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A sea of hope to see the Pope

Jan 24 (ST) Driven by faith and determined to see Pope Francis on his historic visit to this island last week, they came in their numbers, undaunted by the prospect of a long wait. That they would not have much by way of food and shelter or that the ground beneath them was hard and stony did not matter. The Pope would celebrate Mass the next morning and they were determined to secure their place on Galle Face Green as near as more..

Making sense of presidential election

Jan 24 (Island) After the Presidential elections which are widely regarded as having been "stunning", most Sri Lankans are now engaged in trying to appraise their significance. We have to begin by trying to establish why exactly Mahinda Rajapakse lost. In my article "After the elections", published on January 10 but sent to the Editor well before the election results were announced, I wrote, "If Maithripala Sirisena squeaks through, or wins with a substantial majority as I have been confidently expecting, more..

Lot of fun and joy: Ronchi

Jan 24 (CI) The game-changing 267-run stand that sent records tumbling was born of enjoyment and good vibes, protagonists Luke Ronchi and Grant Elliott said, after the pair was instrumental in earning New Zealand a 3-1 lead in the series against Sri Lanka. The team was on track for a mediocre score, at 93 for 5, when the pair came together, but they both scored quickly, then began to launch a sustained attack that transformed the outlook of the innings. Ronchi hit his maiden int'l ton more..

'Major irregularities in Mahaweli lands'

Jan 24 (CT) The govt has made an incendiary yet wholly logical move in combining the Ministry of Irrigation and the Ministry of Agriculture. Deputy Minister of Irrigation and Agriculture, Anoma Gamage spoke about the complexities of the monumental task that lies ahead. Q: What are the plans for irrigation in the 100 day plan proposed by the NDF headed by President Maithripala Sirisena? A: The Ministry is vast. more..

Wind of Change in Sri Lanka

Jan 24 (NIE) The report from London that the electoral changes in Sri Lanka saw the well-entrenched Mahinda Rajapaksa replaced as president by his former colleague Maithripala Sirisena has triggered speculation that this was the handiwork of the Indian foreign intelligence agency RAW. In a strategically placed island country so near the Indian coast, such speculation is nothing new and should even be expected. But in the present case, such reports of Indian more..

The danger of the Dinuwath Dinuwa, Paradunath Dinuwa philosophy

Jan 24 (CT) Recently, I wrote of the tradition among the “movers and shakers” now within the govt of buying “insurance” to ensure their wellbeing irrespective of which corrupt entity runs this country and the danger of that tradition being carried on at a time when we were offered what is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-establish democracy in this country. The unbelievable and totally unacceptable delay in launching an investigation and prosecution of Mahinda Rajapaksa more..

Adam's Peak: Trekking Sri Lanka's most sacred mountain

Jan 24 (Independent) 'Every second, new colours," said my guide, Dharme, as the sky turned from crimson to gold. As the sun rose, the landscape below took shape – distant peaks soared above valleys which dipped beneath a canopy of mist. Waterfalls plunged, white stupas peeked out from the jungle, and coloured flags were illuminated in the early light. It was 6am and we were standing on the summit of Sri Lanka's more..

The new govt’s real agenda

Jan 24 (CT) Who and what do we take more seriously? PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s promise made to the Sri Lankan parliament of ‘the implementation of the 13th amendment within the unitary state’, or that which his Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has disclosed in New Delhi, India, while “talking to a select group of journalists”? I’d go with the latter, not only because of the venue, but also because Mr. Samaraweera is known to be the bridge between Mr. Wickremesinghe and more..

Elected and Rejected

Jan 24 (NS) whatever manner or for reasons, Mahinda Rajapaksa left. It is now up to the new President to deliver, being conscious that this country has a tradition of being misled and abandoned somewhere, and the ordinary citizens should not be blamed for being skeptical, as the people have given the verdict for a change. What remains in the minds of the common voters is whether it would turn towards a better era, at least now. Our country suffered enough, mainly more..

Sri Lanka to appoint new local commission to probe war

Jan 23 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's new govt will appoint an independent domestic commission to probe the last stages of the country's civil war that ended in 2009, a minister said on Friday. Cabinet Spokesperson and Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the commission will consist of professionals who will launch a full inquiry into alleged human rights violations in the last months of the war against Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009. more..

Election Ad backfired: ITN & Rupavahini ordered to reveal 'fathers' of defamatory Ad

Jan 23 (AM) Colombo Magistrate yesterday ordered the Directors of ITN and Rupawahini to reveal the names of those who handed over the video clip of a child claiming his mother had been detained by President Maithripala Sirisena. Video clip in question was simultaneously telecasted through state media prior to the Presidential Election. On the video the child says that his mother is being held captive by the Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena and the child pleads for her safe return. more..

Avant-Garde chairman’s passport impounded

Jan 23 (AD) The Colombo Chief Magistrate today ordered authorities to temporarily impound the passport of Avant Garde Security Services Chairman, Major Nissanka Senadhipathi, in connection with the controversial floating armoury found in the Galle Harbour. The order was issued following a request made by the CID, police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said. Police on Monday detained a ship carrying 12 container loads of weapons at the Galle Harbour. more..

