Sri Lankan leader’s party to support Rajapaksa in polls
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president will stay neutral in the upcoming presidential election but his party will back a breakaway party candidate, front-runner Gotabaya Rajapaksa,...
Sri Lanka’s Sirisena exits, with reform promises unfulfilled
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has decided not to seek reelection next month after failing to fulfill many of the promises of his first term.
Sri Lankan police chief arrested over alleged threat
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A Sri Lankan court released the country's police chief on bail on Tuesday hours after he was arrested for allegedly threatening a worker at police headquarters two years...
Sri Lanka to hold presidential election on Nov. 16
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka will hold a presidential election on Nov. 16, the elections office said Wednesday, amid calls for a strong leader to boost national security as the country...
Sri Lanka ends emergency rule imposed after Easter bombings
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka has ended four months of emergency rule imposed after Easter Sunday suicide attacks killed more than 260 people, the president's office said...
Sri Lanka rejects criticism of army chief’s appointment
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's government on Tuesday hit out at foreign criticism of its appointment of a general accused of war abuses as the new army commander.
General accused of war abuses named Sri Lanka’s army chief
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president on Monday appointed a general accused of grave human rights abuses in the final stages of its long civil war as the country's new army chief, a move...
Sri Lankan president begins 4-day visit to Cambodia
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has arrived in Cambodia on a visit to expand the countries' cooperation in economic, trade, tourism and cultural...
Sri Lankan leader says bill to scrap executions is illegal
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president said Monday that the attorney general has informed him that a bill presented to Parliament last week seeking to abolish the death penalty is...
Bill to end death penalty comes as Sri Lanka plans hangings
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A bill to abolish the death penalty has been submitted to Sri Lanka's Parliament, while the president has sanctioned the hanging of four drug convicts.
Resigned Sri Lankan Muslim politicians return to government
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Four Sri Lankan Muslim ministers who resigned from their Cabinet portfolios after the Easter attacks that killed more than 250 people have rejoined the government after...
Sri Lankan government defeats no-confidence motion
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's government on Thursday defeated a no-confidence motion in Parliament that accused it of failing to prevent Easter Sunday bomb attacks that killed more than...
Sri Lanka’s top court stays executions until Oct. 30
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's Supreme Court on Friday issued a temporary injunction against the execution of four people, a week after the country's president announced he would end the...
Sri Lankan PM opposes president’s move to hang drug convicts
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's prime minister opposes a decision by the president to execute drug convicts, saying the country must conduct its affairs in a civilized manner, his office...
Sri Lanka recruits 2 hangmen ahead of planned execution
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan prison authorities have recruited two hangmen ahead of planned executions that would end a 43-year old moratorium on death penalty, an official said on...
EU says planned Sri Lanka executions contradict commitments
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The European Union has criticized Sri Lanka's move to resume executions, saying it would directly contradict the country's commitment to maintain a 43-year moratorium on...
Sri Lanka leader orders execution of 4 drug convicts
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president said on Wednesday that he has ordered the executions of four drug offenders who will be hanged in prison soon, amid alarm over drug-related crimes...
Probe advised of ex-defense secretary over Sri Lankan blasts
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's attorney general advised the acting police chief on Monday to launch a criminal investigation of the former defense secretary over "major lapses" that...
Police to face criminal probe on ‘lapses’ over Easter blast
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's attorney general on Thursday directed the acting police chief to initiate a criminal investigation against nine senior police officers for their "lapses" to...
Easter attack probe continues despite president’s objection
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A Sri Lankan lawmaker said Wednesday that a parliamentary committee will continue questioning security and intelligence officials about lapses that preceded Easter Sunday...
Sri Lanka leader opposed to police attending attacks inquiry
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is opposed to police testifying before a parliamentary inquiry into intelligence failures that preceded the Easter Sunday...
Sri Lankan church schools to reopen after Easter bombings
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan Catholic officials said Thursday that church-run schools that have been closed since Easter Sunday bombings are expected to reopen next week, and Sunday Masses...
AP Interview: President says Sri Lanka now safe for tourists
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president says "99%" of the remaining suspects in the Easter attacks on churches and hotels have been arrested and their explosive materials seized, and it is...
