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Poll outcome won't bring solution to Tamil question

Jan 9 (CT) Jaffna University Students' Union has pointed out that whatever the outcome of the presidential election may be, it would not bring about a lasting political solution to the Tamil question in the island. The Union, representing all the faculties in the university released a statement yesterday on the seventh presidential election. "We do not have an ounce of faith that this election will bring about a permanent political solution for us, the Tamil people since the two main candidates were more..

JVP says increased voter turnout indicates end of Rajapaksa rule

Jan 9 (Island) The increased voter turnout after a long time in the election calendar clearly indicated the end of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, the JVP claimed. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that this time around people rushed to polling stations in the morning to cast their vote against incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa and select the country’s seventh president. UPFA had misused all pubic resources including govt servants, property and public funds for President Rajapaksa’s more..

'MS failed to split SLFP'

Jan 9 (Island) Minister Reginald Cooray said that Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena campaign had suffered a debilitating setback due to his failure to split the SLFP in the run-up to presidential poll. Had the SLFP split as envisaged by the Maithripala Sirisena’s camp, the ground situation would have been different today, he said. Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga spearheaded the project to woo SLFP MP s. more..

STF in Kandy anticipate violence

Jan 9 (CT) Polls monitors noted that Police STF personnel had been deployed to Kandy, in anticipation of violence breaking out there. Network for Election Monitoring – Intellectuals for Human Rights (NEM-IHR) said that STF had been deployed by noon to Gampola, Nawalapitiya, Hewaheta and Pahathadumbara in view of potential special situations. Media Spokesman and Legal Adviser of NEM-IHR, Chaminda Gunasekera highlighted that voter intimidation and inducements more..

Puttalam IDPs inconvenienced

Jan 9 (CT) The IDPs in Mannar, who were living in IDP camps in Puttalam, were unable to cast their vote yesterday due to the lack of transport arrangements. However, after severe pressure from the election monitors, buses were arranged at the last minute. Although the IDPs were provided with the appropriate documents that would enable them to vote, they had not been facilitated with transport services as they were unable to travel the distance from Puttalam to their polling stations more..

All set for Papal visit

Jan 9 (CT) The Ministry of Defence said all arrangements for the Papal visit are in place including the altar at Galle Face Green that was built for the canonization mass of Blessed Joseph Vaas. The Ministry of Postal Services and the Central Bank will issue a special commemorative stamp and coin on the occasion of this landmark visit. Fr. Cyril Gamini, the Director of Media for the Pope's visit said that everything will more..

Dog heads, threats and Charlie Hebdo

Jan 9 (C4) As voting closes in Sri Lanka's elections, the biggest challenge to Mahinda Rajapaksa's presidency in 15 years, there are accusations of violent intimidation and misuse of public property. President Rajapaksa, a man accused of presiding over multiple war crimes carried out by Sri Lankan troops at the end of the final days of the country's civil war, looks vulnerable in the battle against his former ally Maithripala Sirisena. The incumbent president had called more..

Low voter turnout in North – PAFFREL

Jan 9 (CT) Voter turnout in the North was poor, in comparison to the 2010 Presidential Election, election watchdogs said. PAFFREL said the false media reports of Deputy UNP Leader Sajith Premadasa having crossed over to the government (countered by the Elections Commissioner) was a serious breach of election law. By the close of polling PAFFREL had received a total of 140 confirmed complaints, expected to rise to 150 by the end of the day. more..

Early returns show a new President for SL

Jan 9 (NYT) With early counting showing president Rajapaksa, trailing his challenger, the former health minister Maithripala Sirisena, a presidential spokesman has told local media that the Mr. Rajapaksa was leaving his official residence “to allow the new president to assume his duties.” “President Rajapaksa has left Temple Trees a short while ago,” said the statement from Mr. Rajapaksa’s media director. more..

No polls casualties admitted to hospital

Jan 9 (Island) Despite hospitals being alert to possible emergencies during the Presidential polls that lasted from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. yesterday no incidents were reported. Director of the National Hospital, Dr. Anil Jasinghe when contacted said that the hospital had not received any patients with injuries sustained during voting. The Hospital had functioned normally despite large number of its employees taking time off to cast their vote. Dr. Jasinghe said however that he was unable to more..

