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Beyond 50:50

Jan 17 (CT) The jury is in on the Presidential election. Here’s how it went down, according to an interesting source which can hardly be described as anti-Tamil, or Sinhala racist. Listen to Mr. Erik Solheim: “…The election victory was possible due to massive support from all Sri Lankan minorities. Mr. Rajapaksa won 90 out of 160 electoral districts and came out on top in nearly all Sinhala-dominated provinces. Mr. Rajapaksa roughly won the Sinhalese vote by 55%. more..

Video: Minor tremor in Tissamaharama

Jan 17 (AD) Minor tremor measuring about 2 Richter scale was reported near Kirinda area in Tissamaharama this morning, the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau said. It was detected by the Seismograph Vibration Meter located in the Regional Office in Pallekele and Hakmana. A spokesman for the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau said the exact location was not identified yet and a study was underway to locate more..

The Guardian view on the end of the Rajapaksa era in Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (Guardian) The long reign of the Rajapaksa family, which had seemed until very recently to stretch dismally into the far future, is over in Sri Lanka. The country’s democratic system, though damaged and eroded by the increasingly authoritarian, unconstitutional and coercive practices of the Rajapaksa clan, was still capable of a mighty heave which has brought decisive change. Former president Rajapaksa, his brothers and the younger family members who may have more..

A ministry for food security: Hope for millions of Sri Lankans

Jan 17 (CT) The cabinet of Ministers was being revealed on the 12th of January 2015. This was just 4 days after the election and just a day after this particular promised milestone, as per 100 days. There are many criticisms on the segregation and naming of portfolios, as well as the naming of Ministers. Some Ministers are really square pegs in round holes and defy explanation as to why they were appointed even to a 100 days cabinet. This aside, as a professional working for more..

Tissa Attanayake leaves for Singapore

Jan 17 (AM) UNP Former General Secretary Tissa Attanayake has left for Singapore early this morning. Attanayake had been accompanied by his two children. Attanayake, apparently, was not under investigation by Bribery Commission and that was why he was allowed fly out of the country freely, airport authorities said. However, UNP alleged that there was a ‘financial transaction’ behind more..

Clean Bribery Commission's Augean stables

Jan 17 (CT) With President Maithripala Sirisena's polls win last week, a number of complaints of allegations of bribery and corruption have been lodged against VVIPs of the previous regime. These complaints have been made in the backdrop of similar complaints filed against lesser minions previously. Nevertheless, the Bribery Commission has become a burden on the public and taxpayers' money. It has not taken action against any of these complaints made against high profile persons more..

'New govt treats ties with India on priority'

Jan 17 (AD) On the eve of its Foreign Minister’s visit to India, Sri Lanka today said good relations with India were a priority and it hopes to take bilateral ties forward. “We treat good relations with India a priority. We hope to build on our personal friendships with India,” Ajith P. Perera, Deputy Foreign Minister, said in the backdrop of Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s maiden visit to New Delhi starting tomorrow. It will be the first high-level visit between India and Sri Lanka after more..

Match abandoned after 28.5 overs

Jan 17 (CI) Martin Guptill's 66 not out off 78 and Angelo Mathews' 3 for 21 were the highlights of a disjointed 28.5 overs of play at Eden Park. Rain interrupted twice, carving large chunks of time from the game, before returning in force just before 6pm to wash out the match completely. New Zealand had eased to 145 for 3 before the final interruption. Brendon McCullum set off on his customary charge in the second over when more..

Security forces remain same in numbers for development

Jan 17 (GDI) Army Spokesperson Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera said that no decision has been taken to reduce the strength of the armed forces. Since the end of the terrorist conflict security forces were greatly involved in many development projects in various parts of the country. In order to assist these projects Army recruited over 20000 skilled personnel into the system, he further said. Meanwhile, elaborating on the progress of the reconstruction work of houses and shops more..

Vegetable shortage to last till January end, traders warn

Jan 17 (ST) The shortage of vegetables that has led to high prices even of the most common varieties, is expected to last till the end of the month, traders’ associations warned. They said the recent heavy rains in the vegetable growing areas had destroyed crops in the Central and North-Central Provinces and other neighbouring areas leading to a short supply of vegetables entering the wholesale market in Dambulla. Bad weather during the tail end of last year that triggered off land slides and more..

