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Crucial UNP meeting today

Sep 18 (DM) The UNP will hold its crucial Working Committee meeting today at party headquarters ‘Sirikotha’ with some dissident MPs threatening to take the party leadership to task over the delay in implementing the proposed political reforms. UNP MPs who had decided to act independently of the leadership met yesterday to discuss what steps they should take at today’s working committee meeting. more..

'Time to focus on the people’s needs'

Sep 18 (DM) Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said the time had now come to focus on issues faced by the common man instead of focusing on issues regarding the 18th Amendment including his discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He said it was time to enact a whole new constitution which addressed the needs of the common man. more..

China-Lanka agree to deepen military ties

Sep 18 (Island) China and Sri Lanka today agreed to deepen their burgeoning defence ties as the powerful visiting Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa held a crucial meeting with a top Chinese military commander here. The Chinese offer to enhance defence ties with Sri Lanka came during a key meeting between Defence Secretary Rajapaksa and Chen Bingde, the Chief of General Staff of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). more..

'We are winning economic war'

Sep 18 (DN) Minister Basil Rajapaksa commenting on Sri Lanka recording a growth of 8.5 percent during the second quarter of 2010, said this signifies that the country’s economy is growing at a very rapid pace. This is the highest ever quarterly growth recorded since the Central Bank and Department of Census and Statistics began estimating quarterly growth rates. “This achievement is due to the efforts and policies taken by more..

Sri Lanka probes negligence after dynamite depot blast

Sep 18 (AFP) Sri Lankan authorities on Saturday probed negligence as a possible cause of a powerful blast at a dynamite depot in the island's east that killed 25 people. The military said that 16 policemen, two Chinese contractors and seven Sri Lankan civilians died in Friday's explosion in Batticaloa district, while another 54 people were wounded. Initial forensic reports suggested serious mistakes were made in more..

Sri Lanka bans BBC from covering civil war hearings

Sep 18 (BBC) The BBC has been blocked from covering public hearings about Sri Lanka's civil war in former rebel-held territory. For three days, civilians will have the chance to give evidence on life under the Tamil Tigers or LTTE. The government says the Commission on Lessons Learned and Reconciliation is working to prevent a repeat of the conflict. more..

UNP WC: Not much on reforms, convention in December

Sep 19 (SL) The UNP Working Committee today (18) has not finalized the party reforms, but decided to hold the party convention in December and to present the final party reforms to it. The Working Committee met at the party headquarters Sirikotha today morning. The committee had not discussed the much anticipated party reforms in detail, as there were certain issues that needed to be addressed with regard to senior posts in the party. more..

Canada court frees four detained Tamil migrants

Sep 19 (AFP) Canada's Federal Court ordered the release of four women out of nearly 500 Tamils from Sri Lanka, who arrived via a cargo ship in Western Canada last month and claimed refugee status. The Friday's ruling is a defeat for Canada's government, which asked the court to overturn decisions by the independent Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) to release some of the migrants under conditions to ensure they report for future hearings. more..

DNA to take to the streets over SF verdict

Sep 19 (SL) The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) today (18) said they have planned a series of protest campaigns against the decisions of the court martials on former Army Commander and DNA Leader Sarath Fonseka. DNA MP Tiran Alles told The Sunday Leader that the party has planned to take to rally the public and take to the streets against the first court martial verdict and the recommendations made by the second court martial. more..

What will be Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka’s next stupid question?

Sep 19 (LG) In the next article by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka you are likely to see some four letter words. Having no ideas to express and nothing to defend except the idea of the need of a strong leader, he now resorts to all the insults he can think of. He can’t think of much but he selects the most vulgar. Such is the natural end of anyone who wants to be an advocate for authoritarianism. The funny part of it is that to defend more..

