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Editorial: Bloody apathy

July 4 (SL) The Sri Lankan people have sat and watched this war for years. A jury of peers could judge this war, yet foreigners have to be our conscience. When Mahinda Rajapaksa says that no civilians have died we know that it is a lie, but we say nothing. We also know that the Presidential Committee on Lessons Learnt is unlikely to reiterate anything beyond ‘everything went fine.’ The opponents of these panels may be right to say that this is an internal issue and more..

A nation in search of a missing opposition

July 4 (SL) Everyone talks about the urgent need to have a strong opposition, but no one — not even the leader of the opposition — is doing anything about it. The absence of a credible opposition has created a huge vacuum and there is nothing in the political system to balance the formidable power resting in the hands of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. At this point it is relevant to ask: what should be the format of ‘a strong opposition’? more..

Say hello to the bad guy

July 4 (SL) You used to be able to spot the enemy by their stripes. Now you have to read between the lines. Yesterday’s Tigers are lions; Lions are tigers. KP is doing Lanka tours and Sarath Fonseka is being buried in a shuffle of court dates. A cop-killer is dancing at weddings while suspected Fonseka loyalists are being culled from the armed forces. more..

Ranaviru Housing Scheme Scarred

July 4 (SL) Soldiers and their families who have been allocated houses in the Ranajayapura housing scheme in Ipalogama, Anuradhapura are up in arms against the government’s decision to deduct Rs. 4,000 from the soldiers’ monthly salary as installment for the houses in the scheme, each valued at Rs. 800,000. The Defence Ministry has built 1,509 houses in the Ranajayapura housing scheme to be distributed among personnel from more..

The tale of a destroyed defender

July 4 (SL) Deputy Minister Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, Susantha Punchinilame, has denied ownership of the Defender vehicle that collided with a cement carrier on the Kurunegala-Dambulla Road on June 18. In its June 20 issue, The Sunday Leader carried a photograph of the accident which stated: ‘This Defender vehicle collided with a cement carrier and a sand truck at Melsiripura on the Dambulla Road on Friday, June 18. more..

'Govt. by trying to display pseudo patriotism is playing to the gallery'

July 4 (LeN) DNA Leader and Colombo District MP Gen. Sarath Fonseka said, the Secretary General of the UN is working according to the agreement entered into with the SL President. While displaying pseudo patriotism and deceiving the people, the Govt. is going begging round the world and kowtowing to the foreign countries. Gen. Fonseka speaking on the current political scene to Lanka e news stated as mentioned above. more..

Buddha sasana Dy’ minister assaults officer

July 4 (LB) U.K. Edirisighe, an individual who was allegedly assaulted by the deputy minister for Buddha Sasana M. K. D S Gunawardene over a vehicle issue, and who had lodged a police complaint, is being constantly harassed by ‘some persons’ to withdraw the complaint, Lakbimanews learns. Due to fear and constant harassment, the victim has decided to request for a transfer to the Finance ministry, sources said. more..

Editorial: All kinds of bedfellows

July 4 (LB) There is some jubilation in media circles and in the dovecotes of intelligentsia that the pressure that was exerted by them has been able to stave off immediate constitutional amendments, effecting changes in terms-limits for the presidency. The answer to the question, is this jubilation justified - - is a yes and a no. The media and intellectual resistance to constitutional change was justified, and went a long way in buttressing the policy position against more..

Govt. to confiscate flats if owner doesn’t come forward

July 4 (LB) Around 20 flats situated in the heart of Colombo city are alleged to be owned by a businessman with links to the LTTE and domiciled in Canada. According to such intelligence units these details have emerged during investigations conducted regarding owners of the 20 buildings, and it is strongly believed that this businessman has provided financial support to the armed struggle of the now-defeated LTTE, more..

Absence of civil admin hits voter survey in North

July 4 (LB) One month after its commencement the base survey for the voter registration in the Northern Province has come to a virtual standstill, election monitors claim. The absence of civil administrative structures in these areas coupled with the lethargy and indifference of the Department of Elections and the central government might deprive nearly 100 000 IDPs and recently resettled persons of their voting rights. more..

