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Basil Rajapaksa leaves for US

Jan 11 (AD) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, has reportedly left the country early this morning. The UPFA Parliamentarian and his wife Pushpa Rajapaksa left through the VIP lounge at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake. He added that the ex-minister, who is the younger brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, left for Los Angeles via Dubai on Emirates flight EK 349 at 2.55am today. more..

Offspinner who overcame McCullum's wrath

Jan 11 (CI) Pushing a batsman back with a bouncer then nailing him with a yorker has been a fast-bowling strategy for many decades, but Mitchell McClenaghan ended up being struck for two fours attempting that most reliable of tricks. His first four balls of the match were dots, then banged in the fifth one for Mahela Jayawardene to climb into an upper cut, which flew over the slips. The next one was full and fast and was punched crisply to the cover fence. A nervy runner at the best of times, more..

Political situ chaotic – Nagamuwa

Jan 11 (CT) Member of the Frontline Socialist Party, Duminda Nagamuwa said that most people who voted for President Maithripala Sirisena only did so because they were against the former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa. He added that the current political situation in the country is somewhat chaotic because a squabble between Maithripala Sirisena, Chandrika Kumaratunge and Ranil Wickremesinghe, in their journey to create a new govt, is very much possible. more..

Video: UPFA trying to destabilise: UNP

Jan 11 (DM) The UNP today unveiled what it called a ‘shocking attempt’ allegedly made by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother Gotabaya to deny the victory to President Maithripala Sirisena by blocking the counting of votes and thereby declaring the winner by Elections Commissioner with the assistance of Army Commander, the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General early Friday morning. more..

Sri Lankan diplomats leave

Jan 11 (DM) Sri Lankan diplomats attached to missions abroad and foreign observers who were here to monitor the presidential elections left the country from the BIA today. Following are the several diplomats, Ambassador to France Karunaratne Hangawatte, Ambassador to Japan Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, Ambassador to China Ranjith Uyangoda, Ambassador in Jordan Gamini Rajapakse, High Commissioner to Australia Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe and more..

Sri Lanka election: Voices of hope

Jan 11 (AJ) In a surprising turn of events, Mahinda Rajapaksa - who ruled the country for a decade and was seeking a third term in office by calling snap elections two years ahead of schedule - was forced to concede defeat after last week's vote. His opponent Maithripala Sirisena defeated the incumbent president on the promise of bringing about "qualitative change" and transferring sweeping presidential powers implemented by Rajapaksa back to parliament. more..

KP wants Sirisena to let him carry on his humanitarian work

Jan 11 (ENS) Kumaran Pathmanathan, once in-charge of international finance and arms smuggling operations of the LTTE, who had allegedly fled from Sri Lanka following the change of regime in Colombo, is still in the country. "I am in Sri Lanka, contrary to news reports that I had fled from the country. I have no plans to leave the country. I will be thankful to God if the new govt lets me continue my humanitarian work more..

PMK urges Centre to raise fishermen's issue with Serisena

Jan 11 (PTI) NDA constituent PMK today urged the Narendra Modi govt to raise the fishermen's issue with the newly sworn-in Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena during his February India visit and demanded that the leader immediately release boats of Indian fishermen under his country's custody. Referring to Colombo's announcement that Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu languishing in its jails will be released as a goodwill gesture, party founder S Ramadoss said more..

Probe into individuals spreading false rumours on Jaffna situation

Jan 11 (AD) An investigation will be launched into individuals who are spreading false rumours regarding the present situation in the Jaffna peninsula, DIG Ravi Waidyalankara said. The DIG, who is in charge of the Jaffna District, pointed out that there have been no reports of any sort of violence in Jaffna and that the police and army have ensured maximum security in the peninsula. Meanwhile Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, speaking to reporters in Kandy this morning, more..

SLFP splits into two: Mahinda re-appointed as chairman by one faction

Jan 11 (AM) In a major development, the SLFP has now been divided into two factions. While one faction has decided to support President Maithripala Sirisena, the other faction has chosen former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Chairman of the party. General Secretary of the Rajapaksa faction of the SLFP, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said 42 members of the Central Committee, re-appointed President more..

Where did Rajapaksa go wrong ?

