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Sri Lanka approves committee on postwar reforms

Nov 23 (AP) Parliament on Wednesday approved the creation of a multiparty committee to recommend constitutional changes for ethnic reconciliation two years after a devastating civil war. However, a lawmaker from the largest party representing ethnic minority Tamils said it would not participate in the committee at this time because the recommendations of a previous committee had never been implemented. "This too can be a time-buying tactic," more..

From Friday Forum – an open letter to academics

Nov 24 (LB) Dear Colleagues, Academic freedom and autonomy in academic matters have been features of the national university system from the time the University of Ceylon was established in the 1940s. These values have been confirmed by a Supreme Court decision where academics challenged certain amendments to the Universities Act as constituting violations of university autonomy and academic freedom. However, recent pronouncements, even in Parliament, about the method of more..

People’s Power and where it comes from

Nov 24 (LB) Gamini Viyangoda, in his column to the Ravaya, cites a quote from an anonymous source which he claims to have noted down on his note pad. Translated from the Sinhala of Viyangoda’s text, the quote would read as “this world is governed by a million rogues, ten million fools and a hundred million cowards.” In turn, Viyangoda clarifies these qualifiers by identifying the “rogues” as the capitalist segments, the politicians and as the “religious fanatics” of the world. more..

Hit-and-run leopard killing enrages animal lovers

Nov 24 (ST) Visitors to wildlife parks have a responsibility to protect the wildlife they are so eager to see. Excessive eagerness, compounded with callous disregard for basic road safety rules and consideration for others, can result in the kind of hit and run tragedy that occurred recently when a speeding vehicle killed a leopard within the Yala wildlife sanctuary. Images of the roadkill shocked and enraged the public, and animal lovers in particular. more..

'No interim committee again'

Nov 24 (LB) Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage ruled out the possibility of appointing another interim committee even for a short term. "This week we'll announce dates for nominations and cricket elections will be definitely held end December," Aluthgamage said. Former interim committee chairman Upali Dharmadasa has said he would contest, and until last week the speculations were rife that it would be a one-horse race. But last week the newspapers speculated Central Bank Governor more..

Post-war situation in Northern Sri Lanka & Prospects for Reconciliation

Nov 24 (GV) 30 months after the end of war, more people travel between the once off limits North[i] and the South and many of the travel restrictions have been eased. The dreaded Medawachiya checkpoint is no more, and since 2010, we have not taken a flight or ship to Jaffna, travelling by road instead. Displaced people who were detained for about 6 months have now been allowed freedom of movement and many have been allowed to go back to their places of origin. more..

Rajapaksa at crossroads: Where will he go?

Nov 24 (ST) Some presidents in Sri Lanka have had a tendency for vainglory. On his birthday, President J.R. Jayewardene insisted on a national tree planting campaign. President Ranasinghe Premadasa held the Gam Udawa celebrations on his birthday. President Chandrika Kumaratunga, bless her, did nothing of the sort but that had more to do with doing nothing at all on other days as well, being arguably the least efficient of our Presidents. more..

Addressing Greg Sheridan’s Review of the Tamil Lobby and Australia

Nov 24 (GV) Greg Sheridan’s articles on the Tamil lobby in Australia and the workings of the Australian state are something of a breakthrough because the media coverage of the Sri Lankan conflict has been chequered and influenced by the naïve perspectives driven by the liberal ideologies which dominate some sectors of the fourth estate. Sheridan, in contrast, is on the conservative far right, so readers must attend to this circumstance when evaluating his reportage. more..

The Tamil death toll in early 2009: a misleading count by Rohan Gunaratna

Nov 24 (TC) Rohan Gunaratna presented a wide-ranging talk entitled “The Future of Sri Lanka’s Security: Countering the LTTE on the Western Soil” under the auspices of the British Scholars Association at the British Council in Colombo on the 16th November 2011. In measured tone, he pinpointed several shortcomings in the government policies in meeting world-wide attention directed at the situation in Sri Lanka, such as the failure to present a White Paper on more..

Sugar coating bitter realities with laughable theatrics

Nov 24 (ST) It was to be expected that the performance of the Sri Lankan govt before the members of the Committee Against Torture (CAT) in Geneva on the 8th and 9th of November 2011 would be evasive and problematic. However, the reality was far worse than the uneasy expectation. In actual fact, the State Party submission and its responses to the penetrating questions posed by Committee members was an exercise in outright deception if not chicanery. more..

