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TNA will not seek redress from courts over post of opposition leader

The Tamil National Alliance will not seek redress from courts over the post of opposition leader sources within the party said. The party was in a tussle over the post with UPFA MP Mahinda Rajapaksa who was named by the Speaker as Opposition Leader on December 18 despite objections. 
The TNA maintained that its leader R. Sampanthan remained as Opposition leader as Rajapaksa had obtained the membership of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, a party that did not contest the last General Election, thereby cancelling his parliamentary membership according to the constitution. 
However, TNA sources say they believe another party or individual may file a case against the appointment of Rajapaksa as opposition leader in the coming days.

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Keshal Jayasinghe appointed as SELASINE Chairman

Keshal Jayasinghe has been appointed as the New Chairman of the SELASINE Rupavahini Institute by Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera. 

Jayasinghe is an old boy of Royal College, Colombo. He is also a graduate of San Francisco State University. 

Jayasinghe was previously a coordinating secretary to Minister Mangala Samaraweera.

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New Governors for 5 provinces swear in before President 

Newly appointed Governors for five provincial councils were sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat today (04). 

Accordingly, the new set of appointments are as follows :  

Mr. Azad Sally– Western Province

Mr. Satendra Maithri Gunaratne- Central Province

Mr. Sarath Ekanayake- North Central Province

Mr. Peshala Jayarathna Bandara- North Western Province

Mr. M. L. A. M. Hizbullah- Eastern Province

President Maithripala Sirisena had earlier requested the previous Provincial Governors to submit their resignation by the end of 201.

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A Special Committee led by PM Wickramasinghe 

A new committee is to be formed to study cabinet papers put forward by Ministers prior to being presented to the cabinet. According to Minister of Buddha Sasana Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, the committee will be led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe. 

The aim of the committee is to expedite important cabinet papers while also avoiding any clashes with the President, Jayawickrama said. 

The first cabinet meeting for 2019 will be held on January 3 at the President’s Office presided by President Maithripala Sirisena.

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Sasikala from Sri Lanka becomes the third woman to enter Sabarimala

A 46-year old woman from Sri Lanka, Sasikala, entered Kerala’s Sabarimala temple on Thursday night, making it the second time women broke the faith barrier in the controversial hillshrine after the Supreme Court overturned the ban for women between the age group of 10 and 50 in the temple.

On Wednesday dawn, two women, Bindu Ammini and Kanakadurga, had created history by entering the temple against the ban, igniting a firestorm of protests in Kerala that was marked by violence and arson on Thursday.

Reports of Sasikala’s visit has been speculated in the local media late night on Thursday, but the police officials on duty near the temple and a relative of Sasikala, speaking to reporters, had denied it. On Friday, the closed circuit camera visuals obtained by the local media suggested a woman’s spotting near the sanctum, assisted by two police officers in civilian dress.

The police have now confirmed that 46-year-old Sri Lankan woman, Sasikala, visited the Sabarimala temple, reported Hindustan Times. They said initially the news was denied as part of a strategy to ensure Sasikala’s safe return from the temple site.

Speaking to reporters, Sasikala had said that she is a devotee who has taken the ritualistic 41-day penance and cannot be stopped by anyone. She also presented reports to the police, proving to have undergone a uterus removal surgery, said local reports. The faith in Sabarimala holds menstruating women as impure. The visit has sparked protests near the temple, local reports said.

The development comes just as Kerala was limping back to normalcy after a day of heavy clashes between Sangh Parivar and Bharatiya Janata Party supported protestors stormed the state with violence over the temple entry, a move that resulted in violent clashes with the police and the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers, among others.

As of Friday morning, the police have arrested about 1369 protestors, in 801 cases and kept another 717 under preventive custody. The protests and the violence were largely subdued, but continued in parts of Kerala on Friday. In Adoor, about 50 houses, including those related to CPM workers, were vandalized by protestors, said local reports.

The controversy also reached Lok Sabha on Friday, where Congress and BJP parliamentarians attacked the ruling CPM government over facilitating women entry to Sabarimala while a review petition to reinstate the ban on women is pending before the Supreme Court.


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2019 a year to strengthen democracy and for political change: JVP New Year Message

Releasing a statement for 2019 that has dawned, Leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Anura Kumara Dissanayake says in 2019 the main responsibility is to set up an administrative system that strengthens democracy instead of continuing with a constitutional dictatorship following the democratic challenges faced by the country in 2018. While hinting that a new political change is the need of the hour he also said the new year would be auspicious if the masses in this country are capable of taking a new political decision in the New Year. “For this, we should be bold enough to look at the society anew and take decisions with new ideas and attitudes after casting away old ideologies and attitudes,” he said. 

Full text of the statement below : 

According to the calendar we all use, the New Year 2019 has dawned. When a year ends and a new year begins, we wish each other ‘Happy New Year’; send New Year cards. Despite this tradition of wishing each other at the dawn of the New Year being continued for ages, it has not gone beyond a mere wish for many of us. In reality, the past years have not been auspicious for a large majority in our society. This was the truth. It is not a question about the honesty of those well-wishers but what is linked to the broader socio-economic-political construction.
We wind up the old year 2018 and enter the New Year 2019 carrying with us the socio-economic-political crises and a number of challenges that have burdened us for 70 long years. The economy of the country that doesn’t create new means has gravely deteriorated. The rulers who have no vision of building the country burden it with more and more debt while the masses are fatigued with the burden of taxes and the cost of living. National assets are further plundered with the greed for ministerial portfolios and prestigious. The defeated former rulers strive hard to prevent legal action being taken against them for plundering public assets during their term. This is what exists as an unholy axis. 

