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On a wing and a prayer!

Jan 16 (NS) The Holy Father, with all due respect to his ‘Papal Supremacy,’ will never predict the tumultuous welcome he will receive on his Sri Lanka visit. From the time Pope Francis steps on the soil of our tiny universe, he will receive a reception that surpasses any accorded to visiting dignitaries or rock stars anywhere. But now the tropical island nation, famous for its legendary hospitality, is girding to outdo itself in providing an unprecedented rousing welcome the spiritual leader more..

What do we do with Mohan Peiris?

Jan 16 (GV) Among the countless blows struck by the Rajapaksa regime against the Rule of Law over the last decade, perhaps the most egregious was the illegal impeachment of CJ Shirani Bandaranayake and her replacement with a lackey of the Brotherhood known as Mohan Peiris. His behaviour in office in the last two years confirmed our worst fears, by not merely reducing judiciary to an appendage of the executive, more..

Editorial: Politicos in calaboose

Jan 16 (Island) What really makes a country governable is the robustness of its democratic institutions capable of withstanding politico-social pressure even in tumultuous times. India is a glaring example. Not even the tectonic shift caused by the BJP in Indian politics a few months ago and the resultant Modi tsunami that swept across that country have affected the pillars of democracy, especially the judiciary. This is a lesson that SL could draw from world’s largest democracy more..

Post-election reflection: Yesterday’s energy

Jan 16 (Island) Sri Lanka is still overwhelmed with the peoples’ energy that a few days ago brought the immeasurable gift of democratic regime change. As the campaign heightened, one word; wenasak- (a change) became a spontaneous and variable slogan or code, determined by the context in which it was used. There was no need to mention a name or colour or symbol; people simply wanted a change. Over 80% voted. Wenasak was however possible due to a convergence of several democratic more..

Keeping the economy on even keel

Jan 16 (Island) There were huge losses made by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation through disasters such as the hedging deal. Now they have to recover all the losses. But the question is whether it is reasonable to pass that burden to the consumer. There is a stable income from the sale of petroleum. You have to target items like that for the govt to get a stable income. But the tax must be reasonable. In this interview, more..

Mahinda’s electoral failure: An outcome of ignorance

Jan 16 (CT) Speaking to a crowd of supporters standing in the premise of his ancestral home in Medamulana at the time of having arrived immediately after his electoral failure, ex president Mahinda Rajapaksa said that even though people of the country voted for him, he lost in the election because those in the north, east, Colombo, Kandy and Nuwara-Eliya voted against him. His findings were clear that it was country’s minority communities to unseat him. more..

Sri Lanka’s change of govt was a miracle – now it needs another one

Jan 16 (Independent) A wonderful thing has happened in Sri Lanka. Relegated to the inside pages by the Paris massacres, a kind of miracle took place last week: a sudden redemption. The superstitious, noting the proximity of this event to the arrival there of Pope Francis, who canonised the first-ever Lankan saint this Wednesday, might be tempted to credit the Holy Ghost. A presidential election was held, local and international monitors followed the events closely, more..

Sri Lanka expectation higher after new President: Businesses

Jan 16 (LBO) Following the change of govt in Sri Lanka last week, businessmen and economists expressed hope for better commerce in the country. Sri Lanka in its Presidential Election, elected UNP backed President Maithripala Sirisena to office and dethroned pro-China President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The UNP is seen as traditionally pro business and pro-West, while the ousted President has been pro-China. more..

McCullum rues New Zealand's running meltdown

Jan 16 (CI) New Zealand were guilty of cracking under the pressure created by the Sri Lanka fielders, Brendon McCullum said, after four run-outs in New Zealand's innings prevented his side from posting a competitive total. Daniel Vettori, Luke Ronchi, Corey Anderson and Nathan McCullum were all run out between the 33rd and 45th overs of the innings, as New Zealand slipped from 158 for 2 to 208 for 8. McCullum himself had almost been run out, but after he was dismissed, more..

NDB, DFCC merger only if shareholders wish it

Jan 16 (EN) National Development Bank and DFCC Bank which were pushed to merge by the regulator need to do so only if shareholders wish it, a top United National Party official has said. UNP Treasurer Eran Wickramaratne, who was a former CEO of NDB had criticized a central bank plan reduce the number of banks and non-bank lenders for being involuntary and forced, while he was in he opposition. "We are for consolidation of banks but not if it is coercive," he said. more..

