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Disciplinary action on defectors

Jan 12 (CG) Disciplinary action is to be taken against those who defected from the SLFP, former Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said today. He said that a disciplinary inquiry will be conducted and based on the outcome of the inquiry disciplinary action will be taken on those who extended support to President Maithripala Sirisena. Several SLFP members had both yesterday and today extended support to Sirisena and backed him as President of the SLFP. more..

SLFP denies allegations on coup

Dec 12 (CG) The SLFP today denied allegations of an attempted coup by former President Rajapaksa at the end of the Presidential election. Former Minister G.L Peiris, said that he was with the former President on election night and there was no attempt to grab power through a coup. He said that Rajapaksa had gracefully stepped down from power after losing the election and this was appreciated by even US Secretary of State John Kerry, more..

Sri Lanka’s democratic victory

Jan 12 (TA) Allegations by Sri Lanka’s new govt of a coup plot by outgoing president Rajapaksa after it became clear he was headed for defeat in the country’s election have yet to be substantiated. Without verification they should not, however, be allowed to detract from the triumph for the democratic process the vote represents in an ethnically divided nation which has all too often been in the headlines for violence and political unrest. Having forced a constitutional change more..

Sri Lanka election will boost investor confidence if governance improves: Fitch

Jan 12 (EN) A peaceful handover of power and the promise of governance reforms by a new administration in Sri Lanka would boost investor confidence, but budgets have to be fixed, Fitch Ratings has said. The peaceful handover of power was a "positive signal for political stability," Fitch said. "Low governance standards are a key weakness for Sri Lanka, as reflected in its 'BB-' rating; a smooth presidential transition may boost foreign investor confidence and more..

Video: JVP to complain against Basil, Namal & Cabraal

Dec 12 (DM) The JVP said it would complain to the Bribery Commission tomorrow about alleged financial frauds committed by former UPFA Minister Basil Rajapaksa, MP Namal Rajapaksa and former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal. The JVP said it would also complain to the Commission against those involved in the controversial hedging deal. “Taking legal action according to the law against criminal offences more..

Sajin hiding an elephant?

Jan 12 (DM) A team of officials of the Wildlife Conservation Department had raided the residence of UPFA MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena at Ambalangoda in search of an elephant today. “The animal was put under the veterinarian’s custody at the residence till the official documents of the elephant were provided,” Wild Life Officer Asanka Gunewardana said. The MP was not present when the officers raided the residence. However the residents had assured more..

'Pope Francis can push reconciliation in SL'

Jan 12 (VR) Pope Francis was scheduled to leave on Monday evening for the 7th Apostolic Trip of his Pontificate. The first stop of his two-nation journey is Sri Lanka. Welcoming him will be the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, and the President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena. Sirisena was elected on Jan 8th, beating incumbent President Rajapaksa, who held office for nearly 10 years. “Strange enough, all three Popes who came to Sri Lanka – Pope Paul, Pope John Paul, more..

Sobitha Thera urges MS to implement promised reforms

Jan 12 (DM) The head of the NMSJ, Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera today urged new President Maithripala Sirisena to form a national govt as soon as possible and implement the reforms which were promised by him during elections. He said that his movement would start lobbying for changes as the objective of the Movement for Social Justice was not merely to remove former President Rajapaksa from more..

EPDP congratulates the newly elected President and Prime Minister

Jan 12 (GDI) The EPDP General Secretary Douglas Devananda M.P. stated that he respects the people’s verdict for a change of govt. “It was natural that the people felt a need for a change in the political field. Our standard at the recent election was that by making some changes in the existing set up we could achieve our development targets. At the same time some others felt that the change would be beneficial”, he stated. “Our conviction is that we fulfill the wishes of the Tamil speaking people more..

'Sri Lanka parliamentary polls by April'

Jan 12 (EN) Sri Lanka will hold parliamentary elections by April, President Maithripala Sirisena said Monday, after swearing in his new cabinet of 26 ministers, along with state and deputy ministers. The appointments were temporary and aimed at fulfilling the new government's 100-day programme of key reforms to reduce the powers of the executive presidency and restore the independence of institutions like the public service, police and judiciary, he said. more..

