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The need for a counter corruption commission

July 10 (DM) One day, more than ten years ago, I saw three blind men assaulting a man outside the Fort Railway Station. They were screaming at the victim. Apparently the three men were lottery sellers retailing dreams at the station. The ‘victim’ had robbed one of them. The robbed had recognised the robber, several months later, by footsteps, or so we were told. The ‘victim’, silently took the mauling. The robbed were trying gouge his eyes out. more..

Lankan board plans grand farewell for Muralitharan

July 10 (TOI) It will be an emotional moment for both Sri Lanka's spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan and his legion of followers when Test cricket's leading wicket-taker retires from the longest version of the game at Galle International Cricket Stadium following the first India-Sri Lanka Test. To make the event memorable, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is rolling out the red carpet to ensure Murali gets a grand farewell. more..

Editorial: The former shotgun terrorists farcical fast

July 11 (LG) Sri Lanka saw the biggest farcical show in Colombo within the past few days. People undertake fast to uphold their causes. History will prove many people world over have died for political causes. Two of the prominent deaths are worthwhile mentioning. ‘Robert Gerard Sands (Irish: Roibeárd Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh), commonly known as Bobby Sands, (9 March 1954 – 5 May 1981), was an Irish volunteer of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and more..

Katharagama Esala festival commences tomorrow

July 11 (LP) The Annual Esala festival in Katharagama is scheduled to begin tomorrow and the Final Randoli Perehara will parade the streets on the 25th of this month. The festival is followed by the traditional fire walking ceremony which will be held in the 22nd of this month while the conclusion of the ceremony will be marked by the rituals commencing at the Menik ganga on the 26th. A large number of devotees are expected to attend the festival due to more..

Trouble brews in B’wela over Muslim feast

July 11 (ST) A row is brewing in Beruwala again between two Islamic theological groups on the eve of a major feast there and the police have called in the Special Task Force to maintain security. The board of trustees of the Masjidul Abraar or the Bukhari mosque, Sri Lanka’s oldest mosque, which is controlled by the Sufi order, has complained to the Beruwala police that the puritanical Thowheed group is trying to fuel sectarian violence ahead of tomorrow’s annual feast. more..

Memorial for the IPKF: A noble mission remembered

July 11 (SO) Countrywide celebrations were held last month to mark the completion of one year of defeating the LTTE. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and senior Defence officials along with the family members of fallen Armed Forces personnel took part in a ceremony at the site of the monument erected to honour the war heroes. They had made the supreme sacrifice to preserve the country's unity and integrity by more..

Role of UN and EU deplored

July 11 (MoD) The European Union (EU)'s decision to terminate the GSP Plus trade concessions for over 700 export products from Sri Lanka and the appointment of a three-member panel to advise United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on alleged war crimes by Sri Lanka's Security Forces was the talking point during the past few weeks. The Opposition is attempting to take undue political advantage of these negative developments which could possibly be a result of a well-organised conspiracy against Sri Lanka. more..

“Everyone counts” in this year’s World Population Day

July 11 (LP) “Data can reveal striking situations in countries” said UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid in her message on World Population Day, which falls annually on the 11th of July. “Everyone Counts” is the theme for this year’s World Population Day, highlighting that every single human is important. The words of the UNFPA Director holds true for Asia, where censuses have revealed such things as sex-ratio imbalances. more..

Saving sovereignty or Shaming Sri Lanka?

July 11 (LG) Sri Lanka is a sovereign state which belongs to the international system. It must safeguard its sovereignty as well as its membership of that system. Sri Lanka’s enemies have a main objective – a separate state – and two subsidiary objectives which are a prelude to the main objective. Those subsidiary objectives are the encroachment on Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and the isolation of Sri Lanka from the international system. more..

Govt rejects allegations of Navy harming Indian fishermen

July 11 (MoD) The Government has vehemently rejected the Tamil Nadu-based allegation that the Sri Lanka Navy opened fire at the Indian fishermen in Lankan waters. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said such allegations were brought up to sabotage the goodwill between Sri Lanka and India. "These allegations are baseless and we can reassure that Sri Lanka Navy personnel had not opened fire at any Indian fishermen", he said. more..

