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Sri Lanka’s tilt towards China expected to be low key

Nov 18 (SCMP) SL’s freshly elected president Gotabaya Rajapaksa will take a low key approach in restoring the cosy ties the country enjoyed with China during the 2005-2015 presidency of his brother, analysts said, as the new leader stressed on Monday that he would adopt a strictly neutral foreign policy. Expectations before Saturday’s elections had been that he would not only sweep the polls against his main rival Sajith Premadasa, but more..

Plane diverted to Mattala due to bad weather

Nov 18 (DM) An Emirates flight which was scheduled to land at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) this evening was diverted to the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) due to the adverse weather conditions, MRIA manager Upul Kalansuriya said. Emirates EK 652 had arrived from Dubai via Male. "After opening the MRIA since 2013 this is the first time that an Emirates passenger fight arrived at the airport," Mr. Kalansooriya said. The flight landed at MRIA at 6.57 p.m. more..

Symbolic swearing-in for SL's new president

Nov 18 (AFP) SL's new president and scourge of the Tamil Tigers Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday urged minorities unnerved by his election victory to work with him, as he was sworn in at a ceremony steeped in symbolism for his core supporters. Having spearheaded the brutal end of the Tamil separatist war a decade ago, Rajapaksa is a divisive figure but popular among his own majority Sinhalese-Buddhist community. His landslide win split the island nation of 21.6 million on religious and ethnic lines more..

From humble Unix sysadmin to brutal separatist suppressor to president of SL

Nov 18 (TR) A former Unix sysadmin has been elected the new president of SL, giving hope to all those IT workers who fear they are trapped in a role where the smallest of decisions can have catastrophic consequences if it goes wrong. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, younger brother of former prez Mahinda, won the popular vote in an election held on Saturday (16). He is notable to The Register's readership for his stint working in US more..

Stocks jump to more than 1-year high, rupee up after Rajapaksa poll win

Nov 18 (Reuters) Shares jumped to their highest in more than a year in heavy volume, while the rupee rose to a two-and-half month high on Monday, after former wartime defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa won the presidency by a big margin. Rajapaksa made national security his top priority after being sworn in on Monday at an ancient temple in the north-central city of Anuradhapura, where he received blessings from Buddhist monks. Majority of Sinhala Buddhists voted for him after more..

Mahesh willing to work with the President

Nov 18 (NR) Prez candidate of the National People’s Party (NPP) General Mahesh Senanayake says he is willing to extend his support to newly appointed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Speaking to media, General Mahesh Senanayake said he will support all progressive initiatives of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. On a separate note, Prez candidate of the NPP Mahesh Senanayake said he will continue his political journey and claimed that he will also contest the upcoming General Election. more..

'UNP agreeable for Election after Feb 15'

Nov 18 (RN) The UNP Parliamentary Group is not agreeable to support the dissolution of Parliament immediately but will consider it only if the date of the General Election is fixed for on or after Feb 15, Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella said. He said a discussion about the dates of the election would be held in the next few days and that PM is due to meet Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa tomorrow. The PM will inform the Prez that more..

Prez Poll: Healing the wounds is the new task

Nov 19 (CT) SL’s eighth prez election held last Sunday has produced an outcome that has surprised the winners, the losers as well as the observers. The most obvious, and arguably disquieting, and utterly unanticipated trend that became immediately visible is the re-sharpening of majority-minority divide in the citizens’ electoral choices across the country. Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the winner, has received overwhelming backing of the voters of majority Sinhalese more..

Empowering Sri Lanka’s SMEs

Nov 19 (TM) In recent months, there has been extensive debate around the topic of making SL a hub for technology and innovation. Across the globe, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly start-ups, have been proven as critical to fostering a culture of disruption and innovation. In SL, SMEs are already an integral part of the economy and hold significant potential for achieving our economic vision. Despite this, many of these businesses continue to face debilitating obstacles more..

Queen of elephants

Nov 19 (ST) Here acclaimed conservationist Saba Douglas-Hamilton based in Kenya answers some questions of the Sunday Times. Invited to speak at the Galle Literary Festival a few years ago, Saba says she fell in love with Sri Lanka then! This week she and her husband Frank Pope were in Sri Lanka for the 125th anniversary celebrations of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS). more..

