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Chief Secretary to Northern Province transferred

Jan 20 (FT) Hot on the heels of appointing a civilian as Northern Governor, President Maithripala Sirisena has also transferred the Province’s Chief Secretary, another executive appointment in the Tamil majority region. Northern Province Chief Secretary, Vijayalakshmi Ramesh – the most senior civil servant in the province – has been transferred. Ramesh, who served directly under Northern Governor G.A. Chandrasiri, has been on a collision course with CM C.V. Wigneswaran. more..

Video: Police verifying fate of missing Presidential sec. vehicles

Jan 20 (DM) The Police are yet to determine the fate and whereabouts of some 172 vehicles of the 752 fleet of the presidential secretariat, SSP Ajith Rohana said today. The new Presidential Secretary had informed the Police Chief to launch investigations to ascertain the number of vehicles of the secretariat and to find if the vehicles had been misused. “The secretariat had received 379 vehicles by Sunday but 172 more vehicles have not been returned yet. more..

Internal pressure on nimal siripala over appointment as opposition leader

Jan 20 (CT) Leaders of seven constituent parties of the UPFA have told the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa that they object to the appointment of MP Nimal Siripala de Silva as the Leader of the Opposition, MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardane said. He added that they asked the Speaker to give them special recognition as Party leaders. Dinesh Gunawardane, Vasudewa Nanayakkara, Tissa Vitharana, DEW Gunasekara, ALM Athaulla, more..

No decision to move 19-A in Parliament today

Jan 20 (Island) Parliament would not meet tomorrow for a draft bill on the 19th Amendment to be presented to reduce the powers of the executive presidency and to re-establish independent commissions. Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that House would meet only today in accordance with a decision made by party leaders. Parliament was to meet on Monday as promised in the 100-day programme. Parliament will be in session today to appoint members and chairmen more..

No more Deyata Kirula shows

Jan 20 (NS) Govt decides to end the Deyata Kirula national development exhibition which coincides with the Independent Day celebrations during last few years. New govt’s policy of cutting down all unnecessary expenditure has made the decision firm. Deyata Kirula development exhibition was held annually since 2006 to coincide with the Independence Day celebrations and last year it was held in Kuliyapitiya. Minister Joseph Michael Perera said that not a single development project more..

Narendra Modi may visit Sri Lanka in March

Jan 20 (TOI) With a new govt taking office in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi may travel to Colombo in March. If he does go, it will be the first state visit by an Indian PM since Rajiv Gandhi's trip in 1987. Speaking to journalists after his first visit in his new capacity, Sri Lanka's new foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera said, "The new govt wanted to demonstrate importance of restoring friendly ties with our neighbour." more..

Blood Ivory in Sri Lanka: Let’s burn it

Jan 20 (DM) The world today is struggling to save the elephant, the largest critically endangered mammal. The problem is mainly due to poaching for tusks, known in the world as the “blood ivory” trade. If the current killing of elephants continues, the world will not have elephants in another 10 years and they will be forever extinct. Currently, every 15 minutes an elephant is killed for its ivory. According to the World Policy Institute Global, lust for elephant tusks is causing a log jam of ivory out of Africa. more..

Act now against corruption; tomorrow will be too late

Jan 20 (DM) The masses who voted at the January 8 presidential election are gradually turning angry against the unprecedented and unimaginable mass-scale corruption that had occurred during the previous regime and the lack of action being taken by the Maithripala Sirisena govt on this matter even 10 days after his election as President. UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake had blamed the President and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe for allowing a certain person, who was accused of corruption more..

'Tamil refugees’ return should be voluntary'

Jan 20 (Hindu) The govts of India and Sri Lanka will have to work out a structured process and a package of assistance as this will enable smooth and voluntary return of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka, said S.C. Chandrahasan, founder, OfFER. Emphasising that the process of return should be voluntary and gradual, the 72-year-old Chandrahasan, who has been running the organisation since 1983, says that refugees, more..

Open to new approach in Geneva: Sri Lanka

Jan 20 (Hindu) The new SL govt will take a different position from the Rajapaksa regime when it comes to dealing with the international community on allegations of human rights violations, visiting SL Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has told the Indian govt. “Our govt will take a new approach to the UNHRC process in Geneva. We will offer a domestic mechanism for this, which could be supported by international agencies,” more..

