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'PSC, the way forward'

Jan 8 (SO) Foreign Employment and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera said the 13th Amendment is a good starting point for a political solution for the North and East. He said that if politicians and society feels that Police powers and land powers enshrined in the 13th Amendment cannot be implemented due to practical issues, there is a way forward, that is all political parties should sit together and discuss to which extent these powers can be implemented. more..

Editorial: Time to go beyond the13th

Jan 8 (NS) The Bishop of Jaffna, Rev Thomas Saunaranayam is reported to have said that the Govt must dialogue with the TNA in order to find a solution to what he called ‘the ethnic problem’. He adds that lasting peace must be based onthe aspirations of the Tamil people and that they (the Tamil people) must have the liberty to ‘live in peace in their own soil’. Dialogue is good as long as there is genuine intention to obtain progress in resolving issues. On the other hand, more..

Editorial: On the boil again, in the North

Jan 8 (LB) student unrest is a bad substitute to militancy for those who want to challenge the system, but it is the only recourse there is when armed militancy has been badly discredited. But it does not surprise anybody when the govt responds with a reaction close to paranoia when students begin strident student activism in a one-time theatre of war in the north. When this is in tandem with student stirrings in other parts of the country that are milder but are also unnerving to more..

'Abortion rules should be relaxed to suit medical needs'

Jan 8 (SO) Abortion is still a controversial topic in Sri Lanka. The Community Health Services reveals that there are nearly 375,000 abortions carried out a year and out of that 75,000 are legal abortions. These statistics show the rising trend in unsafe abortions which is a major health and social concern in the country. The law restricts abortions. Section 303 of the penal code permits an abortion when the life of the mother is threatened. more..

Editorial: Give and take

Jan 8 (Island) A Stock Exchange filing made last week by the People’s Leasing Company PLC, a People’s Bank subsidiary, did not attract the attention it deserved. Believe it or not, over 600 employees of the company, gifted free shares by the bank ahead of its listing on the Colombo Stock Exchange, had voluntarily returned them to their previous owner free, gratis and for nothing! Something out of Ripley? No, it really happened and the fact that a publicly owned institution was able to make it happen, more..

Editorial: Education fails

Jan 8 (ST) One of the more meaningful achievements after winning self-rule in the last years of British dominion over Sri Lanka was the introduction of free education. It inflicted a heavy burden on the State's purse, and its critics say it only generated hordes of 'educated unemployed' because the economy was unable to match their expectations with suitable employment opportunities. This even bred social and political upheavals as we saw in the 1971 uprising by southern youth crying that more..

Tamil problem is not ‘Instant Noodles’ nor ‘Kothu Rotti’

Jan 8 (TC) Nothing has improved for the Tamils of the North even two-and-half years after the war, said V. Anandasangaree, secretary-general of the TULF, last week. Excerpts from the interview: Q: How would you analyse the progress of talks between the TNA and govt? A: Both sides are just marking time. Q: I can understand you saying the govt is marking time but why would you say that of the TNA? A: The two sides have been meeting for more than one year. more..

A-Level debacle: Only the tip of the iceberg

Jan 8 (NS) The recent fiasco over the results of the A/L exam highlights the maladies that afflict the education sector in Sri Lanka. However, the release of inaccurate results is only the tip of the iceberg; the crisis is of far greater proportions and requires drastic remedial measures. Even the drama over the A/L exam results is being played out in an absolutely farcical manner. The recent fiasco over the results of the A/L exam highlights the maladies that afflict more..

Internal issues bedevil main political parties

Jan 8 (NS) The dawn of the New Year saw several mainstream political parties in the throes of crises - either existing ones which have taken a turn for the worse or new ones which have surfaced. Problematic situations have arisen in the govt too which have necessitated the direct intervention of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Certain acts of commission and omission on the part of ministers and ministry secretaries have led to some untoward developments. more..

Revival of acquired Celestial Residencies turns into a mess

Jan 8 (ST) The revival of the state-acquired Celestial Residencies, one of the premier iconic properties of collapsed Ceylinco group of companies, under the troubled Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets Act has turned into a mess, due to the wrong company being listed in this law. The owning company of Celestial Residencies is Ceylinco Homes International Lotus Tower with its main shareholders being Ceylinco Homes International, more..

Karu in Fonseka’s shoes

Jan 8 (Island) Dr Jayalath Jayawardene who was handling the Sarath Fonseka case in international fora on behalf of the UNP phoned the president on Jan. 1 and wanted to know whether Fonseka would be released that day at the request made by Tiran Alles and others. But the president had said that he has not received any request for the release of Fonseka from the family and that they do not seem particularly enthusiastic about a pardon and in such circumstances, there is no point in more..