Sri Lanka fears Chinese ocean rights claims after sea reclamation project

Jan 23 (EN) Sri Lanka is re-examining a Chinese sea reclamation project amid fears that China will lay claim to economic rights over the Ocean off Colombo, a minister said. "According to the (UN Convention on the) law of the sea - if you have a freehold island or something - you can claim an Oceanic special economic zone as well," Minister Champika Ranawaka said. "So we have to discuss these things, we have to more..

Video: Will request private sector to increase salaries: Ravi

Jan 23 (DM) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke today said that he would request private sector employers to increase the salaries of their employees similar to the salary increase of government sector employees. “We have no right to ask the private sector to increase salaries of employees. However, we will request the private sector to increase the salaries in line with the state sector. We hope it will happen though unlikely to happen during the 100-day programme,” more..

New Muslim Affairs Minister to appoint special committee to usher in harmony

Jan 23 (Island) A special committee would be appointed to usher in harmony among communities, taking into consideration the problems faced by the Muslim community, said UNP MP M.H.A. Halim, who assumed duties as the new Muslim Religious Affairs and Posts Minister. Halim said he was very keen to take over the Ministry and help bring about unity among all Sri Lankans. He said committee would include all religious stakeholders and would deal with all communities particularly to more..

EC denies polls day allegations

Jan 23 (CG) Elections Commissioner (EC) Mahinda Deshapriya today denied reports that former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had visited the Elections Commissioner’s office on the day of the election. Responding to a question posed at a media briefing today, Deshapriya said that to his knowledge, the last time Gotabaya Rajapaksa visited the Elections Commissioner’s office was in January 2010 more..

'Greater diesel price reduction preferable'

Jan 23 (CT) The govt should have reduced the price of diesel by a larger margin than the price reduction of petrol, in order to distribute the benefit amongst the majority of the public, Senior Transport Economist, Dr. Lalithsiri Gunaruwan opined. While appreciating the govt's initiative to reduce fuel prices, he said, the price reduction of diesel would have a greater economic impact as the diesel is the fuel used for public transportation, industries and agriculture. more..

Marxists don’t discriminate against anyone on the basis of his citizenship – FSP

Jan 23 (Island) The JVP has come under heavy flak for its call for banning Sri Lankans with dual citizenship from its erstwhile comrades in the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP). FSP says that JVP’s demand indicated how much it had veered off from the teachings and values of Marxism. "Nowhere in the world have true leftists called for depriving anyone of his or her political rights. It is a fundamental Marxist tenet that all should be assured of their right to engage in politics. more..

Sri Lanka finds missing presidential fleet of state owned vehicles: police

Jan 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka's police Friday seized a fleet of more than 50 state-owned vehicles, including bullet-proof limousines, that were not returned after president Mahinda Rajapakse's toppling in this month's elections. 53 vehicles belonging to the presidential secretariat had been recovered from an open patch of land in Colombo as part of efforts to track down 128 vehicles that disappeared after the January 8 polls. more..

MR still SLFP Chairman: Elections Chief

Jan 23 (NS) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said according to the document submitted to him, former President Rajapaksa was still the Chairman of the SLFP and the UPFA. Addressing media personnel, Deshapriya said the document, sent in the form of a letter to him by the SLFP some 10 days ago, also states that Anura Priyadarshana Yapa is the SLFP General Secretary. “I have read in the papers that there has been a change in these posts. more..

President sad over King’s death

Jan 23 (CG) President Maithripala Sirisena has expressed his deepest condolences and offered sympathy to the people of Saudi Arabia over the death of King Abdullah. President Sirisena visited the Saudi Embassy in Colombo and expressed his condolences and also signed a condolence book. Meanwhile, Minister Rauff Hakeem is scheduled to leave for Saudi Arabia tonight, leading a SL delegation representing the President at the funeral of the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. more..

'Election-night coup attempt was a fact'

Jan 23 (DM) Minister Champika Ranawaka said the attempt by the Rajapaksas to stage an 'election night coup', that sought to tamper with the election results and seize power using the military, failed due to the vehement objections of lower rank officers. He alleged that the coup, that was hatched at Temple Trees on election night was 'very real' despite the allegations being denied by certain figures linked to the controversy. more..

Premadasa suggests UNP Autocracy!

Jan 23 (AM) Minister Sajith Premadasa said the national govt was formed for two years and Ranil Wickremesighe’s position as the PM of Sri Lanka will remain unchanged, irrespective of the result of the forthcoming general election. “This is a historic combination. Our country needs it. Therefore, our development projects will not be limited to 100 days. Even after the next general election, Ranil Wickremesinghe will be the PM, irrespective of who wins the election,” Premadasa said yesterday more..

TMVP offers support to TNA to pick EPC CM

Jan 23 (CT) TMVP, a political outfit made up of those who broke away from the now defunct LTTE, has extended its unconditional support, to the TNA to elect the Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council, as proposed by the TNA. TMVP General Secretary P. Prashanthan, said in connection with the current tug 'o' war situation between the TNA and the SLMC, on picking a new Chief Minister, has said that his party would support the TNA unconditionally on the issue. more..

