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Pope’s visit hoodoo in power politics

Jan 17 (Island) The third visit of a Pope to Sri Lanka is certainly important to Catholics here, and is also an event of historical importance in the relations between Sri Lanka and the Holy See. Apart from its religious and historical importance, this Papal visit also underscored an important political lesson to future national leaders of Sri Lanka. It is the reality that if one wishes to continue in office as the national leader, it is best not to invite the Pope to this country or support such an invitation. more..

Need for new foreign policy & establishment

Jan 17 (Island) Yes we MUST have a new foreign policy and we need a new a new establishment to implement that policy. The ‘section’ on Foreign Relations in President Sirisena’s ‘Chintanaya’ does make interesting reading and I wish to reproduce some parts of it along with my comments for the benefit of the public. It says, "All political appointments and appointment of relatives attached to the Foreign Service will be annulled and the entire Foreign Service will be reorganized using more..

When democracy stood upon a razor’s edge

Jan 17 (FT) Sometime around 8 p.m. on 8 January, the Rajapaksa twitter-sphere went deathly still. The next time we heard from them was at 6:30 a.m. the next day, when a spokesman said defeated President Rajapaksa had departed from his official residence at Temple Trees. The last public tweet on election day by the sons of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was a photograph. It showed Namal Rajapaksa, looking relaxed & casual more..

New Zealand look for batting lift

Jan 17 (CI) For much of the tour, Sri Lanka seemed to find ways to lose, but with a flat pitch underfoot and the sun at their backs in Hamilton, shoes switched feet and tables were turned. A run-out epidemic swept through the New Zealand middle order, and batsmen were being carried out of their crease almost involuntarily, by their own legs. Sri Lanka were slick enough in the field to capitalise, which has not always been the case in the past three weeks. more..

Resetting Indo-Lanka relations

Jan 17 (DM) With the inauguration of President Maithripala Sirisena on January 9 and the decision taken by the newly appointed External Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera to undertake his first official overseas visit t o New Delhi, t here are indications that Indo-Lanka relations are eventually heading in the right direction. Given Sri Lanka’s proximity to India and its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, it is natural for New Delhi to develop a keen interest in political, economic more..

Rajitha promises health reforms

Jan 17 (Island) New Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne on assuming duties yesterday revealed that he had been appointed as Health Minister in keeping with a decision taken following a comprehensive discussion held with President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. He said that immediately after Maithripala Sirisena had won more..

6th Jaffna International Trade Fair: Gateway to the North

Jan 17 (Island) The Jaffna International Trade Fair (JITF), the most comprehensive and ‘looked forward to’ exhibition in the North will be held for the sixth consecutive year in the heart of Jaffna from the 23rd - 25th of Jan 2015. The exhibition which was the first of the kind to be held in the Northern region of the country has throughout the years been renowned as the best and most potent platform for the meeting of investors, businesses and the masses in the region. JITF has been hailed to be the common more..

Sri Lanka isn't the same island that MIA left behind many moons ago

Jan 17 (Independent) I’ve just re-watched MIA’s interview on Channel 4 News about the recent Sri Lankan elections. I love her music, and being a British Sri Lankan myself, I think it’s great that she’s been so successful. But I’m cringing. Why? MIA (real name Mathangi Arulpragasam) has a lot of valid concerns over the make up of Sri Lanka’s newly elected administration. But she refers to “the Tamils” as a unified minority race, and claims that there's an “ethnic conflict” that more..

'Tariffs rationalized'

Jan 17 (DN) A price formula will soon be implemented for electricity and petroleum, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. "This is the beginning of a new era for the power and energy sector," the minister said. He was speaking after assuming duties as the new Power and Energy Minister yesterday. "The power and energy sector, which are among the key national priorities, would be subjected to radical changes to meet more..

SLIIT students win again at APICTA Awards

Jan 17 (Island) Four dynamic students from SLIIT, made Sri Lanka proud when they clinched a Merit award at the recently concluded Asia Pacific Information and Communication Technology Alliance (APICTA) Awards in Jakarta, Indonesia. The students from SLIIT, shone among the rest with their innovative and state of the art project titled ‘Yalu : A Learning Disability Evaluation Kit’. The Merit award was won by Chathurika Kularathna, Leshan Kurruppuarachchi, Shashika more..