Govt Minister abusing his position

Sep 19 (LG) According to verified information, the Sri Lanka government minister and one of the Tamil paramilitary group leader Douglas Devananda is claimed to be not abiding by the requests of the victims to handover the properties forcefully occupied by him in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Some of the properties abandoned by the civilians during the civil war are being forcefully occupied by the Ministers paramilitary group. more..

The UNP's fate & the Opposition's Organic Crisis

Sep 19 (LG) Here’s the way the current political discourse seems to me. In a swimming competition, a swimmer lagging behind accuses the one in front of taking steroids, while ignoring the fact that he is swimming with a weight attached by none other than himself, to his leg. The swimmer who is accused of just having taken steroids (in the form of the 18th amendment) is the incumbent. more..

PhDs, pork scratchings and Dayan’s itch

Sep 19 (LG) If you know a smattering of Gramsci, Trotsky and Tchaikovsky and spend five blundering years in an institution cramming endless tomes written by ancient scholars with the benevolence of grants, placing both your legs on the table eating pork scratchings during lectures, you are a scholar. All you need to get a PhD (Doctor of Philisophy) is write at least 10,000 words at the end this five long years whether you pull it off Wikipedia or pilfer from more..

Sarath Fonseka: Tragic tale of selective application of law against political opponents

Sep 19 (TC) Today, 17th September 2010 is an important day in the legend of patriotism. Different people have said different things about patriotism from time to time. For Samuel Johnson “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”. Mark Twain said “Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. more..

Mine clearing operations make headway in Wanni

Sep 19 (MoD) Sri Lanka Army troops and De-mining groups continued clearing and de-mining operations have uncovered more mines in Vavuniya and Mannar districts, military sources said. Troops of 56 Division, while conducting a search and clear operation in general area Mahilankulam in Vavuniya district recovered 11 x Anti Personnel mines (AP mines) (Type P4 MK I), 78 x Anti Personnel mines (AP mines) (Type RANGAN 99) and more..

'Public Debate' on 18th Amendment was an exercise in shadow boxing

Sep 19 (TC) The public debate on the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was an exercise in shadow boxing. A Government that claims to be democratic chose to keep the amending Bill a secret until it had been passed by Parliament. One wonders whether those members of the Opposition who so enthusiastically crossed the floor to provide the Government with the required two-third majority had actually read the contents of more..

Is the Sri Lankan President a welcome visitor to the US?

Sep 19 (LG) If the US can deny a visa to undemocratic government officials in Iran, why cannot the US refuse a visa to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa? Rajapaksa, considered a war criminal, is scheduled to take part in the United Nations’ annual general session which is to be held next week commencing September 20 in New York. The US itself has condemned the Sri Lankan government over the last week’s 18th constitutional amendment, more..

Thunkala 11 - Final Programme

Sri Lanka to become warmer, experience reduction in rainfall: IWMI

Sep 19 (N360) Sri Lanka during the 21st century will become increasingly warmer says a new study conducted by the International Water Management Institute. A Research Repot published by IWMI under the title of “Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources and Agriculture in Sri Lanka”, however says the projected magnitude of temperature increase differs from study to study. The new study also highlights a reduction in rainfall in more..

Can the TNA be trusted with the NPC?

Sep 19 (TC) It was Jean-Paul Sartre who used the phrase “imperative yet impossible”. This is true of a negotiated settlement with Tamil nationalism. It is, or seems, imperative yet impossible. The short answer to the question “can the TNA be trusted with the Northern Provincial council?” is “probably not”. It had a post-war year to sober up, come to its senses, disavow Prabhakaran , the Tigers and its past of collaboration; renounce the doctrines of two nations, more..

Dr. White and his miracle cure

Sep 19 (Hindu) Eliyantha Lindsay White may not be a name widely known in India but virtually every contemporary Indian cricketer who has played any form of international cricket may be familiar with his name and his reputation for treating sports injuries and pain. Dr. White, ‘the miracle doctor from Sri Lanka', as he is known, came into the limelight when a group of Sri Lankan and Indian cricketers, including Lasith Malinga, Sanath Jayasuriya, more..

