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Editorial: The JVP – Back to the fore

Sep 10 (DM) Whatever the electoral setbacks and outside moves to undermine its clout, the JVP on Wednesday displayed that it is still a force to reckon with at least in the House. Stepping into the shoes of a key opposition in the absence of the UNP in parliament, the JVP launched one of its strongest attacks against the government by way of a speech by its strongman Anura Kumara Dissanayake explaining the perils of removing the bar on the terms of presidency. more..

Editorial: Villains as heroes and vice versa

Sep 10 (Island) The 18th Amendment to the Constitution has come to stay, whether we like it or not. It has been understood, misunderstood, interpreted and misinterpreted. It has also been rejected by some and accepted by others. What is of interest to us after its passage, however, is the 'role reversal' in today's politics, as reflected in campaigns for and against it. All constitutional amendments under more..

Prof J.B’s Handbook of Simple Tamil presented to President Rajapaksa

Sep 10 (IL) The first copy of the "Handbook of Simple Tamil" by Prof. J B Dissanayake being presented by the author to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday 8th September at Temple Trees. Deshamanya Jayantha Banda Dissanayake (73) is an emeritus Professor and one of the leading authorities of the Sinhala language in Sri Lanka. Former Professor and the Head of the Department of Sinhala at more..

Pakistani High Commissioner asks Sri Lanka for flood support

Sep 10 (SLNN) The United Nations issued a new appeal for relief assistance to areas in Pakistan that have been devastated by the recent flooding. “The world’s attention is waning at a time when some of the biggest challenges for the relief effort here are still to come,” said Valerie Amos, the U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator. The flooding that began in July is still continuing to spread, more..

Following criticism, U.S. suspends foreign aid for outsourcing to Sri Lanka

Sep 10 (CW) The USAID has "suspended" a plan to train people in Sri Lanka in outsourcing skills, and says it will review whether this training impacts U.S. jobs, says a lawmaker who opposed the program. Rep. Tim Bishop said USAID's plan to provide about 3,000 Sri Lankans training in information technology, business process outsourcing and call center support was, in effect, "teaching foreign workers how to better take jobs from American workers." more..

'Soon, single digit interest rates'

Sep 10 (Island) Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said the Central Bank was aiming for a single digit interest rate regime and was confident it would soon be possible, but he urged the private sector not to waste time and create feasible projects in order to attract bank loans at low rates because four to five years from now, interest rates would be higher and there would be more competition among investors. more..

Countrywide seminars for O-L students

Sep 10 (DN) The Examinations Department will conduct countrywide seminars for students who are sitting the forthcoming G.C.E. Ordinary Level Examination. The series of seminars will commence from September 11 and continue until October 30. The series of seminars will be conducted at provincial basis. The Examinations Department has prepared a set of Compact Disks which contain model question papers and notes. more..

Mangala behind defamatory posters

Sep 10 (DN) Police investigations have revealed that UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera was behind the printing of a poster defamatory of President Mahinda Rajapaksa which was carried out in a printing press belonging to the JVP. It has also been revealed that Samaraweera and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Private Secretary Sudath Chandrasekera had made an advance payment of Rs 55,000 to the printing press at Delkanda. more..

'Proposed NCM a clumsy diversionary UNP manoeuvre'

Sep 10 (DN) This brief comment is being made in response to repeated requests by the media for my views on the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) submitted against me by the UNP, and referred to prominently in sections of the media, states Minister Prof G L Peiris in a release. The release further states: “For my own part, I welcome unreservedly the No-Confidence Motion as an opportunity of value to put firmly into the public domain, more..

UNP MPs threaten to sit independently

Sep 10 (SL) Several UNP MPs have threatened to sit as independent members in parliament if the party crisis is not resolved by next week. The parliamentarians have said that time has already been wasted and a solution to the party crisis was now crucial. Following the defection of six UNP MPs to the government, 25 UNP legislators signed a letter and handed it over to Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to summon a an urgent meeting to discuss the party’s future. more..

