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After 100 days the stark contrast between the Rajapakse and Sirisena Administrations

Apr 30 (GV) The conclusion of the one hundred days is a good time to compare and indeed contrast the Maithripala Sirisena Administration from the Rajapakse rule that it replaced. This is particularly relevant in the context that Brother number two (no pun intended), Gotabhaya Rajapakse, has suggested that Mahinda Rajapakse should be PM, under President Sirisena. This suggestion of the Mahinda Rajapakse premiership is also what motivates the small appendages of UPFA, more..

Sri Lanka’s emergency assistance to Nepal and return of exiled journalists

Apr 30 (GV) Sri Lankan govt has announced that it had dispatched emergency supplies and support personnel to Nepal a day after the devastating earthquake and that there would be further materials and personnel in the coming days. The govt also announced that Sri Lankans who had been in Nepal, can come back in the same flight. The solidarity towards a neighbor in distress and duty towards some Sri Lankan citizens is admirable. Ever since the new President came into power, more..

The 100-Day scorecard

Apr 30 (SO) Principal Researcher at Point Pedro Institute for Development, Dr. Muthukrishna Sarvananthan: In general, the govt seem to be on correct track although it has not been able to achieve the promises within the stipulated day for several reasons including the composition of the parliament. But economically, there has been relief for the people through the Budget such as the increase in Mahapola scholarship, more..

The 19A: Did Maithripala sell out?

Apr 30 (CT) The historic passage of the watered down 19th amendment on 28th April is probably the single most successful parliamentary endevour, undertaken by our legislators in many years. It augurs well for Sri Lanka and its democracy that was reestablished after a decade of Rajapaksa tyranny on the 9th of Jan 2015. Whatever barriers the opposition mustered during the last one hundred and seven days against the passage of the 19th amendment by Maitripala-Ranil govt more..

19A minus: A middle path

Apr 30 (CT) There were four main winners in the battle over 19th Amendemnt. Of them, the second biggest winner was President Sirisena who was able to retain much of his power while balancing adroitly between the two contending components of his power base: his ally the UNP and his party the SLFP. The biggest winner however, was not President Sirisena. It was a dead man, President J.R. Jayewardene. His 1978 Constitution proved so robust a structure, that it successfully more..

Panspermia Earth vs Cosmos

Apr 30 (CT) Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe is a Sri Lankan born mathematician, astronomer and astrobiologist. He was a former Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge and later Professor of Applied Mathematics and Astronomy at Cardiff University. He is currently an Honorary Professor and the Director of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology, University of Buckingham, UK, Visiting Professor at more..

Can Sirisena and Mahinda click?

Apr 30 (SL) This statement by the former Defence Secretary hero to many, villain to so many surprised us. Gota, as he is called by those close to him (We hope he will not object to this intimacy since we have not met him) surprised us. He is a taciturn ex-soldier of few words and does not usually speak nonsense. As we all know, Gota has been serving his brother Mahinda as Defence Secretary for many years together with Maithripala Sirisena as a cabinet minister & more general secretary of party. more..

What does a Rajapaksa return entail

Apr 30 (SL) The inevitable yet politically well-timed arrest of one or all of the Rajapaksa brothers, legal action against all on all and sundry causes and cases had all been written into the script when common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena won the presidential polls. For the new govt, it was at the very top of their poll promises and for the people that voted him it was their fervent hopes, expectation and anticipation. For President Sirisena’s poll-time under-writer more..

‘Our business enterprise is the backbone of South Korea’

Apr 30 (Island) South Korean Ambassordor Won-Sam Chang says Korea was able to achieve high economic growth because Korean enterprises competed aggressively in the highly competitive international market. They did not rely on the small domestic market to expand their businesses. Q: How long have you been in Sri Lanka and what are your impressions of Sri Lanka? A: I have been here for less than one year more..

Ranil Wickremesinghe: The good, the bad or the ugly?

Apr 30 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is considered a political strategist by many. LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran once feared his actions. He takes certain bold decisions in the situations where other leaders are reluctant to act. On the other hand, he acts in selfless manner in certain situations where even ordinary politicians do not behave in such a way, let alone political strategists. However, his strategies did not work in favour of him in critical stages. more..

