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Editorial: The year that was and that is to be

Dec 30 (SL) When this year (2012) dawned, the Sri Lankan govt was beleaguered by Western nations at the UNHRC over alleged ‘War Crimes’ committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces. Sri Lanka had one document with which it was hoped to ward off the hostile Western forces directed against it: the LLRC report. Despite the LLRC report, the American sponsored resolution was adopted at the March sessions of the UNHRC, with the support of some Third World countries including India. more..

'Govt will safeguard country and its people'

Dec 30 (SO) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said when the impeachment motion was moved against the then Chief Justice Neville Samarakoon, the NGOs or any Lawyers’ Associations didn’t protest or stressed the need to change the existing laws. But now there is a big fuss and various contradictory remarks made on the present impeachment motion against the CJ Shirani Bandaranayake which is not fair. He said more..

Editorial: Nowadays justice is a luxury!

Dec 30 (LB) Last week, the residence of Wijedasa Rajapakshe, the president of the BASL and a vocal opponent of the impeachment of the CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake was allegedly shot at by unidentifiedgunmen who then fled the scene in a racing car. During the same week, Gunaratna Wanninayake, a lawyer and a campaigner against the impeachment was threatened by armed men. Earlier, Manjula Tillakaratne, the secretary of the Judiciary Service Commission was assaulted. more..

Editorial: Turn away from this control freak approach

Dec 30 (ST) With another year of the Gregorian calendar swiftly coming to an end, it is usually the time to reflect both on the year that has passed and ponder on the year that looms before us. The momentous victory not so long ago over the deadly menace of terrorism is slowly receding into the annals of history. It is the present with its mounting concerns that is consuming most of the citizenry. It is a fact that the Govt has failed to convert the defeat of terrorism into more..

'The choice is to retreat ceremoniously or disgracefully'

Dec 30 (SL) NSSP Leader Dr Wickremabahu Karunratne says the govt has only two options in resolving the current issue with the judiciary on the impeachment motion against the CJ – to retreat or go forward on the confrontational mode. “The Constitution is superior. The Constitution is fundamental law,” he said. He observed that Sri Lanka has become a slave of world powers and addressing it is the first more..

Editorial: The old and new left

Dec 30 (Island) The predicament of Sri Lanka’s old left, whose glory days are long gone, was tragically captured by LSSP leader Tissa Vitarana, instructing a party MP to sign the impeachment resolution against the CJ and the party deciding that it must be withdrawn. The MP, perhaps the only one elected on the LSSP ticket, duly complied. The public is not privy to what Vitarana, Dr. N.M. Perera’s nephew, told the LSSP’s Politbureau or Central Committee, its inner councils. more..

Editorial: It is time to un-‘develop’ our minds

Dec 30 (NS) We are a few hours away from the year 2013. The world has not ended and the signs are it will not. Strangely, the end of the world sometime in late December was the most looked forward to event of the entire year, beating by a fair margin the Olympics, the US Presidential Election and the T-20 World Cup. Well, it looks like Doom’s Day prophets have called it a day. For now. A calendar year is ending and a new year beckons. It’s naturally a moment to look back and look ahead, more..

'CJ acts like a top-class politician'

Dec 30 (NS) PSC, appointed by the Speaker has completed investigating the impeachment motion against CJ Dr Shirani Bandaranayake and handed over the final report to the Speaker. The Parliament will debate the issue on January 10 and 11 and the final decision will be sent to the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to decide her continuance as the CJ. Appeals, petitions and requests are being forwarded by several parties to cancel the PSC process while some on roads with banners more..

Examinations blunders: Who’s responsible?

Dec 30 (NS) The news that the examination paper for Science at this year’s Ordinary Level examination had been leaked beforehand and that a tuition master was the mastermind behind the scam raised only a few eyebrows. Sadly, such incidents appear to be the rule rather than the exception now. There were the usual calls for Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena’s resignation, but we all know that will not happen. Gunawardena has survived greater debacles in office and the mere leaking of an exam paper will not compel him to call it quits. more..

‘Prorogation’ brings cooling phase to dispute between Judiciary and Legislature

Dec 30 (NS) The week began with the dawn of Christmas which all Christians readily celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. President Rajapaksa in his Christmas message said that the teaching of love and understanding should help to strengthen the bridges of peace, tolerance and reconciliation. He also added that it provides a firm foundation to build confidence in the country. The eighth commemoration of the tsunami disaster also fell the same week. more..

