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Editorial: who takes the rap?

Sep 12 (LB) The opposition is a shadow of what it should be with whatever is left of it being whittled away as a result of quicksilver crossovers, which threaten to leave the opposition a curious pathetic rump that is good for nothing except providing a one-party parliament with some de rigueur veneer of legitimacy for decorative purposes. How far is the now bleeding and grievously wounded UNP responsible for this state of affairs? more..

Editorial: Now it’s President’s turn to do the rest

Sep 12 (NS) Now it is all over, bar the shouting: the 18th Amendment to the Constitution has been passed into law after days of intense political manoeuvring in which the ruling UPFA emerged winners with the opposition, especially the UNP suffering further damage that significantly eroded its credibility. There have been many arguments for and against the 18th Amendment. Its proposers, the UPFA has argued that it would be unfair to deprive President Mahinda Rajapaksa of more..

New amendment ‘makes President more humane’

Sep 12 (NS) The most hotly-debated topic in political circles today is the 18th Amendment to the Constitution which was passed in Parliament on Wednesday with 161 members voting for it. SLFP general secretary Maithripala Sirisena, who is also a senior cabinet minister, meets the criticism against the Amendment in an interview with The Nation. Q: Two days ahead of the passage of the 18th Amendment you more..

Editorial: Rolling up the electoral map?

Sep 12 (Island) The dust is settling now and President Mahinda Rajapaksa has, barring unforeseen circumstances, wrapped-up a possible (or probable) third term for himself even before taking his oaths for the second time. Up until now, neither the president, his loyalists nor hurrah boys, has offered a credible response to the contention that he did not get a two thirds majority at the last parliamentary election in April to amend the constitution. more..

Mahinda’s toadies coddle his grab for power

Sep 12 (Island) The German Communists and Social Democrats have been eviscerated by history for not seeing that the rise of Hitler marked a tectonic shift in the history of Europe, if not the world. They failed to stop it, but they could have by determined, united and timely action in the first years of the 1930s. But my god nobody has ever accused the German Left of positive collaboration in the rise of fascism! When LSSP, CP and DLF parliamentarians support Rajapaksa’s more..

Editorial: Where do we go from here

Sep 12 (ST) And so, the Government passed sweeping albeit controversial Constitutional amendments at the speed of greased lightning this week. The Supreme Court in a determination to the Speaker said the amendments did not require a referendum of the people, and that all that was needed was two-thirds of the votes in the 225-member Parliament. While the ultimate findings may not have differed, one might have wished that a fuller bench of the country's apex court went into the matter. more..

Traffic police imposing fines on non existent laws

Sep 12 (LB) In a bid to swell state coffers, traffic police officers were operating in an arbitrary manner and imposing fines on motorists for offences that have not been gazetted. The newest ploy is to nab motorists for changing lanes, an offence that has not been made law. Motorists charge that this was very unfair as no clear lanes have been demarcated by police, excepting for the fact that in some instances certain vehicles are naturally expected to more..

Welfare measures for prisoners

Sep 12 (SO) Outlining several welfare measures for prisoners, Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara emphasised the need for treating prisoners without hurting their feelings. He was speaking at a media briefing at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute Auditorium last week on rehabilitating prisoners. He said reforming prisoners has remained a big problem since the country gained independence. The first prison was set up in Sri Lanka in 1844. more..

'18th Constitutional Amendment has twelve objectives'

Sep 12 (TC) The 18th Constitutional Amendment has 12 objectives, the first of which is the removal of fetters against the people's sovereignty. The legislative power of the people is exercised by the Parliament which is made up of elected representatives. In a referendum, the people exercise their supreme sovereignty by casting their vote. The executive power vested with the people including defence of the country is exercised through more..

2011 budget preparation underway, 6.6% deficit seen

Sep 12 (ST) With the budget deficit projected at 6.6 % of GDP in 2011 from projected 9.9% in 2010, preliminary work on the preparation of the 2011 annual budget estimates is now underway. Letters have already been sent by Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara to all Secretaries to the Ministries, Chief Secretaries of the Provincial Councils, Heads of Departments, Chairmen of Statutory Boards and Institutions, requsting them to submit their estimates and proposals for 2011. more..

