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New criterion for next Cabinet

Mar 14 (NS) When selecting the next Cabinet, President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be giving top consideration to efficiency, past track record and honesty, while the number of Cabinet ministers will be restricted to between 35 and 40, a highly placed source said. He added that the rationale behind this thinking is the need for fast tracking the economic development of the country, which is high in the agenda in the President’s second term. more..

Dengue to reach peak with rains

Mar 14 (NS) With the number of dengue cases reported in the first two and half months of the year has reached 9,655 with 60 patients reported dead, the health authorities warned that this year will record the worst number of cases with monsoons expected to begin next month. Last year saw 3,093 cases in the same period. Colombo and Jaffna Districts record higher vulnerability to the disease. more..

Govt allows 15 NGOs to help resettled IDPs in Mullaiththeevu - GA

Mar 14 (TN) Government has allowed around fifteen NGOs to assist the IDPs in Mullaiththeevu district in Vanni to create livelihoods for them, Mullaiththeevu Government Agent Ms. Imelda Sukumar said. Projects constructing 2700 houses in the two divisional secretary areas have begun and the President’s Work Committee has issued permission to around 15 NGOs to involve in helping the resettled IDPs, more..

'What the military Court is trying to do is to be the plaintiff , the Jury and the Judge!'

Mar 14 (LeN) Two military Courts have been established to try Former Chief of defense staff General Sarath Fonseka on seven counts based on two charge sheets. These charge sheets have been served on Fonseka who is now kept in detention. The lawyers of the Opposition have pointed out that the forcible abduction of Fonseka, holding him in detention and producing him before a military Court to try him or filing a case against him in the military Court are illegal. more..

Govt. legalising bribery and corruption

Mar 14 (ST) It is one of those ironic twists. Most people know that bribery and corruption are rampant in Sri Lanka today, but the Government is unwilling and the Bribery and Corruption Commission unable to do much about it. The Government's feet-dragging in extending the warrant of the Commission after March 29 comes as no surprise. It is therefore a case of the Government virtually legalizing bribery and corruption and wishing the Commission good riddance with all the bad rubbish. more..

TISL insists ‘it has nothing to hide’

Mar 14 (Island) In the light of adverse media reports relating to the activities of Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) in recent weeks, the organization said it is timely to elaborate on its work and outreach in Sri Lanka. TISL is the Sri Lanka Chapter of Transparency International, the Global Coalition against Corruption with more than 90 locally established chapters. more..

A Free and Fair Election - An impossible dream?

Mar 14 (Island) We, the People have a Sovereign right to exercise our franchise at free and fair elections. The very last time we could do so was in 1977. Giving vent to our disgust with the governance then prevailing, we gave J. R. Jayewardene, who claimed to be the long-awaited saviour of the Sri Lankan nation, a 5/6th majority. Free and fair elections were soon relegated to history. The election process rapidly degenerated to the level of more..

Prabhakaran’s mother expects asylum in Canada

Mar 14 (Island) Former TNA MP M. K. Sivajilingam yesterday expressed confidence that there wouldn’t be any problems over the departure from the country of slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s mother, Parvathiepillai Velupplai, who left the county last week without informing the authorities. He said that he helped Parvathie to obtain a new passport about a month ago and the air ticket a few days more..

Parliament oblivious to corruption under its roof

Mar 14 (Island) Will the next Parliament, scheduled to meet on April 22, take up a damning Auditor General’s report which had dealt with financial irregularities, waste and corruption in Parliament since 2003? The report, which had been handed over to Parliament early last May didn’t receive the consideration it deserved. The Parliamentary watchdog committee had conveniently turned a blind eye to AG’s findings. more..

‘Stress now impacting badly on ‘ Lankan children’

Mar 14 (Island) ‘Local Year Five schoolchildren are figuring prominently among IT workers, bank officials, accountants, businessman and mercantile executives, as those most vulnerable to stress-induced diseases, such as, high-blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart ailments. These ailments, in turn, make one prone to psychiatric pathology or illnesses of the mind’, Consultant Psychiatrist and more..