Pluralism or racism what is the UNP’s thinking

Jan 8 (SL) UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa and Karu Jayasuriya extended an invitation to Sarath Fonseka on December 18, at the Welikada Prison when they visited him. Fonseka according to Premadasa and Jayasuriya had accepted the invitation by saying he was willing to play a role in the UNP. However, neither Fonseka nor the two UNP seniors have elaborated on the role Fonseka would play if he joined the party. Premadasa and his group maintain that Fonseka would be given more..

Remembering Lasantha three years later

Jan 8 (NS) Lasantha Wickrematunge was clearly among the most colourful media personalities of his generation. He was in fact so colourful in his typically uni-colour-political way that he was more than a media person. The test of fast-colour, however, is a post-death thing and as much as many would want him to paint ‘The After’ he left behind, it really didn’t happen. That itself is an indicator of impact. more..

Anura Rohana defends Sri Lanka Open Golf title successfully!

Jan 8 (SL) Anura Rohana displayed his experience on the Indian and Asian Tour by successfully winning the Sri Lanka Open Golf Championship 2011 for the fourth consecutive year and for the sixth time overall. Anura Rohana finished with a birdie on the 18th fittingly to conclude on an even par final round and a 4 round total of 278 (6 under par) to win by 2 strokes. K Prabagaran from Nuwara Eliya Golf Club who turned Pro in 2010 showed his mettle by becoming the runner-up, more..

Softlogic eyeing foreign equity, expects retail surge

Jan 8 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Softlogic group may look for foreign private equity to further develop its retail business this year ahead of a public listing, chairman Ashok Pathirage said. Softlogic Holdings, which has interests in information technology, retailing, healthcare and financial services raised money last year from a domestic private placement and initial public offer by subscription. But its stock flopped on debut. "Most probably this year we might look at more..

'On-arrival visas popular with foreign tourists'

Jan 8 (ST) The new visa processing system implemented from January 1 this year has found that there were a ‘considerable’ number of visitors obtaining on-arrival visas. Immigration Controller Chulananda Perera said that it had been observed that a considerable number of applicants preferred to obtain on-arrival visas. In this respect, there are currently three counters provided at the BIA with adequate number of officers in place to assist visitors to more..

Bonded uni lecturers go missing

Jan 8 (LB) Over 200 university lecturers have defrauded the state to the tune of Rs.425 million in the recent past by dishonouring the bonds they have signed with their respective universities before going overseas for post graduate studies. “Some of the lecturers who have gone abroad, thanks to the public funds, have never returned to Sri Lanka as they do not have any love for the country,” Deputy Minister of Higher Education Nandimithra Ekanayake told LAKBIMAnEWS. more..

5th column: Computer error: System crashes

Jan 8 (ST) My Dear Bandula and SB, I thought I must write a letter to you to congratulate you on the successful completion of the Advanced Level examination because I know very well that you will not be writing letters these days-especially at a time when everyone else is demanding your letters of resignation! I really cannot understand why everyone is making such a fuss about this exam, Bandula and SB. Only some 300,000 students — out of a population of twenty million people — sat for more..

Anti-Mervyn Kelaniya revolt embarrasses ruling coalition

Jan 8 (Island) An irate Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Prasanna Ranaweera exposed a simmering dispute within the SLFP organization in the Kelaniya electorate in spite of him being warned not to cause an issue. Both factions accused each other of corruption and irregularities much to the discomfort of the govt seeking to exploit internal strife in the UNP and the JVP. Ranaweera alleged that those opposed to more..

Clutching at the closest straw

Jan 8 (LB) Who exactly is giving Ranil Wickremesinghe the cojones to pack his party advisory committee with his own backers, while hounding those such as Dayasiri Jayasekera who is being deprived of his deputy national organizership, is a good question? Last week Wickremesinghe told Sajith Premadasa who wanted Karu Jayasuriya to be appointed to a Working Committee vacancy, that if Karu wants he should come on his own and not through intermediaries. This kind of cockiness more..

A daughter’s sorrow

Jan 8 (SL) These past few years I have had time to think about my father’s passing and try my best to deal with it. I find it so hard to move on and accept what happened. As an adult, I have realised now that nothing in life is permanent nor is it how you want it to be. Instead, I try to look for meaning and lessons behind all these experiences. I believe that death is not the end of life; it is merely the end of the body we inhabit in this life, but our spirit will remain. more..

Minister’s kill-policy for dogs invites wrath of animal lovers

Jan 8 (SL) After Minister Maithripala Sirisena made a statement on Friday that he has decided to revive the policy of killing dogs the traditional way, animal rights activists countrywide expressed anger and disdain at the very statement even before the kill-policy was actually implemented. Alleging that the statistics for the dog population and cases of rabies are ‘imaginary’, animal lovers countrywide called for compassion and tolerance. more..

Rs. 1 m bond on suspects in Dalada Maligawa T-shirt case

Jan 8 (ST) A bond of Rs. 1 million each was ordered by court for each of two suspects charged with selling T-shirts printed with an image of the Sri Dalada Maligawa (Sacred Temple of the Tooth). The charge was made by the Kandy Police on a complaint made by Kandy residents Vajira Handunge and Sirimal Jayasundera. The defendants are Milinda Bandara and Tuan Nalim. Speaking for the defence, attorney-at-law Nisantha Gunaskera told court that more..