Editorial: All’s well that ends well

Apr 30 (Island) There have been situations where our lawmakers acted responsibly during the last several decades, but such instances can be counted on the fingers of one hand. They did so in 2001, when they voted overwhelmingly for the 17th Amendment which was one of the few progressive laws Parliament has ever passed. They have just done so again by ratifying the 19th Amendment to curtail the draconian powers vested in the executive presidency & revive indep. commissions more..

Democracy’s breaking dawn

Apr 30 (FT) In the heady days before a presidential election was declared on 22 Nov 2014, a UNP delegation comprising key party strategists held a secret meeting with the man who was being proposed for common candidate of a grand opposition coalition gearing up for battle against the mighty Rajapaksa regime. The civil society movement mobilising support for the common candidacy had vetted several options and more..

Increasing pseudo eco-hotels, a worrying local trend: CCC

Apr 30 (Island) Many establishments proclaim themselves to be "Green Hotels" without even meeting the basic requirements in managing their environmental impacts, with the hope of capitalizing on the green trend, Sanith de S. Wijeyeratne, CEO, Carbon Consulting Company (CCC) Sri Lanka said recently. "The increasing growth of pseudo eco-hotels is a worrying phenomenon, he said. "Eco Tourism or Green Tourism is the fastest growing section of the global tourism market. more..

Plastic hinders traditional Vesak lantern sales

Apr 30 (DN) Parents should encourage their children to make Vesak lanterns at home out of our own raw materials without making them from plastic lantern frames which are commonly available in the market today, a resident of Wadduwa 71- year old Somasiri Ganegoda said. According to Somasiri present day parents are in the habit of buying Vesak lanterns from wayside boutiques and this hampers a child's ability in the art of making Vesak lanterns. He thanked his parents for teaching him the way more..

Kusal, Kaushal seal series for Sri Lanka A

Apr 30 (CI) A three-wicket haul from Tharindu Kaushal and a run-a-ball 110 from Kusal Perera helped Sri Lanka A beat Pakistan A by seven runs in a truncated game in Hambantota. It gives them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. After being put in, Shehan Jayasuriya and Kusal put on 57 for the first wicket, which ended when Tabish Khan dismissed Jayasuriya for 21 in the 13th over. Kusal was then involved in more..

Chinese loan interest rates low: CCCSL

Apr 30 (CT) Referring to the allegation by a high-ranking official of Sri Lankan Finance Ministry that the Chinese loans were at high interest rates, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (CCCSL) Spokesperson said that, the interest rates of Chinese loans were not high. During the past 10 years, China has provided loans amounting to several billion US dollars to support Sri Lanka economic and social development under the request of Sri Lankan govt, more than half of these more..

Ceylon Chamber hails enactment of 19A

Apr 30 (CT) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce welcomes the enactment of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, to improve democratic ideals. The Chamber also would like to hail the crucial roles played by the President, Prime Minister and the Leaders of all Political Parties in arriving at a consensus; in spite of diverse views that prevailed initially, demonstrating their ultimate commitment towards democracy, which augurs well for the country, a news release said. more..

CSN set to win SLC local TV rights again

Apr 30 (DM) Carlton Sports Network (CSN) sports TV Channel which is in the midst of a massive controversy surrounding the manner in which they won Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) local TV Broadcast rights has, once again, emerged as the highest bidder to claim those rights for another three-year period. SLC has received a whopping Rs. 175.5 million bid from CSN for the local TV rights of SLC for a three-year period from 2015 to 2018 more..

Meeriyabadde landslide women victims to be empowered

Apr 30 (Island) In an effort to empower women, the Ministry of Plantation Industries which was in the process of constructing houses for families affected by last years landslide at Meeriyabadde Estate in Haldumulla has decided to give joint ownership to the wife and husband of the household. Secretary to the Ministry of Plantation Infrastructure Development, V. Sivagnanasothy said that they would be providing freehold title deeds whereby husband and wife of the families affected by more..

Lankan firm Votum powers Oman’s biggest private sector solar PV project

Apr 30 (FT) In a major breakthrough signifying local engineering prowess, a Sri Lankan firm has powered Oman’s biggest private sector solar PV solution. Earlier this week Votum Global Energy Solutions Ltd. (Votum) successfully commissioned a 1.2 Mw solar PV solution for Omani multinational Renaissance Services SOAG’s (Renaissance) Permanent Accommodation Camp at Fahud. The engineering, procurement and construction was conudcted by Votum, international subsidiary more..

