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January 23, 2018 [GMT]
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President clarifies reason for seeking SC opinion
[Friday 2018-01-12 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena made a reference to the Supreme Court to ascertain whether he can serve in office for six years because there were divergent views on his term limit in civil and political circles, his office said in a statement.
The statement said the President had sought the opinion of the Supreme Court as otherwise it could lead to confusion.
The statement said his predecessors had also made similar references to the Supreme Court in this manner. It said it was a right guaranteed in the Constitution.

President Maithripala Sirisena made a reference to the Supreme Court to ascertain whether he can serve in office for six years because there were divergent views on his term limit in civil and political circles, his office said in a statement. The statement said the President had sought the opinion of the Supreme Court as otherwise it could lead to confusion. The statement said his predecessors had also made similar references to the Supreme Court in this manner. It said it was a right guaranteed in the Constitution.

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NPC calls for resuming constitutional reform, transitional justice process
[Monday 2018-01-22 18:00]

The National Peace Council has urged the coalition government to resume both constitutional reform and transitional justice processes after the conclusion of the local government elections. "The leadership provided by the President and the Prime minister will be crucial in giving proper direction to the future of the country and taking it out of the shallows in which it has been stuck for too long." the NPC said in a statement.

Singapore PM arrives in SL
[Monday 2018-01-22 18:00]

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived in Sri Lanka a short while ago on a three-day official visit at the invitation of President Maithripala Sirisena. Prime Minister Lee arrived with a delegation of 35 members. He was welcomed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake.

Two human footprints emerge on Maskeliya rock
[Monday 2018-01-22 18:00]

Two human footprints were found on a rock at the “New Fogmore” Group in Guardmore, Maskeliya in close proximity to Sri Pada by estate workers five days ago. They said they came across a right footprint and once they cleaned the moss gathered on the boulder, the left became visible adjacent to it. The right footprint is very clearly visible, while the toes of the left were invisible.

Uva Chief Minister resigns under pressure
[Monday 2018-01-22 18:00]

Chief Minister of the Uva Province Chamara Sampath Dassanayake, who accused of having forced a female principal to kneel before him, said yesterday that would step down as the Uva Province Minister of Education with immediate effect. Dassanayake is alleged to have treated the principal of a Tamil medium school Badulla in this manner because she refused to comply with his request that a student be admitted to her school.

Govt. will continue till 2020 – PM
[Monday 2018-01-22 18:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said that regardless of the challenges, the unity government will continue until 2020. While noting that persons involved in corruption and malpractices in the past were trying to change the Good Governance government, the Premier said that they will never be able to realise their goal. “The Wanni Hathpaththuwa Development plan will also be launched this year,” the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister was speaking at a UNP election rally at Nikaweratiya town yesterday.

Underworld characters in this Govt: Mano Ganesan
[Monday 2018-01-22 18:00]

National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Minister Mano Ganesan said today there were those involved in underworld criminal activities and drug trafficking in this government. He said those elements would not be allowed to scuttle the forward march of this government. “We are ready to give tuition to all the parties including the United National Party (UNP) and the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) on reconciliation. We can then stake a claim to this government. If somebody calls this a UNP or SLFP government, it will be a foolish remark. We all played a role in installing this government,” he said.

[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

The Sri Lankan mission in Canada is closely monitoring a claimed session by the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, a body of ‘elected’ members whose ideology upholds separatism in the country, official sources told the Sunday Observer. A release posted on the website of the TGTE stated, “Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam’s (TGTE) 8th Sitting of its 2nd Parliament will be held from January 19th to 21st in Toronto, Canada.” The sources did not confirm if the Foreign Ministry has lodged an official protest to the Canadian counterpart against the TGTE meeting.

Forcing a Principal to kneel: President directs IGP to probe
[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena had directed IGP Pujith Jayasundera to hold an inquiry into incident in which Uva Province Chief Minister was accused of forcing a lady Principal to kneel in front of him, officials said. The President had instructed the IGP to take necessary legal action into the incident based on investigations. Meanwhile, the Police said the Badulla Police had commenced an investigation into the incident after the Principal had lodged a complaint.

[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

The US government officially shutdown yesterday for the first time in five years after the Senate rejected a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government running. The shutdown began at 12:01 am (local time) after a few Republicans joined Democrats in blocking the crucial measure would have provided short-term funding for the Pentagon and other federal agencies, the foreign media reported. Responding to the situation in the US, the US Embassy in Colombo said in a tweet message, “At this time, scheduled passport and visa services at the U.S. Embassy will continue during the lapse in appropriations as the situation permits. The American Center is closed until further notice.”