Horse trading and high hopes

July 4 (LB) Yes, it is true that the president has deferred his plan for constitutional change, effecting extension of presidential term-limits to three terms, and establishing an unelected second chamber. The reason is pure pragmatic crunching of numbers which showed that with 5 left party votes absent, he would not have the necessary two thirds to carry through the contemplated amendments. His ruling UPFA is already six seats short of a parliamentary majority of two thirds. more..

'UNP shedding crocodile tears'

July 4 (LB) Deputy Minister of Economic Development Ranjith Siyamabalapitiya criticized the UNP for shedding crocodile tears after having once pandered to the wishes of the IMF, to privatise state entities when they were in power at the start of this decade - in the wake of the derision aimed at the budget presented to the parliament last Tuesday by Deputy Minister of Finance Sarath Amunugama. more..

When will we ever learn?

July 4 (DM) My dear Mahinda Aiya, Ayubowan, vanakkam, assalamu alaikkum and best wishes as we enter July, which reminds us mainly of the 1983 black July with striking if not dangerous parallels to what happened before and after that month of horror. In 1977 J. R. Jayewardene led the UNP to a historic election victory with a five-sixth majority in parliament. Being a brilliant strategist – though it is now clear that most of the agenda was for party gain or glory more..

Seeking Universal Soldiers: Lanka Vs the Rest

July 4 (DM) The UN panel of experts, the EU condition GSP plus concessions drew a plethora of responses in Sri Lanka from politicians, policy makers, media personalities, eminent public figures. These international developments have been revisited in many newspaper articles with the arguments focusing on the threat to sovereignty of the country. This article attempts to focus on the issue of developing and nurturing capacities of Sri Lankan more..

Lecturers to go on strike

July 4 (DM) A token strike by university lecturers organised by the Federation of University Teachers Association will be held on July 27 in protest of ‘unfulfilled promises’ made by the government regarding university teacher’s salaries. Dr. Mahin Mendis of the Federation of University Teachers Association stated that at a meeting in 2008 with President Mahinda Rajapakse, the Association was assured of a salary revision within three months and more..

Mahinda agent of global capital, MNCs

July 4 (LG) Mahinda has banned the Ban Ki Moon committee. According to government media the committee members will not be issued with visa; so that none of them could visit Lanka for first hand information. In fact if Mahinda is serious, this amounts to challenging the politics of western powers. Because, as I said before in this column, the UNO is not a free and democratic association of world states. It is an international political institute under the hegemony of global powers. more..

Correcting Sri Lanka's democratic deficit

July 4 (LG) A mere call for cohesive national unity is just words. Let us recognise the essentials first. Sri Lanka must not only respect the Rule of Law but must also be seen to be respecting the Rule of Law. In particular, the independence of Sri Lanka's judiciary must not undermined by making judges depend on political patronage for promotions and appointments. Without resorting to ad hoc Commissions of Inquiry (reconciliation or otherwise) which is all eye wash, more..

Sri Lanka Delightfully Diverse

Lankan docs training in Malaysia’s hospitals

July 4 (TS) Sri Lankan postgraduate doctors have been in specialist training in government hospitals in Malaysia since March. Sri Lanka Medical Council president Vidyajyothi Prof Lalitha Mendis said the doctors would be here for one year. She said the programme had been agreed upon following discussions between Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia Dr D.D. Ranasinghe and the Malaysian authorities. more..

Setting a Tamil terrorist to get the Tamils

July 4 (LG) It is an unparalleled paradox that that the Sri Lankan government, after crowing to the world that they vanquished the most dangerous terrorist organisation, and in order to justify the massacres of more than 30,000 Tamil civilians in the war, should use one its surviving leaders, and a war criminal at that, to woo members of the Tamil Diasporas to come to their line of thinking in further oppressing and marginalising the Tamil people. more..

Vernon Mendis -the end of an era in Sri Lankan diplomacy

July 4 (LG) Deshamanya Dr.Vernon Mendis passed away on 23 June. On 2 July his family and friends participated in a Service of Remembrance at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour where Vernon worshipped regularly when he was alive. It was a service to celebrate the life and work of Vernon Mendis. But it was also natural and normal to mourn his death. more..