'Delaying tactics will hit UNP supporters'

Sep 12 (SO) The UNP leadership is acting in a manner which is damaging the credibility of millions of UNP supporters all over the country by delaying the party reforms, said UNP MP Thalatha Athukorale. She is one of the UNP MPs who had decided to remain independent in Parliament following the tussle with the party leadership. UNP and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is faced with a severe threat to his leadership in the party and his Opposition leader portfolio. more..

World Buddhist Federation Conference for the first time in Sri Lanka

Sep 12 (LP) For the first time a World Buddhist Federation Conference is held in Sri Lanka after 26 years commemorating the 60th anniversary and the 25th conference of the World Buddhist Federation from November 14-17. About 600 delegates will participate in this event representing around 164 regional centers of 41 countries. 3000 Local delegates will also participate in the conference. more..

Rs. 200 mn fraud at Ocean Lanka: Two suspects remanded

Sep 12 (Island) Two senior level managers of Ocean Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., a textile manufacturing establishment which supplies stocks to the BOI in the Biyagama Free Trade Zone were produced before Gampaha Chief Magistrate and District Judge Mohamed Macki in connection with a 200 million rupees fraud and remanded till September 13, 2010, last week. The chief suspect in the case, who is the deputy general manager, is reported to have left the country, more..

Activists show support for detained Tamils outside Burnaby detention centre

Sep 12 (VS) A small group of immigrant and refugee activists in Vancouver stood outside a Burnaby detention centre Saturday to show their support for the Tamil women and children being detained by the Canadian government. Forty-four children and 25 women have been held at the Burnaby Youth Custody Services Centre since August after three months at sea living aboard a cargo ship in decrepit conditions to flee Sri Lanka more..

'I’m ready to lead the party'

Sep 12 (Island) Sajith Premadasa, MP, who has emerged as the main challenger to incumbent UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says he is ready to lead the party. He says he has the strength, capacity and confidence to revive the party though the SLFP-led UPFA seems undefeatable now. He emphasized that he didn’t have a personal agenda and expected the party to unanimously agree to a change at the next annual convention. more..

Haste makes waste with 18th

Sep 12 (SL) In its haste to present the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the legal draughtsman omitted to include a critical component to the controversial 18th Amendment. The Cabinet of Ministers originally had one version which in fact found its way to the various intervening petitioners, In the Supreme Court whilst Attorney General Mohan Pieris was making his case, the Intervening Petitioners found that the AG was quoting from a different version. more..

Editorial: Enthronement of demogoguery

Sep 12 (SL) The last flickering flame that kept Sri Lankan democracy in light during elections was blown out last Wednesday. Most of the freedoms cherished and enjoyed by the people had been blown out before that black day in the history of the country. However, the right of the privately owned media to freely express itself during election times had flickered on. But on that black Wednesday the 18th Amendment which obliterated many other freedoms — more..

'KP Has No NGO'

Sep 12 (SL) The last flickering flame that kept Sri Lankan democracy in light during elections was blown out last Wednesday. Most of the freedoms cherished and enjoyed by the people had been blown out before that black day in the history of the country. However, the right of the privately owned media to freely express itself during election times had flickered on. But on that black Wednesday the 18th Amendment which obliterated many other freedoms — more..

President raps Police Chief, CID takes over

Sep 12 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has overruled his Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya and directed that the CID continue with investigations into the assault on a senior official of the Department of Inland Revenue in Matara. His order came within hours after the Sunday Times revealed exclusively last week that Dr. Balasuriya had ordered that the probe be handed over to the Matara Police. more..

CMC out? New Authority under Defence Ministry

Sep 12 (ST) A Development Authority is to be set up for the City of Colombo. The move may see the abolition of the centuries-old Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) and the proposed statutory authority being vested with all functions now being exercised by the CMC. Consequently there is likely to be no elected body to administer the City of Colombo. In addition, the authority will also enforce strict guidelines with more..

