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The “Illegitimate” appointment of the North-East governor

Mar 23 (TC) Provincial council elections for the Eastern Province are scheduled for May 10th this year. According to gazette notification on March 13th, nominations for Eastern provincial polls will be accepted from March 23rd to April 3rd. It appears that the eastern provincial stakes would attract more political parties than the recently concluded local authority polls for Batticaloa district. more..

Warnapura ton gives Sri Lanka the edge

Mar 23 (CI) Having notched up a hundred and a fifty in a warm-up match at the Providence Stadium, Malinda Warnapura returned to the venue, which became the 97th to host Test cricket, and celebrated with a maiden century. The lack of bounce on a typical Guyanese featherbed allowed Warnapura to hit through the line without any inhibitions and he helped himself to 120 to lay a solid platform for Sri Lanka. more..

UNICEF employee nabbed with heroin

Mar 23 (LB) Police have been ordered to orchestrate a media cover up after an expatriate representative of the UNICEF was caught with 200 mg of heroin in her possession by Kollupitiya Police. Political and diplomatic bigwigs have prevailed upon police to abandon the case after the UNICEF employee was arrested over the possession of heroin. The 27 year-old US national, was arrested by the Kollupitiya Police last week after more..

Of dissension and the East - the latest from the political front

Mar 23 (LB) Political divisions would never be subsumed — no not even in death. Chandrika Kumaratunge former President would not give Maithripala Sirisena the opportunity to read the President’s statement last week at her brother’s funeral. But D.M. Jayaratne was deemed tolerable and he read out the statement which basically had to be negotiated, because “the President was insisting,” a Presidential aide told Kumaratunge. more..

Determined not to cooperate

Mar 23 (LB) The SLFP Central Committee meeting at Temple Trees the other day saw in attendance more than 2,000 members, including ministers and parliamentarians. Just before it started, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in closed door discussions with some trade unions when he was informed that former president Chandrika Kumaratunga had arrived. He immediately called Shanika Gopallawa, a daughter of the late Monty Gopallawa who is now employed at the presidential secretariat, more..

Police nabs Ring leader and six others

Mar 23 (LB) The arrest of six suspects last week has exposed a major international credit card racket in which suspects have drawn millions of dollars using forged credit cards, police sources reveal. The Special Police Investigation Team of the Criminal Investigation Department last week arrested six suspects on a tip off by a police informant. Six suspects (all Tamils) including their alleged ring leader Ajith were arrested, when they were a floor tile sales shop at Nawala Road in Colombo, more..

Anura Bandaranaike – memories of the "boss"

Mar 23 (LG) The passing away of Anura Bandaranaike on a gloomy afternoon on 15th March 2007 was a moment of intense grief and sorrow to those of us who were privileged to be his close friends. Anura Bandaranaike was born to one of Sri Lanka’s most distinguished families on 15th February 1949. Although he belonged to one of Asia’s most powerful dynasties, Anura Bandaranaike was an extraordinary man full of humility and simplicity. more..

Bevan enters cinema with ‘The Leader’

Mar 23 (LG) London-based entrepreneur Bevan Perera produced 'The Leader', Ranjan Ramanayake's latest film in March. Bevan, a businessman and buddy and a classmate of Ranjan says that his intention is to make films that could be taken outside the country. "Talents and capability of actors of the calibre of Ranjan should be taken to the outside world," Bevan said, naming some of the countries such as more..

Electricity and the blunders of politicians

Mar 23 (LG) It is with disgust and anger that I hear political leaders and politicians of every hue lamenting over the plight of consumers who have to face a sharp increase in electricity tariff. To give vent to my feelings and for the information of readers (consumers), it is best to go back to the 1980s, so that the politicians could be reminded of what the future would be, if a lesson is not drawn from the past blunders of politicians. more..

Anglican Bishop takes a stand against media abuse

Mar 23 (LG) The statement of the Rt Rev Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo cannot be timelier and most appropriate than now when Sri Lanka is hurtling rapidly towards anarchy and in this, the country’s media is being subjected to most horrendous attacks. Apart from Minister Mervyn Silva who should have been fired from the Cabinet long ago, there are other elements within the media itself that are working against the media and is obviously in collusion with the government. more..