Plan to displace cricket files revealed

Jan 17 (LT) It has been revealed that a plan is being hatched to displace files regarding misappropriation of assets of Sri Lanka Cricket and other frauds says JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi. He says a discussion had also taken place at the meeting of the COPE and a tendency exists in the country to apprehend those who have involved in frauds and corruption. According to a reliable source a plan has been hatched to displace files more..

Lakhs of youth workers given voting leave

Jan 17 (ST) Private sector employees and estate workers were able to obtain leave of one to one-and-a-half days and vote in large numbers because of effective action taken by the Elections Commissioner, the Human Rights Commission and the Labour Department, officials said. Labour unions said the high voter turnout in the estate areas and other districts was largely due to the measures which enable them to obtain voting leave without difficulty. Deputy Election Commissioner, more..

Sri Lanka and an unravelling string of pearls

Jan 17 (FT) The recent SL presidential election was remarkable for several reasons. First, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the over-confident incumbent, lost the vote, despite a booming economy. Second, Mr Rajapaksa – who was often accused of authoritarian and dynastic tendencies – seems to have accepted the voters’ verdict without a fight. His best riposte to those who accused him of not being a democrat may turn out to be the way in which he accepted unfavourable election results, and more..

Video: 'Rajapaksa played China against India'

Jan 17 (NDTV) Sri Lanka's new PM Ranil Wickremasinghe told NDTV that his govt will redress the pro-China tilt of the Rajapaksa regime. "President Rajapaksa's regime tried to play China against India and India against China but it came a cropper," he said. During Rajapaksa years, China invested an estimated $6 billion in Sri Lanka, some of it in strategic infrastructure projects like ports and airports, irking India. more..

Lovers' extra-marital affair shattered by rape

Jan 17 (E24|7) A couple, involved in an extra-marital affair, moved to a hotel to spend a night. However, according to ‘Mawbima’, two persons attacked them in the night and raped the woman. The victim, is a 32-year-old garment worker, a resident of Oluwewa village. She was carrying out an extra-marital affair with a civil defence soldier, a father of two in the same area. She had gone with him to a hotel at Rookadawewa area in Goruwila belonging to her paramour’s friend more..

Inclusive governance will be SL's new mantra

Jan 17 (HT) There were many firsts in the election of President Maithripala Sirisena in Sri Lanka: An incumbent president was defeated; parties specifically representing different races and religious groups — the JHU for the Sinhalese, the TNA, and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress along with the All Ceylon Muslim Congress — came together on a common political platform; corruption was a major issue in the pre-poll campaign; and now a specific timeframe has been set for reforms. more..

SL to probe economic data, manage fallout

Jan 17 (EN) Sri Lanka's new administration is going ahead with a promise to probe controversial economic data, so that accurate data could be found for the administration to go ahead with its economic agenda, deputy planning minister Harsha de Silva said. "We haven’t formally started it (the probe) but we are talking to the senior people," de Silva said shortly after taking office Saturday. He said more discussions will be held with more..

Atapattu leads SL to series win

Jan 17 (CI) Sri Lanka captain Chamari Atapattu made 44 in the third and final T20 to lead her side to a 2-1 series win over Pakistan in Sharjah. Atapattu shrugged off the loss of her opening partner Lasanthi Madushani off the first ball of the chase of 111 and struck three sixes and two fours. She faced 43 deliveries and by the time she went leg-before to Nida Dar in the 15th over, Sri Lanka were only 18 runs short of the target with six wickets in hand. Dilani Manodara (18 off 26) and more..

Discussion ongoing to send doctors to Sri Lanka for GP training

Jan 17 (Haveeru) Maldivian Health Ministry has said that they were holding discussions with Sri Lankan authorities to train Maldivian doctors, as the govt readies to establish service of “a general practitioner for each individual and family.” State Minister appointed to Health Ministry, Hussein Rasheed said that a diploma program titled “GP Program” was currently underway in neighboring Sri Lanka for medical officials who had completed MBBS, and that the country was “very positive” towards more..

Video: Mervyn goes to CID against Gota and Basil

Jan 17 (DM) Former Minister Mervyn Silva today complained to the CID against Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and former Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa over alleged frauds and crimes committed by them. Mr. Silva told media soon after making a complaint to the CID that he did not want to take revenge from anyone but it was them who took revenge from him. “I do not want to take revenge from anyone. more..

