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'People should contribute to northern rehabilitation'

Sep 15 (MoD) Veteran Journalist Manik de Silva yesterday stressed the need of having a tax to be levied from every citizen of the country to normalize the lives of the people in the war torn areas. He was of the view that the all people of the country should pay a tax for them as the resources of the State cannot meet the requirements alone. Manik de Silva testified before the LLRC at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute yesterday. more..

Now, 19-A - and the Tamil Parties

Sep 15 (DM) The Report in a section of the Press that the Government has formed a four-member committee to formulate a Nineteenth Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution should be a welcome digression from the controversial 18-A, over which opinions still vary. How superficial or sincere the proposed amendment becomes would depend on the commonality and steadfastness of the parties of all Tamil-speaking people, as well. more..

Radical reforms are needed for expediting the judicial process

Sep 15 (DM) The amendments to the Judicature Act and to the Civil Procedure Code submitted to parliament recently by Minister of Justice Athauda Seneviratne provoked much discussion in parliament and outside on various challenges to the rule of law and to maintenance of social indiscipline. Not that the shortcomings and inadequacies in the law enforcement institutions had escaped public attention in the past, but more..

'Farmers not allowed to assemble'

Sep 15 (LT) President Mahinda Rajapakse has wrested the right of farmers to hold meetings as he would be exposed as a pro-imperialist leader who has knelt in front of multinational companies says former Parliamentarian of the JVP Samanthe Vidyaratne. He said this when an agitation was held against the government’s move to sabotage the seminar under the theme “Farming being dragged to the chopping – block” more..

Have Sri Lankans misunderstood India?

Sep 15 (Island) The Indian journalist Sathiya Moorthy cannot be blamed for claiming that Sri Lankans have misunderstood India. As we Sri Lankans say, he is here to "cough for India." The piece he wrote in the Daily Mirror of August 31 to coincide with India’s Foreign Secretary, Nirupma Rao’s recent visit to Sri Lanka is such and needs some comment. What Moorthy is concerned immediately seems to be that one is more..

'Connecting People to Prosperity' in Sri Lanka. A reality check with 'Mahinda Chinthanaya'

Sep 15 (TC) A World Bank report titled “Sri Lanka: Reshaping Economic Geography- Connecting People to Prosperity”, released in August, provides new insights on the geographic transformations in the country and identifies public policy priorities for connecting people lagging economically. It uses the framework of World Development Report (WDR) 2009, "Reshaping Economic Geography". According to the report, “Connecting People to Prosperity” is the principle behind more..

'Good governance is at stake'

Sep 15 (NS) The controversial 18th Amendment to the 1978 constitution saw much resistance from civil rights organisations as well as opposition political parties from the day the talks of such amendments came to the limelight. However, the 18th Amendment has now become part of Sri Lankan laws after being passed in parliament with a two-third majority in Parliament. The main opposition UNP and the JVP both took to streets last week against the 18th Amendment. more..

'Lankan girls forced into prostitution in Singapore'

Sep 15 (NF) Another suspect, in the racket where Lankan girls were taken to Singapore on the pretext of employing them in beauty salons but were forced into prostitution, has been taken into custody. Officers of the CID arrested the suspect last night in Katunayake. Two persons were arrested for the crime on an earlier occasion and were remanded. The suspects had taken a girl to Singapore from the Seeduwa area claiming to employ her in a beauty salon more..

The ugly Americans once more

Sep 15 (Island) How very considerate of Washington to warn the Sri Lankan people-and indeed the world-that the recent constitutional changes called the 18th Amendment was a danger to democracy. As this newspaper rightly pointed out editorially the constitutional amendment provoked intense controversy among legal and academic circles and in what might be loosely called among "thinking people." more..

Oh, democracy- my heart aches for you!

