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Sri Lanka mulls future of Rajapakse`s white elephants.
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 4:39 PM SL Time

From a multi-million dollar airport ignored by airlines to a lavish cricket stadium rejected by players, Sri Lanka`s new government is mulling the future of a string of white elephants.

Former president Mahinda Rajapakse ordered the state-of-the-art facilities built in his southern home town of Hambantota in extensive efforts to turn his rural constituency into a regional business hub.
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World Bank pledges support to Sri Lanka`s development drive
Saturday, 21 February 2015 - 3:00 AM SL Time

A top official of the World Bank has promised to provide the financial support Sri Lanka`s new administration needs to continue the development projects. World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region Ms. Anette Dixon has expressed the global lender`s readiness to provide financial assistance required by Sri Lanka when she met with the Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena today at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo.
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Lanka will not follow South Africa
Thursday, 19 February 2015 - 11:19 PM SL Time

The Sri Lankan Government says it will not follow the South African Truth and Reconciliation system but use it as an example to create a home grown system.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith Perera said that a high level South African delegation will arrive in Sri Lanka next week to discuss Sri Lanka s reconciliation efforts.

We will not do what they are doing. We will learn from them and use our experts to create a system to co-exist in our country, he said.
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Cannot ignore hands of affection - MR
Thursday, 19 February 2015 - 2:21 AM SL Time

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message to those who attended the massive rally in Nugegoda on Wednesday urging him to return to active politics said he could not ignore the hands of honour and affection extended to him by the people and the leadership forces of the UPFA led by the SLFP.

The message read out to the applause of a large crowd by former ambassador and academic Dr. Dayan Jayathilaka said: I would like to emphasise that I cannot ignore the aspirations of the people who think about the country and had dedicated themselves for the country. I would like to state again that I would embrace with honour and comradely the hands of comradeship extended by the people and the leadership forces of the UPFA led by the SLFP.
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President arrives in India on official visit
Monday, 16 February 2015 - 7:07 PM SL Time

President Maithripala Sirisena arrived at New Delhi`s Indira Gandhi International Airport yesterday on a four day official visit to India.

President Maithripala Sirisena is in India on an invitation extended to him by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, President Sirisena was received by State Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping P. Radhakrishnan on behalf on the Indian Government.
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Sri Lanka seeks Interpol help to probe former minister over financial fraud
Sunday, 15 February 2015 - 1:59 AM SL Time

Sri Lanka plans to seek assistance from the International Police to probe a former government minister over alleged mass financial fraud in the country, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The Cabinet Spokesperson and Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told Xinhua that the government will seek assistance from Interpol to probe corruption allegations against former Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, who is the younger brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
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Mangala to invite Ban Ki-moon to SL
Friday, 13 February 2015 - 1:53 PM SL Time

External Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera today said alongside his invitation for US Secretary of State, John Kerry to visit Sri Lanka, he will also be inviting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to visit the country and added that discussions will also begin to institute a truth-seeking mechanism in a step towards promotion reconciliation.

The Minister made this statement on Wednesday speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington on Sri Lanka after the Presidential Election .
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PM to get powers to sack corrupt officials
Thursday, 12 February 2015 - 8:28 PM SL Time

Standing Orders of Parliament will be amended to empower the Prime Minister to take action against officials in state enterprises found guilty of mismanagement, financial frauds and corruption by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), COPE Chairman DEW Gunasekara said. He said the amendment would require the Prime Minister to inform Parliament within six months as to the actions taken on the allegations levelled against public enterprises which have been charged with acts of corruptions and fraud in the final COPE report. This is our response to the displeasure expressed by Parliamentarians about the inability to take prompt action against officials in public enterprises found guilty of acts of corruption during their tenure. In the final reports submitted to Parliament during the past few years, I have named several loss-making public enterprises and those whose performance has been below par and named those who were responsible for such acts of mismanagement, financial irregularities and corruption but it has been of no avail in the absence of a proper mechanism to take action against them, Mr. Gunasekara who was also a former Minister of Human Resources told Daily Mirror. Another amendment to SOs is that the Chairmen of COPE and the Public Accounts Committee must be members of the opposition. Amendments are expected to be presented in Parliament within the next two weeks and passed by April. Mr. Gunasekara said the COPE final report for 2014 with details on the inquiries carried out on 244 government-owned enterprises would be handed over to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa in March. In its Interim Report, Mr. Gunasekara was highly critical on the non-compliance with rules and regulations, inefficiency and non-transparent transactions in a majority of state ventures despite repeated requests by COPE to get their act together. Mr. Gunasekara said two adverse opinions in respect of two institutions was the recommendation for the removal of Chairmen and General Managers at certain state ventures through requests made to relevant ministers. The COPE in all its previous reports to Parliament has repeatedly emphasized the need to maintain financial and administrative discipline at public enterprises. To ensure the smooth financial management, the COPE has appointed a special body of inquiry comprising COPE members. COPE has completed 598 inquiries within a period of four years as opposed to 670 during 31 years since 1979, Mr. Gunasekara said adding that it was a record in the history of the legislature. He said on a directive by the Committee, the State-owned companies registered under the Companies Law have now been brought under the scrutiny of COPE and it has been able to contribute appreciably towards the enhancement of good governance in so far as parliamentary control on finance was concerned. Mr. Gunasekara thanked the Auditor-General s Department, the Department of Public Enterprises and the Department of National Budget of the General Treasury for their co-operation. Full Story     Post Reply To This     Read Replies ( 166 )