Money doled out even to run car sales of the husbands of MPs- reasons for UNP MPs pole vaulting to Govt. side exposed

Sep 10 (LeN) UNP Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said, the Govt. succeeded in getting the 18th amendment passed with an unexpected majority because, it offered immense cash and other benefits to the UNP MPs who crossed over to the Govt. Some of them received immediate gains, while other benefits were also promised for them in the future. more..

J’pura hospital probe report out next week

Sep 10 (Island) Deputy Minister of Health Mahinda Amaraweera, who has been appointed by Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena to head an inquiry panel into various allegations of malpractices at the 1001 bed Jayewardenepura hospital, told The Island that the final report will be ready next week. The hospital was a gift by the Japanese government. The Deputy Minister said that there was even an audit query on the age of retirement of the Consultants, more..

Lakshman, Earl stripped of UNP positions

Sep 10 (Island) The UNP removed MPs Lakshman Seneviratne and Earl Gunasekera from the positions they held in the party, for violating a Working Committee decision not to vote for the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Informed sources said that Lakshman Seneviratne, who was the Assistant General Secretary and Earl Gunasekera, the Additional General Treasurer, were informed in writing yesterday, that they had been stripped of their positions on disciplinary grounds. more..

Ruhuna Uni student wanted for death of fellow student surrenders to police

Sep 10 (SL) The Ruhuna University student who was wanted in connection with the alleged assault on another university student who later succumbed to his injuries has surrendered to the Badulla Police. Ruhuna University student Indika Basnayake alias Bassa was wanted by the CID in connection with the alleged assault on Aruna Bandara, who died at the Badulla hospital recently. Basnayake was produced before the Badulla Magistrate Yasarath Bandara Nelundeniya and more..

Zero civilian casualty policy delayed military victory over LTTE'

Sep 10 (Island) Major General Shavendra Silva says the accessibility to ‘real time intelligence’ through UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) helped the army avoid civilian casualties during Eelam War IV. The former commander of the 58 Division formerly known as the Task Force I, which spearheaded the offensive on the north-western front before joining with other fighting formations in the Vanni East, says more..

US wants report on Sri Lanka from India

Sep 10 (DM) The US State Department had called for a special report from India as to how politics in Sri Lanka would affect the region, informed sources revealed yesterday. The US government has sought views of the Indian government on the issues relating to the post war activities, foreign relations of Sri Lanka and Constitutional Amendment and on several spheres. more..

Fonseka hits out at Rajapaksas

Sep 10 (DM) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka told the second General Court Martial yesterday 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 to go to jail to liberate the country from corruption. The former Army Commander also said had he not contested the Presidential Election, more..

'Suitable people at UNP helm soon'

Sep 10 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday said it would finalise suitable persons to the top positions of the party before the next convention. UNP MP, Dayasiri Jayasekera told a news conference the party would resolve its crisis as soon as possible. “We will resolve the crisis before going to the convention to avoid a greater crisis,” he said. He said a meeting would be held as soon as possible between the membership of the party and the leader soon. more..

Sharp decline in apparel industry?

Sep 10 (DM) The apparel industry has seen a sharp decline during the past six years with the total workforce being reduced by more than 100,000 and the number of factories from 842 in 2004 to 518 this year, Parliament was told recently. In 2004, 352,171 persons were employed in the apparel sector, but now they have come down to 233,203 persons this year. more..

'Muslims contributed much to Motherland'

Sep 10 (MoD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an Eid-ul-Fitr message states Sri Lanka's Muslim community has contributed much to the progress of the Motherland, Sri Lankan Muslims have lived in harmony with people of other religions and ethnicities. The President's message: I am pleased to send this message of greetings on the occasion Eid-ul-Fitr celebrated by the devotees of Islam today. more..