Govt. urged to withdraw flags of shame

Mar 14 (ST) Moves are underway to bring an end to the sale of the national flag to international ship owners since it is a degrading practice and an insult to the nation. The country had been selling the national flag to international maritime operators for the past 30 years, in return for millions of rupees at the expense of country’s dignity and it should be stopped immediately. more..

Fonseka may be stripped of stars

Mar 14 (ST) At forenoon last Thursday, retired General Sarath Fonseka had a visitor. It was at the heavily-guarded Navy Headquarters annexe where he is confined. Major General Crishantha Silva, the Military Secretary, was to convey to him officially that he would have to face a General Court Martial. He wanted to hand over a set of documents including: more..

Wilpattu vandalised

Mar 14 (ST) The heart-rending sight of a vulnerable wild piglet near the massive tyres of vehicles rushing past tells Wilpattu’s tale in all its tragedy. Did the little one survive or was it crushed to a pulp and left only as a small patch on a new huge interior road where civilian traffic is plying to and fro at breakneck speed? The piglet had not strayed on to a busy highway close to a city, town or even in a rural area, but was in its own “protected home-ground”. more..

Startling revelations in Army-binoculars probe

Mar 14 (ST) An ongoing CID probe on the purchase of 250 "daylight" binoculars by the Sri Lanka Army is uncovering startling revelations. In January 2007, the Army called for tenders. Seven suppliers registered with the Army, after conforming to qualifications laid down by it, made bids. A three-member Evaluation Committee headed by Colonel K.M.D.A.A. de Silva and comprising Major S.A. Sirimannage and Captain W.A.K.J. Perera examined the bids. more..

Sri Lankan diplomat returns with landlord’s piano, antique clock

Mar 14 (ST) A Sri Lankan diplomat who served in Japan has been accused of bringing back to Colombo his landlord's personal belongings including a piano, an expensive wall painting and an antique clock. In a complaint to the Foreign Ministry in Colombo, the landlord has said the items were among his other belongings that were in the house rented to the Sri Lankan diplomat. more..

Big spenders make mockery of campaign trail

Mar 14 (ST) Money power and runaway spending ahead of April’s general elections has raised serious concerns about the way party candidates are conducting themselves on the campaign trail. Observers, including political parties and election monitoring bodies, are talking about the astronomical sums of money some candidates are spending on their propaganda work. What is even more interesting is that despite all the heavy spending, more..

'I will secure more votes than Ranil'

Mar 14 (SO) 'I will secure more votes than Ranil, said National Freedom Front Leader and Colombo district candidate, Wimal Weerawansa at an election rally. He said Ranil Wickremesinghe through fear of defeat at the hands of Mahinda Rajapaksa opted out at the last Presidential Election". In 2005 people voted for President Rajapaksa to safeguard the country and in 2010 to rebuild it. more..

Fonseka refuses to accept charge-sheet

Mar 14 (ST) Retired General Sarath Fonseka has refused a directive to appear before a General Court Martial on Tuesday and Wednesday. He has re-iterated the position he took at the recording of 'summary of evidence' that he is not covered by military law and that his arrest is illegal. On Thursday, the Government named a three member General Court Martial presided by Major General Harsha Weeratunga. more..

'Some have already forgotten the General'

Mar 14 (NS) Wife of Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader General Sarath Fonseka says that some of the political parties who were backing General Fonseka seem to have forgotten him at present while the UNP says they cannot hold any protests on his behalf because he is contesting from a different party. “I cannot say exactly that they do not have any interest in him. more..

IDPs reeling -- no money

Mar 14 (LB) Supply of water, sanitation and health facilities may grind to a halt for IDPs. The UN and other humanitarian agencies are running out of resources to meet the urgent needs of internally displaced persons in the North. Among the services hit by depleted funds are the supply of water to the nearly 100,000 IDPs remaining at Menik Farm in Vauniya. more..

Arrest and Detention of Gen. Fonseka - A Legal Perspective

Mar 14 (Island) Every living being by nature cherishes liberty, security and freedom of movement. Law evolved as an instrument of regulation of human conduct and recognized from the earliest times that certain rights pertain by nature to all members of the human family. This body of rights that stem from Natural Law is appropriately designated Human Rights. more..

