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China plays down new Lankan govt's plan to review its projects

Jan 19 (PTI) China today played down assertions by top officials of Sri Lanka's new govt that all infrastructure projects awarded by former Rajapaksa govt to the communist nation would be reviewed, hoping the bilateral cooperation can go ahead in a "sound fashion". "China and Sri Lanka are friendly neighbours. The cooperation between the two countries is based on mutual benefits and in the common interests of more..

Pressure new govt. to honour its promises, FLSP tells people

Jan 19 (Island) JVP splinter Frontline Socialist Party has called upon the people to demand from the new govt to deliver on the promises it made to the people before the presidential election. FLSP Politburo member and presidential candidate Duminda Nagamuwa said that if people failed to exert social pressure to get the incumbent govt to deliver on its election promises, the voters would soon realize that they had only been able to change the face of Mahinda Rajapaksa with more..

Sri Lanka rupee forwards close lower on importer dlr demand

Jan 19 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee forwards ended weaker on Monday on dollar demand from importers as lower interest rates and depreciation in some foreign currencies versus the rupee paved the way for more imports, dealers said. Exporters, however, were waiting for clarity on economic policy from President Maithripala Sirisena's new government, they said. Three-day forwards, or spot next, ended weaker at 132.50/60 per dollar, compared with Friday's close of 132.30/40. more..

Modi hopes Sirisena win will promote reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Jan 19 (PTI) PM Narendra Modi on Monday hoped that the victory of President Sirisena will advance peace, reconciliation and development in Sri Lanka as well as the region and pledged India’s continued support to the close neighbour and “friend“. Modi, during a meeting with Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in New Delhi described Sirisena’s victory as a “vote for unity and change” as he expressed more..

Beyond the rainbow revolution

Jan 19 (Economist) A small island-country of 20m people, what significance does Sri Lanka have in international affairs? Oddly, quite a bit. As a democracy with a long history of decent social indicators, which began to liberalise its economy in the 1970s, Sri Lanka had long been touted—at least by the West—as a model for the rest of Asia. Then its long civil war, which only ended in 2009, drew scrutiny from distant powers, notably from North America and Europe, which are more..

Vedda Chief hopes MS delivers

Jan 19 (CG) Vedda Chief Wannila Aththo today said he hopes new President Maithripala Sirisena (MS) delivers on his promises and also ensures that the Vadda community in Sri Lanka are allowed to live their normal lives. Speaking to reporters from his village in Dambana, the Vedda Chief said that his community had nothing to gain from a Govt as they did not depend on a pay hike or anything else. He noted that the Vedda community live a different life as compared to others in SL more..

Probe on MR’s items in container

Jan 19 (CG) Police are investigating two containers said to have personal items of former President Rajapaksa and his family. SSP Ajith Rohana said that the containers were searched yesterday after the police received information that suspicion had been raised on two containers at a container yard in Peliyagoda. When the containers were opened the police found furniture, clothes and other items brought from Temple Trees and more..

Rajiva will not witch-hunt

Jan 19 (CT) New Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha will not begin his work witch-hunting Vice Chancellors and UGC officials who openly campaigned for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. "We will be spiteful against weak-minded persons." Wijesingha said that government will introduce laws and create. norms that will strengthen the hand of public officials to act independently. "I am personally against witch hunts. While we must take stern action against the corrupt more..

'Aid package needed for refugees to return to Sri Lanka'

Jan 19 (ENS) S.C.Chandrahasan, head of the Organization for Eelam Refugees’ Rehabilitation (OfERR), has been trying to impress upon the Govts of India and TN the need to work out an aid package to motivate Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to return to the island nation. On Sunday, Indian FM Sushma Swaraj and her Sri Lankan counterpart Mangala Samaraweera, had agreed to start, by the end of January, discussions on the repatriation of Lankan Tamil refugees living in camps in Tamil Nadu. more..

Sri Lanka bans top judge from conference over coup claim

Jan 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka's attorney general barred the country's chief justice from attending a regional conference on Monday after allegations he tried to help the former president retain power illegally. Chief Justice Mohan Peiris is under growing pressure to stand down after he was implicated in an alleged coup attempt by former president Mahinda Rajapakse, who lost power in an election earlier this month. more..

