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SLC to lose Dambulla Stadium? Violated agreement by permitting Indian liquor promotion

Sep 7 (Island) Tactics used by two Indian foreign liquor companies, to promote their brands of whisky during the recent tri-nation cricket tournament at the Rangiri Dambulla Cricket Stadium, has hit Sri Lanka Cricket severely. It is poised to lose its rights to organize matches at that stadium. The owner of the land on which the 30,000 seater stadium is built, Chief incumbent of the Rangiri Dambulla rock temple, more..

It’s all in Mahinda Chintana Idiri Dekma

Sep 7 (DN) The proposed Constitutional changes are all in the Mahinda Chintana Idiri Dekma, the policy manifesto of President Mahinda Rajapaksa introduced at the last Presidential election, said Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa yesterday. He was speaking at the meeting held by the President with Heads of media institutions and Editors at Temple Trees. more..

TNA against 18A

Sep 7 (DM) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday decided to vote against the 18th Amendment to the Constitution mainly due to what the party believes as an attempt to take away the rights given to the minority communities.The decision was taken at the party’s parliamentary group meeting held last evening with General Secretary Mavai Senathirajah in the chair. Leader R. Sampanthan is out of the country. more..

UNP does not play 'communal card' to capture power

Sep 7 (Island) The UNP does not play the "communal card" to capture power, its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. Addressing a meeting, to oppose the proposed 18th amendment to the Constitution, he said that some people didn’t seem to understand the difference between the words "Nationalistic and Communal. I would advise such persons to refer the Oxford English Dictionary. more..

Govt. to introduce further constitutional changes

Sep 7 (DM) The government would introduce further changes to the Constitution including those to the 13th Amendment and the establishment of a Senate after the 18th Amendment is passed in parliament tomorrow. UPFA Secretary and Minister Susil Premajayantha said yesterday. the government would first focus on constitutional reforms which do not require to be placed before a referendum. more..

JHU insists on commissions being independent

Sep 7 (DM) The Bribery, Elections and Judicial Services Commissions to be constituted under the 18th Amendment, must be devoid of politics and be totally independent in maintaining good governance and people’s power, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) said yesterday. JHU General Secretary and Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka told a news conference that the JHU had consistently held that the executive more..

Sri Lanka player under lens for bookie link

Sep 7 (TOI) The spot-fixing scandal could engulf cricketers outside Pakistan. There were reports on Sunday that a leading Sri Lankan player was under suspicion for links with a bookie. And this has led to fears that IPL was also not immune to investigation by the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit. A senior figure in world cricket said the ICC has been probing Lankan betting links with IPL since its second edition, if not earlier. more..

Ranil: I never agreed to the Amendment

Sep 7 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said he did not agree to the proposed 18th Amendment to the constitution at any time during the bi partisan talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Mr. Wickremesinghe said he and the UNP delegation clearly informed President Rajapaksa that his party was against any move to retain the executive presidency during talks. more..

The 18-A based on proposals from Opposition – President

Sep 7 (Island) Most of the proposals in the 18th Amendment, to be presented to Parliament today, came from the Opposition, though the UNP is staging protests against it, President Mahinda Rajapaksa says. He said resistance to the 18th Amendment emanated from chronic prejudices that some people harboured against him. "hey oppose the amendment because they fear I will secure a third term but more..

Govt. gets three more UNPers

Sep 8 (SL) Three more UNP parliamentarians today (7) announced their decision to support the government’s 18th Amendment. UNP Kurunegala District MP Nimal Wijesinghe alsoknown as Nilwala Wijesinghe announced that he will support and vote in favour of the constitutional amendments in parliament tomorrow (8). UNP Gampaha District MP and actress Upeksha Swarnamali also known as Pabha had reportedly met President Mahinda Rajapaksa and more..

