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Interim Cabinet appointed for 100-day sprint

Jan 13 (FT) A 27-member Cabinet will serve for the first 100 days of the new administration, but President Maithripala Sirisena warned his new ministers not to get too comfortable in power since they would be facing a Parliamentary election in just three months. President Sirisena’s Government includes 27 Cabinet Ministers, nine Ministers of State and eight Deputy Ministers. Among key appointments made yesterday were PM more..

CID ordered to probe MR’s missing vehicles

Jan 13 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena has ordered the CID to commence a probe into the non-return of vehicles belonging to the President’s Office. The Presidential Media Unit said yesterday that according to information it had received some vehicles used by various persons had been dismantled. They also have received information that many vehicles were being used for various malpractices around the country and those had not been returned thus far.

Russian President congratulates President

Jan 13 (DN) President of the Russian Federation Vladimir V. Putin in a congratulatory message to President Maithripala Sirisena said he highly appreciates friendly and constructive relations between Russia and Sri Lanka and he would like to reaffirm the readiness for further strengthening of fruitful bilateral cooperation in various areas. The message: Please accept my sincere congratulations on your election to the post of the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. more..

Political Leadership and Public Service should set an example to country – President

Jan 13 (GDI) The good governance that is the hope and great expectation of everyone could be realized by the political leadership and the public service working in an exemplary manner, in carrying out all their responsibilities, said President Maithripala Sirisena when he began his duties at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. Addressing political leaders, senior public servants and employees of the Presidential Secretariat, more..

Looking forward to a cordial relationship with Sri Lanka: India

Jan 13 (IANS) India Monday said it was looking forward to the visit by new Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and hoped that the new government will "take into account the views of all sections of the Sri Lankan population to live a life of dignity and peace". To a question on the presidential elections that saw Mahinda Rajapaksa ousted, external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said SL has a "very healthy tradition of democratic change at regular intervals". more..

Two stamps in honour of Pope

Jan 13 (Island) The Philatelic Bureau would issue two stamps, a first day cover and miniature sheet today to commemorate the visit of Pope Francis, Postmaster General Rohana Abeyrathne said that the stamps would be of the denomination of Rs. 10.00 and Rs. 75.00. The stamps would be released at the Presidential Secretariat under the patronage of Pope Francis, President Maithripala Sirisena, distinguished delegates from the Vatican and the Catholic Church representatives. more..

Joyous welcome awaits Holy Father

Jan 13 (Island) Sri Lankan Catholics will turn up in their numbers on the Negombo – Colombo main road today to give a grand welcome to their spiritual leader – Pope Francis. The 78-year-old Argentinian Pope will arrive today at 9am at the BIA. After a welcome ceremony, Pope Francis will travel along the Negombo – Colombo Road. Church has urged Catholics to line up along the road to greet the Pope and has demarcated more..

Welcome to a feet-washing servant leader

Jan 13 (DM) We join millions of Sri Lankans in saying a hearty Ayubowan, Vanakkam and Assalamu Alaikum to Pope Francis who since his election in March 2013 has emerged as one of the most loved, most respected and most powerful servant leaders in world history. The Pope, who arrives in Sri Lanka this morning for a three-day pilgrimage – the highlight of which will be the cannonisation of Sri Lanka’s first saint the Blessed Joseph Vaz at a historic Galle Face Green more..

Pope Francis

Jan 13 (DM) Youthful enthusiasm and aspirations are the ever-flowing fountain and permanent foundation of future achievements. All great undertakings stem from humble beginnings. Greatness in one’s old age comes out of graciousness in one’s young age. Clarity about one’s future orientation is always a strength. A confused person can hardly become a blessing unto other people. Outer glory stems from inner clarity and interior strength. more..

Time limitation, A political slogan

Jan 13 (SL) Speaking on the importance of the constitutional reforms and the 19th Amendment, as well as the danger of the 18th Amendment, Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva said the essence of good governance brought through the 17th Amendment has been brought down with the 18th Amendment. He also said that September 10, 2010 is the weakest day of the legislature in the country, as it is the day the much controversial 18th more..

