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President-elect Rajapaksa a war hero to some, a polarizing figure for others

Nov 17 (Reuters) For Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese Buddhists, president-elect Gotabaya Rajapaksa is best-placed to take on the hard challenge of defeating enemies of the state such as those who carried out deadly Easter Sunday attacks early this year. For others, he is a leader who should be tried for war crimes over allegations of killings, torture and disappearances of scores of people during the final stages of the war against Tamil Tigers in 2009 that he led as defense secretary. more..

Harin resigns as Sports Minister

Nov 17 (DM) Harin Fernando said he will step down as Minister of Sports, Telecom and Foreign Employment. He also said that he had decided to step down as the Badulla District Leader of the UNP as well as from the post as the party’s media head. “Honouring the people's mandate, I am stepping down as Minister of Sports, Telecom and Foreign Employment. I am also quitting from my party responsibilities with the UNP. I Take this opportunity to thank everyone who had supported me more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa says looking at SL constitutional, legal reforms

Nov 17 (EN) SLPP leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said they are looking to change the constitution after his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa become President. “As stated in our candidate’s election manifesto, it will be necessary to rebuild the economy from the bottom upwards and to introduce constitutional and legal reforms to achieve this objective,” he said in a statement. “We will keep the people informed about further developments more..

Minister Ajith P. Perera to also resign

Nov 17 (AD) Minister Ajith P. Perera says that he has decided to resign from his position as the Minister of Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology with immediate effect while respecting the mandate of the people. “While respecting the mandate of the people of Sri Lanka, I have decided to resign from my position as the Minister of Digital Infrastructure and IT with immediate effect.” “It was a well fought battle @sajithpremadasa and the country needs your leadership at this critical time,” more..

10 facts about SL’s new President you perhaps didn’t know

Nov 17 (SNI) As Gotabaya Rajapaksa prepares to take over as SL’s seventh Executive President on Monday, SNI Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale, who has known and interacted with the Prez-elect while reporting on Eelam War IV (2006-2009) and in subsequent years, brings out some fascinating and little known facts about the man who will lead the island nation for the next five years: Gotabaya joined the SL Army in April 1971 as a cadet officer. He was commissioned in the Signals Regiment and more..

Sajith to step down as Deputy Leader of UNP

Nov 17 (DM) While congratulating SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his election as the 7th Executive President of SL, NDF candidate Sajith Premadasa today in a statement said he would step down as Deputy Leader of the UNP with immediate effect. “At the conclusion of a hard-fought and spirited election campaign, It is my privilege to honour the decision of the people and congratulate Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his election more..

PM Modi congratulates Gotabaya Rajapaksa on election victory

Nov 17 (AFP) PM Narendra Modi today congratulated Gotabaya Rajapaksa for his victory in SL's presidential elections. Mr Rajapaksa, who is an ex-army officer and the younger brother of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, won 51.9% of the vote as his main rival conceded defeat, his spokesperson said. "Congratulations Gotabaya Rajapaksa on your victory in the Prez elections. I look forward to working closely with you for deepening the close and fraternal ties more..

Explained: Who is Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Nov 17 (IE) Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 70, likely the next President of SL, is best known as the man who crushed the Tamil Tigers. As a former Army officer who served as SL’s defence secretary when his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa was Prez, Gotabaya led the military campaign against the LTTE between 2007 and 2009, which ended with the final defeat of the Tigers, and the killing of its leader V. Prabhakaran. Rajapaksa brothers have repeatedly claimed credit for having defeated terrorism, more..

Vote reveals stark racial divide between North and South

Nov 17 (RN) Around a month before the presidential elections, former Minister and Civil Servant Dr Sarath Amunugama, told reporters in Colombo that it was the candidate “with the majority of the majority who could secure the minorities.” Amunugama, who is by training an Anthropologist was one of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s spokesmen and he was responding to a question about the SLPP’s relationship with the minorities in the country more..

Ruwan Wijewardena resigns from position as State Minister

Nov 17 (ST) State Minister for Defence and Mass Media Ruwan Wijewardena has announced that he would be resigning from his position today. The resignation comes in the wake of ruling party prez candidate Sajith Premadasa'a defeat during this week's prez election. He congratulated SLPP candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa upon his victory at the poll. State minister said he hopes that the country would be taken forward by building a nation free of division that unites all communities. more..