Champika to produce blacklist of corrupt VIPs
Thursday, 12 February 2015 - 1:49 AM SL Time

Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka today vowed to publish a blacklist exposing all the VIPs and higher-ups who have allegedly amassed billions of rupees and dollars of ill-gotten lucre and other assets during the tenure of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. I have credible information about their bank accounts, the amount of filthy lucre and their sources. I expect to expose all of them with their names shortly, the minister said adding that taking legal action against them would not be a difficult task because the list would contain the necessary hard evidence. The minister said those who were unable to control their jealousy and malice against the Maithripala Sirisena Government are now shedding crocodile tears saying they have been threatened and their family members have been warned to leave the country and that no action was being taken by the Government to investigate their complaints. They are well aware that they have no future in politics and cannot enter Parliament at the upcoming general election. That is why they are conspiring to bring back former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was defeated and rejected by the people. They are attempting to fool the voters to win their sympathy and ride to Parliament on Rajapaksa s back. These surreptitious attempts will end up as day dreams, the minister said. Commenting on the corruption and mismanagement under the Rajapaksa regime at the Lanka Electricity Company Ltd. (LECO), the minister said when institutions of law and justice and law like the judiciary and the Attorney General s Department work hand in glove with protect corrupt politicians and officials, the prevention of corruption was extremely difficult. There was a time in the recent past that reminded us of the pithy Sinhala saying, Naduth Hamuduruwange, Baduth Hamuduruwange which was often carried out at vital government establishments like LECO. Many of those who blatantly exploited major government institutions like LECO, CPC and the CEB by defrauding billions of rupees and dollars have fled the country after the election defeat. Some of them are still here. But we are determined to expose them and take legal action against them wherever they live, he said. The corruption at LECO helped accelerate the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa s downfall. The fraudulent acts at LECO compelled us to rise against the Rajapaksa regime on behalf of the suffering people who had been denied the benefits of low prices of fuel in the global market. Our only solace during this difficult time is our ability to provide electricity to 95% of the houses in the country without interruption. When I raised my voice against those unfair and corrupt acts I lost my portfolio, the minister said. Full Story     Post Reply To This     Read Replies ( 186 )

Sri Lanka Cancels Casinos, Spotlights Asia Investment Risk Crapshoot
Wednesday, 11 February 2015 - 12:33 PM SL Time

After winning the decades long civil war against Tamil Tiger rebels, Sri Lanka s president Mahindra Rajapaksa thought upgrading the country s handful of small casinos into international class properties could help win the peace. The proposed, and partly under construction, US$1.6 billion in casino hotel development would make Sri Lanka s capital, Colombo, a more attractive tourist destination. But Rajapaksa s successor, President Maithripala Sirisena, canceling the three casino projects has made Sri Lanka a textbook example of political risk when it comes to investing in Asia s emerging markets.
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Drug baron Wela Sudha s case: CID questions Duminda Silva
Tuesday, 10 February 2015 - 10:57 PM SL Time

Parliamentarian Duminda Silva has been questioned for nearly six hours by the cops attached to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in connection with his alleged involvement with the drug baron Wela Sudh , a senior police officer said.

The source said Silva has been summoned to the CID to record a statement. Further legal measures will be taken accordingly he added.

Earlier, the CID obtained a court order to probe the bank accounts of Silva, after Wela Sudha testified he paid money to the politician, the Police Spokesperson said at a press conference.
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Tissa Attanayake expelled from party
Monday, 9 February 2015 - 10:42 AM SL Time

Sri Lanka`s main political party in the unity government, United National Party (UNP) has decided to expel the Parliamentarian Tissa Attanayake from the party.

The former General Secretary of the party, MP Attanayake defected to the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s United People`s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) before the presidential election.
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Over 2,000 important files missing at the Ministry, says Ravi
Sunday, 8 February 2015 - 10:11 PM SL Time

Minister Ravi Karunanayake says he received information that over 2,000 important files of the Finance Ministry have gone missing.

Karunanayake added that he will complain to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and request to initiate an inquiry on this regard.

