Sri Lanka leader vows to shed powers, appoint prime minister
Sri Lanka’s president is promising to appoint a new prime minister, empower the Parliament and abolish the all-powerful executive presidential system as reforms to stabilize the country engulfed in a political crisis and violence triggered by the worst economic crises in memory.
Sri Lanka deploys troops to capital after clash at protest
Authorities deployed armed troops in the capital Colombo on Monday hours after government supporters attacked protesters outside the offices of the president and prime minister of Sri Lanka. Hundreds of armed soldiers were deployed in Colombo as protesters made accusations on local TV that police did not interfere to prevent the attack, despite using tear gas and water cannons on protesters as recently as Friday. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Authorities deployed armed troops in the capital Colombo on Monday hours after government supporters attacked protesters outside the offices of the president and prime minister of Sri Lanka.news.yahoo.com
Sri Lanka government wins Parliament vote amid protests
Sri Lanka’s beleaguered government won a key vote in Parliament on Thursday as a ruling coalition-backed candidate was elected deputy speaker, despite growing public pressure on the government amid the worst economic crisis in decades. The vote was seen as crucial to demonstrate that the government still has majority support in the 225-member Parliament after 40 governing coalition lawmakers said last month they would no longer vote according to coalition instructions. It was feared that their move would significantly weaken the government and that it might also lose a majority.news.yahoo.com
Lawmaker: Sri Lanka president agrees to remove brother as PM
Sri Lanka’s president has agreed to replace his older brother as prime minister in a proposed interim government to solve a political impasse caused by the country’s worst economic crisis in decades, a prominent lawmaker said Friday. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa agreed that a national council will be appointed to name a new prime minister and Cabinet comprised of all parties in Parliament, lawmaker Maithripala Sirisena said after meeting with the president. Sirisena, who was president before Rajapaksa, was a governing party lawmaker before defecting earlier this month along with nearly 40 other legislators.news.yahoo.com
Rights group demands probe into Sri Lanka police shooting
An international human rights group is urging Sri Lankan authorities to conduct a prompt and impartial probe into a police shooting that left one person dead and 13 others injured during protests over the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.
Sri Lanka seeks Chinese debt restructuring amid crisis
The president of debt-ridden Sri Lanka on Sunday asked China for the restructuring of its loans and access to preferential credit for imports of essential goods, as the island nation struggles in the throes of its worst economic crisis, partly due to Beijing-financed projects that don’t generate revenue. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that it would be "a great relief to the country if attention could be paid on restructuring the debt repayments as a solution to the economic crisis that has arisen in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a statement from his office. Rajapaksa asked Wang for a concessionary credit facility for imports so that industries can run without disruption, the statement said.news.yahoo.com
Sri Lanka’s Plans to Export Sweetener in Sour Spot Over Labor Paucity
“Communities whose livelihoods used to be based on tapping and preparing the palmyra syrup have found other occupations,” Krishnarajah Selliah, a historian, told Zenger News. In Sri Lanka, palmyra is found mostly in north and northcentral regions, while kithul is found in the south. Reports from the ministry shows that Sri Lanka earned $130,000 from kithul treacle and jaggery export in 2011. “Sri Lanka is soon going to begin tapping all markets in the world, but our current focus is on the US, Canada, and Europe,” said Pathiraj. Trade data shows the total kithul exports to be 22-57 tonnes in recent years.thewestsidegazette.com
Pompeo brings anti-China roadshow to Indian Ocean islands
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo greets the gathering before his meeting with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapksa, right, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. Pompeo visited Sri Lanka and the Maldives to press the two countries to be on guard against potential predatory lending and investment by China. Even before Pompeo arrived, China had fired back at the U.S. message, accusing Washington of bullying smaller nations. Gunawardena also appeared unwilling to get involved in the spat with China, and said Sri Lanka is willing to cooperate with all friendly countries. ____Associated Press writer Krishan Francis in Colombo, Sri Lanka, contributed to this report.
