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Plan to return seized boats in the works

Jan 19 (ENS) In a move reflecting renewed vigour in bilateral ties, India and Sri Lankan on Sunday agreed to “re-engage” on repatriation of refugees from India as both countries held “substantive” talks on a raft of crucial matters including the political reconciliation process and the fishermen issue. On the reconciliation process, MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin did not divulge many details but said some of the information visiting Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera listed more..

India denies expulsion of RAW official from Colombo

Jan 19 (PTI) India dismissed reports that the Colombo station chief of RAW had been expelled in the run up to this month’s presidential election and maintained that he has moved out after completion of his three-year tenure. Reports from Colombo said that the SL govt had asked India to recall the official in December for allegedly helping gather support for joint opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena who won the polls. more..

Jaffna Chamber of Commerce urges new govt to develop north sincerely

Jan 19 (FT) The Jaffna Chamber of Commerce last week expressed sincere hope that the new Government would genuinely endeavour to develop the north. At a press conference on Friday, Jaffna Chamber of Commerce Chairman R. Jeyasegaram stated that minority Tamils, Muslims and the Sinhalese who were willing to bring peace to the country supported President Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential election and that they joined hands to put the country on a democratic path. more..

SL coup theory alive with arms discovery

Jan 19 (ENS) The discovery of huge caches of arms and ammunition on board a vessel in Galle on Sunday, and in a room in the BMICH in Colombo earlier on Friday, has kept alive speculation about an attempt by former President Rajapaksa and his cohorts to stage an armed coup to avert defeat in the Presidential election. The media quoted SSP Ajith Rohana as saying that an armory belonging to Rakna Arakshaka Lanka, a quasi-civilian security agency affiliated to Defence Ministry, more..

Govt to end contract with costly US PR firms

Jan 19 (Island) New govt would cease the ‘dubious and controversial’ practice of hiring expensive foreign public relations firms, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. Services of foreign firms would be sought only if the govt lacked the required expertise to handle a particular subject. He was responding to a query whether the hiring of several US public relations firms by previous govt would be investigated. more..

Govt urged to cancel fuel station licences issued on polls eve

Jan 19 (Island) The Petroleum Corporation trade unions have urged the newly elected govt to cancel 20 new permits issued to political allies by the previous board of the CPC at its last meeting. The offices of the key officials of the corporation have already been sealed as there were alleged documents on corrupt deals and irregularities taken place during the previous regime. The new Power and Energy Minister Chamipika Ranawaka has said that all those involved in corrupt deals and more..

'Guidance of Maha Sangha for future course of actions'

Jan 19 (DN) The guidance and consultation of the Maha Sangha will be valued in the future course of actions, President Maithripala Sirisena said. He was addressing the gathering at the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya on Saturday. President said all possible steps would be taken to develop the Buddha Sasana while working for the well-being of the people. "It is our duty and responsibility to build a prosperous country with a strong economy, while facing the challenges in promoting peace more..

'Operation anti-corruption begins'

Jan 19 (DN) Active preparations are underway to launch the national anti-corruption programme, minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said. “Work is underway by the National Executive Council to ensure the implementation of govt’s anti-corruption programme in keeping with President Sirisena’s 100-day plan,” he said. “The govt’s anti-corruption instrument will be reformed with an empowered legal framework to fight more..

'SL election won by the people, not by RAW'

Jan 19 (Hindu) Sri Lanka’s election was won by its people, the country’s new Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, said in a sharp response to a Reuters report that the RAW station chief in Colombo had been “expelled” by the previous govt for helping the Opposition to victory in the island nation. “There is no substance in the report at all,” Mr. Samaraweera said, echoing the denial of the same report by the External Affairs Ministry in Delhi. It is Mr. Samaraweera’s first visit abroad as more..

Ravi K orders Rs 13.2 b in MoD account transferred to Treasury

Jan 19 (Island) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that said Rs 13.2 billion in an account maintained at the Taprobane branch of the Bank of Ceylon had been transferred to Consolidated Account of the Treasury. The matter was being investigated as the account belonged to the Ministry of Defence, he added. Minister stressed that the MoD had no right to maintain such an account in violation of regulations and therefore the opening of the account was being investigated. more..