Fraud, corruption, thieving and waste have spread from top to the bottom of the society and the media has reported that Sri Lanka is ranked top in the latest list of the most corrupt countries in the world. Now, would the new year become auspicious when wished with hollow words? This is the factor we all should ponder in the New Year.

Last year ended with a challenge to democracy in the country. As such, we also have, in this New Year, the responsibility of setting up an administrative system that strengthens democracy instead of continuing with a constitutional dictatorship.

However, we need not be pessimistic. There is a path before us to make the New Year auspicious. It is by getting away from the futile socio-economic-political path we have been following and resolving to enter a new political journey. We firmly believe that the new year, as well as the future of our people and the country, would be definitely auspicious if the masses in this country are capable of taking a new political decision in the New Year. For this, we should be bold enough to look at the society anew and take decisions with new ideas and attitudes after casting away old ideologies and attitudes.

This new year dawns with an omen for a new beginning. We wish all Sri Lankans, who are getting prepared to cast aside everything antiquated and futile so that they would think anew to take new decisions, courage and strength and a genuinely auspicious New Year.

New Year is for change. Let’s make change happen!

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Sri Lanka lack policies to tackle money laundering and terror financing, says watchdog

The Reserve Bank of India on Thursday said inter-governmental body Financial Action Task Force has called on its members to take steps to protect the financial system from threats emanating from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. 

According to the top bank, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have been included in a list of nations with “strategic deficiencies” in their approach towards anti-money laundering measures and the crackdown on financing of terrorism. 

The inter-governmental organisation said Sri Lanka has taken steps since November 2017 to meet its demands. 

“Sri Lanka should continue to work on implementing its action plan to address its strategic deficiencies, including by enhancing risk-based supervision high-risk Designated Non-Financial Business or Profession, including through prompt and dissuasive enforcement actions and sanctions, as appropriate; and demonstrating effective implementation of its targeted financial sanctions obligations related to proliferation financing,” the statement said. 

The Financial Action Task Force, set up in 1989, works to stop money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the international financial system. The task force has listed the Bahamas, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Serbia, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen as other countries that need to crack down on money laundering and terror financing.

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Vice Admiral Priyal De Silva appointed as New Navy Commander 

A New Navy Commander was appointed yesterday by President Maithripala Sirisena following the retirement of Vice Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe. According to sources Ranasinghe had not requested a service extension in a bid to make way for other top-ranking officers. 

Accordingly, President Sirisena appointed Vice-Admiral Priyal De Silva as the new Navy Commander yesterday. The new navy commander will commence his duties from 1 January 2019.
Rear Admiral Priyal de Silva, served as Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy prior to his appointment will be the 23rd Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy. Meanwhile, Ranasinghe received a promotion to the rank of admiral following his retirement in honour for his service.

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Mangala explores avenues to maximize GSP+ with visiting EU parliamentarians

Two European Union Parliamentary Members, Lord William Dartmouth and Hon. Geoffrey Van Orden, who visited Sri Lanka as members of the “Friends of Sri Lanka Group”, paid a courtesy call on the Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday.

Discussions had focused on matters of mutual interests and both parties had agreed to enhance bilateral trade and tourism cooperation.

Samaraweera also said that they further explored ways and means of maximizing benefits for Sri Lanka under the European Union’s GSP+ trade facility.

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Commonwealth commends PM for commitment to democratic process

The Commonwealth congratulating Sri Lanka's reinstated Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe commended the Premier and other political stakeholders for defending the democratic process and upholding the rule of law and the constitutional framework.
"I commend you and other political stakeholders for your steadfastness in defence and support of the rule of law and the constitutional framework," the Secretary-General of Commonwealth Patricia Scotland, QC said in a congratulatory message to Prime Minister Wickremesinghe.
The Secretary-General welcomed the peaceful resolution of the political crisis in Sri Lanka and offered the Commonwealth's steadfast support to Sri Lanka to improve political reconciliation, progress constitutional reforms and entrench the rule of law.

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Father of 'The Sunday Morning' Editor Mandana Ismail passes away 

Father of ‘The Sunday Morning’ Editor Mandana Ismail, Mohamed Sadiq Mathany Ismail passed away last night. He was the husband of Ajantha De Silva, the Father - in - Law of Romesh Abeywickrama and Grand Father of Sharanya Abeywickrama. 

The last rites will be held at the Jawatte Muslim Burial grounds today. The Janaza is located at Lauries Lane, Colombo 4.

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Ravi K pledges to make CEB profitable

The Ceylon Electricity Board will be made a profitable institution and measures will be taken to provide subsidies to the customers, says Minister of Power, Energy and Business Development Ravi Karunanayake.
He stated this during a meeting held with the representatives of 58 trade unions of Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) yesterday. Majority of the representatives pointed out that many institutions including the CEB are engaged in undisciplined financial activities.
They also pointed out that rendering the supply of electricity services to a private company despite the redundancy of employees causes a huge loss to the government. Accordingly, the Minister had promised to make the CEB a profitable institution and provide subsidies to its customers by making reductions in electricity bills.
Minister Karunanayake had also stated that he intends to remove financial and employee anomalies prevailing in the CEB.
The meeting, held at the Power and Energy and Business Development Ministry, was joined by the State Minister of Power & Renewable Energy Champika Premadasa, Secretary to the Ministry B.M.S. Batagoda, General Secretary of CEB Employees’ Union Ranjan Jayalal, Secretary of CEB National Workers’ Association Ajith Devapriya and several others. (Derana)

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