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Govt. amenable to TU concerns in Pension Fund Bill

May 8 (ST) The Government has agreed to amend the Employee’s Pension Fund Bill (EPFB) to accommodate concerns raised by trade unions which challenged the Bill’s constitutionality before the Supreme Court. These would include the provision for a surviving spouse of a member of the fund to be a beneficiary of a lump sum payment in the event of the death of the member under the age of 60, at which age the pension becomes payable. Previously, the Bill only allowed a child below the more..

Parliament to introduce live broadcast

May 8 (BBC) The parliament in Sri Lanka will soon introduce live broadcasts of its proceedings, says the deputy speaker. Chandima Weerakkody, MP, told BBC Sinhala service, Sandeshaya that the initial trial will only be limited to radio broadcast. “The speaker is committed to broadcast the proceedings of our parliament to the Sri Lankan people,” he said. "As it is going to be a trial, there won’t be television coverage in the beginning.” more..

LLRC extension nothing to do with UN report

May 8 (NS) The extension of the LLRC has nothing to do with the Darusman report, the commission’s media coordinator, Lakshman Wickremasinghe said. The LLRC had written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday (4), requesting to extend the term of the commission by another six months. “The extension has nothing to do with the report of the Advisory Panel,” he said. He said the commission needed more time to scrutinize and analyse many evidence and more..

Russia, China warn: NO MORE ‘GUNG-HO’

May 8 (LB) Russia and China have expressed concern to the Government of Sri Lanka with regard to any activity that could embarrass international organizations and their officials serving in the country, in the aftermath of the release of the Darusman report of the the a dvisory panel appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, informed diplomatic sources told this newspaper. They have warned the government against staging protests and rallies more..

Local NGOs throw their lot with Govt

May 8 (NS) Locally based Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for the first time have come out in unison to express their solidarity with the government. The NGO consortium that met in Colombo yesterday has called on all the scattered local NGOs to forge ahead in order to work with one goal to help whatever party in power in the future. The NGOs collectively resolved to work along with the private sector in the sustainable development of Sri Lanka. more..

Bribery, Public Service Com. members nominated

May 8 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has nominated members to the new Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption and the new Public Service Commission, parliamentary sources told The Nation. Retired Supreme Court Judge Jagath de S. Balapatabendi has been named to head the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption. Former Judge of the Court of Appeal L. K.Wimalachandra and former Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickremaratne more..

How many more tragedies before brakes are applied

May 8 (ST) Last week we reported that the main causes of fatal road accidents were recklessness and drunk driving. Several tragedies subsequent to this report brought this to the fore once more. In one incident, six members of one family including an expectant mother, a five-year-old boy, a young girl, a 66-year old woman, and a newly married couple died when the van they were travelling in was involved in a collision with an oncoming speeding bus and plunged into more..

Emergency debate on Sri Lanka in EU Parliament scheduled for May 12th

May 8 (TC) The European Parliament, which represents 27 countries, is to debate on Thursday what it calls violations of human rights and humanitarian laws in Sri Lanka. The “emergency debate” has been sought by 50 members of the Green Party after the release of the report of the three-member UN Advisory Panel to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The Panel comprised Marzuki Darusman (Indonesia), Yasmin Sooka (South Africa) and Steven Ratner (United States). more..


May 8 (LB) How could anybody have missed it, even though they did? Robert Blake the US Under-secretary of State on an official visit to Sri Lanka this week, made it more than obvious in everything that he said in his tour that all pursuit of war-crimes charges against Sri Lanka would be forgotten and shelved if the government devolves power to the Tamils in the north and east. Of course he did not say so in so many words, but only a moron could have missed what he made very more..

Hong Kong dents Lankan hopes with 48-3 thrashing

May 8 (NS) Sri Lanka were thrashed 48-3 by Hong Kong at Longden Place yesterday further denting their hopes of remaining in the top five of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations tournament. Yesterday’s defeat meant that Sri Lanka must beat Kazakhstan next Saturday at Almaty to remain in the competition. The final score line suggests how hopelessly Sri Lanka performed against a much organised Hong Kong side. Hong Kong scored their points through five goals, two tries and a penalty to more..

