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Media as a punching bag

Sep 27 (LNP) Politicians have in their vocabulary expressions of all sorts save one, `mea culpa`. Why they have no need for it is perfectly understandable. They think they never err, if how spiritedly they defend all their actions is any indication. They pretend they are paragons of virtue not capable of sinning even in private. Then who on earth has brought the country this sorry pass? Ask any politician and he will say, `The media.` more..

Future bleak for Attorney General

Sep 27 (LD) The future of C.R. de Silva as Attorney General looks to be bleak after the Supreme Court ruled the gazette notification extending terms of public officials was unlawful, 'Ravaya' reports. Mr. de Silva had earlier been tipped to succeed Sarath N. Silva as Chief Justice. The SC ruled against gazette extraordinary 1562/1 of 11th August 2008 that empowered the president to extend terms of judicial and public officers appointed by him. more..

Govt. wants independent commissions curtailed

Sep 27 (LD) Transparency International alleges 29 ruling party MPs have moved to curtail powers of the independent public, police and judicial services commissions enacted through the 17th Amendment to the constitution. Executive Director of TI J.C. Weliamuna says that these MPs have sent a written request to Constitutional Affairs Minister Dew Gunasekara regarding their objective. Mr. Weliamuna said this would take the country's constitution back to the 1972 period. more..

Millions worth of iron removed from Colombo Harbour

Sep 27 (LD) A consignment of iron worth millions of rupees had been removed from a dismantled two-storey storage complex at Colombo Harbour and taken for use at construction activities at Hambantota Harbour, 'Ravaya' reports. A first attempt to remove the consignment was prevented by Customs officials, who found that the required documents were no submitted. Later, the Customs had been told that the cast iron was being taken to Hambantota Harbour. more..

Presidents of Iran and Sri Lanka emphasize importance of agriculture for food security

Sep 27 (GDI) The Presidents of Sri Lanka and Iran agreed on the need to emphasize agricultural development especially in the developing countries in the context of ensuring global food security. These views were expressed when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the sidelines of the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly yesterday (25), after both leaders had addressed the Session. more..

'Troops just 4 km from Kilinochchi'

Sep 27 (GDI) Troops are now some four Kilometers away from Kilinochchi, said Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka adding that the Army will fire its first rounds towards Kilinochchi town by next week. He made this affirmation at the launch of the book "Wanni Satana" written by Defence columnist Tissa Ravindra Perera in Colombo yesterday (25). "we can even see some of the buildings in the town," he added. more..

Cyclonic conditions in Oct-Nov

Sep 27 (DN) The Meteorology Department yesterday warned of more cyclonic effects with the beginning of inter-monsoon weather and cyclone season from October to November. It would probably extend to the first half of December. According to the World Meteorology standards more than ten per cent of life and property damage could be avoided if necessary changes are effected heeding weather forecasting warnings, more..

Buddhagosa and Sri Lanka

Sep 27 (DN) The venerable scholar monk Buddhagosa was sent to Sri Lanka by the Buddhist elders of India, to engage in the task of translating into Pali the Sinhala commentaries held at the Mahavihara at Anuradhapura. Buddhagosa came to Sri Lanka in the time of king Mahanama (406-428 AD). According to the Mahavamsa (Culavamsa) Buddhagosa was told in India that the Theravada texts available in India were inadequate. They lacked commentaries. more..

Italian INGO worker joins LTTE to fight

Sep 27 (Island) The Kilinochchi Project Manager of an INGO known as Zoa has joined the LTTE to fight the Sri Lanka Army. He, an Italian passport holder, has informed the Colombo-based head of Zoa, in writing, of his decision to fight for the cornered Tigers. The Ministry of Defence told The Island yesterday that Zoa had informed it of the situation and forwarded a copy of the letter from its Project Manager, the latest LTTE recruit. more..

Ranawaka denies land in ‘Dahaiyyagala’ to be distributed

Sep 27 (Island) Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday dismissed rumours that the Government would distribute the state land within the Dahaiyyagala Sanctuary which connects Uda Walawe National Park and Bogahapattiya Forest Reserve. He said there was no such decision taken because it is illegal to use State land within a sanctuary according to the Fauna and Flora Act. more..

