Old habits die hard and Minister of Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga will attest to that. With heat of elections taking charge of the atmosphere, the senior minister of this 'Yahapalana' government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appeared to have forgotten that they came into power with a vow to establish good governance when he openly told a UNP rally in Ja-Ela recently that no one should be afraid of anyone, because the government and the Police belonged to the UNP this time. "The government and the Police are ours this time. No one should be afraid. We will deal with anyone. What we want is your vote only," he said.
Columns News - CEYLON POLITICS
The Meteorological Department of Sri Lanka earlier last week predicted that a low pressure area in the South-East Bay of Bengal will turn into a depression with Sri Lanka witnessing side effects in the form of strong winds and showers.
President Maithripala Sirisena left for the Republic of Korea on Monday (27) commencing a three-day State visit on the invitation of the Korean President, Moon Jae-in. The visit fell simultaneously with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea. After arriving in Incheon International Airport in Seoul on Tuesday (28) President left to pay homage at the Jogyesa Temple - an ancient Korean Buddhist shrine - where he encountered a pleasant surprise. Waiting to welcome him at the temple was President Moon together with the Most Venerable Seol Jeong, Head of the Jogye Order, the most prominent Buddhist sect in Korea.
President Maithripala Sirisena seems to have reached a decisive juncture since announcing his decision to become the common candidate in November 2014 by joining hands with United National Party. While there were many hiccups since then, both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe displayed a commitment towards continuing the political marriage they entered against all odds. Both leaders acknowledged the presence of differences of opinions amongst the government members who come from political parties that stood poles apart for decades. Yet, carefully thought measures were taken to nip those differences in the bud before an issue reached an uncontrollable stage as both parties had one common mission - not to let Rajapaksas return to power.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will appear before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Treasury Bonds scam tomorrow in an unprecedented incidence. Much has been said about the matter with Government and Opposition ranks arguing on the correct position - that is whether the Prime Minister has been summoned by the Commission or whether he is voluntarily appearing before the Commission.
Clad in a carefully chosen blue and green tie, Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera entered the Chamber at 3.05p.m. on Thursday (9) to present Budget 2018, which was themed, 'Blue-Green Budget; the Launch of Enterprise Sri Lanka'. "It is 'Blue' because we plan to integrate the full economic potential of ocean related activities in formulating the overall growth strategy. It is 'Green' because we build our economy on an environmentally sustainable development strategy. The 'Enterprise Sri Lanka' will reawaken the entrepreneurial spirit, coming from our ancient forefathers, enabling Sri Lanka to be a vibrant trading hub and encouraging all Sri Lankans to become co-owners of a country enriched," he said.
At a much hyped meeting, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena took a decision to contest forthcoming Local Government Elections sans its ruling partner, the UNP. The SLFP meeting, which was held at the Presidential Secretariat behind closed doors, keeping even the security at bay, was not attended by the SLFP members, led by Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa, who are in the Joint Opposition. The Party is said to be in talks with all parties and factions with a view to forming a massive electoral alliance by way of entering into various electoral and no-contest pacts.
A Greek physician once said for extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure are more suitable and this over the years transformed into the phrase 'desperate times call for desperate measures'. Similarly, the Yahapalana Government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appear to look for desperate measures amidst the growing storm threatening to overwhelm constitutional reforms due to protests by extremist groups about the description of the nature of the State of Sri Lanka.
Last Saturday President Maithripala Sirisena who was in Jaffna to inaugurate the National Tamil Language Day celebrations, took his security detail by surprise after he threw caution to the winds and abruptly alighted from his official vehicle to confront a group of protesters in Jaffna. The President was in Jaffna to inaugurate the National Tamil Language Day celebrations at the Jaffna Hindu College when the incident took place. According to eyewitnesses the President had calmly walked up to the black flag waving protesters and inquired into their problems.
Last Friday (13) an uninvited guest appeared at the Presidential Secretariat in Fort demanding an audience with the Head of State, President Maithripala Sirisena. Though not prepared to receive this guest, the staff, at the Secretariat, was too reluctant to let the guest leave empty handed. So, they sought President Sirisena's permission to send the guest in and the latter responded in the affirmative.
Following repeated assurance by President Maithripala Sirisena, the perspective of Mahanayake Theras'- at least, that of Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter- on the proposed constitutional reforms seems to have changed drastically. This was evident, when Leader of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna and Joint Opposition Dinesh Gunawardena - who his colleagues identify as de facto Opposition Leader of the country - called on Most Venerable Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayake Thera earlier this week.
President Maithripala Sirisena who went to Gemunupura Buddhist Centre in Ampara on Friday (29) to present the Akthapathra to newly elected Mahanayake of the Udarata Amarapura Samagri Sangha Sabha,Most Ven.Girambe Mangala Nayaka Thera emphasized that the draft report for the new constitutional proposals in any way does not project a concept of a Federal State.
The success of the United Nations depends upon the independent strength of its members. To overcome the perils of the present, and to achieve the promise of the future, we must begin with the wisdom of the past. Our success depends on a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty, to promote security, prosperity and peace, for themselves and for the world. We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government, but we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties, to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation, President of the United States of America Donald Trump said in his maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly moments before he called North Korean leader Kim Jung Un "rocket man," and described him as being on "a suicide mission for himself and for his regime." He also threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if the US finds itself "forced to defend itself or its allies."