Has Hashan put his foot in his mouth?

May 8 (NS) The past one week or so has seen former Sri Lanka cricket captain turned politician Hashan Tillakaratne making the news and even the headlines after he committed himself to making the statement that match fixing was rampant in Sri Lanka since 1992. This comment was made at a weekly private television programme and it was not taken all that seriously until it got blown out of proportion when his comments appeared in print three weeks later. more..

Land Scuffles In Muttur

May 8 (SL) Land problems have cropped in the post war environment in areas of Muttur. The dispute, reportedly racial in nature has been raging in the areas of Pudukadu, Ottu and Muthukaymadu, over a piece of land of 1600-2000 acres. The land in question was originally cultivated from 1956 by farmers in local Muslim and Tamil Villages. The lands were officially given over to them with deeds in the 1970s. The villagers were forced to evict the lands during the intensification more..

Health ministry gets activated to curtail the spread of AIDS

May 8 (LB) Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena has ordered health officials to conduct a nationwide survey before the end of the year to ascertain the exact number of AIDS patients in the country -- and those afflicted with the HIV virus which leads to full-blown AIDS. Though it has been estimated that there are around 3000 AIDS patients island wide, that number is not scientifically proven; hence the minister has directed his officials to conduct a survey so as to more..

Diplomatic dilemma: Patriotic diatribes or dialogue with UN

May 8 (ST) Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) is an American non-profit organisation that monitors the US media. To hear some tell it, says FAIR, the intelligence clues that ultimately led to Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan were generated by the use of torture. However, it adds that the evidence available so far does not bear this out. Nevertheless, the cross section of the mainstream US media that FAIR documented this week would interest Sri Lankans. more..

Sharp increase in frequencies to India

May 8 (ST) India, because of its proximity, cultural ties and to some extent political links, is fast becoming the biggest-ever tourism source market for Sri Lanka with the number of flights set to rise by almost three fold from a current 100 flights per week, travel industry sources said. The Civil Aviation Secretaries of both countries held bilateral discussions last week in New Delhi supported by their delegations on the number of frequencies and on the cards is more..

Sri Lankan cricket tourists face a tall order without Murali, Malinga and Vaas

May 8 (Telegraph) The previous international cricket tour to England, by Pakistan last summer, was somewhat controversial. The next one, by Sri Lanka starting this week, could go the same way if their former Test captain Hashan Tillakaratne substantiates his recent claims about match-fixing being ‘a cancer’ in his country. Tillakaratne has plenty of scope. He was a member of a Rest of the World side that played a three-match series of one-day games in India in the 1990s. more..

Signals across Palk Strait disturb Lanka

May 8 (ST) Sri Lanka has urged India to control its telecommunication networks as its signals were affecting local mobile phone users, Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRC) Director General Anusha Palpita said yesterday. He said the request had been made through the External Affairs Ministry to the Indian government after at least two of the local mobile companies complained that their networks were affected by the signals. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

May 8 (ST) Even if he let his cronies down badly and opted for the post of Co-leader of the UNP, Sajith Premadasa, waxed eloquent at a meeting of the party's Advisory Committee, on Tuesday. The meeting was scheduled for 3 p.m. on Monday, but the party Chairman Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, who was in Nuwara Eliya arrived late. By then, party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had other important engagements to attend. Hence, it was put off for 3.30 p.m. on Tuesday. more..

'Not our responsibility to meet hedging deal costs’

May 8 (LB) Minister Susil Premjayanth says that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) will not bear any costs incurred with regard to the settlement of the case pertaining to the hedging deal of the CPC. Sources said that around Rs 90 million has been spent on overseas trips of lawyers and officials to date. The minister maintained that legal fees for lawyers and more..

Move by university dons to embarrass government – S B

May 8 (NS) The friction between the university teachers and the education authorities intensified with the Higher Education Minister stating that some of the teachers had their own agenda in carrying out such actions against the government. The government has called the teachers to cooperate with it in solving the matter without hindering the university activities. more..

