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Siamese Twins: India and Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (CT) The current diplomatic moves of the new regime of Sri Lanka, after deposing Mahinda Rajapaksha from his decade-long throne, imply that Sri Lanka has once again adopted India as its prime foreign policy ally. Even the Indian media is very positive about this unprecedented democratic upsurge. Does this climate augur good yields for India? This is too early to infer but more about this sooner or later. Following the groundbreaking victory of Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena more..

The backers of the 11th hour

Jan 22 (CT) It is easy to back a winner. It is not so easy to back a dead (or half-dead) horse. It is also not easy to take the vicissitudes of life with humility. Winning elections, for example, isn’t a real victory if you don’t have the humility to bow down before those who made victory possible. That’s what Maithripala Sirisena did. We are grateful to him. We hope he will continue likewise. The 100-day program, you must admit, is supported by all, regardless of party colour and preference. more..

Linking education to jobs in Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (SO) Sri Lanka is introducing technology education to secondary students to give them a better chance at entering university or the job market, an ADB release said. In a gleaming, new laboratory building at Mahinda Rajapakse College, a secondary school on the outskirts of Colombo, a science experiment is taking place. Student Rashmi Koushalya observes closely as her teacher creates a microbial-free more..

Ideas for a Road Map for Truth and Justice

Jan 22 (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..

Charting a new course: SL foreign policy

Jan 22 (GV) There could not have been a better time to be a student or a professional of International Relations in Sri Lanka, given the geopolitical dynamics in the region. As one govt official told me, “India and China are on the rise, we simply need to jump on this bandwagon.” However we should be mindful that the rise of these two powers mean that our neighborhood becomes more important in the geopolitical calculations of larger powers. The more important that our region becomes to them, more..

'I apologize to Sirasa'

Jan 22 (CT) Former Minister Mervyn Silva says he did not throw stones at Sirasa. "I only pushed aside the camera and asked them not to come to my electorate. I was not involved in setting fire to Sirasa Station." Q: What is happening at the moment? A: There is too much desire. The ones who are familiar with Buddhism must not panic about these developments. The Buddha was a Prince who had all the luxuries, but more..

Editorial: All bark and no bite

Jan 22 (Island) It is a crime to steal public funds. Sarath N. Silva once said, while he was Chief Justice, that anyone who stole from the public purse did so at the risk of going to hell. Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara declared in Parliament that those who embezzled public funds would be reborn as buffaloes. There are also many other people who expect the thieves of public funds to be dealt with by karmic forces or deities. However, we believe that for the theft of public funds in more..

Election results and executive presidency

Jan 22 (SL) The none-too-unanticipated situation in which the smooth power-transfer in govt is being followed by a similar leadership-change in President Maithripala Sirisena’s SLFP has a message for the parliamentary polls, due anytime before March 2016. Considering that the re-united SLFP has decided to sit in the Opposition could mean that the nation may have returned to the days of the cohabitation era of 2004-05, when SLFP’s President Chandrika Kumaratunga and UNP’s PM Ranil more..

Boston Lanka: January 21, 2015

Justice for the hunted and hounded journalists and new role for media

Jan 22 (SL) The remarkable coincidence of the dramatic fall of the Rajapaksa regime on the fifth anniversary to the exact day of the horrendous killing of Lasantha Wickrematunge cannot be airily dismissed in this land of astrologers, devil dancers (kattadiyas) and light readers (Anjanam practitioners),necromancers etc. The day of the elections (Jan 8) was determined by royal astrologers, agreed to by the highest in the land and approved by the Commissioner of Elections, more..

'Sri Lanka to manage overall budget deficit'

Jan 22 (EN) Sri Lanka will keep the overall budget deficit under control, raise revenues by clamping down on large scale untaxed alcohol manufacture using imported ethanol, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. Sri Lanka's new administration is to present an interim budget on January 29, giving higher salaries to state workers, pensions and cutting a series of autarky taxes on food as well as high taxes on fuel. "The overall budget deficit will not be increased," Minister Karunanayake said. more..