Concern over Sigiriya's wasps

Mar 15 (BBC) There is controversy in Sri Lanka over the fate of thousands of bees that pose an intermittent threat to people around one of the country’s top tourist sites. Residents near the Sigiriya rock fortress complain that cruel methods are being used to get rid of some of the insects, whose colonies have lived there for hundreds of years. Sigiriya is a spectacular royal residence built fifteen hundred years ago in the jungle by a warrior king, Kasyapa. more..

Lawyers alarmed over 'rights abuse' in Sri Lanka

Mar 15 (BBC) A panel of international lawyers says it is alarmed over reports that human rights activists and reporters are being intimidated in Sri Lanka. The International Bar Association (IBA) also voiced concern over the possibility of bringing in criminal charges against activists by Colombo. It says that 35 activists critical of the government have been listed according "to their level of dissent". Sri Lanka maintains there is no intimidation against rights activists. more..

Govt. 'first did politics' with Fonseka

Mar 15 (BBC) The government made the first moves to involve Gen Sarath Fonseka in politics by offering political postings, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) claimed. DNA media spokesman Anura Kumara Dissanayake told journalists on Sunday that Secretary to the President, Lalith Weerathunga, visited Gen Fonseka while he was the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in order to offer political posts. more..

On Democracy

Mar 15 (SLW) I’m a liberal, who believes every living being cherishes freedom, liberty. Liberalism is about freedom. More specifically, it’s about giving the greatest possible freedom to every individual, politically, economically, and culturally… We are democrats, even though we do not think it’s perfect. Democracy is majority rule, nothing more, nothing less. Of course, the majority is often wrong. They will believe any ridiculous lie if the one who tells it knows how to tell it. more..

Panadura South police commits torture

Mar 15 (SLW) Kalum Kumari is an 18 year old married woman. Her husband Palitha Perera is a 28 year old fish seller. This incident was happened on 10.03.2010. On 08.03.2010 around 4pm three people had arrived to their house by a trishaw. These people held Palitha and said they were from police. But they didn’t mention which the police station is. Paltha asked what the reason was. They said it was a case regarding bicycles and also mentioned they knew what he was done up to now. more..

The Rajapaksa regime and the role of Basil the presidential sibling

Mar 15 (TC) "Come Mr Chandraprema" says the usher. I follow him into the smallish modestly furnished office in the presidential secretariat. A national dress and kurakkan satake clad gentleman is sitting at his desk looking through some files with a couple of officials in attendance. Seeing me he asks, "Can’t this wait until I finish this interview?". more..

Law Breakers vie to become Law Makers !

Mar 15 (LG) The above title is from one of several comments I made during a panel discussion on Rupavahini’s ‘Kathiraya’ programme one evening in April 1999. The polling for provincial councils had closed and vote counting had begun. After the shocking violence unleashed on opposition supporters by PA goondas with some ministers egging them on - an opposition supporter, a woman school teacher, was stripped and forced to walk on a main street more..

Even before any charge was filed Gotabaya Rajapaksa went on TV to say General will be convicted for 5 years

Mar 15 (LG) Today we email to illustrate the proceedings against the General on March 16 & 17. To request that anyone with any love for his/her nation try even in a small way to defend the supreme interests of this nation and not the petty interests of a small group. The Executive, Legislative and Parliamentary arms have been equipped with powers to balance and counter balance each other. more..

Cardinal John Henry Newman: His great mind was felt even in Sri Lanka

Mar 15 (TC) Three Sundays ago, a kindly retired priest next to me at church gently reminded me that it is Cardinal John Newman Day, in celebration of Newman’s birth in 1801. In September Newman will be beatified - that is, “the official act of the pope whereby a deceased person is declared to be enjoying the happiness of heaven, and therefore a proper subject of religious honour and public cult in certain places.” more..

Squandered opportunity or ‘nation building’ sans Lankan expats?