Theft of Buddha statue: Monk, 3 others arrested

July 4 (NF) A gold mixed copper Buddha statue, reported to have been stolen from a Raja Maha Vihara in Galle, has been found from a house in the Katawela area in Deniyaya. The statue was recovered during during a raid carried out by a team of police officers led by the OIC of the Galle Crimes Division, Sarath Mendis. The raid had been carried out based on information obtained from an individual who was arrested in Galle. more..

Govt. will get stronger with disunity in UNP: Ranil

July 4 (NF) Work should be done within the party in a democratic manner, said the leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremssinghe, addressing an awareness programme held for the local government representatives of the Gampaha district yesterday. “We need to work with discipline within the party. We cannot shout. We cannot become the biggest enemies of our own party. We are all here because of the people who voted for us. more..

Sri Lanka stands up for its sovereignty

July 4 (Gulf) In the quest for power or the expansion of distorted ideologies, wars invariably target the poor and oppressed. Often killed or displaced in the hundreds of thousands, these helpless victims are quickly forgotten in the heat of the battle. Such was the case in Sri Lanka for over three decades. The LTTE, a separatist organisation, had been involved in such a conflict since 1976, more..

The stenching local government politics of Sri Lanka

July 4 (LP) Politics in local governmental bodies of Sri Lanka was for respected elites of the towns and villages one time. The payments made by the local councils, if there was any, was not the living of these leaders. Instead, many considered politics in local governments a social service. Now, that phenomenon is history. Today, the local government is also gone to the same dog or a bitter one the other aspects of local politics have gone. more..

Wihiluwansa (WW) just proves “Dr. Silva” is very much smarter than him!

July 4 (LG) Can you believe this? WihuluWansa (WW) has just proved, contrary to popular belief, with his rhetoric and ‘empty bravado’ against the Colombo Office of UNthat ‘Dr. Silva’ is very much smarter than him! The good news is and all indications are such that GOSL has rightfully so recognized that the best thing or the need of the ‘minute’ is to do, as a good measure of damage control, to ‘apologize’ profusely, more..

Suspension of Sri Lankan asylum seeker claims to expire

July 4 (ABC) The Australian government says a suspension on dealing with asylum claims for people from Sri Lanka was never meant to stop people smuggling. The three month suspension expires this week, and political observers say the prime minister Julia Gillard is expected to use the opportunity to revamp asylum seeker policy. Boats carrying asylum seekers have continued to arrive in Australian waters since the suspension was announced in April. more..

Parts of abandoned vehicles in Vanni sold with SLA connivance

July 4 (TN) Parts of thousands of vehicles left abandoned by fleeing Vanni civilians during the final days of the war are dismantled by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers and officers and sold to Sinhalese and Muslim traders from South, a Tamil trader who had bought such a spare part for his heavy vehicle told TamilNet. The dismantled parts are available for sale in most of the SLA bases along A9 road as well as in some SLA sentry post, he said. more..

SLA obliterates Tiger Heroes' Cemeteries, erects military bases

July 4 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) which has been systematically razing to the ground without any traces the Thamizh Eezham Heroes War Cemeteries in several places of North and East, has in recent weeks obliterated the Thuyilum Illam at Kodikaaman in Thenmaraadchi, Jaffna, and is erecting a big SLA base in its place. Ellangku’lam Heroes Cemetery in Udupiddi in Vadamaraadchi had been already destroyed without any trace and the premises converted into an SLA base. more..

National Sovereignty or Rajapakse Sovereignty?

July 4 (LG) There is hysteria in the air. The regime and its allies are flailing at the UN and the EU, to the tune of wild drumbeats of national sovereignty and shrill accusations of unwarranted and unjust interference. That a cabinet minister exhorted the masses to take the UN staff in Colombo hostage until the UN advisory panel is disbanded is a measure of the dominant madness. Amidst this verbal melee, the IMF announced its decision to release the third tranche of its Lankan loan, more..