Father Jeyakumaran lets a missile against the JDCSI

Mar 23 (LG) Rebel priest Father Sellathurai Jeyanesan’s Resident-in-Sri Lanka Caretaker of the Church of the American Ceylon Mission (CACM), Father Annappah Jeyakumaran should have been disrobed some years ago when he stole some millions from a Swiss organization that was meant for the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India (JDCSI). When the felony was bared he was foolishly quick to blame the LTTE as having seized the funds from him. more..

Inside story of UFAC attack

Mar 23 (SLW) The source of the explosion is not 100% confirmed as of yet. According to the rescued sailors, the craft was rocked by a blast that severely damaged its hull. However pro LTTE media reported that the UFAC was destroyed in a suicide attack and admitted the loss of 3 suicide cadres. Military intelligence had previously uncovered that Norwegian ex special forces members provided underwater demolitions training to LTTE cadres in Thailand. more..

Frustrated Karu Group seeks way forward

Mar 23 (LeN) The majority of the seventeen UNP MPs who crossed over to the government to obtain portfolios are now holding talks with a few senior UNP MPs with the hope of rejoining the UNP as rumors are spreading on a snap poll in August. A UNP MP is who is having talks with the Karu Group said that the dissidents have put a condition of retaining the party positions they held prior to the crossover for rejoining the party. more..

Unfolding new scenarios in the forthcoming East PC election

Mar 23 (AT) Eastern Provincial elections is ‘hotting up.’ Except for the TNA who under the orders of Tiger leader not to dabble in the East Provincial Council election, are said to be still undecided, but it seems that they may decide to keep away, but all the other political parties have decided to enter the fray in the forthcoming election. The election formation shows that the UPFA is on one side and other political parties are on the other side to oppose the UPFA, though there is no broad opposition alliance to do so. more..

The Right of Impunity and the Right to Protect

Mar 23 (AT) When the rulers of a country arrogate unto themselves the right of impunity the people are compelled to look elsewhere for protection. If the judiciary remains relatively independent, if there is a strong and active opposition, if the media is free and forthright, the aggrieved have recourse to democratic and internal institutions in their search for redress. What if the judiciary has been co-opted, the opposition is weak and the media is cowed? more..

Second fascist front -a fractious family affair

Mar 23 (SL) UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella speaking during the emergency debate in parliament on March 5 spoke of the human rights situation in the country and tabled the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) Special Report No.29. The report dated February 21 is titled The Second Fascist Front In Sri Lanka - Towards Crushing The Minorities And Disenfranchising The Sinhalese. The authors of the report are the current recipients of the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights. more..

Panic over provincial election amidst global hostility on the rights front

Mar 23 (SL) While the ruling UPFA was busy working round the clock last week to put together a broad coalition for the up coming provincial council election in the east, the international community served a red notice on the government which spelt economic disaster for the country at a time the war was also reaching a stalemate scenario. The government was always vulnerable on the economic front not only due to escalating military costs but more..

President caught in a judicial bind

Mar 23 (SL) Influence is not government, but to a pedestrian thinker like Mahinda Rajapakse who vigorously resists any form of independence or rule of law it is an integral part of his staying power. And as much as Rajapakse strives to maintain a stranglehold on vital appointments in the country, there is an irony in the government's selective enchantment with legislation inspired and enacted by the UNP. more..

How the Rajapakses helped themselves

Mar 23 (SL) As the Airport and Aviation Authority (AAA) celebrates a quarter century, angry unions are coming out with a string of accusations against the present administration ranging from malpractice, extravagance in donations to religious institutions costing millions of rupees to the institution. Airport workers accuse the administration of shamelessly turning a blind eye to the workers' collective request to reward employees who have served the institution over the past 25 years, more..

Sri Lanka using customs authorities to censor academics: report

Mar 23 (LBO) Books written by academics based in Sri Lanka which were printed abroad had been seized by the island's customs authorities, in a move which could be a new form of censorship, a media report said. The Sunday Times newspaper said a book by economic researcher Mutukrisna Sarvanandan, from the Point Pedro Institute of Development had been detained by Sri Lanka's customs authorities. more..