Four million suffering from diabetes

Jan 13 (Island) In Sri Lanka, there are nearly four million diabetics, the statistics of the Diabetes Association of Sri Lanka (DASL) reveals. DASL President Dr. Mahen Wijesuriya said that one-fifth of Sri Lanka’s population had diabetes at present. More and more young persons were being afflicted by the disease. Though the number of people affected by diabetics was ever-increasing, the country had not yet taken serious steps to more..

SLFP double-header puts Attanagalle in a spin

Jan 13 (ST) Diehard Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP) voters in Attanagalle, the Gampaha district town that gave the country three heads of state, were in a quandary over their vote with the party split by the two main candidates. Attanagalle is known as the heartland of the SLFP, producing two prime ministers, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, and a former president, Chandrika Kumaratunga. more..

Man threatened to self immolate if Sajin Vass joins government in Balapitiya

Jan 13 (AD) A 50-year-old person in Balapitiya today attempted to commit suicide over reports that MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena is about to join the ruling party, however, the attempt was prevented by a call made by former President Chandrika Bandaranaike, Ada Derana reporter said. The individual had climbed on the top of a multi-story building and threatened to self immolate, if the Parliamentarian joins the govt. more..

Sri Lanka Foreign Minister to arrive in Delhi on January 18

Jan 13 (ENS) Moving fast, the new Sri Lankan govt will make their first foreign visit very soon, with newly appointed foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera arriving in New Delhi for the initial contact on January 18. The invitation had been forwarded, both verbally and written, by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday night. “The invitation has now been accepted. Mr. Samaraweera has decided to visit India, more..

Disaster foretold? Sri Lanka ex-president's seer packs bags

Jan 13 (AFP) As a defeated Mahinda Rajapakse slunk out of Sri Lanka's presidential palace, the astrologer who counselled him to call a disastrous early election was gloomily packing his bags on the other side of town. "Not all of Nostradamus' predictions have come true either," said Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena as he reflected both on the fate of his vanquished boss and his own reputation as a seer. more..

Video: JVP files corruption charges against Rajapaksas

Jan 13 (AD) The JVP today lodged a complaint with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption against 12 former governmental members including former President Rajapaksa, MP Namal Rajapaksa, former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. MP Vijitha Herath called the bribery commission for an immediate investigation with respect to the corruption charges that more..

Sri Lankans must accept to learn to live as one family: Pope

Jan 13 (DM) Pope Francis who arrived in the country this morning said that he hoped every word and action of Sri Lankan political and religious leaders will make a lasting contribution to the material and spiritual progress of all the Sri Lankans. Speaking at the BIA upon his arrival, the Pope said that promoting human dignity and respect for human rights was also essential as well as improving infrastructures and material needs. more..

Former Sri Lanka leader denies early-morning coup attempt

Jan 13 (BN) Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa denied allegations that he sought to stage an early-morning coup to retain power after assessing that he would lose a Jan. 8 election. President Maithripala Sirisena’s camp said yesterday it plans to investigate an “attempted coup” by Rajapaksa that was foiled when security forces refused his orders. The allegation is “baseless and unsubstantiated,” Mohan Samaranayake, more..

Harin secures majority in Uva

Jan 13 (AM) Opposition Leader of the Uva Provincial Council Harin Fernando today informed the Governor of the Province that he had secured the majority in the Council. Fernando had informed that he had the support of 17 members in the Council apart from the two seats held by the JVP. Therefore the former MP is likely to be appointed by the Governor as the new Chief Minister of the Uva Province. more..

SL once more ready to take-off

Jan 13 (CT) There are several similitudes between President Maithripala Sirisena's victory on Thursday's poll and J.R. Jayewardene's 1977 landslide win, a landmark economic event in the annals of this country's short, post independence history. While Jayewardene got 50.7% of the vote, Sirisena did one better, getting 51.3% of the vote. Jayewardene swept into power in the backdrop of family bandyism, cronyism, nepotism, corruption, double digit unemployment, rationing, more..

