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Happy President

Sep 9 (IL) The 18th Amendment to the Constitution which was presented before the Parliament for voting today on 8th September has been passed with a two-thirds majority. It was passed with 161 Parliamentarians voting for the reforms and 17 against. UNP, the main Opposition party members were not present in the House during the voting time. However UNP Parliamentarians, Lakshaman Senevirathne, Abdul Cader, Manusha Nanayakkara, Earl Gunasekera more..

SF at centre of uproar in parliament

Sep 9 (DM) A palpable sense of tension prevailed in parliament yesterday at the debate on the 18th Amendment with name calling, hooting and booing mostly by government benchers.The situation worsened further when DNA Leader Sarath Fonseka who stood up to speak was slandered with various allegations by controversial MP Mervyn Silva. An apparently provoked Mr. Fonseka then made some unparliamentarily comments against Mr. Silva. more..

Environmental rape

Sep 9 (Island) A survey by the Central Environment Authority (CEA) revealed there are 6,980 illegal industrial establishments in the Western Province operating without obtaining Environmental Protection Licenses (EPL), which was a legal requirement. CEA Chairman Charitha Herath told The Island Financial Review yesterday that the CEA would take legal action against environmentally unfriendly industries that do not comply with the provisions of the National Environmental Act (NEA). more..

Japan provides funds for Childhood Care projects

Sep 9 (DM) A total of Rs. 57 million will be extended by the Government of Japan to provide assistance for two Childhood Care projects in Nuwara Eliya and Trincomalee Districts. Plantation Rural Education and Development Organization (PREDO) will implement the project in improving the “Environment of Child Education” in Nuwara Eliya while more..

Kingdoms built on sand will crumble

Sep 9 (DM) My dear Mahinda Aiya, Ayubowan, vanakkam and assalamu alaikkum amid widespread fears that an additional salutation of something like “Heil Caesar” might have to be added soon. Whether most people and politicians are aware of it or prefer to be not aware of it, Sri Lanka is facing one of its worst ever constitutional crises and an unprecedented threat to democracy. Wednesday was the D-Day with the D meaning something more connected with the graveyard or more..

Single door buses introduced

Sep 9 (DN) Single door buses will be deployed in less populated rural areas to minimize unnecessary expenditure, Deputy Transport Minister Rohana Dissanayake said. He was addressing the employees of the Alawwa SLTB during a sudden inspection tour recently. The Deputy Minister had inspected over 50 depots throughout the country. The Alawwa depot officials were highly criticized over the failure for not putting dilapidated buses into operation. more..

Italy offers more jobs for Lankans

Sep 9 (DN) The present quota of 3,000 jobs offered to Sri Lankans annually by Italy will be further increased soon. Italian Ambassador Rubens Anna Fedel gave this assurance to Resettlement Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralidaran when he called on the Ambassador for discussion at the Italian Embassy recently. During the meeting, the Deputy Minister said there were a large number of unemployed youth in the Eastern Province and requested the Ambassador to provide them with job opportunities in Italy. more..

161 in favour and 17 against

Sep 9 (DM) The controversial 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which removes the restriction on the number of terms allowed for the president to seek re election and replaces the constitutional council with a parliamentary council, was passed yesterday in parliament with 161 voting for and 17 against. After a nine-hour debate, the Bill was put to a vote with TNA MP Suresh Premachandran calling for a division. more..

Shocking Rs 1 bn loss at SPC: SPC Chairman denies loss

Sep 9 (Island) Chairman of SPC Prof. S. D. Jayaratne says there is no truth in UNP MP Wijedasa Rajapakshe’s allegation that the institution suffered a Rs. 510 million loss in 2008 and may incur another Rs. 660 million loss due to its failure to recover debts. Apropos our lead story headlined, Shocking Rs 1 bn loss at SPC, Prof. Jayaratne said that Health Consultative Committee member Rajapakshe had been totally wrong. more..