Canada sending former spy chief to Sri Lanka to prevent human smuggling

Sep 10 (CTV) The Canadian government is dispatching a former spy chief to Asia as a special envoy on human smuggling to help prevent more migrant ships from arriving on Canadian shores. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says former Canadian Security Intelligence Service director Ward Elcock will visit Sri Lanka, Thailand and other countries to improve co-operation and information sharing. more..

UNP loses parliamentary: representation in six districts; group down to 43 MPs

Sep 10 (Island) The UNP, struggling to settle a damaging leadership dispute in the wake of April 8 parliamentary elections, has hit a new low with the loss of all its four constituent partners. The SLMC (eight MPs, including two on the National List), Democratic People’s Front MP (Prabha Ganeshan-Colombo), National Workers’ Front (P. Digambram-Nuwara Eliya) and the Citizens Front (Sri Ranga-Nuwara Eliya) switched their allegiance to more..

Tillakaratne Dilshan 'met bookie in a nightclub'

Sep 10 (DM) Batting maverick Tillakaratne Dilshan was the player named in a Sri Lankan cricket board report to the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit last year after he was allegedly spotted with a suspected illegal bookmaker in a London nightclub. The report was filed by the Sri Lankan team manager after captain Kumar Sangakkara passed on suspicions among team-mates that Dilshan had been seen with the bookie during more..

'No SL player under scanner for bookie link'

Sep 10 (PTI) Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara on Friday rubbished media reports that Tillakaratne Dilshan was under the ICC scanner for his alleged links with bookmakers and said none of his team-mates were suspected of "fraternising with shady characters". "All these stories going around about Dilshan are absolutely baseless. No Sri Lankan player to my knowledge is in suspicion of fraternising with these so called bookies by more..

Average 12 persons commit suicide daily in Sri Lanka

Sep 11 (TN) An average of twelve persons commit suicide in Sri Lanka everyday and ten times of that number attempt to commit suicide everyday, according to Lanka Sumithirayo, a counseling service and the VSO, an international development charity organization based in Colombo, quoting police reports to mark the International Day of Prevention of Suicide Friday. 4,120 persons committed suicide in 2008 alone and 3,260 of them were males. more..

Quazi courts to operate in Sri Lanka

Sep 11 (ITN) Quazi Courts will be set up to deal with the cases relating to family disputes of Muslims. The construction of Quazi courts in Samanthurai, Kinniya, Biyagaha and Puttalam areas is already underway. Thirty eight million rupees has been allocated for this purpose. Fifty eight such courts will be set up throughout the island. So far the houses of the Quazis were used in place of courts. The Ministry of Justice has pointed out that this can undermine the independence and more..

President Rajapaksa participates multi-religious observances at Katharagama

Sep 11 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited the sacred city of Kataragama and attended several religious ceremonies today on 10th September, the President Media Unit said. The President first worshipped at the Kiriwehera temple and joined a special ‘Bodhi Pooja pinkama’ held at the temple premises. After engaging in religious observances, Maha Sanga headed by more..

Colombo’s 2020 Vision

Sep 11 (SL) By 2020, the Urban Development Authority envisions a rationalized Colombo, activities divided into zones, markets in certain areas and squatters moved out so valuable land can be leased to developers. This plan includes redoing the chaotic zoning of the city and taking direct Ministry of Defence control of vital areas, including the historic and future downtown. The port city of Colombo has been besieged by the Portugese, the Dutch, the British and more..

Blast in Vavuniya Army camp

Sep 11 (NF) An explosion occurred at an Army camp in Vavuniya this morning. Military spokesperson Major General Ubhaya Madawela noted that three soldiers had sustained injuries in the explosion. According to the military spokesperson these soldiers were injured when a detonator exploded while they were carrying out a box containing detonators this morning. Major General Ubhaya Madawela added that the injured soldiers had been admitted to the Vavuniya hospital.

Struggle resolutely for democracy & genuine independence – JVP

Sep 11 (LT) The 18th amendment would build a Marcos type of a despotic family regime and would annul independent commissions that would be a hindrance to the despotic path states a statement issued by the Political Bureau of the JVP. It states the progressive masses in the country need not be disappointed regarding the adoption of the 18th amendment as it does not represent the tru majority of the masses in the country and more..

