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FUTA awaits to take up grievances with new admin

Jan 12 (Island) Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) said that it looked forward to meeting the new Minister of Higher Education to be appointed to discuss its members’ grievances which had remained unsolved under the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. Former FUTA President and its executive committee member Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said his association would call an executive committee meeting after the appointment of the new minister. more..

Karunarathna Paranavithana appointed as Media Ministry Secretary

Jan 12 (GDI) Diplomat, journalist and political activist Karunarathna Paranavithana has been appointed as the Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media and Information. He held the posts of Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Director General - Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, Editorial Director - Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd., CEO - Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and Consul General - Consulate General of SL in Totonto, Canada. more..

Wooing Sri Lanka from China's embrace

Jan 12 (BN) Is Sri Lanka the next Myanmar? After the stunning ouster of strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in elections, another small, strategically vital Asian nation would appear to have rejected China's embrace. Whether the U.S. and India can exploit this opportunity, however, will depend on whether they recognize what's unique about SL. First thing to appreciate is that voters weren’t necessarily driven by resentment of China. more..

Democratic resurgence in Lanka

Jan 12 (ENS) The resounding victory of Maithripala Sirisena in the presidential election held on Jan 8, 2015, heralds a new chapter in Sri Lanka’s tortuous history. It provides a beacon of hope to all those who are struggling for democracy and justice. The assertion of popular will proves that, however authoritarian the regime may be, the voice of the people will finally triumph. The overthrow of Suharto and Marcos is often cited to prove the validity of the statement that more..

NUF calls for fulfilment of promises

Jan 12 (Island) Leader of NUF, M.M. Zuhair PC says that his outfit together with similar groups will remain watchful and ensure that all the pledges the new govt has made to the people are vigorously implemented and all acts of sabotage including from within the govt particularly from those with past hang-overs are forthwith exposed. Zuhair calls on the new govt to fulfil promises pledged in the manifesto including the one to prevent prosecution and harassment of the former more..

Groundswell chooses democracy in SL

Jan 12 (NYT) Across the great Eurasian plate these days, from Belarus to Beijing, one can find leaders dispensing with truly competitive politics. But traverse the Himalayas to South Asia and the climate is different: Democracy is on a winning streak. Over the last two years, virtually the entire population of South Asia has had the opportunity to take part in elections, and the voters have shown a marked desire to send more..

JHU wants Nil Balakaya probed

Jan 12 (Island) A key partner of the new government yesterday said that Nil Balakaya headed by UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa would be investigated. JHU spokesman Nishantha Warnasinghe emphasised that MP Rajapaksa would be probed as well as his brothers, Yoshitha and Rohitha. The organisation styled itself as Thaunyata Hetak, too, would be probed, the JHU official said, adding that those who would be found guilty of offences would be rehabilitated like ex-LTTE cadres. more..

Sri Lanka’s Victory for Democracy

Jan 12 (TD) In a stunning upset, Sri Lanka’s Maithripala Sirisena defeated ten-year incumbent strongman President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sirisena is a former member of President Rajapaksa’s cabinet who defected, with more than twenty other members of parliament, to lead an umbrella opposition coalition just two months ago. Rajapaksa conceded with the vote count still underway; at the time of his concession early on Friday morning, the election results posted showed more..

SLFP split again; 11 more pledge support to MS

Jan 12 (Island) The SLFP leadership yesterday assured that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was firmly in control of the party after 11 Central Committee members of the party had switched their allegiance to President Maithripala Sirisena. The defecting group comprised members of parliament, Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Reginald Cooray, Vijithamuni Soysa, Jagath Pushpakumara, S.B. Navinna, Nilwala Wijesinghe, more..

Sirisena victory reflects country’s true values: Bathiudeen

Jan 12 (FT) A large audience packed The Excellency Hotel for an event organised by members of the Muslim community of Colombo last night to honour Rishad Bathiudeen for standing up for them by sacrificing his ministerial position. “The vote for Maithripala Sirisena across the country was a reflection of the true values of a typical Sri Lankan who wants a culture which is law-abiding, practices good governance, equality in business and gives equal rights to any religion and race,” more..

