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India offers scholarships to Sri Lankan students for higher education in India

Jan 10 (HCI) Govt of India has offered 180 scholarships for Sri Lankan candidates to follow undergraduate, postgraduate and Ph.D. degrees at some of the leading universities in India, the Indian High Commission said. These scholarships are available for study in all the courses except medicine. Indian govt has offered 100 scholarships for Sri Lankan Nationals under the Nehru Memorial Scholarship Scheme for more..

Editorial: A paradigm shift

Jan 10 (Island) Maithripala Sirisena has been sworn in as the Executive President. It is heartening that the transfer of power was smooth and the post-election period has been peaceful. The Elections Commissioner, the IGP and the security forces commanders deserve thanks for a job well done. A political leader is best judged by the way he leaves office. For, they usually stick to power like limpets. In the late 1950s, an outgoing Prime Minister just walked out of Temple Trees more..

For a fresh beginning in Sri Lanka

Jan 10 (Hindu) Other than among the diehard supporters of the outgoing President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, there was no doubt about the victory of Maithripala Sirisena, the common Opposition candidate in the country’s Presidential election held on Jan 8. Yet, what surprised Mr. Rajapaksa’s supporters and opponents alike was his decision to concede defeat and leave the official residence early morning of the day after, hours before even a third of the official election results were out. more..

UN commends success of presidential election, peaceful transfer of power

Jan 10 (UN) United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated the people of Sri Lanka on the successful conclusion of the country’s presidential election, and welcomed the constitutional transfer of power. “The Secretary-General applauds the Sri Lankan Elections Commission for its professionalism in ensuring a peaceful and credible election,” according to a statement released by Mr. Ban’s spokesman more..

It is back to business for Ranil Wickramasinghe

Jan 10 (Hindu) Ranil Wickremesinghe, 65, finds himself leading a Sri Lankan ministry under an Executive President again. This is his third stint as Prime Minister, having served earlier in 1993-94 and 2001-04. As he was sworn in on Friday evening, Mr. Wickramasinghe must be ruing the fact that he has been unable to reach the country’s highest office despite being the leader of the principal opposition party for many years. For the second successive presidential election, his right-wing UNP was more..

Tea crisis to boil further!

Jan 10 (CT) The crisis engulfing Sri Lanka's tea exports to key markets - Russia, Iran and Syria - is very likely to boil further this month with prices expected to dip by a further 10-15% when the markets open on January 12. "This is a very serious situation where the Russian market prices have already dipped 10% in December, and we expect the market to dip another 10-15% when the market opens there on January 12 after the Christmas and New Year vacation," more..

SL Tamils celebrate toppling known devil

Jan 10 (AFP) Sri Lanka’s Tamils on Friday celebrated their key role in ousting Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose 11th-hour charm offensive and exhortation to vote for “the known devil” was too little, too late. Rajapaksa was strongly resented among Tamils in Sri Lanka after ordering a brutal military suppression of a separatist insurgency in which thousands of civilians are said to have died. With majority Sinhalese vote split between more..

Sri Lanka’s minorities choose Unknown Angel over Known Devil

Jan 10 (IPS) When the initial results started trickling in a little after midnight on Jan. 9, it still wasn’t clear exactly which way the country would swing: had Sri Lanka’s 15 million eligible voters thrown in their lot with incumbent President Rajapaksa for a third term? Or would the desire for change put common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the helm? It seemed close at first, with the bulk of the Sinhalase masses in the southern and central districts of Hambantota and more..

Defeat of Rajapaksa an opportunity for dialogue

Jan 10 (Hindu) Ever since the conclusion of the civil war in 2009, political parties in Tamil Nadu had remained unrelenting in their hardened perception of the Sri Lankan govt, led by Mahinda Rajapaksa, so much so that barely any dialogue was possible on crucial issues involving mutual interest. Mr. Rajapaksa was the face of a majoritarian regime that was accused of using the military to suppress the rights of the minority Tamil population. For the last six years, every political party in TN had more..

