Douglas's Feed
Aug 21, 2015

Sri Lanka’s nice-guy president channels his inner Machiavelli

COLOMBO (Reuters) – A betting man would have demanded long odds a year ago on Sri Lanka completing a peaceful transition of power after years of international isolation under the authoritarian leader who brought a bloody end to the country’s civil war.

But in Monday’s parliamentary elections, the bespectacled Maithripala Sirisena, who came from nowhere to win the presidency in January, confounded the doubters, thwarting a comeback by predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa, a civil war hero to many Sri Lankans but war criminal to others.

Aug 18, 2015

Rajapaksa’s comeback fails as Sri Lankan voters back reforms

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s attempt to stage a comeback in Sri Lanka’s general election has ended in defeat as results on Tuesday showed the alliance that toppled him making decisive gains.

The ruling United National Party (UNP) fell just short of an outright majority, but Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe should still command enough support to form a stable government after eight months of minority rule.

Aug 18, 2015

Early results in Sri Lanka vote show Rajapaksa falling short

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s bid to stage a political comeback in Sri Lanka appeared destined to fail as early general election results on Tuesday showed the alliance that toppled him making gains.

If initial trends are confirmed, the results would mark a triumph for President Maithripala Sirisena, who beat Rajapaksa in a presidential election in January and called early parliamentary polls to secure a stronger mandate for reforms.

Aug 17, 2015

Sri Lankans go to polls in ‘referendum’ on Rajapaksa comeback

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lankans went to the polls on Monday to elect a new parliament in what amounts to a referendum on ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s comeback bid, with the reformist alliance that swept him from power seeking a stronger mandate.

The nationalist strongman has set his sights on becoming premier of a government led by his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). But the former ally who beat him at the polls in January, President Maithripala Sirisena, now leads the party and he rules that out.

Aug 16, 2015

Sri Lankans to elect parliament in ‘referendum’ on Rajapaksa comeback

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lankans elect a new parliament on Monday in what amounts to a referendum on ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s comeback bid, with the reformist alliance that swept him from power in January seeking a stronger mandate for reforms.

The nationalist strongman has set his sights on becoming premier of a government led by his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). But the former ally who beat him at the polls in January, President Maithripala Sirisena, now leads the party and he rules that out.

Aug 14, 2015

Rajapaksa ventures into Sri Lanka’s Buddhist heartland in comeback bid

KURUNEGALA, Sri Lanka (Reuters) – Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ventured out of his southern power base and into Sri Lanka’s Buddhist heartland in his bid to regain power in Monday’s parliamentary election, eight months after crashing to defeat in a presidential vote.

A 27-metre statue of Buddha gazes from atop Elephant Rock over the provincial city of Kurunegala where the 69-year-old strongman is running, a reminder of his appeal to Sinhala-speaking Buddhists who make up more than seven in 10 voters nationwide.

Aug 14, 2015

Whatever Sri Lanka’s election result, China’s back in business

COLOMBO, Aug 14 (Reuters) – Work on a landmark
Chinese-backed waterfront development in Colombo could resume
after next Monday’s general election in Sri Lanka, even if
Beijing’s preferred candidate for prime minister, ex-President
Mahinda Rajapaksa, is defeated.

Eight months after losing power, the 69-year-old strongman
is mounting a comeback bid. But his campaign – dogged by
allegations of corruption and abuse of power that he denies – is
flagging.

Aug 11, 2015

Murder probe casts shadow over comeback bid by Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa

COLOMBO (Reuters) – The exhumation of the remains of a star rugby player whose death is now the target of a murder investigation has cast a shadow over former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s comeback bid at Sri Lanka’s general election next week.

Rajapaksa, 69, has denied allegations by the government that Wasim Thajudeen was tortured to death in May 2012 by members of his security team and did not die in a car crash as reported at the time.

Aug 10, 2015

Sri Lankan economy strong, inflation below expectations – FinMin

COLOMBO, Aug 10 (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s economy should grow
by 7 percent this year, up from 4.5 percent last year, while
inflation will end the year far below market expectations,
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said on Monday.

Speaking exclusively on a Reuters Global Markets Forum,
Karunanayake said Sri Lanka would be able quickly to refinance
much of its foreign borrowing at lower cost after next week’s
general election.

Jul 1, 2015

After wifi at the Taj, Modi revives campaign for “digital” India

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI (Reuters) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged more companies to make electronic and digital goods on Wednesday, reviving his campaign promise to bridge India’s digital divide backed by over $70 billion in investment pledges.

Launching a “Digital India Week” aimed at popularising the government’s push to connect 250,000 villages by 2019, Modi spoke of the need to boost local manufacturing of electronics – the country’s largest import after oil.