr Rajapaksa's loyalists denounced the vote and called into question the impartiality of the speaker.

"The motion presented today is illegal and we have mentioned it to the speaker too. We will not attend such illegal motions," Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, a minister in Mr Rajapaksa's disputed government, told reporters before the proceedings started.

Later, Mr Rajapaksa and Mr Wickremesinghe met in the parliament, sources close to the two men told Reuters.

"They spoke about the way forward," one source said, adding that the impasse was unlikely to break before a court ruling on whether President Sirisena's Nov. 9 decision to dissolve parliament was constitutional.

That verdict is expected on Dec. 7.

Separately on Friday, the Appeal Court began a hearing on a petition signed by 122 legislators that challenged Mr Rajapaksa's authority to hold office after he lost two no confidence votes earlier this month.

Mr Rajapaksa's party argues that its government should remain in power because the president never accepted the no confidence votes.

The motions presented on Thursday and Friday are based on the assumption Mr Rajapaksa has been sacked, thus he deems them illegal.

Mr Rajapaksa presided over a government victory over Tamil rebels in 2009, ending a bloody 26-year civil war.

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Read more:

Sri Lanka's parliament bars Mahinda Rajapaksa from using state funds

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No Shame

Lily Allen

(Parlophone)

Match info:

Leicester City 1
Ghezzal (63')

Liverpool 2
Mane (10'), Firmino (45')

Sweet Tooth

Creator: Jim Mickle
Starring: Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen
Rating: 2.5/5

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Meydan race card

6.30pm: Baniyas (PA) Group 2 Dh125,000 (Dirt) 1,400m
7.05pm: Maiden (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,200m​​​​​​​
7.40pm: Maiden (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,400m​​​​​​​
8.15pm: Handicap (TB) Dh170,000 (D) 1,900m​​​​​​​
8.50pm: Rated Conditions (TB) Dh240,000 (D) 1,600m​​​​​​​
9.25pm: Handicap (TB) Dh175,000 (D)1,200m
10pm: Handicap (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,400m

Uefa Nations League: How it works

The Uefa Nations League, introduced last year, has reached its final stage, to be played over five days in northern Portugal. The format of its closing tournament is compact, spread over two semi-finals, with the first, Portugal versus Switzerland in Porto on Wednesday evening, and the second, England against the Netherlands, in Guimaraes, on Thursday.

The winners of each semi will then meet at Porto’s Dragao stadium on Sunday, with the losing semi-finalists contesting a third-place play-off in Guimaraes earlier that day.

Qualifying for the final stage was via League A of the inaugural Nations League, in which the top 12 European countries according to Uefa's co-efficient seeding system were divided into four groups, the teams playing each other twice between September and November. Portugal, who finished above Italy and Poland, successfully bid to host the finals.

ENGLAND SQUAD

Team: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Ben Te'o, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Dylan Hartley, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Maro Itoje, 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Chris Robshaw, 8 Sam Simmonds

Replacements 16 Jamie George, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 George Kruis, 20 Sam Underhill, 21 Danny Care, 22 Jonathan Joseph, 23 Jack Nowell

The five new places of worship

Church of South Indian Parish

St Andrew's Church Mussaffah branch

St Andrew's Church Al Ain branch

St John's Baptist Church, Ruwais

Church of the Virgin Mary and St Paul the Apostle, Ruwais

 

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

UK record temperature

38.7C (101.7F) set in Cambridge in 2019

Tenet

Director: Christopher Nolan

Stars: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh 

Rating: 5/5

HEY MERCEDES, WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR ME?

Mercedes-Benz's MBUX digital voice assistant, Hey Mercedes, allows users to set up commands for:

• Navigation

• Calls

• In-car climate

• Ambient lighting

• Media controls

• Driver assistance

• General inquiries such as motor data, fuel consumption and next service schedule, and even funny questions

There's also a hidden feature: pressing and holding the voice command button on the steering wheel activates the voice assistant on a connected smartphone – Siri on Apple's iOS or Google Assistant on Android – enabling a user to command the car even without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

SERIES SCHEDULE

First Test, Galle International Stadium
July 26-30
Second Test, Sinhalese Sports Club Ground
August 3-7
Third Test, Pallekele International Stadium
August 12-16
First ODI, Rangiri Dambulla Stadium
August 20
Second ODI, Pallekele International Stadium
August 24
Third ODI, Pallekele International Stadium
August 27
Fourth ODI, R Premadasa Stadium
August 31
Fifth ODI, R Premadasa Stadium
September 3
T20, R Premadasa Stadium
September 6

Five ways to get fit like Craig David (we tried for seven but ran out of time)

Start the week as you mean to go on. So get your training on strong on a Monday.

Train hard, but don’t take it all so seriously that it gets to the point where you’re not having fun and enjoying your friends and your family and going out for nice meals and doing that stuff.

Think about what you’re training or eating a certain way for — don’t, for example, get a six-pack to impress somebody else or lose weight to conform to society’s norms. It’s all nonsense.

Get your priorities right.

And last but not least, you should always, always chill on Sundays.


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