Jan 11 (CT) In what appears to be one of the most eagerly followed presidential elections in the country's history, which made an incumbent Executive President a loser for the first time in Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena was elected the sixth Executive President of SL. The new President received 6,217,162 votes – 51.28% of the total votes polled – with a majority of 449,072 votes than his main opponent, former President Rajapaksa, who received 5,768,090 votes (47.58%). more..

TNA assures Ranil on the North

Jan 11 (CG) The TNA has assured PM Ranil Wickremesinghe that it is for a united Sri Lanka and will not allow LTTE activities or protests against the army in the north. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe met the chief prelates in Kandy today and briefed them on the security situation in the north following the Presidential elections. The Premier had told the monks that reports of attacks on the army and LTTE flags being raised following the election was false and baseless. more..

Video: None will be spared: JHU

Jan 11 (DM) The JHU and several other politicians who backed President Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential election today announced setting up a special fact finding unit to gather information on large scale corruption that is alleged to have taken place in the country during past ten years. JHU General Secretary and MP Champika Ranawaka told a media briefing that this unit had been set up to move away from a more..

BASL wants CJ Shirani back

Jan 11 (DM) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) had urged the newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena to arrange necessary measures to reinstate the 43rd Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, who was impeached by Parliament in January 2013. BASL Secretary Ajith Pathirana told that the BASL made this request at a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena and the PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday. He said that it received a positive response from more..

Sri Lankan refugees happy, but no celebrations in camps

Jan 11 (Hindu) Mahinda Rajapaksa’s loss in the elections has resulted in politicians calling it a victory for democracy and see a ray of hope for Tamils in that country. However, there was no sign of celebration in the SL refugee camps in the district. There are four Sri Lankan Refugee camps in the district – at Kottur, Aliyar, Vedar Colony and Pooluvapatti – where hundreds of refugees are living for more than two decades. They said they are happy that Rajapaksa was defeated. more..

Video: 'Sri Lanka needs a true human being, not a king'

Jan 11 (AD) Newly-elected President Maithripala Sirisena today invited all political parties in parliament to unite in forming a national unity govt. “I invite all political parties in parliament to join the all-party govt to create good governance and drive the country towards expected aspirations,” he said, delivering his first address to the nation. He also pledged that the unlimited powers vested with the Executive Presidency will be transferred more..

The force is still with Mahinda Rajapaksa

Jan 12 (CT) When J.R. Jayewardene went back to Braemar at Ward Place, his private residence, after leaving the Presidency, he noted ruefully in his memoirs that there was hardly anybody to meet him the next day. Chandrika Kumaratunga too complained that there was no one to put even a spoonful of sugar in her cup of tea once she fell from grace and returned to Horogolla, her ancestral home. Of course, this ”King Lear” syndrome has been enacted in every corner of the earth and more..

The North factor in the Presidential pools

Jan 12 (CT) The Tamil Community was placed in an uncomfortable situation from the time when it was announced the 2015 Presidential Elections. Unable to enter into any kind of discussion with the then opposition the TNA saw any of its efforts to support Maithiripala Sirisena a wild goose chase. At the prima faciae, TNA was unlikely to call for a boycott or leave the decision up to the people. TNA members were very cautious in making any statement since there was a high possibility more..

Warm welcome for Pope Francis

Jan 12 (SO) Hot on the heels of a crucial election which saw the country’s Executive powers moving from one camp to another, Sri Lanka is preparing for another grand event, the visit of Pope Francis the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. Pope Francis visit from January 13 to 15, is eagerly awaited not only by the Catholics in Sri Lanka but by people of every faith in this tiny island nation. For one thing the visit by the more..

Importance of two months of Godamanna

Jan 12 (SL) Sri Lanka’s 2015 Davis Cup tie, v. Philippines in Manila, is scheduled for March 6-8, and Harshana Godamanna, our no.1 player, is due to fly in to Colombo, from Boston, next week to begin preparations for what is the country’s premier tennis challenge. So what’s the big deal about Godamanna arriving here to prepare for a competition that’s two months away, you well might ask. Two months training in Colombo before the tie is precisely why it’s such a big deal. more..