Lunch drama takes ugly turn

Sep 27 (DM) The lunch-time drama at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) headquarters took another ugly turn yesterday when five minor employees were transferred from headquarters to other locations suddenly without giving any reasons. This comes as a sequel to the previous day's pandemonium at the SLC headquarters when the employees surrounded the office of CEO Duleep Mendis and complained that the free lunch supplied to them was below quality and not fit for human consumption. more..

TMVP says no rift

Sep 27 (DM) TMVP spokesman Azad Maulana yesterday denied reports of another rift within the party including moves to remove Chief Minister Pillayan from the party. Mr. Maulana, who contacted the Daily Mirror, said such claims were baseless, attempting to tarnish the image of the party which has gained popularity after entering the democratic stream. The Daily Mirror reported yesterday that the leadership of the TMVP had made some changes in the political structure of the organization. more..

Military: 63 dead in airstrikes, battles

Sep 27 (AP) A wave of gunbattles, artillery attacks and air strikes across northern Sri Lanka killed 60 Tamil Tiger rebels and three soldiers, the military said Saturday. The fighting came during a major escalation of the nation's quarter-century civil war, with military forces pushing toward the rebels' administrative capital in the town of Kilinochchi and government officials promising to destroy the rebel group by the end of the year. more..

Sports minister ratifies Twenty20 squad

Sep 27 (CI) Sri Lanka's sports minister Gamini Lokuge has ratified a 15-man squad for the Canada Cup Four Nation 20/20. The squad is the same as announced earlier this month and does not include wicketkeeper batsman Indika de Saram, who had complained about his exclusion despite good performances in local competitions. The squad selected for the tournament does not include a specialist wicketkeeper. more..

Tamil Nadu set to release Nalini

Sep 27 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu government is set to expedite the premature release of Nandini Murugan, who was sentenced to death for her role in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi indicated. 'The advisory board of Vellore prison will asked to reconsider its recommendations on the application for premature release by Nalini which will be considered on merits to arrive at a decision according to our laws,' more..

Brothel owner netted £56,000

Sep 28 (DE) A mother-of-three who ran a brothel from a terraced house in Bournemouth made £55,890 from immoral earnings, a court heard. Yasmin Desilva, 34, who received a nine-month suspended prison sentence for running a house of ill repute in Norwich Avenue, was ordered to pay £15,000 at a confiscation hearing. Judge John Harrow warned Desilva that if she did not pay up within four months she would face being jailed for 12 months. more..

Media ‘Sakvithis’ in the dock in Sri Lanka?

Sep 28 (GV) In the past week, the name ‘Sakvithi’ has been causing ripples in Sri Lankan society and creating numerous news headlines — for all the wrong reasons. Sakvithi Ranasinghe, a populist tutor of English turned millionaire businessman, has fled the country after duping thousands of unsuspecting people to deposit their life’s savings in his investment firm. Media reports have variously placed the number of victims between 1,500 and 4,000 more..

Education, Citizenship and Development

Sep 28 (GV) Education is recognized the world over as a means of achieving wider social and economic objectives. Modern education systems are designed in such a way as to facilitate the achievement of such wider objectives. On the one hand, we provide youngsters with a basic education that enables them to fit into a society that is based on modern ideas and values so that they eventually become active citizens of a modern state. more..

Lankan MP seeks India`s help in resolving ethnic issue

Sep 28 (ZN) Indian political parties should take proactive measures to end the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka, an MP of Tamil descent in the island nation said on Saturday. "Indian political party leaders should not think that the issue is between Pro-LTTE and Anti-LTTE (forces) in Sri Lanka. It is the issue of innocent Tamils being killed there", Colombo district MP Mano Ganesan told reporters in Chennai. more..

Railway shipping deal sails into controversy

Sep 28 (SL) Already embroiled in a controversial decision to grant prime coastal land on a long term lease to local and foreign companies in April last year, Transport Minister Dulles Alahapperuma is now stepping into further controversy by shipping 15 diesel power units for Sri Lanka Railway (SLR) paying US $ 200,588 or well over Rs. 24 million - for the choice he made. more..