Malaysians of Jaffna origin hail peace-building measures

July 11 (MoD) Malaysian Tamils of Jaffna origin have praised the peacebuilding measures under way in the Jaffna peninsula. A 30-member group of Malaysian Tamils of Jaffna origin toured Jaffna and observed the rehabilitation and reconstruction activities carried out in the region. They also held a meeting with the Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe who briefed them on the post-conflict situation in the peninsula. more..

Leadership council for UNP resurfaces

July 11 (NS) With party reforms in doubt, a group of key UNPers are once again promoting the adoption of a leadership council headed by Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya for a stipulated period to overcome the current impasse. They have also recommended that Ranil Wickremasinghe be retained as Senior Leader with administrative and financial powers during which limited time period their objective is to once again unite the party to launch an all-out effort to wrest control of the government to the grand old party. more..

Editorial: Let saner counsel prevail

July 11 (NS) One year after ending one of the most brutal conflicts with terrorism, Sri Lanka last week hit the international headlines once again, over a virtual stand-off with the United Nations. Events came to a head when United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon announced he would go ahead with the appointment of a special panel which would advise him on any alleged human rights violations during the final stages of the Eelam war. more..

Fast unto death was an uter insult - Media

July 11 (LT) Many Sunday news papers have been embarrassed due to sudden termination of Minister Wimal Weerawansa's fast unto death which was held in front of UN office. Wimal's 'fast-unto-death' was terminated yesterday evening. Even if news papers have given priority to Minister's statement, once they were published the same statement became a lie. Minister Wimal stated to media that he would stop his fast-unto- death only if Mr. Ban Ki-moon withdrew his three member panel of experts; more..

Urgent meeting between President and Ranil

July 11 (LeN) Responding to an urgent invitation from the President, Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe met the President yesterday (10). The President has told Ranil he summoned him to get his views regarding the proposed amendments to the constitution. It is reported that the UNP and Opposition leader had stated that he cannot express his views unilaterally; and that he wished to have a meeting along with his party representatives. more..

Reconstruction or Refurbishing?

July 11 (NS) Almost unnoticed, because of the drama surrounding the United Nations (UN) offices in Colombo, the opposition UNP concluded its much hyped ‘Reforms’ committee deliberations this week, with its recommendations being presented to party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. There were smiles all round for the photo opportunity that went with the presentation, but there must be some unease within the UNP now, given the state of flux that the party is in. more..

Nilame fumes over emission test

July 11 (NS) A Nilame attached to Sathara Maha Devale in Kandy was apparently started fuming when his vehicle was stopped for emission test last Wednesday at William Gopallawa Mawatha in Kandy by the officials of the AirMAC (Air Recourse Management Centre) and had verbally abused the officials present. The Central Environment Authority (CEA) launched a programme to measure the air pollution levels in Kandy last Tuesday (6) as more..

MPs hawk permits

July 11 (NS) Several newly elected MP’s are said to be privately calling bids to sell their vehicle permits for millions of rupees after at least two parliamentarians had sold their vehicle permits for more than Rs 10 million each. Sources said one of the National list MPs from the Government had sold his vehicle permit for Rs 12 million, while a newly elected UNP MP had sold his vehicle permit for Rs 10 million. more..

Sequel to Sri Lanka’s vehement opposition: Top UN officials’ contradictions

July 11 (SO) Several top officials of the United Nations (UN), including its Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, have conducted themselves in a questionable manner, contradicting their own statements after Sri Lanka vehemently objected to the UN’s decision to appoint a three-member committee on alleged war crimes. Though the UN founded in 1945 aimed at facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, more..