Lead well, Mr. President!

Nov 19 (TM) The prez election of 2019, to elect the seventh executive president of SL, will go down in history as probably the most peaceful election in recent times. What is most striking is the fact that this peace had prevailed despite the sky high stakes for each of the two main parties. Although 4,000 cases of poll-related incidents had been reported from nomination day up until the time of writing on Thursday (14), less than 100 of these incidents involved actual violence according to more..

The new Prez should rise above populism to become a transformational leader!

Nov 19 (CT) Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the former Defence Secretary in the former MR regime became the 7th Executive President. He needs to be congratulated for his unprecedented victory, receiving more than 52% of the nearly 16 million possible votes, defeating his nearest rival Sajith Premadasa by about 10 percentage points. Although analysts attributed populism with the crucial voting bloc: Sinhalese Buddhists as a major contributing factor for his victory, Gota, as he was more..

Presidential pardon does not wipe off the record of the criminal

Nov 19 (CT) Amidst all the excitement of the Prez Poll 2019, Prez Sirisena offered a Presidential pardon to a murder convict, Jude Shramantha Jayamaha. He had tortured and killed 19 -year-old Yvonne Jonsson at Royal Park in 2005, his Prez pardon has irked the SL society including the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) who are chanting that he should be arrested and pay for the sin, and now a law suit is filed against the same. more..

Elections, selections and the mess we make

Nov 19 (ST) So, it is all over. I mean the campaigning for the prez election. As I sit down to write this it is a little past midnight Wednesday in Sri Lanka and the campaign has just ended– officially that is. But being well aware of the ingenuity of Sri Lankans to circumvent the law, one should not be surprised if here and there some kind of campaigning is going on. It may even be in places of worship where people go to pray not discuss the merits and demerits of our political system or more..

Editorial: Thus spake the new Prez

Nov 19 (Island) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in his inauguration speech, spelt out his vision and mission, yesterday, in Anurdhapura. It is said that when you say something you have to make that you have said it. The new Prez did just that without resorting to prevarication or obfuscation. Urging all ethnic and religious communities to join him, as Sri Lankans, to achieve national progress, he reiterated that he would make good on all the pledges in his election manifesto. more..

ජාතික ජනබලවේගයේ විශේෂ මාධ්ය හමුව

Resisting political adventurism following presidential polls

Nov 19 (ST) Days before the Nov 2019 prez polls, a roadside fruit vendor in Colombo confessed his dissatisfaction to me in pungent terms, see, what turmoil this election has caused, he said bitterly, all my four daughters and my wife are voting for Saji putha while I am determined to vote for the Pohottuwa. Rather remarkably, his predicament is not unusual nor is it singular. In a country normally known for family voting patterns supportive of two mainstream parties (blue for SLFP and more..

Minister Harin Fernando welcomes steps taken by new President

Nov 19 (DN) Minister of Sports Harin Fernando stated that he believed the new Prez of the country Gothabaya Rajapaksa would fulfil the people’s needs and was in agreement with the President’s request that all Govt institutions remove all pictures of him the PM and Ministers and only to display the Sri Lankan official emblem. “We should respect if someone initiated a good decision for the betterment of the country. As a Sri Lankan I welcome the step taken by the newly elected President,” more..

Hambantota Port’s Rs. 179 bn debt falls into black hole

Nov 19 (ST) A high level investigation is to get underway into missing money amounting to billions of rupees from the massive Chinese loan obtained for the construction work of the Hambantota harbour. Out of the foreign loan obtained for the construction of the harbour, the loan balance amounting to Rs.179.55 billion credited in the accounts of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) had been removed from financial statements more..

National Carrom squad selected for ICF Cup

Nov 19 (ST) The selection committee of Sri Lanka Carrom Federation picked a squad of ten players including two reserves – five each in both Men’s and Women’s categories to represent Sri Lanka at the 8th International Carrom Federation Cup Championship to be held in Pune, Mumbai, India from Dec 2 to 6, 2019. World champion Nishantha Fernando will lead the Men’s team while Joseph Roshita will captain the Women’s team. Defending World champions Sri Lanka will be more..