Embassy of Sri Lanka in Paris celebrates Thai Pongal Festival

Jan 17 (AT) The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Paris celebrated the Hindu Thai Pongal festival on 15th Jan 2015, a thanksgiving ceremony to the Sun God for bringing a plentiful harvest and prosperity in agriculture and also to the farm animals for their assistance in producing a successful crop. The event highlighted the significance of the occasion to all Sri Lankans as this Hindu cultural event is engulfed with hopes and aspirations, and encourages social cohesiveness, more..

Sri Lanka to get more FDI by expanding economic freedoms, biz environment: Eran

Jan 17 (EN) Sri Lanka would get more foreign and local investments by expanding economic freedoms and the investment environment, deputy investments promotions minister Eran Wickramaratne said. Sri Lanka's growth in the recent past had come more from debt than investments, which was not the most optimum way of economic advancement, he said after assuming duties Friday. more..

Abans present free laptops to deserving students

Jan 17 (DM) Abans completed the third stage of their ambitious CSR initiative “From Your Laptop to Their Future” by presenting Laptops to 15 deserving students. The presentations were made by Aban Pestonjee, Chairperson of Abans Group at a simple ceremony on December 16th at Abans Main Showroom in Kollupitiya. Earlier Abans presented 50 Laptops each in the first and second stages of the project. Understanding the importance that computers provide in today’s world, more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa slams media silence on attacks against his supporters

Jan 17 (AM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that his supporters are still being attacked and threatened. Speaking to BBC Sandeshaya from his house in Tangalle, Rajapaksa has said that media keeps silent on these incidents. He has added that media pretends to be unaware of such incidents. Rajapaksa said that in one instance, buses belonging to a supporter had been stopped and robbed, after assaulting the workers. He has added that it is just one incident. more..

Will Chamal be removed?

Jan 17 (CT) With President Maithripala Sirisena achieving the majority in Parliament, discussions have now surfaced on whether to replace Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa. Speaker Rajapaksa has expressed views to the extent of letting the new President select another MP for the post. Sources close to govt said, although, initially appointing a new Speaker had been among the priorities, confidants of President Sirisena are more..

All-round Mir demolishes Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (CI) Pakistan captain Sana Mir's 48 runs and four wickets, including a hat-trick, helped her side level the T20 series against Sri Lanka 1-1 with a game left. Three of the top four batsmen fell for single-digit scores after Pakistan chose to bat but opener Javeria Khan (25) provided the initial push after which Mir guided the side to 124 for 6. Mir stayed unbeaten on 48 off 37 with four fours while Maduri Samuddika took 3 for 25 for Sri Lanka. Mir struck in her second over to send back more..

Robbers shoot and injure SI

Jan 17 (Island) A sub inspector attached to the Padukka Police Station was shot and injured by two armed men, when a police team went to apprehend a group of robbers who hijacked a van in the early hours of yesterday at Mawaragama. The van had been robbed by the suspects who hired it on the pretext of going to Athurugiriya. Its driver was forced to disable the GPS system before he was pushed out of it so that it could not be traced. But, the driver had the presence of mind to remove more..

JVP accuses Sajin of corruption

Jan 17 (CT) JVP yesterday handed over a petition, to the Bribery Commission, against former Monitoring MP, Sajin Vaas Gunawardane, alleging that he had purchased five aircraft, to the value of Rs 160 million, for his company Cosmos Aviation Services (Pvt) Ltd. Apart from that, Vaas Gunawardane is said to have defrauded students, who enrolled in his company, by charging Rs 1.325 million from each. more..

Sino-Lanka trade at $3 Bn

Jan 17 (GDI) As bilateral trade topped $ 3Bn, Sri Lanka’s exports sector is readying one of the strongest ever delegations to this year’s Kunming international expo while Lanka’s second largest global supplier voiced that it is increasingly upbeat on the prospective FTA between both countries-and the $ 190 Bn Yunnan province is keen for a Corporate Agreement with Lanka’s apex export entity, a first, as revealed on 13 January. “The pending SL-China FTA will be very big news more..