President vows to bring economy under his control
[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said the management of the country’s economy, which had been under the United National Party (UNP) for the last three years, would be taken over by him from this year. Addressing a United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) election rally in Kegalle, the President said he appointed the National Economic Council (NEC) three months ago to provide relief to the people by managing the economy through this council. The President said he would take over the responsibility of strengthening the country’s economy while protecting all local industries, products and investments. He appealed to local industrialists and investors to join in this endeavour and not to abandon their motherland.

Uva CM steps down as Education Minister
[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

Uva Province Chief Minister Chamara Sampath Dassanayake said he would step down from the Post of Provincial Education Minister with immediate effect. The Chief Minister said he decided to step down from the post until the investigation into the allegations levelled against him was completed. The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) launched an investigation into the incident where the Chief Minister allegedly forced a school principal to kneel before him.

Kataragama protestors tear gassed
[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

The Police a short while ago fired tear gas to disperse protesting people following yesterday's shooting incident in Kataragama. It was reported that more than 60 individuals had been arrested over violence.

If Ranil removed from Premiership UNPers threaten to impeach Prez
[Saturday 2018-01-20 19:00]

United National Party Parliamentarian Chaminda Wijesiri said that if any attempt is made to remove Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe from office, the Party would definitely bring a motion in Parliament to impeach President Maithripala Sirisena. He made these comments in relation to rumours that subsequent to the Local Government (LG) polls, the Prime Minister would be changed and that a new Government would be formed.

EC says no power to unseat elected candidates
[Saturday 2018-01-20 19:00]

Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said yesterday he could do nothing about unseating a field officers or any other candidate if he had been found to have illegally contested the Local Government election and was elected. Mr. Deshapriya said unseating of an elected candidate could only be done through a court procedure and added that elections commissions had no provision to do so.

Sri Lanka, China to co-build dendro power plant
[Saturday 2018-01-20 19:00]

Sri Lanka and China on Friday signed a joint venture agreement to construct Sri Lanka's largest dendro power plant in Moneragala in the country's south. The power plant will produce 70,000 megawatts of renewable energy per year to the country's national power grid. The joint venture was signed between Beijing Full Dimension Power Tech Company Ltd, Nanjing Turbine and Electric Machinery Group Company Ltd, and Sri Lanka's IMS Holdings.

Flight diverted to Chennai as Sri Lanka closes airspace
[Saturday 2018-01-20 19:00]

An Ethiopian Airlines flight (ET638), operating on the Addis Ababa-Singapore-Kuala Lumpur sector, was diverted to Chennai on Thursday, after Sri Lanka closed its airspace for some time in connection with the Agni-V missile test off the coast of Odisha. The twin-engine aircraft, a Boeing 787-8 (ET-ATK), left Addis Ababa at 2.30 a.m. (India time). Five hours into its approximately nine-hour flight, while approaching Thiruvananthapuram, the crew were unable to continue flying on the allotted track across central Sri Lanka and its oceanic region, and the flight was diverted to Chennai. It landed here at 8.51 a.m. and later took off for Singapore at 12.35 p.m.

US helping SL counter human trafficking
[Saturday 2018-01-20 19:00]

The U.S. government will award more than 183 million rupees ($1.2 million) to counter trafficking in persons in Sri Lanka over the next three years. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs will award the new project "Equipping Sri Lanka to Counter Trafficking in Persons (EQUIP)" to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Country Office for Sri Lanka and Maldives.

Postal voting for Local Government elections to begin on Monday
[Saturday 2018-01-20 19:00]

Postal voting for the February 10 Local Government elections will begin on Monday, January 22. Officials of the police stations, Divisional Secretariats, District Secretariats and election office could cast their postal votes on January 22, according to the Director General of Election Commission, R. L.A.M. Ratnayaka. Postal voting for employees at other government institutions will be held on the 25th and 26th of this month.

SL delays implementing pledges to UN: HRW
[Friday 2018-01-19 18:00]

The Sri Lankan Government has stalled on its key pledges to provide justice for conflict-related violations and to strengthen human rights protections, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today in its 2018 World Report. It said the government took some steps in 2017 to reduce restrictions on speech and assembly, but there was little progress on transitional justice initiatives agreed to at the UN Human Rights Council in 2015.

SLPP petition for Maharagama rejected
[Friday 2018-01-19 18:00]

The petition filed by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) over the rejection of its nominations list for the Maharagama Urban Council, was rejected by the Supreme Court today. It was rejected after being considered by a bench of Judges headed by the Chief Justice.

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