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Editorial: Where from here?

Sep 8 (Island) The 18th Amendment is a fait accompli, whether we like it or not. There is nothing that can prevent its passage in Parliament today. The government should not have been in an indecent hurry to present it to Parliament and there should have been ample time for a public debate. As for its contents, the government should have taken on board views of the Opposition parties and other stakeholders and secured their co-operation, though President Mahinda Rajapaksa says more..

Issue of National Identity Cards streamlined

Sep 8 (DN) The Department of Registration of Persons has streamlined the issuing of National Identity Cards to citizens above 16 years to ensure a better service to the public under new Commissioner General Jagath P Wijeweera. At present around 3000 NICs are issued per day. In addition another 600 NICs are issue under the one day service, the Commissioner said. Usually there is a demand for NICs from schools when more..

UNP poster printer’s family in Police custody

Sep 8 (SL) The wife and two brothers of the man commissioned by the UNP initially to print posters for them has been taken into police custody, Protest Coordinater Shiral Lakthilaka said a short while ago whilst at the Party Headquarters. The man had been initially given contract by the United National Party to print posters that had depicted Mahinda Rajapakse as ”a Hitler” holding law, money, cars and even the media in his hands, but had been unable to do so due to a technical failure. more..

Editorial: Vasu, there’s still time to change mind

Sep 8 (DM) With the last semblance of hope for democracy, a protest vote by the traditional left within the government now being dashed, fragmenting the left parties also into pieces, the avalanche effect engineered by the SLMC continues to rampage Sri Lankan polity. It has been now revealed that other than the left parties, a couple of government MPs too had been contemplating on abstaining from voting had the left opted to do so. more..

.'.. won’t allow 18-A to become law'

Sep 8 (Island) Even if the 18th Amendment Bill is passed in Parliament, the UNP would not allow it become the law of the country, UNP and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. Addressing a press conference at the Parliamentary complex, Wickremesinghe said the Bill was against democracy and the mandate the government received at the last general election. more..

US Mercrusiers powered Sea Tiger attack, suicide craft

Sep 8 (Island) The Naval Intelligence recently recovered four US-built inboard engines acquired by the Sea Tigers to power attack craft, which posed a formidable threat to the Navy. Authoritative sources say the engines, Mercruisers, recovered from Vellamullivaikkal, Mullativu are in top condition. During the eelam war IV, the LTTE may have acquired over 100 Mercruisers, more..

Locally produced BTI test a success

Sep 8 (Island) A pilot project carried out at the State Engineering Corporation’s Pre-Cast Yard in Peliyagoda, to test the effectiveness of the locally cultured and produced Bacillus Thuriengiensis Israelensis (Bakto), to destry mosquito larvae, had been proved hundred percent successful, the Health Ministry said yesterday. more..

Bar association calls for fuller public debate on 18th Amendment

Sep 8 (SL) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka is perturbed by the move of the Government to introduce the 18th Amendment to the constitution as an “urgent bill”. As early as June this year, the bar Council resolved that constitutional Amendments should not be presented as “Urgent Bills” and urged the Government to desist from proposing Constitutional Amendments in the form of “Urgent Bills”. more..

'Govt. assures UNPers voting for 18-A of protection'

Sep 8 (Island) The government yesterday assured all UNP Parliamentarians, who would vote for the 18th Amendment in Parliament today, that they would be given total protection. Minister Maithripala Sirisena, when asked whether the government would provide legal and other assistance to those UNP MPs if they got into trouble for supporting the government, said the government would never let them down. more..

'Many MP’s bought over with promises of wealth'

Sep 8 (SL) The opposition UNP’s Rosy Senanayake says that many of the opposition MP’s were bought over to side with government with promises of wealth. Speaking a short while ago at the United National Party Headquarters Sirikotha, Senanayake said that she too had been indirectly bribed with offers of a Ministry and money, but said that she had declined. more..