Reopening Dalada Veediya: Kandy MC appeal to President

July 4 (Island) There is mounting pressure to re-open the key road in front of the Sri Dalada Maligawa for vehicular traffic. This section of Dalada Veediya leading to the Sacred Dalada Maligawa was barricaded for fear of LTTE attacks similar to the suicide truck bomb blast on January 25, 1998. Since the closure of this sections of main road which links Kandy town and the area beyond Tennekumubura, motor vehicles are divested along the road around the lake, which is a detour. more..

Peradeniya University: Winds of Change

July 4 (SO) By the early 1940s the Government and the Ceylon University planners had acquired the site of the New Peradeniya Estate, an unprofitable tea and rubber plantation owned by a British company, for the construction of the university infrastructure. But soon, the site had been requisitioned for a cantonment of the British, American and Australian troops fighting the fascists in the Second World War. more..

Rs. 1480 million worth inferior quality black oil imported!

July 4 (LeN) The Ceylon petroleum Corporation (CPC) has imported 20,000, metric tons of inferior quality black oil worth Rs. 1480 million, according to news reaching Lanka e news. The CPC has imported grade 1500 black oil weighing 20,000 metric tons recently. The price of a barrel of this oil is US $ 72/- Every metric ton contains 9 barrels of oil. Accordingly, this imported quantity is made up of 180,000 barrels. more..

No trains on Galle-Matara Railways track for 4 months

July 4 (LP) The Galle-Matara Railway track will be closed for 4 months from the 01st of August due to renovations said the Railways Department. Railways Department said that with the renovations, the trip from Colombo to Matara which takes four hours will be reduced 02 hours. The construction of the highway is conducted in three phases and under the first phase concrete pillars will be replaced more..

Sri Lankan Miracle birth – a healthy baby girl

July 4 (LP) Sri Lanka enters in to the history of medical journal once again with a miracle surgery. Sri Lankan Doctors performed a “Laparo tomic” and were able to successfully deliver a baby conceived by a 21 year old young mother, Chaturika Gnanawardana from Badalkumbura, Monaragala on the 29th of June. The baby was conceived out of the womb of the mother, in the cavity Abdomen which is a case heard rarely. more..

No hike in bus fares, says NTC chief

July 4 (SO) The National Transport Commission (NTC) under no circumstances will permit an increase in the minimum bus fare from Rs. 6 to Rs. 7 at this stage, yielding to the demands of a handful of bus operators, National Transport Commission (NTC) Chairman Sashi Welgama told the Sunday Observer. He said only a handful of bus operators were making this demand and the majority of them are not in favour of it. more..

Editorial: Budget debates without direction

July 4 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa’s admonition to Members of Parliament, that they refrain from using ‘vulgar language’ on each other in the course of the current budget debate, we hope, would prove to be the proverbial stitch in time which would save nine. Likewise, our expectation is that his cautionary note that Members desist from resorting to character assassination in the thrust and parry of debate, would have the desired effect. more..

Imbalance in public finances

July 4 (NS) The keynote of the budget presented last Tuesday was the expectations of rapid economic growth. It predicted an economic growth of 7 percent this year rising to 8 percent after that and claimed the country would reach double digit economic growth after that. Investment on infrastructure was to continue to enhance economic productivity. The fiscal deficit was to be reduced to 7 percent of GDP and reduced further in 2011. more..

Oluvil Port ready by September

July 4 (MoD) The first phase of the Oluvil Port project comprising a commercial and fisheries harbour will be completed in September, according to a spokesman for the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). He said work on the building in the commercial and fisheries harbour areas and the internal and access road are in progress. Construction work on sheet piling and the quay wall at the fisheries harbour have been completed and yard filling is in progress. more..

245,000 students to sit GCE (AL) exam

July 4 (SO) Two-hundred-and-forty-five thousand students will sit the GCE (Advanced Level) examination this year. Of the total number, 170,000 candidates are school applicants. A higher number of students have applied to sit the examination from the Colombo, Gampaha, Kandy, Galle and Kurunegala districts. There will be around 35,000 invigilators, according to Commissioner General of Examinations, Anura Edirisinghe. more..

