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Emirates A380 makes emergency landing in Colombo
Friday, 26 June 2015 - 10:19 PM SL Time

An Emirates A380 plane with more than 500 people on board made an emergency landing in Sri Lanka on Friday after pilots detected smoke in the cockpit, aviation officials said.

The aircraft, which landed safely in Colombo, was 320 nautical miles (around 600 kilometres) east of the city when pilots made a distress call.

`The pilots said May Day, May Day, and we activated all our emergency services and brought the aircraft to a safe landing,` the airport`s chief air navigation services officer Crishanthi Tissera told AFP.
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Sri Lanka`s former president given maximum security,
Friday, 26 June 2015 - 2:09 AM SL Time

Sri Lanka`s former president Mahinda Rajapaksa is being accorded maximum security and facilities, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe has assured.

Addressing the parliament Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe on Thursday (25) said that the government could provide an official residence to the former president other than the president`s house.

The Prime Minister said that the government has provided the former president with a security detail of more than 200 security personnel including 105 police officers, 14 Army officers and another 90 personnel of other designations in order to ensure the protection of him.
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23 schoolchildren contract HIV/AIDS this year in Sri Lanka
Thursday, 25 June 2015 - 12:53 PM SL Time

Director of the National STD/AIDS Control Programme Sri Lanka, Consultant Dr. Sisira Liyanage said that during the first six months of this year 23 schoolchildren have been infected with HIV/AIDS due to having unprotected sex.
He said that during the past six months, 900,000 persons in the island have been subjected to medical tests to find out whether they were infected with the virus.

Dr. Liyanage who said that there is a severe risk of the youth between the ages of 15 and 25 years contracting the virus, he emphasized the fact that this situation has to be controlled immediately.
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US says Sri Lanka will be a critical partner
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 - 2:54 PM SL Time

The United States (US) says as it looks advance its interests across the Indo-Pacific, Sri Lanka will be a critical partner.

Atul Keshap, the nominee for US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee that in Sri Lanka, the primary interest of the US is to help the people succeed as a prosperous, unified, reconciled, peaceful, and democratic nation.

Keshap noted that at the beginning of this year, the people of South Asia s oldest democracy courageously chose a new path of hope and renewal. He says since January, Sri Lanka has made progress on challenging issues, from fighting corruption and media censorship, to beginning the long process of healing after decades of war.
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Borrowings to increase 103% No letup till polls are called
Tuesday, 23 June 2015 - 2:56 AM SL Time

Ceylon Finance Today: The government which is on a dubious, trailblazing gargantuan borrowing path, is set to further increase its borrowings over its vis- -vis by a gigantic Rs 441,371 million or by 103.1% when it`s due to borrow Rs 24,000 million from the domestic market by selling Treasury (T) - Bills and T -Bonds this week. Such a borrowing would take up its domestic borrowings to a massive Rs 869,580 million equivalent to 8.9% of GDP as per last year`s GDP figures. Full Story     Post Reply To This     Read Replies ( 55 )

MR riding artificial wave Ranil
Thursday, 18 June 2015 - 12:25 PM SL Time

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has demanded that he be named the SLFP s Prime Ministerial candidate, is riding an artificial wave which is bound to subside soon.

Addressing a group of journalists at Temple Trees on Tuesday night, Wickremesinghe, in a relaxed mood, said that the much hyped Bring Back Mahinda campaign was superficial. `Mahinda Rajapaksa is floating on an artificial wave which would not last long. It is a matter of time.`
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Sirisena will not prorogue Parliament
Wednesday, 17 June 2015 - 7:48 PM SL Time

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) believes that President Maithripala Sirisena will not contemplate proroguing the Parliament as it would constitute a total negation of the values underpinning the 19th Amendment, former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris said.

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) believes that President Maithripala Sirisena will not contemplate proroguing the Parliament as it would constitute a total negation of the values underpinning the 19th Amendment, former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris said.
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President says ready to follow SWRD path of sacrifice
Monday, 15 June 2015 - 11:34 AM SL Time

The sacrifice made by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike in the course of political and social transformation is again required by the country, President Maithripala Sirisena said.

I am dedicated to make the changes the country requires placing even my life at stake, he said. Every politician worldwide who made political transformations had to face challenges, even sacrificing their lives. I am dedicated to gain the required social, economic and political transformation in the country by uniting every social and political force, without being afraid of any challenge, he said.
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Political uncertainty continues UNP for dissolution, Sirisena seeks SLFP backing
Sunday, 14 June 2015 - 11:36 AM SL Time

The 156-day old presidency is still not running smoothly in some respects. Last Tuesday morning, President Maithripala Sirisena s security detail escorted him to the Parliament complex in Sri Jayawardenapura -Kotte. He had been told that the meeting with his MPs was to take place at a Committee Room in the Parliament Complex that sits in the middle of the Diyawanna Oya. There, he found UPFA parliamentarians had not turned up for the scheduled meeting with him. Mobile phones and radio communication sets went busy.
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Cabinet approves 20A
Tuesday, 9 June 2015 - 7:34 PM SL Time

