President Maithripala Sirisena pledges: A crusade for socio-economic and political transformation

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President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday announced that he will crusade for an economic, social and political transformation in the country as pledged in his election manifesto.

The President while stressing that he does not have any intention to contest for the second term of office, added that he is committed to build a society where freedom, democracy, people’s sovereignty and law and order reign.

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New President sworn in

President Maithripala Sirisena sworn in as the 6th Executive President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

 

Mr. Maithripala Sirisena was sworn in as the seventh Executive President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka at Independence Square this evening.

He was sworn in before Justice K J Sripavan of Supreme Court.

United National Party leader Ranil Wickremasinghe was sworn in as the new Prime Minister.

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Maithripala Sirisena elected as President of Sri Lanka

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Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has announced that following the Presidential election held yesterday that the Common Candidate of the opposition Maithripala Sirisena has been elected as the new President of Sri Lanka.

The newly elected President is to take oaths this evening.

All Island Final Result
 

Voting for the presidential elections concludes and counting begins

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Sri Lanka's 7th presidential election which commenced at 7am this morning concluded at 4pm.  According to the Election Secretariat the election was held in a free and fair manner.  Counting of postal votes has commenced and. the ballot boxes are now being dispatched to relevant counting centers.

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Sri Lanka looking forward to warmly welcoming His Holiness Pope Francis

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On the invitation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, His Holiness Pope Francis will pay a State Visit to Sri Lanka from 13th to 15th January 2015. The Government and people of Sri Lanka are looking forward to warmly welcoming His Holiness and his delegation.

All arrangements for the visit are in place and the required constructions are progressing on schedule including the altar at Galle Face Green where the Special Mass and the canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz, which will take place on Wednesday 14thJanuary.

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Tourist arrivals exceeds 1.5 million in 2014

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Statistics released by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Tuesday showed that Sri Lanka had met its tourist arrival target of 1.5 million for the year 2014.

According to SLTDA figures, Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals rose 16.1 percent in December last year compared to the same period in 2013 with the arrival of 178,672 tourists compared to the 153,918 arrived in December 2013.

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Elections Commissioner says all arrangements are in place for a free and fair election

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Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya says that all arrangements are in place to hold a free and fair presidential election on the 8th of this month.
 
According to the Commissioner, ballot boxes will be handed over to the distribution centers today and the transfer of ballot boxes from the distribution centers to the counting centers will commence Wednesday morning.
 

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Safeguard the Motherland we have built, and take it further to heights of world -winning achievements - President Rajapaksa

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President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the wish in this New Year is a commitment to work with determination and patience to safeguard the Motherland we have built, and take it further to heights of world-winning achievements.

In a New Year message he said that his wish is that the people will have strength and courage to make this a year of victory for the nation.

Distancing from the politics of hate that gives strength to separatism, should be high among our New Year resolutions, the President said.

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Iconic Yal Devi train to travel to Kankasanthurai on January 02

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Sri Lanka's famous north-bound Yal Devi train will begin services to Kankasanthurai, the last station of the Northern Line, on January 02, Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) says.
 
The iconic train resumed carrying passengers to Jaffna in October this year after a 24-year lapse and the 21-km long Jaffna to Kankasanthurai segment was still under construction when the train resumed plying to Jaffna.
 

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President instructs relief for flood victims

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President Mahinda Rajapaksa instructed officials to reconstruct the houses destroyed by floods and landslides with the assistance of Army personnel.
 
The President who postponed his election propaganda work, visited Anuradhapura and Badulla yesterday and Saturday to inspect the relief measures to the flood and landslide affected people.
 

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Sri Lanka welcomes 1.5 millionth tourist in 2014

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Sri Lanka yesterday welcomed the arrival of German tourist Torrance Jimmy as the 1.5 millionth tourist arrived in Sri Lanka for the year 2014.
 
The German national and his wife arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL 558 from Germany.
 

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Christian message of love & tolerance could greatly benefit to the World today - President

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The world today that faces the enormous challenges of economic imbalance, poverty, environmental threats and terrorism could greatly benefit from the Christian message of love and tolerance, which began with the Star over Bethlehem that heralded the birth of Christ,stated President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his message for Christmas.

“The life of Christ saw a total commitment to the liberation of people from the bonds of the beliefs held at that time, and showed the way to freedom from poverty and spiritual liberation through the spread of love, and the spirit of sharing and forgiveness that underlines the teachings of Christianity,” he further said.