A tribute to Athuraliye Rathana thero

Jan 13 (CT) It happened in 2006. Nearly the whole of the Eastern Province was being water-deprived. The sluice-gates of what is known as Mavil Aru had been shut down by a bunch of terrorists who were playing for time. They had thought that the new govt would submit to them. Didn’t happen. What took off in 2006 ended in 2009. The war ended. We are all the happier for that. There were people who marched to Mavil Aru that day. People with no hidden agenda. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka stocks end down again

Jan 13 (EN) Sri Lanka's benchmark stock index ended lower for the second day Tuesday in choppy trade, brokers said. The All Share Price Index fell 0.2% (16.85 points) to 7,549.85 while the S&P SL20 index, edged up 0.1% (4.09 points) to end at 4,265.68. Turnover was 1.3 billion rupees. The index was partly dragged down by losses in Commercial Leasing & Finance which fell 30 cents to 4.50, Sri Lanka Telecom which fell 1.3% (70 cents) to 52.60 rupees, both on thin volumes, more..

Wimal’s brother-in-law arrested

Jan 13 (DM) Former minister Wimal Weerawansa’s brother-in-law was arrested at Nattarampotha in Kundasale for spreading false news to embarrass and inconvenience the Govt, SSP Ajith Rohana said. He said the suspect, Ajith Kumara had spread false news that army camps in the North were attacked and national flags were lowered in the North. SSP Rohana said the suspect was produced in the Homagama Magistrate’s Court and released on a surety bail of Rs. 100,000. more..

Sajin blocked from crossing over: Opposition demands investigation

Jan 13 (AM) Amidst severe protest from various quarters, the Maithripala faction of the SLFP has decided to “block” MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena’s crossover. It was widely speculated that Gunawardena, who was widely known as a confidante of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, would pledge support to President Maithripala Sirisena. However, a sizable proportion of UNP MPs raised objections over the move saying Gunawardena was more..

Sri Lankan hoteliers thankful for peaceful poll during height of tourist season

Jan 13 (EN) Hotel operators in Sri Lanka have congratulated President Maithripala Sirisena on his victory in the Jan 8 presidential poll, saying they were pleased it was not accompanied by the violence which usually mars elections in the island. Winter months in the northern hemisphere are usually the main tourist season for the island and the hotel industry had earlier expressed fears polls violence could deter foreign visitors, a major source of foreign exchange. more..

Kahawatte shooting two more remanded

Jan 13 (Island) The Pelmadulla Magistrate yesterday remanded till January 20, Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councillor, Nilantha Jayakody and Kahawatte Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Vajira Silva for their alleged involvement in the shooting incident at Kahawatte, where two persons were injured and one person was killed in the early hours of Jan. 05. SSP Ajith Rohana said that the two suspects against whom arrest warrants were issued had surrendered to the court yesterday. more..

UK Lords to discuss Lankan poll

Jan 13 (CG) British House of Lords is to comment on the just concluded Presidential election in Sri Lanka following a request put forward by a member of the House of Lords. Lord Naseby had asked for an assessment of the conduct and result of the presidential election in Sri Lanka, when the House of Lords meets tomorrow. The British House of Lords last month had a short debate on Sri Lanka and discussed trade between SL and UK more..

Sri Lanka’s election miracle

Jan 13 (NYT) The Sri Lanka that Pope Francis is now visiting to canonize an 18th-century missionary is a radically different country than it was just one week ago. The difference: He will be greeted by a new president, Maithripala Sirisena, a onetime ally and cabinet minister of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the former president who failed in his bid to secure a third term. In his first address as president of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena said that the country needed a human being, not a king. more..

Colombo troubled by stray dogs

Jan 13 (Island) Stray dogs had proved to be a big problem to the Colombo Municipal Council in controlling rabies, its Veterinary Department said. Chief of the Veterinary Department of the CMC, Dr. I Dharmawardane said that a recent survey had revealed that there were approximately 3,000 stray dogs in the city. Those dogs were fed by certain sections of the community. However they lived on the street. Citing an example, he said that there were dogs at three wheel parks because more..