The harder challenge facing the Sirisena govt

Jan 12 (SL) The just concluded presidential election was the most crucial in recent times. Although Election Day was peaceful these were not free or fair elections. There was widespread violence against opposition campaigners during the period of the election campaign. There was a denial of places for them to hold their meetings. The govt used the state machinery to the maximum. This was against the election law. Although the media was expected to give equal coverage to all candidates, more..

'We all have to accommodate each other'

Jan 12 (SL) When looking at the victory, it is evident that the new president has received a clear mandate from the minority in the North and the East. Even though the TNA initially had several concerns, they finally came forward to support the New Democratic Party (NDP) campaign which clearly strengthened the support of the Tamil voter-base in the North. TNA MP M A. Sumanthiran said that minority votes played a decisive role more..

All hail smooth transition of power

Jan 12 (NS) Sri Lanka’s seventh presidential election, billed as too close to call ended in a somewhat anti-climactic fashion on Friday when Maithripala Sirisena was elected as the country’s sixth Executive President, securing 51.3% of the vote and defeating Mahinda Rajapaksa. The first results that came in, postal votes from the Ratnapura district put Rajapaksa ahead but then, Sirisena led in the count throughout and recorded a majority of almost 450,000 votes. more..

The way we got to this

Jan 12 (NS) Maithripala Sirisena has been elected as the sixth Executive President of Sri Lanka. A few months ago few would have envisaged this result. Indeed, a few months ago no one even considered Maithripala as a possible challenger to the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapaksa. The not-thought-of happened. Some may say that this was less a vote FOR Maithripala than a vote AGAINST Mahinda. Some would argue that Maithripala was not Maithripala but a proxy for a collective, more..

'HSZs must stay, give back other lands'

JJan 12 (CT) JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka says that essential High Security Zones in the North and East must be maintained and lands used for other businesses such as entertainment, tourist hotels and golf courses etc. should be returned to people. Q: What have you to say about the results of the presidential election? A: This is clearly a people's victory. State power was used in an unprecedented corrupt manner more..

Post election: Real Vs Perceived risks

Jan 12 (GV) The election of Sri Lanka’s new President Maithripala Sirisena has undoubtedly marked the dawn of a new era in Sri Lanka politics. Around the country and across the world we have witnessed a heightened level of optimism and hope, among many Sri Lankans. When the election results started to pour in, I joined hundreds of other over-caffeinated, adrenaline-high Sri Lankans living abroad, desperately searching for ways to feel connected and be part of the change. more..

Editorial: Attacks on the media

JJan 12 (Island) Former Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, one of the SLFP defectors who backed newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena to the hilt, has pledged to defend media freedom under the new dispensation. Promising to probe the killing of Editor of The Sunday Leader newspaper Lasantha Wickrematunga in January 2009, he told the media on Friday that the Sirisena govt would ensure that journalists and media institutions would not be harmed in any manner. more..

Can the UPFA be the Opposition?

JJan 12 (CT) Former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella says that the UPFA has 135 members in Parliament and it is a question whether they can be the Opposition in Parliament. "I don't know if there are constitutional provisions on that and I don't think the Speaker will have the right to do that. In the Constitution that I have read, it appears to be very complex." Q: There is a new President in power. What is the stand more..

Honour our trust, Your excellency Maithripala Sirisena

Jan 12 (GV) The very moment we are penning this letter, you are being sworn in as the 6th Executive President of Sri Lanka. We congratulate you and wish you all the very best to you as you are poised to walk through an avenue of challenges. This rocky path of yours is signposted with “a program to be completed in 100 days”, which consists of abolishing the 18th amendment, amending the constitution to reduce most of the executive powers of the Presidency and its associated immunity, more..

Sri Lanka's composite insurers on track to complete regulatory push

Jan 12 (Island) Sri Lanka's composite insurers are on track to complete a regulatory push to split their businesses despite legal affairs delayed several insurers, a senior official said. Director General of the island's insurance regulator Damayanthi Fernando told LBO that seven out of twelve composite insurers have so far completed their segregation requirements. AIA General Insurance Lanka, Amana Takaful Life, Asian Alliance General Insurance, Cooplife Insurance, more..