'Sri Lanka's rate cuts `sufficient' for now to support growth'

Sep 8 (BN) Sri Lanka’s interest-rate cuts in July and August are “sufficient for the time being” to support economic growth, central bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said before next week’s monetary policy announcement. “We are confident of a faster upturn in credit growth in the next few months,” Cabraal said in a telephone interview late yesterday from the capital Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka president set to cement grip with key vote

Sep 8 (AFP) Sri Lanka's parliament votes Wednesday on constitutional reforms enabling President Mahinda Rajapakse to seek a third term, in changes critics say point to the country's slide into autocracy. Under the proposed amendment, the two-term limit will be scrapped, allowing the populist Rajapakse, who was resoundingly re-elected for the second time in January, to stand at the next polls, scheduled for 2016. more..

Autocracy fear as Sri Lanka votes

Sep 8 (BBC) Sri Lankan MPs are to vote on proposals to let President Mahinda Rajapaksa seek a third term, in a move critics say could lead to dictatorship. As well as abolishing the current two-term limit, the constitutional amendments would hugely increase the president's powers. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court cleared a draft bill, ruling the changes could be voted in by a two-thirds MPs' majority. The government is expected easily to secure the margin required. more..

What’s become of all the gold? asks Fonseka

Sep 8 (DM) DNA Leader Sarath Fonseka MP asked in Parliament yesterday what had happened to the hundreds of kilograms of gold items that had been recovered from the LTTE during the last stages of the war. Mr. Fonseka said that he had seized 200 kilograms of gold from Vellamullavaikkal alone, when he was the army commander. “There were many such collections of gold found in LTTE-held areas. more..

D-Day today

Sep 8 (DM) The controversial 18th Amendment to the Constitution will be debated in Parliament today, and it will be put to the vote at 7.00 pm. The ruling coalition is now likely to muster the support of more than 160 MPs to pass the Bill – inclusive of six UNP MPs and eight SLMC MPs. Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne presented the Bill in Parliament yesterday on behalf of the government shortly after Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa communicated more..

Sri Lanka shuns West, finds solace in emerging powers’ arms

Sep 9 (IPS) The European Union’s decision to suspend trade preferences for Sri Lankan exports may have finally come into force, but the island nation is not budging an inch on any of the powerful bloc’s recommendations on its controversial human rights record. On the contrary, Sri Lanka remains adamant about its position against the EU’s proposed measures concerning allegations of human rights abuses committed during more..

Bishop’s plea as Sri Lanka’s politicians vote on president’s power

Sep 9 (CT) The Anglican Bishop of Colombo is appealing to the world’s Christians to pray that the Sri Lankan parliament rejects proposals that would significantly boost the powers of the government and president. Politicians are voting on the Bill today, which if passed would end the restriction on the number of terms the president can serve, currently set at two. more..

6 UNP MPs crossed over to the UPFA

Sep 9 (CT) Six parliamentarians of the main opposition UNP crossed over to the ruling UPFA a short while ago. The MPs joined the government ranks during the House debate on the 18th amendment to the constitution. They are Lakshman Seneviratne, Earl Gunasekara, Abdul Cader, Manusha Nanayakkara, Upeksha Swarnamali and Nimal Wijesinghe. Prior to their crossover, Mr. Cader made a speech on behalf of the group and announced their stance on the proposed amendments. more..

'Fresh amendments may pave way for military rule in Sri Lanka'

Sep 9 (PTI) Sri Lanka's detained former army chief Gen Sarath Fonseka today described as "last nail in the coffin of democracy" the constitutional reforms enabling President Mahinda Rajapaksa to seek a third term and cautioned that this could pave way for a military rule in the country. Fonseka said the Democratic National Alliance led by him will continue its struggle against the amendments. more..

More Tamils bound for Canada: expert

Sep 9 (CBC) Another boatload of Tamil migrants could soon be headed to Canada, but this time the federal government might head them off, CBC News has learned. Plans are underway in southeast Asia to finance passage for would-be refugees from Sri Lanka in a scheme similar to the one that sent more than 500 Tamils to British Columbia in the last 11 months, according to an expert in Singapore. "They are continuing to collect money from people," more..