Sep 15 (ST) The year: 2030; The Place: Rajasthan, in the Indian sub-continent; The report: the travel diary of a tourist travelling around the country, accompanied by his local guide; As I board the aircraft of RajAir, I am struck by the hospitality of the smiling stewardesses and their peculiar uniform: a sari with a dark maroon coloured sash worn around it. As I travel the country later, I realize that the maroon coloured sash has become a way of life in this part of the world. more..

Missing opportunities for economic development

Sep 15 (ST) Once again the country has been immersed in a controversial political and constitutional issue. This is in fact the latest in a continuous series of political issues that have been the main focus of the nation since the ending of the war 15 months ago. There is talk about achieving a high rate of economic growth but the focus has not been on the economy. If truth be told, many of the events that have preoccupied the government and more..

No-Confidence motion against Minister Peiris

Sep 15 (DM) I was surprised to read that the UNP was intending to move a motion of No Confidence against Minister GL Peiris. I wonder why, it surely cannot be because he left their tattered Party along with eighteen others --- there is no reason to single him out after these years; my inquiries reveal that it is because he could not pull off GSP Plus issue! Surely the UNP must be stupid if this is the reason or is this just the excuse – are they doing a contract job, more..

What price Haj pilgrimage?

Sep 14 (ST) A dispute is brewing between travel agents and the Government-appointed Haj committee -- also within the committee – over the cost of the pilgrimage. The three-member Government committee comprising Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana, Deputy Minister Faiszer Musthapha and former deputy mayor Azath Sally had estimated the cost of the month-long pilgrimage to Makkah and Madeena in Saudi Arabia during November-December to be Rs. 300,000. more..

Student burglars nabbed

Sep 15 (NS) Two schoolchildren in Akmeemana, who burgled their principal’s office and stole a CPU worth Rs22,500 have been nabbed along with the ‘fence’. The students allegedly committed the heist after entering the office through the roof last Sunday night, according to Akmeemana Police. Police said the two boys, aged 15 and 16, went to the house of another man with the stolen material but were arrested after a suspicious villager tipped off police. more..

Sri Lanka 'pilot census' to begin in October

Sep 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's statistics office has completed most of the preliminary work to conduct its first island-wide population count in 30-years with a 'pilot census' to begin in October, an official said. Sri Lanka's census and statistics office has not conducted a nation-wide census since 1981 after a civil war flared in the north and the east of the island. The war ended last May. "We will conduct the census in July to September 2011," more..

Boston Lanka News Edition: Sept 13

Sri Lanka begins road show to market $1bn bond

Sep 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka has kicked off a road show to sell a billion dollar sovereign bond later this month, a media report said. Officials and investment banks promoting the issue will meet fund managers till September 24, a Bloomberg newswires report said. Investor meetings will be held in Singapore, Hong Kong, London and the United States. The government has hired Bank of America Corp., HSBC Holdings and Royal Bank of Scotland to help it more..

The way forward in Sri Lanka

Sep 15 (LG) At the outset, since this is the first time I take the floor under your stewardship, let me congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of this Council, which would be crowned with success with your experience, and assure you of the full support of my delegation in discharging your responsibility. My delegation wishes to align itself with the statement delivered by the Ambassador of Egypt on behalf of the NAM. more..

Sri Lanka bidding war for shell firm ends with rejection

Sep 15 (LBO) A brief bidding war for a listed Sri Lanka shell company, Watapota Investment, part of the Carsons Cumberbatch group, has ended with the parent firm rejecting all bids, a statement said. Carsons said in a stock exchange filing it had got five offers for part or all of its 86.7 percent stake in Watapota Investment, a firm with no revenue earnings business and only some cash assets. more..

Editorial: Crooked bakers' strange arithmetic

Sep 15 (Island) This country has enough and more laws. Parliament keeps making new laws and amending the existing ones. It was only the other day that another constitutional amendment was passed for the benefit of the government in power. But, the hapless consumer continues to get fleeced and harassed either for want of laws or their non-implementation. Bread has become as expensive as cake due to successive price hikes. more..