Call for unity and reconciliation

Jan 18 (SO) If there is one central theme that stood out from the first few days of the Maithripala Sirisena Presidency, it is unity and reconciliation. The last regime squandered every opportunity that came its way to achieve these noble objectives and as a result, alienated most Lankans who wished to see a truly united Sri Lanka. In fact, in his very first address to the Nation from the precincts of the Sacred Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy, President Maithripala Sirisena made more..

Challenges of the first 100 days

Jan 18 (Island) In the 48 hours after the presidential election, the present writer appeared on a live news telecast on Al Jazeera and said that only one man can ensure stability at this point in time and that is the newly appointed PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. He and the UNP he leads may not have the flair of the Rajapaksas, but he is a level headed politician who can prevent anarchy and hold the ship steady. Originally, the talk was that the UNP would get only 50% of the cabinet slots more..

Faithful flock to receive Pope's blessings

Jan 18 (SO) Suchira Liyanaarachchi, her 7-year-old daughter and her mother were among the first to arrive at the Galle Face Green hoping to have a glimpse of the Pope Francis and be blessed by his touch. Travelling from Ja-Ela, she had arrived at Galle Face on Monday and managed to enter the premises on Tuesday at 3.00 pm. They were getting ready to spend the night on the open ground, inches away from where the Pope more..

Managing the art of the possible

Jan 18 (Island) An adjective that was commonly used to describe the Maithripala Sirisena presidential election victory was "stunning" - and stunning it really was. But the actual result was not what the numbers said. It is necessary to factor in the blatant use of state resources, outright bribery mostly with taxpayer money and the handicaps of incumbency that was brazenly used in the election campaign which is now behind us to the winner’s majority of 449,072 votes. more..

Welcome for Pope; Dalai Lama next

Jan 18 (ST) Coming as it did in the immediate aftermath of a hard-fought Presidential election, Pope Francis’ visit to Sri Lanka lost some of the media focus it would otherwise have merited. The local Catholic Church, however, worked silently throughout – with the help of the previous administration, amidst widespread speculation that the Pope might actually cancel his trip. They pulled off a hugely successful visit. The relaxed, well organised, tumultuous welcome for more..

'Going for early election was unwise'

Jan 18 (SL) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa handed over the chairmanship of the SLFP to President Maithripala Sirisena last Friday. Upon this decision, it is said that the SLFP members have extended their support to President Sirisena unanimously. The SLFP members who backed former President Rajapaksa a week ago now claim that they have extended their support to President Maithripala Sirisena for more..

Crime probe: Let’s begin from 1994

Jan 18 (NS) Of all that is pernicious in all resolutions tabled in the UNHRC against Sri Lanka the most scandalous and disgusting perhaps is limiting investigations calls for to the last few months of the war. We are talking about a conflict that dragged for almost three decades. We are talking about a couple of hundred thousand killed. One life cannot be less valuable than another. One murder cannot be more despicable than another. The grief of one mother cannot be less than that of another mother. more..

Retire and reflect on what went wrong

Jan 18 (ST) My dear Mahinda maama, I thought I must write to you because this is a time when most people will start ignoring you and some will even forget who you were and what you did. I am also not certain where to send this letter to — to Medamulana or to Colombo — because you seem to be dividing your time between the two cities. I am told, Mahinda maama, that you were surprised at the results of the election. Who would have thought that the soft spoken, mild-mannered Maithri, more..

'No opposition MP can stay away from supporting us'

Jan 18 (SL) The newly appointed Justice Minister, President Counselor Wijedasa Rajapaksa in his first interview after his appointment said that the former President did not consider the capacity of the Judges when they are appointed but their blind loyalty to him and said that when appointing incompetent people with political patronage to the hallowed Judiciary, the Judges are bound to oblige to the Executive. more..

Launch professional investigations to bring crooks to book

Jan 18 (SL) The Standard Sri Lankan practice has been that when new governments take office, ministers are appointed and they set upon voyages of discovery on wastage and corruption of their predecessors. However more so than not, soon the past is forgotten and the new incumbent sets upon the tracks of his predecessor to collect the loot. President Maithripala Sirisena has vowed to bring in a new, effective and fair system of governance (Yaha palanayak). more..