New cabinet ministers take oath

Jan 12 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena today appointed 27 Cabinet Ministers, 10 State ministers and 8 Deputy Ministers at a ceremony, where the MPs took oath. Some ministers and deputy ministers who served under former president Rajapaksa were defected and pledged to support President Sirisena. Former President Rajapaka’s cabinet had more than 110 Ministers, Deputy Ministers and State Ministers. more..

Letter to President Sirisena from Diaspora

Jan 13 (CT) Dear President Sirisena, I write to you as a member of the Sri Lankan diaspora; a multi-ethnic and multi-faceted community identifying as Sri Lankan but living outside the country. At the outset, let me join many others in congratulating and wishing you the very best on beginning your term as the 6th President of Sri Lanka. As President, I recognize neither you nor your Govt owe any obligations to me, a member of the diaspora, especially since you are likely deluged with more..

Your Excellency, Don’t take wrong first steps

Jan 13 (CT) It was only the day before yesterday that we wrote a letter to you asking you to “honour our trust” – the trust we placed in you with our ballot and our not too obvious support of your campaign. We mentioned that we would be watching you closely. Our initial observations worry us, that our hopes of good governance will not be materialized. Why do we say this? There is a saying in Sinhala about the prediction of a young person’s future. Saying hedena gaha depeththedee denei. more..

'State Medical Administration is overrun by doctors'

Jan 13 (CT) The Joint Trade Union Federation of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (JTUFPSM) represents medical laboratory technicians, radiographers, pharmacists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists – all integral to the provision of a quality free healthcare service to the ailing in the nation. General Secretary of the JTUFPSM, Saman Jayasekera spoke about issues afflicting more..

Maithripala Sirisena’s victory: Winning the hearts of women

Jan 13 (GV) As the campaigning for both candidates has ended, and the celebrations for the victory of Maithripala Sirisena have begun, larger battles are still being waged, and will be still more important now that the elections are over. The elections held represent something much greater than a face-off between two personalities, or two different political parties. For many, it was a battle against ccorruption, nepotism, authoritarianism, religious extremism, fear, intimidation and more..

Rejection of the clan and dawn of a new era!

Jan 13 (GV) A dark cloud hanging over the sky in the tiny Island of Sri Lanka has started to move away into the Indian Ocean after the defeat of Rajapakse regime in the election. Millions of Lankans who demanded security of person and property for years in a just society governed by rule of law without much success may be expressing a sigh of relief at the news of the former President leaving office voluntarily in the face of his opponent’s impending victory. more..

The grizzled vet and the cocky kid

Jan 13 (CI) Since 2009, I had fretted over the fact that I was probably the only player to have scored a whole lot of Test runs without playing in a World Cup. I worked hard with our shadow coach, Chandika Hathurusingha, to open up my game a bit more, and I lost six to seven kilos to get fitter. My two one-day hundreds also gave me a lot of self-belief. At 34, I knew it would be my last chance to play a World Cup, and that it would also be more..

Catholic Church seeking to ease Sri Lanka's ethnic tensions

Jan 13 (DW) During Sri Lanka's presidential campaign, the country's Christian community was wooed by both former President Rajapaksa and his successor Maithripala Sirisena. The closer the presidential race got, the more the two candidates wrestled to win the Christian vote. In Nov 2014, Rajapaksa's supporters put up huge posters all over the country showing their leader with Pope Francis. Rajapaksa and Sirisena also attended the Catholic Bishops' Conference in early December to more..

Change in Sri Lanka: Old issues remain for new regime

Jan 13 (DNA) The outcome of the presidential elections in Sri Lanka is unlikely to lead to early resolution of the issues which dogged the regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa. In fact, President Maithripala Sirisena may be hard put to ensure certainty of policies to the satisfaction of the constituents who ensured his victory. That is because while the regime has changed, the expectations relating to economic revival, ethnic reconciliation and ties with China, India and the US have not changed. more..

Pope Francis: Liberal orthodox

Jan 13 (NS) Perhaps there has never been a world leader like him in the recent past. Respected and loved by all, his accolades have been many. During his first year as pope, the 77-year-old Pope Francis- nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize-claimed the title of Time Magazine’s 2013 Person of the Year. He graced the cover of Rolling Stone and accumulated a combined Twitter following of over 12 million and growing while more..