Democracy at crossroads

Sep 12 (ST) "It's a victory for all our MPs and those who backed them," declared a jubilant President Mahinda Rajapaksa when his ministers joined him for the weekly cabinet meeting last Wednesday night. All of them drove to 'Temple Trees', straight from Parliament where more than a two-thirds majority approved the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Voting in favour were 161 whilst 17 were against it. more..

Editors deplore Mervyn threat

Sep 12 (LB) The Editors Guild comprising all newspaper editors yesterday released the following statement: The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka unreservedly condemns the statement made recently by reinstated Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva who reportedly stated at a function held in Kelaniya on Thursday 9th September that ‘journalists should not write in a way which would ultimately force them to be hanged.’ more..

'President took constitutional safeguards due to waning popularity'

Sep 12 (Island) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, who was in London last week to admit his daughter to a University here, said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa took constitutional safeguards to go in for a third term in office because he knew his waning popularity will make mustering a two-thirds majority difficult in time to come. "He (the President) has not even completed his first term but more..

Major split in left combine

Sep 12 (NS) A major split has arisen in the left parties combine of the governing coalition, the Socialist People’s Front after its MPs voted for the 18th amendment to the constitution disregarding serious opposition from their parties. Political sources said the worst split had occurred in the LSSP, the oldest registered political party in the country with a section of its membership trying to oust Tissa Vitharana from more..

Karuna seeks united voice for Tamils

Sep 12 (NS) Minister Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna called on all Tamil political parties to unite for the betterment of the people. “There is no point in them being divided. It is not a healthy sign. They could oppose the government, or join the government. But, the main thing is that they should unite and look at finding a solution to the problem,” he said. more..

China fiasco among charges against GL

Sep 12 (ST) Disgracing the country by overstaying his invitation in China and thus abusing the hospitality of the host country is one of six charges levelled against Minister G.L. Peiris in a no-confidence motion in Parliament. The motion signed by four UNP MPs – John Ameratunga, Ravi Karunanayake, Lakshman Kiriella and Wijeyadasa Rajapakse – has already been handed over to the Secretary General of Parliament. more..

Cabinet posts for Hakeem, Cader and Lakshman?

Sep 12 (NS) Three of the 17 opposition members, who supported the 18th Amendment, are tipped to receive ministerial portfolios in the new Cabinet expected to be sworn in November, sources told The Nation last night. Three other crossovers are to be appointed Deputy Ministers, the sources added. A major Cabinet reshuffle is widely expected following President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second term inauguration due in November. more..

UNP Leaders To Meet On Tuesday

Sep 13 (SL) UNP leaders are to meet on Tuesday (14) to discuss the party’s strategy for the Local Government elections next year and the future of the party. UNP MP Joseph Michael Perera has been quoted in the media saying that Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya, General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, himself and several other senior members are scheduled to meet Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at party headquarters Sirikotha to discuss the Local Government polls more..

Batticaloa MC member reported abducted

Sep 13 (TN) The wife of a member of Batticaloa Municipal Council (BMC) complained to Batticaloa police that her husband had gone missing since August 23 after having met BMC Mayor Sivageetha Pirabakaran and a member. She said she suspects that Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Intelligence Unit officers had abducted her husband. A person had called her 22 August night and intimidated that her husband will be abducted by the SLA. more..

President pardons over 1,000 prisoners for Prisoners' Welfare Day

Sep 13 (SL) A common pardon was issued by President Mahinda Rajapaksa today (12) to 1,312 prisoners including 37 females to mark Prisoners’ Welfare Day. Commissioner General of Prisons, Major General V.R. de Silva has said the group of prisoners who were pardoned were from prisons island-wide serving varying lengths of imprisonment for various offences.