Hardline Sri Lanka Buddhists to launch party

Jan 20 (IE) This is one overseas fan base that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party BJP would not wish to flaunt. “We wish we had a leader like Narendra Modi,” says Dilantha Withanage, CEO of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), the hardline Sinhalese Buddhist nationalist organisation that was accused of attacking Muslims and Christians in Sri Lanka last year, which led to Mahinda Rajapaksa losing the votes of more..

Desperate Lankans to consult expert on Malinga recovery

Jan 20 (DM) SLC Executive Committee has approved a suggestion by Chief National Selector Sanath Jayasuriya to get an opinion on Lasith Malinga from world renowned Australian doctor of Sri Lankan origin Professor Siri Kannangara. Key bowler Malinga who underwent an ankle surgery in September last year was expected to complete his recuperation within 16 weeks and be available for the final two matches of the more..

Minister calls for reports on corrupt activities at Sathosa

Jan 20 (DN) Food Protection Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said he will take action against all corrupt activities within the ministry after the reports are submitted. Addressing employees of Lanka Sathosa Ltd. at the Sathosa head office, minister said the new administration will soon put an end to corruption within the ministry and all departments coming under its purview. Perera said he has asked the Police to provide security to more..

Williamson century leads NZ to win

Jan 20 (CI) Sri Lanka's tour of New Zealand has been defined by the hosts' refusal to give in, and again in Nelson, New Zealand clawed back from difficult situations, with ball and bat, to claim a tense four-wicket victory in the fourth ODI. Kane Williamson's effortless fifth hundred will headline the victory, but fine performances from the lower middle order, and the death bowlers, effectively sealed it. more..

Police raid Rajapaksa’s Tangalle house

Jan 20 (PTI) Embattled former SL president Rajapaksa's country home in the southern province has been raided by police who were looking for a luxury sports car but the search drew a blank. "They raided our house in Tangalle yesterday looking for a Lamborghini car," said Namal Rajapaksa, the former president's elder son and a MP. Police said the search was done on a court warrant but it drew a blank. more..

Video: Rakna Lanka armoury opened

Jan 20 (DM) The armoury of the Rakna Lanka Security Service affiliated to the Defence Ministry at the BMICH was opened for inspections today, where a number of weapons were discovered. Earlier, the armoury was sealed following complaints to the police that the weapons belonging to the Security Services had been used illegally during the Presidential election. The armoury was situated within BMICH premise more..

Thewarapperuma summoned before courts

Jan 20 (AM) In an interesting turn of events, UNP MP Palitha Thewarapperuma has been summoned before Mathugama Magistrate Courts on March 02. Video evidence clearly showed that the UNP MP made Pradeshiya Sabha member Murugan Pushpakumar kneel in public as a punishment. It was alleged that the MP had also assaulted the PS member. It is now clear that police are treating Thewarappruma, who is now more..

Governors of several provinces resign

Jan 20 (NF) Governors of several provinces have handed over their resignations. Governor of the North Western Province Tissa R. Balalla said that he sent his letter of resignation to the president yesterday. Meanwhile governor of the Central Province Tikiri kobbekaduwa said that he is handing over his letter of resignation on Tuesday. Governor of the North Central province Kurunaratne Divulgane and Southern Province governor Kumari more..

Stop the 'Comedy of Crossovers...'

Jan 20 (CT) New Govt of President Maithripala Sirisena has pledged good governance and stability of democracy. Political instability in political parties and govts stem from crossovers, performed by elected MPs. The country has a witnessed a number of crossovers in Parliament over the past decades beginning from 1951. The first crossover was S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. The legacy of crossovers has continued unabated, and the country witnessed the most number of crossovers over more..

Jaffna power firm says waste oil is sold, not dumped

Jan 20 (EN) Northern Power Company (Pvt) Ltd, an independent power producer connected to the stat-run distribution grid said it did not dump waste oil to the ground as alleged by residents but sold it for cash. The firm said alleged contaminated wells were two to three km away from the plant in Jaffna's Chunnakkam area and in any case no waste oil was discharged to the ground. The firm said in a statement that waste oil was sold for cash and used to fire furnaces and they would not dump it more..