MR gets set to battle the judiciary as the war takes its toll on IDPs

Sep 28 (SL) While President Rajapakse was to address the UN General Assembly in Tamil last Wednesday in a move designed to soften his image as the hawkish President of a war torn nation, 200,000 IDPs fleeing the fighting in the north would perhaps have accepted humanitarian relief even if it came with instructions in Hebrew. But for the mother now living in a cadjan tent waiting endlessly for the future of her family, more..

City hotels to beef up security

Sep 28 (SL) Hoteliers last week voiced concern over a Defence Ministry initiative to beef up security in hotels, which may entail the purchase by the hotels of expensive new security equipment. If the burden of purchasing new equipment is passed on to the hotels some hoteliers said it would mean the hotels will be further financially burdened during a severe slump in business due to the war. more..

A broad alliance is in the making

Sep 28 (SL) SLFP (M) Wing Convener, Parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera says that for the first time since independence, racism has become official government policy. Samaraweera told The Sunday Leader in an interview that what is waged today is a political war in keeping with the political agenda of the present government and is being used as a smokescreen to divert attention from more..

Central Bank, police in scam?

Sep 28 (LB) Police will question senior Central Bank officials on why they took a lenient stance against the fraudster Sakvithi who duped investors in his finance company, instead of bringing him to book even though a team of CID officials had informed the CB about the conduct of Ranasingha in 2006. “We are investigating whether some Central Bank officials were also involved in the racket and have received ‘benefits’ from Ranasingha, since no action had been taken to stall his fraudulent financial transactions”, more..

Berty’s security over the top

Sep 28 (LB) The Chief Minister of the North-Central Province Bertie Premalal Dissanayaka, is deploying around a hundred police and civil defence forces personnel for his personal protection, reliable sources told Lakbimanews. This level of security is second only to that of chief minister of the Eastern Province, Shivaneshathurai Chandrakanthan, alias Pillayan. No other chief minister had such a high level of security. more..

Unholy case of Mihin Air

Sep 28 (LB) The government admitted importantly in parliament last week that Mihin Air had crashed due to mismanagement - and not due to corruption or theft. Phew. That’s a relief. Or is it? It was on Tuesday that parliament debated the unholy case of Mihin Air. Power Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage (previously known for general hoodlumism, for shouting as loud as he possibly could and for sitting on ballot boxes during votes in parliament) defended the government. more..

PBJ Affair: Whistle blower tells all

Sep 28 (LB) The writer who is a chartered accountant by profession was instrumental in exposing former secretary to the treasury P.B.Jayasundara who was involved in the the Lanka Marine scandal. Jayasundara was removed after a Supreme Court case was filed against him. Sumith Abeysinghe, the new secretary to the treasury has a tough task ahead of him carrying out his duties without being subservient to political influence. more..

Sri Lanka High Commission condemned acts of vandalism

Sep 28 (AT) Sri Lanka High Commission in London a statement issued to the press, "strongly" condemned the "cowardly acts" of vandalism targeted against the Saddhatissa International Buddhist Center, in Kingsbury, London. The statement said, "The High Commission firmly believes those who took part in this act of destruction do not believe in religious pluralism and tolerance which are basic tenants of liberal democracy today." more..

Ananda Wickremasinghe, the new Consul General of Los Angeles

Sep 28 (AT) Ananda Wickramasinghe is the new Consul General of Los Angeles. He has succeeded Jaliya Wickremasuriya who is presently Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Washington. The new Consul General Ananda Wickramasinghe has assumed duties on 15th September, 2008. According to a press release, the consular jurisdiction of Wickramasinghe will extend to cover the western states of USA, more..

Government of Denial

Sep 28 (AT) The signs are unpropitious and they point to a financial scissors crisis looming ever closer. Sri Lanka’s increasingly politicised Central Bank has taken on Fitch Ratings (and not for the first time), disputing the agency’s gloomy economic prognosis for the island. Last week Fitch Ratings cautioned Sri Lanka about her weak macro economic conditions, drawing particular attention to high inflation and more..