Editorial: Lemon puff culture

Sep 14 (DM) Call it Sri Lanka’s paradox. Ice cream vendors and gram sellers certainly don’t have much to do with death fasts. However one saw a whole host of them adding an ambiance of a carnival when an unidentified man staged a death fast on an iron post at Viharamahadevi park yesterday. Such was the assurance that nothing tragic would happen to the protestor and that the story would have a happy ending. In short today’s death fasts in Sri Lanka are largely aimed at more..

'General absolved from charges of influencing tender board'

Sep 14 (DM) The first charge of the second court martial against Gen. Sarath Fonseka is rejected as its records state that he, as the president of the tender board, had not made any influence over its affairs. However, in order to take revenge from Gen. Fonseka a new charge is being developed against Gen. Sarath Fonseka stating that his functioning as the president of the tender board was wrong more..

Sri Lankans hand over aid to Pakistan

Sep 15 (UCAN) Marking the end of Ramadan, Sri Lankans have donated medicine and relief items for Pakistan’s flood victims. Forty professionals, philanthropists and business leaders met in Colombo on Sept. 8 to hand over the items in the presence of Seema Baloch, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Seyed Alavi Moulana, the Governor of Western Province. “We are bound by our love to love the Pakistani people as our brethren,” more..

Tamil paper to slow flow to evangelical churches

Sep 15 (UCAN) A new Tamil-language newspaper will help staunch the flow of Catholics to evangelical churches, according to the paper’s editor. Colombo Archdiocese’s new Tamil-language Catholic magazine, Gnana Oli (Light of Wisdom) is now on sale in the Sinhala-majority dioceses of Sri Lanka’s south. “Language is one of the reasons people leave to join evangelical churches,” said Father Manokumaran Nagaratnam. more..

Former Sri Lankan manager had no faith in his board

Sep 15 (Nation) Former Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-opener Brendon Kuruppu will always cherish the letter he had received from the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU). “Kurruppu got a letter from the ICC which appreciating his work as a team manager,” a very influential source said from Colombo. “I didn’t name any particular player in my report to the ICC. But “some incidents” were brought to my notice by the team players and more..

Expect more Tamil migrants, memo warns

Sep 15 (TS) Up to 150,000 Tamils are being released from camps in Sri Lanka and federal immigration officials fear their “wealthy” families abroad can hire more smuggling ships to bring them to Canada and other countries, a senior official warned in a memo earlier this year. “Canada will be a target destination,” said Brian Hudson, an immigration program manager at the Canadian High Commission in Colombo. more..

Pregnant Tamil migrant first to be released

Sep 15 (CTV) Immigration officials have released a pregnant Tamil woman from protective custody in British Columbia, making her the first of nearly 500 migrants who arrived on Canada's west coast. The woman, whose name is protected by a publication ban, was released Tuesday from the immigration holding facility in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby where she has been held since arriving in Canada. more..

Iran-Sri Lanka bilateral trade surpasses $1b

Sep 15 (TT) The trade value between Iran and Sri Lanka surpassed $1 billion, the Iranian commerce minister said here on Tuesday. The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting quoted Mehdi Ghazanfari as saying that, “Iranian contractors have signed a $400-million worth contract for construction of a dam in Sri Lanka.” Ghazanfari is leading a delegation traveling to Colombo to take part in more..

Murali wants life ban for fixers

Sep 15 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan, the Sri Lankan offspinner, has become the latest cricketer to call for life bans for those guilty of fixing. Fellow spinning great Shane Warne and New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori had also demanded similarly harsh punishment for cheats after three Pakistan players were provisionally suspended by the ICC for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing during the Lord's Test last month. more..

Sri Lanka SEC lifts blanket price caps for formula

Sep 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's securities watchdog will lift a blanket 10 percent price cap for day from September 20 and instead bring in a formula based rule, and brokers have also been directed not to give credit to clients from their own balance sheet. Illiquid stocks in Sri Lanka's stock market in particular have been rising steeply on some days rising fears of price manipulation. The watchdog brought in the 10 percent rule though no one has been prosecuted. more..

