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.
AP Explains: The latest in Sri Lanka’s political crisis
NEW DELHI (AP) — Sri Lanka is in the midst of a political crisis set off by the president's decisions to remove the South Asian island nation's prime minister, dissolve Parliament and call snap...
Sri Lankan president: I dissolved Parliament to avoid fight
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president said he dissolved Parliament and called elections to avoid possible violence inside Parliament and around the country if a vote had to be taken to decide whether his chosen prime minister or his sacked rival had the majority support.
Sri Lanka president dissolves Parliament, calls for election
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president has dissolved Parliament and called for elections on Jan. 5 in a bid to stave off a deepening political crisis over his dismissal of the prime minister that opponents say is unconstitutional.
An official notification signed by President Maithripala Sirisena announced the dissolution of Parliament effective midnight Friday. It said the names of candidates will be called before Nov. 26 and the new Parliament is to convene Jan. 17.
Sri Lanka president dissolves Parliament, calls for election
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved Parliament and called for fresh elections amid a deepening political crisis.
An official notification signed by Sirisena announced the dissolution of Parliament effective midnight Friday. It said the names of candidates will be called before Nov. 26, and the election held on Jan. 5. The new Parliament is to be convened on Jan. 17.
Deputy minister resigns as Sri Lanka political crisis grows
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A deputy minister resigned Tuesday from Sri Lanka's government after the appointment of a former strongman as prime minister plunged the country into a political crisis.
Sri Lanka has been engulfed in turmoil since President Maithripala Sirisena dismissed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last month and replaced him with ex-strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Rivals China, India cautiously watch Sri Lankan crisis
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — China and India are closely watching the constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka, which has been a battleground in their struggle for geopolitical supremacy in South Asia.
Chinese and Indian diplomats have been careful not to overtly take sides in the political turmoil, which has seen President Maithripala Sirisena oust Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, replace him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, and suspend Parliament.
Tens of thousands march to support new Sri Lanka government
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Tens of thousands of Sri Lankans marched Monday in support of a new government led by the country's former strongman, highlighting the political polarization in the Indian Ocean island nation.
The rally near Parliament came amid a constitutional crisis sparked by President Maithripala Sirisena's move to oust Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, replace him with ex-leader Mahinda Rajapaksa and suspend Parliament.
Sri Lanka president summons Parliament amid political crisis
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president issued an order Sunday for Parliament to reconvene on Nov. 14, when lawmakers will get the chance to hold a confidence vote on the nation's former strongman who has been named prime minister.
The announcement made in a decree comes amid a political crisis in the South Asian island nation sparked when President Maithripala Sirisena dismissed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Cabinet and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa last month.
Ethnic Tamil party pledges vote against Sri Lankan strongman
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — An ethnic minority Tamil party in Sri Lanka said Saturday that it will support a no-confidence motion to be brought against the country's former strongman whose controversial appointment as prime minister has plunged the country into a political crisis.
AP Interview: Sri Lanka’s ousted PM accuses rival of bribery
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Ousted Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Friday there is credible evidence that his replacement is attempting to buy support in Parliament ahead of an expected vote of confidence when it reconvenes.
Sri Lanka president summons Parliament after PM turmoil
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president has summoned Parliament to meet next week as pressure grows for him to resolve the turmoil set off when he sacked the Cabinet last week, his chosen prime minister said Thursday.
President Maithripala Sirisena made the decision a day after meeting with Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, who previously warned of possible violence if lawmakers were not summoned immediately.
US weighs in on political crisis in Sri Lanka
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States weighed in Wednesday on a political crisis that has engulfed the Indian Ocean island nation of Sri Lanka since the president abruptly fired the prime minister and replaced him with an authoritarian former leader who has been accused of serious human rights abuses.
Thousands demand president convene Sri Lankan Parliament
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Thousands of Sri Lankans marched in the capital on Tuesday to demand the president immediately convene Parliament to resolve a deepening political crisis following his sacking of the prime minister.