Ranil to meet Gota to discuss on premiership tomorrow

Nov 17 (ST) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided to meet president-elect Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, after he takes oaths tomorrow, to discuss matters concerning his premiership. A decision in this regard had been reached during a meeting with DNF party leaders and cabinet ministers today, sources at PM's Office said. PM is expected to discuss whether the UNF govt should sit in the Opposition paving the way to appoint a new PM, or whether Parliament should be dissolved at the earliest. more..

People yet to be victorious despite choosing presidential winner : NPP

Nov 17 (ST) National People’s Power (NPP) movement says that the people have not achieved victory despite one candidate emerging victorious at the election. “Those who have come into power do not have solutions to resolve the socio-economic and political problems faced by the people,” NPP said. Movement nominated Anura Kumara Dissanayake as its prez candidate who emerged third in the poll. more..

Samarawickrama resigns from ministerial position & will retire from active politics

Nov 17 (ST) UNP MP Malik Samarawickrama has tended in his letter of resignation to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe stating that he would be stepping down from the post of Minister of Development and Int'l trade. He said the people of our country have elected Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Executive Prez of SL and I wish to respect that mandate. Further in his letter to PM, Mr Samarawickrama said he would retire from active politics at the end of the Parliamentary term. more..

Kabir Hashim resigns as Minister, UNP chairman

Nov 17 (DM) Minister of Petroleum Resources Kabir Hashim today said he had decided to resign from his portfolio and as the Chairman of UNP with immediate effect. He said in his Facebook post that he had decided to resign from the portfolio and the chairmanship of UNP respecting the people’s verdict.” I resign based on the verdict of the people” he said. “I hope that the post-election would be peaceful and the freedom ensured during the recent times will prevail” he added. more..

Terminator Rajapaksa storms to victory in SL

Nov 17 (AFP) Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who spearheaded the brutal crushing of Tamil Tigers a decade ago, stormed to power Sunday but promised to be a president for all Sri Lanka's races and religions after a divisive election. Seven months after Islamist extremist attacks that killed 269 people, Rajapaksa was elected on Saturday on the back of a nationalist campaign promising security and to crush religious extremism more..

President Sirisena: The man with the knack of scoring own goals

Nov 18 (ST) JANUARY 9, 2015: The marvel dawned in the twilight hours of Friday evening, at the auspicious time of 6.21, when Maithripala Sirisena was sworn in as the new President of SL; and, taking her proffered hand, vowed to lead her to that Elysian Field where bloom the roses of liberty, justice and freedom to all, with its economic fruits served in equal measure. At that moment in time, resolve born in the depths of a nation’s darkness saw ethereal light as the commitment to halt more..

The Millennium Compact & Its fallopian falsification

Nov 18 (CT) The Millennium Challenge Compact is the title of the agreement that has been provisionally signed between the Govt of the US and the Govt of SL under which Sri Lanka will receive a grant of $480 M for undertaking two projects, Transport Project and Land Project, over a period of five years. The agreement has stirred much controversy and is now the subject of a legal challenge before the Supreme Court along with two other purported agreements between the two govts, more..

Sirisena defeated dynastic rule

Nov 18 (CT) Consequent to UNP/UNF Coalition Leader and present PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe standing down to contest Rajapaksa at the Jan 2015 Poll with a view to support a common Prez candidate unknown to Rajapaksa, therefore, Sirisena's announcement as the Common Prez Candidate, with the backing of the UNP, made on 21 Nov, 2014, took Rajapaksa by surprise. Sirisena, at the time he made this announcement more..

The grip of autocracy creeps insidiously

Nov 17 (CT) You may know the outcome when you read this, or soon will. But I am glad not to know as I write these lines as my case is that whoever wins the threat of reversal of the gains of 19A, expansion of executive powers and creeping autocracy are very real during the new president’s term of office. Democracy will be challenged at a different pace, style and timing depending on whether its Gota or Sajith; but the threat per se is real. Neither Gota nor Sajith can be relied upon more..

People have spoken, now promises have to be kept

Nov 18 (ST) Dear Mr. President, I thought I will write to you while you are still savouring the euphoria after what was a short but hectic, intense and gruelling election campaign. As you read this, you might be waiting to see whether a second count would be necessary but I’m sure MaKo will not keep us in suspense for much longer! Mr. President, there are many reasons for your victory and I am sure you and those who worked with you over the past few months will reflect on them in next few days. more..

Giving a Presidential pardon to a murder convict: Was it right by the victim?