Sri Lanka removes term limits for presidency

Sep 9 (AP) Sri Lanka's Parliament voted to eliminate term limits for the president Wednesday, a move critics say could lead to dictatorship. The main opposition group, the United National Party, boycotted the debate and burned an effigy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a protest in the capital. But the constitutional amendment passed easily, with 161 votes in the 225-member Parliament. more..

Deported Tamil man longs to return to Canada

Sep 9 (CTV) A man who was kicked out of Canada for his criminal behaviour and former ties to a Tamil street gang says he is determined to get back to the country where he spent his formative years. Since getting deported to Sri Lanka seven years ago, Sanjeev Kuhendrarajah says he has tried to build a new life. The 28-year-old got married, started a business and tried to stay out of trouble. But once again, Kuhendrarajah has ended up separated from more..

Colombo will host Iran-Sri Lanka joint economic and trade commission

Sep 9 (IRNA) Caretaker of Asia and Pacific Bureau affiliated to Iran Trade Promotion Organization said that some six letters of understanding (MoUs) will be inked during the three-day event. Amir Talebi said that several issues including boosting mutual trade, cooperation in organizing international business exhibits in two countries, expanding marine and shipping ties, implementing technical and engineering plans will be addressed during the event. more..

Mervin’s back

Sep 9 (DM) Former Deputy Minister of Highways Mervin Silva has been reappointed to his post in the government, the President’s Media Unit said a short while ago. Silva was earlier cleared by an SLFP disciplinary committee from charges against him involving an incident where he had tied a Sumurdi official to a tree in Kaleniya. Silva was seen this morning taking part in a demonstration together with government ministers in Colombo

Sri Lanka MPs vote in sweeping powers for president

Sep 9 (BBC) Sri Lankan MPs have approved proposals to let President Mahinda Rajapaksa seek an unlimited number of terms, in a move critics say could lead to dictatorship. The constitutional amendment also hugely boosts the president's powers. Amid protest and counter-protest in the capital Colombo, MPs in the 225-member parliament voted for the proposals by 161 to 17 against. The main opposition United National Party boycotted the vote, but many of its MPs voted with the government. more..

'A country needs a constitution not to protect presidents & ministers'

Sep 9 (LT) They are prepared even to go to prison if necessary to free the country from dictatorial mania says Leader of the DNA General Sarath Fonseka. He said, “We consider today as the day the sovereignty of the Nation was murdered. A country needs a constitution not to strengthen the President or the ministers but to protect rights of the people. The existing constitution has ample provisions for power if someone engages in politics honestly. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 08. 09. 2010

Proposed 18th Amendment to the constitution - An encoded devious mission of the ruling schemers

Sep 9 (LG) In a concise epoch, much succinct than one could have ever imagined, or may have ever anticipated, especially since the second dubious re-entry to the throne in January this year (2010), in his dogmatic kingdom, has the manifestation of President Percy Mahendra Rajapakse’s (a.k.a Mahinda Rajapakse’s) ardent ravenousness for interminable supremacy / power been stripped before the entire nation. more..

Repercussions of the 18th Amendment and the Decline of Democracy

Sep 9 (LG) The 18th Amendment will fundamentally transform Sri Lanka’s political system, stripping away the façade of democracy. The 18th Amendment will end presidential term limits, eliminate the Constitutional Council, increase the Executive’s control over appointments, and give the President the power to regularly attend and address Parliament. Its effect will be to remove vital checks on Executive power and further undermine Sri Lanka’s imperfect democracy. more..

Sri Lanka ends presidential term limits

Sep 9 (NYT) Sri Lanka’s Parliament passed a proposal on Wednesday to remove presidential term limits from the Constitution, paving the way for the popular president to run for a third term and cement his grip on power. Bolstered by a convincing victory in elections in January and the near-collapse of the main opposition party, President Mahinda Rajapaksa rallied more than the two-thirds majority in Parliament necessary to pass the amendment. more..