President asks Pillayan cooperate with Tamil parties

Mar 23 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked Sivaneshathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, who leads the TMVP, to cooperate with Tamil parties affiliated with the government at the eastern provincial council elections, sources at the Presidential Secretariat say. The president’s request to Pillayan to cooperate with parties such as the EPDP and the EPRLF came after the government formed an alliance with the TMVP to contest the May 10th polls. more..

‘Sri Lanka's weather patterns are becoming more severe and unpredictable’

Mar 23 (GDI) ‘Observing Our Planet for a Better Future’ is the theme title selected by the Sri Lanka Meteorology Department to mark this year’s World Meteorology Day which falls today (23). A special instructive programme was conducted by the department focused on educating the local individuals engaged in observing the meteorological parameters around the country. The objective of this programme is to enhance the knowledge on the earth’s atmosphere and its changes, used specially in forecasting the weather. more..

Lord Malloch-Brown commends SL move towards Eastern elections

Mar 23 (GDI) While welcoming the initiatives taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to hold elections in the East, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, Minister of State for Foreign and Common-wealth affairs said that he looked forward to a continuing engagement with Sri Lanka on the political process and matters connected with the GSP+ arrangements. He made these comments when he met Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London on Thursday (20). more..

Irrigation facility to 7000 cultivable lands in East

Mar 23 (GDI) Under the ‘Eastern Reawakening’ development programme, the rehabilitation work of the Allal irrigation tank in Trincomalee, which provides irrigation facilities to over 7,000 hectares of fertile lands in Mutur, Seruvila and the Echchillampaththu Divisional Secretariats, has been expedited, the Government sources said on Sunday (23). The Rs.200 million worth World Bank funded project will be completed by 2010 and will serve f0r about 10,000 families in cultivation. more..

Sri Lanka faces loss of seat at UNHRC

Mar 23 (LNP) Sri Lanka is in danger of being ousted from the United Nations Human Rights Council when it re-contests for an Asian seat at the next election schedule for May. At the time of writing Sri Lanka has been able to garner only about half the required votes from the UN s 192 members who vote by secret ballot, informed sources said. According to first-past-the post voting system, Sri Lanka will need at least 125-130 votes to get a seat. more..

US concerned over Lanka s ties with China, Iran and Russia

Mar 23 (LNP) The United States has clearly indicated that it has serious concerns over Sri Lankan Government s growing ties and diplomatic relations with anti-US axis, with countries like China, Iran and Russia. It is learnt that the US State Department has already displayed its displeasure over Sri Lanka s bilateral relationship with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad s administration. more..

LTTE tries to drive wedge between Lanka and India

Mar 23 (LNP) Minister of Highways and Road Development, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle has accused the LTTE of trying to create animosity between the Governments of India and Sri Lanka by attacking Indian fishermen. Minister Fernandopulle was speaking after attending a special Good Friday service at St.Mary`s Church in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. The Minister participated in the service along with his family members and prayers were also offered to invoke blessings on Sri Lanka. more..

Anura Bandaranaike

Mar 23 (LNP) S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike believed that his luck changed when his son, Anura, who died last Sunday, was born. That perhaps influenced his decision to quit the UNP and found his own Sri Lanka Freedom Party. The landslide of 1956 which Bandaranaike himself probably did not expect, although he was confident of victory, was the result. Thus began the Bandaranaike dynasty, with Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike and then Chandrika Kumaratunga assuming national leadership. more..

Lankan HR Action Plan before UN

Mar 23 (SAMN) Sri Lanka has formulated a National Action Plan on human rights to be presented to the Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) on Tuesday (25). The Action Plan, scheduled to be published in the OHCHR website to enable a healthy interaction on the Sri Lanka country report., will be discussed at a three-hour ‘Peer Group Review,’ interactive session, at the UN Human Rights Council on May 13. more..

Oil pipeline fiddle in the offing

Mar 23 (SAMN) For want an efficient government mechanism to ensure transparency in tender procedures, almost all major government transactions, especially those in the lucrative oil sector, have been shrouded in controversy. Highly placed sources said that despite revelation of a growing number of fraudulent activities in the state petroleum sector, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration is yet to restore financial discipline in this segment. more..