Lakshman flies

Sep 9 (SL) UNP parliamentarian Lakshman Seneviratne who defected to the government yesterday traveled to his constituency, Mahiyangana, today to meet with his supporters. Interestingly, on his first visit to Mahiyangana after the cross over, Seneviratne took a helicopter ride. When The Sunday Leader contacted him, he said he would be “flying” back to Colombo by afternoon.

Sunil’s house searched

Sep 9 (DM) The house of JVP MP Sunil Hadunetti was searched last night, The party media unit said yesterday. “The house was raided by the Police yesterday night and they confiscated a large haul of posters that were to be used against the 18th Amendment,” JVP media unit said. According to the JVP the Police officers did not have a warrant to search the house and more..

SF says he will never seek presidential pardon

Sep 9 (Island) DNA Parliamentarian General (retd) Sarath Fonseka yesterday said that the government was inviting revolutions and coups against it by creating a constitutional dictatorship through the introduction of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. "This piece legislation is the final nail in the coffin of democracy in the country, but such dictatorships do not last forever as history has shown us," more..

'Migrant from MV Sun Sea travelled with Tamil Tiger delegation'

Sep 9 (CP) Was he a member of a Tamil Tigers delegation that travelled to a dozen countries to raise money for humanitarian aid? Or was he a member of the media whose link to the terrorist organization banned in Canada was a factual error in a years-old newspaper article? The Immigration and Refugee Board concluded Wednesday that more work needed to be done on the man's case, but more..

Senior UNPers seek urgent meeting

Sep 9 (DM) A group of 40 senior UNP members called for an urgent meeting with party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday. Twenty eight of those who were at the meeting had signed a letter requesting for the meeting, but the party leader had postponed it to next week, party sources said. In a letter handed over to the Party Leader the UNP members had called for the meeting to take place last evening but more..

UNP should have the guts, says TNA

Sep 9 (DM) The TNA, referring to the UNP’s boycott of Parliamentary Sessions, said yesterday that the main opposition should have the guts to vote against the 18th Amendment. TNA MP A. Vinayagamurthi said that if the UNP really opposes this Bill, they should vote against it.Also commenting on the political cross-overs, he said that if an MP wants to cross-over, he or she should resign from his seat first. more..

Dilhara in Anti-Corruption radar for past two years

Sep 9 (Island) Leading Sri Lanka fast bowler Dilhara Fernando has been in the International Cricket Council’s Anti Corruption Unit radar for the last two years, ‘The Island’ reliably learns.‘The Island’ can confirm that the officers from ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit were in Colombo for an inquiry either early this year or late last year and Fernando had to be helped by a translator. more..

Sri Lanka government hails new powers for president

Sep 9 (AFP) Sri Lankan ministers on Thursday denied that the president now enjoyed dictatorial powers under a post-war constitutional revamp, but observers worried about the chilling effect on democracy. The national parliament voted in favour of the 18th amendment to the 1978 constitution on Wednesday, scrapping a two-term limit on the presidency and handing sweeping new powers to President Mahinda Rajapakse. more..

JVP files FR

Sep 10 (DM) The JVP filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court today over the arrest of three of its members in Galle on August 12, JVP MP Vijitha Herath told Daily Mirror online. He claimed that the police had assaulted the three JVP members while they were in police custody at the Galle Police Station. Herath added that he, along with party members Ajith Kumara and Nalin Hewage who were the members arrested and allegedly assaulted by the police had more..

Mervyn warns the Media

Sep 10 (DM) Deputy Highways Minister Mervyn Silva, at a function in Kelaniya today warned that if some media continue to report the way they do they will have to face the same fate as detained Parliamentarian Sarath Fonseka. The Deputy Minister said journalists should not write in a way which would ultimately force them to be hanged. While claiming that a certain newspaper will not sell without news about him more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 09.09.2010

'Sri Lanka in touch with India over bakery blast suspect's claim'

Sep 10 (PTI) Sri Lanka is in touch with Indian defence authorities over reported claims by an LeT terror suspect and key accused in the Pune German bakery blast case that he was trained in Colombo to carry out attacks on the Indian soil. The defence attache at the Sri Lankan high commission in New Delhi is already in discussions with the Indian defence authorities and a comprehensive report over the issue has been sought by the external affairs ministry in Colombo, more..