The national question of Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (NS) Sri Lankans now have new President and another opportunity to focus their hearts and minds on the ethnicity based national question. The issue in hand is the feeling amongst some Tamils that they are not regarded as equal citizens of the country and they have not had merit based opportunities, particularly in education and jobs. They feel that in order to achieve this equality, considering that all attempts to achieve this politically have failed, the only avenue more..

I knew Rajapaksa would lose: Sumanadasa

Jan 18 (CT) Q: Were you the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's astrological adviser? A: Yes, I was. I charted good times for all his work. I predicted that he would definitely win. Q: But was it incorrect? A: My predictions were right, although the prediction on his victory was wrong. I started astrological prophesy in 1994. You can see that framed report, in which I said that Chandrika Kumaratunga, who had great power, will win. more..

End of the Road for Mahinda?

Jan 18 (NS) One and a half months ago, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the fifth Executive President of SL, seemed invincible. He was surrounded by a family clique who wielded immense power in the country’s political sphere. He was the war-winning President as well as the leader of the Commonwealth nations who met in Colombo one and a half years back. It looked as if the opposition, which was already in shambles due to internecine power struggles, had only meager chances of defeating him. more..

New Cabinet predominantly Green

Jan 18 (SL) President Sirisena’s cabinet, led by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, is pre-dominantly ‘green’. Over 70% of the new Cabinet Ministers are front-liners of the UNP and that is very much in proportion with the UNP’s share in Maithripala Sirisena’s overall vote-bank. The rest of the Cabinet, expect the ministries offered to Rauff Hakeem, Rishad Bathiudeen and P. Digambaram, is controlled by Parliamentarians who defected from the UPFA, BEFORE the presidential election. more..

Politicians and civil society leaders on coup attempt

Jan 18 (SL) An allegation was made against the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for trying to stage a military coup following the election to remain in power. New Minister of External Affairs Mangala Samaraweeara has lodged a complaint with the CID regarding the matter and stated that the move was averted as some heads of the military refused to corporate with the plan. However, the members of the former govt more..

Roger defends selections, despite absence of leading bowler

Jan 18 (Island) Sri Lanka Under-19s coach Roger Wijesuriya defended the team selection for the home series against Bangladesh Under-19s despite some leading wicket takers including the highest wicket taker of the Inter School Under-19 tournament not even being called for trial matches. National selectors included former SL player and current selector Hashan Tillakaratne’s both sons (left-arm spinners) in a 31-man squad for the series, leaving out some of the leading wicket takers more..

Arjuna's Legacy

Jan 18 (Island) John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of US once said, ‘Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.’ World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga who assumed duties as the Minister of Ports and Shipping on Friday has experienced both victory and defeat in his cricket and political careers and knows these feelings. The very people who alienated him and scoffed at him saying his old school ideas were outdated were present to wish him well as he took guard more..

Bowling woes worry SL cricket hierarchy

Jan 18 (ST) Indications are that champion speedster Lasith Malinga on whom a lot of World Cup fortunes were pinned on may become a non-starter. Malinga who was made immobile with an ankle injury on his left foot was on a encouraging recovery programme, but, the latest indications are that the bowler would definitely miss the last two ODIs in NZ and may be the World Cup too. Selection Committee Chairman Sanath more..

Split in SLFP London Branch

Jan 18 (Island) With the conclusion of the Presidential Election in Sri Lanka, SLFP London branch split it to two. One of the former committee members of SLFP London branch Lasantha Perera formed his own SLFP (Maithree Group). Perera who tendered his resignation to the President of the SLFP branch Methsiri Wijeratne before the election was held and supported Presidential candidate Maithreepala Sirisena. Maithree fraction of the SLFP branch gathered at the Lihiniya Restaurant more..

Sri Lanka votes against fear and kleptocracy

Jan 18 (JT) The stunning ouster of President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Jan. 8 was good news for that island nation of 20 million, and further evidence of a universal yearning for good governance. After a decade in power, Sri Lankans chose to hold Rajapaksa accountable for extensive corruption and nepotism, and for presiding over a climate of intimidation. His relatives and cronies dominated key ministries and institutions, and abused their powers to raid the public purse and silence critics. more..