Environmental group guns for Colombo Port City project

Jan 16 (Island) A Sri Lankan environmentalist body reminded newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena of his promise to stop the USD 1.5 billion China-financed Colombo Port City project. Centre for Environmental and Nature Studies (CENS) called on President Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to immediately stop its construction. They alleged that it was having an adverse impact on country’s delicate marine more..

Way forward for Sri Lanka fraught with macro-economic challenges

Jan 16 (Island) As the curtain falls on the Rajapaksa administration’s economic policies, 2015 could be an year filled with hope, but also in many respects fraught with macro-economic challenges with local and global policy implications. In this background, the new administration will have to implement appropriate economic and monetary policies to propel growth if Sri Lanka is to sustain its middle income status. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), more..

Yasara speaks up: 'I had no connection with Wasim Thajudeen'

Jan 16 (AM) Yasara Abeynayake, who was dubbed in certain media reports as the ex-girlfriend of Yoshitha Rajapaksa, said that she did not even know nor did she have any connection with Wasim Thajudeen, the Rugby player who was killed in a road accident in 2012. Abeynayake, who was formerly the Channel head of CSN, is now attached to a SL diplomatic mission in Australia. She made these remarks responding to reports that the Rugby player’s sudden death was linked more..

Sri Lanka’s election: Ask Siri

Jan 16 (Economist) Many Sri Lankans are still gobsmacked by an election on Jan 8th that ended nine years of presidential rule by Mahinda Rajapaksa, a strongman appearing to settle in for the long term. Replacing him is Maithripala Sirisena, until recently the health minister, who won 51.3% of the votes on a record turnout of 81.5%. Mr Sirisena was backed by Sinhalese unhappy about inflation, corruption and Rajapaksa dynasty, as well as more..

Sri Lanka has given itself a chance

Jan 16 (G&M) The surprising result of the presidential election in SL would have received more attention if the terrible events in Paris had not captured our thoughts and fears. War between the Tamil Tigers and the govt of SL came to a bloody conclusion on the northern beaches of that beautiful island country in the spring of 2009. Tens of thousands dead, disappeared, incarcerated. Govt dominated by President Rajapaksa and his brothers was more about triumphalism than more..

Sri Lanka women hold on for eight-run win

Jan 16 (CI) An unbeaten 40-ball 50 from Dilani Manodara powered Sri Lanka women to 151, and sent the team on their way towards an eight-run victory against Pakistan women in Sharjah. Sri Lanka women, opting to bat, lost two wickets inside six overs, but Chamari Atapattu's 31 off 23 balls gave the team a blazing start. After Chamari fell, Manodara and Eshani Lokusuriyage took center stage, combining for a fifth-wicket association which yielded 47 runs from 39 balls. more..

The new govt's slip: Constitutional?

Jan 16 (CT) As the newly elected President of the country, Maithripala Sirisena has sought to eviscerate the SLFP of which he was the former General Secretary prior to becoming the common candidate of the joint Opposition alliance during the pre-election declaration period, by introducing radical reforms within merely a few days of getting elected into power. So tactful has he been that all of the radical changes introduced more..

Sri Lanka transparent with US funds

Jan 16 (CG) Sri Lanka was among a group of countries which met the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency when using foreign assistance received from the United States last year. The Department of State presented the findings from the 2014 financial year fiscal transparency review process in its Fiscal Transparency Report. The report describes the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency developed by the Department of State in consultation with other relevant more..

Exit of proxy funds may hit bourse

Jan 16 (CT) Proxies who have invested the black money of certain VVIPs of the previous regime in the stock market, now wanting to exit due to the regime change at the Presidential Poll, may cause further downward pressure on the market due to such exits, sources said. The market, after the initial euphoria caused by the victory of the NDF's Maithripala Sirisena at the 8 January poll which saw the benchmark ASPI increasing by 108.19 points (1.44%) to 7,605.79 points and more..