Wanted suspect killed in shootout with police

Jan 17 (Island) A 34-year-old suspect wanted for various offences committed in Wellawaya and Thanamalwila areas was killed in a shootout with the police in the early hours of yesterday at Kuda Oya. The suspect had started firing at the police officers attached to Wellawaya police station when they had tried to apprehend him. The suspect had been hiding in a small house on the Balaharuwa Road, Kuda Oya. Police identified the dead suspect as Tharanga Keerthi Dias, more..

Sri Lanka readies to adopt Commonwealth Latimar House Principles

Jan 17 (Island) With Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma declaring his readiness to work closely with newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena as the Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, the new govt is expected to bring in far reaching constitutional amendments in accordance with Commonwealth Latimar House Principles. Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, said adoption of Latimar House Principles more..

Sobhitha Thera besieged by high post seekers

Jan 17 (CT) Following Maithripala Sirisena's swearing-in as President, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera has been having a tough time and he is being besieged by an army of high post seekers. Sobhitha Thero says many people have been coming to his temple these to seek his assistance to obtain high posts, such as governors, ministers and chairmen in the new govt. "Yesterday even the sweeper of the temple precincts was asking me to obtain a governor's post for him. more..

'Don't have dealings with ex-President or DM'

Jan 17 (CT) Forty seven civil society organizations, which had supported Maithripala Sirisena's election campaign, have strongly urged the new President not to come to any arrangement or agreement with the former President or former Prime Minister, who were clearly rejected by the people. A group of representatives of the 47 organizations also met Public Administration and Buddhist Affairs Minister Karu Jayasooriya to make this request. A spokesman for the civil society organizations more..

SL new govt lifts travel ban on foreigners

Jan 17 (AFP) Sri Lanka's new govt Friday announced lifting a ban on foreign nationals visiting to the island's former war zones and scrapped an economic embargo on minority Tamil regions. President Sirisena, just a week after taking office, removed the travel ban introduced by his predecessor three months ago, the defence ministry said. "Since there is no war situation in the country and the life of the community is normal, more..

Don’t let them crossover

Jan 17 (DM) Rampant corruption, bribery, the plunder of public wealth and criminal frauds amounting to billions of rupees were among the main issues at the Presidential Election with many analysts saying it was one of the main causes for the total downfall of the all-powerful Rajapaksa regime. The new administration of President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe began the new era of good governance and democracy or maithri palanaya on Jan 9. more..

53rd Anniversary of the Abortive Military/Police Coup d’etat

Jan 17 (DM) It was 53 years ago when a disgruntled section of military and police high-ups planned a Coup d’etat on the night of Jan 27, 1962 against inexperienced Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s newly formed govt. The conspirators believed the politicians were dragging the country to disaster through maladministration, rapid Sinhalisation and poor economic planning. Coup named Mission Operation Holdfast was expected to be accomplished within a few hours around on more..

What Sri Lanka’s presidential election means for foreign policy

Jan 17 (CD) The presidential election in SL has delivered its verdict, bringing the curtain down on the rule of strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa and opening a new era in Sri Lanka’s domestic and foreign policies. Although optimism over the new administration must be tempered for the time being, the election of Maithripala Sirisena provides an opportunity for Sri Lanka—especially to deal with its two pressing internal issues: more..

Sri Lanka to reassess Chinese-backed port project

Jan 17 (WSJ) A week after national elections, Sri Lanka’s new govt has started to reassess some flagship projects initiated by former president Rajapaksa involving the construction of a Chinese-backed port close to Colombo. Kabir Hashim, Sri Lanka’s investment-promotion minister, expressed security concerns over the $1.5 billion project, which would allow China Communication Construction Co., a govt-owned infrastructure more..

China donates 3 mln USD to Sri Lanka's flood affected

Jan 17 (Xinhua) Chinese govt has donated US$ 3 million to the flood relief efforts in Sri Lanka. "China and Sri Lanka are good friends and neighbors. The Chinese govt is committed to supporting the Sri Lankan people and govt," said Deputy Head of Mission at the Chinese Embassy Ren Faqiang. Torrential rains triggered floods in late December that swept over many parts of the island nation, killing over 30. more..

