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Mysterious turn in Matara tax chief assault case

Sep 5 (ST) The much-publicised assault on a top official of the Department of Inland Revenue — a case tasked for CID detectives and later probed by a hundred strong Police team -- is being sent back for further inquiry by the Matara Police. They will examine whether the matter could be resolved, like most other assault cases, by the Mediation Board of the area. The Sunday Times learns that the move follows instructions from Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya. more..

UPFA make gains as opposition seeks broader alliance

Sep 5 (NS) In a week of hectic political developments, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his ruling UPFA appear to have emerged as arguably the strongest political force in the country in its post-independent history, although the constitutional changes that it has planned are yet to be formally adopted by Parliament. Indeed, there were no surprises when the issue of constitutional amendments was first broached after the general election because that election was fought on more..

Immigration officers challenge President

Sep 5 (ST) Immigration officers are to file action in the Supreme Court claiming that a Cabinet decision to allow ‘enforcing officers’ to carry out immigration duties at the Bandaranaike International Airport amounted to a contempt of court. The decision came after a Cabinet paper submitted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the Defence Minister, was approved to allow 131 ‘enforcing officers’ who were earlier prevented by a court decision from more..

Throne set for King Mahendra

Sep 5 (ST) "Cake eka genna" (Bring the cake) intoned President Mahinda Rajapaksa when last Monday's cabinet meeting ended. "Today is a special day," he told his ministers gathered at 'Temple Trees' for an even more special event - examine the changes to the Constitution. Rajapaksa said it was Minister Tissa Vitharana's 76th birthday. One of the Trotskyite LSSP leaders now, Vitharana, Minister for Technology and Research, cut the cake and helped himself to the first piece. more..

Custom auction wrested back from underworld

Sep 5 (LB) Millions have been lost to government coffers due to corrupt ports authority officials working in connivance with a powerful politico and the underworld, depriving the state of millions of rupees. The police and the army have now begun a coordinated operation to eradicate underworld activities at the Ports Authority Auction -- which is run with the blessings of a politico who is well-known for underworld operations. more..

To hell with party say UNP rebels

Sep 5 (LB) UNP rebels say that they are not afraid of the party taking disciplinary action and will vote in favour of the 18th amendment. UNP MP for Polonnaruwa district Earl Gunasekera who had committed himself to supporting president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s proposed constitutional reforms says that there would be no problem for him to agree with the government, while remaining in the opposition, when the vote is taken up in parliament on Sept 8. more..

Left abandons stand on 18th?

Sep 5 (LB) Internal divisions have erupted within the left parties, the Democratic Left Front (DLF), Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and Communist Party (CP) on whether they should support the 18th amendment to be presented in parliament on September 8, or not, internal party sources revealed. The Central Committee of the DLF and LSSP has decided not to vote in favour of the 18th amendment but the position of the CP is not clear yet. more..

TNA has some 'reservations,' decision on Monday

Sep 5 (Island) The TNA parliamentary group will meet tomorrow to take a decision on the party’s stand on the 18th Amendment to the Constitution due to be debated and voted in parliament on September 8, Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran, National List MP and TNA legal advisor said yesterday. Party leader R. Sampanthan is still under intensive care at a Chennai Hospital and tomorrow’s meeting will be chaired by Mr. Mavai Senathirajah, a senior MP of the TNA, he said. more..

Why were metal detectors silent?

Sep 5 (Island) With the brutally victimised L. P. Ariyawathie now discharged from the Kamburupitiya Base Hospital, the million dollar question is how did this poor Sri Lankan housemaid with 24 metal objects in her body limp through the Riyadh International Airport undetected by the hi-tech security screens and scanners? Saudi Arabia had taken up the position that if nails and needles had been driven into her body, more..

Sri Lanka fixed matches: Baseless allegations, retorts SLC

Sep 5 (LB) In the aftermath of the spot fixing scandal involving Pakistan cricketers in England, a sinister campaign has started to divert the attention with Indian newspapers masterminding a campaign to tarnish Sri Lanka’s cricket image. Sri Lanka which has remained clean in the decades long match fixing scandal of which its South Asian neighbors were found guilty of are being implicated in two match fixing scandals. more..

