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TNA says political solution must come first

May 8 (DM) The TNA yesterday referred to the proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission to be appointed by the president and said there should be an acceptable political solution before bringing about reconciliation among the different communities in Sri Lanka. TNA leader R. Sampanthan told parliament that when working towards reconciliation it was also essential for minorities to be imbibed with a sense of belonging. more..

Chief of staff at president’s office

May 8 (DM) In addition to the existing post of presidential secretary, a US-style presidential chief of staff post has been created at the presidential secretariat with a view to speeding up the proposed development activities around the country, the president’s office said. The new post was similar to that of a ministerial secretary and it was approved by the Cabinet when it met for the first meeting after the swearing in of ministers. more..

‘War and Peace’ and the APRC Proposals: Part 1

May 8 (DM) The preliminary APRC proposals have gained more Sinhala support after the war so that they are now equally acceptable to the Sinhala, Tamils, Up-Country Tamils and Muslims. Although the majority of Tamils and Muslims across Sri Lanka want a unitary state a significant minority of Tamils from the Northern Province still want to keep the ‘right to secession’. However most of them will give this up for the complete ‘package’ of APRC reforms. more..

Sri Lanka partly shielded from Greek crisis by IMF, donor loans: S&P

May 8 (LBO) A fiscal and monetary prudence program backed by the International Monetary Fund and donor loans will partly shield Sri Lanka from the fallout of a European credit confidence crisis, a rating agency has said. High spending Greece was one of the first countries to be hit by jittery investors who are nervous about rolling over loans. more..

IMF says some progress in discussions with govt

May 8 (Island) A top official of the International Monetary Fund says there has been some progress between the fund and the government of Sri Lanka on the continuance of the US$ 2.6 billion standby facility. Ms. Caroline Atkinson, Director, IMF External Relations Department, said there has been some progress in the discussions but declined to elaborate until the IMF Mission visited Sri Lanka. more..

Australia take on Sri Lanka in fight for semis

May 8 (PTI) High on confidence after imposing wins in their previous matches, Australia and Sri Lanka face off on Sunday in a Super Eight game with the winner's prize being a semifinal berth in the ICC World Twenty20 here. Considered Twenty20 duds before they landed in the Caribbean, the Australians have done well so far and are fast emerging as title contenders. more..

Gala Dinner with the Sri Lankan Cricket Team in Florida, USA

May 8 (SLE) The famed Sri Lanka Cricket Team will take part in a gala dinner with cricket fans during their match play in Florida May 22, 2010. The non-profit Sri Lanka Development Foundation will host the gala dinner with the cricket team at the elegant Marriott Harbor Beach Resort Hotel. The Sri Lankan side and the national team of New Zealand will play three matches May 20-23 at more..

Harry heads CPC

May 8 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday picked business tycoon Don Harold Stassen Jayawardena as Chairman of the loss making Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. Business and political sources said that the government and Jayawardena had come to an understanding, though there were differences between the duo in the recent past. Sources said that even the Opposition had been taken by surprise with more..

Rights group rejects Sri Lanka war probe as smokescreen

May 8 (AFP) An international rights group Saturday called Sri Lanka's planned review of its final battle against Tamil Tiger rebels a smokescreen to avoid accountability for alleged war crimes. President Mahinda Rajapakse on Thursday said he would name a commission next week to assess lessons from the last stages of fighting in 2009 and recommend measures to prevent a return to conflict. more..

From ‘Post-war’ to Political Solution and Development in Sri Lanka

May 9 (TC) ‘Winning the peace’ is the catchphrase of peace activists in all post-war situations. ‘Post-war’ does not necessarily mean peace in the positive sense of the term, particularly where a civil war was terminated by military means. The transition from a state of absence of war towards an environment of durable peace is a politically governed process that involves structural changes aimed at more..

Sovereignty of the people and war crimes: A final response

May 9 (TC) The first question that Dr. NJ believes I posed is as follows: why did he (Dr. NJ) think that Sri Lanka is the only country in which ‘any criticism of an act or omission of the government in regard to the treatment of its citizens is perceived to be an affront to state sovereignty’? That was not the question I had raised. The question, the more accurate one, was as follows: why did he (Dr. NJ) believe that ‘Sri Lanka appears to be the more..

Attorney-General and legal draftsman depts directly under President now

May 9 (TC) A gazette notification was issued on April 20 assigning subjects and functions to the new ministers. It also set out the departments, public corporations and statutory institutions falling under the purview the different ministries. But where was the attorney general’s department or the legal draftsman’s department? They were conspicuously absent from the list. more..