Nov 18 (CT) To err is human, to forgive is divine, is a saying we have heard, and have contemplated on putting into action at some point in our lives when we feel a wrongdoer deserves a second chance. A civilised society believes that all those who make mistakes or even commit premeditated offences have a right to rectify their mistakes and move on because of the simple reason that people can always change and nobody remains more..

Unstoppable Bangladesh U-19 win 4th ODI

Nov 18 (CT) Bangladesh Under-19 won the fourth Youth ODI against Sri Lanka U-19 by 5 wickets at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong yesterday. They have already clinched the series 3-0 and continue to dominate the SL lads. Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat. Navod Paranavithana and Mohammed Samaaz gave them a good start with a partnership of 69 for the first wicket. Navod made 31 and Samaaz 34. Thaveesha Abhishek (37) and skipper Nipun Dhananjaya (27) more..

Maithripala’s last day

Nov 18 (SO) As the results trickle in from SL’s eighth presidential election and the country’s 7th Executive President is sworn in to office, his predecessor, Maithripala Sirisena will spend his last day as Executive President, Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces today. The Sirisena Presidency was a political experiment born out of political expediency. Five years ago, in November 2014, Mahinda Rajapaksa was President with a seemingly unshakable stranglehold on more..

Gotabaya Rajapaksa: 7th executive Prez of Sri Lanka

Nov 18 (roar) Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has swept the polls and will be appointed Sri Lanka’s 7th Executive President in Anuradhapura in the North-Central Province, tomorrow (18). His win marks the reentry of the Rajapaksa family to power, a mere four years former his brother former President Rajapaksa stepped down. This is not the first time Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has taken up a leadership role in govt. more..

President begins and ends his tenure with two pardons

Nov 18 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena to mark the first anniversary in his office pardoned former LTTE cadre Sivaraja Jenivan who was sentenced to ten-year imprisonment on the charge of attempting to assassinate Prez Sirisena in 2006 when he was a Senior Cabinet Minister. Prez pardon given to Jenivan was even considered an opening to release more Tamil prisoners who have been detained under PTA. TNA which was mustering support for Prez Sirisena from Northern & Eastern Provinces more..

Sri Lanka to contest fencing debut at South Asian Games

Nov 18 (SO) Fencing, one of the five sports featuring regularly since the modern Olympic Games began in 1896, is making its debut at the South Asian Games in Nepal next month and SL will be fielding a 24-member team to contest the event. Among the members of the fencing team is the former Sebastianite cricketer Manjula Fernando. Fencing is not new to SL and Ajith Siyabalapitiya the president of the National Fencing Federation and his officials are keen on taking the sport to more..

'Criminalising corruption in sports is a big step forward'

Nov 18 (ST) A new law that criminalises offences related to sports has introduced measures to prevent persons in the betting and gaming industry from obtaining or using insider information. Prevention of Offences relating to Sports Act was passed on Monday. It also blocks the betting and gaming industry from manipulating the outcome of a sport or a sporting event by making available insider information. more..

Editorial: Gota’s win

Nov 18 (Island) Gotabaya Rajapaksa has secured the executive presidency with ease. The very forces that propelled his brother, Mahinda, to victory in 2010 made his win possible, on Saturday, vis-a-vis the UNP-led coalition consisting of TNA, SLMC, ACMC, etc. The only difference was that the JVP broke ranks with the yahapalana coalition to go it alone at the prez election. Defeat is no doubt painful for any prez hopeful, but it may be some consolation for Sajith that he can now forget about more..

Personal perceptions of 3 Prez personalities

Nov 18 (Island) By the time you read my very own gut feeling and largely unbiased assessment of the three front runners of the Prez marathon you would know who the winner is, or if counting of votes takes long, who the likely next Prez of Sri Lanka would be. You will read my piece on Sunday (17) – a very significant date in the modern history of our nation. I write this perhaps slightly jaundiced peek into personalities on Wednesday (14) when this wonderful island home of ours has fallen more..

Wijeyadasa claims NDF deal with TNA galvanised South

Nov 18 (Island) UNP lawmaker Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC, said that the NDF prez candidate had obtained a sizable vote at the Nov 16, 2019 poll thanks to the UNP’s understanding with the four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA), All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). The ACMC and SLMC are constituents of the UNP-led UNF whereas the TNA supports the UNP in parliament. more..

