2018 in review

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the opening of the Moragahakanda Reservoir.

It's the stories that drive a year ahead. 2018 can stand as the most storied year with much uproar in the political hierarchy as well as disasters both manmade and natural. The Teldeniya riots and the northern floods did make things tough for the government. The year also rang the death knell for eminent personalities. The country’s art fraternity was busy attending the funerals of the junior and senior brethren. As we bid adieu to this dramatic year, let us keep fingers crossed for a year with better tidings.


January 8 : Fulfilling a long felt need of the people in the dry-zone, the giant Moragahakanda Reservoir, a multipurpose development project under the Moragahakanda - Kaluganga Reservoir Development Project was commissioned under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena and with the participation of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, amidst the blessings and the chanting of Seth Pirith of the Maha Sangha.

President Maithripala Sirisena along with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ministers declare open the Rajagiriya Flyover, providing a long-term solution for the heavy traffic congestion prevailing in Rajagiriya area.

January 9: Former Health Minister (J R Jayewardene government) Dr. Ranjith Atapattu passes away at the age of 84.

January 11: Resa, the latest daily to be released from Lake House, hits the newsstands.

January 21: Senior Journalist Jatila Wellabada passes away at the age of 56.

January 23: The official Trophy for the 2018 FIFA World Cup was brought to Sri Lanka and was kept in Colombo for two days by displaying it to the public as the 2018 FIFA World Cup Trophy tour began from Sri Lanka to across 52 nations, marking the first ever instance that Sri Lanka was selected as one of the nations to officially showcase the prestigious trophy in history.

January 28: Award-winning film director and screenwriter Dr. Dharmasena Pathiraja passes away at the age of 74.

January 29: Former General Secretary of the United National Party Jinadasa Niyathapala passes away at the age of 88.


February 1: The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward and Countess Sophie visits Sri Lanka to grace Independence celebrations.

February 3: Deputy Incumbent of the Bellanwila Vihara, Venerable Professor Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera passes away at the age of 77.

February 4: Arjun Aloysius and Kasun Palisena arrested in connection with the alleged Treasury Bond scam issues.

February 10: The Local Government elections held with an average voter turnout of 65 per cent.

February 21: Anunayake of the Sri Lanka Ramanya Nikaya Venerable Girambe Ananda Thera passes away at the age of 80.

February 23: Komaali Kings becomes the first Sri Lankan Tamil language mass budgeted film released in 40 years. The film also marks the rebirth of Sri Lankan Tamil Cinema.

February 27: Anti-Muslim riots occur in Ampara town between Sinhalese and Muslim groups. Mosques, restaurants and Muslim civilians targeted during the conflict as the alleged rumours were caused by a mob stating that chemicals have been added to the food items at a particular Muslim restaurant in the vicinity of temple junction in Ampara.


March 2: The riots spread from Udispattuwa and Teldeniya to Digana and other areas in the Kandy District. Several Muslim businesses, mosques and shops attacked by a Sinhalese mob following the death of a Buddhist male. Following the violence in Kandy, the government declares a State of Emergency in the nation for 10 days.

March 3: Chief incumbent of Sri Sambodhi Viharaya, Colombo, and founder of ‘The Buddhist’ TV Venerable Daranagama Kusaladhamma Thera passes away at the age of 54.

March 4: Renowned literary figure Erewwala Nandimithra passes away at 78.

March 6: The government bans the use of social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, to quell violence throughout the country.

March 19: Floods and landslides caused from an annual heavy southwest monsoon affect 19 districts and kill at least 21 people with 150, 000 people affected and approximately 23 people missing.

The first female Mayor of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Rosy Senanayake and 60 other UNP members elected to the CMC took oaths in the presence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister D.M. Swaminathan at Temple Trees.

March 24: Sri Lankan national cricketer Dhananjaya de Silva's father Ranjan de Silva, a politician was shot dead by unknown people.


April 4: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe defeats the No Confidence Motion brought against him by the Joint Opposition led group.

April 7: Veteran actress Ratnawali Kekulawala passes away.

April 28: Film director, screenwriter, and film producer, Dr. Lester James Peries who is considered as the father of Sri Lankan cinema, passes away at 99.