Police ignore drug lords

July 11 (NS) The local media correspondents have complained to Mt. Lavinia Senior Superintendent Police Hemantha Adhikari about police inaction in dealing with drug lords and peddlers in the area, but all such complaints have fallen on deaf ears. Almost a month ago alleged drug peddler Asanka alias Gunda resident of the 3rd division, Badowita, Mt. Lavinia was arrested and while being escorted managed to escape after assaulting two officers more..

Reconsider ban on private tuition classes

July 11 (SO) The Western Provincial Council (WPC) on Thursday called upon the Government to reconsider the ban on private tuition classes on Poya days and Sunday mornings. A spokesman for the WPC said that this matter was once extensively discussed by Government authorities and also the clergy of all religions. It is said that Dhamma and other religious classes are mainly conducted on Sunday mornings at Buddhist temples, churches, mosques and Hindu temples. more..

'Govt ready to consider constructive EU proposals'

July 11 (MoD) Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris who met the European Union Ambassador Bernard Savage and representatives of the EU Member States reiterated that the Government was not in a position to proceed on the basis of the unacceptable conditions and ultimatum put forward by the EU with regard to the benefits of GSP Plus. While reiterating the Government's firm stance of not proceeding with the EU conditions, more..

Colombo, a model city soon - Omar Kamil

July 11 (SO) After the dissolution of the Colombo Municipal Council by Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga and following a Commission of Inquiry which faulted the Council for certain irregularities President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed Omar Kamil as the Special Commissioner of the CMC. HE was one time Deputy Mayor and also a Councillor of the CMC. more..

Editorial: Diplomatic farce and hara-kiri

July 11 (ST) Within 48 hours of the state media heralding the triumphant return of President Mahinda Rajapaksa after settling a dispute in the neighbouring Maldives, came the news of one of the worst comedowns in the country's recent history as far as its external relations are concerned; the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recalling his envoy in Colombo for 'consultations' - diplomatic speak for telling the host they are not impressed with what has happened. more..

Public servants should conserve electricity

July 11 (SO) The waste of millions of rupees worth of electricity by many public and private sector institutions was criticised by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) at a media briefing held in Colombo on Friday. According to the PUCSL, employees at many Government sector institutions pay scant regard towards saving electricity and are in the habit of keeping air-conditioners and light bulbs switched on throughout the day even when no one is engaged in work. more..

Sajith out of UNP leadership race?

July 11 (Island) Now that the UNP Reforms Committee has refused to accommodate UNP Provincial Councillors and Local Government members in an ‘Electoral College’ in the event of elections for five top posts in the party, will Sajith Premadasa challenge Ranil Wickremesinghe leadership? Political sources told The Sunday Island that the ‘Electoral College’ would be restricted to UNP Parliamentary Group and more..

Sri Lanka dilutes draft to woo Non-Aligned countries

July 11 (ST) After having failed in its last attempt to get the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to back Sri Lanka against Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the government is making a last ditch effort to convince the 118-member group to take sides in the growing political confrontation at the United Nations. The original draft said "NAM members are seriously concerned about the appointment of this panel...." more..

Mrs Anumaana watches a 'Farce unto Death'

July 11 (ST) For the last couple of days Sunil has been going around pestering everyone in the neighbourhood with a question. “How many people whoever launched “fasts unto death” have ever died?” he wants to know. The answers he has got so far have been quite varied, but quite a number are agreed that Comrade Wimal, now better known as “Thummulle Somay,” would be doing everyone a favour if he were to add one more digit to the grand total. Others beg to differ. more..

Don’ t hurry constitutional changes

July 11 (Island) Numerous well-informed and independent academics, constitutional lawyers, media commentators and other members of the public have, particularly over the past five years or so, made known their apprehensions regarding the attempt to push through ad hoc changes to the Constitution without a wide, thorough, transparent discourse on the subject. more..

Sri Lanka's captain Kumar Sangakkara has urged world cricket

July 11 (AFP) Sri Lanka's captain Kumar Sangakkara has urged world cricket chiefs to win back fans to Test and one-day games with a balanced international calendar that gives equal opportunities to all teams. Sangakkara said global viewership of the sport had dwindled over the past year, despite a packed schedule of Tests, one-dayers and Twenty20 cricket. "I am told about 40 percent of viewership has dropped for Tests," more..