SL’s new regime has to modernise its style

Jan 20 (CT) The man in the limelight today is Maitripala Sirisena (MS) a son of a World War II army veteran and a settler in Polonaruwa in a five acre plot given under the colonisation scheme inaugurated by the first prime minister of Ceylon Mr D S Senanayake. He is a giant killer, a modern David who slayed the giant Goliath Rajapaksa. His role as the new President will be watched by the world. Already politicians, diplomats, kings and queens shower their well wishes. more..

Edtorial: When pickpockets run

Jan 20 (Island) Prior to the recently concluded presidential election an issue was made of the fact that Maithripala Sirisena had, on the eve of his defection, partaken of hoppers at a special dinner with the then President Rajapaksa. Former Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was ridiculed for being invited to Temple Trees from time to time and treated to coffee! But, both hoppers and coffee did not have the desired impact as could be seen from what Rajapaksa finally suffered more..

Saint Joseph Vaz puts Lanka on world map

Jan 20 (SO) The Catholic Church of Sri Lanka turned a new chapter last week with the canonisation of its first saint, Joseph Vaz, revered as one of the greatest missionaries from Goa, India who rebuilt the church shattered by the 17th century Dutch persecution. The zealous missionary was proclaimed a saint amidst a congregation of over one million people at a waterfront ceremony at the Galle Face Green presided over by more..

First week of good governance

Jan 20 (GV) The 100-Day Programme of President Maithripala Sirisena (MS) was launched last week with three good speeches, one of two promises largely kept and the third postponed, hopefully to be fulfilled sooner rather than later. President Sirisena made three good speeches in the last seven days, the first at his swearing-in ceremony, the second in Kandy and the third when his Cabinet of ministers was sworn in. His continued emphasis on the principles of good governance, more..

Ideas for a road map for truth & justice in SL

Jan 20 (GV) The new year has brought significant changes in Sri Lanka. President Maithripala Sirisena and his Government face many challenges and opportunities. Reform has been promised and expectations are high. In the wake of the elections, Pope Francis’ visit to Sri Lanka to canonize the country’s first saint was a highlight. Those involved in setting out the reform agenda should use his arrival speech as a guide, with specific attention to the following words: more..

'It's all about commitment and dedication'

Jan 20 (CT) The 100-day cabinet interestingly has separated the women and children affairs into two separate ministries, the former a Cabinet and the latter a State Ministry. Whether this was a result of President Maithripala Sirisena taking his promise of 'a new country for women in 100 days' seriously or whether he was simply trying to better manage the power struggles within his new Cabinet, is yet to be seen. more..

The guilty must not go free

Jan 20 (ST) A new dawn has broken upon these island shores. With the New Year, Lanka has a new president, a new prime minister, even a new saint; and reflected upon the now sunlit countenance of her people is a new air of freedom, a new smile of hope. Though once trumpeted from the rooftop by the previous regime that it was the best of times, it was in reality the bleakest of times. It was an evil era when a nation’s brainwashed people were getting closer and closer to embrace the notion that more..

No flinching from restoration of rule of law

Jan 20 (ST) Quite apart from the exhortation to reconcile and heal, there is a remarkable if implicit message in Pope Francis’s recently concluded visit to Sri Lanka for this country’s new President. Even for skeptics who tend to look with a wary eye at organized religious hierarchies, (the excesses of which the Roman Catholic Church best embodies historically), the papacy of Francis represents a refreshing change. This is not merely for the tone of simplicity and the outright rejection of more..

Pope Francis prays for reconciliation, justice and peace at Madhu Shrine

Jan 20 (FT) Over 400,000 devotees gathered at the Our Lady of Rosary of Madhu Shrine to participate in the ‘Marian prayer’ conducted by Pope Francis. Event is historical since this is the first time a Pope graced Madhu Shrine and it is also the first papal visit to the once war-torn north. Pope Francis prayed that all people may find inspiration and strength to build future reconciliation, justice and peace in the country. more..

Sirisena stuck with his political partners, pals and progeny

Jan 20 (CT) Offering changes to the status quo always has a charm that appeals to people at all levels. Changes are also inevitable. That is the eternal law. But change for what? And how far can changes go to make a real difference? These are nagging questions that make people believe that the more you change the more it remains the same. The perennial hope is change for the better. But does change always change for the better? The vaunted “Arab Spring” is one recent example where more..