Printer of 'Dictator' poster arrested despite its responsibilty taken by UNP

Sep 10 (LT) The printer who printed “Ekadipathi” (Dictator) poster comprising a photograph similar to the appearance of President, which had been handed over to him by the Media Unit of the UNP, has been detained under a detention mandate. The Chief of UNP Media Unit Mangala Samaraweera had got the Printer called Jayampathi Bulathsinhala to print the poster. However the police arrested all family members of Mr. Jayampathi Bulathsinhala. more..

Women take over as breadwinners in North

Sep 10 (IRIN) Fifteen months after the end of fighting between Sri Lankan government forces and the Tamil Tigers, women in the north are taking up a new and challenging role as breadwinners - with more and more becoming day labourers to support their families. A survey conducted by the Jaffna-based Center for Women and Development, a non-profit group, revealed that the northern region had approximately 40,000 female-headed households more..

Fmr. UNP minister H.G.P. Nelson is no more

Sep 10 (CP) H.G.P. Nelson, a cabinet minister in the last UNP regime, passed away today (Sept. 09), aged 80 years. He has died at a private hospital. Mr. Nelson served as a UNP MP for Polonnaruwa from 1977 to 2004. He was minister of rural development, agriculture and irrigation. The funeral takes place at Kaduruwela stadium in Polonnaruwa on September 12.

Fonseka hits out

Sep 10 (DM) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka told the second General Court Martial today that the court martial had been set up to put him behind bars and assassinate him politically. Starting the Defence case, Fonseka told the Court Martial Tribunal that he was not afraid of going to jail to liberate the country from corruption. Sarath Fonseka is being tried on charges of alleged contravention of military procurement procedure while he was the Commander of the Army and more..

Eighteenth time unlucky

Sep 10 (Economist) National constitutions come in two main types. Some are prescriptive, enshrining freedoms, curtailing the powers of the state and generally hampering would-be dictators. Others, however, tend to the descriptive, and are often revised to catch up with changes that have already happened. Into this class can be put Sri Lanka’s 1978 constitution, this week amended for the 18th time, with unseemly haste. more..

Jaffna to get new prison complex

Sep 10 (TN) A new prison complex with the capacity to accommodate one thousand inmates, in a land in extent of 2.5 acres belonging to the Prisons Department located in Pa’n’nai area in Jaffna, will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs. 272 million. Sri Lanka’s Cabinet Thursday gave approval to the above proposal submitted by Sri Lanka Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms D.E.W. Gunasekara. The Jaffna Prison is now functioning in four rented houses. more..

Next local government poll on mixed electoral system

Sep 10 (TN) The next local government election that is scheduled to be held January next year in Sri Lanka will be under the First Past the Post System (FPTP), according to the proposal approved by the Cabinet Thursday. Sri Lanka Local Government Minister M.L.A. M. Athaullah tabled the draft proposal in the cabinet meeting Thursday with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the chair. Members to local authorities will be elected on ward system and also on proportional representation system. more..

SMS misstep reveals Colombo's information control

Sep 10 (TN) Sri Lanka government’s information department on Wednesday sent out a premature SMS (Short Message Service) alert to all mobile phone users in Sri Lanka, announcing that the 18th amendment to the constitution was passed in parliament with the government obtaining a two thirds majority for the bill. The SMS alert was sent 30 minutes before the bill was actually taken up in parliament for voting. more..

Eight fishermen injured in 'attack' by Sri Lankan naval personnel

Sep 10 (PTI) Eight fisherman from this island were injured, one of them seriously after they were attacked reportedly by Sri Lankan naval personnel while fishing off Katchathivu islet today. Fisheries department sources said the fishermen were part of a group of 120 who had put out to sea in 30 boats. They said the group were fishing off Katchathivu when Sri Lankan naval personnel in fast boats surrounded them, more..

Are the IDPs’ in their arduous trek to their elusive homes to be “finished off” with India’s complicity?