No major incidents: SLMC

Jan 9 (Island) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) General Secretary Hassan Ali yesterday said there were no major incidents reported during the Presidential Elections especially in the northern and eastern parts of the country. He however, said that a windscreen of a vehicle belonging to SLMC Organiser had been smashed at Akkaraipattu. He also said that voter turn out had been between 65 and 70 per cent in Kalmunai. The SLMC General Secretary said he beleived that that due to more..

Polling peaceful, voter turnout high

Jan 9 (Island) Additional security contingents took up position in Colombo yesterday as the seventh presidential election concluded without any major incident. The Election Secretariat at Rajagiriya reported a voter turn out of 70%. Denying reports that the army had taken over security in the city and its suburbs and a new Major General placed in charge of security arrangements, Military spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya more..

Bogus leaflet urges Easterners to vote for MR

Jan 9 (CT) A leaflet, appearing as a message by the General Secretary of the TNA, calling the voters to vote for President Rajapaksa was distributed among voters in areas such as Ampara, Kalmunai and Palamunai in the Eastern Province yesterday. According to sources, the TNA was furious over the leaflet distributed among the voters, which mentioned that TNA General Secretary, Mavai S. Senathirajah, has requested the voters to support Rajapaksa instead of Maithripala Sirisena. more..

We did not interfere in conduct of Presidential Election: President’s Office

Jan 9 (Island) Presidents office said that "peaceful" Presidential Election indicated that it had not interfered in the conduct of the poll. Presidential Spokesman Mohan Samaranayake said shortly after the counting process had begun that polling had been "very peaceful and incident free", which indicated the govts commitment to safeguard democracy. Pointing out that there had been an enthusiastic response from the people with over 70% of the electorate having voted, more..

Sri Lankan president concedes defeat after decade in power

Jan 9 (Reuters) President Rajapaksa conceded defeat to his opposition challenger on Friday after a presidential election, ending a decade of rule that critics say had become increasingly authoritarian and marred by nepotism and corruption. "We don't have any good news. It is all bad news," said a senior govt official and close ally of Rajapaksa as the results came in from election on this Indian Ocean island more..

All you need to know about Maithripala Sirisena

Jan 9 (Hindu) Sri Lanka's Maithripala Sirisena was a low-profile minister until he emerged as the best hope for a fractured opposition to topple South Asia's longest-serving leader, Mahinda Rajapakse. The 63-year-old has become an unlikely rallying point for disaffected Sri Lankans since he walked out of Rajapakse's govt a day after sharing dinner with the strongman President. He has pledged to abolish the executive presidency within 100 days and return the country to a Westminster-style more..

Sri Lanka stocks surge at opening after opposition polls win

Jan 9 (EN) Stocks surged higher Friday in what analysts said was euphoria over the resounding win at presidential polls the day before by the opposition candidate who has pledged to restore rule of law and create a more stable climate for business. The All Share Price Index rose 1.2% (88.51 points) to reach 7,586.11 less than an hour after opening while the S&P SL20 index, climbed 1.73% (72.30 points) to reach 4,258.27. Turnover was 1.2 billion rupees popped up by several crossings more..

U.S. looks forward to working with President-elect Maithripala Sirisena

Jan 9 (Hindu) The U.S. looks forward to working with Sri Lankan president-elect Maithripala Sirisena, Secretary of State John Kerry today said, as he commended outgoing President Rajapaksa for accepting the election results. “I look forward to working with President-elect Maithripala Sirisena as his new govt works to implement its campaign platform of a Sri Lanka that is peaceful, inclusive, democratic, and prosperous,” Mr. Kerry said more..

Special patrolling by polls officials in North

Jan 9 (CT) Election officials launched a special patrolling activity to observe the election situation in the North to ensure a free and fair election, without any interference and intimidation by the security forces. Election officials from the South visited the North to observe the election. The officers were patrolling in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya and Mannar. Some 782,283 voters were eligible vote at the presidential election in the Northern Province. more..

TMC, Congress hail Sri Lanka results

Jan 9 (Hindu) Political parties in Tamil Nadu on Friday hailed the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential elections in Sri Lanka. Tamil Maanila Congress leader B.S. Gnanadesikan said, it was always a known fact that if the Tamils in the island nation stood united against Mr. Rajapaksa, he had little chance of winning. Having won with the support of the Tamil votes, Maitripala Sirisena, the President-elect, should uphold the rights of the minority population, Mr. Gnanadesikan said. more..

