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Ranil promises radical constitutional reforms to solve national problem

Jan 21 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe pledged in Parliament to bring about radical reforms to the Constitution to find a solution to the national problem within the first 100 days of the new govt. "I specially mention that the solution would not be detrimental to the unitary status of the country. We will introduce the 19th Amendment to the constitution repealing the provisions of the 18th amendment to more..

Be part of this historic new era

Jan 21 (DM) We have had the best of times, the worst of times and now we hopefully are in historic times which will be remembered for generations or centuries. In Parliament, whose status is being restored to be the supreme body of the elected representatives of the sovereign people, we saw this week the formation of an all-party National Unity Govt under the NDF administration of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

On the right path against corruption

Jan 21 (DM) Committee on Public Enterprises, popularly known as COPE, had been established on 21st July, 1979 in our Parliament. The objective of the Committee from its inception had been to ensure compliance of financial discipline. According to the mandate given to the COPE, in terms of Standing Order 126 (2) the duty of the committee is to examine the accounts of Public Corporations or other undertakings vested under any written law in the Govt laid before Parliament along with more..

Three good speeches; one promise kept and one postponed

Jan 21 (DM) The 100 Programme of President Maithripala Sirisena 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 during the last seven days, the first during his swearing-in ceremony, the second in Kandy and the third when his Cabinet of Ministers sworn-in. more..

Sri Lankan war victims feel 'healed' by pope's Madhu visit

Jan 21 (CNS) Kunaratnam Sabaratnam's legs were severed by a shell in the closing stages of Sri Lanka's ethnic war. But shaking hands with Pope Francis at the Marian shrine in Madhu "was like meeting God, and the pope's touch took way all my pains of these years," Sabaratnam said. Sabaratnam, a Hindu, spoke to CNS Jan 17 at his home at the Claretian-run Vanni Rehabilitation Organization for the Differently Abled in more..

Govt takes action to stop political vendettas, mainly by UNP

Jan 21 (ST) The govt is faced with having to rein in its own thugs and hooligans whose revenge attacks on UPFA supporters are being monitored by election watchdogs. “We are still formulating a strategy to arrest them whoever it is if they committed any crime they will be charged,” said Defence Ministry Additional Secretary D.M.S.D. Jayaratne, who has been appointed by President Sirisena to look into post-election violence. more..

Bigwigs named in elephantine swindles

Jan 21 (SL) Following the change of regime one week ago, environmental organisations have come up with a list of the owners of illegal elephant calves in the country, of which MP Namal Rajapaksa, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former CM Uva Province Shashendra Rajapaksa and former Monitoring MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena have been accused of having illegal elephant calves. more..

Thewarapperuma finally surrenders to Police

Jan 21 (AM) UNP MP Palitha Thewarapperuma, who made PS Member Murugan Pushpakumara kneel in public, surrendered to police a short while ago. Thewarapperuma wreaked havoc in Agalawaththa, Mathugama, a few days ago when he attacked a gathering of the opposition in the area. He was previously issued summons to appear before Mathugama Magistrate Courts on March 02. Video evidence clearly showed more..

Missing Persons Commission says 2,000 complaints need serious investigation

Jan 21 (CT) A separate file with 2,000 complaints on missing persons awaits serious investigation, says the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints regarding Missing Persons (PCICMP). Chairman of the Missing Persons Commission, Maxwel Paranagama, said the separate file for investigation is ready as it comply with international humanitarian law and human rights law. more..

Ranawaka promises to keep casino dons out of govt. policymaking

Jan 21 (Island) The new govt would ensure that outsiders like casino dons in Colpetty did not meddle with the state policies, said Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka. Addressing the CEB officials, Minister Ranawaka said he had told former President Rajapaksa that the latter’s fall began due to catering to the whims and fancies of Casino dealers in 2011 and allowing them to meddle with the state polices. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism headquarter sealed by authorities over corruption allegations

Jan 21 (eTN) Sri Lanka Tourism may have been involved in a major corruption scheme. Following the defeat of the UPFA, several institutions and office rooms of prominent officials, in the previous govt, have been sealed, in order to carry out investigations on allegations of fraud and corruption. Also Sri Lanka Tourism, which alleged to have misused funds, especially during the Uva PC election & recently held presidential election, more..