'To improve exports we must rebuild int'l ties'

Jan 22 (CT) If exports are to increase, then the companies and the govt need to create a better environment for the workers in the estates, said UNP, MP Lakshman Kiriella as he took office on 16 January as the Minister of Plantation Industries in the 100-day Cabinet. As the newly-appointed minister sat down with Ceylon Today to discuss politics and plantations he said one of the biggest tasks of the govt would be to rebuild more..

The island nation's golden moment

Jan 22 (Hindu) There has to be a first time for everything. Certainly for the elevation of the Sri Lankans to the rank of cricketing gods as they anointed themselves World Cup champions on a most memorable night before an appreciative global audience. Aravinda de Silva did the star turn in an outstanding all-round contribution of wickets, catches and a stunningly attractive century. No team has won a World Cup final batting second, and Arjuna's men were chasing by choice. more..

TVS in trishaw revolution in Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (CT) Keeping abreast with the latest trends in the vehicle industry and catering to customer demands, TVS Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., on Tuesday launched for the first time to the Sri Lankan market, three trishaw models that have fibre roofs, seat belt facilities, fans and cassette players. The company has also introduced three new scooter models in keeping with the demands of females who need two wheelers that are fast, safe and comfortable. Addressing the launch, TVS Lanka CEO more..

How do you solve a problem like the CJ?

Jan 22 (FT) Two years ago on 15 Jan, the Rajapaksa Govt had to deploy elite police guards, water cannons and barricades to install Mohan Peiris in the Chief Justice’s chair at Hulftsdorp. As police prevented lawyers and journalists from entering through the main gates of the Supreme Court, Peiris was driven in through a side entrance and hustled up to the fifth floor of the superior courts complex. more..

Dilshan climbs to second spot

Jan 22 (CT) T.M. Dilshan has moved two places up to claim the second spot of the ICC ODI All-rounders rankings with 404 points, just behind his captain Angelo Mathews who has maintained the summit in the particular category with 407 points. This has been the first occasion where two Sri Lankans top the ICC ODI All-rounders rankings. Dilshan has been in prolific form with the bat and ball. The 38-year-old Sri Lankan run machine has scored 530 runs in last 10 ODIs at an average of 53 more..

Sri Lanka’s foreign policy: introducing balance and proportion

Jan 22 (Island) It ought to come as a huge relief to knowledgeable sections in Sri Lanka that this country’s foreign policy is in the process of being ‘reset’ by the current administration under President Maithripala Sirisena. Hopefully, this initiative would lead to the introduction of a degree of balance and proportion into Sri Lanka’s foreign policy outlook. It need hardly be said that the Mahinda Rajapaksa years were characterized by lopsidedness and imbalance in this country’s foreign policy more..

Colombo Port City promoter sets the record straight

Jan 22 (FT) China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), as the proponent of the Colombo Port City Project, issued a statement in what it described as setting the record straight. Full statement: CCCC wishes to extend its fullest corporation to Govt of SL and relevant authorities in providing all necessary information according to relevant regulations to assess and review Colombo Port City Development Project. more..

Headless BOI deters investments

Jan 22 (CT) Unfilled vacancies in key public sector organizations such as those dealing in foreign direct investments (FDI) are keeping foreign investors away from the country, sources attached to a private sector organization promoting FDI into the island, speaking on grounds of anonymity, said. For example, in the BOI where most of the top appointments made previously were political, it is now devoid of any decision makers as such heads tendered their resignations more..

Sirisena-Ranil Govt. scores half a century

Jan 22 (FT) Their term may be limited to three months but there has been more clamour for ministerial posts judging by six new appointments made yesterday. Govt announced the appointment of a new Cabinet Minister, a State Minister and four Deputy Ministers. Abdul Hazim was named Muslim Religious Affairs Minister, Mohamed Hassan Ali State Minister of Health and Ranjan Ramanayake Deputy Minister of Social Services Welfare and Livestock Development. more..

As Obama visits, signs that India is pushing back against China

Jan 22 (Reuters) When Sri Lanka unexpectedly turfed out President Rajapaksa in an election this month, it was the biggest setback in decades for China's expansion into South Asia - and a remarkable diplomatic victory for India. Despite New Delhi's protestations, diplomats and politicians in the region say India played a role in organizing the opposition against pro-China Rajapaksa. His successor, President Maithripala Sirisena, more..