Editorial: Hail Caesar

Sep 5 (ST) The watchdogs may bark, but the caravan moves on. That might sum up the credo of the all-powerful Government as it motors along with the proposed constitutional amendments that would, in effect, turn the country's political establishment on its head in time to come. In a sense it is a circus we are watching. Musclemen carrying the burdens of office; trapeze artists swinging from one side to the other; clowns playing to the gallery - some cheering, some unamused. more..

Ranjan Ramanayake denies threatening talk show host

Sep 5 (NS) Ratnapura District UNP Parliamentarian and popular film star Ranjan Ramanayake denied allegations leveled against him by the Derana TV talk show host Dilka Samanmali. Stating that all that he gave Dilka’s father was a courtesy call, Ramanayake said that he did give a call to Dilka Samanmali’s father living in Australia and complained that his daughter was being biased in her show. more..

‘156 MPs will vote for 18th amendment’

Sep 5 (NS) Economic Development Minister and Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa says that Government is confident of passing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for the controversial constitutional reforms, with 156 MPs voting in favour. The Minister also said that he had no doubt that the MPs representing the leftist parties would vote for the amendment. more..

Cat and mouse games as D-Day approaches

Sep 5 (Island) The SLFP says crossovers may not be welcomed once the ruling coalition passed the proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution with a two-thirds majority. Senior party sources say the bottom line is that anyone interested in throwing his or her weight behind President Mahinda Rajapaksa should do it on Wednesday when parliament take the vote on the new amendment following a day long debate. more..

Sri Lanka breakdown of remaining democracy slammed by newspapers

Sep 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka's main English weeklies have slammed a proposed change to the country's constitution as the latest in a long list of moves by rulers to destroy individual liberties and break remaining democratic institutions. The constitutional change will see the term limits for the President currently set at two being lifted. Earlier this year Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa won a landslide second term. more..

A timeline of duplicity: Promises to abolish the Executive Presidency

Sep 6 (GV) Groundviews created this timeline to highlight various promises and statements made by the President and government over abolishing the office of the Executive President. Click and drag the slider at the bottom of the timeline above to adjust the time scale. Click here to view larger version of this timeline, where you can also view it as a list of events / stories. Click on any pop-up / event to get a URL link to the full news story. more..

49 illegal fishing incidents this year

Sep 6 (SL) There has been a total of 49 incidents involving illegal fishing since January this year, with 234 offenders being arrested by the Navy, said Navy Spokesman Captain Athula Senarath. This includes incidents involving the use of illegal fishing nets, as well as other methods, such as the use of gelignite explosives, he said. “Those arrested were subsequently reported to either the police or the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources,” more..

Mervyn back in action

Sep 6 (SL) Former Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva has said today (5) that he was still the SLFP organizer for the Kelaniya area and that he never tied a Samurdhi official to a tree. Silva has observed that he not worried about ministerial portfolios as he was still an organizer and a member of parliament, hence would continue to serve the people in the Gampaha District. more..

Tamil migrants make risky deals to flee Sri Lanka

Sep 6 (CTV) The hundreds of Tamil migrants who travelled across oceans on rickety boats to come to Canada faced danger at every turn. They left their homeland, cut deals with dangerous people and put their lives at risk. David Poopalapillai, the national spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress, said his organization routinely hears from Tamils who have been burned trying to get out of Sri Lanka. Recently he spoke with a woman who was calling from Malaysia. more..

UNP’s Madduma Bandara undecided

Sep 6 (SL) UNP Moneragala District parliamentarian Ranjith Madduma Bandara says his decision on the constitutional amendments would depend on the wishes of those who voted for him at the last general election. Madduma Bandara has told the media that his decision on whether or not to support the constitutional amendments in parliament this week depended on his supporters. He has said that he would have to listen to his voters, as more..