JVPers Harassed In Vavuniya

Sep 13 (SL) The JVP today (12) opened its Vavuniya District political office amidst accusations that party members who were making the necessary arrangements for the opening of the office were harassed allegedly by the Thandikulam police and persons identifying themselves as army intelligence personnel. The JVP Media Unit in a statement said the OIC of the Thandikulam police had gathered information about the JVP members who were decorating the office premises and more..

Cross - cultural comparisons

Sep 13 (TC) In 1950, I undertook a sociological survey of the veddas of Wellassa-Bintenne. This involved a trek of around 250 miles in the jungles of the Uva and Eastern Provinces where few had ventured before. My Professor of Sociology at the University of Ceylon, Dr. Bryce Ryan came to the beginning of the jungle trail (near Bulupitiya in the Badulla District) to see me off. Just as we were sitting down to lunch, a vedda happened to pass on the trail. more..

Forces maintained zero civilian casualty rate at all times

Sep 13 (SO) The humanitarian approach adopted by the Sri Lankan military in the battle to end the 30-year terrorism was extensively explained by the three Service Commanders who testified before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) last week. They said the military had to face immense difficulties and suffered many losses as their hands were tied due to the zero civilian casualty policy, more..

Attempts to smuggle drugs worth millions foiled

Sep 13 (SO) Attempts by several passengers to smuggle in heroin, hashish and Babul worth millions of rupees to the country last week at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) were foiled by the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) sleuths, Police sources told the Sunday Observer. On Thursday, a Pakistani woman who attempted to smuggle in one kilogramme and 240 grammes of hashish concealed in a box was arrested along with a Pakistani national living at Wariyapola by the Police Narcotics Bureau sleuths. more..

Mullikulam Naval Area Headquarters: Booster to country’s first line of defence

Sep 13 (SO) Sri Lanka which had just emerged from the debris of the conflict after eradicating the menace of three decades of terrorism should have a proper security plan to prevent terrorism raising its head again. There is no doubt the remnants of the LTTE in foreign countries are making fresh efforts to resort to terrorism again in Sri Lanka by smuggling arms and ammunition to the country. more..

TNA to relate 'historical facts' to LLRC

Sep 13 (BBC) Sri Lanka's main Tamil political party says it intends to make a presentation to a presidential panel on the historical facts that paved the way for a decades long civil war in Sri Lanka. The TNA said it accepts the invitation by the Lessons learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). The LLRC is mandated by the president to look into "the failure" of the ceasefire signed between more..

After the 18th Amendment… What?

Sep 13 (SL) Reading what passes for analysis and comment with regard to the Rajapaksa Regime’s (RR’s) effort to place the seal of respectability on what can only be described as a travesty of democratic practice, the term that comes to mind is “Theatre of the absurd.” If it isn’t, there sure are a huge number of idiots being published who have pretensions to intellect above the average! We had the spectacle of the UNP seeking to more..

Giving Rajapaksa 18-A and taking over from Ranil

Sep 13 (SL) The most controversial and dangerous amendment so far to the most centralised and authoritarian of all three constitutions Sri Lanka has seen, will now be law of the land, even if it has to go through the process explained by reputed legal luminary and TNA National List MP Sumanthiran. Gazetting the 18th Amendment is just a day’s work. Rajapaksa could have the consent to this Amendment from any Provincial Council in this land of the Gauthama Buddha, with just a phone call. more..

'TNA acting on India's needs'

Sep 13 (NF) MP P. A. Piyasena, who contested the last general election on the TNA ticket from the Ampara district, but joined the government and voted for the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, says that the TNA is acting based on India's needs. “India has no interest in the development of Sri Lanka. I'm not scared to say this openly. India was always afraid that Sri Lanka would be a very pleasant place to live in if the TNA joined with the government. more..

The new democracy

Sep 13 (SL) We have a new constitution. Aside from bemoaning what is done, it may pay to look at what exactly has been done. Many countries have a constitutional monarchy with an impotent monarch. We have a constitutional monarchy with an impotent constitution. How exactly does this work? The ultimate authority in Sri Lanka is the president. The prime minister’s post is essentially a pension for party stalwarts. more..