Tamil Resurgence Week in Tamil Nadu organized by Seeman will focus on LTTE

Nov 24 (DBS) A 9-day ”Thamizhar Ezhuchi Vaaram” (Tamil resurgence week) organized by ”Naam Thamizhar Iyakkam” (We Tamil movement) is currently on in Tamil Nadu. The resurgence week period from Nov 20th to 28th will include the birthday (26th)of LTTE leader Prabhakaran&the great heroes day (27th). The resurgence week events will focus on the armed struggle conducted by the LTTE in Sri Lanka to establish a separate country for Tamils. more..

The Indian Ocean, maritime security and regional undercurrents

Nov 24 (ST) The past week saw a number of discussions, in different forums, that turned the spotlight on the Indian Ocean and its strategic importance for countries in the region as well as outside. Coincidentally, it appears. Here in Sri Lanka there was the 'Galle Dialogue,' a two-day international conference on maritime security organised by the Ministry of Defence and the Sri Lanka Navy. A talk held in Colombo on Thursday at the Bandaranaike Centre for International more..

'Creators of global economic crisis looking for political solutions'

Nov 24 (DN) Speech made by Minister DEW Gunasekara in Parliament at the Budget 2012 debate yesterday. "At the outset, may I express our profound appreciation to the President, as Minister of Finance for introducing the budget for 2012. "This budget has been presented when the entire world is in a state of economic turmoil. The economic crisis which originated in the US, the citadel of capitalism in the latter part of 2007, more..

Editorial: The ball now in govt.'s court

Nov 24 (Island) The govt has, unlike on previous occasions, made a suo moto statement that the final report of the LLRC will be presented to Parliament next month. Much as there seems to be an inordinate delay, it cannot be helped in view of the on-going budget debate. Having waited for the formation of yams, as a local saying goes, one should be able to exercise patience until they are boiled! This time around the govt will have to honour its promise without playing tricks, more..

Depreciation good, but method was shocking

Nov 24 (Island) UN MP Dr. Harsha De Silva said his party was for the depreciation of the rupee, a stance it had always maintained in recent months when import demand was severe. "We have always called for a depreciation of the rupee but we are shocked at how this was done, where the Central Bank was seen to be overruled by the Treasury," he said. He said the exchange rate regime of the recent past had eroded the competitiveness of the country’s export sector because more..

'We should be committed to build a nation that all of us can be proud of'

Nov 24 (TC) Text of 2012 budget speech in Parliament by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on November 21st 2011. Hon. Speaker, I am indeed happy to deliver the 7th consecutive Budget Speech of our Government. I am also inspired to see you in the chair on this occasion. You would recall our young days when our father – late DA Rajapaksa, with other late leaders such as SWRD Bandaranaike, Philip Gunawardena and SA Wickramasinghe were in the more..

National Physical Plan: A guide to future development programme

Nov 24 (Island) "Under the National Physical Plan of Sri Lanka, launched recently, under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the BMICH, the government intends to protect the historical sites of historical heritage through environment friendly development programmes," said Minister Wimal Weerawansa. According to the national physical plan, he said the maritime boundaries of the country would be increased by 22-28 percent. more..

'National Anthem can be sung in Sinhala or Tamil'

Nov 24 (ST) The National Anthem of Sri Lanka can be sung in the Sinhala or Tamil language and the Govt has no plans to change this, National Languages and Social Integration Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara told Parliament today. He said some officials had attempted to formulate policies to have the National Anthem sung only in Sinhala but the govt woudl not allow this. The Minister said this in response to a query raised by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera.

Liquor sales had increased last year

Nov 24 (DM) Notwithstanding the govt’s much hyped ‘mathata thitha or policy against alcoholism’, the local manufacture of hard liquor and beer had increased in large volumes last year. 49 million litres of hard liquor had been manufactured last year - an increase on the 41.1 million litres manufactured the previous year while 71.3 million litres of beer was manufactured last year as against the 55.5 million litres manufactured in 2009. more..

