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Papal visits to Sri Lanka uncannily linked to regime change

Jan 13 (ENS) Papal visits to Sri Lanka seem to be uncannily linked to regime changes in the island nation. The first Pope to visit Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) was Pope Paul VI on Dec 4, 1970. He had been invited by PM Dudley Senanayake, but he was received by Senanayake’s successor, Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Between the invitation and the Pope’s visit to Sri Lanka, the right wing UNP govt led by Dudley Senanayake, had been replaced by a left wing coalition led by Sirimavo Bandaranaike more..

Environmentalists want their agenda included in 100 days programme

Jan 13 (Island) An environmental scientist yesterday expressed confidence that President Maithripala Sirisena would respect the voices of the environmental community as he had agreed to do so during his election campaign and bring a countrywide environmental policy detailing the various environmental requirements and safeguards in the next 100 days. Centre for Science and Environment (CEJ) Executive Director Hemantha Withanage said that Prime Minister, more..

Sri Lanka post-election creditworth based on growth and trimming state debt: Moody's

Jan 13 (EN) Sri Lanka's credit worthiness after presidential polls last week will depend on growth and how state debt will be managed, Moody's a rating agency has said. Moody's said newly elected President Sirisena's came to power on a platform of governance reforms and ending corruption and promoting ethnic harmony, but whether he will "maintain or reverse current fiscal and investment policies is not apparent". more..

LPBOA requests professionals to regulate bus transport

Jan 13 (Island) The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has requested President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to appoint professionals to regulate the private bus industry, LPBOA President Gemunu Wijerathne said. He said the previous officials attached to the regulatory body had ruined the private bus service. National Transport Commission which was supposed to provide a better transport service was a den of thieves, he alleged. more..

Helicopter parts in Narahenpita

Jan 13 (DM) The police have found parts to assemble a helicopter from the economic zone in Narahenpita, police sources said this evening. According to the police, the parts found were of a helicopter which could carry two people. The parts were hidden at the location. The police said that helicopter parts, a giant screen and television broadcasting equipment were found hidden inside a container. The police said that the container had been shipped to SL by the son of a VVIP more..

‘We must be forthright in interfaith dialogue’

Jan 13 (CH) Inter-religious dialogue must be grounded in a “full and forthright presentation” of different faiths’ respective convictions, Pope Francis has said. The Pope made the comments during a meeting at the BMICH during the first day of his papal visit to South Asia. Francis was greeted by members of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities. “As experience has shown for (inter-religious) dialogue more..

Creating Saints in the Catholic Church

Jan 14 (CT) Sri Lanka is about to welcome the new Pope, Francis. The current Pope deserves much respect for his modernity and progressiveness. The Catholic Church has long been outmoded as it had failed to meet the challenges that a changing society brings up. On central issues like birth control, aids and euthanasia the Church flopped, thereby increasing the woes of people rather than assuaging their ills. African Catholics, for instance have been subject to the cruel ravage of Aids more..

Mohan Pieris fiasco: BASL should be sensible

Jan 14 (CT) I saw some video clips published today about the campaign launched by the Bar Association, calling immediate resignation of Mr Mohan Pieris from the office of the Chief Justice. I sincerely feel that I too should have been in Colombo right now at this crucial time. But I had to leave Colombo after I took a firm stand in the case that I filed in the Court of Appeal recently challenging President Rajapaksa’s nominations for a third term, stating that the opinion expressed more..

Thai Pongal, the festival of farmers

Jan 14 (SO) After the Christmas and New Year festivities, the focus is now on the Pongal harvest festival, popularly known as Thai Pongal, celebrated in the first four days of the month of Thai according to the Tamil-Hindu calendar. In anticipation of this colourful festival every Hindu household begins to draw ‘Kolam’ in the front entrance of the house everyday for one month ahead of the festival beginning from first day more..

Pope Francis and struggle for human rights

Jan 14 (GV) Pope Francis is set to arrive in Sri Lanka, on 13th January, despite several appeals by Catholics including me, to postpone the visit. He will arrive few days days after we Sri Lankans used our ballot to put a stop to growing dictatorship, despite a dirty election campaign that saw deliberate attacks on opposition, massive abuse of state media and other state resources and variety of harassment sand threats. Top aides of the new President has claimed that former President Rajapakse had more..