Sri Lanka looks to IMF for help as debt burden climbs

Jan 20 (BN) Sri Lanka’s two-week-old govt plans to start discussions with the IMF on reducing a debt burden that grew under the previous administration, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. Karunanayake, who will meet IMF officials today, said that President Maithripala Sirisena wanted to reduce interest costs on the island nation’s 7.2 trillion rupees ($55 billion) in total debt. He ended Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 10-year rule more..

Python skins, rare conch shells detected

Jan 20 (Island) Flying squad of Department of Wildlife seized two python skins and 14 conch shells of two rare species from a residence at Borella on a tip-off given by some residents. A suspect was also taken into custody. Spokesman of the department said that though they were skins and shells, they could not be kept under the Fauna and Flora Ordinance. Department did not encourage collection of rare species or endemic species though some common ordinary shells were permitted. more..

The post-Rajapaksa bravery

Jan 20 (CT) I recently had, from an old friend in Australia, an email suggesting that I could begin writing quite freely to the media again because I had been tempting fate while the Rajapaksas were ruling the roost by writing critically of their government and that this threat was now behind us. The suggestion was that, ultimately, I had succumbed to pressure from my friends and family and gone silent and I should now take up cudgels again. I found this quite interesting, not to say bemusing, more..

Sri Lanka is happy with talks in India

Jan 20 (CG) The new Sri Lankan Govt, today termed as 'successful' talks held in India between Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and the Indian Govt. Samaraweera, who was in New Delhi for a two day official visit on the invitation of the Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj concluded his visit successfully yesterday, External Affairs Ministry said. This is the first foreign visit undertaken by Minister Samaraweera more..

CEB to recruit 5000 workers in two months

Jan 20 (Island) Plans are underway to absorb employees currently hired through manpower companies into the CEB cadre shortly. The new recruits will get a minimum wage of more than Rs. 20,000 going by the govt stipulated starting pay. Their take-home pay however will be much higher with allowances added to it. CEB Spokesman Senajith Dassanayake said that interviews had been conducted in two stages. Those workers were paid by the manpower organizations and soon more..

Supporting govt’s 100-day programme: LSSP rebels accuse leadership of duplicity

Jan 20 (Island) A group of dissidents of the LSSP accused the party leadership of duplicity and a witch hunt. A spokesman for the dissidents alleged that that party leadership continued to purge those who supported Maithripala Sirisena during the election, while top leaders themselves pledged the party’s support to the newly elected president’s 100 day programme openly. "We have been sacked from the party for supporting Sirisena during the election campaign. more..

'Sri Lanka willing to go ahead with China projects at lower cost'

Jan 20 (EN) Sri Lanka is willing to go ahead with Chinese projects if the cost was lowered and unsolicited proposals would be discouraged in the future, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. Northern Expressway, which was suspended by the new administration, has been estimated at 245 billion rupees, he said. "We have been informed that it can be done for almost 40% less," he said. "Current project is suspended at this price, more..

'People's Court once a week'

Jan 20 (CT) Minister Faiszer Musthapha, said he would be conducting a 'people's court' once every week, where he would invite all heads of departments connected to the ministry to discuss and answer questions from the media and aviations specialist. He was speaking after taking oaths as the Minister of Civil Aviation, at Sethsiripaya. "All heads of departments of the ministry as well as Executive members of establishments such as SriLankan Airlines will be called upon by more..

Stewart hails Sangakkara signing

Jan 20 (CI) Alec Stewart, Surrey's head coach, championed the signing of Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara saying it is great for Surrey and the county game. Sangakkara, among the greatest batsman to have played the game, signed a two-year deal at The Oval with the option of an extra season. He will arrive for a "substantial part" of the 2015 season and Stewart is expecting a big impact. "To have someone of his standing in the county game is great for Surrey and county cricket," more..

'Weerawansa destroyed Mahinda Rajapaksa'

Jan 20 (AM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his first speech in Parliament after assuming duties under the new government, accused MP Wimal Weerawansa of ‘destroying’ former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He also urged Weerawansa not to spread hatred and "communalism" anymore. Wickremesinghe appealed everybody to unite to empower and strengthen parliament, which was neglected more..