Chalk Circle and other dramas

Jan 13 (Island) The SLFP which has spun into a tailspin following its crushing defeat at the recently-concluded presidential poll is in the same predicament as Michael, the child, in The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Caught up in a fiercely fought battle for supremacy between two factions led by ex-Presidents Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa it is being pulled violently. Unlike in Brecht’s play neither party is ready to give in. In the on-going Battle of the Blues, more..

Corruption is key issue as Sri Lankan poll ousts president

Jan 13 (FT) Streets of Colombo were strangely quiet in the hours after Mahinda Rajapaksa, conceded defeat on Friday. The shutters were down at most shops and restaurants, the pavements were empty and the capital’s red tuk-tuks were hurtling around virtually empty streets. The contrast with the cacophonous celebrations that greeted the result of India’s elections last year could hardly have been starker. There are, however, similarities between the two game-changing polls. more..

Ranil works out peaceful pre-dawn transition of power with Mahinda

Jan 13 (ST) Millions of Sri Lankans learnt only by late Friday morning that the major thrust by Opposition political parties brought an end to the near ten year rule of President Rajapaksa. As the counting began in centres countrywide after polls ended on Thursday, families and friends sat around their television sets for the results. There was fear in the minds of most. Only a day earlier, in the main cities, shops & supermarkets were crowded more..

Lankan hotel offers election night package with arrack and ‘bites’

Jan 13 (ST) While most Sri Lankans on Wednesday were tense in Colombo but waited patiently ahead of Thursday’s presidential poll, there were some enterprising entrepreneurs coming up with interesting food, drink and stay options for election night.The poll appeared too close to call between the two main candidates – Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena – until a winner was announced on Friday, many people had prepared for a relaxed but somewhat uneasy Thursday night. more..

Opens the debt market for 2015 LOFAC goes for Rs 5 B Debenture Issue

Jan 13 (CT) Raising corporate debt through listings in the year 2015, will kick off with Lanka Orix Finance PLC launching an initial issue of 50 million listed, rated, unsecured, subordinated redeemable debentures of Rs 100 each which will raise Rs 5 billion. The issue will open on 19 Jan and close on 9 Feb. The issue which will be listed on the floor of the Colombo Stock Exchange has got a SL BBB+ rating ICRA Lanka. The managers to the issue will be Agrora Securities. more..

Finance Ministry officials call for Treasury revamp under new regime

Jan 13 (CT) Sri Lanka’s Treasury should be revamped soon after the appointment of the cabinet of newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena, Finance Ministry officials warned. They noted that the new administration should correct the wrong procedures introduced by Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera to put the house in order and tackle financial constraints arising out of the 2015 election budget and heavy spending of more..

Switzerland's ABB wins USD 40 m order to strengthen Lanka's power infrastructure

Jan 13 (PTI) Power and automation technology firm ABB has bagged a contract worth Rs 256 crore from the CEB to supply two 220 kV substations and upgrade an existing substation in Sri Lanka. The new substations will be constructed at Polpitiya in the Central Province and Padukka near the capital, Colombo, in the Western Province, while the existing substation at Pannipitiya, will be augmented, a release issued here said today. The project is scheduled for completion in 2017. more..

SriLankan quiz team wins a top slot at the Global Commerce Quiz

Jan 13 (Island) The quiz team of SriLankan Airlines won the first place in the "Public sector institutions" category at the Global Commerce Quiz for the Governor’s Challenge Trophy 2014, held recently at the Galadari Hotel, Colombo. Sri Lankan team defeated a number of Public sector institutions including the team from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. SriLankan team was also placed joint tenth in the overall score tables of the quiz competition, jointly organized by more..

Business Times poll on the presidential poll reflects optimism, freedom and hope

Jan 13 (ST) You could sense it on the streets, in workplaces, in malls or street corners in Colombo: The sign of relief with the entry of a new president promising freedom as a core value. This was also abundantly clear by the virtually unending email flow of responses on Friday when the BT sent out a quick opinion poll seeking views on the ascent of a new President and a possible end to the scourge of corruption and an improvement in more..

Reading election results 2015

Jan 13 (Island) It is natural to interpret phenomena in the way the interpreter likes it. Maithripala Sirisena’s victory at the presidential election held on Jan 8, 2015 has been subjected to multiple interpretations. Most pronounced one is that it was a victory for democracy. My friend Prof Jayadeva Uyangoda, who has a better understanding of democracy, thinks the election result was a victory for good governance. Some have even interpreted it as a victory for women. more..