UNP MPs threaten to quit the party

Sep 6 (SL) UNP members who have said they would vote in favor of the constitutional amendments in parliament this week have warned they would join the government if disciplinary action is taken against them. The UNP yesterday (4) said the party would take disciplinary action against UNP MPs who vote with the government on the constitutional amendments following a deicison arrived at by the Working Committee last week. more..

What are we waiting for?

Sep 6 (GV) There is no doubt that the proposed constitutional amendment is merely a means of consolidating the dynastic ambitions of the Rajapakses. And clearly, the largest opposition, the UNP is quietly imploding and incapable of fulfilling its responsibilities and it is futile to hope that the amendment will be defeated in parliament. At this moment, probably the most crucial moment in Sri Lanka’s contemporary history, the Leader of the Opposition is out of the country on a ‘private visit’! more..

Sri Lanka is still denying civilian deaths

Sep 6 (Guardian) During the Vietnam conflict, the US military developed some creative ways to increase the numbers of Viet Cong insurgents it claimed to have killed. "If they're dead, they're Viet Cong," meant that any Vietnamese killed by American soldiers would automatically count as enemy fighters. Sri Lanka's defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has taken such creative accounting to new heights. more..

Domestic Vilonce Act

Oh, what a circus, what a show…

Sep 6 (LG) There is a certain bitter irony over the weeping and wringing of hands indulged in by some this week in respect of what the draft 18th Amendment to Sri Lanka's Constitution seeks to do to the country's constitutional structures. In the first instance, the utter consternation that is being expressed over this constitutional amendment is hard to understand in the natural order of things. The 18th Amendment Bill, in all its deeply subversive glory, more..

At the cutting edge of public debates

Sep 6 (LG) The odd story about former undergraduate Mervyn de Silva would be retailed around the corridors of Peradeniya campus when I was residing there as an undergraduate from 1957, an indication that he had etched his mark in campus memories. But I never encountered him or his work till I was a lecturer much later in the 1960s and 1970s when I was teaching in the Department of History from 1966 and became heavily involved in the discussions of the Ceylon Studies Seminar from 1969. more..

U.S. Judge lets suit proceed against alleged fundraisers for Tamil Tigers

Sep 6 (LG) A lawsuit accusing a Wall Street hedge fund manager and his father of using a charitable foundation to funnel millions of dollars to the Tamil Tigers, a Sri Lankan terrorist group, can go forward, a federal judge in New Jersey says. The suit, filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act, concerns the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), a non-profit that the U.S. Treasury Department shut down in 2007 for allegedly more..

It’s constitutional consolidation on Sinhala chauvinism

Sep 6 (LG) Hitherto, the left in general considered the UNP to be the party of the pro imperialist, conservative bourgeois. Hence the breakaway party led by the late S.W.R.D. Bandaranayke was accepted as the party of liberal nationalist capitalism. People were made to accept that the western colonial traditions were protected by the UNP, whilst the SLFP stood for local traditions. Even Sajith Premadasa insists that the UNP is not a party of the Colombo 7 elite, more..

Civil Rights Movement Statement on 18th Amendment to the Constitution

Sep 6 (TC) A President’s immunity is not for life. It is only for the period that he or she is President. Once a President steps down from office he or she may be sued like any other citizen for any wrongful act committed while in office. A powerful deterrent on a President committing an offence while in power is the knowledge that, once his or her terms ends, which end will be at a time in the foreseeable future, liability under the normal law of the land will resume. more..

Doctor suggests Lankan maid could have nailed herself

Sep 6 (AN) A senior Sri Lankan physician and university lecturer said in a telephone interview on Sunday that the maid found with nails and needles embedded in her body could have inflicted the damage to herself. "I wish to make it clear that this is not to say that she has not been tormented or tortured by her employer in Saudi Arabia," said Dr. Susirith Mendis from the University of Ruhuna. more..

JRJ Is Guffawing Somewhere

Sep 6 (LG) Junius Richard Jayewardene, wherever he may be, would be guffawing in his inimitable way at the current constitutional frolics enacted by President Mahinda Percy Rajapaksa and his constitution makers. For 32 years since JR enacted his constitution, he has been lambasted by political riff-raff as well as some ‘constitutional pundits’, particularly for the introduction of the executive presidency which they claimed was the ‘font of all evil’ in Lanka’s politics. more..