’Exhausted’ Pope cancels meeting with Sri Lanka bishops

Jan 13 (AFP) Pope Francis has canceled a planned meeting with Sri Lankan bishops, with one security official saying he was “exhausted” after a long journey from the airport exposed to the hot sun. 78-year-old, who arrived in Colombo on an Asia tour that will also take him to the Philippines, took over an hour to travel into the city from the airport on roads thronged with well-wishers. Pope traveled in an open-top car more..

Will Mangala recall Chandrani Bandara’s son?

Jan 13 (CT) Mangala Samaraweera was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chandrani Bandara was appointed as the Minister of Women’s Affairs in the latest cabinet. One of the main pillars of the Maithreepala Sirisena campaign was to de-politicize the Foreign Service which was filled with children and relatives of cronies by the previous Rajapaksa administration. Interestingly one such political appointment given was to the son of then UNP MP Chandrani Bandara. more..

Campsites in Kumana National Park Wildlife DG does nothing

Jan 13 (CT) The Wildlife Director General has thus far failed to take action against the Kumana Park Warden for allowing campsites, inside the Kumana National Park. Former Wildlife Resources Conservation Minister Wijith Wijayamuni Zoysa, sent a letter to the Kumana Park Warden, Suranga Ratnayake, on 13 October 2014 calling for explanation for violating the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance (FFPO) and authorizing the operation of campsites within a national park. more..

Pope Francis arrives

Sri Lanka’s Economic Challenge

Jan 13 (TD) Sri Lanka’s newly elected president has sworn to defeat corruption and reduce dependency on China. Can South Asia’s fastest growing economy continue its winning streak under the new broom? Newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena pledged in his inauguration speech to “lead a social transformation of Sri Lanka” after defeating Mahinda Rajapaksa in the Jan 8 poll. Sirisena secured 51.3% of the vote compared to Rajapaksa’s 47.6%, securing a surprise victory more..

'The corrupt are also with Sirisena'

Jan 13 (CT) Slamming the witch hunt initiated on the basis of investigating corruption, during the Rajapaksa regime, as one being based on personal agendas and antithetical to good governance, the Asgiriya Chapter slammed the NDF for aligning with individuals who have allegations of corruption against them. Committee Member of the Asgiriya Chapter, Ven. Dr. Medagama Dhammananda Thera yesterday said that while it was fine to look into the activities of the Rajapaksas, more..

Strong welcome from European Parliamentarians to new President of SL

Jan 13 (ECR) After an intensive and well-conducted election with strong participation from all regions of the country, albeit with some outbursts of violence, the Sri Lankan people have given victory to Maithripala Sirisena, the surprise challenger to the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa. On behalf of the Friends of Sri Lanka in the European Parliament, Geoffrey Van Orden commented: “We send our congratulations to President Maithripala more..

Jayasinghe Bandara to get Maithripala’s MP seat?

Jan 13 (AD) The Elections Secretariat has informed the Polonnaruwa District Secretary for appointing the next suitable candidate to fill the parliamentary seat vacated by Maithripala Sirisena after his election as the President. Additional Elections Commissioner U. Amaradasa stated that Maithripala Sirisena, who was elected as President in Jan 8 election, has informed the Elections Secretariat that he has resigned from parliament. Therefore UPFA candidate Jayasinghe Bandara, more..

Racist groups rewarded by MR regime: NDF

Jan 13 (CT) Some political religious groups, who spread racism under former President Rajapaksa, were rewarded with land, vehicle permits and protection by the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, the NDF's Anti-Corruption Front said. Front Member, Ven. Ulapone Sumangala Thera alleged that former Minister Wimal Weerawansa was operating websites which were offensive to the peaceful coexistence of the people who belong to diverse races and religions. more..

Release Tamil political prisoners: TNA

Jan 13 (CT) The release of Tamil political prisoners with a general pardon would pave the way for reconciliation, says TNA MP Suresh Premachandran. "Tamil people have shown their goodwill by voting for the new govt. They have cast their votes, placing trust in the new govt, when the TNA campaigned in the North and East to vote for a change, without any precondition," he said. "New govt has received an opportunity to express more..