Smiling Buddhist pulls rug under pal’s feet

Jan 10 (TOI) To escape five attempts on one's life by LTTE is virtually a matter of providence. But it wasn't luck that took Pallawatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena to the presidential throne. The smiling Buddhist felt the public pulse, and pulled the rug from under the feet of his former boss Mahinda Rajapaksa on November 21, just weeks before the election to emerge as an alternative to the 'known devil'. more..

Twists on the road to Colombo

Jan 10 (TOI) The Southern Expressway leading up to Colombo is calm, deceptively so. The government has changed. The man whose name many hesitated to take, some out of deference, others out of fear, will no longer be president of their country. Mahinda Rajapaksa suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of friend-turned-rival Maithripala Sirisena on Friday. Many here concede that the dispensation they have voted into office may not necessarily give them a great govt. more..

Tamils’ anti-Rajapaksa vote tipped balance

Jan 10 (TOI) In a closely fought presidential contest in Sri Lanka, the votes of minority Tamils and Muslims, who constitute 20% of the electorate, proved to be the game changer. While Mahinda Rajapasa secured almost as many votes as his rival Maithripala Sirisena in Sinhala majority areas, Tamil areas overwhelmingly voted against him. TNA announcement of support for Sirisena seems have tipped the balance in his favour. In an indirect acknowledgement of this fact, Sirisena more..

Maithri gets boost from Obama

Jan 10 (CG) US President Barack Obama praised Sri Lanka’s “successful and peaceful” presidential elections and congratulated the outgoing administration on a “swift and orderly transfer of power.” “Beyond the significance of this election to Sri Lanka, it is also a symbol of hope for those who support democracy all around the world,” the US president said in a statement. more..

Japan congratulates Sirisena

Jan 10 (Island) The Japanese govt said that it welcomed the peaceful and successful holding of Sri Lanka’s Presidential election and expressed its congratulations to President elect Maithripala Sirisena. It, also commended President Rajapaksa for his decision to transfer power in a smooth and peaceful manner respecting the will of the people. "Japan hopes that under the leadership of President Sirisena, all parties concerned in Sri Lanka will work together to further promote more..

In Mandapam, relief and scepticism

Jan 10 (Hindu) Sri Lankan Tamil refugees at the Mandapam camp responded to the outcome of the SL presidential elections with relief, albeit tinged with scepticism. Though the defeat of President Rajapaksa came as a consolation, the refugees were not elated at the victory of Maithripala Sirisena. A cross-section of the refugees said though the defeat of Mr. Rajapaksa was welcome, they were not sure whether the interests of Tamils would be protected by the new govt. more..

MS in stunning win over MR

Jan 10 (Island) Having defeated President Rajapaksa at the presidential poll, victor Maithripala Sirisena yesterday took oaths before Supreme Court Justice K. Sripavan as the country’s sixth executive president. Former SLFP General Secretary won 12 electoral districts polling 6,217,162 votes (51.28%) whereas the incumbent secured 5,768,090 votes (47.58%). Sirisena won by a majority of 449,072. more..

Regime change and the death of a journalist

Jan 10 (Ekklesia) On 8 Jan 2015, the people of Sri Lanka elected a new president. The date also marked the sixth anniversary of the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge, a critic of the regime which has now been replaced. Joint opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena was declared the victor, replacing Mahinda Rajapakse. The former president – with his brothers Gotabhaya (defence secretary), Chamal (speaker) and Basil (economic development minister) more..

Hakeem backs new President

Jan 10 (Island) SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem yesterday conveyed to President Maithripala Sirisena his best wishes and assured his support. The SLMC switched its allegiance to Maithripala Sirisena in the run-up to Jan 8, 2015 presidential poll. The following is the text of a statement issued by MP Hakeem: "On behalf of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress,Rauff Hakeem extended his heartfelt congratulations on the historic victory of President-elect Maithripala Sirisena. more..

JHU thanks nation for electing Maithri

Jan 10 (CT) The JHU expressed gratitude and paid tribute to the voting populace of the country for paving the way to an emergence of a historic era, by electing Maithripala Sirisena as the President of Sri Lanka. "We hope to implement the true meaning of Maithri and enjoy this victory in harmony, sans revenge," JHU Secretary Champika Ranawaka said, after NDF candidate, Maithripala Sirisena was declared the victor by the EC. more..