The battle with Ban boomerangs

July 11 (ST) The urgent telephone call came to President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he was on an official visit to Ukraine. The caller was Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Maldives. He urged Rajapaksa to use his good offices to resolve a deepening political crisis in his country. Returning to Colombo, Rajapaksa made hurried plans. India, which has an abiding interest in the Maldives, was informed through diplomatic channels. more..

National cricket contracts: Raw deal for Malinga and Mendis

July 11 (LB) Sri Lanka cricket selectors have dealt a harsh blow to the country’s legendary cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya as he has been left out on a national contract in the list of 20 cricketers announced yesterday. Star paceman Lasith Malinga and ‘mystery’ spinner Ajantha Mendis too have been given a raw deal. Two of the country’s genuine match-winners Malinga and Mendis have only been offered category four contracts more..

'We believe in working with global community'

July 11 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says Sri Lanka remains committed to the UN ideals and strongly believes in working with the international community in a post-LTTE era, contrary to the perception among a section of the global community. The outspoken official, who is widely credited with spearheading the overall military strategy against the LTTE, says the time is ripe for a partnership for progress. more..

'World should honour those who ushered in peace'

July 11 (SO) NFF Leader and Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa said as patriotic citizens who love the Motherland, “we should vehemently oppose the move taken by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appoint an expert panel with the intention of bringing our President, Defence Secretary and war heroes to the International War Crimes Tribunal. more..

Govt. version of how it ended: President’s Promise to Wimal’s daughter

July 11 (LP) Answering a phone call from President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the weeping wife of Minister Wimal Weerawansa requested from President to rescue her husband in any possible way. While talking to President, Wimal’s wife has mentioned that their daughter has been refusing food since last night as her father is on hunger strike. When President Rajapaksa contacted Wimal’s daughter over the phone, she has pleaded the President to bring her father home for lunch tomorrow. more..

Making a hero out of a cardboard hero

July 11 (LB) Never in recent times have relations between the UN secretariat and Colombo been this acrimonious or so unashamedly mishandled over an issue that could have been easily resolved through diplomatic channels. When Wimal Weerawansa, a minister, recently encouraged the public to lay siege on the UN compound in protest against Ban Ki-moon’s appointment of a special advisory panel, the government quickly maintained that this was not their official position. more..

Hints of a possible executive prime ministry after Ranil-Mahinda talks

July 11 (Island) Hints of the possibility of an executive prime ministry, as opposed to the prevailing executive presidency, emerged yesterday following one-on-one talks between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, well informed sources said. Wickremesinghe confirmed the meeting which he said will be followed-up on Monday when he will lead a UNP delegation for further talks with the president. more..

President abandons bid for third term

July 11 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will abandon moves to amend the Constitution to enable him to contest any number of times for this post. Instead, he has agreed ‘in principle’ to create the office of an Executive Prime Minister. The change in thinking was conveyed yesterday by President Rajapaksa to Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. The two held a one-on-one meeting last morning at the President’s House to discuss more..

'Navy camp' in cashew farm in east

July 12 (BBC) Politicians in eastern Sri Lanka have expressed concern over the government’s move to establish a navy camp in a traditional cashew farm in Batticaloa district. Eastern Provincial Councillor R Thurairatnam told BBC Sandeshaya that 1200 acres of cultivated land in Kajuwatta, Vakarai is being cleared to establish the camp. He accused the government of destroying the cashew farm, resulting with hundreds of people in the east losing their income, more..

President visits recovering Wimal Weerawansa

July 12 (CT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today (July 11) visited NFF leader and minister Wimal Weerawansa at Colombo's Army Hospital, where he is recovering after ending a three-day long death fast. Mr. Rajapaksa has inquired into the condition of his cabinet member and was told by doctors that he was making a recovery. Accepting a glass of water from the president, the NFF leader yesterday ended the fast in front of the UN office in Colombo that more..