Tissa Underground

May 9 (SL) Senior journalist J. S Tissainayagam remains incognito – hiding in a safe house, despite a Presidential pardon, according to close family members. Tissainayagam’s father Martin Jayaratnam Tissainayagam told The Sunday Leader that his son was not staying with them. “His lawyers don’t want him speaking to anyone. He is under protection, though he has been pardoned,” Tissainayagam Snr. said. He added “We ourselves haven’t seen him for some time.” more..

Editorial: Frogs in a well - the Sri Lankan psyche

May 9 (SL) There’s an old tale about a frog in a pot of water. If you turn the heat up very slowly, the frog just sits there and boils to death. In case you didn’t notice, it’s been getting awfully hot in Sri Lanka. More people are dead, more are without homes, and inflation and corruption are picking the pockets of all. Are you hopping mad, or are you sitting still? Sri Lanka is actually a perfect fit for the ‘boiled frog’ metaphor. more..

Show us the money!

May 9 (SL) Senior members within the United National Party are demanding that Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe accounts for hundreds of millions of rupees worth of election campaign funds allegedly handed directly to him. Several members within the UNP, speaking strictly on condition of anonymity, said over Rs 300 million had been given to Wickremesinghe by a high powered South Asian country for the general election campaign. more..

Living with GSP+ and a galvanised family regime

May 9 (SL) The President suddenly felt the last days of war should be investigated for violations of international norms of conduct, if any. He is to appoint a seven member committee that would have foreign nationals as well, says a statement. Meanwhile, the war hero General who claimed there were no violations committed at any time during war as the Sri Lankan military was one of the most disciplined armies in the world, more..

94 Govt departments under direct family control

May 9 (SL) According to the Government Gazette detailing the names and duties of the 42 ministries in the current cabinet, the Rajapaksa siblings will control no less than 94 state institutions. The 51 page document outlines in bullet points the key responsibilities of each ministry, and also lists the state institutions that fall under the purview of each minister. more..

We need another election!

May 9 (SL) A significant majority of the analyses, particularly those dealing with the low turnout at the last general election, made out a cogent argument for “electoral fatigue” — the public had officially had it with election after election after election. While there is no denying the logic of those arguments, I would like to make out a case for just one more election in our neck of the woods. more..

Crackdown on errant bakery owners

May 9 (SO) The Consumer Affairs and Internal Trade Ministry (CAITM) yesterday assured that immediate action would be taken against bakery owners who make exorbitant profits by increasing wheat flour based products following last week’s gas price hike. Ministry investigation teams will be deployed on the directive of Minister Johnston Fernando from tomorrow to crack down on such errant bakery owners and restaurateurs who take undue advantage of the increase in gas prices. more..

'Vast fishing grounds at our disposal'

May 9 (SO) The proposals initiated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he was one time Fisheries Minister, calling upon the UN for a greater oceanic region for Sri Lanka have now borne fruit and the island-nation will now get a sea-bed area, 23 times its land area, with its fertile aquatic resources, rich minerals and hydrocarbon, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister, Rajitha Senaratne the Sunday Observer. more..

Novel project in Hambantota: Lankan grown Chinese vegetables

May 9 (SO) There is a discernible difference in the Chinese kitchen at the Hambantota harbour construction site. The cooks as well as the diners are very happy! The reason is Sri Lankan grown Chinese vegetables. The feeling must be the same as getting your hands on a good polos curry in London. Over 60 farmers in Hambantota are involved in providing Chinese green vegetables to the Chinese workers at more..

Migrant birds homeward bound

May 9 (SO) Thousands of migrant birds, which had arrived in Sri Lanka during the North-East Monsoon last year, have now left for their distant breeding grounds. They generally commence their homeward journey late in March, but the vast majority of them leave during April and early May, when the South-West Monsoon is about to break, in September to October. This year the Common Swallow appears to have left much earlier than in the recent past. more..

UNP foundation shaky - Rukman

May 9 (SO) Sri Lanka's oldest political party, the UNP, is in doldrums today. While losing its popularity in each passing day and losing its voter base in each election, the Party is struggling to change the present leadership by reforming the UNP Constitution. UNP's former Assistant leader Rukman Senanayake accused the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe of amending the UNP Constitution in a subtle way to ensure his survival. more..

'New approach towards media'

May 9 (SO) New Mass Media and Communication Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, in one of his first interviews after assuming duties in his new office, on Friday says he wants to be open and free with all sections of the media. “I believe in a relationship where we could disagree, argue and completely ignore each other, but no one has the right to insult each other.” more..

'Rehabilitation, a complete success'

May 9 (MoD) Commissioner General Rehabilitation, Brigadier Sudantha Ranasinghe expressed satisfaction over the rehabilitation process, which was launched soon after the ex-LTTE combatants surrendered to the Security Forces in May, last year. "We accepted them with open arms and warm hearts, and have won their hearts and minds. They feel that they have seen the light at the end of the tunnel," says Brig. Ranasinghe. more..

