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More T/Us join campaign for salary increase

Sep 6 (SL) The NTUC today held discussions with five trade unions attached to the Government Printer’s Department on the campaign to demand a Rs. 8,000 salary increase and the trade unions have decided to support the campaign. NTUC Head K.D. Lalkantha and representatives of the NTUC held discussions today with representatives of five trade unions attached to the Government Printer’s Department at the department auditorium. more..

Leading Sri Lanka cricketer investigated for corruption

Sep 6 (BBC) A leading Sri Lankan cricketer has been investigated by the anti-corruption unit of the International Cricket Council (ICC), BBC Sinhala understands. The unnamed cricketer has been seen with a suspected match fixer and was reported to the ICC by the team's then manager, Brendon Kuruppu. Three Pakistan players are being investigated by the ICC for alleged spot-fixing allegations. more..

Ranil seeks Indian help to revive agriculture

Sep 6 (Hindu) The Leader of the Opposition in Sri Lanka and former Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, sought India's assistance in reviving agriculture and fisheries in the Vanni region, pointing out that “until the region returns to normalcy and commences food production and fisheries, Sri Lanka will continue to have problems.” “It will affect the food supply and also have an impact on cost of living,” more..

More rebels

Sep 6 (DM) UNP MP Earl Gunasekara says five more UNP parliamentarians are to extend their support to the government for the 18th amendment to the constitution when it is debated and voted on in Parliament this week. At a previous media briefing it was announced that UNP Deputy General Secretary Lakshman Seneviratne, Earl Gunasekara and Manusha Nanayakkara will support the constitutional amendments. more..

FR withdrawn

Sep 6 (DM) Senior Journalist J.S. Tissainayagam’s counsel today moved to withdraw the Fundamental Rights (FR) application filed by his client as he had received a presidential pardon. The Bench comprising Justices Saleem Marsoof, S.I. Imam and R.K. Suresh Chandra granted permission for the withdrawal of the FR petition. President’s counsel Romesh de Silva with J.C. Weliamuna, M.A. Sumanthiran and more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 06. 09. 2010

Two more JVPers arrested

Sep 7 (SL) The police have arrested two JVP members while distributing leaflets on the proposed 18th amendment among people in the Nuwara Eliya town. The party last week launched a leaflet distribution campaign to create awareness among the public about the government’s proposed constitutional amendments and its adverse impact on the country. JVP sources said that among the two party members arrested by the police are a JVP candidate for the local government elections. more..

Altar servers find other things to do on Sunday

Sep 7 (UCAN) The declining number of altar servers in Colombo is causing some concern for Catholics, not least because many boys find their priestly vocation while serving at the altar. “Children nowadays are distracted by television, the Internet and mobile phones. There are many activities … to amuse kids,” Father Tony Martyn, parish priest of St. Lucia’s Cathedral in Colombo, said at a recent altar servers’ celebration. more..

In hot pursuit of Mahathir manthra

Sep 7 (LB) When the government parliamentariary group met in a resort hotel down south, a few weeks back for a political workshop, there were all president’s men. No questions were asked why the president should go for a third term. There was hardly a disagreement, except a lone dissenting voice from the old left, notably, firebrand Vasudeva Nanayakkara. A formal vote count was not taken, but, the atmosphere was overwhelmingly in support of more..

Resisting the Loss of Citizenship in Sri Lanka

Sep 7 (GV) I don’t know whether I’m more angry or sad at the way in which patently undemocratic constitutional amendments are being rushed into law. I feel as if I’m watching my country being strangled, slowly, in the grip of self-serving and short-sighted men who have little love for Sri Lanka or its people. I don’t believe that the changes to the constitution will immediately make themselves felt in our daily lives. more..

War-damaged church rises from the rubble

Sep 7 (UCAN) A group of resettled Tamil Catholics are setting about the task of rebuilding their war-damaged church, piece by piece. Without assistance or direct government funding, the parishioners, who fled the fishing village of Mullaitivu during the civil war but were allowed to return in June, are providing all materials and labor themselves. The project is expected to cost around US$ 70,000 in total. more..