Ranil thanks MR for smooth transfer of power

Jan 10 (Island) Sri Lanka has proved its credentials as a mature, peaceful democracy as the victory of Opposition Common candidate Maithripala Sirisena is resounding across the country, newly appointed premier Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He said: "The quality of democracy in any country is revealed not only in the magnanimity of the victors of popular franchise, but the graciousness of the defeated. We thank President Rajapaksa for enabling a smooth, peaceful and civilised transition. more..

Cameron calls on new Sri Lanka President to aid UN rights probe

Jan 10 (OI) British PM David Cameron today called on President-elect Maithripala Sirisena to facilitate the UN investigation into human rights abuses in the country. In his congratulatory message released by Downing Street here, Cameron expressed hope that the issues of the past will be addressed. In his statement, he said, "I congratulate Maithripala Sirisena on his victory. When I visited Sri Lanka I saw the huge potential and lead a stable, prosperous, united country". more..

JVP to decide on journey with new govt

Jan 10 (Island) JVP would take a decision soon on whether to join the new national govt formed by the newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena, but would actively engage in bringing about the constitutional reforms and be a part of the committee set up for the purpose. Its leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. "Our party is not clamouring for portfolios or other benefits, but actively engage in changing corrupt system more..

'Cabraal should respond to allegations'

Jan 10 (DM) Commenting on Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal’s decision to resign from his post, UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva said that Mr. Cabraal should answer to the financial allegations during his tenure before resigning. Dr. de Silva said the opposition had been fighting on behalf of the people during the past four years and that the Central Bank had been in the centre of these allegations. “There are a number of financial allegations relating to the Central Bank, more..

MS vows not to contest another term

Jan 10 (DM) Taking oaths as the 6th Executive President of Sri Lanka at the Independence Square, President Maithripala Sirisena vowed not to contest for a second term. He stressed the need to revise the country’s foreign policy by strengthening friendly diplomatic relations with all countries and organisations. President Sirisena yesterday pledged to implement what he pledged in his 100-day programme as published in his election manifesto and presented to the entire country. more..

Maithripala President, Ranil Prime Minister

Jan 10 (Island) NDF leader Maithripala Sirisena was sworn in as President and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM at Independence Square. Deviating from established tradition of elected Presidents being sworn in before the Chief Justice, it was the Senior most judge of Supreme Court K. Sripavan, who performed the task in place of the incumbent Mohan Peiris, whose position has been contested by more..

President Sirisena, We need servant leaders

Jan 10 (DM) After a momentous and miraculous turn of events which began Nov 21 last year, President Maithripala Sirisena was yesterday elected and sworn in as the sixth executive president, with a manifesto pledging to launch a new era of good governance and democracy within hundred days. Many significant events on election day and yesterday were good signs of the new era. After several years the people of Sri Lanka were given the priviledge of voting and upholding their more..

Managing Expectations

Jan 10 (DM) A historic election and a historic victory. But why is it so historic..? Not one, but there are several reasons for it to be significant among other Presidential Polls held in the country. The first is its national outreach. In fact Maithri could be proud of being the first President to be elected through a true genuine national election. The participation of people in the North, South, East and the West as one electorate was unique in its own dynamics. Probably this could be the first ever indication more..

Post Presidential Election testimonies

Jan 10 (DM) JHU MP Ven Athuraliye Rathana Thera was a front liner who supported the common candidate Maithripala Sirisena. He said that the opposition had been confident of a victory and it was the result of a humongous and courageous effort by the allies in the common opposition, the NDF.“ Until the very last moment it was hard to predict the results but we were confident of a victory. more..

Who is this Sirisena?

Jan 10 (DM) Born on September 3rd, 1951to a farming family at Laksha Uyana, in Polonnaruwa Maithripala Sirisena is the first President produced from historic Rajarata. Incidentally, he has been born after a few hours of forming the SLFP, the political alternative to the much powerful and ruling UNP of the day by late Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. His mother was a school teacher. more..