A strongman in Sri Lanka

Sep 11 (LM) Sri Lanka’s parliament on Wednesday passed a far-reaching amendment to the country’s constitution. Opposition groups have termed it the death of democracy. Chief among the changes are the removal of the two-term limit on the presidency; the bestowing of vast powers of appointment— judges, members of the election and public service commissions and the police and human right commissions. more..

The International Dimensions of the conflict in Sri Lanka

Sep 11 (LG) In May 2009, the three decade long armed rebellion in Sri Lanka ended with the defeat of the Tamil Tiger forces. Beijing provided Colombo not only with military supplies but also diplomatic cover to prosecute the war. China, however, was not the only international actor whose support helped Colombo to vanquish the Tamil Tigers. It was also due to India’s logistical support to cut off Tigers’ weapons supply. more..

'There can be no military solution to political issues'

Sep 11 (LG) "I think the Governments of India and Sri Lanka have cooperated extensively on investigations into the tragic assassination of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi," said Professor G. Parthasarathy in an exclusive interview with the Sri Lanka Guardian. This interview was conducted two days before the passing of the 18th Amendment. The Amendment was passed by the parliament with two third majority. more..

Jaffna open forum takes off

Sep 11 (TC) The Jaffna Open Forum, a joint venture between the Point Pedro Institute of Development (PPID – independent private social science research institution based in Point Pedro) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES – social democratic political foundation of Germany working in Sri Lanka for 46 years), took off at the Jaffna Public Library auditorium on September 02, 2010. This was the first of a series of Jaffna Open Forums to be conducted in the peninsula jointly by PPID and FES. more..

From Caesar to JR to MR: the lure of the 18th Amendment

Sep 11 (DM) As this article is being penned the 18th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution and its general effect of creating an absolute ruler for life is a fait accompli, baring the final coup de grace of the foregone Parliament vote. From the numbers in Parliament elected under proportional representation, it is clear that the balance of political and social forces is in favor of creating an absolute ruler. more..

3D - Prog 58

Constitution and the needs and wishes of people

Sep 11 (DM) Now that people of this country have experienced the bitter consequences of dominative attitudes of some sections of the community, communal minded extremists and the vested interest of dishonest politicians, they are expecting a rule of which contains equality, liberty and paternity. In the recent past politicians have been talking on public platforms on the constitutional changes, they were going to bring which are yet best known to them. more..

On the ‘Sila’ component of the Dasa Raja Dharma

Sep 11 (DM) In the Anguththara Nikaya, i.e the numerical discourses of the Buddha, the section containing ‘fives’ includes an elaboration on ‘the five great gifts’ which are ‘not open to suspicion and are un-faulted by knowledgeable contemplatives and priests. They are the abstinence from taking life, from taking what is not given, from illicit sex, from uttering falsehood and the use of intoxicants. This is what is referred to as the ‘Panca Sila’ (the five virtues), more..

Sri Lanka and the 18th amendment

Sep 11 (LMD) Recent events in Sri Lanka have been overshadowed by a new amendment to the constitution approved by parliament on 8 September. Its main changes are: * A president, if elected, can serve any number of terms; previously a president could serve a maximum of two six-year terms; * The 17th amendment to the constitution has been repealed; * The election commission will no longer have the power to prevent the use of state resources during elections. more..

Mystery of the missing ambulances

Sep 11 (NS) Two ambulances have gone missing from Uragaha Rural and Borakanda district hospitals in the Karandeniya area, according to Southern Provincial Council (SPC) member T.D.S.L. Jayaweera when he presented these facts at the council meeting held August 31. The ambulance belonging to the Uragaha rural hospital has been missing for the last eight months after being given to a garage in Udukawa, Matara, a government recommended specialist in ambulance repair work. more..

Old Fossils, Out! Welcome, New Blood!