'Hand over of govt fatal mistake'

Jan 16 (Island) Former Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara alleged that the SLFP had caused a fatal mistake by giving up the govt immediately after losing the presidential election. DLF leader MP Nanayakkara said that constituent members of the SLFP-led coalition partners had not been consulted by the SLFP prior to reaching an understanding with newly-elected President/UNP as regards forming a govt. more..

Here's how they took to the air...

Jan 16 (LT) It is revealed that Rajapaksa family and those around them have used SL Air Force crafts for 151flights between 1st December, 2014 and 9th January, 2015. Out of these flights Mahinda Rajapaksa has used 82 flights, Namal Rajapaksa 25 flights, Shiranthi Rajapaksa 10 flights, Basil Rajapaksa 7 flights, Wimal Weerawansa 10 flights, Susil Premajayantha 4 flights, Dayasiri Jayasekera, Sarath Manamendra, Dinesh Gunawardene and Tissa Vitharana 1 flight each. more..

Sri Lanka’s biggest budget movie Maharaja Gemunu to hit the theaters

Jan 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s highest-budget film which depicts a philosophy behind a Sinhalese King is ready to be painted through the big screens from next week, veteran film director Jayantha Chandrasiri said. The movie which roots back to an era of second century B.C involved extensive research, the director told LBO. “It is based on the character of King Dutugemunu who built historic customs and traditions which protect us from invasions even today” more..

Foreign Ministry to recall all political heads of mission

Jan 16 (FT) All political appointees serving as heads of mission to Sri Lankan diplomatic outposts abroad will be requested to submit their resignations within a week, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. All political heads of mission will be recalled as soon as the new Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assumes duties. Sri Lanka’s most senior career diplomat Chitranganee Wagiswara has been more..

SLMC joins TNA in East to muster major stake in Council

Jan 16 (CT) SLMC will join hands with the TNA with the intention of claiming a majority stake in the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC). EPC Opposition leader C. Thandayudapani said that he was discussing the matter with the UNP and SLMC Members of the PC, and a final decision was expected on Friday. When contacted SLMC national organizer, Shafeek Rajabdeen, he said that SLMC had decided to support the TNA for a majority stake in the EPC. UPFA currently holds majority. more..

CMC to take up cadre issue with Finance Minister

Jan 16 (Island) The Colombo Municipal Council yesterday said it would meet new Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake to discuss the CMC Cadre Requirement proposed in 2013 but put on hold at the Finance Ministry level. Member of the Council, Mahendra Silva, said that the Western Provincial Council had forwarded proposals to the Finance Ministry and the Salaries and Cadre Commission. It had been altered to the dismay of several CMC trade unions, he added. more..

National Executive Committee meets

Jan 16 (CG) National Executive Committee met yesterday and discussed several key issues including constitutional changes, as proposed in the manifesto of President Sirisena. Proposed by the JVP, the National Executive Committee will have powers beyond that of the cabinet. The National Executive Committee included President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, more..

CID probes attack on CBK’s vehicle

Jan 16 (Island) Two teams from the CID have commenced two separate investigations into alleged attack on Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s vehicle in Beruwala before the election and disappearance of vehicles belonging to Presidential Secretariat (PS) after the election, police spokesman said. SSP Ajith Rohana said a CID team headed by an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) had been appointed on Wednesday to investigate the attack on CBK’s vehicle. more..

Thilina Tennakoon as CP Chief Minister

Jan 16 (CT) Thilina Bandara Tennakoon is due to be sworn-in as Chief Minister of the Central Province today. This follows an affidavit, signed by a majority of the 58-member Council, submitted to the Governor of the Province, Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, requesting that SLFP Councillor, Thilina Bandara Tennakoon be made the Chief Minister of the Central Province. UNP Central Provincial Councillor Chanaka Ailapperuma said that 34 members of the CPC had signed the affidavit and more..

Polls Chief: ‘Scarecrow held a clean election’

Jan 16 (Island) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya called for a comprehensive examination of both 17th and 18th Amendments to the Constitution to pave the way for necessary constitutional reforms, including independent commissions. Deshapriya said that the polls machinery in place for presidential poll had proved beyond any doubt that a level playing field could be created even in the absence of more..