EU seeks to develop Sri Lanka ties

Jan 10 (CG) The European Union (EU) says it is looking forward to working with President Maithripala Sirisena to further develop its relations with Sri Lanka. EU High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini said the EU will continue to support Sri Lanka in its development as a prosperous and inclusive democracy for the benefit of all its citizens. “I also wish to pay tribute to the Sri Lankan people and authorities more..

New President in Sri Lanka puts China’s plans in check

Jan 10 (NYT) On a Sunday four months ago, a vessel pulled unannounced into Sri Lanka’s Colombo harbor: the Chinese Navy submarine Great Wall No. 329, which is designed to carry torpedoes, a cruise missile and a 360-pound warhead. Sri Lanka’s defense minister shrugged it off as an “operational good-will visit.” But anxiety was already radiating as far as New Delhi, where the visit was seen as a clear declaration that more..

For Sri Lanka, Pope's visit solidifies peace after brutal civil war

Jan 10 (CNA) Falling just five years after the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, Pope Francis’ visit to the country is seen as a sign of reconciliation, a message expected to be shown through his gestures more than his words. “We are going to have (Pope) in an atmosphere in which we have finished a 30-year long civil war and we are in need of a real process of reconciliation; spiritually, materially, politically,” Fr. Prasad Harshan, more..

Video: Struggle is not over yet; 8th January was only the beginning: JVP

Jan 10 (LT) “At the beginning of the election campaign we said the struggle would not end on 8th January but the JVP would march forward to organize the masses to establish democracy, good governance and carry out a broad transformation of the society,” says the Leader of the JVP Anura Dissanayaka. He said, “The presidential election that was held was not one that was held according to the election map of the country. more..

Introducing Maithripala Sirisena: Sri Lanka's new president

Jan 10 (DW) In the country's tightest presidential race in over a decade, opposition candidate Sirisena defeated longtime president Mahinda Rajapaksa, ending the Sri Lankan leader's 9-year rule which critics describe as having been increasingly marked by nepotism and corruption. While Rajapaksa won 47.62% of the vote, Sirisena was elected president of the South Asian nation on Friday, after winning 51.28% of the vote. more..

Sri Lanka's new president gets down to mending ties

Jan 10 (AFP) New SL President Maithripala Sirisena began assembling a cabinet on Saturday on his first day in office as he looks to deliver on pledges to improve the war-torn nation's diplomatic standing and implement democratic reforms. Sirisena, who was sworn in Friday evening after a shock election victory over veteran strongman Mahinda Rajapakse, was trying to form a "national unity" cabinet that would include more..

President Maithripala Sirisena's 100 day work programme

Jan 10 (DBS) Saturday January 10: The new President, Maithripala Sirisena, will take his oath of office. Sunday January 11: A Cabinet of not more than 25 members, including members of all political parties represented in Parliament, will be appointed with Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM. Monday January 12: In order to strengthen democracy, a National Advisory Council will be set up inclusive of more..

Canada welcomes Maithripala Sirisena

Jan 10 (LR) Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird congratulated Sri Lankans on a peaceful presidential election, highlighting the roles of civil society, domestic election observers and the elections commissioner. Mahinda Rajapakse, first elected in Nov 2005, the longest serving leader in the region conceded defeat last night and promised peaceful handover of power following electoral defeat to his ally more..

Challenges before Maithri

Jan 10 (CT) As expected, Common Opposition Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena swept the polls at Thursday's presidential election, garnering more than 51% of the popular vote, despite various obstacles placed before his path by govt in power. Sirisena took his oaths as Sri Lanka's sixth executive president yesterday. His win was all the more significant because the govt used its resources to the full, to try to ensure that the then incumbent President Rajapaksa, more..

NZ battle expectation, Sri Lanka battle indifferent form

Jan 10 (CI) 7-match ODI series usually prompt groans from all but tournament broadcasters and host boards, but with the World Cup close enough to salivate on, New Zealand and Sri Lanka kick off their final phase of preparation, in conditions that should be similar to those they encounter in February and March. For now, New Zealand will be producing more drool at the prospect of a World Cup. They are soaring on good vibes from an outstanding Test series, their batsmen & bowlers are in form, more..

New era for Sri Lanka?