Indian merchants in bid to enhance biz links

Jan 13 (Island) A trade delegation from the Mumbai based Indian Merchants’ Chamber will visit Sri Lanka during Mid-January to "Enhance Bi-lateral Trade & explore new avenues of business opportunities in Sri-Lanka". The visiting delegation will meet with the local business community on the 22nd Jan, at Ceylon Chamber auditorium. The interactive meeting is jointly organized by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in association with the Indo-Lanka Chamber of Commerce & Industry. more..

UN Chief ban talks Sri Lanka's post-war agenda with Prez Sirisena

Jan 13 (PTI) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon discussed Sri Lanka's post-war agenda with newly-elected President Maithripala Sirisena who recorded a stunning victory in the bitterly-contested presidential election that ended the 10-year rule of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Ban, who is currently on a three-day trip to India, spoke on the phone with Sirisena, the UN chief's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters here today. more..

In Kalutara, security carries different aspirations

Jan 13 (ST) Most voters in Kalutara voted for the man who gave them security but others felt that under the Rajapaksa govt fear had entered their lives. People were keen to cast their vote, most casting their ballots in the early hours; in many of the polling stations across the coastal belt long, winding queues were seen in the morning. But the 70% turnout was lower than in the 2010 presidential election, which was 81%. The area was mostly peaceful on Thursday, more..

Gota and Roshini resign

Jan 13 (Island) Gotabaya Rajapaksa, chairman of The Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC and Mrs Roshini S Cabraal, Deputy Chairperson of The Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC have tendered their resignations from the directorate of the Company with immediate effect, a notification to the CSE dated January 9, 2015, states. Neither Mr. Rajapaksa nor Mrs Cabraal held any shares in The Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC during their tenure with the Company, the notification states further.

Parliamentarians who failed to deliver

Jan 13 (ST) A number of MPs from both the UPFA and UNP failed to secure victory in their respective electorates on behalf of the presidential candidates they supported at the recently concluded Presidential Election. Several top ministers in the Rajapaksa administration were defeated in their own areas even though the former president managed to win the majority of the electorates in Southern, North Western and more..

Tough task ahead for SL’s new president

Jan 13 (TS) Since he was easily the most powerful politician Sri Lanka has had since independence, six months ago it was impossible to dream that Mahinda Rajapaksa could be defeated at a presidential election. With the 18th amendment to the constitution, he introduced safeguards that enabled him to remain in power with term limits removed. He held a two-thirds majority in parliament and controlled the state media, judiciary, security apparatus and the economy. more..

A promise of change

Jan 13 (AA) The defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka’s presidential election is good riddance for the troubled island. It opens up possibilities of a hopeful future for its people and for the Indian Ocean Region. That a man of absolutist dictatorial intentions compared by lackeys to the legendary Sinhalese warrior king Dutugamunu, could finally be ousted through the ballot box is an indicator of the corrective power of democracy, which had gone into deficit in Sri Lanka over the last decade. more..

Committees to examine militarization, land issues

Jan 13 (CT) President Sirisena has assured the TNA that he will appoint two separate committees to look into the land acquisition and militarization in the Northern Province and to find suitable political solution for the national question. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said the committee will include the Defence Secretary, Army Commander and other officials. We spoke with him regarding five important issues of the people in the North and East. more..

Constable attached to Elections Chief’s security detail killed in crash

Jan 13 (Island) A police constable attached to the security detail of Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya died and another was injured yesterday when the motorcycle they were riding collided with a van transporting schoolchildren in Maharagama. The deceased constable was identified as Indika Fernando (28). Injured policeman A. Wijesinghe was being treated at the National Hospital. Elections Commissioner Deshapriya said "I am deeply moved and shocked by the death of the policeman. more..

Island of Nice: Sri Lanka

Jan 13 (NG) Fellow travelers frequently ask me if there are any places I have been that I would go back to in a heartbeat. Well, Sri Lanka quickly comes to mind (I’m currently planning my third trip there). Which, of course, begs the question: Why? Here are seven reasons Sri Lanka is on my revisit list for 2015: 1. Peace through tourism. After close to 26 years of civil war (which ended, finally, in 2009), Sri Lanka is like a delicate spring flower unfolding in the warm sunshine after a long dark winter. more..