UNP walks out as Supreme Court clears the way for change

Sep 8 (BBC) There were protests in parliament as the Supreme Court decision cleared the way for President Mahinda Rajapaksa to run for a third term. Supreme Court declared that the constitution can be amended by a vote in parliament, and a referendum is not needed to endorse the changes. Ruling coalition had secured the required two-thirds majority in parliament with several opposition members pledging support for the amendments. more..

Lawyers protest death of democracy

Sep 8 (SL) Groups of concerned lawyers took to the streets outside the Supreme Court Complex this afternoon, protesting the ‘demise of democracy’ in the country, with the introduction of the 18th amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka. The proposed amendment seeks to remove the two-term limit of the Presidency – allowing President Mahinda Rajapakse to be re-elected to office without limit – more..

Tamils on the rebound

Sep 8 (TS) There is a country in Asia willing to take Sri Lankan Tamil refugees by the thousand — with the United Nations’ seal of approval. And they’re already doing it. In the first six months of 2010, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says the generous country accepted 1,857 Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, who had been staying temporarily in India. UN refugee spokesman Michael Zwack says these Tamils are now “rebuilding their lives.” more..

Sri Lanka remittances may rise to record $3.8 billion after civil war ends

Sep 8 (BN) Remittances sent home by Sri Lankan nationals overseas may rise to a record $3.8 billion in 2010, a central bank official said, adding that policy makers will ensure stability of the currency as the flows increase. “We are still getting sustained inflows from the Middle East and people are sending more money to their families in the north and east since the war ended,” Swarna Gunaratne, acting director of the central bank’s economic research department, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 07. 09. 2010

General Fonseka says 200 Kgs of gold recovered in LTTE areas

Sep 8 (LG) The DNA MP and Former chief of Army General Sarath Fonseka told Parliament that during his tenure as Army Commander for four years, 200 kilograms of gold had been unearthed from the Vellamullivaikkal area in the Mullaitivu district, during operations there. Speaking during extension of the emergency Mr. Fonseka said even larger stocks of gold had been recovered after he stepped down as commander, but no one knows what happened to that gold. more..

The plight of Sri Lankan refugees in India

Sep 8 (AN) “Sri Lankan refugees are not forced to return home until they want to and the situation is safe for them". But we must "build a new coexistence”, which overcomes ethnic and other differences. Fr Prakash Louis, a Jesuit and director for South Asia of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) speaks to AsiaNews about the plight of the many war refugees from Sri Lanka. Many Tamil refugees from the long civil war in Sri Lanka sought refuge in India. more..

Thousands join JVP agitation despite obstacles from police

Sep 8 (LT) A massive crowd took part in the agitation organized by the JVP today against the proposed 18th amendment say our reporters. The protest march that commenced from Ayurveda Junction marched to the entrance of the parliament and engaged in an agitation. The police obstructed masses that were travelling from many areas to participate at the agitation and several buses were turned back by the police. more..

'Decision taken by ‘left’ MPs is opportunistic & a betrayal of the left'

Sep 8 (LT) The Central Committees of the LSSP and Democratic Left Front have condemned the decision taken by the five Leftist MPs to support the 18th Amendment. The statement issued by the two sections say the decision taken by the five Parliamentarians is opportunistic and it is evident from Vasudeva Nanayakara’s statement to the media that they are opposed to the contents of the amendment but will vote for it. more..

Pabha and Shree Ranga support 18th Amendment

Sep 8 (IL) Gampaha District United National Party MP and actress Upeksha Swarnamali popularly known as ‘Pabha’ expressed her support to the government on the 18th Amendment to the constitution a short while ago. Meanwhile Nuwara Eliya District UNP MP and former journalist J. Shree Ranga and Kurunegala District MP Nilwala Wijesinghe also have decided to extend their support to the 18th more..

Lanka for probe

Sep 8 (DM) The External Affairs Ministry has urged the Saudi government to conduct an impartial inquiry into the alleged abuse of L.T. Ariyawathie amidst claims that she may have nailed herself. Chairman of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Kingsley Ranawaka said that the External Affairs Ministry was in contact with the Saudi Foreign Ministry and all the necessary medical documents and statements had already been submitted to the Saudi government to begin an investigation. more..