Sep 10 (LG) President Rajapakse’s government claiming to liberate the Tamil people who were caught up in between the clutches of the LTTE, and the atrocities of the Sri Lankan army including the bombings of civilian hospitals by them, called the “humanitarian operation” in the final days of the war, lured more than 300,000 thousand Tamil people from the war affected zone to move into areas controlled by the government. more..

Akasa Kusum: The film that recounts the destructive nature of maternal deprivation

Sep 10 (LG) President Rajapakse’s government claiming to liberate the Tamil people who were caught up in between the clutches of the LTTE, and the atrocities of the Sri Lankan army including the bombings of civilian hospitals by them, called the “humanitarian operation” in the final days of the war, lured more than 300,000 thousand Tamil people from the war affected zone to move into areas controlled by the government. more..

Accused of Terrorism: Sivasakhty’s Story

Sep 10 (LG) The Sri Lankan Civil War might have ended in May 2009, but some still have not woken from the nightmare. The LTTE, more popularly known as the Tamil Tigers, lead a campaign of terrorism and guerilla warfare against the Sri Lankan government for nearly 30 years to create an independent Tamil state in the North and East of the island. The conflict took the lives of tens of thousands both in the Sinhalese majority as well as in the Tamil minority population, and more..

The sealed printing press is not ours – JVP

Sep 10 (LT) The news item carried out by media favourable to the government that the printing press that prints ‘Niyamuwa,’ the main organ of the JVP has been sealed is a fabrication spread with malicious intentions said a spokesman for the JVP. The spokesman said the printing press that has been sealed has no connection with the party. He said despite certain printing works are being done at the relevant printing press, more..

The international community should take notice of the death of liberal democracy

Sep 10 (LG) Today, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka will be passed by a fast-track-procedure which has effectively disallowed public participation and discussion. The opposition has announced that it will boycott the proceedings as mark of protest and it has also declared 8th September, as a 'black day' for Sri Lanka. The amendment was referred to the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, without more..

Predictable-end and anticlimax Sri Lanka way

Sep 10 (LG) Theatre with no drama, drama with predictable anticlimax, men without honour, politics without principles, backbones without bones and an opposition without leadership are all debilitating components of an eroding society. The journey towards an internationally condemned pariah state, the dictatorship , the perpetual widening of the gap between the poor and the rich (rich in relative terms), virtual lawlessness, infinite destitution of the powerless, and more..

Sri Lanka’s tea industry facing Kenyan threat: Report

Sep 10 (N360) Sri Lanka’s Tea industry is gradually losing its footing in the global tea industry owing to intense competition from rivals such as Kenya, says a new report released on the sector. A report by Ram Ratings Sri Lanka says, apart from the high competition from rivals, internal factors such as the high cost of production and poor yields too have contributed to the slide. It warns the country’s continues focus on orthodox tea as opposed to more..

How can this bill be urgent in the national interest?

Sep 10 (TC) Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to today with a very heavy heart. Not even half a year has passed since I stepped into this assembly for the first time. I did not realize then that I will be participating in a debate such as this; on a Bill that threatens to finally nail the coffin in which democracy of this country had been laid for some time now. First and foremost, I wish to place on record more..

Arresting employees of the printing press is a judgment of 'King Kekille' - JAS

Sep 10 (LT) The arrest of employees of ‘Sarala Graphics’ alleging that they had printed a poster that degrades the President when Mr. Mangala Samaraweera has already accepted the responsibility of the printing of the poster is an attempt to frighten those with opposite views states ‘Journalists Against Suppression’ (JAS). JAS states, “The present government acting arbitrarily once again has sealed a printing press and detained its employees using emergency regulations. more..

GSP-affected apparel exporters to get relief

Sep 10 (ST) The government is to grant some concessions through the Central Bank to tackle losses incurred by Sri Lankan apparel exporters owing to the withdrawal of the EU GSP+ facility, Finance Ministry sources said. The Central Bank has been directed to offset this loss for Small and Medium scale apparel exporters by providing some financial relief and the modalities of this relief package are being worked out. more..