Pompeo To Raise Issue of Human Rights During Visit to Sri Lanka
“… We encourage Sri Lanka to review the options we offer for transparent and sustainable economic development in contrast to discriminatory and opaque practices. “We want to partner with Sri Lanka on our shared goals of sustainable economic development and a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Thompson said. There is opposition towards the U.S because it’s an imperialist power and is trying to rope Sri Lanka into an anti-Chinese coalition. He believes the U.S. would want Sri Lanka to be part of any coalition to curb Chinese influence in the region. Pompeo is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka on Oct. 27, a day after his stopover in New Delhi, India.thewestsidegazette.com
Sri Lanka Parliament votes to strengthen presidential power
Sri Lankan trade union and civil society activists hold placards outside the parliament as they protest against a proposed constitution amendment that would consolidate power in the presidents hands in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)COLOMBO – Sri Lanka's Parliament by a large majority has approved a constitutional amendment concentrating powers under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and reversing reforms a previous government had made to curb authoritarianism. The 20th Amendment to the constitution was passed late Thursday with a 91-vote majority with 156 lawmakers in the 225-member Parliament voting in favor. This will pave the way for a sibling who is a U.S. citizen to enter Parliament, further strengthening Rajapaksa family’s hold on Sri Lanka’s political power. Sri Lanka has been ruled under a powerful executive presidential system since 1978 but a reformist government in 2015 clipped much of the president's powers and gave them over to the Parliament and independent commissions, saying successive presidents had been more authoritarian.
Sri Lanka Eyes Pompeo Visit After Securing $500M Chinese Loan
A grant of $90 million was also awarded for health care and other development in Sri Lanka. “Sri Lanka is important in maritime security, and therefore in order to explore maritime security in their favor, they would like to have a sphere of influence,” Saravanamuttu said. China’s investments in Sri Lanka, among other South Asian countries, has been a point of contention because of China’s so-called “debt-trap” diplomacy. If Sri Lanka decides [not to seek] an International Monetary Fund loan, it is at the mercy of the Chinese.”In 2016, the IMF loaned Sri Lanka $1.5 billion , which was supposed to be repaid in June this year. China’s “debt trap” diplomacy has also been a major issue in discussions about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Sri Lanka.thewestsidegazette.com
Rajapaksa sworn in as PM in Sri Lanka, cementing family rule
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa greets supporters following his election victory in the general election at his residence in Tangalle, Sri Lanka, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. Rajapaksa is likely to be sworn in the same position by his younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, after the vote that could strengthen dynastic rule in the Indian Ocean island nation. Rajapaksa took oath before his younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, at a prominent Buddhist temple on the outskirts of the capital Colombo. He was first elected prime minister in 2004 and again appointed for brief periods in 2018 and 2019. Sri Lanka Peoples Front the party led by the Rajapaksa brothers won 145 seats in the 225-member Parliament in the election last Wednesday.
Rajapaksa brothers win by landslide in Sri Lanka's election
(AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)COLOMBO Sri Lankas powerful Rajapaksa brothers secured a landslide victory in the countrys Parliamentary election, according to results released Friday. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is most likely to be sworn in the same position by his younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The election results could enable them to change the constitution and strengthen dynastic rule. Sri Lanka Peoples Front has secured a resounding victory according to official results released so far, Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in a Twitter message. Sri Lanka has largely contained the spread of the virus with 2,839 confirmed cases, including 11 deaths.
Voting begins in Sri Lanka's parliamentary election
COLOMBO Sri Lankans started voting Wednesday to elect a new Parliament that is expected to give strong support to the powerful and popular Rajapaksa brothers. His older brother, the charismatic former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is seeking a majority of the 225 seats in Parliament to return as prime minister. At least four members of the family are contesting for seats and strong support for the Rajapaksas' party could add to their political dynasty. Sri Lanka has largely contained the spread of the virus with 2,834 confirmed cases including 11 deaths. Voters have been asked to bring their own pens to mark their ballots or a disinfected pen is provided at voting stations.