Sri Lankan Tamil refugees risk lives to return

Sep 15 (Island) For want of a government scheme to bring in Sri Lankan Tamils living in India, people are making a hazardous sea journey across the Indo-Lanka maritime boundary in Indian fishing craft. Although the war ended in May last year, the government was yet to arrange for the repatriation of Tamils living in refugee camps, sources told The Island. Navy headquarters said that the Special Boat Squadron (SBS), operating close to more..

At UN, Ban silent on Sri Lanka repeal of term limits, links, panel still not started

Sep 15 (ICP) As Sri Lanka's Mahinda Rajapaksa moved to repeal term limits, and barred publication which criticized this as inconsistent with national reconciliation, the UN and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stayed silent. ICP on September 14 pushed and asked Mr. Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky about this, about why Ban's panel of experts on war crimes in Sri Lanka, announced in March, has yet to begin its work, and more..

CMC puts kitchens under microscope

Sep 15 (DN) Over 500 Kgs of Kottu Roti not fit for human consumption was destroyed, four restaurants which used tube well water to prepare food were also closed down yesterday, as raids by the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) health officials revealed more shocking hotel kitchens in the city. Public Health Inspectors assisted by law enforcement officials are conducting inspections on city hotel kitchens to more..

Matara tax chief identifies two assailants

Sep 15 (Island) Deputy Inland Revenue Commissioner of Matara H. M. Denzil on Monday identified two of the six suspects who assaulted him on August 11. Following the identification parade, conducted in the Matara Magistrate’s Court premises, Chief Magistrate Udesh Prabath Ranatunga released on bail the six suspects who had earlier been remanded. The first and the fifth suspects, who were identified by the victim, were released on bail more..

Constitutional change undermines political checks

Sep 15 (IPS) If Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa appears unassailable after the September ratification of a constitutional amendment lifting a limit on presidential terms, blame the main opposition party. Or so say political observers who have denounced the absence of a strong opposition, which has made it much easier for the Rajapaksa administration to get the amendment – one that strengthens his grip on power – passed in Parliament. more..

Dengue numbers drop in Sri Lanka

Sep 15 (IRIN) Health officials in Sri Lanka are reporting a significant drop in the number of reported dengue cases. "Numbers are going down throughout the island," Prishanthy Wijesinghe, a senior official with the Ministry of Health's Epidemiology Unit, told IRIN. He warned, however, that it was too early to assume the risk was past. 58 cases of the mosquito-borne disease occurred during the second week of September, more..

Lakshman Seneviratne asked to explain conduct at Fonseka Court Martial

Sep 15 (Island) The UNP has called for explanation from Lakshman Seneviratne MP, for making "false" statements to the Court Martial that had convicted Retired General Sarath Fonseka. Leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe told journalists in Colombo yesterday, that he had written to Seneviratne asking him to explain his conduct during the Court Martial hearing and the ‘false’ statements against Fonseka. more..

Press further sealed till Sept 27

Sep 15 (DM) Nugegoda Magistrate Rohana Anura Kumara Herath yesterday further sealed till September 27 the printing press which had allegedly printed posters with disfigured photographs of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Printing Press, Sarala Graphics, of Gangodawila was raided by the Mirihana Special Investigation Unit allegedly on a tip off that there were bombs and explosives hidden in the premises. However, when they raided the printing press, the police had found not bombs but more..

UNP worried over losing CMC

Sep 15 (TC) The Opposition and members of Civil Society organisations expressed fears yesterday over the move by the government to convert the Colombo Municipal Council into an authority. Civil Society members who met the UNP leadership yesterday called on the party to emerge stronger and lead the Opposition against this move which they described as an autocratic decision by the government. more..

At outset petitioner accepted election was normal - Counsel

Sep 15 (Island) The petitioner, Sarath Fonseka, has failed to claim in his petition, how many voters were corruptly influenced by the first respondent Mahinda Rajapaksa, in order for the Court to deduct it from the majority of 1.8 million that Rajapaksa polled and to order a rescrutiny of all the votes, as asked by the petitioner, said Nihal Jayamanne PC. more..