The Visitors in Yala and Jaffna: 'Culture of polluting'

Sep 7 (TC) It was the long weekend at Yala Park and the word got out about the sighting of a leopard. The drivers scrambled and raced to the spot only to be confronted with a massive traffic jam, with about 30 Jeeps blocking the little dusty track in all directions. There was no movement, the leopard had long gone and as we sat and waited in the dusty jungle jam, we wondered if the leopard was watching the traffic jam from the jungle and giggling. more..

Lankan pilot killed in New Zealand plane crash

Sep 7 (NF) Chaminda Senadheera, a Sri Lankan pilot, was killed in a plane crash along with nine passengers close to the Fox Glacier on New Zealand's southern island. The 33-year-old victim was a resident of Madurawala area in Angurathota. The Sri Lankan Consul in New Zealand, Aruna Abeygunesekara speaking to Newsfirst said the crash had taken place on Saturday. He also said that the New Zealand government had commenced an investigation into the crash.

An increase in polythene made of less than 20 microns

Sep 7 (LP) The Central Environmental Authority states that there is an increase of the selling of polythene bags made of a lower amount than the certified 20 microns. The usage of such polythene was prohibited from last year, but it has been revealed that some tradesmen continue to use the polythene despite the ban. Nearly 2000 of such tradesmen have been taken into custody and are now facing legal ramifications. more..

Indian Army Chief calls on President Rajapaksa

Sep 7 (IL) The visiting Indian Army Chief, General Vijay Kumar Singh paid a courtesy call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees this morning on 06th September. President Rajapaksa and General Singh discussed issues related to military and security affairs that related to both countries. Army Chief explained that the intention of his visit is to strengthen the military ties between the two neighbouring countries. more..

Why do we need a constitution? And what is a constitution after all?

Sep 7 (LG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa knows that majority of the literate voters do not know the answer or at least do not care to know. That is why he with due respect to this majority, sent the 18th amendment to the constitution as a “urgent bill” to the parliament by-passing the normal Gazette requirement for cabinet decisions. Voters need not be constitutional law experts to discuss about the constitution. more..

Secretary Defence inspects Defence Services Collage

Sep 7 (MoD) Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa inspected ongoing construction of school library which is nearing completion last Friday (03 Sep). Library is an essential facility for any school and it makes children more knowledgeable and allows more room to improve themselves in many ways. Therefore, it has been planned to construct the library with a wide variety of books and with modern facilities for the benefit of children of war heroes. more..

Jobs for ex-LTTE cadres

Sep 7 (MoD) For the first time ever, the government is to have 'Job - Fair' for the youth of the Northern Region especially ex-LTTE combatants who are being integrated back into society following their rehabilitation, said Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Brig Sudantha Ranasinghe yesterday. "This would be something similar to the Job-Fair held before graduation in the USA offering employment to youth following their graduation". more..

An open letter to the Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao

Sep 7 (LG) Let me take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks for undertaking a visit to Sri Lanka to assess the situation facing the war ravaged Tamils and making candid comments about your discussions with the government of Sri Lanka. Your visit comes upon the rightful assertion of the Foreign Minister Hon S M Krishna in the Lok Sabha recently that any political resolution in Sri Lanka must be more than what has been offered under the 13th amendment to more..

On His Excellency’s service…

Sep 7 (NS) No other provision in the 1978 Constitution invites more attention than the highly contentious concept of the Executive Presidency. Introduced by J R Jayewardene’s UNP regime in 1978, it has prevailed for more than 32 years. Successive governments, from 1994, vowed to abolish the Executive Presidency, but the controversial post continues unabated to date. It is in this context that the proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution comes to the fore, more..

GBV 4 - Sinhala

ISEA to support rapid development

Sep 7 (MoD) Integrated Strategic Environmental Assessment (ISEA) for the Northern Province is being formulated through a multi-agency approach aiming to support for a rapid development in the area while sustaining peace, Prof Buddhi Marambe said. Prof Marambe said so addressing the Mullaitivu District Consultative Meeting on ISEA at the Mullaitivu District Secretariat offices recently. The multi-agency approach is coordinated by the Central Environmental Authority and more..