May 1: Popular singer Priyantha Fernando, son of veteran singer C T Fernando, passes away at the age of 65.

May 29: Former Central Bank Governor A. S. Jayawardana passes away at the age of 81.


June 3: Professor Rohana Luxman Piyadasa appointed General Secretary of Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

June 5: Senior Journalist Hemanalin Karunaratne passes away at the age of 55.

June 5: Minister Mangala Samaraweera appointed Vice President of the United National Party.

UNP Parliamentarian Ananda Kumarasiri appointed Deputy Speaker.

June 9: Award-winning teledrama and scriptwriter Somaweera Senanayaka passes away at the age of 73.

June 10: Kirivehera Chief Incumbent Venerable Kobawaka Dhamminda Thera shot at by unknown gunmen.

June 16: Dinesh Chandimal found guilty of making ball-tampering incidence during the second test match between Sri Lanka and West Indies.

June 18: Veteran musician and singer Ivor Dennis passes away at the age of 86.

June 30: Veteran filmmaker Roy de Silva passes away at the age of 80.


July 11: President Maithripala Sirisena declares that he is ready to sign the death warrants.

President’s Counsel Hemantha Warnakulasuriya passes away at the age of 74.


August 9: Railway trade unions launch a sudden strike over several issues including salary anomalies.

August 12: The trade unions of the Railways Department call off their strike following a discussion with President Maithripala Sirisena.

August 18: Akalanka Peiris becomes the first ever Sri Lankan student to sit for a Sri Lankan GCE A/L examinations outside Sri Lanka as he was granted special permission to write A/L exams in Jakarta, Indonesia just prior to his preparations for the 2018 Asian Games.

August 26: Sri Lanka clinches maiden Carrom World Cup title in men's team event defeating defending champion India at the 2018 Carrom World Cup.

August 27: Former Army Commander Rohan Daluwatta passes away at the age of 77.


October 1: Railway ticket prices increase by 15% after 10 years.

Popular singer and comedian Ronnie Leitch passes away at the age of 65 at Perth in Australia.

October 2: Venerable Aggamaha Panditha Aluthgama Dhammananda Thera, a senior member of the Karaka Sabha of the Malwatte Chapter, passes away at 103 years.

October 8: Former State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran arrested over a controversial speech she had made in support of the LTTE. She was later on a surety bail of Rs. 500,000 by the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court.

October 12: Supreme Court Judge Nalin Perera sworn in as the 46th Chief Justice.

October 15: Veteran singer Professor Amara Ranathunga, the wife of Dr. Dayarathna Ranathunga, passes away at the age of 79.

October 26: Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena as the 13th Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

October 29: A new Cabinet of Ministers with Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena.


November 9: President Maithripala Sirisena issues a gazette dissolving Parliament and calling for fresh elections.

November 13: The Supreme Court issues an interim order against the gazette notification through which Parliament was dissolved.

November 30: Professor Jayadewa Tilakasiri passes away at 98.


December 3: Appeal Court issues Interim Order against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and 49 ministers from holding office.

December 4: Dr. Wickrema Weerasooria, a lawyer and a well known legal academic, passes away

December 6: Aluthgama Kandevihara Chief Incumbent Batuwanhene Sri Buddharakkhitha Thera passes away at the age of 80.

December 13: The seven-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court states Gazette notification dissolving Parliament is not in accordance with the Constitution.

December 14: Supreme Court Judge Eva Wanasundara retires.

December 15: Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa signed the document stepping down as Prime Minister.

December 16: For the fifth time, the UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is sworn in as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

December 18: Speaker Karu Jayasuriya declares that Mahinda Rajapaksa had been appointed as Leader of the Opposition with the UPFA joining the opposition benches in parliament. Mahinda Amraweera appointed as the Chief Opposition Whip.

December 20: The incumbent Cabinet sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena.

December 22: Northern Province floods in Sri Lanka caused by heavy rainfall affect Northern Province including Jaffna, Mannar, Mullaithivu, Vavuniya and Kilinochchi.

Compiled by Sachitra Mahendra 

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