Rise silent majority, rise now or sleep forever

Sep 8 (SL) We have witnessed thirty years of armed conflict and the erosion of democratic values entrenched in the first post-independence Constitution. The end of the armed conflict brought with it high expectations of a just peace, strengthened democracy and development. The proposed changes to the Constitution do not merely disappoint these expectations, but in themselves give rise to grave apprehensions. more..

My acquaintance with the SLMC

Sep 8 (TC) On Friday August 27th, the day the “Athi Uyar Peedam” or High Command of the SLMC met at the party headquarters “Darussalam” in Colombo, in a “Ifthar” [breaking fast] function –not breakfast, I happened to meet a sitting Muslim Congress Member of Parliament who is well known to me for the last two decades and presently defined as one of the “trios”, and said “it looks you all are going to go”. He smiled and replied “what to do, he will be in power for the next 12 years”. more..

Public appeal to all MPs to vote against 18th Constitutional Amendment

Sep 8 (TC) The urgency of this very important issue at hand, compels us to address you through this letter, though briefly. Let us be very precise on one issue. This is no attempt at changing governments, but one that seeks a change for democracy, the country is in dire need of. While the conclusion of the war one year ago was interpreted as an opening for democratic life in society, we desired a serious political intervention that would strengthen democratic life in this country. more..

Position of the TNA on the proposed 18th Amendment to the constitution

Sep 8 (TC) The proposed eighteenth amendment to the constitution contemplates two basic changes in regard to: 1) The incumbent President’s right to be elected to a further term beyond the presently stipulated two terms in office. 2) The repeal of the provisions of the seventeenth amendment to the constitution relating to the establishment of a constitutional council and it’s powers, more..

Double edged Argument on two term Limit

Sep 8 (LG) The government has decided to present its proposal on constitutional change to Parliament on September 8. There appears to be a growing number of opposition parliamentarians ready to support the government. The government leadership is once again showing its capacity for decisive action. What it wants to do it does, whether it is winning a war that many thought un-winnable or constructing a harbour that many thought was uneconomic. more..

CCBSL and the CCA should move faster to bring relief to the smaller GKCC Depositors

Sep 8 (LG) Ever since we ran the article about the plight of GKCC Depositors (22/8/2010) who met with grief under the Lalith Kotelawala conglomerate, we are besieged by calls and other forms of communication by several anxious depositors expressing their deep appreciation. While we certainly will take up as many cases as we can in the interest of the public where they can be helped, in this particular instance, more..

Installation of new deities

Sep 8 (HA) Three new deities namely Lord Murugan, Goddess Valliyammai and Goddess Theivayaanai have been installed at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Srikathirvelaayuthaswamy temple recently. “Noothana Prathishda Maha Kumbabishekam”- a ceremony to officially install the new deities took place at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Srikathirvelaayuthaswamy temple on 29th of August 2010. more..

Confusion over national reconciliation, unity and lasting peace in post-war Sri Lanka

Sep 8 (TC) Not surprisingly, many confusing and contradictory comments have been made on the ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) set up by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on May 15 this year; 12 months after the prolonged self-destructive war ended with enormous losses to the country and the citizens of all ethnicities. The main aim of the LLRC is to look into the happenings between February 21, 2002, when the Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA) brokered by more..

"Ceylinco Life" to Co-Sponsor "Virudana Gee Sara - 03"

Sep 8 (MoD) A leading insurance company in Sri Lanka, Ceylinco Life, offered a co-sponsorship for the "Ranaviru Gee Sara - 03" music event organized by the Defence Ministry's Seva Vanitha Unit. The annual music event- "Virudana Gee Sara" is to be staged for the third time in grand scale at BMICH on 9th October 2010. The event is organized under the directives and supervision of Defence Ministry's Seva Vanitha chairperson Mrs Ioma Rajapaksa. more..