CMEV, PAFFREL asks Maithri to depoliticise public service with reforms

Jan 12 (FT) Two election monitoring bodies CMEV and PAFFREL have jointly written to President Maithri Sirisena to depolicitise the public service with reforms. Following is the full text of the letter written by CMEV Co-Convenor P. Saravanamuttu and PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi and copied to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Secretary to President P.B. Abeykoon and Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya: We write to you as two independent election monitoring more..

Pro-govt watchdog demands tough action against corrupt politicos, officials

Jan 12 (Island) An anti-corruption watchdog affiliated to the newly-elected govt declared that those who had been involved in massive fraudulent transactions wouldn’t be accommodated in the new administration. The assurance was given by JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka and attorneys-at-law Shiral Lakthilake and Maithree Gunaratne. Alleging that there had been unprecedented corruption in projects more..

Time to stand by the faith of North East voters!

Jan 12 (CT) Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) Spokesman Guruparan Kumaravadivel commenting on the outcome of the Lankan Presidential poll to India's The Hindu newspaper, has stated since the people in the North are skeptical about the new the President, Maithripala Sirisena, delivering on Tamil demands, the Tamil vote was against Rajapaksa and not an endorsement of Maithripala Sirisena. The statement by the TCSF Spokesman was somewhat correct to a certain extent as more..

Populist authoritarianism and Mahinda Rajapaksa’s abdication

Jan 12 (CT) In the course of my teaching and researches I developed some interest in the phenomenon known as “populism” which informed political currents in interwar USA, Romania and parts of Eastern Europe in the 20th century. I gained considerable inspiration from the book Populism. Its Meanings and National Characteristics, edited by G. Ionescu & E. Gellner (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson). Populism had affinities with fascism, but had its roots in farming populations. more..

Death mars 'clean' polls

Jan 12 (CT) The first fatal victim of election related violence, which marred the clean record of the 2015 Presidential Elections, was reported on Thursday. Shantha Dodangoda, who was wounded when gun shots were fired at a rally of the common Opposition presidential candidate on Monday, at Kahawatte, succumbed to his injuries at the Ratnapura Hospital. The 40-year-old father of two children, sustained critical injuries to the more..

Rise and fall of Mahinda Rajapaksa

Jan 12 (CT) The joint Opposition alliance of the NDF, backing common candidate and incumbent President, Maithripala Sirisena emerged victorious at the 2015 Presidential Poll thanks to a slender margin and achieved what they had wanted all along, to add the prefix 'former' in front of two time Executive, President Mahinda Rajapaksa's name, along with his designation as the Leader of SLFP and the UPFA, effectively relegating more..

Sri Lanka to investigate 'Rajapaksa coup plot'

Jan 12 (BBC) The new government of Sri Lanka has said that it will investigate what it says was a coup attempt by defeated President Rajapaksa after he lost elections on Friday. "People think it was a peaceful transition. It was anything but," leading presidential aide Mangala Samaraweera told a press conference. Mr Rajapaksa's spokesman has said that the allegations are baseless. more..

BBS wants a special commission

Jan 12 (CG) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has called on the Govt to appoint a special commission to investigate the Aluthgama and Beruwala incidents. The BBS had been accused of instigating the attacks on Muslims in Aluthgama and Beruwala and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s loss at the election last week was in part attributed to his failure to prevent the attacks from taking place. more..

Cabinet: JVP takes detached stance

Jan 12 (DM) The JVP today said that it would neither accept any ministerial portfolios of the National Unity Govt of President Maithripala Sirisena nor take any part in it. JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said a government could provide only a limited service to the people in a-100 days of time. “The country is in need of a wide social reform but we don’t think the 100-day programme would be able to achieve that. more..

'KP and Karuna have to be tried'

Jan 12 (AD) Leader of DP Sarath Fonseka says that former LTTE leaders such as Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) and V Muralitharan would have to face legal action as they were once “hardcore terrorist” and that a probe will be launched into the whereabouts of seized LTTE assets. The former international arms procurer of the Tamil Tigers, KP has been operating an orphanage for children affected by the war in Kilinochchi more..