Law to cancel Parliament membership of crossovers

Jan 19 (DN) National Executive Council (NEC) has unanimously agreed to introduce a new law to cancel the Parliament membership of MPs, who crossover. NEC, that consists of 11 members was established to advise the govt on this matter. Moreover, the NEC has drawn attention on implementing new laws to disallow persons with duel citizenship to contest elections. This proposal has been tabled by the representatives of JVP. more..

After the post-Election Euphoria

Jan 19 (Island) After the euphoria caused by what was for most people (though not for me) the unexpected election victory of Maithripala Sirisena, we are now in the post-euphoria phase in which we feel the need for sober assessment of what it’s all about and what the prospects might be. It’s quite confusing, pointing to a need to get down to the fundamentals. But first of all, since we Sri Lankans are a people who know how to be grateful and to give credit where credit is due, more..

Expose the old regime or risk its return

Jan 19 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena has asked exiled journalists to return, promising an end to attacks on media and the culture of impunity. The new media minister Gayantha Karunathilaka echoed the same assurance when he assumed duties last week. As of now, the new President has remained true to his promises; he has shown no interest in personal aggrandisement and shown a flexibility - unseen in his predecessor- in the national question. He appointed a civilian governor for more..

Musical chairs in provincial councils

Jan 19 (ST) More provincial councils run by the former ruling UPFA are set to change hands with UPFA members throwing their support behind the UNP. Provincial governors are being pressed by council members to change the councils’ chief ministers who are suddenly finding themselves deserted by their own party members who are flocking to back President Maithripala Sirisena and the new UNP-dominated national govt. more..

Floating armoury found in Galle supplied weapons to keep Somali pirates at bay

Jan 19 (Island) A vessel serving as a floating armoury for commercial vessels sailing in the pirates infested Indian Ocean was detained at the Galle Harbour yesterday on suspicion. The vessel MV Mahanuwara an off shore supply ship sailing with the Sri Lanka flag belongs to a private shipping company which has operated with approval from the Ministry of Defence for several years. Around 12 container loads of weapons more..

'Previous govt. bribed to shelve Senaka Bibile Drug Policy'

Jan 19 (Island) Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne yesterday claimed that 400 multinational drug Companies paid Rs. 2.5 million amounting to Rs. 1 billion each to the previous government not to introduce Prof. Senaka Bibile National Drug Policy. Dr. Senaratne yesterday emphasised that a new code of ethics for all New Democratic Front parliamentarians would be introduced on February 2. more..

‘Don’t withdraw military from any part of the country’

Jan 19 (Island) Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Mahannayake Thera of Asgiriya Chapter conferring blessings on State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene yesterday said those who had emerged victorious at the recently concluded presidential election should celebrate their success without taking revenge from anyone. The prelate said the new rulers should not go by information provided by vested interests to more..

MR's alleged Seychelles assets to be investigated

Jan 19 (AM) Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said the Sri Lankan govt would certainly investigate into the assets in Seychelles belonging to the former first family in Sri Lanka and their closest associates. “There are various ways through which we can conduct investigations. We can seek the assistance of private auditors and proceed with the matter. At the same time, we can conduct inquires with the help of Stolen Assets Recovery more..

Indian media: Resolve 'sticky' issues with SL

Jan 19 (BBC) Papers back India and Sri Lanka's renewed bid to resolve the "sticky" issue of fishermen violating the maritime boundary between the neighbours. Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera discussed the issue with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj in Delhi on Sunday. India-Sri Lanka ties have been affected in recent years because coastal authorities in both countries frequently arrest fishermen who more..

Flying high with public funds

Jan 19 (SL) A stonishing revelations have now come to the fore as to how the previous regime has used Air Force commercial flights on credit facility amounting to several millions of rupees for the air travels of Rajapaksa family members and for few Ministers in the former cabinet during the Presidential election campaign. Sri Lankan govt now owes more than a staggering Rs.30.485 million to Sri Lanka Air Force and questions have more..