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Sri Lanka’s proposal to establish a “World Youth Skills Day” adopted by the UN

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Yesterday, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus, a resolution, spearheaded by Sri Lanka, declaring 15th July as the World Youth Skills Day. Sri Lanka initiated this resolution, with the assistance of the G77 & China, to highlight at a global level, the importance of youth skills development. The goal is to achieve better socio-economic conditions for today’s youth, including as a means of addressing the challenges of unemployment and under employment. This is the only resolution promoted by Sri Lanka at the UN in New York since 1999.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa mooted the idea of a UN Youth Skills Day in his address to the 68th Session of the UNGA in 2013. The proposal to designate a day for youth skills development was endorsed by both the youth and the policymakers, including Ministers, at the World Conference on Youth held in Colombo in May 2014. The ‘Colombo Declaration’ which was adopted by consensus, after detailed debate, called upon the United Nations to designate a day to highlight youth skills development to draw attention to the critical need for marketable skills. The successful adoption of this resolution by the UN General Assembly is a fulfillment of a commitment that was made by Sri Lanka to all youth around the world.

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Sri Lanka vehemently condemns terror attack in Pakistan

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The government of Sri Lanka vehemently condemned the terrorist attack yesterday at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan killing over 125 people including 84 children and injuring more than 100 others.

"This dastardly attack reflects the brutality of the perpetrators particularly targeting school children. The brazen and inhumane manner in which this heinous attack was carried out at a seat of learning is particularly shocking," the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
 

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Another international expert appointed to Missing Persons Commission

President Mahinda Rajapaksa had appointed another international expert to advise the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons.

The Japanese expert, a former international judge Motoo Noguchi has been appointed as the sixth foreign adviser to the Commission, Chairman of the Commission retired High Court Judge Maxwel Paranagama said.

Noguchi is a former International Judge of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims of the International Criminal Court.

Six experts from Western and Asian countries have been appointed to the Commission at several stages. They are Sir Desmond de Silva of UK (Chairman), Sir Geoffrey Nice (UK), Prof. David Crane (USA), Mr. Avdhash Kaushal (India) and Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi (Paksitan) and Judge Motoo Noguchi (Japan).

The Advisory Council was appointed in July 2014 to advise the Commission on matters pertaining to its work, including legal aspects.

The Missing Persons Commission has conducted eight public sittings up to now and 19,761 complaints had been received including more than 5,000 from the families of the Security Forces.

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President expresses concern over Sydney hostage situation

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President Mahinda Rajapaksa today expressed concerns over the hostage situation in Sydney and said Sri Lanka stands united with Australia in fighting terrorism.
 
In a Tweet this morning, President Rajapaksa said that he was deeply disturbed about the hostage situation in Sydney.
 

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Sri Lanka welcomes EU appeal on lifting of LTTE sanctions

Sri Lanka welcomes the decision of the Council of the European Union to appeal the judgement of the General Court of the European Union of 16 October 2014, which annulled measures taken by the Council to designate the LTTE as a terrorist organization and the freezing of LTTE funds.
  
The action taken by the Council of the European Union demonstrates commitment for the fight against terrorism at a time when this threat is increasingly posing a significant challenge to global peace and stability, necessitating a collective and vigorous international effort to counter.  
 

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Time for SAARC to move towards result-oriented action plans - President Rajapaksa

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President Mahinda Rajapaksa emphasized the imperative need for SAARC to move towards implementing result-oriented, actionable plans, which impact directly on the lives of the people.
 
 
He said that having evolved in structure, form and content, through almost three decades, SAARC is at a crucial juncture and now there is a need to shift from the present traditional approach and move towards implementing result-oriented, actionable plans, which impact directly on the lives of our peoples.
 

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Sri Lanka's impressive socio-economic achievements placed before UN Summit

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Ambassador Palitha T.B. Kohona, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, addressing a conference on "Approaching the Negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals" held in China on 15 November, has said detailed Sri Lanka's performance in meeting the MDG's and said " Absolute poverty in Sri Lanka declined to 6.7% in 2013 from 15.2% in 2007, surpassing the MDG mid-term target". 
 