The change they desired

Jan 12 (SL) Friday (08 Jan) saw the collapse of the Rajapaksa regime; a defeat that was largely attributed to the minority vote. The Presidential election was historic as the minorities made it clear that they are not to be ignored, nor taken advantage of. Dissatisfied with ten years of rule under the former President Rajapaksa, citizens of the North and East of the country that make up most of the Tamil and Muslims voter base respectively more..

CJ Mohan Peiris given 48 hour deadline to step down

Jan 12 (AM) A group of lawyers are now protesting at Hulftsdorp demanding Chief Justice Mohan Peiris to step down from office immediately. They assert that Peiris was elevated to the CJ post in a flawed and unconstitutional manner following the “impeachment” of 43rd Chief CJ Shirani Bandaranayake. The protesting lawyers also demanded the new govt to reinstate former CJ Shirani Bandaranayake, adding that they more..

Sajin Vaas, DEW, Ranjith, John, Udith support President Maithripala

Jan 12 (AM) Another group of UPFA MPs including Sajin Vaas Gunawardena, DEW Gunasekera, John Seneviratna, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and Udith Lokubandara have extended their support to President Maithripala Sirisena this morning. With developments that took place yesterday and today, it is now clear that former President Rajapaksa's support base in the SLFP is rapidly eroding. The new group who are supporting President more..

Harin Fernando – SF threaten to resign over latest defections

Jan 12 (AM) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka and Opposition Leader of the Uva PC Harin Fernando have threatened to resign from the UNP-led coalition and form an independent group in protest of the latest defections from the UPFA. They have strongly expressed their disappointment over defections of V Muralitharan, Sajin Vaas Gunawardena, Anura Vidanagamage and Udith Lokubandara. more..

Make public institutions independent and rational

Jan 12 (DM) The functioning of democratic systems of government depend heavily on effective and independent public institutions. While these institutions are diverse, i.e. Political, administrative, judicial, law enforcement, educational or communicative, their proper functioning is critical for the maintenance of public order, justice, development and public welfare. However, what we witnessed over the last decade was a steady deterioration and subversion of most of the more..

Sri Lanka appoints new secretary to lead finance ministry

Dec 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s newly elected president has appointed a new secretary to lead the treasury operations in the island replacing P B Jayasundera, the finance ministry said. R.H.S Samaratunga who was earlier the secretary of the petroleum ministry has assumed duties as the new treasury secretary on Monday. Samaratunga who has over 25 years of experience as a civil servant holds a doctorate in economics and a post graduate in master of business administration. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Docs expect action to fight kidney disease

Dec 12 (Island) Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) National Issue Committee member Dr. Chinthaka Wijewardena said that the new President Maithripala Sirisena would focus his attention on taking action to prevent the alarming spread of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in many parts of the country. Dr. Wijewardena pointed out that the previous govt had been hesitant to ban the sale and distribution of deadly agrochemicals, which had devastated many water sources. more..

Sri Lanka declares January 14 as a holiday

Dec 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s public administration ministry has declared January 14 as a special public and bank holiday in view of the visit of his holiness pope Francis to Sri Lanka. The Colombo stock exchange will also be closed on Wednesday. Special traffic plan will be implemented during the pope’s visit. Colombo - Negombo road will be closed for traffic from 6 p.m. Monday till noon Tuesday. Colombo - Katunayake Expressway would be opened for all vehicles toll-free more..

Pillayan says TMVP under attack

Dec 12 (CG) The leader of the TMVP and former Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, says TMVP members and supporters have come under attack in the eastern province. Pillayan says since election day, the houses of TMVP members based at several locations in the east had been attacked with stones while several TMVP members and supporters were also threatened. more..

Cloud coup-coup land?

Dec 12 (Economist) TAKE nothing for granted in Sri Lankan politics. Early on January 9th, to the surprise of almost everybody, Mahinda Rajapaksa conceded defeat in the presidential election conducted the day before. He promised an orderly transition of power and won praise for his unexpected graciousness. In the days since, however, rumours have swirled in the capital suggesting that Mr Rajapaksa (pictured above, flanked by his men) in fact did so only grudgingly, after he had failed more..