ICRC office shut

Sep 10 (DM) Following a review of its operations more than one year after the end of active hostilities the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will close its office in the Mannar district at the end of November. According to the ICRC, support to communities that are being resettled in the area will continue from the ICRC office in Vavuniya, which will also assist beneficiaries of the ICRC's Family Visits Assistance (FVA) programme. more..

There are those in the UNP who would join the Govt. for personal gain- Manusha

Sep 10 (LP) Those who want to join the Government for the likes of top designations, honours and gifts are still there in the UNP, MP Manusha Nanayakkara stated, saying that the UNPers who crossed over to the Government yesterday (8th), him included, did so with no such expectations. He stated that they joined the Government in a moment when the President had the support of 150 Ministers, when the President had not the slightest need for more support, and more..

Hambantota Port: Will Mahinda’s cherished dream turn into nightmare?

Sep 10 (DM) The Hambantota Port project is President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cherished dream. Recently he inaugurated this project to make his dream a reality. The Late former President JR Jayewardene too similarly dreamt of the Trincomalee Port project. Jayewerdene‘s cherished dream was to lease out the Trincomalee Port and the oil Installations to a foreign country with the view to make it a world famous commercial hub and an economic pivot. more..

'Haro Haraa' Echoes again at Nallur Temple - Jaffna

Sep 10 (MoD) The Nallur Festival in Jaffna commenced on 15 August is the island's longest festival. Spanning 25 days of vibrant chariot processions, drumming, dancing and acts of self-mortification, held in honour of the war god Skandha. Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil or Nallur Murugan Kovil (kovil meaning temple in Tamil) is one of the most significant Hindu temples in the Jaffna District of Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka Jaffna forum discuss path to knowledge economy

Sep 10 (LBO) Academics and officials in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsular has debated ways to transform the agrarian and fisheries area to a knowledge-based economy with better education, a think has said. P Balasundarampillai, a former vice chancellor of the Jaffna University has called for technical colleges and engineering universities to be established in the north to enhance the knowledge of Jaffna youth. more..

Sri Lanka state saltern to expand

Sep 10 (LBO) Mantai Salt Limited, state-run saltern in Sri Lanka's Northwest coast is planning to expand production with a 25 million rupees cash injection from the Treasury, a cabinet note said. The firm has 112 acres of salterns in Mannar and Chemmani, which has produced 3,500 tonnes of salt. In 2008 the firm had made a profit or 7.2 million rupees and paid 0.01 million rupees to the Treasury as dividends. The firm said it can produce 2,000 more tonnes of salt by more..

Might is Right in Sri Lanka today

Sep 10 (GV) “I define Justice or Right as what is in the interest of the stronger party – the ruling class in any state, but I can see you don’t agree” says Thrasymachus, the sophist to Socrates in Plato’s – The Republic. The sophists dismissed conventional morality as a sham and substituted self-interest. In Sri Lanka today might has been proved right in several instances. more..

Sri Lanka to get weekly tourist flights from Brussels

Sep 10 (LBO) Weekly charter flights are to be launched between Brussels and Sri Lanka bringing Belgian and other European tourists from October 31, Jean Deboutte, Ambassador of Belgium to Sri Lanka said. "The flights will be first on charter and later be done on a regular basis," the envoy, resident in New Delhi, told a meeting of the Sri Lanka -Benelux Business Council at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. more..

Sri Lanka opens state agency debt to foreign buyers

Sep 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Urban Development Authority (UDA), a state agency, has launched a 5-year bond to raise 10 billion rupees and 30 percent of the issue is open to foreign investors, officials said. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, secretary to Sri Lanka's defence ministry, under which the agency operates, said the money would be used to build alternative houses for unauthorized dwellers in 800 acres of high value state land in Colombo city. more..

Bread price up

Sep 10 (DM) The price of a loaf of bread is expected to increase by Rs 3 tomorrow, due to slashed subsidies as international wheat flour prices increase, the All Ceylon Bakery Owners' Chairman N.K. Jayawardena said. “As the discount of Rs.225 given to the bakery owners for 50Kg of wheat flour was cut off by Rs.150, the price of 1 Kg of flour was increased by three rupees”, Jayawardena explained. more..