Minister Peiris voices concerns of GOSL over OHCHR Investigation

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The Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris met the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations, Mr. Subinay Nandy today and conveyed to him, the Government’s extreme discontent regarding the unprofessional manner in which the investigation on Sri Lanka is being conducted by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The Minister’s protest to the UN Resident Coordinator focused on the unacceptable way in which the deadline for submission of evidence to the investigation, 30 October, that had been originally set by the OHCHR had been changed unofficially and re-set once again.

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Minister Peiris expresses strong displeasure at the selective and biased approach of OISL

The Minister of External Affairs, Professor G. L. Peiris on Tuesday, 4th November, met the Heads of Mission and Representatives of the main proponents of the Investigation on Sri Lanka by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the High Commissioner of Australia. The Deputy Country Director of the UNDP also participated representing the UN system.
 
Minister Peiris explained to these representatives, the details regarding the recent arrest of Sinnathamby Krishnarasa, a non-rehabilitated LTTE cadre.  This action led to the discovery in his possession of blank forms containing signatures of persons affected by the conflict. The Minister revealed how questioning Krishnarasa had led to the disclosure that he had been employed by Alva Pulle Vijendrakumar alias Sun Master, a close associate of the TNA, to obtain signatures of those affected by the conflict on blank forms on the assurance that this exercise was for obtaining monetary compensation from the UN. He had also received instructions from Sun Master to collect death certificates and National Identity Card details of persons who had lost their lives during the last phase of the conflict and personal data of war widows and photographs of disabled persons. Minister Peiris explained that Krishnarasa had revealed that the forms with signatures were to be completed with fabricated “eye witness” reports to be submitted to the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL). He observed that these revelations point to several others having been employed and tasked with the collection of similar information to be presented to the OISL, particularly as Krishnarasa was in possession of a diary containing details of 400 persons who were missing, had died or been injured.
 

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Several countries and organizations on standby to support Sri Lanka after landslides

An aerial view of Meeriyabedde where Wednesday’s landslide occurred.
Several organizations and countries expressed their solidarity and offered assistance for the people affected by landslides in Haldemulla.
 
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the agency's humanitarian wings were on standby to help Sri Lanka said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Wednesday.
 
"OCHA is in close contact with the National Disaster Management Center and stands ready to support as requested," the spokesman added.
 

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President instructs to ensure care & security for orphaned children in Haldummula

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The President during the visit to the landslide affected Meeriyabedda area yesterday (Oct. 30) made inquiries into the persons impacted by the disaster and issued instructions to the officials concerned to ensure the security and care for the children who had lost their parents.
 
President Rajapaksa visited the Miriyabedda area in Haldummulla which was devastated by a massive landslide. The President arrived at the Sri Ganesha Tamil Vidyalaya in Koslanda where the landslide victims are being housed and made inquiries into their wellbeing.
 

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Commonwealth Secretary-General calls on President

Mahinda Rajapaksa, the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, welcomes Commonwealth Secretary-General Mr. Kamalesh Sharma at Temple Trees, Oct. 27, 2014. (Photo by : Nalin Hewapathirana)
 
Commonwealth Secretary-General Mr. Kamalesh Sharma called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees this morning to brief the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office on the ongoing work and progress of objectives agreed upon at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 that took place in Colombo last November.
 
Calling it a routine “health check” of work resulting from a CHOGM, Mr. Sharma reported to President Rajapaksa that the check “is successful.”
 

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2015 Budget: Abundance of relief to all sectors

budget 2015All segments of society will receive reliefs in the form of salary increases, tax concessions, price reduction of consumer items, interest hike for savings, pension benefits and diverse subsidies and concessions.
 
Presenting the Budget for 2015 in his capacity as Finance Minister, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the country is rapidly advancing towards its desired objectives as a economic foundation has been laid during the last 10 years. This is the 68th budget of Sri Lanka since Independence and 10th budget presented by the President.
 

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Deepavali fosters understanding among communities, increase harmony - President

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The festive day of Deepavali, which underlines the great spiritual values of Hinduism, is filled with the spirit of love and devotion, and is an occasion for Hindus to strive for greater spirituality, foster understanding among communities, and increase harmony among people, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The President, in his message issued for Deepavali festival states that the religious practices and festivities that go with this festival will also add to the spirit of reconciliation that prevails in the country, for which, one looks forward to the eager and active participation of the Hindu community.

 

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