Sri Lanka’s 2015 presidential poll and [un]warranted exclamations

Jan 14 (GV) On 9 January 2015, Dr Oliver Walton, a lecturer at the University of Bath, published an article entitled ‘Sri Lanka stunned as Rajapaksa gamble fails to pay off’ (emphasis mine). Walton notes that ‘Sri Lankans are shocked at the scale and manner of Rajapaksa’s defeat, which has brought his tenure to an abrupt halt after nine highly controversial years’. In a similar vein, The Independent (UK) published an article entitled ‘What a surprise election victory means to SL?’ more..

Some cricketing concerns & good governance

Jan 14 (ST) While the euphoria of the anticipated change is now underway, for those of us a change meant a bit more than the grazing pastures. It is time to put the thinking cap on and shout out loud about our pound of flesh. The Sunday Musings is not worried about the political arena per say. It is up to those who want a new way of life or a new economic pathway. Yet, in these sports columns our desire is to see the advent of more..

The Miracle of Maithri dawns

Jan 14 (ST) If there were any miracles wrought during these last four years to transform Lanka from a pathetic failed state of democracy, tottering on the brink of anarchy and economic despair, into one that had all the new found potential to transcend the vicissitudes of her impish fates and enable her once again to take her rightful seat amongst the civilised nations of the world; then the marvel dawned on Friday evening at the auspicious hour of 6.21 when Maithripala Sirisena was sworn in more..

Peoples power brings down a presidency

Jan 14 (ST) There is a terrible toll that relentless state repression extracts from a country and its people. It saps them of strength, makes them fearful and angry, ready to snarl at the slightest hint of danger, real or perceived. Yet the miracle of the human spirit is that, as things seem at their darkest, the rational mind snaps back and powerful solidarity is shown against the worst forms of injustice. This is precisely what Sri Lanka illustrated in all its immense wonder this week when more..

Boston Lanka: January 13, 2015

Sri Lanka: Do the elections represent a Green or Red light to investors?

Jan 14 (SA) On Thursday January 8th 2015, Sri Lanka went to the polls in a Presidential election. This election had been called 2 years early by President Rajapaksa following evidence of declining support for a President that had once been hailed as a national hero. Indeed, his party's previous dominance had allowed him to change the constitution and permit his seeking a third term. However, despite this wavering support, few expected him to actually lose the election. more..

Editorial: Greed and politics

Jan 14 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed his Cabinet. 27 ministers, 10 state ministers and 8 deputy ministers have been sworn in. There are so many ministers in this small country that if you kick a wayside bush at least two or three of them get thrown out as a popular saying goes. We have 45 ministers in nine Provincial Councils doing precious little. The public maintains ten ministers each including those in the Cabinet to handle subjects such as health & education. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Jan 14 (ST) If there was a Sri Lankan who was absolutely certain Mahinda Rajapaksa would win Thursday’s presidential elections, it was his astrologer Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena. This week, however, he realised that what he foretold was wrong and his client Rajapaksa had to leave office with an unfinished term of two years and two months. So, Mr. Abeygunawardena decided that he should sever his connections with the govt more..

Ceylon Gem Bureau to carve out a niche in Lankan tourism market

Jan 14 (ST) The new Ceylon Gem Bureau is to carve out a niche in tourism market making use of the country’s high quality gems, traditional and modern craftsmanship, highly skilled gem cutting facilities and the hospitality of Sri Lankans. Enhancing its market position, Ceylon Gem Bureau recently opened a new gem and jewellery centre at 83, Dhramapla Mawatha, Colombo 3 with the aim of catering to the niche high- end tourist clientele. Elegantly handcrafted jewellery-from more..

Fiscal consolidation critical economic challenge for new govt

Jan 14 (ST) The election of Maithripala Sirisena as President is another opportunity to resolve fundamental economic problems. A majority of citizens voted for a change in the prevalent political milieu that did not respect law and order, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. It was a vote to usher in good governance and reduce large scale bribery and corruption. Although economic policies were peripheral during the campaign, except for the high cost of living, more..

'This govt will not interfere with the Judiciary'

Jan 14 (CT) With the UNP back in power with the promise of good governance and inclusive govt, former Minister Imthiaz Bakeer Markar reaffirmed that from now on, the country will move away from petty politics and communalism. With allegations of corruption being made against some of the ministers in the current Cabinet too, Markar emphasized that the new govt will not interfere with the judiciary and if proven guilty, action would more..

