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Government by Discussion

Feb 28 (LG) Once upon a time, Sri Lanka was portrayed as a model democracy to be emulated by other third world countries. Sri Lanka is still preserving some of the formal characteristics of democracy in spite of the fact that the substantive dimension has faded away during the last thirty years or so. Regular elections are held; government is in the hands of elected representatives; and the constitution guarantees most widely accepted fundamental rights. more..

Tyrants and their families: Gaddafis and Rajapaksas

Feb 28 (TC) January 18, 2011, MP Namal Rajapaksa, eldest son of President Rajapaksa (‘The Universally-Renowned Lord of the Three-Sinhala Lands’), met Muammar Gaddafi (‘Eternal Brother Leader of the Revolution’ and ‘King of Kings’). The picturesquely attired Gaddafi embraced young Rajapaksa, who vas heading a ‘parliamentary delegation’ consisting solely of UPFA representatives: Sajin Vaas Gunawardena, Duminda Silva, Lohan Ratwatte and more..

IMF et al spawns neo-caste system

Feb 28 (LG) Anyone going through the recent issues of the IMF journal, Finance and Development, can get an elegant view of the caste system within the global capitalism! Of course caste system of the ancient India was based on Varna division of the society. After thousands of years we have arrived at a modern version of the obsolete system. Modern Arya Brahmins are the pundits of the IMF /WB/WTO trio recent economic crisis, which is strictly speaking more..

Who led Egypt’s revolution?

Feb 28 (LB) The implications of the answer to this question for Sri Lanka are hypothetical because I think it is unlikely that an Egypt type uprising will break out here, at least not in the short term. I will explain my reasons a little later; nevertheless the answer to the ‘who led the revolution’ question is, hypothetically, of interest to Sri Lanka. The Egyptian Revolution (ER) has been called spontaneous; well that’s true in the sense that it was not planned and more..

'Don't continue to scratch a wound that Sri Lanka is desperately trying to heal'

Feb 28 (TC) Text of a recent speech at Harvard University,USA by Ambassador Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York. At the outset I would like to state very clearly that what happened in Sri Lanka cannot be characterized as a simple case of countering an insurgency. There was a group, proscribed by most of the democratic world as a terrorist organization, which controlled territory, and more..

Editorial: Waiting for Godot

Feb 28 (Island) Former SLFP stalwart Mangala Samaraweera has, in an article in The Sunday Leader yesterday, sought to compare his erstwhile buddy and present bête noire, President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the African dictators ousted or being challenged by People Power revolutions like Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi. Mangala argues that a leader is known by the foreign counterparts he associates with and more..

Editorial: Tossed over

Feb 28 (DM) This could be too obvious a topic today, albeit we cannot avoid pondering. True to the tradition, we have lost the match again to venerable Pakistan on Saturday. It was sad to see the crowds leaving in numbers with the 8th wicket down. Some close up shots of TV coverage showed a few fans on the verge of breaking down. It was an electric sell-out game with 35,000 at the R. Premadasa stadium to witness the much-anticipated Pakistan and 1996 champions, more..

Why the TNA could not expel Amparai district MP Piyasena

Feb 28 (TC) For the past eighteen years parliamentary political parties have had a zero success rate in expelling from their parties Members of Parliament who cross over or fail to obey the party whip when voting in Parliament. In most of these cases the issue has been procedural irregularity, which means that it is open to the political party concerned to initiate a fresh inquiry, but that has not happened. However, that may be about to change. more..

Why Premadasa crash-landing can aid World Cup hopes...

Feb 28 (Island) How did your medicine of defeat taste on Saturday night, Yahaluweni? Quite bitter, it is imagined and why it didn’t go down too well. Bad crash-landings can be like that. It is like making predictions. It is also why being wary of trumpeting an easy victory is so fraught with flaws because of too many expectations. Yet as some colleagues have finally agreed, it is going to be a tougher World Cup than they expected. more..

WC 2011: India, England in Sensational Tie

Feb 28 (CI) On an evening that simply beggared belief, England tied with India in an incredible finale in Bangalore. Andrew Strauss was England's inspiration, producing an extraordinary 158 from 145 balls, the highest score by an English batsman in World Cup history, as England threatened the unthinkable, and set off in full pursuit of India's seemingly unobtainable total of 338 - a score that had been made possible by a brilliant 120 from Sachin Tendulkar. more..