Sep 11 (Island) Recently we saw in the national newspapers (e.g. The Island, August 30th) the picture of two young MPs from the opposition and the government seated together gracing an important occasion. They were Buddhika Pathirana of the opposition UNP, and Namal Rajapakase of the ruling UPFA. Namal Rajapakse had been invited as chief guest for a ceremony to mark the admission of the eleventh batch of students to a computer course conducted by more..

Sri Lanka in top 'World Giving Index'

Sep 11 (BBC) The happier people are, the more likely they are to give time or money to charity, the largest ever study into global charitable behaviour suggests. The survey - conducted by the UK's Charities Aid Foundation - suggests that well-being is a more reliable indicator of philanthropy than wealth. The survey took place in 153 countries, covering 95% of the world's population. more..

The fatal night that changed the phantom democracy into a complete dictatorship

Sep 11 (LG) Today, the 9th September, Sri Lankans woke up to a country which has changed politically in its character and in its legal system. With the passing of the 18th Amendment Sri Lanka has abandoned liberal democracy completely and all the debates that the country has had so far will now change in a most significant manner. There is a Sinhala saying: "It is either Don or Simon, but it cannot be both". more..

'18th amendment, passes in violation of constitution, cannot become law'

Sep 11 (NF) The manner in which the 18th Amendment was passed in parliament is completely contrary to the supreme law of the country, says parliamentarian of the UNP Ajith Perera. He made this statement at a media briefing held in Colombo. “Even if they acquire the two-thirds majority, or hold a referendum, or even if they have both, the relevant Bill has to be submitted to the provincial councils for their consideration. more..

Why the world must stop Sri Lanka’s decline

Sep 11 (GP) On Wednesday, Sri Lanka’s Parliament overwhelmingly passed an urgent bill removing term limits for the president. The constitutional amendment also gave the president unlimited power over judicial, police and other public service appointments and removed constitutional safeguards over the electoral process. The amendments abolished the Constitutional Council established to ensure more..

Poverty down

Sep 11 (Island) Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal said Sri Lanka’s poverty rate has declined to around 9 to 10 percent. "The poverty rate was estimated at 15 percent in 2007 and our recent estimates suggested that the poverty rate could be lower now, somewhere between 9 to 10 percent, but we are still testing the numbers," Cabraal said. "The main thrust of the government’s economic policy is to eliminate poverty in Sri Lanka and more..

'CMC should come under a powerful authority'

Sep 11 (NF) The President is taking steps to bring about many changes in the City of Colombo and traditional institutes such as the Colombo Municipal Council should come under the purview of a powerful authority, says minister Wimal Weerawansa. He was expressing this view today while attending the opening ceremony of the Excon 2010 exhibition being held at the BMICH organised by the Industrial Development Board of Sri Lanka. more..

'Govt. is considering revising retirement age'

Sep 11 (SL) Justice Minister Athauda Seneviratne says the country would have to extend the retirement age due to the emerging ageing population. Seneviartne told parliament yesterday during the debate on the National Institute of Labour Studies Bill that Sri Lanka would have an increased ageing population in a few years time. He added that Sri Lanka’s labour population is decreasing as a result of low birth rate, more..

Editorial: Mutiny on a sinking ship

Sep 11 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa may not have got his dream parliamentary or ministerial team but he has certainly had his dream Opposition. He does not have to win elections; the Opposition loses them for him. He does not have to worry about his numbers in Parliament; the Opposition drives its MPs into his arms in droves. What a lucky president! There were more UNP MPs in his previous government than in the Opposition! more..

Editorial: Mervyn’s death threat to media

Sep 11 (DM) Mervin Silva is neither the subject minister nor the deputy minister of media here in Sri Lanka. He has only been reappointed as Deputy Minister of Highways. However the notorious deputy minister would surely have had a very good reason to direct his first salvo after the reappointment, at the media. While many outsiders may opt to dismiss his latest threat as a part of entertainment he provides to masses at regular intervals, more..