President Maithripala Sirisena is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York next Tuesday 19 September. The Head of Sri Lankan State is attending the UNGA at a time when United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, during his opening statement at the 36th session of the UNHRC on Monday (11) expressed his frustration over delays the Sri Lanka Government has thus far displayed in implementing the USA co-sponsored resolution.
President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who arrived together in a super luxury Mercedes-Maybach S600 Benz to unveil 'Vision 2025'the eight-year economic plan that aims at making Sri Lanka an enriched country, were greeted by a documentary titled Nonawaruni Mahathwaruni Samawanna before anything else. The documentary was about a dark era where the country was under the clutches of 'one family' sans democracy, transparency, clarity or accountability.
Crossfire between military top brass over ‘war crimes’ will put President Maithri in a political mess
President Maithripala Sirisena is to spell-out his plans on the continuity of the alliance with the UNP today at the 66th Convention of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) at the Campbell Park in Colombo.
King Dutugemunu, according to the legend, after an all-defining victory in the battle against King Elara and the Chola troops, was believed to have had an encounter with Lord Kataragama and asked for the strength to overpower his enemies. With his boon being granted, the Kataragama Devalaya was subsequently built in fulfilment of the vow that as long as the sun and moon remains, the people of the land he united after victory shall pay their respects to the Kataragama Deviyo.
As the Unity Government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe completed reaching its second milepost without much ado, accusation and resignation seem to be the only options left with the two leaders to keep the unity within.
It completed 12 years on Saturday, since the country lost one of its finest Foreign Affairs Ministers Lakshman Kadirgamar to a bullet of an LTTE sniper. It remains a fact that his successors were far from being on par with Kadirgamar in executing duties as the Foreign Minister or gaining international as well as local respect and recognition. However, the office once treated as one of the prestigious institutions in the country, today faces a crisis of finding a suitable head to take the reins.
In his 1953 play 'The Crucible' American playwright Arthur Miller says 'there are wheels within wheels and fires within fires in this village'. This seems to be the case with the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government where none seems to take the responsibility of what is happening around them or even in their very own families. From everything that took place last week, from the alleged statement issued by the government condemning North Korea testing missile to best Finance Minister in the Asia-Pacific region not knowing who paid his rent for a penthouse he was living in, it is quite evident there are wheels within wheels.
On 29 July 1987, Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi sat together at old Parliament building (now Presidential Secretariat) facing Galle Face Green to ink the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord with the objective of resolving the Sri Lankan War by enabling the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka and the Provincial Councils Act of 1987.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has pledged that the Local Government Elections will be held in January 2018 when civil society activists led by Puravesi Balaya met him at Temple Trees, Friday evening.
As President Maithripala Sirisena was praised in Bangladesh for making a 'revolutionary transformation in Sri Lanka', the visiting UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Ben Emmerson, warned that the progress in achieving the key goals set out in the Resolution is not only slow, but seems to have grounded to a virtual halt due to lack of commitment from the side of government.
The most heated Cabinet meeting ever since the election of President Maithripala Sirisena in 2015 took place last Tuesday at the President's Secretariat with the impatient President cracking the whip against his UNP coalition partners for inaction or rather lethargy shown in taking action against the former First Family.
The day after the masses took to the streets of Bandarawela and staged a sathyagraha against Uma Oya project, the 125th Anniversary of Highlands College, Nuwara Eliya was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the D.K.W. Weeratunga Cultural Centre in Hatton. Speaking about the matter, he said the government expects to get the assistance of foreign specialists to seek the possibility to take forward the Uma Oya project by preventing the trouble caused to the people.
There is no secret about President Maithripala Sirisena looking up to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in many instances, be it doing yoga to mark International Yoga Day or following his dress-code during pre-election campaign. This time it was about ministers using mobile phones during Cabinet meetings.
During the last six months of the year 2017, a total of 63,987 suspected dengue cases have been reported to the Epidemiology Unit from all over the island.
With back to back terror attacks rocking London and Manchester, British Prime Minister Theresa May called that time has come to say 'enough is enough'.Britain came under three terrorist attacks in the last three months. Premier May said that as terrorism breeds terrorism and perpetrators are inspired to attack, not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots after years of planning and training, and not even as lone attackers radicalized online, but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack.
President Maithripala Sirisena was at Arantalawa International Buddhist Centre to mark the 30th anniversary of the Aranthalawa massacre when he emphasized it is the responsibility of all to act in a way to prevent recurrence of such a disastrous situation in the country, as the country recalls the sorrowful memories of a three decade long, brutal war.
If there is anything the incumbent Yahapalana Government is good at doing, it is to make a mountain out of a molehill. This was proved when the much hyped Cabinet reshuffle was finally staged last Monday (22). Even though, all successive governments opted for Cabinet reshuffles from time to time to divert the remorse the public felt towards them, this was the first time the public, civil society and progressive forces in government and in Parliament stood without division demanded the removal of certain ministers who were widely accused of as being involved in corruption.
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