‘No LTTE link to German Bakery blast accused'

Sep 19 (Hindu) Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has denied any LTTE link to the accused in the blast at the German Bakery in Pune. A section of the media had speculated that the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) had found a new haven in Sri Lanka and that the LTTE was involved in training LeT operatives. “There is no LTTE involvement in the training of Himayat Baig,” Rakesh Maria, Maharashtra ATS chief, told The Hindu on Saturday. more..

Editorial: Enthronement of Demogoguery

Sep 19 (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..

Ranil has no right to treat the UNP as his personal property

Sep 19 (TC) For the exceedingly dull and dim-witted amongst us who had expected Ranil Wickremesinghe to whip up a wave of enraged protest against the 18th Amendment, let us — even at this terribly late stage — stop kidding ourselves. Would a man that patently rejects democracy within his own party give a rat’s tail about democracy in Sri Lanka? Analysed from that angle, it becomes easier to understand why more..

Rajapaksas using Sinhala spremacism to win Southern consent for anti-democratic constitutional revolution

Sep 19 (TC) Having removed the sole really-existing impediment to dynastic rule with the 18th Amendment, the triumphant Rajapakses are hatching the next step in their constitutional revolution. According to Minister Maitripala Sirisena, the 19th Amendment will introduce a hybrid of proportional representation and first-past-the-post systems. It will also reform the 13th Amendment, the Indian-propelled constitutional provision which more..

Editorial: The fallen hero

Sep 19 (Island) Both friends and foes, and he seem to have more of the latter than the former, will not relish what two court martials have heaped on the fallen general. The nation and his leaders acknowledged him as a war hero, whatever his weaknesses and failures might have been. These certainly have not been lacking and stories of his ruthlessness and single minded determination to achieve the objective of defeating the LTTE, whatever the cost to his troops, more..

China footprint bothers Delhi day after Lanka blast

Sep 19 (TI) When dynamite ripped through the fishing village of Karadiyanaru in eastern Sri Lanka, a former LTTE stronghold, on Friday and killed 25 people, officials in New Delhi’s South Block and army headquarters burned the phone lines to find out what caused it. Had remnants of the now-decimated LTTE succeeded in a desperate act of sabotage? As the body count, initially estimated at 60, was revised by Colombo to 25 and more..

Editorial: War against drug mafia

Sep 19 (NS) For long years now, even before the threat of terrorism enveloped this country, the scourge of drug trafficking has affected Sri Lanka immensely. Now it is reported that the Government is keen to step up its campaign against this menace. Recent news reports said that an anti-narcotics unit is to be set up under the direct purview of the Inspector General of Police, spanning across 42 Police Divisions throughout the country. more..

Editorial: Making the impossible possible

Sep 19 (LB) Prince Otto von Bismark, also called the iron Chancellor of Germany stated with characteristic brevity that politics is the art of the possible. However that wisdom could also be stood on its head. Politics could also verily be the art of the impossible as Nick Clegg the Liberal party leader of the UK would be able to tell you, and as Vasudeva Nanayakkara of Sri Lanka would be able to confirm. Clegg campaigned in the recent British elections on more..

Prosecuting and persecuting the war hero – General Fonseka

Sep 19 (BL) I am neither a friend nor foe of President Rajapaksa or General Fonseka, and I have no axe to grind against any of them but what is done to General Fonseka is a travesty of justice. As I am not privy to Fonseka’s court martial proceedings or judgment, I am unable to comment on its legality. But what hurts me – as an average citizen - is the unjust and odious manner in which the General was arrested, detained, and more..

Editorial: Cleansing the city and the council

Sep 19 (ST) For the past fortnight, we have been writing about concerns that the country is heading towards absolute rule following the Government's decision to rush through with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Hot on the heels of the easy passage of that Amendment into law, came the news we broke last week that the Government is now seriously considering bringing the Colombo Municipal Council under the ambit of a new Development Authority which more..