'Wait and see' attitude in second hand car market?

July 4 (SO) The second hand car market seems to have suffered a setback due to the newly introduced import tax regime. Buyers anticipating a big drop in second hand vehicle prices due to the inevitable price slash in brand new and reconditioned vehicles have adopted a 'wait-and-see' attitude. Vehicle dealers said that due to the 'wait-and-see' attitude of buyers there has been a significant drop in second hand car sales within the past month. more..

Lessons Learnt Commission invites public representations

July 4 (MoD) The Members of the Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation has given the public time till August 18, 2010 to make representations. "We request the public to send their representations early to facilitate our work", the Commission said in a statement last week. A public notice has been published in the newspapers in all three languages calling for written representations to the Commission in respect of matters related to the Warrant. more..

52 Div organizes dengue awareness programmes

July 4 (MoD) With warning by medical authorities on rapid spread of dengue in some areas of Nelliady and Velvettithurai, Brigadier Lal Perera took speedy action to organize a series of dengue awareness programmes to educate people about the disease. Passing information on how to maintain a hygienically rich environment is in continuation by way of mobile services using public announcement systems and more..

Editorial: Police in the dock

July 4 (NS) Just when Sri Lanka had its plate full in dealing with international controversies with the United Nations and the European Union, an additional crisis was imposed on Colombo: The death of an Indian national, allegedly with the complicity of a local Police officer! The officer concerned was detained on suspicion, apparently being detected while trying to dispose of the body of the Indian national in Mundalama in the Puttlam district, and more..

Reflections on Fonseka’s new moves

July 4 (NS) Sarath Fonseka has stated that he is ready to talk to the panel that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed to ‘advise him on issues pertaining to Sri Lanka’. Some would be surprised by this, others not. Sarath Fonseka is, we all know, pretty much a political neophyte and, as such, much of the naiveté that he spewed out during his unsuccessful bid to become president, was expected. One would not be faulted for thinking that the sobering result and more..

TNA wary of Govt. backing for KP

July 4 (NS) The ruling UPFA was busy with the presentation of the Budget this week, but that was an anti-climax of sorts, with no new proposals being announced. At the other end of the political divide, the main Opposition party, the UNP was finalising its reforms aimed at revitalising the party. Elsewhere, partners in the UPFA were eager to get mileage by projecting themselves as saviours of the nation, by firing rhetoric against United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and more..

UNP, JVP plan major protests

July 4 (ST) The main opposition UNP and the JVP are formulating plans for protest campaigns against the constitutional amendments the Government wants to introduce. Whether such a campaign will be carried out jointly or separately will hinge on the outcome of informal consultations now under way between the two parties. The UNP campaign, its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Sunday Times, would include pocket meetings at grassroots level, more..

Kandy urgent pollution watch

July 4 (NS) On the heals of Prof. O.A. Illeperuma of the Chemistry Department of the Peradeniya University coming up with some disturbing findings about air pollution in Kandy Town, the Central Environment Authority (CEA) and the Air Resource Management Centre (AIRMAC) will begin two new probes in the hill capital next week. Prof. Illeperuma said that he had found the air pollution levels in Kandy to be two to three times higher than Colombo depending on the whether patterns. more..

Govt. prevents General from participate at Commonwealth sessions

July 4 (LT) It is reported that the government is taking measures to prevent DNA MP Gen. Sarath Fonseka from participating at the sessions of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. This decision had been taken by the executive committee of the Sri Lanka branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association that met yesterday (3rd) evening. DNA MP Sunil Handunnethti speaking to ‘Lankatruth’ said, more..

Editorial: The need to meet the challenge

July 4 (ST) An email circulating these days is that of a speech made by former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar at a dinner in London for the Sri Lankan cricket team years ago when he was en-route to the UN in New York. An interesting aside he made was about the manner in which skipper Arjuna Ranatunga walked to the boundary line (but did not cross it) and the resultant consequences after spin wiz Muttiah Muralitharan was 'no balled' by an Australian umpire for more..