Dinesh decries campaign to discredit leaders who liberated the country

Jan 21 (Island) MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena, said in Parliament that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had entered into a ‘weird marriage’ with several parties to form a strange govt and the Opposition would remain vigilant as to how that relationship would work out during its first 100 days. He said: "This situation is unprecedented. A new govt is in power without winning a general election. There is a new prime minister. more..

Will implement 13th Amendment within a unitary state: Ranil

Jan 21 (Hindu) Sri Lankan govt will implement the 13th Amendment to its Constitution within a unitary state, PM Ranil Wickramasinghe has said. Implementation of the 13th Amendment — born out of the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987 — has remained a long-pending demand of the TNA, the main party representing Northern Tamils. Amendment envisages substantive devolution of political powers to provinces. more..

Corruption: Are there adequate laws to hold Rajapaksa accountable ?

Jan 21 (CT) Although there is much hype about corruption and the need to bring to book the corrupt Ministers, the Ex-President and his family; under what laws can they be financially accountable? In the case of fraud or embezzlement of funds there is the Penal Code and the common law offences. But is there a law governing or regulating financial management or financial accountability in the State? The prevailing Financial Regulations are those coming down from colonial times when more..

Treat the disease, not its symptoms

Jan 21 (CT) Yesterday Mawbima reported an incident where an UPFA provincial councillor was allegedly humiliated and assaulted in public by a UNP MP in the Agalawatte electorate recently. This ostensible act of revenge had taken place after the presidential poll, where UPFA leader and the then President Rajapaksa was defeated by common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena, who was backed by the then opposition UNP, whose leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is now the Premier. more..

Wele Suda divulges names at will!

Jan 21 (CT) Good governance was a prime issue in the Presidential campaign. The then Opposition revealed about the heroin, ethanol and casino capers of the ruling party. They even openly mentioned the names of the Ministers also who are directly connected to these rackets. Meanwhile, the kingpins of the heroin trade were roaming in countries like India, Pakistan, Dubai etc., doing their business almost freely mocking the law. more..

Six more cases filed at CIABOC

Jan 21 (CT) Spokesperson for the Anti- Corruption Front (ACF), Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe, presented six corruption cases pertaining to State institutions, which had allegedly occurred during the previous regime, to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) yesterday. ACF, comprising civil individuals, lawyers and various professionals had received 1,457 written complaints and another 376 complaints via e-mail last week. These complaints were properly analyzed more..

Karu praises courageous officials

Jan 21 (Island) The change of government consequent to Maithripala Sirisena’s victory at Jan.8, 2015 presidential poll wouldn’t have been a reality if not for the courageous stand taken by Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya, IGP N.K. Illangakoon, Attorney General Yuwanjana Wanasundera and Army Commander Lt. Gen. Daya Ratnayake, Public Administration, Democratic Governance and Buddha Sasana Minister Karu Jayasuriya said on Monday. more..

Sri Lanka tax regime too complex; fresh reforms needed: IMF

Jan 21 (EN) Sri Lanka has to simplify taxes and make a new generation of reforms to allow the private citizens to engage in more economic activities. "Sri Lanka is at a critical stage of transition where private-sector led growth must start," IMF Resident Representative to SL Eteri Kvintradze said. Sri Lanka has made significant macroeconomic gains over the last few years but the business environment has to be liberalized and private sector has to more..

Sri Lanka to expand economic freedom for more investments: Eran

Jan 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka would attract more investors by expanding economic freedom and investment environment, Deputy Minister of Investments Promotions, Eran Wickramaratne said. “You all know that whether it is a country or business, investment is more important,” he said. “The first challenge we face is to increase the volume of investments which measures the progress of the investment front and Sri Lanka and the other is to improve the business environment," more..

