Sirisena takes oath as Lanka’s president

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Updated 09 January 2015
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Sirisena takes oath as Lanka’s president

Common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena, who emerged winner at the Thursday’s presidential poll took office as the president of Sri Lanka on Friday, while the opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe took oath as prime minister from the new president.
Supreme Court judge Justice Sri Pavan administered the oath to the new president in the midst of a large gathering at the Independence Square in the Sri Lankan capital.
“I will maintain democracy, rule of law and independence of judiciary supported with a new political culture,” said President Sirisena, thanking all voters irrespective of their choice of candidates, for helping the government conduct an election free of violence,” he stressed. He also remembered with due respect the people who sacrificed their life, got physically and mentally hurt due to harassment caused by unruly elements during the pre- poll period.He pledged to give a new social interpretation to people’s life in Sri Lanka.
“I will develop a new foreign policy which would maintain friendly relations with all countries for the betterment of the Sri Lankan nation.”
“I will also pave the way to set up a government free of corruption, fraud, nepotism and felony,” he added. He also said that he has a 100-day program to abolish the executive presidency.
“I will create a background necessary for providing a balanced service to the country by immediately stopping the state media being used as a propaganda weapon of the ruling party. I will consolidate to the maximum media freedom and the right of information,” he stressed.
The outgoing president, who left the official residence for his Medamulana residence in his village, thanked the people of Hambantota for the unprecedented support given to him during his tenure of office.
Sirisena, a commoner and former health minister defeated the incumbent president, polling 62,17,162. Rajapaksa obtained 57,68,090 votes.
In his brief speech, Sirisena thanked the outgoing President Rajapaksa who facilitated a smooth transfer of power and the election department for the excellent job done to conduct a fair and free poll. US Foreign Secretary John Kerry said that his government is ready to join hands with Sirisena in his forward march toward good governance.


India seizes one ton of ketamine on boat, arrests six Myanmar crew

Updated 22 September 2019

India seizes one ton of ketamine on boat, arrests six Myanmar crew

  • India’s coast guard seized $42 million worth of ketamine

NEW DELHI: India’s coast guard has arrested six Myanmar men and seized $42 million worth of ketamine after spotting a suspicious vessel in the Indian Ocean near the Nicobar Islands.
The 1,160-kilogram drug haul came after coast guard aircraft spotted the boat, which had its lights off, on Wednesday in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the defense ministry said in a statement.
The boat’s crew did not respond to radio calls and the coast guard eventually boarded it, with officials finding “57 gunny bundles of suspicious substance” on Friday.
“Preliminary analysis ... revealed that the suspicious substance was ketamine and there were 1,160 packets of 1kg each onboard the vessel,” the ministry added.
The six Myanmar men and cargo were taken to Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where they were questioned by investigators.
They claimed they left Myanmar on September 14 and were due to rendezvous with another boat “operating near the Thailand-Malaysia maritime border line” on Saturday, the statement said.
The Nicobar Islands are located near Southeast Asia, off Myanmar’s coast.
Parts of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand are in the lawless “Golden Triangle” zone, the world’s second-largest drug-producing region after Latin America.
Large amounts drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine are churned out in remote jungle labs each year and smuggled across Asia and beyond.