Kambli, Tillakaratne are just rabble-rousers

Nov 24 (CC) Freedom of speech and expression is a privilege that constitutions of most of the civilised countries grant to their people. It is something that should be treasured as a gift. Yet, very often it is taken for granted. Worse, it is often abused. Vinod Kambli’s recent outburst on an Indian TV channel about the 1996 World Cup semi-final is yet another example of this sad truth. This is not the first time someone has made damaging allegations about a game more..

Ministry cautions public on wayside drinks

Nov 24 (DN) The Health Ministry has warned the public against consuming fruit and soft drinks that are sold on waysides following the discovery that such drinks are unhygienic and contain certain substances such as artificial colouring and chemicals, that are injurious to health, a spokesman said. According to the spokesman such drinks are made out of unhygienic water which cause hepatitis and diarrhoea. "Certain artificial unapproved colouring can cause cancer. more..

Development Diaries, Nov 16, 2011

Lanka's breakaway performer

Nov 24 (Hindu) Sri Lanka often conjures up diverse images of civil war, the 2004 tsunami, cricket or holiday destinations. But for Bulathsinhalage Janani Chandima Cooray, a multifaceted artiste and art teacher from Colombo, these events have infused her art performance. In the city recently to participate in the ‘Live Art' festival organised by the Bengaluru Art1 Residency (Bar1), this determined 37 year old is breaking some traditional notions of gender and the arts. more..

Chandra raises posers on CB’s accountability over past forex policy

Nov 24 (FT) Good governance activist and former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chandra Jayaratne is raising issues of accountability on the part of Central Bank over past management of foreign exchange, following the 2012 Budget’s devaluation move. “With the Budget directing the Central Bank to depreciate the Sri Lanka Rupee by 3%, the Central Bank and the Monetary Board must be held accountable for the policy decisions taken over the last more..

Umar and Tanvir make it 4-1 for Pakistan

Nov 24 (CI) A four-wicket haul from Sohail Tanvir and a fluent stand between captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal were the stand-out features of Pakistan's convincing win - they took the series 4-1 - in the dead rubber played on a slow pitch. The pair didn't get bogged down at the fall of two wickets off successive deliveries and their positive approach kept their team on track, but the platform for a win was set up by a superior bowling attack that more..

FM has vital role in tackling emerging challenges – Prof. Peiris

Nov 24 (Island) With the end of the conflict and developments in the international arena in the contemporary world, new challenges have arisen and the Ministry of External Affairs has a vital role to play in responding to these issues for the future of Sri Lanka, observed External Affairs Minister Professor G. L. Peiris, at a special event held to mark President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 7th year in Office and his 66th birthday. Minister Peiris stated that the post conflict phase has more..

Police not entitled to privileges enjoyed by tri-forces

Nov 24 (Island) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament that the police officers who were disabled while being engaged in operational duties during the period of war were not entitled to all the privileges, payments and compensations accorded to the members of the tri-forces. Tri-force members were being controlled under special regulations while the police officers were categorized as civil service department officers, therefore the policemen were not entitled to more..

Brandix adapts to Sri Lanka's post-civil war world

Nov 24 (Forbes) In the apparel trade, where buyers scour the globe for cost savings, nothing succeeds quite like duty-free market access. For Sri Lanka, an island nation that punches above its weight in clothing, the big prize was Europe, which bought $1.7 billion of its garments in 2009. That year Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war ended, raising hopes of a postwar takeoff in trade and investment. more..

SLPA suffers Rs. 1,064 bn loss

Nov 24 (Island) Sri Lanka Ports Authority had suffered a loss amounting to 1,064.51 million rupees last year. The losses were caused by errors in converting foreign exchange figures of a Japanese loan facility to documents in the Treasury, the response tabled by the deputy minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena said. The SLPA’s total revenue for the year 2010 stood at Rs 28,380 million and the total expenditure in the same year at Rs 29,530 million. The loss without settling the taxes stood at Rs 1,240 million while more..

Those delaying letter sorting for OT will be dealt with

Nov 24 (Island) Action will be taken against certain officials of the Postal Department who purposely delayed work in order to be paid overtime, a senior official said. The official said that when a letter bag was cut open there had to be four people. "What they do to wait till after hours to begin sorting," he said. The letters and parcels were piled up due to the 10-day strike launched by the postal trade unions seeking the removal of Post Master General M.K.M.B. Dissanayake. more..