Convention seeks ways to define Church role

Sep 9 (UCAN) Priests and nuns from the Colombo archdiocese have come together to discuss practical ways to use the liturgical experience to create an atmosphere of love, acceptance, justice and concern, at family and communal level. “People earnestly search for a life giving force when they face struggles, losses, hardships, conflicts and sicknesses in their lives,” said Father Daya Shelton Welikadarachchi, speaking at the Convention of Sacred Liturgy in Colombo from Sept 1 to 3. more..

Most Colombo churches now hold Tamil Masses

Sep 9 (UCAN) The decision by some Catholic churches in Colombo to celebrate Masses in Tamil, in addition to Sinhalese and English, has been welcomed by Tamil Catholics. The 194-year-old St. John’s Church at the harbor front held its first Tamil Mass on Sept. 5, an event celebrated by both Sinhalese and Tamil parishioners. “This really helps to build unity here,” said Josephine Selvaraja, a Tamil. more..

Sinister campaign to tarnish Dilshan’s name

Sep 9 (LB) A smear campaign purportedly orchestrated by a left-handed attacking batsman who has fallen foul of the selectors in the recent past, against dashing Sri Lanka opener TM Dilshan to tarnish the latter’s public image has surfaced, LAKBIMAnEWS reliably understands. According to sources this player has set in motion this malicious campaign implicating Dilshan to an alleged sex assault case during more..

When the going gets tough, the tough get going – Ravi K

Sep 9 (SL) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that the party would decide how they would protect the country, after the voting took place in Parliament. “We will see the voting that will take place in parliament and thereafter go forward to ensure how we will protect the country, because this will be a dictatorial constitution that will be promulgated, and as a result we will see the independence of all areas of public service being taken away”, more..

The Constitutional Oasis

Sep 9 (LG) Minister Wimal Weerawansa who is doing a wonderful job in keeping the patriotic masses warm for president Mahinda Rajapakse yet again came on TV to throw another googly. He came up with a brilliant idea to mesmerize Sri Lankan voters with a wave of promising constitutional reforms, with the 18th amendment at the forefront and some other reforms with a "senate" (very American), and electoral reforms in the following waves. more..

The right to rule of law

Vijaya Kumara(ya) and Sri Lanka

Sep 9 (LG) According to a news item published in The Sunday Island of Sept. 05 the Indian Army Chief General Vijay Kumar Singh has said that ‘the Sinhalese should be "more large-hearted" and help the Tamils in Sri Lanka’s North East provinces to quickly rebuild their lives, shattered by the three-decade-long bloody civil war that ended in May last year’. The General has said, "I feel that all Sri Lankans should move on by burying all the bitterness and antagonism that more..

Sri Lankan military victory was commendable but not unique

Sep 9 (TC) The ongoing visit by the much-decorated chief of the Indian army provides an occasion for an objective perspective on Sri Lanka’s military achievement as well as the reactions to it. The Lankan military victory and our military have earned the respect of military professionals the world over. If they haven’t been exactly hailed or has sometimes been "damned with faint praise", the responsibility accrues not only to the propaganda of the hostile but more..

'18th amendment draconian attempt to subvert democracy'

Sep 9 (SL) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa, speaking at the party headquarter Sirikotha this afternoon said that the 18th amendment to the constitution – that was passed in parliament today – was a draconian attempt to subvert democracy. “As far as the 18th amendment is concerned, I believe it is a draconian attempt by the present administration to subvert democracy,” he said. more..

Third Term, Not for the Asking

Sep 9 (DM) The current constitutional debate on removing the two-term bar for the Executive President has gone on expected lines. The political posturing does not change the ground situation. The support of the eight-member SLMC and possibly those from a fresh crop of disenchanted UNP dissenters claiming to be peeved at infighting in the party would well ensure the mandatory two-thirds majority and more in Parliament, for the proposed Bill. more..