Too hot to handle: BOI chief bowing out?

Feb 28 (SL) Hot on the heels of the furore over revelations that Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) is to receive a Rs 393 million tax refund of monies already paid to the Inland Revenue, deep unhappiness over the restructuring of the BOI and the slow progress that Sri Lanka’s premier investment agency is making in terms of facilitating new investments, its Chief, Jayampathy Bandaranayake is said to have tendered his resignation. more..

Woman stabbed three times for refusing advances of landlord

Feb 28 (NS) A landlord stalker, who fell head over heels for his tenant’s wife, stabbed the woman several times when she rejected his advances. After stabbing the woman three times, the landlord had tried to commit suicide by drinking an insecticide. The woman is recovering after undergoing three surgeries at the Ragama Hospital and the attacker is now under treatment at the psychiatric ward of the same hospital under police guard. more..

Direct Colombo-Vizag flights and Trinco-Visag ferry likely soon

Feb 28 (Island) Direct Colombo-Vizag flights and a Trincomalee-Vizag ferry service to promote greater connectivity between Colombo and the throbbing port city in Andhra Pradesh both for commerce and for pleasure travel are likely in the near future. "It is a matter of time" before the direct flights and ferry service are introduced connecting Vizag with Colombo and Trincomalee, said Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam in Visakhapatnam, or Vizag, on Saturday more..

Sri Lankan fans have seemingly set their expectations too high at World Cup

Feb 28 (AFP) Dissapointed Sri Lankan fans have lashed out at their team after it slipped to a World Cup defeat against Pakistan _ even though they lost by only 11 runs and still have a strong chance of reaching the quarter-finals. Despite high hopes before the match, 1996 champion Sri Lanka fell short of Pakistan's total of 7-277, leaving thousands at a packed R. Premadasa stadium in Colombo devastated. more..

Lay trainees ease mixed marriage blues

Feb 28 (UCAN) Falling numbers of Catholics and a consequent rise in mixed marriages have prompted one diocese in mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka to train lay leaders to assist priests in their church duties. Kandy diocese, known for tea and rubber plantations, remains an important religious area for Buddhists as well Hindus and there is also a substantial Muslim population. Consequently there are extensive intermarriages. There were 209 mixed and 340 Catholic marriages more..

Prof Sitrampalam visits China on invitation

Feb 28 (TN) The Vice President of ITAK, Professor S K Sitrampalam, representing his party, is on a visit to China on the invitation of the Chinese government, ITAK leaders said in a press meet in Jaffna Sunday. Even though the ITAK leaders said that this is a routine invitation extended to party leaders in the island, they didn’t answer the question when in the past the ITAK had been invited or visited China. ITAK is the main component of the TNA. more..

'MP denied entry for not following procedure'

Feb 28 (ST) The Indian lawmaker who was refused entry to the country on Wednesday this week was denied a visa simply because he did not follow protocol procedures, Immigration and Emigration Controller Chulalanda Perera said yesterday. He said Thol Thirumawalan - a member of the Lok Sabha - who had arrived with two others was turned away since he failed to convince the duty officer at the Immigration desk of his true intention in visiting the country. more..

Court grants SLBC more time to file objections

Feb 28 (DM) The Court of Appeal granted further time to Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), its Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe, Director General Samantha Weliweriya and Director (News and Current Affairs) Indika Asoka Jayaratna to file objections until April 1. The Court of Appeal had, on December 10, issued notices on them consequent to the Writ application filed by a Senior Journalist challenging an impugned anomaly in the appointment to the disputed post of Director. more..

Three killed in accidents

Feb 28 (DM) Three persons were killed in three separate accidents reported in Hulandawa, Rathgama and Kekirawa over the weekend, the police said. In Hulandawa one person was killed when he was knocked down by a van in the Hulandawa area in Moneragala on Saturday morning. He was admitted to the Moneragala Hospital by the residents of the area but succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment. The victim was a resident of Hulandawa. The post mortem was carried out more..