More than 10,000 people, including lawmakers and rights activists, marched in Colombo, shouting slogans and displaying banners and placards. They then held a rally near the official residence of the dismissed prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Sri Lanka leader swears in new Cabinet amid political crisis
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president swore in a new Cabinet on Monday despite a warning by Parliament's speaker of a possible bloodbath if lawmakers are not summoned immediately to resolve a deepening political crisis following the president's sacking of the prime minister.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya's comments came hours after dismissed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also demanded the reconvening of Parliament, saying he still controls a majority of the lawmakers.
AP Explains: How Sri Lanka plunged into political crisis
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka is in a constitutional stalemate, torn between two leaders who both claim to be its legitimate prime minister. President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and dissolved his Cabinet on Friday, abruptly ending a strained coalition government between two traditionally opposed political parties. Former strongman President Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the new prime minister and Parliament was suspended, sowing economic and political uncertainty in the South Asian island nation. A look at Sri Lanka and the origins of its ongoing political crisis:
Events in Sri Lankan politics leading up to current crisis
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved his Cabinet, replacing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa and plunging the South Asia island nation into a constitutional crisis.
Sri Lanka president: PM was sacked over assassination plot
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president said Sunday he sacked his prime minister mainly because of the alleged involvement of a Cabinet minister in a plot to assassinate him.
In a televised address to the nation, President Maithripala Sirisena said a person questioned by investigators had revealed the name of a minister in an alleged plot to assassinate him and a former defense secretary.
The Latest: Sri Lanka president cites Cabinet link to plot
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The Latest on Sri Lanka's political crisis (all times local):
Sri Lanka's president says the main reason he decided to sack his prime minister was the alleged involvement of a Cabinet minister in a plot to assassinate him.
In a televised address to the nation Sunday, President Maithripala Sirisena said a person questioned by investigators has revealed the name of a minister in an alleged plot to assassinate him and a former defense secretary.
Sri Lanka’s crisis deepens as president suspends Parliament
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president suspended Parliament even as the prime minister he fired the previous day claimed he has majority support, adding to a growing political crisis in the South Asian island nation.
Sri Lanka president sacks prime minister, appoints strongman
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena sacked the country's prime minister and his Cabinet and replaced him with a former strongman, creating what some observers said could be a constitutional crisis in the South Asian island nation.
The prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, told reporters Friday that he had no intention of leaving his post. "I have the majority. I will function as the prime minister. I will remain as the prime minister," he said.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president said the government will still end its 42-year moratorium on capital punishment despite requests by the European Union and other diplomatic missions not to do so.
President Maithripala Sirisena said the decision to implement the death penalty for drug smugglers "will not be changed under any circumstance and despite the objections raised by some factions against the move," according to the president's website.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka commemorated the ninth anniversary of the end of its civil war as a divided nation, with minority Tamils calling for an international investigation into alleged wartime atrocities and the government defending soldiers from allegations.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's prime minister comfortably overcame a no-faith vote on Wednesday, strengthening his hand within the unity government formed by parties traditionally opposed to each other.
The motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe brought by lawmakers supporting the country's former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa and debated in Parliament received 76 votes in favor and 122 against.
Twenty-six lawmakers were absent during the vote and the speaker doesn't usually vote.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's government on Thursday ended a weeklong ban on social media that was imposed because of concerns that it was being used to fan anti-Muslim violence in the country's central region.
President Maithripala Sirisena said he ordered an immediate lifting of a ban on Facebook after his secretary met with company representatives. He said they pledged they would not allow the service to be used to incite disharmony.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president declared a state of emergency Tuesday amid fears that anti-Muslim attacks in several central hill towns could spread.
Sri Lanka journalists remember killed, abducted colleagues
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Dozens of Sri Lankan journalists and media rights activists lit candles and held placards on Tuesday to remember dozens of journalists who were killed, abducted or disappeared under a previous government.
C. Dodawatta, convener of the Free Media Movement which organized the vigil, said even after three years in power, the current government has failed to punish those responsible for the crimes and deliver justice to the journalists and their families.