38 state firms swallow over Rs.100 bln in tax money

Dec 30 (ST) The performance of most of Sri Lanka’s 74 State-owned Business Enterprises (SOBEs) continues to reflect operational deficiencies eating up more than Rs. 100 billion of tax payers’ money per annum. Some 38 SOBEs depend on the Treasury for both capital and recurrent expenditure and such financial assistance has amounted to Rs. 102 billion in 2010, 2011 and 2012, a senior official said. more..

Environmental jester who uprooted justice

Dec 30 (ST) My Dear Kekille Yapa, I thought of writing to you after hearing what you had to say about chairing a committee that judged the highest of judges. Congratulations, Yapa, yours was a wonderful performance and one that will be hard to beat for a long time to come- even King Kekille would have blushed in embarrassment! In fact, I was surprised to learn that you hailed from Kurunegala. Ever since you sat as chairman of that committee, I had imagined that your hometown was more..

Govt entangled in a faceoff with Judiciary

Dec 30 (LB) Last week, Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, the chairman of the much disputed PSC was at pains to make his case. The PSC he chaired became a chicanery and his own govt is now entangled in a faceoff with the Judiciary, partly because the PSC members of the govt had been ever too eager to impeach the CJ, come hell or high water. Now the Appeal Court has sent notices to the Speaker and the PSC members to appear before the Court on January 3. more..

Rajapaksa govt. caught in a catch 22 situation

Dec 30 (SL) Stating that the Rajapaksa govt is caught in a Catch 22 situation on many recent issues would be an understatement. The govt is facing a predicament in dealing with several key issues that range from the impeachment of CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, to the arrest of Jaffna Uni students under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the failure to provide relief to the flood affected people in many districts. more..

Boxing Day knockout: Let this be the catalyst!

Dec 30 (ST) Ana Punchihewa was no cricketer. He was a good marketer with a sharp eye for the future and that brought him to the helm of cricket in Sri Lanka in 1994. Once he took charge of the chair, he learned the game. Not to play, but how to make it a marketable product and transform the game into a powerful unit where it mattered. He was not afraid to seek assistance when it was needed and to make his thought wave a reality. He gathered some of the best cricketing brains in the country more..

CJ: The Conflict of Interest Issue

Dec 30 (Island) As the impeachment drama grinds to a close, we see that the chief justice of this country is to be impeached largely on conflict of interest related issues. Of the three charges that the CJ has been found guilty of by the PSC, two pertain to a conflict of interest. The conflict of interest has never been an issue that has been widely discussed in this country. As such there are virtually no local precedents that we can draw on. The first charge against the CJ was that using a more..

Tony Greig: Sri Lanka’s biggest overseas fan

Dec 30 (Island) What’s your Tony Greig moment? ‘These Sri Lankans are giving the Aussies a real hiding’ (’96 World Cup final), ‘These Sri Lankans are very, very good, they catch everything. (’95 B&H Series), ‘Little Kalu has smashed that for four and the Sri Lankans are loving it’ (’95 B&H Series). At a time when Sri Lankan cricket was no body in the mid-90s, Tony Greig was a dear friend. During that acrimonious tour of Australia more..

2013 expected to be good year for tea

Dec 30 (Island) In an encouraging development, tea sales in Nov and Dec 2012 have reflected some positive indicators that 2013 would be good for this key export commodity. Brokers last week agreed they had never had below ‘red line’ performances irrespective of bad times that had overtaken the estate sector in the past, even in extreme minus situations. Shippers too didn’t have it really bad. No tea trading company or tea broker had so far closed down or declared insolvency. more..

Private university bill to be reintroduced

Dec 30 (SL) The Private University Bill is to be re-introduced by the Higher Education Ministry next year, Deputy Minister Nandimithra Ekanayake said. He said that under the existing business registration system, a private higher education institute or university can be opened in Sri Lanka. Ekanayake said the govt wanted to introduce the Private University Bill in order to ensure these institutes maintain the accepted high standards. However strong objections and protests by student more..