Prolonged ME crisis may hit remittances

Feb 28 (BL) The growing political unrest in the Middle Eastern (ME) countries and the fear psychosis triggered among prospective job seekers following the torture of Sri Lankan housemaids may lower Sri Lanka’s migrant worker remittances this year. The impact may even be harder if the ME crisis prolongs and spreads to other countries in the region where over 60 per cent of the Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange earnings come through workers, more..

Kollupitiya-Bambalapitiya road rehab on track

Feb 28 (Island) Special Commissioner for CMC Omar Kamil says rehabilitation of the Galle road between Kollupitiya junction to Bambalapitiya junction (1.9 km) would be completed before the traditional new year in April. Kamil says the project, which will cost the taxpayer Rs. 100 million is on track. The CMC launched it last November. Kamil said that after rehabilitation, the road would have a lighting system, spacious side walks and parking space on either side. more..

Promised Rs. 20 million not received: MP

Feb 28 (DM) Colombo district MP Praba Ganesan claimed that although the govt promised them to provide Rs. 20 million for development activities related to the welfare of the Tamils in the country, they have not received anything yet in this regard. “Nuwara Eliya district MP P. Digambaram and I were promised by the Minister Basil Rajapaksa to provide Rs.20 million from the various allocations to the development activities. But, we did not get anything yet.” he said. more..

Lanka @ 63: The Military business model of post-war economic development

Feb 28 (TC) On 4 February, Sri Lanka celebrated its 63rd birthday. After nearly three decades of armed conflict, it is now one of Southasia’s calmest and fastest-growing countries. Its social indicators, apart from the northeast zone, remain the best in the region, and its strategic location is inviting investments from both Asian giants, China and India. Its stock markets are booming, its growth rate bouncing at around eight percent, more..

AI slams international community

Feb 28 (BBC) The Amnesty International (AI) has urged the United Nations to play a lead role in ending the culture of impunity in Sri Lanka over allegations of serious human rights abuses. The Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in particular, says the AI, should call on Sri Lanka to implement measures aimed at ending the prevailing culture of impunity. “The prolonged failure of the international community to demand accountability for alleged crimes more..

Buddhism Conference to be Held in Kandy

Feb 28 (CN) In March, India will hold an international Buddhism conference in Kandy to celebrate the 2600th year of Lord Buddha’s enlightenment. A meeting was held between a visiting Lok Sabha Speaker, Meira Kumar and President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the upcoming conference as well as the commissioning of the 16-feet high Buddha statue of Lord Buddha for the International Buddhist Museum in Kandy. Prime Minister, Manmohan Singhs plan to arrange an exposition more..

50th Anniversary of 1961 Tamil Satyagraha-2

Feb 28 (DBS) The Throne Speech outlining the policies and plans of the new SLFP Government of Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike was delivered on August 12th 1960. In a move that pleased the ITAK known in English as the Federal Party (FP) a Tamil translation was read out simultaneously. The tone and content of the Throne speech was a disappointment to the party as it did not make any reference to matters pertaining to the setting up of more..

JVP to protest against rising CoL

Feb 28 (DM) The JVP announced the party had organized a protest in Colombo on March 1, against the rising cost of living (CoL) and the govt’s inability to come out with effective solutions. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said the govt was unable to allocate funds for the implementation of its proposal to make plastic buckets for the transportation of vegetables. He said the Treasury had been unable to allocate the estimated cost of Rs 300 million for it though it was to be implemented from March 1. more..

Safe lands for landslide affected in CP identified

Feb 28 (DN) National Building Research Bureau (NBRO) Landslide Studies Director R M S Bandara said the NBRO had identified safe lands for the resettlement of families affected by landslides in the Central Province. He further said that the NBRO has tested and approved several blocks of land in the Central Province for this task. The locations identified include some areas in several estates. Bandara said that many of the displaced families could not be resettled in more..

Off the air in Rupavahini

Feb 28 (DM) Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation had written off as much as Rs. 123 million as “unrecoverable” balances in 2009, including Rs. 47 million from various government establishemetns, Parliament was informed last week. According to the annual report of the Corporation presented in Parliament, this amount written off also included Rs. 7 million receivable from foreign television channels, and Rs.65 million from client debtors. more..