Gotabaya rejects Ravi’s accusation on BoC

Jan 19 (AD) Former Secretary Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa, today rejected allegations leveled against him, regarding an account in the Thaprobane Branch of the Bank of Ceylon containing nearly Rs 8 billion under his name. Newly appointed Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake claimed that a sum of Rs. 7,500 million was found in the bank account under the name of the former Defence Secretary and that the money has now been more..

JVP Files Petition Against KP

Jan 19 (AM) JVP MP Vjitha Herath today filed a writ application with the Court of Appeal against former LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP. The JVP through their petition has also sought an investigation into KP’s assets. Meanwhile, JVP Central Committee Member Ramalingam Chandrasekaran earlier said that there were serious doubts appearing as to what the relationship KP and Rajapaksa govt was. more..

Northern Expressway suspended

Jan 19 (DM) The govt has decided to suspend the execution of the northern expressway project initiated by the previous regime, till its cost effectiveness is fully checked, a minister said. Before the presidential election, then President Rajapaksa ceremonially launched the project which was to be carried out under a loan agreement with China. The highway was due to link Colombo with Kandy via Kurunegala, and then Dambulla. more..

Letter to the Sri Lankan Diaspora

Jan 19 (CT) Akka, Look, we need to talk. While we’ve never agreed on Sri Lankan issues, some of the stuff said last week was unacceptable. While your views are not representative of most Sri Lankans I know, I write this letter to you hoping to frame my thoughts in a way that resonates with you. Let me begin by addressing the start of our conversation: why should Sri Lankans care about the Diaspora? For one: the opinions of the Diaspora matter to Sri Lankans. more..

International investigation on Sri Lanka should continue!

Jan 19 (CT) Those who are in politics can continue on their path, through political means using diplomacy and those who are involved in the field of human rights should continue even though there is a change of regime. Those who are used to exchanging birthday greetings, meeting and taking photographs, maintaining personal friendships with Sri Lanka political leaders will continue their support for anyone of their choice. We respect their rights. But we are not ready to get caught to more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lankan stock end down almost 2%

Jan 19 (EN) Sri Lankan stock prices tumbled across-the-board Monday to a two-week low, weakening for the fourth straight trading day in a sell-off that stock brokers attributed to political uncertainty following the election of a new govt. All Share Price Index plunged below the psychological 7,500 mark, falling almost 2% (147.18 points) to 7,366.68 while the S&P SL20 index, which tracks the top 20 largest and most liquid stocks, tumbled 2.5 (107.92 points) to end at 4,140.11. more..

Bus goes up in smoke on Expressway

Jan 19 (Island) A private bus travelling to Colombo from Jaffna yesterday early morning was gutted on the katunayake Expressway after it developed mechanical problems close to the 18th kilometre post intersection. There had been 36 persons in the bus, including the driver and conductor, but there were no casualties as they were evacuated before the fire raged, the police said. The driver has told the police that smoke billowed from the fuse box of the bus and sensing danger more..

Bandula removed from Swarnavahini’s Mul Pituwa

Jan 19 (CT) The former Lakehouse Chairman Bandula Padmakumara who hosted the popular morning programme – Mul Pituwa that is aired in Swarnavahini has been removed from it due to political pressure from the newly formed govt. Sources from Swarnavahini said that the order came from a top politician of the new interim govt. Meanwhile, Padmakumara said he cannot comment on the reason behind his removal but added more..

Johnston Fernando's brewery and warehouse sealed by Police

Jan 19 (AM) Wayamba Distilleries, a brewery of which former Minister Johnston Fernando is a stakeholder, was sealed by the police today. A warehouse belonging to the Wayamba Distilleries has also been sealed by the police along with the brewery. Police is yet to issue a statement to media as to why the brewery and warehouse was shutdown. Meanwhile police yesterday arrested eight suspects from a liquor storage in Dematogoda who were storing 60000 bottles of unlicensed more..

Sri Lanka exporters urge action on Ex-Im Bank, credit insurance

Jan 19 (EN) The Exporters’ Association of Sri Lanka (EASL) has urged the new govt to proceed with setting up an Export-Import Bank and other measures to support exports, warning that delays were forcing many firms to look overseas. The Association, in a statement, commended the government’s plan to restore good governance in the country while taking steps to promote economic growth. "The EASL does however expect that the govt will take steps to eliminate some of the more..