Man Beyond Seasons: S.L. Gunasekera

Jan 12 (Island) Initials S.L. surpassed surname Gunasekera. Branded to blend with the land of his birth - his name attracted shades of love and despair. Reciprocally, he loved those who made the country proud and despised those that discredited his cherished land. His countrymen to their inclinations called him a patriot or racist: he accepted both as compliments without a blink. Never was a seasonal man. He timed his exit on more..

Presidential swearing in–some thoughts

JJan 12 (Island) A presidential swearing in ceremony, in a polity with an executive presidency, is a moment of tremendous solemn national pride. In the case of a presidential inauguration (investiture) in France, for example, a common pattern is followed, with limited scope for variation. It is customary for the outgoing president to enter the Elysée palace through a back entrance, and receive the president-elect at the footsteps of the main entrance. more..

Sri Lanka to participate at International Jewellery Tokyo 2015

Jan 12 (GDI) Sri Lanka will participate in Japan’s largest International Jewellery Trade Show known as “ International Jewellery Tokyo” (IJT) to be held at Tokyo Big Sight from January 21 to 24 at IJT, is a gateway to expand Sri Lanka's business in Japan and the Asian region is expected to participate with local gem business persons, IJT gathers Presidents and purchasing directors of leading retailers, importers and wholesalers from overseas (1,000 companies from more..

Tsunami early warning systems in southern seas vandalized

Jan 12 (Island) The Japanese govt, consequent to Lanka's Tsunami devastation, volunteered assistance to install early warning systems at coastal locations. Official Development Assistance (ODA) initiated by the Japanese govt included Tsunami warning systems. But some of these have now been damaged. Director General of the Meteorological Department Lalith Chandrapala said recently that more..

Biz leaders hail calm election

Jan 12 (NS) Sri Lanka’s business leaders on Friday hailed the actions of the outgoing President Mahinda Rajapaksa for following a peaceful transition process in the wake of the country democratically electing a new President amidst a closely fought battle. Speaking to The Nation, the Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Suresh Shah said the commendable action of the outgoing President amidst various speculations had sent a strong positive signal to local business community, more..

45 cases of Post-Election Violence; 1 Dead

Jan 12 (CT) Forty five cases of post-election violence have taken place and three are considered major, SSP Ajith Rohana told a media briefing, in Colombo, yesterday. One person was killed in Bangadeniya, Chilaw last Saturday as a result of a clash between two groups. Rohana said investigations were on and two suspects were likely to be arrested. In another incident, a police officer was assaulted inside the Boralesgamuwa Police Station, on Saturday. more..

Foreigners exiting from govt securities market

Jan 12 (CT) The economy may face a few hiccups with the election of a new regime vis-à-vis the new President Maithripala Sirisena coming to power last week, in the form of foreign investors exiting from the govt securities market, but such exits are transitionary, foreign banking sources said. As a result of such exits, the yield of the 2024 maturing Treasury Bond increased by 25 basis points to 8.35% and the exchange rate weakened to more..

Saman Ekanayake appointed Prime Minister’s Secretary

Jan 12 (FT) Special Grade official of State Administration Saman Ekanayake has been appointed Secretary to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, a statement from his office said yesterday. Ekanayake had previously served Premier Wickremasinghe as well as Ministries of Youth Affairs, Housing, Media, Foreign Affairs and Finance. He also had stints at Sri Lanka High Commissions in UK and Malaysia. Prior to the latest appointment, Ekanayake was UN-HABITAT more..

Not hungry for power: Mahinda

Jan 12 (CT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed that he is not 'power hungry and wished President Maithripala Sirisena would continue the 'Maithri Era'. Rajapaksa, addressing the crowd gathered at SLFP the headquarters, requested them not to spread post-election violence and harm SLFP members. "I extend my thanks to the Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya for concluding a peaceful Presidential Election. Earlier, US Defense Secretary informed me to ensure more..

JVP: New govt. is agreeable to our proposal

Jan 12 (Island) New President Maithripala Sirisena and his constituents had agreed to their proposal to appoint a National Council with leaders of parties represented in Parliament to oversee the 100–day programme, the JVP said. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that they would not join the new govt or accept ministerial portfolios, but would join the National Council only for the 100–day programme. more..