The Cabinet last night gave its nod to the 20th Amendment dealing with electoral reforms. After considering arguments presented by members representing the UNP, the SLFP and the SLMC the Cabinet finally decided to proceed with a legislature of 225 MPs. The 225 MP legislature was the stand taken by the UNP and the SLFP, which earlier lobbied for a legislature of 255 MPs, finally agreed to compromise. The 225 MP legislature will include 125 MPs elected under the first past the post system, 75 MPs under the PR system and 25 MPs under national list. The 75 MPs elected under the PR system will represent districts. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, speaking at the Cabinet meeting, presented the proposal on 225 MP legislature and stressed the importance of not increasing the number of seats in Parliament. Several Cabinet members, including Ministers Laskhman Kiriella, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Ajith P. Perera, endorsed the Prime Ministers views and stated that increasing the number of seats in Parliament would be a burden on the public. Some Cabinet members, including Minister Rajitha Senaratne and S.B. Dissanayake, proposed to have a legislature of 255 MPs. However, after lengthy deliberations, they agreed to settle with the proposal presented by the Prime Minister. Several Cabinet members stated that concerns of minorities should be addressed when adopting electoral reforms. They also proposed various alternate measures including a double ballot paper system - to ensure a fair minority representation in Parliament. Cabinet members including Rauff Hakeem, Rishad Bathiudeen and P. Digambaram, who represented minority political parties, strongly backed this proposal. However, the majority of Cabinet members turned down this proposal stating it would complicate the entire system. At this point, President Maithripala Sirisena assured that no injustice would be done to minorities when conducting delimitation and that the government would ensure a fair minority representation. Legal Draftsman Aruna Shantha de Silva and Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya were also present at the Cabinet meeting yesterday. It was stated at the meeting that the new draft could be prepared within four days and it would be immediately presented to the Cabinet. Addressing the Cabinet briefing, President Maithripala Sirisena had said that the forthcoming Parliamentary election would be held under the present electoral system. Meanwhile, it was stated at the Cabinet meeting that President would hold discussions with party leaders of the UPFA on abandoning the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister to pave way for the 20th Amendment in Parliament. Political sources told the Daily News that the discussion between the President and the UPFA party leaders would be held today (09). Speaking to the Daily News, a senior Cabinet member said that the government would make its utmost effort to complete the whole process within four weeks. He also added that the delicate matters with regard to the new electoral system could be further developed at the committee stage in Parliament.
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MS not in favour of no faith motion
Tuesday, 9 June 2015 - 3:38 AM SL Time

President Maitripala Sirisena is not in favour of entertaining the no confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and believes that the enactment of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution should take precedence over anything, Daily Mirror learns. The President reportedly expressed his opinion in this regard at a meeting with the leaders of the political parties aligned with the United People`s Freedom Alliance(UPFA). The UFPA handed over the no confidence motion against the Prime Minister last Friday to Secretary General of Parliament Dammika Dasanayake with 112 signatures of MPs. If the motion is adopted, the Cabinet of Ministers stands dissolved. In such an eventuality, the President should pick up the MP commanding the majority support in Parliament as the next Prime Minister. According to sources close to the President, he is not for taking up this motion as a parliamentary business. Instead, the President is keen on the enactment of the electoral reforms in the form of the 20th Amendment. For that, a special Cabinet meeting has been scheduled for this evening. The sole purpose is to discuss electoral reforms to revert back to the mix of the First Past the Post System and the Proportional Representation System. According to the cabinet paper drafted in this respect, 165 MPs are to be elected from the single and multi- member constituencies. There are 59 MPs proposed to be nominated on the National List, and the rest to be elected under the District Proportional Representation System. However, some parties, both within and outside the government, are against the increase of the number of MPs. The President has agreed to incorporate the proposals of such parties during the Committee Stage of the debate. If the cabinet paper is approved by the Cabinet, it will be announced in the gazette notification to be presented later as a Bill in Parliament Full Story     Post Reply To This     Read Replies ( 62 )

Rajapaksa loyalists oppose dissolution, ready to form regime
Sunday, 7 June 2015 - 8:20 PM SL Time

Loyalists of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa have warned that a premature dissolution of parliament will be against Commonwealth principles and insisted that they had a majority to form a new government.

Former Foreign Minister G. L. Peiris said the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was `unavoidable` and should be put to a vote soon so that a new administration could be formed at the earliest ending political uncertainty.
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President vows to fulfill his promises given to people
Saturday, 6 June 2015 - 4:47 AM SL Time

It was I who gave promises to people regarding abolishing Executive Presidency, strengthening of democracy and establishing good governance as well as amending the electoral system. Therefore, I am the one who is responsible for fulfilling those promises, said President Maithripala Sirisena.

