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‘There is no better friend one could ever have than Krishantha Cooray’

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It is my privilege to send my fondest wishes to Krishantha Prasad Cooray on this occasion of celebrating his birthday.

To those who are unfamiliar with the background of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Krishantha is the kind of business leader and political visionary that even a very fortunate country will only see once in a generation.

Through the many years I have known him, I have found Krishantha to be, to borrow the words of 19th century journalist Carl Schurz, “one of those spirits who sometimes will go ahead of public opinion instead of tamely following in its footprints.”

“Throughout his career, Krishantha has built new businesses from the ground, and has taken existing great companies to new heights of prosperity and stability.”

As an independent non-executive director of DFCC, Krishantha applied his unique expertise in mass communications to the banking sector.

As Chairman of the Colombo Hilton, he kept Sri Lanka’s oldest five-star hotel profitable against the odds even through renovations and the collapse of tourism following the dreadful attacks of April 21st, 2019.

He was the founding CEO of The Nation and Rivira newspapers, both of which quickly grew a strong base of dedicated readers in Sri Lanka and around the world, both in print and on the internet. As Chairman of Lake House, he started the Resa newspaper, which saw similar success.

Conscious of the precarious state of the Print media industry, Krishantha helped Lake House to leverage its real estate assets into profitable lease agreements, keeping the company financially sound for years to come.

It is a sad truth that working in journalism in Sri Lanka is not without danger.

“Whenever Krishantha’s colleagues have been in peril, he has never hesitated to put his own life in harm’s way to ensure their safety, from the 2008 abduction of Keith Noyahr to the 2009 assault on Upali Tennakoon.”

As many past Presidents, Prime Ministers, senior civil servants and other officials can attest, there has been no crisis faced by our democracy in the past decade that Krishantha was not instrumental in resolving, with his unique combination of ingenuity, passion, associations and sheer force of determination.

At different times, both Krishantha and I have found our lives imperiled by standing up for what we believed in.

It was my privilege to stand by him whenever he was in danger, just as he has done for me in my darkest hours. When I was overcome by dread, by the cruelty of a pain and loss that is beyond comprehension, Krishantha dropped everything and flew across oceans to be by my side.

As I learned in my darkest hour, there is no better friend one could ever have than Krishantha Cooray.

Karu Jayasuriya Former Speaker

 



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Full implementation of 13A: NFF vows to torpedo Ranil’s move, asks Dinesh, Mahinda to disclose their stance

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

The National Freedom Front (NFF), a constituent member of Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya (NJS), has declared that it would oppose President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s bid to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The patriotic people were ready to defeat such plans, even at the expense of their lives, the party has vowed.

The breakaway JVP faction consists of six MPs, including former minister Wimal Weerawansa. The NJS is contesting the Local Government polls, scheduled for March 09, under the ‘Helicopter’ symbol.

NFF spokesperson, MP Jayantha Samaraweera, on Monday (30), told the media that his party was ready to lead a campaign against the UNP leader’s move to do away with constitutional safeguards meant to ensure Sri Lanka’s unitary status. The Lawmaker addressed the media at the NFF main office, at Pitakotte.

Having declared his intention to fully implement the controversial constitutional amendment at the Thai Pongal celebrations, in Jaffna, on January 15, President Wickremesinghe reiterated his commitment to the Eelam project during the party leaders’ meeting at the Presidential Secretariat, the former State Minister said.

Lawmaker Samaraweera asked Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, and twice President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had flanked President Wickremesinghe, at the party leaders’ meeting, to disclose their stand on 13th Amendment.

The Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya, consisting of NFF, Democratic Left Front, Communist Party, Lanka Samasamaja Pakshaya, Pivuthuru Hela Urumaya, Vijayadharani Jathika Sabhawa, Yuthukama, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Nidahasa Janatha Sabhawa, Jana Jaya Peramuna, Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya and Nidahas Janatha Peramuna, has yet to disclose its position on this issue.

MP Samaraweera attacked the President, close on the heels of NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, who is also the Chairman of the Uththara Lanka Sabhagaya (ULS), questioning the legitimacy of the move. Lawmaker Weerawansa addressed this issue at a meeting held at the BMICH, on January 26, to discuss ways and means to thwart the move to privatize the CEB.

The ULS consisting of seven political parties, and groups, is aligned with the NJS.

Referring to the circumstances UNP leader Wickremesinghe re-entered Parliament, through the National List, nearly a year after the last General Election, former Minister Weerawansa emphasized the President didn’t have a mandate to fully implement the 13th Amendment. How could the UNP leader abolish Sri Lanka’s unitary status, having received an opportunity to complete Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s remainder of five-year term, won at the Nov. 2019 Presidential Election.

The MP challenged their erstwhile comrades, in the JVP, to state their position on the 13th Amendment. Alleging that the JVP had been conveniently silent on the issue at hand, MP Samaraweera asked whether the current leadership would take up Wickremesinghe’s challenge.

In addition to Weerawansa and Samaraweera, Yuthukama leader Gevindu Cumaratunga, MP, has declared opposition to the President’s move, at the party leaders’ meeting.

Of the SLPP parliamentary group, retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera is the only MP to publicly oppose Wickremesinghe’s proposal.

Political sources said that the NJS, as a group contesting the forthcoming LG polls, was yet to deliberate this issue and take a stand. They said that consensus was required without further delay as the President’s proposal would be a major issue at the forthcoming election.

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PHU, too, opposes land, police powers to PCs

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A lawyers’ group, aligned with Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), yesterday (31) said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe couldn’t unilaterally decide on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

Attorneys-at-Law Pasan Gunasekera and Bhupathi Kahathuduwa, in a statement issued, explained why police and land powers, in terms of the controversial amendment, shouldn’t be granted to Provincial Councils. Abolition of current constitutional safeguard would undermine Sri Lanka’s unitary status thereby paved the way for a new conflict.

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Bangladesh FM to deliver LK memorial lecture

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Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, will deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture at Block 3, Jasmine Hall, BMICH, on February 03, at 6 pm.

The LTTE assassinated the then Foreign Minister, Kadirgamar, on Aug. 12, 2005.

FM Momen will deliver the annual lecture on the invitation of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.

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