Mar 15 (LG) There remains a vastly untapped knowledge resource pool among the Sri Lankan expatriates for an economic renaissance. Soon after the ‘war on terror’ ended in May 2009, Lankan expats the world over did express their enthusiasm on Internet forums for building a partnership with the Sri Lanka government andbring a wealth of critical knowledge to our motherland that is desperately wanting after decades of ‘brain-drain.’ more..

Tales of victims in Sri Lanka

Mar 15 (LG) Some thirteen days before International Women's Day passed by with nary a whimper this year except the usual familiar events and tired speeches to ceremonially mark the day, a nine year old girl was raped in the East allegedly by soldiers attached to a nearbye army camp. Initial protests by the villagers in that area, though strong and agitated at first, appear to have petered out gradually. more..

Dictatorship of a Two-Thirds majority or abuse of power by executive President?

Mar 15 (LG) The question to be asked is not: Whom are you voting for? Very few will know whom they are voting for because the chances of them knowing anyone in any of the lists of the parties’ contesting the district are very remote. You will probably vote for a party which you dislike the least. The tougher question will be: What are you voting for? A vast majority of voters simply don’t know what they want. more..

War Crimes, Human Rights: A home Grown Solution

Mar 15 (LG) One simply has to thank Island columnist Kath Noble, and not for the first time, for injecting a note of sanity into an overheated discussion, if discussion it is, among us natives. Following an interview with the respected progressive intellectual Fr Francois Houtart, who presided over the Dublin exercise, she has written a thought provoking piece this week on the issue of war crimes and accountability. more..

Strengthening democracy in Sri Lanka

Mar 15 (GV) From blue sky thinking to tried and tested ideas at the grassroots that need to scale up or be better recognised and supported, Groundviews invites you to create a unique catalogue of ideas on how post-war Sri Lanka can strengthen democratic governance. Groundviews, as well as other online fora and media are already tremendously rich in engaging discussions on the trajectories of our post-war democracy. more..

The 17th Amendment to the constitution must be amended to be implemented

Mar 15 (TC) One of the more frequent critiques of the government with regard to what is characterized as Human Rights relates to the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. It is claimed that the failure to fully implement that Amendment makes clear the authoritarian inclinations of the current government. Not entirely surprisingly, this criticism has figured large in the attacks on the government more..

Captains star in drawn encounter

Mar 15 (CI) Half-centuries from Ashen Fernando and captain Dinesh Walpita, backed by a useful lower-order effort by Chamod Pathirana, helped S. Thomas' College fight out a draw against Royal College at the Sinhalese Sports Club in the Inter Schools Annual Big Match. Royal College's performance had been led by example from their captain Bhanuka Rajapakse, who starred in an all-round effort, and so did Walpita for S. Thomas' College. more..

'Accusations framed to arrest Fonseka not in charge sheet'

Mar 15 (LT) None of the accusations put forward by the government to illegally arrest and arbitrarily detain Gen. Sarath Fonseka has been included in the charge sheet filed before the military tribunal says JVP MP Anura Dissanayake. He said, “Before Gen. Sarath Fonseka was illegally arrested the accusations put forward by the government to justify the arrest of the General were conspiring to assassinate more..

Additional facilities for southern devotees visiting Nagadeepa

Mar 15 (MoD) The Northern Provincial Council has arranged additional facilities including resting places, transport services and mini-markets for devotees from South visiting the Nagadeepa temple. "Shelter, additional boat services, canteen and transport facilities to reach the jetty etc will be specially arranged at the Kurikattuwan jetty for the pilgrims," Northern Province Governor Major General G. A. Chandrasiri said. more..

Sri Lankan dies after jet ski accident

Mar 15 (AN) A Sri Lankan man who used to rent out jet skis in Jeddah died in hospital following an accident while riding a jet ski in the Obhur creek. Sinne Lebbe Yusuf Lebbe, 36, popularly known as Zainul Abideen, died after falling from the machine which he had just repaired and was trying out. Sri Lankan Consul General Sabarullah Khan told Arab News that officials from the Saudi Red Crescent Society rescued the 36-year-old from the water and took him to a nearby hospital. more..