According to the Minister, the missing files contain important information on alleged questionable deals and believed to have contained details about misuse of public property and funds as well. It was reported several top officials responsible for these files have been identified and they will likely be questioned by the CID, on this matter.
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New Govt`s Budget Passed In Parliament With Biggest Margin In Recent History
Saturday, 7 February 2015 - 11:21 PM SL Time

The new government`s mini budget, which was presented to Parliament by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, was passed in Parliament with a majority of 163 votes.

When the second reading vote was taken in Parliament 164 MPs took part in the vote and 163 voted in favour of the government.

Only JVP breakaway MP Ajith Kumara voted against the budget. The SLFP previously stated that they would support the interim budget presented by the new government which came to power, a month ago. However, several opposition MPs such as Wimal Weerawansa, DEW Gunadekara, Dinesh Gunawardene, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Tissa Vitarana and Sriyani Wijewickrama abstained during the second reading vote.
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Complaint against Mervyn Silva to BC
Saturday, 7 February 2015 - 11:32 AM SL Time

United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Western Provincial Councillor Sisira Jayakody today lodged a complaint at the Bribery Commission against former Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva citing several cases frauds among other misdemeanors. Mr. Jayakody accused Mr. Silva of acquiring money through a fund called Pibidena Kelaniya Development Programme and misusing these funds from the time he was appointed the Kelaniya Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Organiser in 2007. Illegal and immoral activities increased drastically with the appointment of Mr. Silva as SLFP Organiser. Some Rs.15 million was obtained from the business community of Kelaniya and Kiribathgoda, he said. Mr. Jayakody charged Mr. Silva of setting up a fund named, Kiribathgoda Suhada Welanda Sangamaya and obtained Rs.200,000 each businessman claiming the funds were for the Kelaniya the Kelaniya Vishnu Devale peraharas. He collected about Rs.40 million under the pretext of the Perahara and misused them. We handed over the evidence we have collected to the Bribery Commission and asked for a proper investigation into the charges,
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President to reside at Keppetipola Mawatha
Friday, 6 February 2015 - 12:39 PM SL Time

The official residence of former minister Keheliya Rambukwella (on Keppetipola Mawatha Colombo 7) is to become the official residence of President Maithripala Sirisena, government sources indicated

This building was earlier used by D.B. Wijetunga as his official residence when he was president. It is reported that the premises are now being renovated.
Mr. Maithripala Sirisena had announced, some time ago, that he would not reside at President s House or at Temple Trees if he were elected President.
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National Drug Policy gets cabinet approval
Thursday, 5 February 2015 - 10:22 PM SL Time

The Cabinet approval has been granted for the proposed new National Medicinal Drug, Devises and Cosmetic Authority draft bill and it will be presented to the Parliament within next few days, Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said.

The observation was made at the cabinet briefing held at the Government Information Department today.

The decision to table this legislation was taken at the Executive Committee meeting of the political party leaders which held at the Presidential Secretariat on 22 January.
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SL`s new developments shifts Geneva focus Hakeem.
Thursday, 5 February 2015 - 3:10 AM SL Time

One of the significant remarks made by Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs of the US Department of State, Nisha Desai Biswal said though there may be a resolution and reports filed in Geneva to be tabled at the upcoming March session, there is still an opportunity for the government by its action taken domestically, to shift the focus from Geneva to what... happens in Colombo, said Minister of Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage, Rauff Hakeem yesterday (3).
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Maithri speaks of reconciliation at Independence Day
Wednesday, 4 February 2015 - 12:24 PM SL Time

President Maithripala Sirisena in his Independence Day speech said the country has failed to connect the hearts of people in the North and South though the war was put to an end in 2009. The main challenge ahead of us is to connect the people in the North and South in a national reconciliation framework, the President said. He said there was no point of accusing individuals for the failures in the past and what is more important is to rectify the failures and mistakes. President Sirisena vowed to narrow the gap between the haves and have nots and said the government would revamp the foreign policy creating only friends.
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Aqua, Honda Fit, Honda Fit Shuttle, Vezel car prices up Nissan Leaf price down through budget
Wednesday, 4 February 2015 - 12:20 AM SL Time

The price of a Toyota Aqua motorcar would go up by around Rs. 670,000 and a GP01 Honda Fit by around Rs. 625,000 due to the tax imposed on hybrid vehicles through the new government s interim budget, says the Sri Lanka Motor vehicle Importers Association president.

Sri Lanka Motor vehicle Importers Association president Indika Sampath Merinchige told the price of a Honda Fit Shuttle would increase by about Rs. 625,000.

In addition, the price of a brand new Honda GP05 would go up by around Rs. 645,000, a Honda Vezel by around 930,000, a Prius by about Rs. 975,000, an Axio car by around Rs. 800,000 and an Outlander vehicle by around Rs. 1,300,000,said Merinchige.
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