Major step to win hearts & minds in the North

Jan 16 (DM) With the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe administration completing one week today, we have seen more political, attitudinal and structural changes in one week than during the past ten years. The latest move yesterday was a major political and administrative change which is seen as a significant step towards finding a just and fair political solution to the ethnic conflict. President Maithripala Sirisena announced he was appointing the former Foreign Secretary, more..

Post-election scenario and the Pope’s visit

Jan 16 (DM) Our collective prayers have been answered and the Presidential election is over with little violence as feared by many. My own doubts and fears about the state of democracy and the political wisdom of our voting public have been laid to rest. As in Post-WW II Britain, at a time when Winston Churchill as the PM, was held in great admiration and awe, as a hero whose leadership helped save Britain and Europe from the scourge of Nazism, he was soundly defeated in more..

'HRCSL is not a quasi court: PTA must be amended'

Jan 16 (CT) The Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRCSL) was setup under Act No. 21 of 1996, to give force to the commitment of Sri Lanka, as a member of the UN, in protecting human rights, and to perform the duties and obligations imposed on SL by various international treaties at international level. The HRCSL is an independent commission, which was set up to promote and protect human rights in the country. more..

Census reveals female graduates smarter than male counterparts

Jan 16 (ST) Engineering, Information Technology (IT), Medical graduates top the employment discipline while female graduates top the list of 1st Class Degrees holders, a census conducted by the Higher Education Ministry has revealed. The ‘Graduate Employment Census 2012’ was conducted by the Higher Education Ministry project, ‘Higher Education for 21st Century’, assisted by a World Bank team headed by Dr Asoka Ramanayake, more..

Why ousting of Sri Lanka’s president spells bad news for rugby in the country

Jan 16 (SCMP) It has been a momentous last few days in Sri Lanka, what with a change in regime, the arrival of the Pope and the start of the rugby season. Bear with me while I explain what all this has to do with Hong Kong rugby. The Pope, not much – but he does come from Italian stock and was raised in Argentina, two countries who will be at the World Cup this year. Hong Kong and Sri Lanka both have great more..

Violence and Violations

Jan 16 (SL) Although major violent incidents were not reported during the post election period, the pre election campaign was marred with violence and violation of election laws. The then ruling party violated election regulations to the maximum without considering Elections Commissioner’s repeated request not to violate the election laws. All attempts taken by the Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya to address these issues with election monitors fell into deaf ears. more..

State Minister of Defence assumes duties

Jan 16 (MoD) The newly appointed State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene ceremonially assumed duties at the Ministry today. Upon arriving at the Ministry the honourabe Minister was received by the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Mr. BMUD Basnayake, CDS, chiefs of the tri forces, police, civil defence force and the coast guard. Paying prominence to religious observances a special multi religious ceremony more..

Wele Sudha ready to spill the beans!

Jan 16 (CT) One of the notorious drug kingpins Samantha Kumara Vithange, also known as 'Wele Sudha', was arrested in Pakistan and was brought to Sri Lanka. SSP Ajith Rohana said, the suspect had left the country under the name of 'Sunil', and was involved in drug trafficking from the age of 19. He was deported back to Sri Lanka and is currently being held under the custody of the CID and Police Narcotics Department, more..

Journalists in exile set to return

Jan 16 (CG) Several journalists, who fled the country fearing for their lives under the former Govt, have decided to return to Sri Lanka. The journalists have shown interest to return and resume their careers following assurances by the new Govt that media freedom in Sri Lanka will be secured. The former Editor of The Sunday Leader, Frederica Jansz and Keith Noyahr, former Deputy Editor of ‘The Nation’ newspaper, were more..

Sri Lanka expresses sovereignty concerns over Chinese port city project

Jan 16 (EN) Sri Lanka's new govt will review a 1.3 billion US dollar Chinese-funded and built reclamation project next to its main port on security and sovereignty concerns, Investment Promotion and Highways Minister Kabir Hashim said Friday. "The port city project has to be reviewed completely because we've always spoken about security concerns," he told reporters soon after assuming office following more..

Cutouts, banners of Maithripala Sirisena to be removed

Jan 16 (AD) The Presidential Secretariat has requested the removal of all cutouts and banners with images of President Maithripala Sirisena, on display across the island. In a notification, the Secretariat highlights that the images should be removed by the individuals responsible for erecting them while the President has requested the public to avoid displaying cutouts with his image in the future.