Ranil gets 38 State Institutions Ravi 35 & Kabir 30

Jan 21 (AM) Gazette notification with regard to allocation of state institutions and department under ministries of the Cabinet has now been released. According to the Gazette notification, 38 institutions will come under PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also the Minister of Police Planning, Economic Affairs, Child, Youth and Cultural Affairs. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake will overlook 35 state institutions coming under his Ministry. UNP General Secretary kabir Hashim, more..

Menik Ganga to be diverted to help end drought effects on Yala animals

Jan 21 (Island) The Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) would launch a new water supply project in collaboration with the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) to end the tradition of closing the Yala national park during the dry spell, DWC Director General H.D. Ratnayake said. He said that the new project which would cost around Rs. 260 million would commence at the end of the year. more..

Come Independence and fuel prices will drop

Jan 21 (CT) State Minister Palitha Ranga Bandara stated that the prices of fuel will be reduced on Independence Day, 4 February. Minister Bandara further noted that all the taxes, imposed by the former govt, will be taken off from the fuel prices. Minister Bandara continuing said with the reduction of fuel prices the cost of transportation will be reduced as well. The former govt increased the price of fuel on several occasions. However, with the budget for 2015, the CPC reduced more..

India’s new Lanka agenda

Jan 21 (AA) The smallest of diplomatic gestures are sought to be analysed from the prism of China-India rivalry on Sri Lanka. The fact that India’s high commissioner in Colombo could meet the new President, Maithripala Sirisena, within hours of his victory and the Chinese envoy could not for more than six days, has been much commented upon. Then there was a report that the Colombo station chief of India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing, more..

Tilak Karunaratne new chief of stock market regulator

Jan 21 (EN) Sri Lanka is to reappoint Tilak Karunaratne as head of the stock market regulator. Karunaratne served briefly as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission before resigning saying the then-govt was interfering with his investigations into market irregularities. Minister Rajitha Senaratna said Karunaratne would be re-appointed as chairman of the SEC and that there would be a crackdown on market more..

Prof. Wijesinha says the previous President did not listen to saner counsel

Jan 21 (Island) Leader of the Liberal Party, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha told Parliament that former President Rajapaksa should have listened to calls from various parties not to go for hasty elections and make use of the remaining years of latter’s tenure to bring about reforms promised in the manifesto on which the UPFA had won the previous election. Making use of time allocated for party leaders to welcome the new govt, Prof Wijesinha, who is the new Minister of Higher Education said: more..

Shares fall to 3-wk low on budget jitters

Jan 21 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares fell to a three-week low on Wednesday amid low trading volumes as concern over political stability weighed on sentiment while investors awaited the new govt's interim budget scheduled for next week. The main stock index ended 0.6% lower, or down 44.10 points, at 7,324.40, its lowest since Dec. 31. The day's turnover was 796.3 million rupees, less than last year's daily average of 1.42 billion rupees, exchange data showed. more..

Sri Lanka to reinvestigate high-profile killings

Jan 21 (AP) Sri Lanka’s new govt will reinvestigate high-profile assassinations including those of a newspaper editor and politicians that were alleged to have had state backing during the previous administration, a minister said Wednesday. The killings of Lasantha Wickrematunge, editor of the Sunday Leader, Tamil lawmakers Joseph Pararajasingham and Nadaraja Raviraj, and then-highways minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle more..

Sri Lanka to settle $500 mln bond maturing on Thursday

Jan 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will draw on its foreign currency reserves to settle a five-year $500 million sovereign bond maturing on Thursday, central bank officials said, a move analysts say would put pressure on interest rates and the rupee. The officials said the authorities had opted against rolling over the issue. "It'll be paid from the reserves," a central bank official said. Another official confirmed the move. Foreign currency reserves fell by $474.33 million to $7.37 billion in the last two months more..

Prof. Wijesinha returns 13 vehicles hired by Hither Education Ministry

Jan 21 (Island) Newly appointed State Minister of Higher Education Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha has cancelled the contract to hire outside vehicles for the Ministry use and returned 13 luxury cars to their owners as a step to stop waste. He said he had done so in keeping with the new govt’s policy of cutting down on waste and ridding the country of corruption. He also asked the ministry officials to explain why so many vehicles had been hired. Prof. Wijesinha suggested that more..