Asoka Chakra, Chanakya and RAW

Sep 28 (AT) In all probability those who caused the horrifying bomb explosion at the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad and those behind the bomb blast in several Indian cities this month share the same extremist politico-religious objectives even if they are not members of the same group. The nature of the explosions – especially the one at the Marriot clearly reflect the technical expertise that only a mafia gang like the LTTE can provide more..

Govt keeps a rough tab on the TMVP

Sep 28 (LG) The stalemate facing the LTTE in the war front was a result of its high ranking Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna leaving the group in 2004. His departure was the major turning point for the government. In the turbulent climate (of his own making) post his departure, Karuna was able to engineer a process to secure the east from the LTTE dominance and major violence. more..

Cries From The Palmyra Grove

Sep 28 (LG) This day had very special meaning and gravity to those in the North this year since the war in the North is taking a big toll of lives both civilian and armed and has caused and is yet causing the displacement and distress of hundreds of thousands and colossal loss of property. Under the banner of destroying the 'terrorists', the Tamil population is being targeted and driven into misery in all possible ways. more..

'International forces lay down conditions due to inability of govt'

Sep 28 (LT) The government's inability to protect the people's rights and fulfill the basic needs of those displaced by the war has allowed international forces to intervene in the internal issues of the country states President of Patriotic National Centre Ven. Dhambara Amila Thera. He said it is the government that has created opportunities for the international community including the European Union and human rights organizations to intervene in matters of this country. more..

Wild in Sri Lanka

Sep 28 (AA) We arrived at the gates of the delightfully named Wasgomuwa Strict Natural Reserve, in central Sri Lanka, in a flurry of dust and cars. Three vehicles, three drivers, our family of four, my dear Sri Lankan friend whom I’ve known for practically forever and his five bodyguards, his 86-year-old great aunt Ena, and her 75-year-old butler who studiously carried her handbag. The park reception was a little overwhelmed by us all. more..

Whither post-war Sri Lanka?

Sep 28 (FI) Sri Lankan government has been announcing for some time that the defeat of the LTTE in the North is imminent. Their daily bulletins reveal relatively very large number of casualties amongst the rebels. Although it is widely known these are overly exaggerated, there is no doubt that the relative fighting strength has shifted markedly in favour of the security forces. No one is challenging their stated position on the war front in Wanni. more..

The hidden history of Jaffna ( Part 01)

Sep 28 (LG) It is the task of each generation that inherit a shared past to redefine itself in facing new challenges. The challenge posed by the northern forces has not only thrown the nation into a volatile situation that could not be contained by international or national agreements but has also forced the nation to engage in defining itself all over again by re-examining its past to discover the route that brought them to the present. more..

Foreign policy must be subset of strategy

Sep 28 (LG) Watching the footage of the massive bomb explosion which killed 53 people at the Marriott in Islamabad, and sharing the concerns about the travails of our close friend Pakistan, pressured from without and threatened from within, I was reminded of how strong and "tough" the Sri Lankan state, polity and society are. As the 1980s turned into the ’90s, Sri Lanka had foreign peacekeepers on its soil, a separatist insurgency (LTTE), irredentist strivings (Perumal/NEPC), and a ferocious insurrection of the xenophobic ultra-left (JVP). more..

Rumpus over Canadian visa

Sep 28 (LG) Mr C McKinney, first secretary, immigration, of the Canadian high commission, while rejecting my application for a visit visa, has explained in detail the reason for his decision. His letter dated 18 September 2008 is a valuable asset to my revolutionary carreer. He says, “I have completed my assessment of your application and have determined that you do not meet with the requirements for a temporary resident visa.” more..

Duty to the public

Sep 28 (LG) There were many issues that drew public attention and public space this week. These include the passing away of former President Dingiri Banda Wijetunga, the furore over fuel prices and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC)’s insistence that prices cannot be brought down, the continuing financial crisis in the US and the collapse of a dubious, so-called finance company. more..