Namal votes himself out of 2021 presidential race

Apr 30 (EN) Former president's eldest son and Rajapaksa clan's heir apparent, MP Namal may have voted himself out of 2021 presidential election by supporting 19th amendment to the constitution. The latest amendment raised the minimum age of a presidential candidate to 35 years, up from the earlier 30 that would narrowly disqualify Namal Rajapaksa from entering next presidential election due in January 2021. more..

Sri Lanka's new rulers confident of regaining GSP Plus next year

Apr 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s new administration is confident about retrieving the GSP plus trade concessions by mid or late next year, Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said. “We are trying to get GSP plus back and I am very happy to report to you that we had very productive discussions in Brussels and with the EU political leadership,” De Silva said on Wednesday. “By late this year or early next year we hope to get the ball rolling in this regard and by mid or end of next year we are very confident more..

Sri Lanka must fix energy sector to regain export competitiveness

Apr 30 (EN) Sri Lanka urgently needs to fix its loss-making power and energy sector given the pressure it exerts on the balance of payments and budget deficit, government officials and economists said. “If we don’t get the policy right in this sector the entire economy is affected,” declared Suren Batagoda, Secretary, Ministry of Power and Energy. Petroleum imports take up about a quarter of the island’s total import bill and accounts for about half the export earnings, he told a forum more..

Sri Lanka should raise the retirement age, cut subsidies, end tax holidays: Central Bank

Apr 30 (EN) Sri Lanka should raise the retirement age as people get older and the state should cut sweeping subsidies and tax holidays should be ended to get more revenues, the Central Bank said. "With regard to govt expenditure, govt welfare measures such as subsidies provided to several sectors in a blanket manner remain a fiscal burden that should be immediately revisited," Central Bank said in its newly released more..

OBG to compile comprehensive report on SL

Apr 30 (DN) The Sri Lankan economy has not yet been properly understood due to the lack of visibility, Oxford Business Group's Sri Lanka Country Manager, Brooke Butler said. She made these remarks addressing the media in Colombo at the MoU signing ceremony between Oxford Business Group (OBG) with the BoI to compile a comprehensive report on Sri Lanka's economic boom. OBG will undertake the assignment to compile the report Sri Lanka 2016, more..

Cooray makes faux pas

Apr 30 (CT) SLFP MP Reginald Cooray was placed in an uncomfortable position when he made the faux pas of referring to President Maithripala Sirisena as Mahinda Rajapaksa. Whilst praising President Sirisena for his immense support in enacting 19A and likening him to South African leader Nelson Mandela at press briefing he said, "A common phenomenon in the world is that the person who has power will try his hardest to maintain it. He will curb all attempts to reduce such powers. more..

Kerry hopes to reset US relations with SL

Apr 30 (VoA) A senior U.S. State Department official said that Secretary of State John Kerry was traveling to Sri Lanka to show that the U.S. applauds the vision of that country’s new govt. Kerry will visit Colombo on Saturday as part of a weeklong trip that includes stops in Kenya and Djibouti. He will be the first secretary of state to visit Sri Lanka since Colin Powell did so in 2004. In SL, Kerry will meet with country’s new president, more..

Jaffna graduates demand govt jobs

Apr 30 (CT) Unemployed graduates yesterday staged a protest in front of the Jaffna District Secretariat demanding govt jobs. The protesters blocked both entrances of the District Secretariat. The general public faced many difficulties due to the protest. The protesters said that they graduated in 2012. Although the authorities promised to give them jobs, so far they had failed to honour those promises. An organization was formed for unemployed graduates, more..

Gangaramaya Buddharashmi Vesak Zone to be held for ninth time

Apr 30 (DN) Buddharashmi Vesak Zone organized by the Hunupitiya Gangaramaya temple for the ninth time in succession, will be held for four days beginning from May 3 in an area adjacent to the Beira Lake, Temple Trees and the Hunupitiya Gangaramaya temple The Vesak festival includes the Exposition of Sacred Relics, pandals, photography exhibitions and lanterns depicting Buddhist traditions, Buddhist pilgrim sites and Buddhist history, President Sirisena, more..

Sri Lankan rescue contingent treats more than 300 Nepal earthquake victims

Apr 30 (MoD) The first rescue and relief contingent from Sri Lanka with 44 service personnel and 4 civil medical consultants, dispatched to Nepal Sunday on the directions of the President and the PM with close supervision of the Commander of the Army, Crishanthe De Silva, in less than 45 minutes of their arrival in Nepal, has begun their rescue and relief operations from Dolalghad, a remote worst-affected area, more..