Uva Wellassa rebels to be named national heroes

Nov 24 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will declare the 177 persons, who participated in 1818 Uva Wellassa rebellion, as national heroes on Friday (25). A special gazette notification would be issued declaring the rebels as national heroes. They had been so far called traitors by a centuries old gazette notification. Sir Robert Brownrigg, then governor of the then British-ruled Sri Lanka had issued that gazette more..

Lankan conservationists welcome moves to abandon banana plantation by US based firm

Nov 24 (ST) Sri Lankan conservationists couldn't be happier at the news of multinational food firm Dole based in the US abandoning plans to start a banana plantation at a national park. Conservationists quoted by the site said Dole had hoped to team up with a local company, Letsgrow Ltd, to plant the bananas at the Somawathiya National Park. The park is home to elephants and other endangered species. Dole said it had "ceased all commercial operations" on the land and more..

Abductors wore military type uniforms

Nov 24 (Island) Chairman of the Dematagoda Traders’ Union, Lalith Gunaratne said that his abductors had seized Rs. 60,000 he had in his possession along with two gold rings. He said, "The gang comprised four persons. They wore military-type uniforms. They dragged me into freezer truck, tied my hands and blindfolded me. They interrogated me regarding my involvement in the heroin trade and the underworld," Gunaratne said. A massive traffic pile up was witnessed on the Baseline Road, more..

UNP complains to IPU, CPA on attack in House

Nov 24 (DM) Despite Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa’s assurance that he will probe the reasons that led to Monday’s violence in the House, UNP MP Jayalath Jayewardene said yesterday the party had complained to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) in Britain. The main Opposition walked out of parliament during the Budget speech after they were manhandled by some of the government MPs. more..

‘State investment highest since Independence’

Nov 24 (DN) Several ministers yesterday declared that the 2012 budget proposals have focused on massive overall development of the country. They also said that state investment has reached Rs 497 billion, the highest since Independence. Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama said the budget proposals will make a huge change in the country since it is a development oriented budget. “These significant changes may help achieve an over eight percent economic growth for the coming years. more..

Four Sri Lankans held at Delhi airport

Nov 24 (Hindu) Four Sri Lankan nationals, including a woman, were arrested at Indira Gandhi International Airport here on Monday night for allegedly attempting to board a Paris-bound flight on fraudulently obtained Indian passports that were tampered with. A woman agent allegedly travelling with one of the accused is under the scanner. The passengers were on their way to board flight to Paris via Bahrain when they were intercepted by immigration officials for verification of more..

Price Control: Drug companies throw down the gauntlet

Nov 24 (Island) Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceuticals Industry (SLCPI) yesterday declared that it wouldn’t accept price control under any circumstances. It warned the govt of dire consequences in the event of the implementation of a price controlling mechanism. The warning follows a meeting the SLCPI had with Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena and Trade and Commerce Minister Johnston Fernando on Tuesday more..

D A Rajapaksa oration by Prof Guruge

Nov 24 (DN) The D.A.Rajapaksa Commemorative Oration, 2011 will be delivered by Prof. Ananda W.P.Guruge today at 5.00 p.m at the main hall at Temple Trees. The topic will be “Sri Lanka from the Euro-Asian Commercial Hub to Pan-World Socio Political Importance”. Professor Guruge is a former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to France and USA, and presently Adjunct Professor of Buddhism, Hinduism and Peace Studies at California State University in Fullerton and Dean of more..

Cabinet Decisions on 23.11.2011

Nov 24 (LP) Decisions taken by the Cabinet at its Meeting held on Novemeber 23 are as follows: 2012 declared as the Year for a Trilingual Sri Lanka - The Government has decided to declare year 2012 as the Year for a Trilingual Sri Lanka. Because the Government observed that one of the far-seeing initiatives that needs to be taken to prevent the resurgence of terrorism which ravaged the country for over three decades is to encourage the people of more..

Bharatha’s widow confident of justice

Nov 24 (LB) The widow of late the UPFA presidential trade union advisor, Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra says that she has full confidence that justice will prevail in the wake of her husband’s death which occurred during a shootout at Mulleriyawa/Kotikawatta on the day of the LG polls on October 8. Sumana Premachandra said that in the aftermath of the order given by the Colombo Additional Magistrate, more..