The challenge to reunify the divided polity

Nov 19 (Island) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa scored an impressive victory at the hotly contested presidential election winning 52.5 percent of the vote when the general expectation was that a second preference count would be necessary as no candidate could get more than 50 percent of the vote. President Rajapaksa’s victory has debunked the theory that victory at a presidential election necessarily requires the support of the ethnic and religious minorities. more..

'Committed to change political culture'

Nov 19 (FT) National People’s Party (NPP) prez candidate and former Army Commander Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Mahesh Senanayake said they would remain committed to create a new political culture and contest the upcoming Parliamentary Election to continue their quest to build an alternative political platform. He said the Prez Election was only the beginning of their movement to change SL’s political culture. more..

Sri Lanka golf has strong hand at SAG

Nov 19 (ST) SL Golf team is targeting a rich haul of Medals in both Men and Women Golf at next month’s South Asian Games (SAG) in Nepal. The XIII SAG postponed from March to Dec 1 to 10, will be held in Nepal, in the host city of Kathmandu, Pokhara. Individual and Team Medals are up for grabs and Chanaka Perera the reigning Sri Lanka Amateur National Golf Champion primed-up with a scintillating performance to win Lectra Grand-Prix October Edition at Nuwara Eliya Golf Club. more..

'EC should continue to enjoy independence'

Nov 19 (DM) Issuing a special statement, PM said it was his desire to see the continuance of independence enjoyed by the Elections Commission (EC). “This year’s prez election was peaceful, free and fair as a result of our efforts to maintain a conducive atmosphere. It is my desire to see this independence prevailing in the future,” he said. He expressed his gratitude to the EC Chairman, public servants, police and the armed forces who helped in conducting a peaceful poll. more..

Sri Lanka’s prez election brings back a polarising wartime figure

Nov 19 (ICG) On 16 Nov, Gotabaya Rajapaksa – who served as defence secretary during the final phase of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war – won a decisive victory in Sri Lanka’s prez election. Although Rajapaksa’s victory was not a surprise, the margin of his win exceeded expectations among many analysts. The candidate of the SLPP and brother of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya more..

Wiggy congratulates Gotabaya

Nov 19 (CT) Congratulating newly-elected Prez, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former NP Chief Minister and Secretary General of TMK, C.V. Wigneswaran, said the election result had clearly proved there is an ethnic question to be solved immediately. "I wholeheartedly congratulate Rajapaksa, who emerged the winner in the Prez Election. I hope that he would realise the heavy responsibilities his office entails and lays the foundation for an excellent governance system," more..

33 of 35 candidates lose their deposits

Nov 19 (FT) Thirty-three of the 35 candidates who contested Saturday’s Prez Election lost their deposits, having failed to get 5% of the valid votes cast. Only the two leading candidates, the SLPP Gotabaya Rajapaksa (52.25%) and NDF's Sajith Premadasa (41.99%) secured over 5% of the vote. Anura Kumara Dissanayaka, who contested from the NPP, secured the third highest number of votes, but it accounted for only 3.16% of the total votes polled. Candidates have to pay Rs. 50,000 more..

Biz community confident about economic revival under new President

Nov 19 (DN) Business Chambers congratulated the 7th elected Exec. Prez of SL, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and expressed confidence that he would work towards the prosperity of the nation. Rajapaksa in his address to the nation said that he would provide state sponsorship to safeguard the traditional heritage of the nation and will take measures to protect the rights of the civilians to live in peace & reconciliation. more..

EDB Chief Indira steps down; Johanne to oversee tourism promotion

Nov 19 (FT) Export Development Board (EDB) Chairperson and Chief Executive Indira Malwatte yesterday tendered her resignation. Malwatte steps down from the position after a stint of over four years following the Strategic Development and International Trade Minister also announcing his resignation from the Government and retirement from active politics in the wake of the polls loss on Saturday. Malwatte had a longstanding career at EDB before she was appointed Chairperson. more..

First-time female highest-paid CEO in Australia is with Lankan roots

Nov 19 (FT) Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake is the highest paid CEO in Australia, the first woman ever to top the AFR’s CEO pay survey. According to a report in the Business Insider, Wikramanayake earns more than $ 18 million, followed by Goodman CEO Gregory Goodman – $ 12.8 million, and CSL CEO Paul Perreault – $ 11.7 million. Wikramanayake was also named one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women. As per Wikipedia, she was born in England, more..