Permanently disabled war heroes get a wellness resort

May 9 (MoD) Brave Hearts', the project that provides a lifeline to the dependent War Heroes who became permanently disabled for the rest of their lives, is set to launch its Wellness Resort construction work with its foundation laying ceremony, fixed for May 15. This Wellness Resort is names 'Abimansala' reports the Army. Seva Vanitha Army Branch, the pioneers behind the worthy project, is overwhelmingly pleased to more..

'Big B will attend IIFA Awards in Lanka'

May 9 (EB) Actor Amitabh Bachchan will attend the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards function at Colombo in June, even if just for a day, a top official of the Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) claims. “Shahrukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai are definitely participating. And as for Amitabh, he will also come, even if only for a day,” the official told Express on the condition of anonymity. more..

Injured Murali to fly home on Sunday

May 9 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan, the Sri Lankan spinner, was ruled out of the ICC World Twenty20 after aggravating a groin injury during the Super Eights game against West Indies at Barbardos on Friday. Sri Lanka team manager Anura Tennekoon confirmed that the groin strain Muralitharan suffered during the group games had flared up during the match and there was no way he could make any recovery before the end of the tournament. more..

5 fishermen from Tamil Nadu injured in 'attack' by Lankan Navy

May 9 (PTI) Five fishermen from Tamil Nadu were injured when they attacked allegedly by Sri lankan naval personnel while fishing off Dhanushkodi last night. Official sources said all those injured had been treated as outpatients at a hospital here and discharged. They said the incident occurred between Dhanushkodi and Katchathivu. The fishing nets and catch were also taken away by the Lankan naval personnel, more..

No parking!

May 9 (NS) Colombo, the commercial hub of Sri Lanka and due to the availability of numerous facilities such as medical, educational and administrative, daily, citizens from all over the island enter the city of Colombo in large numbers. The total population of the city of Colombo increases to 2 million on any working day, because the city attracts a floating population of about 1.5 million, apart from the resident population. more..

Heads roll, while others remain

May 9 (ST) SriLankan Airlines chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe will continue in his post while Dhammika Perera was also expected to be re-appointed as Board of Investment (BOI) Chairman amidst intensive lobbying for this position from two other contenders - Asia Capital CEO Asanga Seneviratne and Ceylon Tobacco Co Chairman Jayampathy Bandaranaike. The latter, a former Ceylon Chamber of Commerce chairman, is already on the current BOI board. more..

Govt. contemplates imports as acute chicken shortage push up market prices

May 9 (Island) With the acute dearth of chicken in the market expected to continue till at least mid August this year, the government is contemplating imports, but the bird flu threat in India is impeding efforts to offer the produce to Sri Lankan consumers at a competitive price, officials said last week. The shortage has sent prices through the roof, with a kilo of chicken selling between 550 and 600 rupees in the open market more..

New ministries geared to economic development

May 9 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his second term in office, has decided to make a series of changes in staff positions at the Presidential Secretariat as part of a revamping process aimed at the efficient functioning of the Secretariat. “The contributions made by certain persons holding key positions at the Secretariat for the last five years have fallen short of expectations,” more..

What price Cabinet portfolios

May 9 (NS) The political fallout of the recent general election continues, despite a month elapsing since the poll, as the ruling UPFA and President Mahinda Rajapaksa grapple with a different kind of problem: Having to please everyone who was a partner in the UPFA victory. The President publicly expressed his displeasure over the UPFA’s internal squabbles, which reached a climax in Nawalapitiya, where the election had to be cancelled and a re-poll ordered. more..

Government has plans and plans, Ranil has one plan

May 9 (LB) First thing that needs to be asked this week is —- if the UNP is not reforming, how many are deserting the sinking ship? We do not know. But it clear that Abdul Cader who topped the preferences in Kandy district, is disgruntled. He voted with the government last week to extend the Emergency. Speculation has been that he along with Lakshman Kiriella are contemplating on joining the government benches. more..

No Vote-on-Account now, just mini-budget

May 9 (ST) The government has decided to do away with a second Vote-on-Account and present only a mini-budget in July, a top Finance Ministry official said yesterday. Instead, to cover three months of government expenditure from May to July, the President on Friday issued a decree under the Finance Act which empowers him as Finance Minister to authorise expenditure for the "maintenance of public services" for three months from more..

Editorial: Fix this lingering fuzzy-mindedness

May 9 (LNP) As Sri Lanka dreams wistfully of joining Asia s elite band of Miracle Economies , we are time and again reminded that we continue to lack those fundamentals which are essential for the longed-for take-off into affluence and material stability. What we are alluding to in this context is not the oft spoken of economic fundamentals, which are, no doubt, of crucial significance to those countries which are aspiring to reach the upper rungs of material accomplishment, more..