Time now for Shirani Speed in action When will the stable doors be closed?

Jan 20 (Island) It was a week of really hectic activity in politics and governance, which saw the initial hard work of swearing in the Cabinet of Ministers, making appointments to the Advisory Council and Secretaries to key ministries, as well as helping the SLFP to resolve its own threat of a major break. It was obviously no easy induction to the Presidency for Maithripala Sirisena, with no previous president having to face the issues he had to cope with in the first week in office. more..

Presidential candidate Namal Rajapaksha explains why he contested

Jan 20 (CT) Q: How are politics these days? A: We achieved an unimaginable victory at this election. Actually it is happiness like defeating Prabhakaran. We did not imagine that we could defeat the Rajapaksa regime. We can now work freely now. I contested the Presidential to safeguard the rule of law and the independence of the Judiciary. Q: Are you satisfied about the results? A: I have been contributing to safeguard more..

Save Mother Lanka from future destruction

Jan 20 (Island) Sri Lanka Presidential Election 2015 has seen an unprecedented call to the unity of people, irrespective of race, religion, caste, creed or party enlivening, inspiring and giving spirit and vivacity to the age old adage "United we stand – Divided we fall." This move for unity in this modern world was pioneered by a well respected and most venerated Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, the chief incumbent of the Kotte Naga Vihara and his People’s Movement For Just Society. more..

First 100 days: A short list of priorities

Jan 20 (Island) Steps to be taken towards national reconciliation should be at the top of the President’s list of things to be done in the first 100 days. It is suggested that the following also be accommodated under the 100 day action plan that is meant to prepare the ground for the promised future Reconciliation and National Identity. There was no true reconciliation after SL’s bitter conflict despite the people of the North warmly welcoming those from South ever since it ended. more..

Volkswagen interested in Sri Lanka export manufacturing plant

Jan 20 (EN) Germany's Volkswagen has been trying set up a plant to produce vehicles for export for years but had not succeeded due to unspecified reasons, a statement quoted the German envoy to Colombo as saying. German ambassador Jergen Morhard who had met deputy economic affairs minister Harsha de Silva Monday had said the country looked forward to becoming a friendly partner to Sri Lanka. more..

Colombo Bourse loses Rs. 63 b in value, brings total to Rs. 98 b in four market days

Jan 20 (FT) In an apparent sign of lacklustre confidence despite a strong and promising new Govt, the Colombo stock market is continuing to lose value with yesterday’s toll at Rs. 63 billion increasing the four day tally to Rs. 98 billion. Most in the broking community are concerned though others expect the dip to continue as investor confidence is still fragile and partly due to margin calls. SC Securities described yesterday’s 147 points decline in All Share Index as “massive.” more..

Return of 'spot' signifies normalcy

Jan 20 (CT) The positive sentiment caused by the Maithripala Sirisena/Ranil Wickremesinghe Govt in power saw the rupee, in both 'spot next' and 'spot next next' trading strengthen to Rs 132.35 to the US dollar in interbank trading during the course of the day's trading, only to fallback due to demand once more taking place to close virtually unchanged at Rs 132.45/60 in two-way quotes at yesterday's trading, market sources said. There however, was no moral suasion in the market, more..

Wele Suda paid young MP Rs 10 Mn a month

Jan 20 (Island) ‘Wele Suda’, the drug kingpin now in custody of CID had revealed the names of several prominent persons on his payroll, said SSP Ajith Rohana. "The police have obtained a court order to detain him for three months and we are confident that the narcotics network between Pakistan and Sri Lanka can be busted and Sri Lankans involved in ‘Wele Suda’ s drug operation can be brought to justice," more..

Former Deputy Minister Dulip Wijesekara arrested

Jan 20 (NS) Former Deputy Minister Dulip Wijesekara and Chairman of Biyagama Pradeshiya Sabha Ananda Ganepola have been arrested over an assault incident, SSP Ajith Rohana said. One RHMP Ranasinghe, who was on his way home after voting on last Presidential Election Day allegedly had been assaulted a group and the victim had made a complaint at the Kadawatha police station. He had also been rushed to the accident ward of the Ragama General Hospital. more..

Ceylinco Insurance split may affect Golden Key depositors!