The hidden history of Jaffna ( Part 02)

Sep 28 (LG) In the forties and fifties there were two main ideologies competing for supremacy: 1. Marxism and communalism. As it turned out Marxism lost out to communalism. As shown earlier the year 1921 marks the turning point in communalism. A whole cluster of factors came together in 1921 in the north to consolidate communal politics. One of the key issues was the break-up of the Ceylon National Congress where all communities worked collectively against the British. more..

ZOA denies newspaper allegations

Sep 28 (GDI) ZOA Refugee Care has issued a statement denying newspaper reports that its Project Manager in Kilinochchi, an Italian national, had joined the LTTE as a fighter. ZOA further states, “The government has given instructions to all UN-agencies and INGOs working in the Vanni to relocate their humanitarian and development operations to Vavuniya before Monday 29 September 2008. more..

Largest haul of explosives from Western Province recovered

Sep 28 (GDI) The Police recovered the largest haul of explosives of 152.5 kgs detected from the Western Province in Negombo. The initial investigations have revealed an LTTE aide had planned to target the Air Force base in Katunayake with these explosives; local media reported quoting Police sources. It is said the terrorist were planning to attack the Kfir jets of the Air Force as the terrorists in Wanni fronts are experiencing heavy damages due to the constant Air attacks of the Sri Lanka Air Force. more..

Land distribution in East, concern raised

Sep 28 (MG) Notice published by the Land Commissioner of the Eastern Provincial Council calling upon permanent residents of the Eastern Province to register before the 31st of October 2008 to qualify to receive a block of land is a move in the right direction. Landlessness and land issues are as old as the conflict or if not perennial problem in all parts of Sri Lanka. Land grants to landless will no doubt will go a long way in tackling social issues and more..

Sri Lanka ports authority starts bunkering at Colombo

Sep 28 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) said Friday that it had started bunkering operations in Colombo port through a newly established subsidiary. The JCT Ltd. Oil Bank, a fully owned subsidiary company of the SLPA received its first parcel of bunker fuel oil for storage Friday. JCT Oil Bank took over the oil tank farm owned by Lanka Marine Services (LMS), a unit of the John Keells Holdings (JKH) group, on a court order earlier this month. more..

Kilinochchi a ‘ghost town’

Sep 28 (SO) Kilinochchi is now a ‘ghost town’ with the LTTE withdrawing all its offices, business establishments, hotels and media centres following the rapid advancement of the security forces towards the region from various directions in the Wanni, informed sources said. The LTTE had even abandoned its ‘Peace Secretariat’ and the adjoining buildings where most of the meetings with key figures of the international community had taken place more..

Govt to revert to previous voting system

Sep 28 (SO) The Government has plans to reintroduce the First Past the Post election system while maintaining the existing Proportional Representative System (PR). Urban Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardana told the Sunday Observer that a new Bill in this regard will be submitted shortly for Cabinet approval. He said the Government will conduct the future Provincial Council and General Elections under the new election system. more..

'LTTE terrorism should be crushed'

Sep 28 (SO) The National Freedom Front (NFF) accused Western countries for ‘secretly’ trying to halt military offensives in Killinochchi to ‘save’ the LTTE from defeat. The NFF Chairman Wimal Weerawansa, in an interview with the Sunday Observer, said the conditions put by the European Union to grant the GSP+ were unreasonable as the country was waging a war with the world’s most ruthless terrorist organisation. more..

INGOs stay in Kilinochchi at their own risk

Sep 28 (SO) The government would not guarantee the safety of the INGO and NGO workers including those who work with the UN agencies from Tuesday, the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, told the 'Sunday Observer' yesterday. He said that these agencies have been given time until tomorrow (29) to vacate Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu and the government hoped that all these workers would return to Vavuniya before the deadline. "But we won't guarantee their safety after September 29. more..

17th Amendment to be amended

Sep 28 (NS) A group of 29 MPs from virtually all parties represented in Parliament have handed over a petition to the Parliamentary Committee on Public Petitions, containing several new clauses to be added to the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. They have called for an amendment to enable standing committees of Parliament to review orders made by the Public Services Commission, the Judicial Services Commission and the National Police Commission appointed by the Constitutional Council under the 17th Amendment. more..