'Let WC decide who leads UNP'

Sep 15 (Island) Let the Working Committee decide on who leads the party, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. Asked for his response to a faction led by Sajith Premadasa demanding that he relinquish the party leadership, Wickremesinghe told The Island, "Let the Working Committee decide on whatever their demands are and I need not get involved in it." more..

Karu Jayasuriya regrets his inadvertent role in stabilising Rajapaksa regime

Sep 15 (TC) UNP deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya has issued a statement expressing regret for his inadvertent role in stabilising the Rajapaksa regime in the past. He has declared his intention of devoting the remainder of his life to face the challenge posed to the nation by the 18th Constitutional amendment. Following is the full text of Mr.Karu ayasuriya’s statement: Two years ago I rendered my support to the government of more..

'Prison congestion a grave crisis'

Sep 15 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said there must be an overhaul of the Penal Code and the administration of justice in the lower courts as the jails had been unnecessarily filled with inmates and congestion in prisons had become a huge problem for the state and for prisoner rehabilitation. President Rajapaksa lamented that judicial officers mainly in the lower courts did not more..

25-member UNP group not satisfied with Ranil’s views

Sep 15 (DM) The UNP members who have threatened to sit independently in parliament when it convenes next week said they were not satisfied with the views expressed by party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday and had issued an ultimatum till September 22. UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara who is among the 25 MPs threatening to sit independently in parliament said if Mr. Wickremesinghe did not address the leadership crisis soon and more..

Protester criticised some army officers, wanted to meet President

Sep 15 (Island) A man who climbed a 62-foot metal structure near the Viharamahadevi Park in Colombo yesterday and stayed there for hours demanding that President Mahinda Rajapaksa meet him or telephone him was removed last evening. The protester was wearing a helmet to prevent his identity being revealed. However, the police said he had already been identified as Mahesh Asanka De Soyza (31) more..

UDA on way to recovery

Sep 15 (DN) The Urban Development Authority (UDA) running at a loss of over Rs 2,500 million is on the path of recovery after Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s decision to rapidly collect its overdue rentals and project payments from its clients. Meanwhile, the Authority has appointed a Committee on the Defence Secretary’s directions to draft proposals to amend the UDA Act No 41 of 1978 to more..

Some MPs were threatened to vote for 18 A, says UNP

Sep 15 (Island) The government used various methods to pressure UNP MPs to vote for the 18th Amendment, two UNP MPs alleged yesterday. They told a news conference, at the parliamentary complex, that the tactics employed, included threats, assault and blackmail. Mangala Samaraweera MP, alleged that one of the UNP MPs was assaulted by a family member and then forcibly taken to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

'Sri Lanka government is stirring up patriotism, saying the West is against the people of Sri Lanka'

Sep 15 (TC) A leading Sri Lanka expert has warned that with last week’s parliamentary victory on constitutional reforms, Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse has dealt a final blow to the country’s human rights, civil liberties and true democracy. Charu Latta Hogg, an associate fellow at London-based think tank Chatham House, says that Sri Lanka is heading ‘towards a totalitarian state’. more..

Child killed in shootout in Beruwala

Sep 16 (SL) A shoot out between the police and armed robbers in Beruwala today (15) has resulted in the death of a seven year old child. The police has said the shoot out had taken place near the Beruwala Food City and that the child and his father were in a three wheeler when the shoot out had taken place. The child’s father had also been injured in the shootout. The shoot out had reportedly taken place when more..

Changes to ease life in former conflict areas - LLRC to President

Sep 16 (MoD) Immediate administrative measures to ease the lives of resettled IDPs and all people living in the former conflict ridden areas have been suggested by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in an Interim Communication to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. These measures that require only changes in administrative practices were brought to the attention of the President by members of the LLRC who met him at Temple Trees more..