We are firm on demand, says TNA

Mar 15 (Hindu) Contrary to claims by a section of the media that the Sri Lanka's pro-LTTE political party, the TNA, has given up its stance on Eelam, the alliance has reiterated the demand on the right to self-determination of Tamils. In its manifesto for the April 8 general election, the TNA has sought federal solution based on shared sovereignty while reiterating its position on the right to self-determination. more..

Sri Lankan election: SEP campaigns at irrigation workers’ quarters

Mar 15 (wsws) “If [President Mahinda] Rajapakse gets a two-thirds majority [in the April 8 general election] he will use it against the people. It will be a dictatorial rule,” an irrigation engineer told a Socialist Equality Party (SEP) campaign team in Sri Lanka. He was referring to Rajapakse’s appeal to voters to give his ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) a two-thirds majority in parliament. more..

Devotees observe Sivaraathitri in Keerimalai Nakuleasvarar temple

Mar 15 (TN) Around 5000 devotees observed ‘Sivaraathiri Poosai’ Saturday night at the historically famous Nakuleasvarar Koayil in Keerimalai which is located in the High Security Zone (HSZ) of occupying Sri Lanka Army, after a period of 20 years. During the past few years SLA had allowed only a limited number of devotees to observe Sivaraathiri night worship in the temple on condition that they should leave the HSZ only on the following day under SLA control, more..

No election related violence in Jaffna – Police Chief

Mar 15 (TN) Jaffna Police Chief, Uthaya de Silva, said that there were no election related violence worth mentioning so far in a meeting held in Jaffna town with the representatives of the political parties and independent groups contesting parliamentary elections, sources in Jaffna said. The political parties and the independent groups co-operate sufficiently with the police, he added. more..

Government blamed for not helping resettled IDPs in Jaffna

Mar 15 (TN) Sri Lanka government fails in its duty to offer assistance to the resettled IDPs in Jaffna peninsula, civil society organization said. This has become evident with Jaffna Government Agent’s statement that the UN organizations continue to assist the resettled IDPs supplying dry food rations through World Food Program (WFP) while financial help is given to them by Asian Development Bank through NECORD, they said. more..

Railway earnings increase 74m above target

Mar 15 (GDI) Earnings of the Railways Department have increased according to Railways Commercial Superintendent Wijaya Samarasinghe. He said the department had earned an income of over four Billion rupees last year and that it is an increase of 74 Million rupees than the set target. Their target for last year was 3946 million rupees. The Department aims to earn an income of five billion rupees this year. more..

Pirivena teachers to benefit from newly launched fund

Mar 15 (GDI) A fund is launched to provide allowances and loan facilities for teachers who are serving in Pirivenas. The launching of the fund took place under the patronage of UPFA Gampaha District group leader Basil Rajapaksa. It took place during a special meeting of heads of Pirivenas of the Gampaha district. Many members of the Maha Sangha including the Ven. Welamitiyawe Kusaladhamma Nayaka thera, head of the Vidyalankara Pirivena were present. more..

'People should come together to create a virtuous society'

Mar 15 (GDI) The President Mahinda Rajapaksa said people should come together to create a virtuous society that is centred around the temple. President Rajapaksa made these observations at the President’s house in Mahiyangana, addressing members of the Maha Sangha and Grama Niladharis. The President said the Government will take appropriate measures to meet all requirements of the temple. more..

'All unemployed graduates to secure their future soon'

Mar 15 (GDI) SLFP Chief Organiser in Udunuwara S. B. Dissanayake said the President Mahinda Rajapaksa has drawn up a plan to provide jobs to all unemployed graduates within three months of holding the first Cabinet meeting of the next UPFA Government after the April 8 General Election. Addressing a graduates meeting of the Yatinuwara electorate, Dissanayake said that the collection of data on this matter had more..

People cautioned against Dengue with rains setting-in

Mar 15 (GDI) The Government has taken steps to launch a programme to control the spread of Dengue with the onset of the rainy season. The Health authorities have stressed that peoples’ cooperation is required to destroy the breeding places of mosquitoes. Legal action will be taken against people who have mosquito breeding places in their premises. Last year, 122 such raids were conducted in the Colombo Municipal area. more..