Army refuses to budge

Dec 30 (SL) The military has no intention of withdrawing army camps in Jaffna despite intense pressure exerted by the international community and Tamil political parties. Jaffna Security Forces Commander Mahinda Hathurusinghe said despite the end of the war almost four years ago, the LTTE is still active. “The army is aware of this and remains vigilant,” he said. US and Britain has repeatedly urged the govt more..

Extensive damage – Minister tours North

Dec 30 (SO) Rains and floods in the North have caused extensive damage and displaced thousands of families. Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera is touring the Northern districts today to take stock of the situation. He said that his Ministry was ready to face any situation and the evacuation of affected families and provision of relief assistance were swift. The largest number, 62,446 families comprising 231,160 persons were affected in the Eastern province. more..

Essential foodstuff sent to North

Dec 30 (SO) The Government has sent essential foodstuff in 10 lorries to the North to be distributed among those affected by floods in Mannar, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi districts, Northern Province Governor Major General G.A. Chandrasiri said. Foodstuff has been sent to the North from Anuradhapura. A team of Engineers has been sent to inspect the reservoirs in the flood-affected areas, the Governor said. The Mannar district was the worst affected due to floods. more..

Aussie cows die

Dec 30 (SL) The deaths of several Australian cows, imported by the Livestock and Rural Community Development Ministry to improve the local milk production and to breed cows with a higher heredity, have raised doubts on the health of the rest of the cows imported at around Rs. 250,000 each. Apart from the cows, several calves borne to some of the other Australian cows have also died in the past few months. The loss to the govt due more..

Hakeem, Law College head in pow wow tomorrow

Dec 30 (ST) Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem will meet Law College Principal Dr. W.D. Rodrigo tomorrow to discuss allegations that the results of the 2012 law entrance exam had been manipulated to favour Tamil medium applicants. Asked whether he had interfered in the selection process to ensure that more Tamil medium students—specifically Muslims—entered Law College, Mr. Hakeem replied, “What nonsense. Some of these chauvinist elements are barking up the wrong tree.” more..

Surge of Chinese arrivals but how many are tourists?

Dec 30 (Island) While Sri Lanka has recently seen a surge of visitors from China with 3,353 arrivals in November and 2012 arrivals at 22,176 according to data, the traffic is nowhere as spectacular as in the Maldives where Chinese tourists have been a virtual lifeline, making up for the lag in visitors from recession-hit Europe. Chinese visitors to the Maldives, up 14.9% in the 11 months to November 2012 to 213,868, accounted for nearly a fourth of the 866,000 visitors to that country. more..

Opposition MPs would comply

Dec 30 (LB) A member of the PSC and JVP MP Vijitha Herath says he would comply with the Appeal Court directives should the notice be served to him to appear before the Court of Appeal in the matter of the writ applications filed by CJ Shirani Bandaranayake. Herath said he had not yet been served with a notice. “But if I am served a notice, I would rather comply,” he said. Earlier, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa disregarded a more..

Fire Brigade exempted from evidencing

Dec 30 (NS) The Colombo Fire Brigade yesterday claimed that none of their officers or firemen present at the fire at Colombo Kachcheri had been summoned by the CID or the Police to give evidence. According to the report of the Govt Analyst submitted to court and copied to the police the sudden fire occurred on Nov 27 was a sabotage, The 160-year old colonial building at Dam Street, Colombo was gutted due to the massive fire destroying many important documents and more..

Released fishermen arrive at Mandapam

Dec 30 (Hindu) 27 fishermen, who were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy while they were fishing near Trincomalee on December 23, arrived at the Mandapam north fishery jetty on Saturday after they were released by the Sri Lankan authorities. After four days of detention, the fishermen left Trincomalee on Dec 27. A release from the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) here said it had received the fishermen along with their four boats at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) more..

O/L Science paper fetched Rs100,000

Dec 30 (LB) Tuition master Sampath Aththatage, who was arrested last week over the leaking of GCE O/L Science paper, has allegedly distributed the sample examination paper to his students in classes in Kiribathgoda, Borella, Maradana, Ragama, Nittambuwa, and Minuwangoda, and had assured the students that there will be questions from the model paper in the national exam paper. He had assured that more..

Law Entrance: CID awaits complaint

Dec 30 (NS) The CID has not initiated an inquiry into the alleged manipulation of this year’s Law Entrance exam results as no official complaint had been received until yesterday, police said. SSP Prishantha Jayakody confirmed that no investigation had been initiated as yet regarding the matter. The UNP, along with several lawyers and law student unions have called for an urgent CID investigation into the Law Entrance exam alleging that malpractices had been committed when more..