Sri Lanka civil society organizations oppose constitutional change

Sep 6 (LBO) Civil society organization representing several interest groups in Sri Lanka have come out against proposed changes to the constitution as a move that will further destroy democratic values and individual freedom. Sri Lanka's organization of professional associations said the constitution change which lifts a two-term limit on the president and has also come under fire for undermining the judiciary and more..

27 Ranaviru houses handed over to war heroes under 'Api Wenuwen Api' housing project

Sep 6 (IL) Another 27 new houses constructed under the Second Phase of Api Wenuwen Api housing programme were ceremonially handed over to the war heroes and their families by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 5th September at Thorayaya in Kurunegala. To mark the occasion, President Rajapaksa handed over the first key of those houses to the widow and children of a fallen war hero of Sri Lanka Navy, more..

Renowned hotelier warns tourism industry not to sit back and wait

Sep 6 (LNP) Renowned Sri Lankan hotelier, R. B. Thambiayah, Chairman of Renuka City Hotels PLC, says that country s hotel and tourism industry cannot sit back waiting for things to happen and cited four crucial criteria that need to be satisfied. The year in review has been the first full year of peace the country has had in more than twenty five years, and tourism was one of the first industries to experience its rewards. more..

On constitutional amendments: Mahanayake Theras’ views

Sep 6 (LP) A leader whose interest in the welfare of his people is genuine should be allowed to run for Presidency for more than the given two terms, stated Asgiri Mahanayake Most Ven Udugama Sri Buddharakkhita Thera, saying that it is wrong to impose restrictions on how many times a leader could rule if the people stipulate that he continue to serve them in that capacity. The Mahanayake Thero presented his views to Minister of Foreign Affairs G L Peiris during more..

Indian Army Chief arrives in Colombo to a rousing welcome

Sep 6 (MoD) Heralding a new era of military cooperation, regional understanding and further promoting mutual bonds of long-lasting friendship between India and Sri Lanka, General Vijay Kumar Singh PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC, Chief of Army Staff, Indian Army, along with a high-level Army delegation, arrived in Sri Lanka Sunday afternoon to a rousing reception, accorded by his Sri Lankan counterpart at the Colombo International Airport. more..

Proposed Constitutional reforms: Asgiri Nayake Thera bestows blessings

Sep 6 (DN) A leader loved by the people and sincerely committed to the welfare of the country should have the opportunity to rule the country without any legal constraints as long as the people desire so, said Asgiri Mahanayake Most Ven Udugama Sri Buddharakkhita Thera when he met Minister Prof G L Pieris. The Minister was on a mission to brief the Mahanayake Theras on the proposed Constitutional reforms. more..

Seminar on amendments blocked

Sep 6 (SL) Authorities of the Colombo University have today cancelled a seminar organized by the university students on the proposed constitutional amendments. The seminar was scheduled to be held today at the university premises at 2 p.m. and JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake was to be the main speaker at the seminar. JVP sources told The Sunday Leader that the university students had reserved the main university auditorium for the seminar several days ago. more..

Editorial: Andares vs. Machiavelli

Sep 6 (Island) The most stressful job in the world appears to be that of Sri Lanka's Opposition leader. Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is in the same predicament as a man who tries to keep frogs in a lidless container. His parliamentarians are jumping hither and thither much to his annoyance. He deserves an award for stomaching harassment, defeat and insult with equanimity and surviving all conspiracies, mutinies and coups which occur almost on a daily basis more..

Locally produced BTI will save millions

Sep 6 (DN) The locally produced BTI bacteria to eradicate dengue menace has proved successful. The Health Ministry will not need to import BTI bacteria in the future. This will enable the Government to save millions of rupees. The Health Ministry’s National Anti- Malaria and Anti-Dengue Program Director Dr Sarath Deniyage said tests conducted by the Health Ministry on locally manufactured BTI bacteria on dengue mosquito larvae were successful. more..