China, UK and Japan among countries wishing new President

Nov 19 (FT) Congratulatory wishes continued to pour in yesterday as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa took oaths in Anuradhapura with China, Japan, UK, Australia and Iran expressed interest in forging close ties with the new Head of State and deepening relations with Sri Lanka. China congratulated President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on winning the Presidential Election to become Sri Lanka’s new President. more..

Key posts for PB, Attygalle, Kamal

Nov 19 (FT) Veteran Finance Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera is to be appointed the Secretary to President Jayasundera was one of the longest serving Treasury Secretaries when Mahinda Rajapaksa was the President and Finance Minister. Another seasoned Central Bank official S.R. Attygalle is to be appointed Secretary to the Treasury and the Ministry of Finance by President Rajapaksa. Attygalle previously served as the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury and more..

Rajitha congratulates Gotabaya

Nov 19 (Island) Leader of the Democratic National Movement and Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne yesterday congratulated the seventh Executive President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the latter winning the mandate. In a message Dr Senaratne said: "First, I thank all those who supported and assisted us in the election to elect the seventh executive president of the country. It is a victory for the nation that we had been able to hold a free and fair election in a peaceful manner. more..

Video: National emblem to replace President’s portrait at state institutions

Nov 19 (AD) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has directed all state institutions to display the national emblem in place of the traditional portrait of the incumbent President. Prez Rajapaksa stated that he instructed for the removal of politicos’ photographs from name boards of roads as well. It was observed that the Prez’s instructions were carried out accordingly. Some state institutions have already replaced the Prez’s photograph with more..

All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama congratulates Gotabaya

Nov 19 (FT) The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) in a statement yesterday congratulated newly-elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Following is the full statement issued by ACJU President Mufti M.I.M. Rizwe and General Secretary Ash Shaikh M.M.A. Mubarak. It is a historic day for all of us, Sri Lankans as we, the citizens of this nation, have elected the Seventh Executive President of our Motherland, His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa. more..

Philatelists keen on commemorative stamp to mark victory of President Rajapaksa

Nov 19 (Island) Philatelists are calling for the issuance of a commemorative stamp and a first-day cover to mark the election of the seventh President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. They have also urged the release of a special cover as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the first President elected from Ananda College, Colombo. Old boys of Ananda College, Colombo, and staff are pushing for this, a philatelist said. When contacted, Postmaster General Ranjith Ariyaratne said that more..

UNP parliamentary group split on PM’s proposal for early General Election

Nov 19 (Island) The govt parliamentary group, which met, yesterday, was divided between PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa, who resigned as the UNP Deputy leader following his defeat at Saturday’s prez election. One group objected to PM’s decision to dissolve Parliament and go for a snap parliamentary election. Minister Rajitha Senaratne, speaking for PM’s camp, raised three points. more..

Sri Lanka’s India ties hinge on Pakistan policy under Gotabaya

Nov 19 (ET) Newly elected SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ties with India will be tested on not only his family’s close ties with China but also his links with Pakistan. As a young army officer in the early 1970s, Rajapaksa was sent to Pakistan for an officers’ training course at a time when SL maintained strong relations with Pakistan. Later, during the war with LTTE, when he was defence secretary under his brother Mahinda’s presidency, Pakistan military supported SL army. more..

Gotabaya accepts Modi’s invitation to visit India

Nov 19 (Island) Indian PM Narendra Modi telephoned Sri Lanka’s President-elect Gotabaya Rajapaksa today to congratulate him on his electoral victory. Modi invited Rajapaksa to visit India at his early convenience. The president-elect accepted the invitation. Conveying the good wishes on behalf of the people of India and on his own behalf, Modi expressed confidence that, under Rajapaksa’s able leadership, the people of Sri Lanka will progress further on the path of peace and prosperity. more..

UNP to cede Govt to new President: Kiriella

Nov 19 (DM) The UNP parliamentary group agreed yesterday to cede the govt to newly-elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on condition that general election is conducted only after February, a party official said. Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that PM would discuss the matter with the other side today as agreed at the group meeting. "We are ready to cede the govt, but we are ready to have elections only after February," more..