Illegal export of butterflies

Mar 23 (SAMN) The export of butterflies behind the back of custom authorities, specially through the post, for various research activities has seriously endangered the continued existence of 244 varieties of butterflies in Sri Lanka, caution the country’s environmentalists. According to environmentalist Attorney-at-Law Jagath Gunawardena, of the 244 varieties of butterflies identified in Sri Lanka 22 are in extreme danger of extinction while 30 varieties are in danger of extinction. more..

General election by Aug. warns JVP

Mar 23 (SAMN) The JVP has warned that the present government would not be able to present a budget for 2009 and that the government would be dissolved and a general election called by either July or August. JVP politburo member and parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake addressing a rally in Matara also said that the economic policies of the government were pushing the country further into an abyss. more..

Liberation for people in North soon - TMVP

Mar 23 (SO) The TMVP said that the people of the East were thankful to the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government and the military for ending the fearful era under the clutches of the LTTE terrorists. The first woman Mayor of the Batticaloa district, Sivageetha Prabakharan of the TMVP told the 'Sunday Observer' that the TMVP hopes the Government would liberate the people in the North from the LTTE terrorists soon. more..

Reconciliation and Peace

Mar 23 (SO) The feast of Easter is the most important feast in the Liturgical calendar. All other liturgical feasts, including Christmas, are focused towards this and get their meaning from Easter. St. Paul put this succinctly when he wrote that "If Christ has not been raised then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain" (1 Cor 15:14) In this feast we commemorate Our Lord's rising from the dead. And this is the basic tenet of our faith. more..

Present and past Ministers on media freedom...

Mar 23 (SO) This is a time where media freedom and independency have become the key topics of all levels of the society. Hence, Face 2 Face this time sought the independent views of past and the present Ministers of the media. These are their views. Q: What is your point of view on 'independent media'? A: There are several meanings to it. In the Sri Lankan context I would say that people do enjoy absolute right to find the truth. more..

Indian herbs to be produced in Lanka

Mar 23 (SO) Forty-four herbs used in ayurvedic medicine which were earlier imported from India, are now being cultivated under the "Osu Gammana" and "Herbal Farm Garden" projects implemented by the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine. Sri Lanka is now self-sufficient in some herbs such as "Katuvalbatu" and "Ginger" said the Minister of Indigenous Medicine, Tissa Karalliyadda. Fortunately Sri Lanka commenced cultivation of ayurvedic herbs under the "Osu Gammana" and "Herbal garden" projects in 2005. more..

JVP to introduce new Bill

Mar 23 (NS) The JVP is planning to introduce a new Bill to Parliament to counter irregularities when recruiting personnel into government service. JVP Parliamentarian Piyasiri Wijenayake said that this draft Bill will be presented to Parliament as a private member’s bill. “It is a known fact that many irregularities occur when new recruits are made to the government service. In most cases, it is the politicians who decide which person will be employed. more..

UNP, Govt look for allies as east is gripped with election fever

Mar 23 (NS) The focus today is on the imminent Provincial Council (PC) elections for the de-merged east. The east was de-merged from the north after the JVP petitioned the Supreme Court to look into the legality of the merged north and east, which was done under Emergency by former President J.R. Jayewardene in 1987. The Supreme Court, which went into the issue, found that the linking of the north and east was technically flawed. more..

Battle in progress for Anura’s wealth

Mar 23 (NS) A battle is in progress for late Anura Bandaranaike’s legacy between his loyalists and family members, it is learnt. According to informed sources, the late Bandaranaike had left a will, leaving money for those who had supported him, politically in the past. Other properties and cash had been allocated for a charity under Anura Bandaranaike Foundation. The land in Horagolla had been gifted to his loyal aids, sources told The Nation last night.

SLMC to go it alone

Mar 23 (NS) The majority of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) district organisers have expressed their disapproval against the Congress joining the government to contest the forthcoming provincial council election, The Nation learns. The SLMC leadership met with all the district organisers on Friday and had collectively pointed out that the Congress should not either join the government, nor the UNP, to contest the election. more..