Bogus CID officers prey on middle-aged men

Dec 30 (ST) A 62-year-old man was on his way home after doing his marketing at the weekly pola when three men approached him, identified themselves as CID officers and told him that he was wanted for questioning in connection with drug peddling. The man, S.D. Nanayakkara from Arangala in Malabe, was forced into a threewheeler and once he was inside the bogus CID officers told him to hand over his ring, watch and wallet. He was dropped off at Wellampitiya and more..

Death penalty: Lanka hangs in balance

Dec 30 (ST) Sri Lanka abstained from voting for a heavily-backed UN resolution that supports a global moratorium on the death penalty leading to its eventual abolition. The resolution was adopted by the UN General Assembly on Dec 20. The draft was approved in November with 110 countries voting in favour while 39, including the United States and India, voted against. Sri Lanka was among 36 countries that abstained. Sri Lanka’s more..

Govt. sowing seeds of hatred - IUSF

Dec 30 (NS) The govt is paving way for another war by trying to foster hatred among different communities, the IUSF charged. IUSF President Sanjeewa Bandara accused the govt of labeling anyone who held dissenting views as ‘terrorists’ and ‘terrorist sympathizers’. He made these remarks in reaction to leaflets allegedly distributed at several universities in the South accusing the IUSF and its leadership of supporting a ‘pro-LTTE network’ centered at the University of Jaffna. more..

Slain Maheswaran’s brother suffers acid attack

Dec 30 (NS) T. Thuwarakeswaran came under an acid attack by unknown persons in Nallur, Jaffna, reports said. He is the brother of slain UNP MP, T. Maheswaran. The attack was carried out by masked assailants arrived on motorcycles near the Nallur Temple yesterday morning. Thuwarakeswaran was admitted to the Jaffna hospital following the attack. Police have launched investigations into the attack. The attack on former MP’s brother comes three days before Maheswaran’s fifth death anniversary. more..

Impeachment crisis: Destiny of Lanka at stake

Dec 30 (ST) Sri Lanka’s Parliament has functioned for more than 179 years though under different names at different times. That is from the time of the Legislative Council in 1833. The laws they wrote in to the statutes and the contributions made by the learned members have gone into public record. Both, the members and the records that have lived the test of time were revered though some may have reflected diverse opinions. more..

Three children among 12 suspects

Dec 30 (SL) The police said that three children were among the 12 suspects arrested on Wednesday for deceiving devotees and obtaining money during a Buddhist Temple pageant in Yatiyanthota. The suspects had gone ahead of the Temple pageant (Perahera) and obtained money from devotees who had lined up the streets to witness the event. On information provided to the police the suspects were arrested and produced in court on Thursday. Among those arrested were three 12-year-old more..

Prisons to be networked

Dec 30 (SL) The Ministry of Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation is to network all the prisons and detention centers in Sri Lanka. Secretary of the Ministry of Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation G. S. Vithanage said that there are 40 prisons and detention centers in Sri Lanka. He said that once the prisons are networked all the data of the inmates will be computerized including their blood type, finger prints and facial marks. Vithanage said that creating a database will help the Prisons more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Dec 30 (ST) For the 56th year in succession, the Police held their Christmas Carols at their grounds in Bambalapitiya on Dec 19. The chief guest this time was His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo. He was received by Police Chief N.K. Illangakoon. What many were unaware is the preparations that had been going on for the event. During those weeks, those responsible for preparing the more..

No move to ban porn websites

Dec 30 (SL) The TRC says there is no move to ban access to porn websites in Sri Lanka. TRC Director General Anusha Pelpita said that either a court order or a request from the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) will be needed to impose a ban on access to porn websites. A news report last week said that Sri Lankans search for the word ‘sex’ on Google than most in the region. This is according to Google Trends, a public web more..

Minimum room rate leads to drop in City hotel occupancy

Dec 30 (ST) Colombo city hotels are hard pressed for business despite Sri Lanka being selected as the best destination for the coming year with the minimum room rate of US $ 125 per night being the main obstacle. “We have asked the authorities for a possible reduction in the minimum rates but they have declined to accede to our request,” a city hotelier who wished to remain anonymous told the Sunday Times. more..