Sachin de Vas to head President's secret unit

Sep 13 (LT) One of the most senior officials in Presidential Secretariat Mr. Gamini Senarath has been appointed as the Chief of President's Special Secret Unit which was established to monitor the functions conducted by Ministers in their Ministries. Galle District MP Sachin de Vas was appointed to monitor the functions of this Unit. The main task handed over to this unit is to draft a secret report after studying the functions of the Ministries. more..

Sri Lanka cricketer in Zimbabwe 'incident'

Sep 13 (BBC) Cricket authorities in Zimbabwe have admitted that there has been an 'incident' involving a Sri Lanka cricketer while the team toured Zimbabwe for the triangular series in June. Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) said it has been informed of an "alleged incident involving one of the Sri Lankan cricketers" in the hotel the team was staying following the Sri Lankan team's victory in the triangular series. more..

On the relevance-seeking Left with pity

Sep 13 (LB) I remember Chiro Nanayakkara, Vasudeva’s son, telling me at a rally in support of Ossie Abeygunasekara in Kirulapona in 1988: ‘we need to stand on our own two feet; we have helped people into power and helped people out of power and done little else’. I concurred. It was what it was: two young people, a tad idealistic, of leftist persuasion, sick of coalition politics and at the time the shameless flirtation of the SLFP with the fascist JVP as well as more..

The Rajapaksas catch a tiger by the tail

Sep 13 (LB) The rising tide of anger and protests against the 18th Amendment has taken many people and the Rajapaksa regime by surprise. The SLMC jumped the gun and committed hara kiri; if only these donkeys held back for a week they would have seen that discretion is the much better part of suicidal valour. Now they will be the target of criticisms and curses for years. If the deceitful SLMC had not leapt into the despots lap with such relish, more..

GBV 6 Incest - Sinhala

Caritas lays foundation for new houses

Sep 13 (UCAN) The long wait for a permanent place to live is set to end for several displaced Sri Lankan families after Caritas Chilaw laid the foundations for new homes in the northern coastal village of Kalpitiya. The catch however, is that they will have to build them themselves. Having fled fighting in the far north during the civil war in the 1990s, many Tamil families moved southward to seek safety. more..

The development bubble of Sri Lanka is on top of a debt bubble

Sep 13 (LP) "The country has been liberated for more than 15 months but has not recoded any significant large scale private investment, which is puzzling. The government and the private sector have to come on to a common ground in order to achieve a high economic growth, the mind sets of both has to be one in order to gain an economic victory," John Keells Holdings Chairman Susantha Rathnayake told the LLRC of Sri Lanka yesterday afternoon. more..

Text of Supreme Court determination on 18th Constitutional Amendment

Sep 13 (TC) The Court assembled for hearing at 10.30 a.m. on 31st August 2010. His Excellency The President has made a reference in terms of Article 122(1)(b) of the Constitution with regard to the Bill described in its long title as ‘an Act to amend the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka’, which is the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. The Bill bears the endorsement of the Secretary to the Cabinet of Ministers more..

Prince Mahinda emulating King Junius – Where’s the fuss?

Sep 13 (NS) The passing of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution with an easy two thirds majority was a landmark vote of confidence in President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his team. The President, who was given a standing ovation when he entered the Cabinet Room soon after the vote in parliament, told his colleagues that it was he who should be applauding his Ministers for the hard work they had put in. The President had a point: more..

We are a nation of sycophants

Sep 13 (LB) The aura of melancholy in the august House of Parliament on Wednesday was fitting to the business of the day. A fitting metaphor was uttered by the JVP, MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake who quipped, “ Parlimentuwa kerakoppuwak bawata pathwela, Prajathantravadaye kerakoppuwa.” (“Parliament has become the cemetery of democracy’). The vacant opposition seats and a handful of TNA and JVP MPs, whose voices were lost in the howls of the government MPs, more..