Doing it wrong at the wrong time

May 9 (LB) This government has an exceptional talent for doing the wrong things at the wrong time, unnecessarily getting the whole world to notice, then running around in circles trying to untangle their knickers before eventually doing the right thing. The latest they’ve gone and done — or undone, in a manner of speaking — is to place the attorney general’s department under the control of the president. more..

UNP leadership change -- sceptics and the hopefuls

May 9 (LB) With the consecutive poll defeats of the UNP, many expected a possible change in the leadership. An indication of a green light to change the UNP party leadership came with the decision of the Working Committee to hold an election to appoint a new leader. Now they say, the leaders are to be selected for the high ranks of the party via an election. more..

Colombo’s unauthorized structures: Who is fooling whom?

May 9 (Island) While the Defence Ministry moved in swiftly to knock down illegal pavement structures to the relief of pedestrians, the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) appears to be dragging its feet on demolishing identified large-scale unauthorized constructions, one of which has been built over a major storm water artery at the entrance to Pedris Road in Kollupitiya. This illegal structure constructed on the concrete platform covering this drainage system which more..

Editorial: Rescue democracy from corruption

May 9 (ST) It would seem that the Government is looking to turn over a new leaf. While taking on board its major achievements like the victory over the LTTE, there seems a desire to right some of the wrongs of its first term of office. Among them are several announcements that the Government is going to investigate at least some of the instances of corruption in the recent past. These range from the reported rackets in the petroleum sector; more..

SMS hoax causes panic

May 9 (NS) The CID will begin investigations into the hoax text message that circulated on Friday and Saturday. Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Anusha Palpita said that once the in-house investigations are over, the TRC will hand over the case to CID on Monday. A hoax text message which circulated through mobile service networks on more..

Kotelawela up for re-election to Ceylinco Insurance board

May 9 (Island) Desamanya Lalith Kotelawala is up for re-election as a director at the annual general meeting of Ceylinco Insurance PLC on May 26 by a special resolution under the Company’s Act permitting the election of directors over 70-years of age. The Companies Act No.7 of 2007 permits the election of directors over 70-years by special resolution and such a resolution is before the forthcoming Ceylinco Insurance AGM. more..

Centre for National Security explains eviction of illegal occupants in Malay street

May 9 (LP) The Government yesterday announced the eviction of occupants of land adjacent to the school of the National Security in Malay Street Colombo 2, on a legal and humanitarian basis. Though the occupants had illegally settled in the area, the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) intervened to pay them compensation and help find alternative abodes. Even after a feasible solution they continued to occupy more..

Boat rides for hill county tourists

May 9 (LP) Boat rides for tourists will be organized in the scenic Mahaweli reservoirs in the hill capital of the country very soon. This measure also comes as a boost to tourism in the hill country. Assuming duties as the Minister of Irrigation, Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said that the boat tours will be launched in Victoria, Kothmale, and Maduru Oya reservoirs of the Mahaweli irrigation zone. more..

CMU and Bank unions looking for National Minimum Wage

May 9 (Island) The Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers Union (CMU) and the Ceylon Bank Employees Union (CBEU) at a joint May Day rally have called all trade unions representing the private and public sectors "to consult together as soon as possible to put forward common proposals to the government for a realistic National Wage Policy based upon a National Minimum Wage." more..

Lanka's Police Academy: A comedy of errors

May 9 (ST) The words Police Academy became famous after the cinema comedy series. When Sri Lanka opened its own Police Academy at Katana just days ago, some of the scenes that occurred were fit enough for that series. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was the chief guest who declared it open. The academy offers higher study courses on a variety of matters concerning the Police. more..

'EU makes its stand very clear'

May 9 (Island) The European Union (EU) "has no position on any on-going court case in Sri Lanka," the EU delegation in Colombo said on Friday in a three-paragraph press release. This was a clear reference to a statement made in parliament by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who said that GSP+ can be rescued if Gen. Sarath Fonseka is released. The EU press release confirmed that a more..

City fire department ‘ablaze’ with forged certificates scandal

May 9 (Island) Colombo city’s fire department has been left to battle a different kind of a blaze after it was discovered that some new recruits had allegedly submitted forged educational certificates and other documents to secure employment as firemen. Sixty trainee firemen had been recruited to the department about 18 months back following a competitive examination, but it had subsequently come to light that more..

UNP embroiled in leadership crisis

May 9 (ST) It was the first baptism of fire for the new Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, last Wednesday. A Cabinet Minister concurred on an issue raised by two senior Opposition politicians. It was all over retired General Sarath Fonseka. The first to raise issue was Anura Kumara Dissanayake, spokesman for the DNA. He complained that their alliance leader was not allowed to attend Parliament. He would not be able to cast his vote on the extension of the State of Emergency, he declared. more..