2014: 1,496 fishermen and 220 boats freed by India, Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (Island) Sri Lanka today released the last 15 Indian fishermen from its custody. External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin tweeted today: "All free. With the release of 15 Indian fishermen today, no more Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody. Arrangements being made for repatriation." Six Sri Lankan fishermen were arrested and their boat seized in Pondicherry on January 13. more..

Dayasiri predicts stronger SLFP under Maithripala’s leadership

Jan 17 (Island) Chief Minister of the North Western Province Dayasiri Jayasekera said that the very survival of the SLFP would largely depend on a total overhaul of the party ahead of the next parliamentary election. The next general election is widely expected to be called soon after the completion of President Maithripala Sirisena’s 100-day project meant to provide relief to the electorate. The transformation of the largest single party more..

Jaffna Tamils keep fingers crossed over civilian governor

Jan 17 (ENS) People in the Tamil-majority Northern Province are keeping their fingers crossed about the changes that may follow the removal of military man Maj.Gen (Retd).G.A. Chandrasiri from the post of Governor, and his replacement by a civilian, H.M.G.S. Palihakkara. “On the one hand we are happy that one of our key demands, that Governor should be a civilian and not one with military background, has been met. more..

BASL demands CJ’s resignation

Jan 17 (CG) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has once again demanded the resignation of Chief Justice Mohan Peiris over his alleged involvement in a coup attempt after the Presidential election. BASL said that from or about 10th January 2015 onwards, there have been reports in the media that, Chief Justice Mohan Pieris was present at Temple Trees from prior to dawn on 9th Jan 2015 along with some others and more..

Rakna Lanka armoury sealed

Jan 17 (DM) The armoury of the Rakna Lanka Security Service affiliated to the Defence Ministry has been sealed following complaints to the police that the weapons belonging to the Security Service had been used illegally during the just concluded Presidential election. A senior police officer said the armoury situated within the BMICH premises would be checked on Monday after a court order is secured. more..

Namal says family helped end war

Jan 17 (CG) Namal Rajapaksa, the son of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in an interview to NDTV, has said that the close knit ties between his father and his uncle, former Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was responsible for Sri Lanka’s military victory over the LTTE. “The war was ended because of this bond within the family,” Namal said at the office of his law firm in the heart of Colombo. more..

PM to introduce code of conduct for MPs

Jan 17 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he would introduce a Code of Conduct for MPs. He made the announcement at his first official meeting with the UNP MPs who are Cabinet, State and Deputy Ministers at Temple Trees. "The people voted for change based on our pledge to establish a new political culture, introduce good governance and implement the rule of law; we cannot and should not let them down. more..

Sri Lanka’s chance to move past postcolonial politics

Jan 17 (G&M) The word “serendipity” comes from Serendip, the name Persians gave a large and beautiful island off the southern tip of India, long before it was colonized by the Portuguese, who renamed it Ceilăo, and then by the Dutch, and then by the English, who changed it to Ceylon. After it finally won independence from colonialism in 1948, it became Sri Lanka. As if returning to its origins, Sri Lanka began this year with a serendipitous occurrence: After a national election, more..

Call to refrain from publishing President's pictures, stories

Jan 17 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena has requested Editors of newspapers to refrain from publishing his pictures or articles focusing on him needlessly. Meanwhile, cut-outs and banners with the photograph of President Sirisena set up throughout the country were also ordered removed, by the Presidential Secretariat. The Secretariat in a release stated that the cut-outs and banners with the photograph of the President should not be carried in the future. more..

Gnanasara: God sent saviour of Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (CT) The title is a comment from one of my close friends who said, “Ganasara is the god sent saviour of Sri Lanka”. This was a spontaneous statement as soon as Maithripala Sirisena was declared the winner at the presidential elections. I will not give such an honourable credit to someone who profuse so much hate and propagates violence against fellow human beings. I didn’t need to ask her any further. more..

Fonseka to contest Parliament elections

Jan 17 (CT) Seniors of the Democratic Party are in discussions regarding the procedure required to be followed in order to get Party Leader Sarath Fonseka to come to Parliament as a national list MP. Although previously opportunities to restore Fonseka's political rights had failed, general secretary of the Democratic Party, Ananda Manawadu said that Fonseka would definitely be contesting at the upcoming General election. more..