Tamil political detainees press their case with TNA MPs

May 8 (NS) Tamil political detainees on Friday requested attorney-at-law and TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran to initiate fundamental rights cases to obtain their release. The detainees made this request when he along with seven other TNA MPs visited them at the Colombo Magazine Prison to inquire about their well being. The MPs assured the inmates that they would continue to pressure the government to obtain their release. more..

Everyone is a govt. spokesman when it comes to UN report

May 8 (ST) There have been so many contradictory views expressed by the govt regarding the Report of the UN Panel of Experts it is difficult to gauge the government’s exact stand. Minister G.L.Peiris attempted to put the record right by way of a special statement in Parliament on Tuesday, but with so many members of the ruling party taking upon themselves the role of spokesperson for the government on the issue, more..

Ban’s report: Top Indian team rushes to Colombo

May 8 (ST) A high powered Indian delegation will arrive in Colombo on Friday to discuss matters arising from the United Nations Advisory Panel’s report to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka during the final stages of the separatist war in May 2009. It will comprise National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, External Affairs Ministry Secretary Nirupama Rao and more..

Academics poised to strike

May 8 (ST) Up to last night, the Government and university teachers were stuck in a deadlock over demands for a salary increase. Lecturers have threatened to go on a general strike to gain their demands. Members of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) say they will abandon their academic posts with effect from tomorrow, as a preliminary step towards a possible general strike, if their demands were not met. more..

'Solve university teachers’ issue immediately'

May 8 (LT) The demands of the university teachers are justifiable and the government should take immediate steps to solve their issues without trying to deceive them giving false promises emphasizes the JVP. Speaking at a media briefing held today (8) the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva said, “ The university teachers have launched trade union action demanding a salary increase. We see this trade union action as a very justifiable issue and more..

Pride and prejudice: The Arjuna, Hashan chapter

May 8 (ST) When Jane Austen penned her classy novel Pride and Prejudice, I am sure the names of Hashan Tillekeratne and Arjuna Ranatunga may not have come to her equation at all. Yet, the present quagmire of cricket that has erupted around the two former Lankan cricketers at least has a lot to do with the title of that novel two centuries later. We do agree that corruption in the game should be eradicated and it should be more..

Donkeys, dogs and diplomats

May 9 (LG) 'Ballage vada ballamai karanda oney; booruwage vada boorowa karanda oney.' This local saying was satired quite aptly in a popular Sinhala comedy series which means that a dog must do its duty and the donkey should stick to its own task. So what is our external affairs minister trying to do posting defence chiefs to our missions abroad? Is it not bad enough that the whole island and particularly the North and East is militarised with high security zones and more..

Becoming one people reconciled and ready to share

May 9 (LG) That was from the preamble to the Act establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa in 1994 soon after Nelson Mandela had taken office as President after the country had been liberated from years of strife and struggle. The TRC sat for two and a half years, heard written or oral evidence from over twenty thousand persons and finally presented their report to President Mandela in October 1998. In presenting the report, more..

Construction of new building at Thelippalai Mahajana College in progress

May 9 (Cimic) More than 65% of construction work of the first floor of new three-storied building at Thelippalai Mahajana College has presently been completed by the Army. About 70-80 soldiers belonging to various battalions serving under the Security Forces Headquarters - Jaffna are working daily to see the finish of total construction before the commencement of the third school term 2011. The 5th Battalion of Engineer Services Regiment has more..

May Day protest of the oppressed at Joint Trade Union Rally was a big success

May 9 (TC) The joint trade union rally was a great success. It challenged the government for selling the country to the IMF and the global capital and also for arousing chauvinism to misdirect the masses. Large number of leftists answered the call of the NSSP and other progressive organizations and participated in the event. Rashideen and others who belong to the radical wing of the old Sama Samaja Party failed to break away as organizations and more..