Jan 20 (AM) With Ceylinco insurance PLC going for a crucial decision this week, to split their insurance business into Life and General and transfer the entirety of their business to two auxiliary companies; the Insurance company, which is quoted on the stock exchange would become a shell and a mere holding company with no access to their original insurance business. Central to this decision by Ceylinco Insurance and the change that may occur in the share value is also more..

CEB: Massive 79% pay hike for engineers irks other workers

Jan 20 (Island) With CEB engineers about to get a staggering 79.3% salary increment (Rs. 127,980 each) other unions including accounts and human resources personnel are planning to take on the powerful engineers’ union. There are about 1,300 engineers in the CEB. Going by the previous increment given in 2012, an engineer gets Rs. 161,400 as the basic salary and with the increment he or she will get Rs. 289,380. more..

Kabir Hashim kicks off 100-days oriented investment push

Jan 20 (FT) The investment projects that come to the country via the Board of Investment (BOI) will have their requirements facilitated on time by the Govt within 100 days of the new administration, Minister of Investment Promotion and Highways Kabir Hashim said yesterday. Addressing the heads of the BOI and Ministry of Highways and Investment Promotion, he asserted they would investigate the circumstances of delayed investment projects and provide solutions. more..

Sumith new Cabinet Secretary

Jan 20 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena appointed former career civil servant Sumith Abeysinghe as Cabinet Secretary yesterday. He was once the Secretary of Finance and Treasury. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) Degree in Geography (Sri Lanka) and a Master’s Degree in Economics (University of New England, Australia). At the Finance Ministry he held senior positions such as Director-General of National Budget and Director of Fiscal Policy and Economic Affairs.

39 Secretaries appointed to new Ministries

Jan 20 (GDI) President Maithripala Sirisena advised the top public servants to set an example to restore the ruined image of the Public Service that was heavily eroded in recent years. After handing over letters of appointment to new Secretaries to Ministries at the Presidential Secretariat today (19), President Sirisena said it is the responsibility of the new secretaries to ensure the pledge of good governance of the new more..

Rs.130 mn worth of smuggled fags seized

Jan 20 (Island) The Customs yesterday seized a huge consignment of cigarettes at a container yard at Orugodawatte. The CID of the Customs Department inspected a twenty- foot container which had the contraband. The shipment had arrived from Dubai. More than 220,000 cartons containing more than 4.4 million sticks of cigarettes were found in the container. The consignment had been declared as washing powder and addressed to a non-existing Board of Investment Company at Giriulla. more..

No legal impediment for Ravi K – BASL

Jan 20 (CT) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) said that there was no legal or technical impediment in the appointment of Ravi Karunanayake as Finance Minister, despite litigation against him pertaining to alleged money laundering. BASL President Geoffrey Alagaratnam PC, said that whilst the presumption of innocence was applicable to the case, the matter was also being handled by a different Ministry far removed from the Finance Ministry, giving the assurance that more..

Thewarapperuma antics again

Jan 20 (CT) SLFP MP Mahinda Samarasinghe said that the election violence against UPFA supporters have mounted considerably over the past few days and the UNP has to take disciplinary action against its grass root level support base, who were perpetrators of such violence. He made these comments at a press briefing yesterday. MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa was also present. more..

Exporters hail new govt, want support

Jan 20 (FT) The Exporters Association of Sri Lanka (EASL) in a statement extended its wishes to President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the new Cabinet of Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers. The Exporters Association of Sri Lanka, which is the apex body for exporters in Sri Lanka, commends the Government’s impressive plan to restore good governance in the country whilst taking steps to create economic growth and prosperity in the nation. more..

Docs threaten TU action over of DAT allowance increase

Jan 20 (Island) About 60 Branch Unions affiliated to the Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) are on the warpath as the Disturbance, Availability and Transport (DAT) Allowance for all professionals approved by the 2015 budget has been put on hold. The GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said in accordance with provisions of the National Wage Policy the increase of Rs.15,000 was announced by the former President in his 2015 budget speech. more..

Video: SF certain of getting back his civic rights

Jan 20 (DM) Former Army Commander and DP Leader Sarath Fonseka expressed optimism that new President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe would restore his civic rights and all his military decorations. “Both the new President and PM said so during the election during the election campaign. They even provided exact timeframes and procedures on how and when these will be restored. more..