Mgr Ranjith inaugurates the Special Year of the Holy Eucharist

Sep 7 (AN) “I urge all clergy to kneel down and respect the Eucharist and guide parishioners on that path. The Holy Eucharist is God, not simply a slice of bread,” Mgr Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, said as he celebrated the start of the Special Year of the Holy Eucharist in Our Lady of Lanka Basilica in Tewatta. The theme of the year is “Let the Eucharist transform you to be a blessing”. For this occasion, a three-day meeting was held to discuss the liturgy. more..

Together again

Sep 7 (ST) Chandima Swarnapali’s name was changed to Susanne Maria Chandima when she was taken to Sweden as an infant in late 1979. She grew up happily in Sweden for 31 years, receiving the love and care of the Swedish couple who had adopted her. But deep within her was a need to find her biological parents and she was constantly in search of them. Having completed university and found employment in Sweden, it was a momentous occasion for Susanne more..

God appears when one ‘o’ is omitted in the word “Good”

Sep 7 (LG) God is the symbolic expression to the uncertainty prevailing in the world. We should not forget that the concept of personified God is a phenomenon born and nurtured in the human mind. It is my personal conviction that the abstract idea of God has roots in the perception of the cosmic nature of the universe by human beings in the process of their social and biological evolution. If anybody wants to call this “cosmic consciousness” as God, I would definitely agree with him. more..

18th amendment is submission to autocracy - Mano Ganesan

Sep 7 (TC) 18th amendment aims at reversing all what this country gained during the last decades against the politicization of the state services. It tends to handover total power to the proposed ‘term limit-less’ executive presidency by removing all the hard-earned constitutional checks and balances. Shocking it is that the government prepares to amend the most basic law of the land in one stroke in a ‘one day affair’ in the parliament without substantial national discussion. more..

Sri Lanka to offer more oil exploration blocks

Sep 7 (Reuters) Sri Lanka on Monday said it would offer new oil exploration blocks in an area off the northern coast where the initial flare-up of a quarter-century war with the Tamil Tiger separatists ended the hunt for oil. The Indian Ocean island's Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat said it was planning to call bids for blocks in 15,000 sq km of the shallow Cauvery Basin, just off the northern area more..

The judgment of history

Sep 7 (GV) All MPs as well as Supreme Court judges of Sri Lanka should watch Stanley Kramer’s 1961 film ‘Judgment at Nuremberg’ before the vote on the 18th Amendment. It tells the story of the trial of four German judges guilty of complicity with the Nazi regime. One of them, Ernst Janning, was once a champion of justice, yet played a major role in turning the German legal system into an instrument of Nazism. more..

Dockyardgate COVER-UP demands lessons to be learnt

Sep 7 (LG) We believe in the role of the media as the ‘watchdog’ of the nation and are committed to expose any wrongdoing with trustworthy information to the public at all times on issues where we observe the public interest is undermined. Our Investigative journalism keeps an ‘eagle’s eye’ on the members of the legislature, the executive which includes all officials holding public office and the members of the judiciary for the purpose of more..

Boy’s great escape

Sep 7 (LB) In an extreme case of attempted extortion, a nine-year-old boy was allegedly thrown into the gushing waters of the Victoria reservoir. He was kidnapped for the sole purpose of obtaining money from his father. Miraculously the boy escaped unharmed. However, the main suspect was killed towards dawn on Saturday morning when he attempted to hurl a bomb at police officers. more..

Political party bugbear bedevils Sri Lanka

Sep 7 (LG) The events unfolding in Sri Lanka increasingly prove, among other things yielding both good and bad results, the futility of the political party system as pursued in the country during the last few decades. The perversion of this system was evident from about the time of independence. But the recent events where the conduct of our politicians tended betray scant respect for party policies and democratic principles leave no room for doubt about more..