Sri Lanka lifts social media ban imposed after Easter blasts
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka on Tuesday lifted a social media ban that was imposed after the Islamic State-claimed Easter bombings, a sign of security easing even as a Cabinet minister said...
Sri Lanka political rivalry seen as factor in Easter blasts
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Government dysfunction and an intelligence failure that preceded the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka are traced to simmering divisions between the president and prime...
Sri Lanka shakes up top security posts after deadly bombings
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president shook up the country's top security establishment after officials failed to act on intelligence reports warning of possible attacks before the...
Sri Lanka averts rift spilling over to UN rights session
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's leader has kept his country's political rift from spilling over to a U.N. human rights council meeting this week by abandoning plans to oppose the prime...
Sri Lanka court frees Indian cleared in assassination plot
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A magistrate on Wednesday acquitted an Indian man who was detained for five months over an alleged plot to kill Sri Lanka's president after police cleared the man of...
Sri Lanka recruiting 2 hangmen before resuming death penalty
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan prison authorities are recruiting two hangmen after the president pledged to end a 43-year moratorium on capital punishment and execute condemned drug traffickers amid alarm over drug-related crime in this Indian Ocean island nation.
Interviews of the candidates will be conducted next month and two will be hired, prison department spokesman Thushara Upuldeniya said Wednesday.
Sri Lanka leader asks rights groups not to oppose executions
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president urged human rights groups on Wednesday not to interfere with his plans to end a 43-year moratorium on capital punishment.
Maithripala Sirisena told Parliament that executions will resume in the next two months.
He said many larger nations carry out executions but smaller countries like Sri Lanka are hampered by human rights groups in their efforts to control crime.
Sri Lanka seeks $1 billion loan from China amid debt woes
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka is negotiating a $1 billion loan from China to construct a highway linking the capital Colombo to the hilly resort city of Kandy, even as the heavily-indebted South Asian island nation makes arrangements to pay down $5.9 billion in foreign loans this year.
Finance Ministry spokesman M.R. Hasan said Saturday that he's waiting to hear whether terms of the loan for the highway project have been approved.
Citing drug crime, Sri Lanka plans 1st executions since 1976
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president pledged to end the country's 43-year moratorium on capital punishment and execute condemned drug traffickers amid alarm over drug-related crimes.
The statement on the government's website said President Maithripala Sirisena would order the executions soon but did not say how the prisoners would be executed. Sri Lanka last executed a prisoner in 1976. At the time, prisoners were hanged.
Sri Lankans demand justice for slain, abducted journalists
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan rights activists, lawmakers and relatives of slain and disappeared journalists held a vigil over their abductions and killings, demanding the government expedite investigations.
Freddie Gamage, an organizer of the vigil on Thursday, said that despite being in power for four years, the current government "has miserably failed to fulfil its promise to punish those responsible for attacks on journalists."
Sri Lanka passes stopgap, plans full budget vote in February
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's finance ministry said Monday that it will present next year's full budget in February after the parliament approved a 1.77-trillion-rupee ($9.39 billion) stopgap measure to cover public expenditures over the first four months of 2019, averting a government shutdown January 1.
Sri Lanka had been engulfed in a political crisis since late October after President Maithripala Sirisena sacked the country's prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and cabinet.
Sri Lankan lawmakers question Rajapaksa’s parliamentary seat
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Members of Sri Lanka's Parliament on Tuesday questioned whether Mahinda Rajapaksa, who recently quit as prime minister, can hold his seat after earlier relinquishing membership in the political party he represented in the last election.
Sri Lankan president doubts he can work with reappointed PM
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president accused newly reappointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of corrupt leadership in a scathing speech Sunday in which he voiced doubts about their ability to work together and signaled the 2-month political crisis is far from resolved.
Sri Lanka’s disputed prime minister resigns to end impasse
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's disputed prime minister announced Saturday that he would step aside, paving the way for his sacked predecessor to regain the position and apparently ending a political impasse that has paralyzed the government for nearly two months.