I would not let any force or person to demolish the progressive steps taken to fulfill those tasks, said President at a meeting with the leaders of civil society organizations and activists who supported him at the Presidential Election 2015. The meeting was held at Presidential Secretariat yesterday (June 4).
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Colombo fastest growing city in MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index - See more at:
Thursday, 4 June 2015 - 12:12 PM SL Time

Colombo leads the pack as the fastest growing city in terms of international overnight visitor numbers in the annual MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index released yesterday.
The rapid rise in tourism after the end of Sri Lanka s long running civil war brought about Colombo s double-digit cumulative annual growth rate over the last six years. Seven of the top 10 fastest growing cities by visitor number over this period are in Asia.

Forecasted top 10 fastest growing cities are: 1. Colombo 21.1%, 2. Chengdu 20.7%, 3. Abu Dhabi 20.4%, 4. Osaka 19.8%, 5. Riyadh 18.0%, 6. Xi An 16.2%, 7. Taipei 14.9%, 8. Tokyo 14.6%, 9. Lima 13.9%, and 10. Ho ChiMinh City 12.9%
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Sri Lankan President calls for stern initiatives to counter drug problem
Tuesday, 2 June 2015 - 6:02 PM SL Time

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Monday said the drug abuse is the main cause for poverty and deterioration of the society and called for stern initiatives to save the country from the drug menace. President Sirisena, addressing a function held at the BMICH on Monday to mark the World No Tobacco Day, said the increasing use of intoxicating drugs, alcohol and tobacco abuse had deteriorated the society that is in search of money through commercialization. Law enforcement officials in Sri Lanka have documented an increase in illegal drug seizures since the end of a decades-long civil war in 2009.
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Dissolution further delayed as 20A gets entangled in No-Confidence motions
Sunday, 31 May 2015 - 2:41 PM SL Time

The search for hidden assets of leaders of the previous Government has gone into high gear ahead of parliamentary elections. In Colombo this week to assist the local investigative agencies in this task were officials of the US Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. Their visit is the direct outcome of the May visit to Sri Lanka by Secretary of State John Kerry. During his talks with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Kerry assured Sri Lanka the US Government s fullest support to trace foreign assets and assist local agencies in ongoing investigations.
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Customs confiscate Rs. 2 b worth rosewood on transhipment
Friday, 29 May 2015 - 2:40 PM SL Time

The Customs yesterday confiscated a container with rosewood worth of Rs 2 billion, a senior official said.
Speaking at a media briefing held at Finance Ministry Customs Department Additional Director General - Thilak Perera said that it was a transhipment container which was shipped from Madagascar to China.
The container was seized by the Customs on a tip off given by the World Customs Organisation, he added.
He said the rosewood is used for making luxury furniture items. The Department has conducted investigations on this for about one year and added that they would dispose it now in an appropriate manner
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MS rules out nomination for MR.
Friday, 29 May 2015 - 2:37 PM SL Time

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday told the representatives of the UPFA that he could not agree to offer nominations to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the next election under under its betel symbol as the prime ministerial candidate, informed sources said yesterday. The President, in his capacity as the UPFA Chairman, met the leaders of the parties aligned with it politically on Wednesday evening. During the meeting, the UPFA leaders had asked about the President s stand on the proposal to nominate Mr. Rajapaksa as the UPFA prime ministerial candidate. President Sirisena is reported to have declined to nominate his predecessor. The President has said that Mr. Rajapaksa had served in politics for a long time as an MP, a Minister, a Prime Minister and the President for two terms, and therefore another member should be given that opportunity. President Sirisena also requested the UPFA leaders to cooperate with him as the chairman of the party to execute his next political programme . However, the UPFA leaders, who were present, did not agree to the President s refusal to give nomination to Mr. Rajapaksa. The no -confidence motion against the present government led by the United National Party (UNP) and the formation of a UPFA government before the declaration of the general election were also other topics being discussed. In the meantime, UPFA leaders met Mr. Rajapaksa in Colombo yesterday morning. According to a party leader who attended the meeting, Mr. Rajapaksa expressed his willingness to contest as the UPFA prime ministerial candidate. He had also endorsed the decision by the UPFA to move a no confidence motion to unseat the present government, and to form its own prior to the declaration of the election. The UPFA leaders decided to announce their final stand to President Sirisena through Party Secretary Susil Premajayantha.
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Chinese contractor strongly denies Outer Circular Highway cost is inflated
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 - 4:38 AM SL Time

A spokesman for the Metallurgical Corporation of China Ltd. (MCC), which is the main contractor which has undertaken to construct the Outer Circular Highway Phase III, firmly rejected certain media reports over the weekend alleging that the project s costs have been inflated.

The spokesman said that MCC which is the contractor for the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway is one of the top ten global contractors and hence highly treasures its reputation. It has also completed all its contracts world-wide to high quality standards with its professional knowhow. The company has always honored its contract with those who have hired it.
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Fonseka to contest Parliament polls
Sunday, 24 May 2015 - 4:56 AM SL Time

Democratic Party leader, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka says he will contest the next Parliament elections.

Fonseka said that he will contest together with other members of his political party and will later decide who to support once the elections are over.

He also said that his wife Anoma Fonseka will also contest the next Parliament elections.

Fonseka lost his Parliament seat after his civic rights were removed by the former Government.
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