Video: Floating armoury: Police looking at licence factor

Jan 19 (DM) Referring to the firearms found aboard a ship at the Galle harbor, SSP Ajith Rohana today said that the legality of the ‘floating armoury’ and its arms had not yet been verified and the primary objective of the investigation was to find out whether the arms have been duly licenced. He said the ship belonged to a private security firm to whom a permit had been issued by the Ministry of Defence in order to take over more..

FUTA calls for UGC chairperson Kshanika to step down

Jan 19 (CT) The FUTA today called upon the Chairperson of the UGC to step down from the position. Sending a letter to Professor Kshanika Hiriburegama, the FUTA has highlighted serious instances of misconduct and abuse of power by her. We publish below the letter in full; Dear Professor Hiriburegama, As you know, the FUTA has brought several serious issues to your notice for some time. You have unfortunately not responded satisfactorily to any of these issues. more..

Navin promises new people friendly democratic country

Jan 19 (Island) Within next 100 days a new people friendly righteous country, free of corruption would be established by the new govt under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena, the newly appointed Minister of Tourism, Navin Dissanayake made these comments at a meeting with the people from Nuwara Eliya District prior to assuming duties of his new ministry. After obtaining the blessings of Maha Sangha headed by chief prelate of the Central Province, Ven. Dauldena Pagnasara Thera more..

Ex-Sri Lanka leader's brother accused of killing editor

Jan 19 (AFP) Sri Lankan authorities are investigating a claim that the toppled president's younger brother ran a "death squad" and ordered a high-profile newspaper editor's assassination, a police spokesman said Sunday. Former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse ordered the hit on Lasantha Wickrematunga in January 2009, ex-public relations minister Mervyn Silva alleged in a formal complaint lodged with police Saturday, more..

Sri Lanka new regime to cut red tape to encourage investment

Jan 19 (EN) Sri Lanka's new govt will move fast to reduce red tape that hinder investments, the new Investment Promotion and Highways Minister Kabir Hashim has declared. "In next couple of days we are looking at some regulations which are stifling key investments," he told reporters soon after assuming duties. "Those regulations which can be removed without doing any damage to the country's economy will be done away with." Excessive red tape has cost the country in terms of loss of FDI, more..

Helping Sri Lanka’s new democracy

Jan 19 (NYT) Sri Lanka’s voters shocked themselves and the world this month by tossing out their president, who crushed the Tamil insurgency in 2009 and then led the country, along with his brother as defense secretary, to the brink of authoritarianism. The new president has promised to restore freedom of the press, independence of judges, and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities. Democracy advocates, including Secretary of State John Kerry, say this is the more..

Video: Looking for fingerprint on sports car

Jan 19 (DM) The Police would get fingerprints from the seized sports car seized from a house in Piliyandala on Sunday to ascertain the previous user of the vehicle, Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said. A sports car (Nissan GT-R) with no ownership documentation was seized from a house at Rathana Mawatha in Makuluduwa, Piliyandala Sunday morning and the residents of the house were unable to provide proper more..

Iran for stronger ties with Sri Lanka

Jan 19 (CG) Iran hopes to expand bilateral ties with Sri Lanka “more than ever before,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said congratulating his counterpart President Maithripala Sirisena. In a message addressed to President Sirisena, President Rouhani congratulated him on winning the election and expressed hope for expansion of bilateral ties more than ever before. “I sincerely congratulate Your Excellency’s election as the president of the friend country, Sri Lanka,’ wrote President Rouhani more..

BASL tells Judiciary: Be neutral

Jan 19 (CT) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) called on the judiciary to remain unbiased and impartial in political matters following reports of Chief Justice Mohan Peiris being allegedly involved in an attempted coup with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. BASL quoted PM Ranil Wickremasinghe claiming he had seen Mohan Peiris at Temple Trees in the early hours of the day, following the recent presidential election, 9 January. BASL also claimed that its Executive Committee more..