Sri Lanka stocks slump on profit-taking, political jitters

Dec 12 (EN) Sri Lankan stocks ended lower Monday on profit-taking and some uncertainty over the new govt's stability after four days of share price gains, brokers said. The All Share Price Index fell 0.5% (39.09 points) to 7,566.70 while the S&P SL20 index, which tracks the top 20 largest and most liquid stocks on the Colombo Stock Exchange, lost 0.3% (10.91 points) to end at 4,261.59. Turnover was 2.6 billion rupees boosted by several crossings or off-market negotiated deals. more..

Sri Lanka coalition may be perceived as investor unfriendly: Standard Chartered

Dec 12 (EN) Global banking group Standard Chartered Bank said the presidential election in SL may result in 'some' economic uncertainty with President Maithripala Sirisena’s manifesto perceived as investor unfriendly with a lot depending how successful reforms are. Sirisena won over his rival Mahinda Rajapaksa last week. Rajapaksa sought an unprecedented third term on winning the war against separatists more..

National unity govt for new, united Lanka

Jan 12 (DM) The new era of democracy, freedom and good governance, social justice, mercy and humility was launched yesterday by Sri Lanka’s sixth Executive President Maithripala Sirisena with a nationwide address from the historic Buddhist shrine of the Sri Dalada Maligawa. In a short but farsighted address of deep substance and solemn pledges to fulfil the main pledges in the100-day programme of the new National Unity Govt, President Sirisena said Sri Lanka did not need an all-powerful king more..

MR issued notice to appear before courts

Dec 12 (AM) Colombo District Court today issued notice on former President Rajapaksa, UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha and SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa to appear before court on January 26. Notice was issued on leaders of the UPFA over a case filed by Prasanna Solangarachchi, former chairman of the Kotikawatte – Mulleriyawa PS, for expelling him from the party. Solangaarachchi said he was expelled from the party without a proper inquiry more..

Maitripala delays forming cabinet

Dec 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka’s new president on Monday again delayed naming a cabinet as he failed to reach agreement with partners in his wide-ranging coalition over apportioning ministerial portfolios. Maithripala Sirisena originally pledged to form a govt on Sunday, but aides said discussions were still under way. Analysts have already warned that Sirisena, who ousted veteran strongman Mahinda Rajapakse in last week’s more..

Police, train services gear up for Papal visit

Dec 12 (ANI) Police and railway officials in Sri Lankan capital Colombo have announced several preparatory steps for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis I to the island-nation from Tuesday. Police Media Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana was quoted by the Lanka Page web site, as saying that the Colombo-Negombo main road will be closed for traffic from 6.00 p.m. today till noon tomorrow for the Pope's visit. He said motorists would be asked to use the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway more..

State media conduct still despicable under Maithri rule

Dec 12 (AM) Despite President Maithripala Sirisena’s assurance on media freedom and professional integrity of journalists, the state run Rupavahini and the ITN are still travelling down the same old with one-sided news coverage and highly biased reportage. In their main new bulletins yesterday, most of the airtime was allocated to President Maithripala Sirisena’s visit to Kandy. In addition to his address to the nation, separate new items were carried on the vehicle parade, more..

Church in Sri Lanka's warzone awaits first papal visit

Jan 12 (AFP) A small church nestled in the Sri Lankan jungle, seen as a beacon of harmony in a country with a dark history of conflict, is preparing for a visit from Pope Francis who will bring his own message of peace. Our Lady of Madhu church, in a remote wildlife reserve in the island's north, was on the front line of a decades-long civil war between Sri Lanka's army and separatist guerrillas seeking an independent more..

Senthil surrenders to Court; granted bail

Dec 12 (DM) Uva PC Minister Senthil Thondaman, who had a warrant issued for his arrest on charges of having assaulted a postal employee while delivering poll cards, had surrendered to the Bandarawela Magistrate’s Court today morning. He was later released on a cash bail of Rs.25,000 with two sureties of Rs.200,000 each. He was also ordered to pay Rs.100,000 as compensation to the postal employee. Mr. Senthil was also charged with assaulting a govt servant, more..