Use Malaysia as springboard to Asean, envoy tells Sri Lanka

Sep 6 (Bernama) Sri Lanka with its trade proximity to Malaysia, can use the country as a springboard to enter the burgeoning Asean market, home to over half a billion consumers. The view was expressed by Malaysia's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Datuk Rosli Ismail. He also said that Malaysia's strategic location in the heart of Asean provides vast opportunities for Sri Lankan businesses to venture into Southeast Asian markets. more..

Int’l laws shouldn’t apply to conflicts between States and terrorists

Sep 6 (Island) Apropos The Island lead story headlined ‘Ex-UN Under Secretary General tells LLRC: Intl. laws shouldn’t apply to conflicts between States and terrorist groups’ in its August 26 issue, Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala has said he was ‘surprised and disappointed by the many distortions of his representation appearing in the Sri Lanka media and the commentaries based on these erroneous and selective reporting’. more..

Be largehearted, Indian army chief to Sinhalese

Sep 6 (ENS) The visiting Indian army chief General Vijay Kumar Singh has asked the Sinhalese, the majority community in Sri Lanka, to be largehearted towards the minority Tamils and help them quickly re-build their war-shattered lives. Gen Singh said, “All Sri Lankans should move on by burying the bitterness and antagonism that existed all these years because of the civil war.” more..

Editorial: Playing nationalist card in India

Sep 6 (DM) Ideally UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe should have been in the country during the last few days to prevent his members from shifting loyalties and extending support to pass the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. However, as he always does, the leader of the Opposition opted to be away from the country during the stormy days having realized that he has little or no control over the unfolding events. Amidst grim prospects for his party and more..

Where is the voters register?

Sep 6 (DM) PAFFREL said yesterday the election monitor has received the highest number of complaints in the Colombo District claiming that a large number of people had not received voter registration forms in the District. PAFFREL Director, Rohana Hettiarachchi said that in Batticaloa a number of Grama Niladaris had not received voter registration forms. He said that there had been a large number of issues in Nuwara Eliya as more..

Opposition MP to stage fast

Sep 6 (DM) The Movement Against the 18th Amendment which is slated to go into action against the proposed reforms of the Constitution tomorrow (Tuesday) said that a prominent Opposition MP would stage a fast-unto-death campaign. The Movement Against the 18th Amendment convenor Shiral Lakthilaka told the Daily Mirror that the MP would stage the fast-unto-death campaign somewhere near the Parliament. more..

Businessman's ear bitten off

Sep 6 (NF) Investigations have begun on an incident where a Police Sub Inspector, said to be the chief security officer of a deputy minister, and another had assaulted and bitten off the ear of a businessman at Baduraliya. The SI had also assaulted a police officer in the Baduraliya police station. The SI and the other person, along with several others, who had apparently been under the influence of liquor, had urinated close to a shop at Baduarliya. more..

Two students die Katunayake clash; 14 suspects arrested

Sep 6 (NF) Fourteen persons have been arrested in connection with the clash that took place at the Institute of Engineering Technology in Katunayake yesterday. The chief suspect involved in the clash is among those arrested. A police team has been deployed to arrest another suspect involved in the clash. Arrangements have been made for the postmortems of the two persons, killed after being knocked down by a train while more..

UNP calls Trade Union leaders

Sep 6 (DM) The 18th Amendment of the Constitution would result in Sri Lanka becoming a failed state like some of the African states, main opposition charged yesterday. The UNP MP who was referring to one of the salient features of the proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution which takes away the restriction on the number of terms of the Executive President said many African states which did not have such a restriction have failed in the past, more..

JHU and NFF support amendments

Sep 6 (SL) The JHU today officially announced the party’s decision to support the constitutional amendments proposed by the government. JHU Secretary Patali Champika Ranawaka told a press conference today that the party would vote in favor of the constitutional amendments in parliament this week. Meanwhile, the JHU also called for the appointments to the independent commissions like Bribery, Elections and Judicial Services under more..