The practical and moral philosophy adopted by Dayan Jayatilleka while in Geneva

May 9 (TC) Over the last few weeks, it has become clear that our international relations need improvement. Some elements in the West seem annoyed with us and determined to criticise us. Various reasons are offered for this, though one of the most preposterous that floated around in the past is now dead. This is that the West was really very fond of us but Dayan Jayatilleka engaged in megaphone diplomacy in Geneva and alienated them. more..

Sri Lanka Tea Board faces financial constraints

May 9 (BL) Although the Sri Lanka Tea Board is initiating action to apply for international registration for Geographical Indicators in 50 target markets during 2011 and 2012, the board faces an acute shortage of funds. “We are short of funds amounting to a colossal US $ 91,000 for the registrations,” disclosed a Tea Board source who wished to be anonymous. The breakdown of this amount is US $ 30,000 for registration with the USA and Canada, US $ 40,000 with more..

Editorial: Match fixing and 'Game of Death'

May 9 (Island) When former Sri Lankan Cricket Captain Hashan Tillakaratne went public, immediately after the ICC World Cup final in Mumbai in April, with a match fixing scandal involving some Sri Lankan cricketers, managers et al, many who knew him as an outspoken cricketer thought he would name names and help bring the racketeers responsible for that offence to justice. Nothing of the sort happened and his statement did not make waves contrary to our expectations. more..

Editorial: One for the road

May 9 (DM) The Transport Ministry is planning to introduce tough legislations including increased prison terms and fines on drivers and compensation for victims of road accidents, we hear. With many expressways coming up it is a timely move indeed…and “an effort to stem ever increasing road accidents and resultant deaths and injuries,” according to the subject Minister. Good intentions. But the issue is far more complicated than just enacting laws. more..

SriLankan Airlines to launch services to Moscow

May 9 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines will start a new service to Moscow on September 15, making the Russian capital the airline's 52nd destination. The new service will operate via Dubai, and will commence initially with two flights a week on Thursdays and Saturdays, the national carrier said in a statement. “This will be the first time our national carrier has served Russia," SriLankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe said. more..

19th amendment to limit term of CJ

May 9 (LG) The Government is intending on introduce the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which will effectively limit the term of office of the Chief Justice to five years and will lend additional powers to the President to appoint the Secretary to the Judicial Services Commission. Keheliya Rambukwella, Cabinet Spokesman, said, the Government is yet to finalise provisions and clauses in the 19th Amendment. “Until such time I cannot go into any great detail,” he said. more..

FUTA strike and the UGC circular 956 of May 3, 2011

May 9 (TC) University academics want more pay and want to strike. After the UGC put strikers on no-pay, the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations or FUTA has a clever trick. They will not strike but relinquish all voluntary extra duties like being department heads, student counselors and so on. They would conduct lectures but without heads no one can time table lecturers, handle exams or even channel orders from a VC or Dean. The university will be crippled. more..

Millions unpaid, unaccounted for in President’s Fund: Auditor Gen. Report

May 9 (ST) The President’s Fund has been slow in reimbursing medical assistance to patients, even in instances where the directive to expedite such payments came from President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Auditor General (AG) has revealed. “Despite the President’s orders to reimburse medical assistance amounting to over Rs 184 million for 1196 patients up to December 2009, payments had not been made to them, the AG’s report tabled in Parliament last week said. more..

Army assures protection to Jaffna business community

May 9 (Island) Jaffna Security Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Mahinda Hathurusinghe assured the Jaffna business community that the govt wouldn’t allow extortionists to target them. Addressing a cross section of businessmen , the senior most officer in the peninsula urged them to get in touch with the nearest army camp or with him if they faced threats from any group or individual. The Maj. Gen. said:"Don’t hesitate to contact us as we are here to protect you. more..

Gambling housewives taken down

May 9 (DM) The Matara police anti-vice squad raided a gambling den in Hamugewatta in Walgama, Matara and arrested five persons, including three women. The safe house had been running for a considerable period of time and was owned by a 35-year-old woman, police said. Police said they had confiscated Rs.2000 that had been the jackpot when the raid had taken place. Further investigations had revealed that the women had got into the habit of gambling while their spouses were away, more..