Video: Huge Challenge ahead: Ranil

Jan 23 (WSJ) Two weeks after an electoral upset that ousted Sri Lanka’s long-reigning strongman, the country’s new leaders are racing to investigate allegations of corruption under the previous regime and are rushing to enact legal and constitutional changes they say are aimed at reestablishing rule of law. “This is going to be a huge, huge challenge,” said Ranil Wickremesinghe, who became PM after the defeat of more..

Colombo Uni teachers protest opposite VC’s office demanding his ouster

Jan 23 (Island) Teachers of the Colombo University protested opposite the Vice Chancellor’s office demanding VC Dr. Kumara Hirimburegama’s resignation. They tried to enter the VC’s office at College House, but the gate was blocked by university security officials and the police. However, the protesting dons led by the Colombo University Federation of Teachers’ Associations (CUFTA), and the Arts Faculty Teachers’ Association (AFTA) managed to force their way into VC’s office. more..

NTC to announce reduced bus fares tomorrow

Jan 23 (Island) Under pressure to reduce bus fares following steep reduction in fuel price, National Transport Commission (NTC) yesterday said discussions were going on with Internal Transport Ministry in that regard and a fare reduction would be announced tomorrow. "We have not yet finalised the quantum of reduction, but it will be decided after considering the actual expenditure and revenue," NTC, Assistant Director Admin D.M.W.B. Delpitiya told The Island. more..

Sports Minister sends strong message to Cricket Board

Jan 23 (Island) While maintaining that he didn’t intend to interfere with the work of elected officials of Sri Lanka Cricket, new Sports Minister Naveen Dissanayake sent a strong message when he said that cricket officials should not interfere with others’ duties. Speaking to journalists at the Sports Ministry auditorium, Minister said that individuals should only carry out duties designated to them and should stop interfering with others’ work. more..

Ajith Dias becomes SriLankan Airlines chairman replacing MR's brother in law

Jan 23 (AM) Ajith Dias has been appointed as the new Chairman of SriLankan Airlines replacing Nishantha Wickramasinghe. Dias was a Director of Brandix and was the former Chairman of the Free Trade Zone Manufacturers Association (FTZMA), a member of the Textile Quota Board and a member of the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC). He is a also Chartered Textile Technologist & a Fellow of the Textile Institute of UK. Nishantha Wickramasinghe, the brother in law of more..

Docs wonder if new govt will implement National Wage Policy

Jan 23 (Island) The GMOA said that it would meet Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne on Jan 26 to discuss the implementation of the National Wage Policy. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Navin de Soysa, said the National Wage Policy had been introduced in 2006 to the satisfaction of all public sector professionals. Prior to the Presidential election the GMOA met the then Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundara, who issued a circular increasing by Rs.15,000 their Disturbance, more..

New chairpersons appointed for state media institutions

Jan 23 (SLBC) Appointments have been made for top posts including chairpersons in several state media institutions. They have been made by minister of mass media Gayantha Karunathilaka. Therefore, attorney at law Nanda Muruththettuwegama has been appointed as the new chairman of SLBC. Professor Ganganath Dissanayake is the new chairman of ITN. The new director general of Sri Lanka Rupavahini more..

50 displaced estate workers in the lurch

Jan 23 (Island) Employees at the Wewessa Tea Factory managed by the Balangoda Tea Plantation Company were compelled to leave their houses whose walls developed cracks, a clear sign of an impending landslide. As the situation became worse last November with heavy rains 50 worker families were evacuated accomodated in temporary tents put up at a safe location. But they find it difficult to live in those tents owing to unbearable heat during the dry season and chill during rains. more..

Sri Lankan stocks end down 0.7%

Jan 23 (EN) Stock prices slumped Friday near a three-week low with the benchmark index dragged down by shares with a heavy weighting on the index. All Share Price Index closed at 7,276.63, down 52.96 points (0.7%) while the S&P SL20 index, shed 28.93 points (0.7%) to close at 4,078.89. Brokers SC Securities said turnover was 987.36 million rupees supported by several crossings or off-market negotiated deals in John Keels, Dialog Axiata and Distilleries Company. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

National Executive Committee must declare their own assets

Jan 23 (CT) Presidential poll concluded over a fortnight ago, witnessed the opposition campaign especially in the South focusing heavily on corruption and fraud allegedly committed by the Rajapaksa regime. Media is now reporting on massive corruption that had gone extensively viral than even the opposition campaigners ever imagined. What would come of them will only be seen in time to come. This new govt under the presidency of Maithripala Sirisena most more..

Pass through benefits of reduced fuel prices

Jan 23 (CT) New govt in order to give the benefit of falling fuel prices, reduced the administrative price of petrol (92 octane) by 22% (Rs 33) to Rs 117 a litre, diesel by 14.4% (Rs 16) to Rs 95 a litre and kerosene by 19.75% (Rs 16) to Rs 65 a litre, effective from midnight, Wednesday. There were two other petroleum prices which were also administratively reduced, but this 'opinion piece' will dwell on the aforesaid fuels only because of their seeming, relatively higher impact on the more..

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