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Scandals and corruption allegations rock nation as people struggle to survive in pandemic economy facing multiple challenges



Transparency International Sri Lanka launches to report fraud

Amid allegations of increasing corruption in the country, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has launched an online platform named for citizens to report instances of corruption to the anti-corruption body in order to redirect them for legal redress.

TISL said the website provides users an opportunity to track corruption related incidents in specific locations of the country as well as to obtain statistics on corruption-related incidents reported to

“Here in Sri Lanka, there have been numerous scandals and corruption allegations that rocked the nation in 2021 as the people of the country struggled to survive in a pandemic economy facing multiple challenges such as the loss of income opportunities and the hike in cost of living,” TISL said in a statement.

“It is in this backdrop that TISL marks International Anti-Corruption Day (December 09). TISL has chosen “Ape salli” or “our money” as our central theme this year, in a bid to highlight corruption in the form of abuse of power and misuse of public resources, which belong to the citizens of the nation.”

The move comes as what analysts say is a drop in public confidence government probes into corruption allegations, particularly corrupt past deals including misuse of power and public resources.

Sri Lanka’s ranking has deteriorated in the global corruption index compiled by Transparency International in the last three years. The island nation’s rank went down to 94 last year from 89 in 2018.

“There have been many developments that took place this year that are extremely concerning,” said TISL’s Executive Director Nadishani Perera in her message to mark International Anti-Corruption Day.

“The controversial tax amnesty granted earlier this year, the hastily passed Colombo Port City Economic Commission bill, multiple alleged corruption scandals related to sugar, fertilizer and other necessities, are but a few of the worrying developments that took place this year.”

Sri Lanka has seen dozens of public officials including key ministers in the present government who faced legal battles over misuse of power and public resources being acquitted from their cases.

Though some government critics have said many of such acquitted officials are either in or close to the ruling SLPP, the government has denied the charge and said it has never meddled with the judicial process.

Ruling SLPP members also have said most of the allegations against their members and allies are fabricated by the previous government.

“ provides a unique platform for the citizens to report incidents of corruption to TISL. Following a thorough verification process, TISL will also be able to advise the complainants on seeking legal redress and to take steps to file complaints directly with the authorities where possible,” it said.

“Citizens who have experienced or observed corruption in their day to day lives are also given a platform to write and share their stories, gain public’s attention and create a public discourse on corruption.” will also facilitate reporting on election violations including misuse of state resources and other violations of election laws during campaigning periods, TISL said.

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Earliest Sri Lanka can recover from bankruptcy is in 2027 – Dr Bandula Gunawardena




Minister of Transport and Highways and Minister of Mass Media Dr Bandula Gunawardena at a press briefing held at the Presidential Media Center today (30) said that the earliest Sri Lanka can recover from bankruptcy is in 2027, at which time it is envisaged that the countries foreign reserves which stand at USD 3.5 billion at present would increase to USD 14 billion..


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Foreign News

Pope Francis to evict Cardinal Raymond Burke from Vatican




US Cardinal Raymond Burke has been a leader in the Catholic Church for decades (BBC)

Pope Francis is evicting US Cardinal Raymond Burke, an outspoken critic, from his Vatican apartment and revoking his salary.

Cardinal Burke is part of a group of American conservatives who have long opposed the Pope’s plans for reforming the Catholic Church.

A Vatican source told the BBC that Pope Francis has not yet carried out his intention to evict the 75-year-old and the decision is not meant as a personal punishment, the source added. Instead, it comes from the belief that a person should not enjoy cardinal privileges while criticising the head of the church.

Still, the move is “unprecedented in the Francis era”, Christopher White, a Vatican observer who writes for the National Catholic Reporter, told the BBC. “Typically, retired cardinals continue to reside in Rome after stepping down from their positions, often remaining active in papal liturgies and ceremonial duties,” he said. “Evicting someone from their Vatican apartment sets a new precedent.”

White warned that the decision could “provoke significant backlash” and deepen divides between the Vatican and the US church, where there is already “fragmentation”.

Cardinal Burke has yet to respond to the news and the BBC has reached out to his office for comment.

The Pope revealed his plan to act against the cardinal at a meeting with heads of Vatican offices last week. His frustration with US detractors who take a more traditional or conservative view on several issues appears to be coming to a boil.

Earlier this month, he fired Joseph Strickland, a conservative Texas bishop who had blasted his attempts to move the church to more liberal positions on abortion, transgender rights and same-sex marriage. The removal followed a church investigation into governance of the diocese.

A few months before, the Pope told members of the Jesuit religious order in Portugal that there was “a very strong, organised, reactionary attitude in the US church”, which he called “backward”, according to the Guardian.

Tensions with Cardinal Burke, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, have been simmering for nearly a decade, with the American prelate openly criticising Pope Francis over both social and liturgical issues.

“Cardinal Burke’s situation seems to stem from his gradual alienation from the Pope,” said  White. “It appears the Pope perceives Burke as fostering a cult of personality, centred around traditionalism or regressive ideals. This action seems aimed at limiting Burke’s influence by severing his ties to Rome.”

Pope Francis with hand up in front of Vatican building
Pope Francis waves to crowds while leaving St Peter’s Square (pic BBC)

Most recently, the cardinal held a conference called The Synodal Babel in Rome on the eve of the Pope’s synod, or meeting of bishops, last month.

He also joined fellow conservatives in publishing a “declaration of truths” in 2019 that described the Catholic church as disoriented and confused under Pope Francis, saying that it had moved away from core teachings on divorce, contraception, homosexuality and gender. Notably, he disagreed with the Pope promoting Covid vaccines.

Within church politics, he and Pope Francis were at odds over the firing of the head of the Knights of Malta after the order’s charity branch was found to have distributed condoms in Myanmar.

The Pope, in turn, has demoted Cardinal Burke within the church hierarchy or moved him to posts with less influence over the years.

Michael Matt, a columnist for the right-wing Catholic newspaper The Remnant, wrote that the most recent action taken against Cardinal Burke showed that Pope Francis was “cancelling faithful prelates who offer hierarchical cover to pro-life, pro-family, pro-tradition hardliners”. He accused the Pope of putting critics into “forced isolation”.


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Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger dies aged 100




Henry Kissinger at the State Department's 230th anniversary celebrations in 2019

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has died at the age 100.

He served as America’s top diplomat and national security adviser during the Nixon and Ford administrations.

In a statement, Kissinger Associates, a political consulting firm he founded, said the German-born former diplomat died at his home in Connecticut but did not give a cause of death.

During his decades long career, Mr Kissinger played a key, and sometimes controversial, role in US foreign and security policy.

Born in Germany in 1973, Kissinger first came to the US in 1938 when his family fled Nazi Germany. He became a US citizen in 1943 and went on to serve three years in the US Army and later in the Counter Intelligence Corps. After earning bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees, he taught international relations at Harvard.

In 1969, then-President Richard Nixon appointed him National Security Adviser, a position which gave him enormous influence over US foreign policy in two administrations.


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