Mahinda Rajapaksa's resignation signals the end of a crisis that began in October when President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed Rajapaksa as his replacement.
AP Explains: Why is Sri Lankan prime minister resigning
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Supporters say disputed Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to resign in an attempt to end the country's political crisis.
The decision Friday came a day after the Supreme Court ruled that President Maithripala Sirisena's decision to dissolve Parliament and appoint Rajapaksa as prime minister was unconstitutional.
A look at how Sri Lanka has plunged into a political crisis and what could happen next:
Sri Lanka Supreme Court says president violated constitution
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's Supreme Court ruled unanimously that President Maithripala Sirisena's order to dissolve Parliament and hold new elections was unconstitutional, a much-anticipated verdict that further embroils the Indian Ocean nation in political crisis.
Sri Lanka’s sacked prime minister wins confidence vote
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's former prime minister whose October sacking by the president precipitated a political crisis won a confidence vote in Parliament on Wednesday.
Ranil Wickremesinghe received 117 votes in favor in the 225-member legislative body. The result is expected to increase pressure on President Maithripala Sirisena to reappoint Wickremesinghe as prime minister. Sirisena has vowed not to reappoint him despite criticism that his refusal violates the constitution.
Sri Lanka court orders prime minister to refrain from duties
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A Sri Lankan court on Monday ordered disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his ministers to refrain from carrying out their duties as it hears an appeal against them.
While the ruling by the Court of Appeal is an interim order, it is yet another setback for Rajapaksa, who has held on to the position of prime minister with President Maithripala Sirisena's backing despite losing two no-confidence votes.
Sri Lankan Parliament bars ministers using state funds
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan lawmakers passed a motion Friday barring government ministers and their private staff from using state funds, as opponents of the disputed prime minister put pressure on an administration they say is illegitimate.
The motion put forward by lawmaker Champika Ranawaka proposed that Cabinet ministers, non-Cabinet ministers, deputy ministers and their private staff cannot use state funds because their government has been defeated twice in no-confidence votes.
Sri Lankan lawmakers bar disputed PM from using state funds
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan lawmakers on Thursday approved a motion barring disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa from using state funds after he lost two no-confidence votes, in an escalation of the country's political crisis.
The motion was passed with 123 votes in the 225-member Parliament as Rajapaksa supporters boycotted the proceedings for a third day, accusing Speaker Karu Jayasuriya of bias and breaching parliamentary rules.
Sri Lanka lawmakers linked to disputed PM boycott Parliament
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan lawmakers supporting disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa boycotted Parliament for a second day Tuesday, accusing the speaker of bias during a political crisis that has engulfed the island nation for nearly a month.
Sri Lankan president: PM-related investigations to continue
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president on Sunday assured non-interference in ongoing investigations into abductions, killings of journalists and other crimes allegedly committed by those connected to the new prime minister and his Cabinet.
President Maithripala Sirisena said that the courts and police would continue to function independently despite Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa joining his government.
He said "no one can interfere" with the police and courts.
2 premiers and no government: Crisis confuses Sri Lankans
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Two men each claim to be the prime minister. Lawmakers are exchanging blows in Parliament. A former finance minister says the country is on the brink of an "economic anarchy."
Welcome to Sri Lanka, where the political crisis is getting worse by the week.
Sri Lanka president rejects no-confidence on disputed PM
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Lawmakers in Sri Lanka's Parliament supporting disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa threw books, chairs and chili powder mixed with water to try to block the proceedings on Friday, a day after a fierce brawl between rival lawmakers worsened political turmoil in the island nation.
Chaotic Sri Lankan Parliament rejects president’s chosen PM
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's Parliament passed a no-confidence vote against the government headed by the hastily sworn-in and bitterly disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, as lawmakers convened Wednesday for the first time since the president dismissed his Cabinet and suspended the legislature last month.
Sri Lankan top court suspends decree dissolving Parliament
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended the president's order to dissolve Parliament and hold new elections, opening the way for lawmakers to vote on whether to accept his earlier ouster of the prime minister.
Sri Lanka has been in a political crisis since Oct. 26, when President Maithripala Sirisena suddenly fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa.