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PSC subject to judicial review: Sri Lanka assured UN human rights committee in 2002

Dec 23 (LB) The govt’s current position against the Court review of the PSC contravenes a guarantee given by Sri Lanka to the UNHRC as far back as 2002 in the eve of the planned impeachment of then chief justice Sarath N. Silva. Sri Lanka in its fourth report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) has assured the United Nation’s Human Rights Committee that the impeachment of the judges of more..

Night Races: CMC takes a hit

Dec 23 (SL) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) lost Rs. 2.9 million from the Colombo Night Races after Western Province Chief Minister Prassana Ranathunga gave instructions for the CMC not to charge a tax on the tickets sold for the event. Under local laws when such an event or carnival is staged in the CMC limits a tax is imposed on each ticket sold. However Ranathunga had issued instructions to the CMC not to charge the tax on tickets sold for the night races at Galle Face recently. more..

Fast cars to be categorized

Dec 23 (SL) Fast cars with a higher engine capacity will be listed under a new category from next month, Commissioner General of Motor Traffic S. H. Harischandra said. He told The Sunday Leader that the new category will be introduced as a result of govt moves to exempt taxes on some types of racing cars. All cars, including racing cars, are categorized under normal cars and do not have a special category. However from January the new category will be introduced to keep a tab on more..

Losses sky high but Mihin Lanka seeks millions more

Dec 23 (ST) The Cabinet has been called upon to approve more than Rs. 597 million to repair two aircraft engines of the Mihin Lanka budget airline which is incurring colossal losses. From 2008 to this year, official accounts of Mihin Lanka reveal a loss of more than Rs. 8 billion. It owes the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation a fuel bill of Rs. 895 million. The Cabinet approval has been sought for US$ 2,780,000 or more than Rs. 361.4 million more..

TNA stages hunger strike in Jafffna

Dec 23 (Island) The TNA staged a peaceful hunger strike at the Chelvanayakam Square in Jaffna on Friday between 7 am and 4.30 pm, demanding that the govt immediately releases the Jaffna University students who were arrested on Nov 28 and 29 among a host of other demands. "There were a large number of protestors at the hunger strike which included MPs, members of local govt bodies and others politicians and a large number of students of the Jaffna University," more..

Humans safe from ‘Canine Distemper’

Dec 23 (NS) Officials attached to the health sector last week said the death of nearly 300 dogs in Dimbulgala, Polonnaruwa District last week was due to a disease called ‘Canine Distemper’, which only affects the animals belonging to the canine family. “We’ve identified the cause of the dogs’ deaths as Distemper disease, said Director General of the Dept of Animal Production and Health, Dr. W.K. De Silva. “The disease is prevalent in Sri Lanka and it spreads rapidly among unvaccinated dogs,” more..

Prorogation way out of CJ imbroglio?

Dec 23 (Island) In the wake of Court of Appeal issuing notice on Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and members of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) in respect of the Writ Application filed by Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake against the findings of PSC which found her guilty of misconduct, speculation is rife about the possibility of the ruling coalition proroguing parliament to pave the way for a fresh inquiry. more..

Speed Limit signs to return

Dec 23 (SL) The govt is to re-introduce speed limit sign boards from next year, the Department of Motor Traffic said. Commissioner General of the Department S. H. Harishchandra said that a gazette notification in that regard had already been submitted. With the re-introduction of the speed limit sign boards, the police will have the authority to nab or fine drivers who go beyond the speed limit. In 2008 the then Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva issued an order for the police to pull down more..

Judiciary has exercised powers beyond authority

Dec 23 (CT) The crisis situation between the Judiciary and the Legislature has created an opportunity for the anti democratic elements in the country to achieve their sinister motives and to thrive in a chaotic atmosphere in the country, according to Minister Vasudeva Nanayakara. Commenting on the current situation, Minister charged that the Judiciary had undoubtedly exercised its powers beyond its authority. “The Judiciary should exercise its powers within its own limits. more..

Rs. 1.28 billion sunk in Coal Deal

Dec 23 (SL) In a sensational development to the controversial import of coal from Indonesia for the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant – highlighted week after week by The Sunday Leader over the past four weeks – it has been revealed that the Ministry of Power and Energy is urgently seeking a detention order against the vessel carrying the latest shipment of coal to Puttlam. The Ministry is seeking the arrest of the vessel in a bid to more..

Ekneligoda habeas corpus case before Appeal Court

Dec 23 (ST) The habeas corpus case of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda will be taken up by the Court of Appeal when the Magistrate’s Court inquiry is concluded. Counsel Chrishmal Warnasuriya, appearing for the missing journalist’s wife Sandya Ekneligoda, told Court that if any problems or issues arose during the magisterial inquiry, he would take the case before the Court of Appeal. The Appeal Court had earlier directed the Homagama Magistrate to inquire more..

Flood havoc worsens: Bad weather for another week

Dec 23 (ST) The early warning centre of the Meteorology Department yesterday issued a bad weather advisory on the reactivation of the Northeast monsoon as the death toll from severe weather reached 30 with more than 300,000 people being seriously affected. The prevailing adverse rainy conditions that have triggered flash floods and landslides had left some 50,000 people displaced by yesterday, the DMC said. Heavy showers are expected in the North-Central, Eastern and more..

Jaffna Uni crisis enters fourth week

Dec 23 (NS) Academic activities at the Jaffna University are still at a standstill for the fourth successive week with students continuing to boycott lectures demanding the release of four undergraduates held at the Welikanda rehabilitation centre. The four students have been identified as Sanmugam Soloman, Kanagasunderam Jenamajenth, Paramalingam Tharshaanan and V. Bhavanandan. Of these four, Bhavanandan has more..

Ensure fair hearing

Dec 23 (CT) The existence of an independent Judiciary is not only necessary, but is also essential to ensure that the basic principles of rule of law is observed at every level, to all citizens, on an equal basis, Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, said yesterday, in what was her first public speech since the impeachment proceedings against her was initiated last month. “In order to guarantee that there is strict observance of the rule of law, it is necessary that a fair hearing is given to every citizen, more..

Govt. appoints NDC to oversee changes to LG polls’ laws

Dec 23 (ST) The govt has named five members to the National Delimitation Committee (NDC) that is entrusted with making recommendations for the division of each local authority area into wards, under the amendments introduced to the Local Authorities Elections laws recently. The five-member Committee appointed by Minister of Local Govt and Provincial Councils A.L.M. Athaullah comprises of Jayalath R.V. Dissanayaka (Chairman), P.H.G. Premasiri, Wimal Rubasinghe, more..

Political tsunami for New Year: Solution lies in right-is-might principle

Dec 23 (ST) External Affairs Ministry officials worked overtime last Monday to put together an urgent meeting of Colombo based diplomats the next morning (Tuesday). UPFA leaders were worried that the EAM had done little or nothing to counter what one high ranking source said was the “bad publicity” the Govt was receiving. This was over moves to impeach CJ Shirani Bandaranayake. They feared that these more..

Sri Lanka abstains from voting against death penalty

Dec 23 (SL) Sri Lanka last week abstained from voting at the UN General Assembly in favour of abolishing the death penalty. The draft resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty was adopted by a recorded vote of 111 in favour to 41 against, with 34 abstentions. According to Amnesty International Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Namibia went from a vote in favour to an abstention. Sri Lanka also abstained from voting for the draft resolution on extrajudicial, more..

Academics violating agreements: UGC to get tough

Dec 23 (SL) The University Grants Commission (UGC) is to close loopholes in the agreements signed with Sri Lankan academics that go overseas. According to the UGC, 641 academics have settled overseas despite signing bonds with the UGC. The academics sign bonds saying they would return to Sri Lanka but instead find employment overseas and fail to return. The lecturers are on the university payroll, but go overseas to obtain their Masters and PHDs and remain in that country. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Dec 23 (ST) "Mokada saddey neththey. koh satan paata, (Why are you silent. Where are the slogans?),” President Mahinda Rajapaksa asked Mano Ganeshan, leader of the DPF. He had telephoned him to wish him for his birthday. Ganeshan said he was not in Sri Lanka and was on a private visit. He did not disclose his location. Whilst thanking Rajapaksa for wishing him, he seized the opportunity to raise issue over the incidents surrounding the Jaffna University. more..

Repeater guns replace T-56, CZ58s at Welikada

Dec 23 (SL) Over 750 weapons have been removed from the prisons and replaced with less sophisticated guns as a result of the recent riot at the Welikada prison. Secretary to the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prisons Reforms G. S. Vithanage said that T-56 and CZ58 weapons had been removed and replaced with Repeater guns. Vithanage said that when a situation like that which erupted at the Welikada prison recently occurs again, more..

Prorogue Parliament to settle crisis: UPFA allies

Dec 23 (SL) Leaders of three socialist parties, which are coalition partners of the ruling UPFA, have asked President Mahinda Rajapaksa to prorogue Parliament as a way out of the impasse between the Judiciary and the Legislature over moves to impeach the Chief Justice. LSSP leader and Minister Tissa Vitarana, CP leader and Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera, and DLF leader and Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara have told the President that more..

Prices of medicinal drugs, vitamins under CAA control from Jan 1

Dec 23 (ST) The Consumer Affairs Authority in a Gazette Extraordinary has directed the manufacturers and importers of pharmaceuticals and vitamins to mark the maximum retail price on the packs or containers. They have been also directed to specify the batch number, date of manufacture, date of expiry, the strength and name and address of the manufacturer or the importer. It said this measure, intended to control more..

Sangakkara poised to join 10,000 club

Dec 23 (AFP) Sri Lankan veteran Kumar Sangakkara is poised to join the exclusive 10,000-run club in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne against Australia, a landmark he plans to build on. The prolific batsman needs just 40 more runs in his 115th Test to join the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis to complete the milestone. "I think 10,000 Test runs is that separation between more..

Cigarettes cheaper in 2010 than in 2000

Dec 23 (LB) A study conducted on behalf of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) by Dr. Nishan de Mel of Verité Research, a think-tank that provides strategic and policy advice to both the state and private sector in the areas of economics, politics, law and media, has shown that in 2010 cigarettes were the most affordable historically, being cheaper than they were 10 years earlier. more..

Doomsday went like just any other day

Dec 23 (ST) Ancienct Mayan predictions that the world would end on Friday, December 21, 2012, had people around the world worried, including Sri Lankans. The Sunday Times discussed the doomsday predictions with members of the public, including the clergy. Rev. Benedict Joseph, spokesperson for the Archbishop’s House, said the Roman Catholic Church did not hold any special masses to coincide with the so- called “world’s end”. more..

UN classifies Lankans for refugee status

Dec 23 (ST) The UNHCR has listed persons suspected of LTTE links, journalists, opposition politicians, political activists, and gays and lesbians, as being among the categories of Sri Lankans “likely to be in need of international refugee protection.” On the other hand, UNHCR also advises that applications by persons such as members of the armed forces be carefully considered. more..

Rise in endemic diseases and dengue

Dec 23 (CT) The Health Ministry said they are constantly monitoring the health conditions of the displaced people, as the subsiding floods could provide fertile grounds for endemic diseases and dengue. Health Ministry Spokesperson, W.M.D. Wanninayake, told Ceylon Today the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) of the Health Ministry has been activated 24 hours a day to monitor the conditions of the affected areas and the people, adding that they have more..

Katunayake expressway to be ready in August

Dec 23 (ST) Facilities to minimise glare for motorists from headlamps of vehicles coming from the opposite direction, reducing stagnation of water and easy access for emergency vehicles will be some of the added features included in the Katunayake Expressway project. The project is due to be completed in August next year with most of its work completed enabling access to the Bandaranaike International Airport in 20 minutes from Colombo, more..

'Media plays key role to prevent conflict'

Dec 23 (NS) The relationship between the government and universities is an unbreakable one, though of course academic autonomy is well recognized. Mass media plays a very important role in preventing conflict between academia and the govt machinery. Mass media either with government involvement or private sector involvement exerts a considerable influence on all sectors and strata of society, Secretary Media and Information Ministry Charitha Herath said recently. more..

Public investments should generate forex income

Dec 23 (NS) Foreign funded public investment projects in future should have the capacity to help the economy to generate foreign exchange income if Sri Lanka is to avert external debt financing difficulties in the medium to long run, a research company has pointed out. Asia Wealth Research, a division of Asia Capital in a report titled ‘Provisional and Long Term Trends in Sri Lanka’s Fiscal Operations’ says large scale infrastructure projects of the govt must flow into more..

Chinese companies grab mega projects in Sri Lanka bypassing tender process

Dec 23 (ST) Chinese money is pouring into Sri Lanka through loans with their companies getting mega project contracts bypassing tender procedures and emerging as single bidders, local agents of foreign companies said. The Chinese loans are expected to reach a new high of US$12 billion, they said. This amount was confirmed by Treasury officials. Meanwhile according to a Sunday Times report, a Chinese loan of more than US$ 69 million more..

HRC flooded with complaints over Jaffna arrests

Dec 23 (SL) The Human Rights Commission (HRC) in Jaffna was flooded with complaints last week from distressed family members whose relatives were arrested by the police. The complaints lodged at the HRC Jaffna rose to 43 by Friday following an intensive operation carried out by the police over allegations that those arrested were ex LTTE cadres. A swoop down on the suspects followed the arrest of eleven Jaffna university students by the police over the lighting of flames more..

Exams chief useless if can’t hold exams successfully: Dy Minister

Dec 23 (SL) Deputy Minister of Education Vijith Vijayamuni Soysa says there is no use of an Examinations Commissioner if GCE O/L and A/L examinations cannot be held successfully without issues. He further stated that the O/L science paper should be either annulled or students should recive full marks for the questions which have been leaked. The Deputy Minister charged that questions papers being available for money before examinations is an injustice for students in rural areas. more..

India and China auto makers vie to enter vehicle assembly business in Sri Lanka

Dec 23 (SL) India and China auto makers are vying to enter the vehicle assembly business in Sri Lanka with local partners – a move that is viewed with a lot of concern by local motor traders saying the Chinese and Indian investors will bring down vehicles in completely knocked down form to avoid heavy levies. Local motor traders said foreign parties want to take advantage of the Sri Lankan govt’s recent action to promote local more..

Parkson sees Odel acquisition as springboard to subcontinent

Dec 23 (Island) The Singapore-based Parkson Retail Group now owning 45% of Odel has indicated that it sees Odel as potentially providing a springboard into most other markets in Sub Continental Asia, EUROWEEK has said in an article on Sri Lanka in the Capital Markets in its December issue. Citing Parkson’s acquisition of a major stake in Odel as a recent example, the article says that across-the-board rise in per capita income and consumer spending power has been an more..

BASL calls for meaningful probe into attack on Rajapakshe’s house

Dec 23 (Island) Expressing shock and dismay over the incident where gunshots were fired at the residence Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, President’s Counsel, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) yesterday called upon the law enforcing authorities to conduct an impartial, expeditious and meaningful investigation to bring the perpetrators to book. "The BASL unreservedly deplores and condemns this cowardice and despicable act", it said in a statement signed by more..

Sri Lanka seek inspiration from Durban 2011

Dec 23 (CI) For most of Sri Lanka's Test squad, Christmas may almost seem like déjà vu, having found themselves in a near-identical situation this time last year. Chasing their first ever win in South Africa, Sri Lanka had been defeated on a difficult surface in the first Test, though their demise on that occasion had been scripted on a Centurion greentop that derailed their first innings, unlike the fissured Hobart track that made survival more..

Murali says Sri Lanka's batsmen not threatened by Nathan Lyon's spin

Dec 23 (PN) LEGENDARY tweaker Muthiah Muralidaran says off-spinner Nathan Lyon lacks the tricks to win the Boxing Day Test for Australia. But he says Sri Lankan counterpart Rangana Herath will prey on Australia's susceptibility to left-arm spin and bowl the visitors to a historic MCG victory. Muralidaran, who has shone for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League this month, has mixed memories of the ground where he infamously was called for more..

Teacher and brother arrested over theft at Dalada Maligawa

Dec 23 (DM) A lady teacher trainee of a govt teacher training college and her brother were taken into custody at the Sri Dalada Maligawa today on suspicion over the stealing of cash and valuables of pilgrims and tourists. Police had deployed an investigation team in civvies at the Dalada Maligawa following complaints from the public to arrest pickpockets and snatch thieves. Police personnel who noticed the woman concerned meddling with the handbag of a pilgrim more..

Christmas time: Bad weather and high costs

Dec 23 (ST) The adverse weather conditions and the high cost of living have put a damper on the usual seasonal shopping spree, heralding a not so bright Christmas for many. Malini Perera (62) from Rattanapitiya, a mother of two said celebrations were on a low key this year round. “We didn’t buy any decorations this year. We are using our old Christmas tree and decorations because the expenses are very high. more..