The next time you visit Galle

Sep 19 (SL) Galle has many attractions other than just the Galle Fort, something that you may like to keep in mind when you visit the place again, maybe during December, or the Literary Festival. That said however the Fort does have some snappy things to see, and so I’ll start this non-official pseudo guide to Galle from its most famous location. The Fort used to be an island. It was built by the Portuguese and was then taken over by the Dutch, more..

Sri Lanka's wildlife parks attract more tourists

Sep 19 (Xinhua) The percentage of foreign tourists visiting Sri Lanka's national parks has doubled this year with the conclusion of the island's long civil war, a senior government official said on Saturday. Chandrawansa Pathiraja, director general of Botanical Gardens and Wildlife Conservation Department said normally 10 percent of foreign tourists who come to Sri Lanka visit wildlife parks, but more..

Investment key to economic growth

Sep 19 (ST) Investment is the key determinant of economic growth. This is one fundamental economic principle that is never flouted. Whatever the economic system and policies are this iron law of economics prevails. However investment itself is determined by many conditions and factors that are not only economic. The rate at which an economy grows is also determined by factors that affect the efficiency of the capital employed. more..

Rape and rapine of the Range

Sep 19 (ST) The Matale & Kandy districts known as the Dumbara Valley nestling in the central hills of Sri Lanka boast of rugged mountains and deep winding valleys which cover over 21,000 hectares of land. A characteristic of the Dumbara Valley is its rich biodiversity. Sadly, today in contravention of regulations of the Central Environment Authority (CEA), governing nature reserves, some unscrupulous persons are ruining these pristine forests more..

Vaas and Sanath back at training

Sep 19 (ST) After his impressive performance for the English county Northamptonshire, Sri Lanka’s veteran seamer Chaminda Vaas -- the most successful bowler after Muttiah Muralitharan -- is training with the national squad which is preparing for the tour of Australia next month.Vaas who turned out for Northamptonshire in their pro T-20 tournament played 17 matches. After batting low in the order in the first three matches, more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka, a role model

Sep 19 (SO) The 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is scheduled to be held in New York this week. During the past four years, with unfailing regularity, we have witnessed an organised international conspiracy against Sri Lanka, always prior to the UNGA sessions. There is no exception this time and apparently the same international elements have got down to business again. A section of the International Community, together with more..

Dissident MPs seek a rosy future for UNP

Sep 19 (NS) The main opposition UNP is on the horns of a dilemma, over the proposed reforms to invigorate the party. The demand of the most prominent party men and Parliamentarians is that, the party, after several bouts of defeats, should explore ways and means to effect structural changes from head to toe. The UNP was in power briefly for two years, during the last 16 years under the Presidency of Chandrika Kumaratunga, after its monumental defeat in 1994. more..

'At United Nations: Sri Lanka on strong wicket'

Sep 19 (SO) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella says President Mahinda Rajapaksa will brief the world community on Sri Lanka's success story which continues into the second year since the elimination of terrorism and the ongoing efforts to win the Economic war. "He will be going to the 65th United Nations General Assembly with an open mind. We believe that a good part of the globe is very appreciative of what we have done. more..

Pillayan Exercises Muscle

Sep 19 (SL) The Excise Superintendent – Batticaloa says Chief Minister, Eastern Province, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan has threatened him with death for issuing liquor licenses to Sinhalese tavern owners in the Batticaloa District. Nadarajah Sushatharan claims he has been threatened with death by the Chief Minister for failing to terminate liquor licences given to Sinhala bar owners in the district. more..

Ranil unfazed by threats

Sep 19 (NS) The much talked of 18th amendment to the Constitution may have entered the statute books with a fair share of drama but the full impact of its negative fallout for the opposition, especially the United National Party (UNP) became evident last week. In the final analysis, the 18th amendment was as disastrous to the UNP as the 2007 cross-over of 17 MPs to the government who were led by Karu Jayasuriya who has since then returned to the party. more..