'Not enough funds' for Api Venuwen Api

July 12 (BBC) The authorities in Sri Lanka have criticised the response from the public for a special fund created for the welfare of the service personnel. The fund only received Rs. 700 million “despite best efforts of the president and the defence secretary,” said Luxman Hulugalle, the Director General of Media Centre for National Security (MCNS). more..

Colombo protest against UN ends in failure

July 12 (TC) National Freedom Front supporters, led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa, marched to the UN office in Colombo on Tuesday, launching a protest campaign which eventually set off a chain of reactions during the week. They were carrying placards with some of them reading “Hands off Sri Lanka” “Moon – Double Standards”, “Scrap the UN Panel”. Others displayed caricatures, with one of them depicting President Barack Obama with the UN Chief. more..

‘Private’ versus ‘free’ education in Sri Lanka

July 12 (TC) One of the central weaknesses of the recent debate or discussion in Sri Lanka around the strange term "private" universities apropos its possible consequences to the men and women living within the national boundaries of Sri Lanka , is its lack of focus on this global picture. This is why its rhetoric and rhetoricians have often limited its thematic to a number game involving the students entering universities and more..

'Govt. agreed to the UN panel on May 23, 2009'

July 12 (NF) The DNA says that the prevailing situation is the outcome of the agreement that were arrived at during the UN Secretary-Genaral Ban Ki-Moon’s visit to Sri Lanka. MP Vijitha Herath expressed this view at a media briefing held today. “By the 23rd of May, the UN Secretary-General arrived in Sri Lanka. After his arrival the said joint statement was signed between Mr. Ki-Moon and the President of Sri Lanka. more..

'The most talented children hail from the North and the South'

July 12 (NF) The most talented children hail from the North and the South. It is a proven fact, says Bandula Gunawardena, Minister of Education. He also said that the government believed that the only way to reduce education anomalies in villages was to provide rural schools with better educational facilities. The minister expressed these views at an event at the ministry to hand over air tickets to children taking part in the 22nd Asia Pacific Children's Convention in Japan. more..

Our destructively defensive mode

July 12 (LG) It is a fact that much of the criticisms now leveled against Sri Lanka by international human rights actors have also been consistently levelled against states seen to be habitual violators of international human rights norms, including Israel. This is something that we need to remind ourselves of, if we are not to be trapped in a destructively defensive mode. During the previous administrations of both the United States and the United Kingdom, more..

War heroes receive new houses from the President

July 12 (MoD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa handed over the keys of 25 houses this morning (11) in Senarathgama, Kandy built under the first phase of the programme of the construction of 700 houses for war heroes under the 'Api Wenuwen Api' concept. The beneficiaries were the war heroes who were killed in combat and become disabled. Also several war heroes currently in service were among the beneficiaries. more..

Western province dominates investment on Government Securities

July 12 (N360) Although the number of investors in government securities has increased during the last 3 year period, the instrument has still not got the attention of the investors in outstation areas. Year 2007, 2008 and 2009 has seen investors into government securities increasing, but 84% of those investors are from the Western province and primarily the Colombo district. During the year 2007, investors on government securities which more..

Dependency on trade concessions

July 12 (LG) While there has been a lot of hot air over the withdrawal of GSP+ concessions by the European Union and a probe on a petition by a US trade union to discontinue trade concessions for Sri Lankan exporters to the US, it is important to analyse the bigger picture in terms of these benefits. While concessions are useful to gain a price advantage since Sri Lanka’s production costs are much higher than its nearest competitors like Vietnam, Cambodia or more..

'Police Registering Tamil civilians in Colombo is discriminatory'

July 12 (TC) Recommencement of the police registration for the Tamils in the city of Colombo is pure discriminatory. We are certain that it is only the Tamils who are instructed to register though the Colombo range DIG and Wellawatta OIC strive to portray this process as nation wide process. This is being conducted only in the city divisions where Tamils live in sizable numbers. more..