On ‘monarchizing’ mechanism and afterlife blues

Sep 9 (DM) Last week, in an article titled ‘On the Dana clause of the Dasa Raja Dharma’, I promised to explore issues of governance contained in the 10 principles embedded in the above document in order to shed light on ‘where we are as a nation, the crucial challenges we face and the futures we can reasonably imagine’. Today, I am forced to digress. I was due to write about the second principle/article, that of ‘sila’, i.e. ‘virtue’ or more..

The Lady Ridgeway Hospital: A long and painful process

Sep 9 (SL) My son had an ear infection that rendered him — temporarily — somewhat short of hearing, as a result of which he was either yelling and not realising that he was, or not hearing anything we said at all. A visit to the family doctor resulted in instructions to take him to the Lady Ridgeway Hospital — believed to be superior in its services to children to other hospitals. more..

Indian ‘adoption’ of Rajapaksa hegemony

Sep 9 (SL) It is, at least it should be, impossible for India and Ceylon to quarrel” is a 1939 quote from Mahatma Gandhi that adorns the official website of the Indian High Commission in Colombo. Nevertheless, 23 years and 8 months ago in January 1987, the Delhi administration trespassed on Sri Lankan air space to air drop what they termed “humanitarian aid” to people in Jaffna. A load of dry food parcels dropped over Jaffna, reflected Delhi’s arrogant protest against more..

Founding a dynasty

Sep 9 (SL) Most constitutions are by and for the people. The Sri Lankan Constitution is by and for the President. The new draft in circulation gives the President more power and without term limits. This is power he can abuse during elections to get re-elected, indefinitely. This is not a covenant between a government and the people. It’s an appointment letter for one man. In fairness, Mahinda has been ignoring the Constitution since day one. more..

World Bank approves US$ 57.4 million to support small and medium business development

Sep 9 (WB) The World Bank yesterday approved a US$ 57.4 million credit for the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Facility Project for strengthening access to finance for Sri Lankan Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The Project supports the Sri Lanka Government’s efforts to improve access to finance for SMEs affected by the Global Financial Crisis. more..

Colombo is new LeT hub

Sep 9 (AA) The key accused in the Pune German Bakery blast has made a startling revelation to his interrogators that the tourist destination of Colombo has now emerged as the training hub of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. Mirza Himayat Baig, 29, the conspirator and co-planter of the bomb placed at Pune’s German Bakery has confirmed that he received his terror training in Colombo. “Baig had received training in terror activities in Colombo. more..

Public Secret

Sep 9 (TI) Ranil Wickremesinghe was not on a holiday in India. In Chennai this month, he sought Indian assistance for agriculture in northern Sri Lanka and promised to hear out all ‘stakeholders’ to resolve the ethnic problem. But should he not have been in Sri Lanka, where, as leader of the Opposition, he could have tried to build up a public protest against the Mahinda Rajapakse administration’s attempt to pass the 18th amendment? After all, Wickremesinghe has always opposed executive presidency and more..

Boston Lanka News: Sept. 7, 2010

Editorial: When the majority is wrong

Sep 9 (DM) On August 03, 2000 when President Chandrika Kumaratunga headed for parliament to present the ill-fated 2000 draft Constitution bill in view of perpetuating her regime, among other plans, it was the vehicle of her Fisheries Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa that was stopped by the demonstrators down parliament road. The anti-package protestors, all genuinely concerned about a possible threat to country’s sovereignty, saw Mahinda Rajapaksa as their saviour and more..

Lanka’s sea area fully opened for fishing

Sep 9 (DN) All the territorial waters around the island is now free and open to fishing, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has announced. Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratna said Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had told him that the sea is now free of fishing restrictions that were imposed during the time of LTTE terrorism and is open for fishing. Fishing activities now take place around the country except in a few areas where more..