TN parties hail Sri Lanka's announcement on 13th Amendment

Jan 21 (PTI) DMK and several other parties in Tamil Nadu welcomed the announcement made by newly-elected SL Govt that it would implement India-backed 13th Amendment to the Constitution on devolution of power to achieve reconciliation with the minority Tamil community in the island nation. Expressing joy over PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's statement on the issue, DMK President M Karunanidhi said it had given a more..

New organisation complains of foul play in 2012 prison mutiny

Jan 21 (Island) An organisation consisting of lawyers, media personnel and political activists claiming to fight against human rights violations and torture said that the UPFA govt deliberately created conditions for a mutiny at the Welikade Prison on November 9, 2012 with the motive of killing some prisoners and whisking away some others to freedom. Udul Premaratne, former head of the JVP affiliated IUSF activist and attorney-at -law said "Govt claimed 27 prisoners were killed more..

Tough laws against child abuse

Jan 21 (CG) Sri Lanka’s newly elected government said that it would call for tougher laws against child rape and abuse as figures showed only a handful of perpetrators are currently serving jail terms. Newly appointed Child Affairs Minister Rosy Senanayake said that her ministry would work closely with the Justice Ministry to introduce tougher laws as out of the 72,000 harassment and rape cases against women and children, only 713 perpetrators were in jail. more..

Video: JVP urges CJ to resign

Jan 21 (DM) Questioning his appointment and his conduct during the night of presidential election, the JVP today urged Chief Justice (CJ) Mohan Peiris to step down from his post. JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told a media briefing about questions over the process which led to the present Chief Justice’s appointment and the removal of the former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranaike from the post. more..

Govt. in quandary over using 18 A to remove retired judge Balapatabendi

Jan 21 (Island) Attorney-at-law and President’s Coordinating Secretary Shiral Lakthilake yesterday said that those who had been facing serious corruption charges should step down immediately. Lakthilake was addressing the media after having handed over six files pertaining to what he called major cases of corruption to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption. He was speaking on behalf of an anti-corruption fighting body affiliated to President’s administration. more..

Constitutional reforms not requiring referendum within 100 days – Govt.

Jan 21 (Island) Constitutional reforms that could be implemented through Parliament without a referendum would be completed within the 100-day work programme which commenced on January 9, the govt. Deputy Minister of Highways and Investment Eran Wickremeratne said that a Bill to abolish the 18th Amendment to the Constitution and re-establish all the Independent Commissions that were scrapped by that piece of legislation would be presented to Parliament this week. more..

Fonseka acquitted of all charges

Jan 21 (CG) Former army commander Sarath Fonseka has been acquitted of all charges filed against him under the previous Govt and has been granted complete amnesty by President Maithripala Sirisena. In 2010 Fonseka lost his civic rights, including the right to vote, after a military court found him guilty over allegations raised against him and in 2011 the Supreme Court upheld the decision. more..

No alliance with UNP says SLFP

Jan 21 (CG) The SLFP says it has not created any form of an alliance with the UNP and is only backing President Maithripala Sirisena’s 100 day program. Opposition leader Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the SLFP will now begin to prepare at grass root level for the next General election. In the meantime, he said the party will raise a voice in Parliament in support of SLFP members and supporters, especially those who faced retaliation after the Presidential election. more..

More new Ministers appointed

Jan 21 (CG) President Maithripala Sirisena appointed more Ministers today including a Cabinet Minister, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers. Accordingly, A.H.M. Hazeem was appointed Cabinet Minister of Muslim Religious Affairs. He took oaths before the President at the Presidential Secretariat today. SLMC General Secretary Hassan Ali, meanwhile, took oaths as the State Minister of Health, Ranjan Ramanayake the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare and Livestock Development, more..

CJ Peiris has decided to resign

Jan 21 (CG) Chief Justice Mohan Peiris has decided to resign paving the way for impeached Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake to be reinstated. Govt information department said that Mohan Peiris had decided to resign following talks held with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Several lawyers had recently staged a protest outside the Supreme Court in Colombo, demanding that CJ Mohan Peiris resign. more..