A strategic political miscalculation

Jan 14 (Island) Many an eyebrow was raised during the second week of July, last year, when NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP, invited convenor of the Movement for Just Society, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha thera, to discuss far reaching constitutional reforms, including the abolition of the executive presidency. The breakaway faction of the JVP was on a collision course with the SLFP. At the conclusion of the talks, Ven. Sobitha, spearheading a high profile campaign against the more..

Free tree saplings from Rotary

Jan 14 (Island) The Rotary Club of Battaramulla will distribute free tree saplings on January 15 at the "Good Market", Diyatha Uyana, Battaramulla, as a token gesture related to the Rotary District Initiative of planting one million trees. On the 15th, members of the Rotary Club of Battaramulla will be at at Diyatha Uyana, and those interested can find out more about the 1 million trees project of the Rotary District, and humanitarian projects carried out by the Club. more..

Lean times foreseen for Ceylon Tea

Jan 14 (Island) Expectations for Ceylon Tea in 2015,tea brokers said, were not that good. The ruble crisis in Russia and plummeting oil prices in the Middle East will seriously affect Ceylon Tea. Ceylon tea brokers in their weekly Tea Market Review last week said because of low economic growth in countries with high oil consumption, for instance, China and the European Union, additionally with the Middle East in turmoil more..

Rishad returns to lead Lanka’s Industry & Commerce to next level

Jan 14 (Island) Rishad Bathiudeen MP has triumphantly returned to serve the country once again as the Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka -and the country’s private sector promptly hailed his return. "I, Rishad Bathiudeen solemnly declare and affirm that I will faithfully perform the duties and discharge the functions of office of Minister of Industry and Commerce" said Minister Bathiudeen on January 12. Minister Bathiudeen was swearing in before the President more..

SriLankan Airlines among 5 best performers in IATA Environmental Assessment Program

Jan 14 (FT) The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that five airlines including SriLankan Airlines have recently successfully completed stages of the IATA Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) program. IEnvA is an innovative, voluntary, two-stage evaluation process designed to drive airline environmental performance improvements through independent assessment. Finnair and South African Airways have completed the IEnvA Stage 2 more..

Video: Sri Lanka has same govt with different face: M.I.A.

Jan 14 (C4) Maya Arulpragasam, the Sri Lankan Tamil recording artist, spoke to Channel 4 News following the defeat of Rajapaksa, a man accused of presiding over war crimes at the end of Sri Lanka's civil war, in Sri Lanka's election. Mahinda Rajapaksa was in charge of Sri Lanka at the end of the war against terror group the Tamil Tigers. In the closing weeks of the war in May 2009 the SL army is accused of deliberately shelling civilians, more..

'Sri Lanka's urban transport reforms have to be expedited'

Jan 14 (CT) Sri Lanka's urban transportation system needs reforms and new policies regarding the urban transportation need to be implemented soon, in order to reduce the congestion Moratuwa University's Head of the Department of Transport Engineering Prof. Amal Kumarage said. "Although there were policies regarding urban transportation in Sri Lanka which have been formulated those were not implemented. In 2009, policies were formulated to restructure the urban transportation more..

Six Sri Lankan fishermen detained

Jan 14 (Hindu) The Indian Coast Guard on Tuesday apprehended six Sri Lankan fishermen on board a deep-sea fishing boat off Nagapattinam coast. Commandant Udhal Singh, Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Station, Karaikal, told The Hindu that they were intercepted by C-428, a vessel of Coast Guard, when it was patrolling about 100 miles east of Nagapattinam. They were detained for maritime violations. They were being escorted by the vessel to Karaikal. more..

Religious leaders bless Pope Francis

Jan 14 (CT) Pope Francis, who is on a three day visit, said that religious beliefs must never be abused in the cause of violence and war, and what Sri Lanka needs now is healing and unity instead of conflict and division. Addressing various religious delegates at the BMICH yesterday, the Holy See said, "For too many years the men and women of this country have been victims of civil strife and violence. The fostering of healing and unity more..

