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Rajapaksa echos opposition's pledges; promises to reform presidency

(NIDAHASA News) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today (23) promised to reform the presidential system, just one day after he lost two-third majority in parliament to do it.

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(NIDAHASA News) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today (23) promised to reform the presidential system, just one day after he lost two-third majority in parliament to do it.

Presenting his election manifesto in Colombo, Rajapaksa vowed to implement a new Constitution “to meet people's aspirations” within one year.

Ruling party lost two-third majority it had in the parliament during last four years after two more lawmakers crossed over to the opposition yesterday.

“I admit that there are flaws in the present Constitution with incompatible patchwork amendments,” Rajapaksa said.

The incumbent's move is being seen as a response to increasing support for his main opponent Maithiripala Sirisena's campaign to reform the political system.Sirisena has already promised to abolish executive presidency within hundreds days should he win, a promise Rajapaksa failed to deliver since being elected to the office in 2005.

The incumbent also promised to allow a local probe into possible war crimes committed during civil war against Tamil separatists.

“If human rights were violated, I will establish a mechanism under the existing legal system to ensure justice in a transparent manner,” the manifesto said.

“At this election, people should decide if they should go back to an era of destabilized society or go forward with strength and stability,” said the president who seeks a mandate for an unprecedented third term, citing his massive development projects.

“Let’s raise our country to developed status, secure the nation for our children,” Rajapaksa pledged.

The 69 years old leader built a new harbor, new airport and a network of toll highways during his nine-year rule. But defectors from his own cabinet says those projects are highly corrupted, with some priced up to 2000% of benchmark price.

President also echoed many of the pledges already made by his challenger about good governance, media freedom and a new political culture.

Rajapaksa's manifesto was scheduled to release on yesterday (22), but his party announced that they are postponing it to 26th due to “unavoidable reasons.” However they later decided to held it today, after concerns being raised about ruling party's failure to present his manifesto before postal voting day.

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President orders investigations into Daham’s nightclub scandal

(NIDAHASA News) President Maithiripala Sirisena call for an investigation into the Colombo nightclub attack allegedly carried out by his own son.

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(NIDAHASA News) President Maithiripala Sirisena call for an investigation into the Colombo nightclub attack allegedly carried out by his own son.

A group allegedly led by Sirisena’s son Daham attacked Clique nightclub at Town Hall, Colombo last Friday (07), allegedly after they were denied entry to the nightclub around 2.00 am. A security guard was admitted to the Colombo National Hospital following the attack with head injuries.
However, speaking to Sri Lanka Mirror web site, police denied any connection of President’s son to the incident.
“He had arrived there around 7.00 pm, and it was a long time later that the clash took place,” Sri Lanka Mirror quoted the police.
In 2013, during the time his father was a minister, Daham Sirisena was accused of attacking a youth at Passikudah beach.

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Severe weather: over 200 families missing

(NIDAHASA News) Over 200 families missing after a massive landslide in Aranayaka, in Kegalla district.

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(NIDAHASA News) Over 200 families missing after a massive landslide in Aranayaka, in Kegalla district.

“16 bodies have already been recovered and about 180 people have been rescued,” said military spokesman Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera.

“The task is to figure out what happened to them,” the Red Cross said in a statement, noting that some people may have left after local officials warned earlier this week of possible landslides.

The Disaster Management Center (DMC) reported over 350,000 people were affected by floods and landslides caused by massive rains.

Meanwhile warning has been issued to several suburbs areas of capital Colombo due to the increasing water level or Kelani river. People living in Wellampitiya, Megoda Kolonnawa, Sedawatte, Kohilawatte and surrounding areas have been asked to move to a safe place.

The depression, named BOB 01 is currently moving towards South India; however rain will continue for several areas in Sri Lanka until the end of this week, weather specialists say.

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Sri Lanka's firebrand Buddhist monk arrested

(NIDAHASA News) Supporters of Galagodaatte Gnansara started a violent protest in front of Homagama court after magistrate ordered to remand infamous Buddhist monk till 09th February.

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(NIDAHASA News) Supporters of Galagodaatte Gnansara started a violent protest in front of Homagama court after magistrate ordered to remand infamous Buddhist monk till 09th February.

The General Secretary of extreme Buddhist movement Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) surrendered to the court this morning (26) after magistrate ordered police to arrest the for alleged contempt of court. He was accused of making an argument with the judge during the court hearing of disappeared journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda's habeas corpus.

Gnanasara has alleged that arresting the Army officers over Ekneligoda's disappearance was illegal and the prosecution should be arrested for “illegal arrests” of military officers. The counsel representing the missing journalist's family informed the court that the monk has also threatened the journalist's wife Sandhya.

Protesters, including a group of monks attempted to enter the court premises challenging the court's order to arrest their General Secretary and tried to block the prison vehicle. Police however managed to take Gnanasara to the remand prison with the support of extra police team.

Gnanasara and his BBS had been accused of inflaming religious tension between Majority Buddhists and Muslims. They were also accused of being a cat's paw of previous Rajapaksa regime. However BBS denied any secret relationship with Rajapaksa brothers.

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