Replacing one flawed amendment by another flawed amendment

Sep 7 (Island) May be due to the fact that they have to cater to the exigencies of the power hungry and powerful politicians, legal draftsmen/women have oftentimes been careless in drafting legislations, particularly the constitutional amendment bills. This is evident when one has a cursory glance at the drafts of the 13th Amendment and the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. The 17th Amendment was hurriedly passed by the Parliament in 2000 to more..

'New amendments will ensure supremacy of parliament'

Sep 7 (NF) President Mahinda Rajapaksa says that through the proposed constitutional amendments, the supremacy of the parliament will be ensured. The president expressed this view while addressing a group of media heads and publishers at the Temple Trees. He said that under the new amendments, the Constitutional Council would only comprise of members of parliament. The president had also said that there would not be a presidential representative in more..

Van Wyk leads South Africa A to tournament win

Sep 7 (CI) Morne van Wyk scored an unbeaten century to lead South Africa A to a comfortable victory over Sri Lanka A in the final of the triangular series at the Sinhalese Sports Club. South Africa chased down their Duckworth-Lewis adjusted target of 252 with 19 balls to spare. van Wyk and Stiaan van Zyl got South Africa off to a rousing start with a 96-run opening partnership off 13 overs. van Zyl was bowled for 39 by offspinner Sachithra Senanayake, but more..

Maid and nails: Let’s find the truth

Sep 7 (AN) Saudis need them and the Sri Lankan women would work for them because of their poverty. This has been going on for years, encouraged by the government, since the government in Colombo too depends on their remittances in much needed dollars. There have been several instances where housemaids have been abused, humiliated and subjected to whatever maybe, which have driven many to commit suicide. more..

'Why we are Supporting the 18th Constitutional Amendment'

Sep 7 (TC) The year was 1977. I was an impressionable youngster of seventeen, studying at Royal College. I was in the running for the Best Speaker's contest where the coveted Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan Prize was on offer. The topic I picked was 'Introduction of the Presidential system to Sri Lanka'. After robustly arguing in favour of J.R. Jayewardene's concept, I won the prize. more..

Fined, imprisoned for selling fake Kookaburra bats

Sep 7 (LB) Mt. Lavinia Chief Magistrate Nirosha Fernando imposed a fine of 100,000 rupees and a sentence of six months rigorous imprisonment suspended for 5 years on a person who sold fake Kookaburra bats using the original Kookaburra logo. In default of the fine the accused would be sentenced to a term of an additional six months rigorous imprisonment. Accused Anura Perera Rupasingha, is the owner a sports goods shop named A.M Sports Kingdom at Ratmalana. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Sep 7 (ST) Retired Major General Asoka Thoradeniya was Master General Ordnance (MGO) when then Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka was Commander of the Army. In that capacity, he was the authority vested with the responsibility for procuring the Army's ordnance needs. When he retired, with then Lt. Gen. Fonseka's blessings, Maj. Gen.(retd.) Thoradeniya served a stint as Chairman of the State-owned Petroleum Corporation. Last week, the second General Court Martial probing alleged irregularities in more..

The 18th dissected: The unholy rush

Sep 7 (LB) Attorney-General Mohan Peiris made interesting use of the word “spurious” on Tuesday when the proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution was taken up for determination before the Supreme Court. Midway into Peiris’s submissions to court, Jayampathy Wickremeratne, PC, protested to the five-judge bench that the attorney-general was mentioning clauses that were not included in the cabinet paper intervening petitioners had managed to get their hands on. more..

'Too many patches will weaken the contitution'

Sep 7 (NF) The Constitution of the country could be likened to a tube that has too many patches. The more patches it has, it will soon weaken and leak from all sides, said the Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero. Commenting on the proposed amendment to the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, the thero said that enough patches had been fixed to the 1978 Constitution. “It is extremely dangerous for power to be centred around just one leader, no matter whether it's the UNP, the SLFP, or anyone else. more..