Gotabaya Rajapaksa likely to appoint his brother Mahinda as PM

Nov 18 (OI) SL's controversial wartime defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa will lead the country after ruling party candidate Sajith Premadasa conceded the hotly contested prez poll on Sunday, marking the return of the powerful Rajapaksa dynasty known for its pro-China tilt, amidst security challenges following the Easter Sunday terror attacks that killed 269 people. Rajapaksa, 70, defeated Premadasa, 52, by more than 13 lakh votes, according to the official results. more..

Focus on having more women in politics, says Dr. Perera

Nov 18 (FT) Prez candidate Dr. Ajantha Perera, the first female aspirant to contest in a Prez Election after 20 years, said the process of elections needed to be improved to have a truly equitable process and expressed hope of more women contesting the upcoming Parliamentary Polls. “Media coverage should have been equal to everybody and there are many ways to improve the election process in the forthcoming Parliamentary Elections to get the desired outcome from a democratic process,” more..

Easter attacks didn’t influence voting: Catholic MPs

Nov 18 (DM) Easter Sunday bombs had not been a factor which had determined the results of the presidential election in predominantly Catholic areas as there may have been other issues which led the people in the areas concerned to vote as they did, Catholic politicians in the area said today. Veteran Catholic politician, former Speaker Joseph Michael Perera said that there may have been other issues which led NDF Candidate more..

11 players, 10 officials

Nov 18 (SO) Questions and eyebrows have been raised on whether it is really necessary for ten officials to form a backstage for a football team that needs only 11 players on the field as they accompany the lost cause of a 23-member Sri Lanka tour party that will take on Turkmenistan in a FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying match to be played in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on Nov 19. SL team will be participating in the second league of qualifiers and so far the team has lost all their more..

Post-election period peaceful

Nov 18 (Island) The post-election period had been peaceful, election monitors said yesterday evening, urging political leaders to ensure that there would be no untoward incident. Executive Director of PAFFREL, Rohana Hettiarachchi said that the pre-election, election day and post election period had been peaceful and that the leadership provided by political leaders had played a pivotal role in ensuring that. "Hopefully, the political leaders will take steps to ensure that this peace prevails. more..

Civil society acknowledges GR’s victory, expresses concern over growing N-S rift

Nov 18 (Island) Civil society and trade union collective joint convenor Saman Ratnapriya appealed to president elect Gotabaya Rajapaksa not to reverse far reaching political reforms initiated by the yahapalana govt. Asked whether the civil society accepted the outcome of the Nov 16, 2019 presidential poll, Ratnapriya said that they did not have an issue. "We accept the people’s verdict. There is no problem," Ratnapriya said, more..

'Daesh attack rejuvenated religious harmony in Sri Lanka'

Nov 18 (KT) After a Daesh attack that killed over 250 people and injured hundreds in April in Sri Lanka, there was a rejuvenation of interfaith harmony in the country, a senior Sri Lankan official told the Emirates News Agency, WAM. "The church was the first to say 'don't harm anybody for what happened to us.' Then Buddhist clergy came on-board. The most striking thing was that we got tremendous support from the Muslim community to ensure that there was no recurrence of such incidents. more..

Sri Lanka will work closely on security: New Prez to India

Nov 18 (AA) SL President-elect Gotabaya Rajapaksa assured India that he would work closely with it to ensure development and security during a phone call made by PM Narendra Modi to him on Sunday to congratulate him on his spectacular electoral victory in the prez elections held in Sri Lanka on Saturday. PM Modi also invited Mr Rajapaksa to India and the invitation was accepted, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said. The reference to security in the MEA statement more..

Sri Lanka newly elected Presidents men call for new parliamentary elections, PM

Nov 18 (EN) SLPP of newly elected SL president is calling on MPs who backed PM Wickremesinghe to make way for Gotabaya Rajapaksa to appoint a cabinet and PM to run his administration. “We expect members of govt to support our resolution to dissolve parliament and make way for parliamentary elections,” Udaya Gammanapila, a senior SLPP member told reporters. Under the 19th amendment, the current parliament can only more..

Sri Lanka EXI collapse to heavy defeat

Nov 18 (ST) Sri Lanka Emerging XI suffered their second defeat in the ACC Asia Emerging Cup when Pakistan Emerging XI beat Sri Lanka handsomely by 90 runs yesterday. The architect of their win was right arm pacie Mohammad Hasnan who ended with impressive figures of 6 for 19 and was supported by Umer Khan and Khushdil Shah who together shared four wickets between them. Pakistan Emerging XI taking first lease of the wicket made a modest score of 183 runs and SL Emerging XI in their more..