JVP suspects Rupavahini brass of complicity in attacks

Mar 23 (Island) JVP trade union heavyweight Lal Kantha last week asserted there could be complicity on the part of the top SLRC administration and Colombo police in the recent spate of attacks on workers with the last being the attack on Arunasiri Hettige, a leading JVP trade union activist. A furious MP said four of the five SLRC employees attacked over the past several weeks had been among the 21 workers who had been identified being involved in more..

Hell hath no fury…

Mar 23 (Island) When the JVP politburo met last Monday, party leader Somawansa Amarasinghe raised the question of the eastern provincial council elections and the unanimous decision was that the JVP should contest. Wimal Weerawansa opined that the best thing would be for a census to be taken of the province before an election were to be held as that would enable a more accurate assessment of the numbers going to the polling booth as against the total number of registered voters. more..

UNP gripes to FMM over newspaper story

Mar 23 (Island) The UNP has taken the unusual step of informing the Free Media Movement (FMM) of The Nation newspaper’s failure to carry a clarification sent by UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake in response to two news item carried on March 2 and March 9. Interestingly, Lakshman Kiriella, MP and one of the spokesmen had written to Sunanda Deshapriya, convenor of the FMM on behalf of the UNP. more..

Leftist youth slam JVP for making India a "pseudo-enemy’’

Mar 23 (Island) Five leftist youth organizations aligned to various political parties have accused the "Somawansa Amarasinghe clique" of the JVP of attempting to inflame the country with its resistance to the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution proposed by the All Party Representative Committee (APRC). "While different segments of society have expressed their views on the APRC, chauvinistic forces including the JVP have raised objections," more..

Power deal with India on fast track

Mar 23 (ST) Amidst soaring electricity rates, the Government is giving priority to the proposed multi-million dollar mega undersea power transmission line with India. Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne said yesterday he or a senior official from his ministry would lead a delegation to India for this purpose. A preliminary feasibility report has already been completed. more..

Nayaru fireball: Sea mine or human torpedo?

Mar 23 (ST) If there was a lull in the battlefields of Wanni due to heavy rains, the fighting shifted to the high seas. Before dawn yesterday, six Navy Dvora Fast Attack Craft (FAC) were on patrol in the north-eastern seas in formations of two each. Two of the FACs were in the deep seas off Nayaru, which lies near the Tiger guerrilla stronghold of Mullaitivu. An explosion engulfed one of the locally-built Dvora (437) in a ball of fire. more..

Fire over foreign policy fiascos

Mar 23 (ST) The flood of pious pronouncements, voluminous media releases and high-pitched propaganda seem to have failed to drown mounting accusations against the Government by foreign nations and international organisations over human rights abuses and related issues. Bitter retaliatory attacks by Ministers and officials against the protagonists, including vicious vituperative on personalities involved, did little to prevent considerable damage to the Government's image. more..

Rice bowl flooded

Mar 23 (ST) While Agriculture Minister Maithripala Sirisena claimed early this week that only about 10 to 15 per cent of the paddy harvest was lost due to unprecedented freak rainy weather experienced during the current harvesting season, yet, when we visited some of the affected areas especially in Mahaweli System C in Dehiattakandiya on Thursday, during a brief lull in the rain, most farmers were reporting losses of as much as half or even more of their harvest. more..

Central bank will `maintain tight policy' this year

Mar 23 (BN) Sri Lanka's central bank will maintain its "tight monetary policy" through the end of this year on concern surging oil prices may fan inflation in the $27 billion economy. "We should see the demand side in inflation coming down dramatically as a result of the very tight program we have been implementing," said Nivard Cabraal, governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, in an interview in Jakarta yesterday. more..

60 rebels, 6 soldiers killed in fighting in the north

Mar 23 (AP) Sri Lankan troops fought ethnic Tamil rebels along the front lines of their civil war in the north in a series of battles that killed 60 guerrillas and six soldiers, the military said Sunday. It was not possible to get independent accounts of the clashes because the war zone is restricted to journalists. Both the government and Tamil Tiger rebels often exaggerate their enemy's casualties and underreport their own. more..