Modi congratulates Sirisena on poll victory

Jan 9 (PTI) Indian PM Narendra Modi today called up Maithripala Sirisena to congratulate him on his victory in the SL polls and assured him of India's continued solidarity and support to the country's peace and development. "I spoke to Shri Maithripala Sirisena and congratulated him. I congratulate the people of Sri Lanka on the peaceful and democratic poll process," he said. "As a close friend and neighbour, reaffirmed more..

Sirisena set to be Sri Lanka's new president

Jan 9 (AJ) Maithripala Sirisena is expected to be sworn in as Sri Lanka's new president, an opposition spokesman said, after the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapakse, conceded defeat in a bitterly contested election. "The swearing in will be at 6:00pm local time today at Independence Square" in Colombo, spokesman Saman Athaudahetti said. Earlier, president Rajapaksa conceded defeat in an election he had been widely predicted to win before Sirisena, a member of his own party, more..

10 things you should know about Sri Lanka's newly elected President

Jan 9 (TOI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has conceded defeat in his bid for a third term in office, his spokesman said on Friday. Rajapaska has bowed to the people's decision and left Temple Trees, his official residence, said Wijeyanda Herath, his media secretary. In a result unthinkable just weeks ago, Rajapaksa lost to his former friend and health minister, Maithripala Sirisena, who defected from the ruling party and turned the election into a referendum on the president more..

Maithri to take oaths as President this evening

Jan 9 (AM) Common Candidate of the opposition Maithripala Sirisena will take oaths as the new President of Sri Lanka this evening, sources close to him told Asian Mirror. The swearing in ceremony will take place at Independence Square at 6 pm. After taking oaths, he will extend an open invitation to every MP, including the UPFA MPs, to join his 100 day programme to introduce much needed democratic reforms to the country. more..

Who is Maithripala Sirisena?

Jan 9 (Rediff) In a turn of events unthinkable just a few weeks ago, Sri Lankans seem to have voted out two-term President Mahinda Rajapaksa, opting instead for 63-year-old former Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena. The shock result came after Sirisena took an early lead in vote counting after polling closed on Thursday, with Rajapaksa conceding defeat on Friday morning, ending a decade of rule. So, here are 8 things one must know about Maithripala Sirisena, more..

S.L. Gunasekera no more

Jan 9 (Island) Leading attorney-at-law and former MP S.L. Gunasekera passed away yesterday. He was 71. An old boy of S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, he completed his tertiary education at the SL Law College. Gunasekera served as an editor at the now defunct Independent newspaper group for several years. He was a member of the govt delegation at talks with the pro-Eelamist militants at Thimpu in 1985. In 2000, Gunasekera became the founding leader of Sihala Urumaya, more..

'Military, govt interference in Presidential Election negated by EC, IGP'

Jan 9 (Island) The NDF said that President Rajapaksa’s attempt to hijack the electoral process by abusing military and govt power at yesterday’s Presidential Election had failed badly due to the indefatigable efforts of the Polls Chief and the IGP. Speaking on behalf of the NDF Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena, his Election Agent Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe MP said shortly after the counting process had begun more..

Sri Lanka’s dollar bonds decline as Rajapaksa concedes defeat

Jan 9 (BN) Sri Lanka’s dollar bonds fell, pushing the yield to the highest level in almost a year, after President Rajapaksa conceded defeat in an election that ended his decade-long rule. Rajapaksa has congratulated opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena and told him he can take over, Rajapaksa’s spokesman Mohan Samaranayake said by phone today. President called the election in November, two years ahead of schedule, in a bid to consolidate power after his party saw more..

'New President Sirisena will emerge as powerful candidate like PM Modi'

Jan 9 (ANI) Tamil Journalist R. Rajagopalan said that the new President Maithripala Sirisena will emerge as a powerful candidate in South-Asia region, just like PM Narendra Modi has become an international figure. "My understanding of Sri Lankan politics, having observed form last 30 years, I could very well say like Narendra Modi is becoming an international figure the new President Maithripala Sirisena will also emerge as a powerful candidate in South-Asia region. more..

New Sri Lankan president expected to kill James Packer's casino plans

Jan 9 (CT) Billionaire James Packer is expected to walk away from a plan to build a $US400 million ($496 million) casino and hotel in Sri Lanka after the island nation elected a new president, Maithripala Sirisena, who has promised to block the project. Mr Sirisena, who is described as a social conservative, defected from the ruling party in November after previously serving under former president Rajapaksa as health minister. more..