'Constitutional reforms, development should go hand in hand'

Sep 8 (SO) Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa strongly believes that this is the time to serve the people instead of making them to through nerve-racking experience. With the 18th Amendment to the Constitution coming to the top of the list of current topics and the national development drive on an accelerated pace requiring equal attention, the Minister today tackles an array of high profile issues. more..

University academics: Statement on the Proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution

Sep 8 (GV) We, the undersigned academics attached to different universities in Sri Lanka, call upon the government to re-consider the proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution for the reasons set out below. Constitutional reforms, like elections, go to the heart of what it means to be a democracy in the modern-day world. Any changes that are introduced to a country’s constitution should be undertaken after due deliberation and more..

Economic depression is near

Sep 8 (LB) The current lowering of interest rates helps government to borrow, but, the middle class that depends on interest earned from capital, may be driven to suicide, former Chief Justice Sarath N Silva commented. The government determined current rate of interest on private bank fixed deposits stands at 7 percent per annum. (A year ago, it was 14 percent and up to 18 percent, before). Current state bank interest rates on savings accounts are lower than 7 percent by a few points. more..

Something fishy adds to Wilpattu’s woes

Sep 8 (ST) A new scene in the tragedy of Wilpattu is being played with environmentalists strongly protesting against moves to parcel off coastal land for the settlement of fishing families while officials are quick to reject such allegations. Something is definitely cooking with regard to the Wilpattu coastal area, the Sunday Times understands, with many meetings being held since June this year and more..

Tourism on the move: Don’t kill geese that lay golden eggs

Sep 8 (ST) The revival of the tourist industry is one of the significant economic advantages of peace. Tourist arrivals have increased sharply up to now this year and there is every expectation that this trend would continue. What must be prevented are government measures that could hamper tourism. One such measure that was envisaged and fortunately dropped, and hopefully never to be implemented was the policy of more..

Peons and typists prepare school syllabuses

Sep 8 (LB) In a startling disclosure its revealed that the minister of education who is in charge of the National Institute of Education(NIE) has upto now not appointed the NIE council thus causing confusion and disarray in the council. The functions of the council include appointing teacher guides, internal administration of the NIE, promotions, transfers and approving relevant training courses for teachers and principals. more..

Jaffna fishermen complain of intrusion by Indians

Sep 8 (ST) The continued intrusion of Indian fishermen into Sri Lankan territorial waters has become an impediment to fishermen in the north who are now enjoying unrestricted access to the seas in the area after nearly three decades. S. Thavaratnam, the President of the Jaffna District Fishermen’s Co-operative Society Union’s Federation said deep sea fishing by Indian fishermen using trawlers was depriving locals access to fish stocks in mid sea. more..

This is not the time to play ‘Relative Merits’

Sep 8 (LB) We are all inhabitants of structures of power skewed against the average citizen. These structures are moreover characterized by a determining force so strong that they craft the elected into creatures that affirm and strengthen them (the structures). They seem so overarching, robust and beyond dismantling or even slight bending, that there is a manifest tendency to opt out of structure-changing exercises and settle down to putting like-minded or more..

JR’s vision to stay

Sep 8 (NS) Former President JR Jayewardene, the architect of the present constitution, wished that the system of government that he introduced would go on forever. He introduced the executive presidency to remedy some of ills that he thought plagued Sri Lankan politics like the lack of stability and having too many elections. In support of his argument, JRJ cited that from independence up to 1960 there were six elections within a space of 12 years with more..

Samurdhi union displeased by acquittal of Mervyn Silva

Sep 8 (NS) The Sammurdhi development officers and agricultural production assistants union expressed their disappointment and displeasure over the conclusion of the disciplinary committee that was appointed by the President to inquire into the scandal of Mervyn Silva tying down a sammurdhi worker to a tree. The disciplinary committee concluded that the former deputy minister is not guilty of any wrong doing due to more..