Curtains down on Rajapaksa comeback bid

Apr 30 (ENS) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, trying hard to come back, suffered a major setback on Tuesday when Parliament passed the 19th Constitutional Amendment (19A), which prevents him from standing for the Presidency again. “No person who has been twice elected to the office of President by the People, shall be qualified thereafter to be elected to such office by the People,” the 19A says. To add to his woes, Rajapaksa’s own party, the SLFP, and his grand coalition, more..

My int’l achievements ignored: President

Apr 30 (DM) President Sirisena said that during his tenure as Health Minister, he received two awards -- one from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the other from the University of Harvard – but they were not acknowledged by the previous regime. “About a month ago, the Excise Department of Excise sent me a report stating that 326 outlets selling tobacco and alcohol without confirming to the necessary guidelines. I submitted a motion recommending that these outlets be closed. more..

19A shuts out Gota: Former Defence Secretary is a dual citizen

Apr 30 (DN) 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which was passed in Parliament with an overwhelming majority, has barred former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa from contesting Parliamentary elections. The section of the 19th Amendment disqualifying dual citizens from becoming Parliamentarians remained unchanged during the Committee Stages of the debate. Immigration & Emigration Dept confirmed more..

Fake passport racket run by a Sri Lankan gang busted

Apr 30 (DC) The Q branch of the Tamil Nadu police busted on Wednesday, a fake passport racket run by a Sri Lankan gang which had been ‘issuing’ fake Indian passports and fake visas to Lankan refugees after collecting huge amounts and helping them to go to Europe and Canada via Nepal. Police arrested four Lankans from Chennai. Police sources said that a Q team arrested persons identified as R. Balachandran alias Balan, 48, a native of Jaffna, P. Lingaran alias Athiyaman, 40, from Jafna more..

Accused in Sigiriya Mirror Wall scribbling Udaya freed!

Apr 30 (CT) Sinnatamby Udaya Sri, the young girl who was serving a two-year prison term, for scribbling on the famed Mirror Wall at Sigiriya is due to be released today. She is being detained at the Anuradhapura Prison and is due to be released at 8 a.m., a source at the Anuradhapura Prison said. The source added the letter ordering her release had been sent to the Anuradhapura Prison by the Secretary to the Ministry of Justice yesterday through Commissioner General of Prisons. more..

'President thwarted last minute bid to sabotage 19 A'

Apr 30 (Island) The govt accused an influential section of the UPFA parliamentary group of having made a desperate bid to sabotage the 19 Amendment to the Constitution. President Maithripala Sirisena, however, in his capacity as the leader of the SLFP had succeeded in thwarting dissidents, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. He alleged that dissident group had made a bid to refrain from backing the Bill more..

Sri Lanka’s longest day and finest hour

Apr 30 (DM) It was one of the longest days but also one of the finest hours in Sri Lanka’s history. President Maithripala Sirisena, displaying exemplary leadership qualities seldom or never seen since the enforcement of the executive presidential system in 1978, facilitated a consensus in Parliament to obtain a thumping 215 votes for the crucial 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The people believe that this much-awaited amendment will pave the way for the consolidation of democracy and more..

Coping with climate change

Apr 30 (DM) Sri Lanka is in the final stages of compiling its National Adaptation Plan (NAP), designed to help the country achieve sustainable and climate resilient economic development. The plan identifies recommendations to improve the preparation for climate impacts and cope with emerging or expected climate impacts. To discuss the NAP in detail, the Climate Action Network Sri Lanka organised a press workshop and discussion at the Sri Lanka Press Institute on March 12, more..

We need a fresh beginning

Apr 30 (DM) The article I wrote responding to the political moves made last week by the forces who wants to bring back Mahinda Rajapakse received positive and negative responses. Many wanted me to translate the article which appeared in a website to Sinhala and Tamil languages urging me to take the message to a wider audience including the 225 members in the legislature. Today I am giving expression to more..

'Last ditch attempt by Pro- Mahinda cabal to sabotage 19A'

Apr 30 (DN) A conspiracy engineered by a group of UPFA MPs, supportive of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was afoot until the last moment, to prevent the passing of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in Parliament, Deputy Minister Ajith P Perera, revealed. "By defeating the 19A, their plan was to portray President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe as weak leaders. more..