Fast facts: What change of guard in Sri Lanka means for India

Jan 9 (HT) Sri Lanka's new president-elect Maithripala Sirisena was a low-profile minister until he emerged as the best hope for a fractured opposition to topple South Asia's longest-serving leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa. HT analyses what the change of guard means for India. 1. India took a position of neutrality in the Sri Lankan elections. Rajapaksa and India's ruling BJP shared good ties for a long time. Before the ties could move on to a substantive track under PM Narendra Modi, more..

What to know about Maithripala Sirisena

Jan 9 (WSJ) Maithripala Sirisena, the man who this week defeated Sri Lanka’s president of the past decade, will be sworn in to the office on Friday evening. Mr. Sirisena — who served in the cabinet of his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, before defecting in November — has vowed to amend the constitution within 100 days to strip executive powers from the presidency and move toward a parliamentary system of government headed by a prime minister. Weeks before the election, more..

Flood toll mounts as authorities assess long-term damage

Jan 9 (ST) Forty deaths, 40,000 people in shelters, 25,000 houses damaged and more than 75,000 hectares of paddy land destroyed – the devastation caused by widespread floods and landslides in 22 districts will cause long-term hardship, officials said. More than a million people have suffered due to the torrential rains over the past two weeks. Badulla, the worst-hit district, reported 19 deaths with two people missing more..

SL presidential polls: democracy prevails

Jan 9 (Hindu) Refuting the analysis of pundits that Mahinda Rajapaksa is invincible, SL Muslim, Tamil and Sinhalese citizenry went to the polls in large numbers and defeated the authoritarian Rajapaksa regime. Space that opened up with the 2015 Presidential Elections eventually blew the lid of repression and cleared the oppressive cloud of fear that suppressed the people, corrupted social and state institutions, and silenced dissent. more..

More Tiger cubs perish at zoo

Jan 9 (Island) Thirty tiger cubs have so far perished at the Dehiwala Zoo during the last four years. Four Bengali Tiger cubs died yesterday. Five Bengali Tiger cubs were born on Saturday. One is alive. It is also in a critical condition, zoo officials said. Previously 26 tiger cubs including 10 rare white tiger cubs had died at the zoo. Last year, a rare white tiger cub was given euthanasia because he was considered abnormal. more..

SLT blatant bids for corruption

Jan 9 (SL) Astonishing revelations have now come to the fore how Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) which is a public limited company has offered a tender to the highest bidder, which has led the institution to lose closer to a staggering US$ 2 million. In September 2013, tenders (F/074/2013) were called to implement a Long Term Evolution (LTE) Network and the closing date to submit the offers was on or before April 30, 2014. more..

It's the happiest day of my life: Vaiko

Jan 9 (Hindu) "Today is the happiest day in my life and every Tamil family is celebrating the fall of Mahinda Rajapaksa," MDMK general secretary Vaiko said. Maithripala Sirisena may not follow Mr. Rajapaksa's 'footsteps of tyranny', he said. Mr. Vaiko hastened to add that he was not expecting Mr. Sirisena to ring in radical changes to the political climate in SL. "Mr. Sirisena is just another side of the same coin of more..

An unknown angel

Jan 9 (Economist) In an election upset unthinkable even weeks ago, Maithripala Sirisena is to become Sri Lanka’s new president. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the incumbent since 2005, conceded defeat even before all the votes were counted. Mr Sirisena has won with something more than 51% of the vote, to his opponent’s 48%. As expected, Mr Sirisena won in constituencies dominated by the Muslim and mainly-Hindu Tamil minorities. more..

Rajapaksa suffers shock election defeat

Jan 9 (BBC) Sri Lanka's long-time leader Mahinda Rajapaksa has been defeated in the presidential election. Official results showed Maithripala Sirisena, a former ally of the incumbent, had won 51.3% of the vote. Mr Rajapaksa, in office since 2005, said on Twitter he looked forward to a peaceful transition of power. His supporters credit him with ending the civil war and boosting the economy, but critics say he had become increasingly more..

Rajapaksa's defeat means advantage for India, bad news for China

Jan 9 (BS) It has to be the biggest miscalculation in his political career. President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa called for presidential elections two years ahead of schedule, lulled into security by his intelligence agencies which told him that if he were to hold elections now, he would win by a slender majority, but any delay and he could lose. The intelligence could not have been more wrong. At the time of writing, Maithripala more..