Divulapitiya PS Chairman and two others remanded

Jan 14 (Island) The Minuwangoda Magistrate yesterday remanded till Jan 20 Divulapitiya PS Chairman Indika Anuruddha and two other suspects after they surrendered to the court. SSP Ajith Rohana said that the main suspect, Indika and his supporters had assaulted two men at Udugoda Watte on Jan 3 and another person at Tammitta on Jan 4. Three of the suspects had allegedly attacked a vehicle belonging to a person living at Dunagaha and damaged it on Jan 1, more..

Noritake Lanka crafts Holy Communion bowls for Papal visit

Jan 14 (FT) Noritake Lanka Porcelain has been bestowed with the unique honour of crafting the Holy Communion bowls for Pope Francis’ visit to Sri Lanka. These brilliant white porcelain circular bowls measure 224.8 mm in diameter, 76.8 mm in height and weigh 682 grams. They have been made from porcelain sourced 60% in Sri Lanka and 40% from imported materials and has the lettering ‘Canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz. 14 January 2015’. 24 karat gold, lead and cadmium more..

Sajin Vass produces licence for the elephant

Jan 14 (DM) UPFA MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena had produced a licence for the elephant to prove the legality of the elephant that was in his custody, Hikkaduwa Park Warden Asanga Gunawardene, who carried out the inspection told the media. He said wildlife officials would carry out further investigations to ascertain the authenticity of the licence. A team of officials of the Wildlife Conservation Department had more..

5 fishermen hurt in fresh attack by SLN

Jan 14 (ENS) In the first attack after the change of guard in Sri Lanka, five fishermen from the district were allegedly assaulted and chased away by the Sri Lankan navy personnel after snatching away their catch and nets in the sea off Kodiyakkarai coast on Tuesday. The five fishermen, identified as Balachandiran (48), Selvamani (46), Ajith (18), Selvanathan (37), and Singaravel (37) all from Nambiyar Nagar hamlet near Nagapattinam town, ventured into the sea in a boat more..

AUS students install water systems in SL

Jan 14 (GT) Ten students from American University of Sharjah (AUS) installed Hydraid BioSand water filtration systems for needy communities in Badulla, Sri Lanka, from Dec 28, 2014 to Jan 3, 2015. The project was an initiative of the AUS Engineers Without Borders Club under the supervision of the Office of Student Affairs. A BioSand filter is a water treatment system that is sized for daily use by households that do not have safe or treated water sources available. more..

Video: 'It is the misfortune of the people'

Jan 14 (DM) PHU General Secretary Udaya Gammanpila said that Maithripala Sirisena has been elected as the president for the misfortune of the people of the country. “I predicted this long before at a press briefing. I decided to defect from the JHU because I didn’t want to take part in any separatist agenda. Even the General Secretary of the MDMK in TN, Vaiko had celebrated the defeat of former President Rajapaksa. more..

Siripala tipped to be Opposition leader

Jan 14 (CT) SLFP is seriously considering the appointment of Former Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva as the Opposition Leader in Parliament. Former Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena claimed that a majority of the SLFP MPs were in favour of his appointment. The final decision is to be made soon after the Pope's visit concludes, it was known. Former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella also vouched for the choice. However, he went on to say that there were other options also being more..

Delhi seeks to deepen ties with Colombo

Jan 14 (Hindu) India seeks to deepen economic ties with Sri Lanka, PM Narendra Modi has said, days after SL’s new govt assumed charge. In a letter congratulating his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe on his new role, Mr. Modi said: “We warmly recall the efforts made by you during your [earlier] tenures as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to strengthen relations between our two countries.” “I look forward to working with Your Excellency to bring our two countries even closer, more..

Mini Budget on Jan 29

Jan 14 (DM) Mini-Budget of the new Govt’s 100-day programme will be presented in Parliament on Jan 29 with a relief package for the people as promised in the run-up to the presidential election, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. The Mini-Budget of the new Govt’s 100-day programme will be presented in Parliament on Jan 29 with a relief package for the people as promised in the run-up to the presidential election, more..

Wele Sudha arrested in Pakistan

Jan 14 (CT) Samantha Kumara Vithanage, also known as Wele Sudha, who fled the country after he was released on bail, was arrested in Pakistan yesterday on several charges. SSP Ajith Rohana confirmed that he was arrested in Pakistan but said that he could not state who had made the arrest. A lawyer said that Vithanage had a number of drug trafficking charges and money laundering charges previously. He was arrested and released on bail prior to his escape to Pakistan where more..