Minimum 500 lakhs on offer to those non Govt. MPs who vote with Govt. for the amendments

Sep 7 (LeN) It is reported that the vote of a non Govt. M P who votes with the Govt. for the constitutional amendments has been estimated at a value of Rs. 500 to 1000 lakhs. While the minimum amount on offer is Rs. 500 lakhs , commensurate with the individual’s status, his seniority and his prominence it can go up to Rs. 1000 lakhs. The scheme geared to winning over the non Govt. MPs comes within the purview of the Rajapakses and their groups. more..

JVPers traveling to Colombo for protest stopped

Sep 7 (SL) JVP members traveling to Colombo from the outstations to attend the party’s protest in Borella today against the 18th Amendment have been stopped by the police. According to JVP sources, at buses carrying JVP supporters to Colombo from Anuradhapura, Chilaw and Puttalam have been stopped by the police. Anuradhpura Police near the 2nd Mile Post junction had stopped the bus with JVP supporters from the Anuradhapura District. more..

Private bus owners to go to court over fare hike

Sep 7 (CT) Private bus owners have warned of court action against a decision by the National Transport Commission not to allow an increase in bus fares as demanded by them. President of the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association Gamunu Wijeratne says the fares should be raised by 2.53 per cent on October 01. However, NTC chairman Shashi Welgama has ruled out any fare increase, saying a hike could be considered only next year. more..

Editorial: Look who's talking!

Sep 7 (Island) The Opposition has stepped up its campaign against the 18th Amendment, the passage of which is a foregone conclusion. The government is very likely to muster about 160 votes for it tomorrow. Interestingly, the Maha Nayake Thera of Asgiriya has backed the amendment to the hilt. Among the vociferous critics of the 18-A is former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who has chosen to call it a 'horrendous move', in a brief interview with The Sunday Leader. more..

High-tech guards for Sigiriya damsels

Sep 7 (DN) The National Heritage and Cultural Affairs Ministry will soon introduce micro-climatic monitoring equipment, electro-optic holographic machinery and infra-red thermography techniques at Sigiriya rock fortress to ensure long-term preservation of its historic frescoes and mirror wall. This is in keeping with the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi. more..

'Only 3 men to look after 500,000 housemaids'

Sep 7 (Island) UNP Ratnapura District MP Ranjan Ramanayake said there were only three males at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi Arabia to look into the welfare of about 500,000 Sri Lankan housemaids employed in that country. Ramanayake was in Matara yesterday to look into the progress of the work on the house being built for the Lankan housemaid L. P. Ariyawathi, who returned to the country over more..

Sumathipala denies betting on IPL

Sep 7 (PTI) Former chairman of the Sri Lankan cricket board T Sumathipala on Monday rejected Arjuna Ranatunga's allegations that he was involved in placing bets on Indian Premier League matches and threatened to sue him. Reacting to reports quoting Ranatunga, Sumathipala said contrary to the allegations, he has been working against illegal bookmakers. "I am one person who is fighting against illegal bookmakers. If Arjuna has said this, more..

Visiting National Cancer Institute for treatment: Hostel for patients and guardians

Sep 7 (DN) Now the patients and their guardians who visit the National Cancer Institute for treatment can stay together free and meals will also be available for them a Health Ministry spokesman said. According to the spokesman there are 250 rooms in the newly built hostel. Both patients and their guardians can stay together in these rooms. They can obtain free meals from the hostel. The three storied building had been more..

Editorial: Degradation of human dignity

Sep 7 (DM) As the country focuses on a constitutional crisis, we also need to look at other complex issues such as human rights, development and poverty reduction. In the absence of correct answers, it will not be possible to formulate policy guidelines. A good way to find answers to these complex issues is to raise awareness among policy makers and the general public on the current thinking on human rights, development and poverty eradication. more..

President indicates Mervyn will be reappointed Dy Minister

Sep 7 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday at a meeting with editors and heads of media institutions indicated that the controversial UPFA MP would be reinstated as Deputy Minister of Highways because an SLFP disciplinary committee had cleared him of any wrong doing in respect of the tying up of a Samurdhi animator. The President said the public official concerned and several others had more..