The draft 18th Amendment in comparative perspective

Sep 8 (Island) Now that the Supreme Court has concluded its examination of the proposed Bill, it is not inappropriate to refer to some issues raised by the draft 18th Amendment subject to whatever obiter dicta that the SC may have pronounced. The matters to be discussed in this paper are power of appointment vested in the President, mandatory consultations regarding appointments to be made, the PSC, the Election Commission, the Police Commission and the status of the IGP. more..

Eighteenth Amendment: A Rush to elected Tyranny

Sep 8 (Island) One is grateful for small mercies at the hands of government and to Professor G. L. Peiris for his account of the proposed changes to the Constitution in the form of the 18th Amendment. As a common citizen, I have not seen the actual text of the proposed amendment and rest on newspaper accounts and the essay of Minister Peiris in The Island Newspaper on 01 September 2010 as to what it consists of. more..

Sri Lankan Tamil refugees spark racism row in Canada

Sep 8 (Guardian) The arrival off the west coast of Canada of a rusty boat containing nearly 500 exhausted Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers has sparked an angry debate about racism that has divided national opinion. The merchant vessel Sun Sea limped, under escort, into Esquimalt naval base in British Columbia on 13 August after a four month voyage from Songkhla in Thailand. The passengers spoke of grim conditions. more..

Duo plead not guilty for wrongfully confining Sri Lankans

Sep 8 (TS) Two men have pleaded not guilty to nine counts of wrongfully confining and causing hurt to three Sri Lanka nationals in a magistrate’s court here yesterday. Dancer M. Elil Valavan, 30, and auxiliary policeman A. Francis Xavier, 32, from Batu Caves, were also charged with having forced the Sri Lankans to commit gross indecency. Both men were accused with another person still at large of causing hurt to more..

Mere talk or 'end-of-days'?

Sep 8 (DM) Historical writings have included what great men and women in the past had said during their life times. They are numerous and an influence on the people who heard them and read them in later times. Apart from the religious teachers–Confucius, Galileo, Plato, Bertrand Russell, Machiavelli, Freud, Gandhi, Krishnamurti and a host of others made observations and statements which impress people. The opinions of such philosophers, social reformers, humanists, more..

Challenges & the duties of opposition

Academics support 18th Amendment

Sep 8 (DN) All top scholars in State universities extended their strong support for the 18th Amendment yesterday. They pointed out that the 18th Amendment was totally legal and within the framework of the present Constitution. It can only accelerate the country’s development process while ensuring the people’s right to appoint a President according to their wish. Addressing a press briefing held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, yesterday the more..

Cabinet approves loans for resettled

Sep 8 (MoD) Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms D.E.W. Gunasekera said that he had obtained Cabinet approval to grant Micro financing for self employment and housing loans to the lowest segments of the Tamil society in the North and East. He said that loans up to a maximum of Rs 250,000 would be granted through the AGA s and District Secretariats by the Bank of Ceylon at low interest rate of 4 percent per-annum with a repayment period of over 10 years. more..

Central bank raises minimum capital requirement for banks

Sep 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka will increase minimum capital requirements of banks to increase their resilience to shocks and also require unlisted private banks to list on the Colombo bourse, the Central Bank said. Existing commercial banks will have to increase their minimum capital to three billion rupees by end-2011, and further raise it to four billion rupees by end-2013 and five billion rupees by end-2015. more..

Upper Kotmale Power Project: New housing units for 489 families

Sep 8 (DN) All the 489 families affected by the Upper Kotmale Hydro Power Project have been resettled in modern housing units. Many of them were living in thin-roofed line rooms with no separate kitchen or bathroom. The Upper Kotmale Hydro Power Project has given a great impetus to raise the living standards and the social status of the people in the Talawakelle area. The infrastructure and housing Development in and around the more..