Animal activists appeal to CMC to reintroduce vaccination/ sterilisation

Jan 22 (Island) Animal activists yesterday appealed to the Veterinary Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (VD-CMC) to reintroduce the sterilisation and vaccination programme carried out to control the dog population in the city. Spokesperson for Animal Activists and Founder of Sathva Mithra, Sagarika Rajakarunanayke said that there had been a well streamlined five-year programme in the city from 2007 which had been carried out jointly by the CMC and a charity. more..

'Central Bank to come under PM: A move towards good governance'

Jan 22 (CT) In a far reaching move towards the assured good governance, the govt has decided to position the Central Bank of Sri Lanka under the Minister of Policy Planning, Economic Affairs, Child, Youth and Cultural Affairs whose Minister is PM Ranil Wickremesinghe himself. This was revealed in Gazette Extraordinary of 1897/15 of 18 January, which was released yesterday. Accordingly, some other State sector institutions, which were hitherto under aegis of Ministry of Finance & Planning more..

Pumping up presidential pledge: Fuel prices cut

Jan 22 (EN) Sri Lanka has slashed fuel prices with ordinary petrol down by 33 rupees to 117 rupees a litre nd diesel down by 16 rupees to 95 rupees. Petrol with 95-Octane cont was reduced by 30 rupees to 128 and super diesel by 23 rupees to 110 a litre. The price of kerosene was cut by 16 rupes to 65 rupees. Ministry of petroleum said the cabinet had decided to cut prices and in the future an automatic price formula will be brought. more..

Sirisena govt probing defense ministry’s shady deals

Jan 22 (ENS) The SL govt has ordered investigations into the shady deals of the Ministry of Defense under the stewardship of the former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, one of the brothers of defeated President Rajapaksa. Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said that the discovery of huge caches of sophisticated arms and ammo from a vessel in Galle and at a conference center in Colombo, has revealed that the Ministry of Defense under Gotabaya Rajapaksa may more..

120 teachers of Homagama Rajapaksa Vidyalaya sign a petition seeking redress

Jan 22 (CT) Ceylon Teachers Services Union (CTSU) has written to the Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam requesting him to alleviate the grievances of students and teachers of Homagama Rajapaksa Vidyalaya who were severely traumatized by the iron-fist administration spear-headed by the former Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane and the patron of the school, former President Rajapaksa. The letter states that the administration of the school was operated more..

Leadership Training Program to undergo overhaul

Jan 22 (DN) Minister Rajiva Wijesinha yesterday said a new mechanism will be considered for the Leadership Training Program taking into account the views and ideas of the University student fraternity. He noted that this program is being conducted as a joint effort of the Higher Education Ministry, Defence Ministry and the UGC. "I have received many inquiries about the Leadership Training Program conducted by the Ministry more..

Hirunika wants investigation on Mervyn’s complaint against Rajapaksas expedited

Jan 22 (Island) WPC member Hirunika Premachandra said that she had made a special request to the police to expedite investigations into a complaint made by former Minister Mervyn Silva that he knew the details of assassinations and crimes that took place during the recent past. Former minister Silva complained to the CID against Former Minister and MP Basil Rajapaksa and former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa accusing them of frauds and crimes. more..

JVP slams US in relation to KP's gun running

Jan 22 (CT) If LTTE head of arms procurement, international relations and financial control, Kumaran Pathmanathan is tried in an open Court, it would reveal the USA's duplicitous nature, the JVP said. If as the previous govt stated there is interference from the West, JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake added that Pathmanathan would be a wellspring of information about the USA's legal and illegal arms market. Sri Lanka does not manufacture weapons including bombs but USA does and more..

'Hold general election under caretaker govt'

Jan 22 (Island) Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva demanded in Parliament othat the next general election be held under a caretaker govt and people given freedom to elect a govt they had their faith in. He said: "We hope to extend our fullest support for the govt’s 100-day programme. If the govt wants our presence in Parliament to speed up the process of bringing about legislation for the benefit of the people, we are willing to more..