PC licensed tourist guides a law unto themselves

Feb 28 (ST) The police are having an uphill task in putting down the tout menace at the World Heritage site of Sigiriya as a group of some 45 persons armed with questionable guide licences continue to pester visitors to the area. “This group argue that their members have the right to do what they are doing because they are in possession of a tour licence issued by a female. official at the local Provincial Council in return for a fee, Sigiriya OIC Vajira Atapattu said. more..

USE’em with permission

Feb 28 (DM) Properties of the local bodies and provincial councils should not be allowed to be used by election candidates without paying a fee approved by the government, Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake instructed the Assistant Elections Officers of each district yesterday. The Commissioner had given this instruction in a circular issued yesterday. An official of the Elections Department told Daily Mirror yesterday that this decision was taken due to more..

Development Diaries

Vaiko, workers taken into custody for trying to stage protest in Chennai

Feb 28 (PTI) MDMK leader Vaiko and Communist Party of India's Tamil Nadu secretary D Pandian, besides 400 party workers, were taken into custody today for trying to stage a protest in Chennai against the alleged disrespect caused to the mortal remains of slain LTTE chief Prabakaran's mother, Parvathy Pillai, in Sri Lanka. The protesters alleged that the Lankan army had "caused disrespect" to the remains of Parvathy, who died at a private hospital in the island nation more..

SLMC alleges key supporter targeted in Puttalam

Feb 28 (Island) The SLMC alleges that some of those contesting the forthcoming LG polls on the UPFA ticket are resorting to violence. The SLMC, which switched its allegiance to President Mahinda Rajapaksa last year and voted for the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, says the government should discipline those causing mayhem in the provinces. R. Makbool, SLMC politburo member and the chief candidate for the Mannar Pradeshiya Sabha at more..

Puttalam Muslims may not be able to vote, says EC

Feb 28 (DM) A large number of displaced Muslim voters in Puttlam could be denied their right to vote at the March 17 elections, officials said yesterday. “They might not be able to vote at the March 17 local government elections because of practical difficulties in transporting them to polling stations in their orgininal places of residence in the North on the day of polling,” more..

‘Regulations to enrol foreign students’

Feb 28 (DM) Chinese and Japanese students have shown interest to study the Sinhala Language at the Sri Lankan universities and the Higher Education Ministry was planning to introduce new regulations soon to enable the admission of such students, officials said yesterday. Ministry Secretary Sunil Jayantha Navaratne said yesterday the Cabinet approval had already been given to give scholarships to 100 foreign students to study at the local universities. more..

Lanka briefs UNHRC

Feb 28 (NN) A Sri Lankan delegation led by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe will brief the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the opening day of its latest session in Geneva tomorrow. Minister Samarasinghe, a former Human Rights Minister, told News from Geneva that he met the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay on Friday and briefed her on Sri Lanka. more..

'Chinthanaya has changed the thieving patters from gold & money to food'

Feb 28 (LT) Despite the government stating that prices of commodities increased due to recent floods, the prices of coconuts went up long before the floods and the government is incapable of controlling the escalating prices of commodities says JVP MP Vijithe Herath. He said this at a media briefing held by the JVP to apprise the masses regarding the escalating prices of commodities and the measures the JVP has decided to take regarding this. more..

Sri Lanka new port factory construction to start in March

Feb 28 (LBO) Investors who bid to set up industries in a new port in southern Sri Lanka are to start building their factories in March, Sri Lanka Ports Authority chairman Priyath Wickrama said. He said 23 proposals of 27 received for the deep-water Hambantota port on the south coast had qualified. "Three parties have said they plan to start building their factories during March," Wickrama told a seminar organised by the Import Section of more..

New Commander of Air Force assumes duties

Feb 28 (PTI) Air Vice Marshal Harsha Abeywickrema today took over as Sri Lanka's thirteenth commander of the airforce. He succeeded Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetilleke who was the only service chief who was in active military service among the three commanders who led the military to its victory over the LTTE. Air Chief-Marshall Goonetilake will continue to function as Chief of Defence Staff and will move to the Joint Operations Headquarters on Monday. more..