Muralitharan named Sunrisers bowling coach

Jan 20 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan has been named Sunrisers Hyderabad's bowling coach and team mentor for the IPL 2015 season. Muralitharan, 42, played 66 IPL games across seven seasons for Chennai Super Kings, Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Royal Challengers Bangalore, taking 63 wickets at an average of 26.92. During his time with Super Kings, from 2008 to 2010, he claimed 52 scalps from 46 matches, helping the team win the IPL as well as the Champions League Twenty20 in 2010. more..

SL rupee forwards down for 3rd session

Jan 20 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee forwards ended weaker for a third straight session on Tuesday 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 govt ahead of a scheduled interim budget on Jan. 29, they said. Four-day forwards, which were actively traded, more..

Ranil seeks support for reforms

Jan 20 (CG) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today sought the support of all political parties in Parliament, to implement the proposed reforms under the 100 day program of President Sirisena. He made the appeal as Parliament convened for the first time this year under the new Govt. When sittings began, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa informed Parliament that President Sirisena, who arrived in Parliament more..

Change of guard in Sri Lanka triggers introspection in China

Jan 20 (Hindu) The change of guard in Sri Lanka has triggered a debate in China that despite its economic heft, the country may still be lacking in diplomatic power to influence smaller countries when it really counts. An editorial in the Global Times cautions that it would be premature to conclude that the exit of Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the arrival of Maithripala Sirisena as the President of Sri Lanka is a blow to China’s interests in the island nation. more..

New govt called to act against toxic agro-chemical imports

Jan 20 (Island) Chronic Kidney Disease Research Scientist Dr. Channa Jayasumana stressed that his Research Team with the assistance of the GMOA would urge President Sirisena to have a through probe conducted into the failure on the part of the authorities concerned to ban harmful agrochemicals and take penal action against them. He said some politicians and high-ranking officials responsible for issuing licences to the agrochemical firms did not want to ban the deadly chemicals more..

Audio: 'NEC discusses alleged coup'

Jan 20 (DM) National Executive Committee (NEC) today discussed the alleged coup planned on the January 8 night to block the transfer the power to the winning candidate, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. The NEC, which was established on the election manifesto of President Maithripala Sirisena, met this morning. The committee is comprised of the president, PM, former president Chandrika Kumaratunga, more..

Why Sri Lanka's need for China will continue

Jan 20 (BS) No sooner did Mahinda Rajapaksa conceded defeat in the presidential election than commentators begin to declare that the result was a blow to China's ambitions in the Indian Ocean. Facing international isolation, Rajapaksa regime had drawn closer to China, and Beijing had used the window of opportunity to lend money, sell goods and secure huge infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka. It is estimated that China has invested $4 billion in infrastructure projects since 2009, more..

Bribery complaint filed against Chief Justice over dockyard case

Jan 20 (AM) A complaint of a criminal offence of corruption was today filed against Chief Justice Mohan Peiris for alledgely causing a colossal loss of govt revenue of over Rs.619 million by an attorney-at-law before Bribery and Corruption commission. Attorney-at-law Nagananda Kodituwakku making his complaint before bribery commission alleged that Peiris unlawfully attempted cover up customs inquiry against Colombo Dockyard Ltd (CDL). The Lawyer alleged that when more..

President Mahinda Rajapaksa tells govt to stop 'political revenge'

Jan 20 (PTI) Beleaguered former President Rajapaksa asked the new govt to stop "political revenge", a day after his country home in the southern province was raided by police. "Our family has been in politics since 1931. But never our homes came to be searched. I ask them to stop this political revenge," Rajapaksa said in the central town of Kandy. He was reacting to a raid of his country home in Tangalle by police who more..

Opposition to back Maithri policy

Jan 20 (CG) The opposition today assured that it will support the 100 day policy program of President Maithripala Sirisena in Parliament. Opposition leader Nimal Siripala de Silva told Parliament that the Govt must keep the opposition updated on the implementation process of the program. He said that as representatives of the public the members of Parliament must keep the interests of the public in mind and so they have a responsibility to support the good work the Govt hopes to do. more..