Former PM’s son barred from leaving the country

Jan 22 (Island) The Gampola Magistrate barred former PM D. M. Jayaratne’s son, Central Provincil Councillor Anuradha Jayaratne and three others from leaving the country over the alleged attack on an office of the then Common Opposition Candidate Maithripala Sirisena set up in the area and damaging it by shooting. Police said that the Jayaratne surrendered to the Gampola Police station yesterday morning with three others and when they were produced before more..

Independence Day celebrations on parliament grounds

Jan 22 (Island) 67th National Independence Day Celebrations will be held on Parliament grounds on Feb 4, Minister Joseph Michael Perera said. Addressing media soon after assuming duties at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Colombo, the minister said that this year’s Independence Day had earlier been scheduled to be held at the Weeraketiya Central College, but the venue was changed to cut costs. "The decision was taken considering the huge cost that would have to be incurred more..

Ranil takes Central Bank, SEC from Finance Ministry purview

Jan 22 (FT) In a major development, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs, has taken the Central Bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission under him. Traditionally these two institutions have come under the Ministry of Finance, a portfolio currently held by Ravi Karunanayake, who on Tuesday said regulatory bodies were being brought under the PM. more..

Round the world trip for clergy of all four religions

Jan 22 (CT) The Ministry of Civil Aviation plans to organize a programme, in coordination with the private sector, to take members of the clergy, of all four religions, to various religious sites around the world. Minister of Civil Aviation, Faiszer Mustapha, will implement a programme to take the clergy from the Buddhist, Christian, Islam and Hindu faiths to their relevant sacred sites, such as Buddha Gaya, Jerusalem, Mecca and Tirupathi. The ministry intends to work with the private sector to more..

No to Federal system: Setback for Tamils

Jan 22 (ENS) In a move which may disappoint the minority Tamils, Sri Lanka’s new govt has categorically ruled out adoption of a federal constitution for the country. In his maiden speech in Parliament on Tuesday, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe disregarded the TNA’s long-standing demand for a federal constitution and made it clear that Lanka will remain a unitary state in which power will be devolved to the provinces without disturbing the country’s unitary constitutional framework. more..

Coup allegations are baseless: Gota

Jan 22 (DM) Former Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa rejected allegations of an attempt being made by the Rajapaksa regime to subvert democracy through an ‘election night coup’ and said they would not have called in the Attorney General if such a plan was being actually hatched at Temple Trees. “Yes, AG was called to Temple Trees but that was to discuss the matter of maintaining law and order such as more..

Yahapalanaya: walk the talk

Jan 22 (DM) Time has come for President Maithripala Sirisena and MP Ranil Wickremesinghe to walk the talk. Clear video evidence shows that UNP Member of Parliament Palitha Thevarapperuma made UPFA Pradeshiya Sabha member Murugan Pushpakumar to kneel in public as a punishment. The MP had also allegedly assaulted the UPFA PS member. A police complaint was lodged against the errant MP and strangely enough, despite clear video evidence, more..

Winning the hearts and minds of Tamils

Jan 22 (DM) It was DEW Gunasekera who publicly stated that the Tamil people are also OUR people; more than 80% of Buddhists of our country worship Hindu deities, the best example was that of our former President Mahinda Rajapaksa going to Thirupathy to get the blessings of the presiding deity of the temple. There were many who have come from places such as Kerala and brought their cuisine with them, settled in the South and became Sinhalese. more..

The need of the hour

Jan 22 (DM) The UPFA had its parliamentary group meeting on Monday to discuss their role in the House as the Opposition. The UPFA, which commanded a majority of two-thirds, was relegated to the Opposition after new President Maithripala Sirisena appointed then opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the PM immediately after being sworn in . After that, the new Cabinet of Ministers was sworn in. more..

Rajapaksas, magistrates and politicos told to release wild elephants or face consequences

Jan 22 (Island) Ven. Ulapone Sumangala thera has warned those having wild elephants illegally to hand them over to wildlife authorities or face the consequences. Ven. Sumangala was addressing the media on behalf of an anti-corruption watchdog affiliated to the new govt. Displaying a set of documents pertaining to wild elephants allegedly held by various persons, Thera said that he was having a list of more..