Moves towards a one party State alleges Muzammil

Sep 19 (Island) The Opposition says the power hungry Rajapaksas are turning Sri Lanka to a one-party state by denying the democratic opponents space to function. Opposition members assert the recently passed 18th Amendment and the move place the Colombo Municipality Council under the Defence Ministry will give dictatorial powers to the SLFP-led ruling coalition. more..

French Connection: Tenders bent to create giant slush fund

Sep 19 (LB) A Japanese government funded provincial road project to be completed in the Sabaragamuwa, and Central Provinces, being built at an estimated cost of 6000 million rupees (60 million US$) has now paved the way for a local firm with alleged links to a foreign based company to earn mega bucks due to political connections while flouting all accepted tender procedures. The consultancy cost of the project has been estimated at Rs.550 million. more..

Vitarana to survive as LSSP leader

Sep 19 (NS) Lack of an alternate person suitable to take over party leadership has given hopes to LSSP leader Dr Tissa Vitarana who was facing the threat of being ousted on the ground he voted for the controversial eighteenth amendment in parliament disregarding party’s opposition. A powerful section of the LSSP polit bureau including Dr Jayampathy Wickramaratne, Percy Wickramasekara and Lal Wijenayake earlier threatened to replace more..

CMC as Authority: Efficiency? Or power grab?

Sep 19 (LB) The transformation of the Colombo Municipal Council to an Authority to come under Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa is imminent. Politcians from all sides of the divide, some of whom worked closely with the CMC, give their views: Former Deputy Mayor Asath Sali: The CMC should be an authority because of what the UNP has done. The UNP was not able to present a proper candidates list for CMC polls. more..

Govt. getting stronger, UNP getting weaker

Sep 19 (ST) Barring a minor glitch, the take off from the Bandaranaike International Airport for President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday morning was smooth. The glitch came when two passengers, earlier living in the north, refused to be body searched during security checks. One, now a British passport holder yielded and another, a female chose not to take the flight. President Rajapaksa boarded a regular SriLankan Airlines flight UL 503 to London en route to Berlin. more..

Pole-vaulting ‘media’ politicians, a double betrayal

Sep 19 (LB) In the past few years, a number of media personnel have been contesting under the opposition political party ticket. Both UNP and the TNA fielded several candidates who have roots in media at the last general election and the majority of them were elected to parliament. However, unlike their counterparts in the TNA, the media men who got in from the UNP ticket last week did what seems to be expected from a UNP MP -- crossing over to the government as soon as they get into parliament. more..

UNP peace bid picks up again

Sep 19 (NS) The two factions of the UNP met at the Colombo residence of party stalwart Kabir Hashim yesterday in the latest attempt at resolving the protracted crisis plaguing the party, party sources said last night. At the talks, party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was represented by Joseph Michael Perera and party chairman Malik Samarawickrama and the main leadership contender Sajith Premadasa by rebel MPs Ranjith Madduma Bandara, more..

Sapugaskanda project cost soars to Rs 244bn

Sep 19 (NS) The Inter Ministerial Committee discussing the interim report on the feasibility study of the Sapugaskanda Refinery Expansion and Modernisation (SOREM) Project has indicated that the project cost, which soared close to nearly a quarter trillion rupees or Rs. 244.2bn, was not within the reach of the country’s economy and therefore needed to look for alternatives. more..

Knuckles property: Air Chief in alleged violation of land reform laws

Sep 19 (ST) More startling revelations of lands acquired by Air Force Commander Roshan Gunatilleke in the Knuckles conservation zone, have emerged after the Sunday Times exposure last week. The Air Chief owns a total of 80 acres in the conservation zone in violation of the country’s land reform laws. According to the Land Reform Law, possession of more than 50 acres by a family is illegal. more..