Interpol system a must for online Visa

Jan 8 (LB) The Interpol system (international database to track/detect criminals) will be introduced next month by the Department of Immigration and Emigration. Immigration and Emigration Director General Chulananda Perera said, “At the moment the online visa applicants (ETA system users) are increasing. The service is quick, and we will have to go through the ‘blacklist’ for details on any criminal record of a traveller wanting to enter Sri Lanka, if the need arises." more..

Over 100,000 students apply for re-correction

Jan 8 (ST) While the date for applying for re-correction of A/L papers has been extended to Jan 17, trade unions in the education sector claim more than 100,000 students have applied for A/L re-corrections. Of the 294,800 candidates who had applied to sit the exam under the new and old syllabuses, 142,000 students have passed in all three subjects. The Examinations Department initially fixed dates for re-correction between Dec 29 and Jan 9, but more..

JVP rebels to withdraw case?

Jan 8 (NS) The clash between the JVP and its rebels’ group appears to have reached a silent scenario. JVP rebels’ group went to courts previous week seeking an injunction order over the then planned and held JVP special convention in Tissamaharama, but the courts put off hearing the case for Jan 6. The JVP convention was held and new members were appointed to its Central Committee excluding the rebel group members. Holding a press conference in Colombo, same day (Jan 1), more..

PAFFREL offers proposals for conduct of elections

Jan 8 (ST) The PAFFREL, an elections monitoring body, has submitted a list of proposals to minister A.L.M. Athaullah, ahead of the Local Govt Elections Bill being submitted to Parliament. PAFFREL states that electoral divisions are an important component of the proposed election system, and that there should be a procedure for submitting queries and making objections regarding the electoral divisions, as defined by the Delimitation Commission. more..

The secret hand behind the Cricket Board elections

Jan 8 (ST) The Sunday Times was the first to say it. Yet, it was no secret – the Sri Lanka Cricket which was under the rule of an ‘Interim Committee’ for seven long years (If the queen permits that idiom) finally got down to the business of electing members to the beleaguered sports body at the behest of the ICC. Nevertheless the idea of having the ‘yes men’ in the system had gone in deeply and there was no way that the trend could be reversed. more..

Retiring House SG wants pension of retired SC judge

Jan 8 (ST) The Secretary General of Parliament, Dhammika Kitulgoda, due to retire in February, has written to the Director of Pensions, requesting that his pension be commuted on par with that given to a retiring judge of the Supreme Court, as he would have been in such a position, had he continued his career in the judiciary, and not been appointed SG. The letter has been forwarded to the Ministry of Public Administration by more..

TULF alleges step motherly treatment by TNA

Jan 8 (NS) The TULF alleged that the TNA has sidelined the TULF after its victory at the Local Govt polls last year. The TULF extended its support to the TNA at the last Local Govt polls where the TNA secured victory in most parts of the North. TULF leader, V. Anandasangaree however alleged that the TNA had not held talks with the party for over six months after polls. “They got our support and we campaigned on the same platform. Six months have lapsed since the elections and more..

Govt boycotts ANC centenary

Jan 8 (ST) Sri Lanka has refused to accept an invitation from South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) to attend today's centenary celebrations attended by some 40 heads of state or government. The reason -- a delegation from the London-based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) also has been invited for the same event. Giving it official status and placing it on par with a government delegation, an External Affairs Ministry source said yesterday was not acceptable. more..

GMOA to meet Secretary over DG incident

Jan 8 (Island) Expressing grave concern over the threats on the life of Dr. Ajith Mendis, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), at its Executive Committee meeting on Thursday, resolved to take up this critical issue with Health Ministry Secretary, Dr. Ravindra Ruberu to get a full picture of the incident. "We are scheduled to meet with Dr. Ruberu on Monday morning to discuss the issue", GMOA’s Assistant Secretary, Dr. Upul Gunasekera said. more..

Hashan calls for ICC to hold inquiry into Sri Lanka Cricket elections

Jan 8 (NS) Former Sri Lanka captain turned politician Hashan Tillakaratne has written to the ICC to hold an impartial inquiry into the election of Sri Lanka Cricket which was held on January 3 to see if any provisions of the ICC Articles had been breached. Tillakaratne in his letter to the ICC states: No sooner had nominations closed some candidates informed the Director General of Sports that several of the candidates for the top posts (Including the present President, more..

Fears of JVP radicals having links with pro-Tiger groups

Jan 8 (ST) Last Sunday, hours after 2012 had dawned; life was lazy in the streets of Colombo and suburbs. Traffic along the main highways, choking even during holidays, had trickled down to a few vehicles. Most shops remained closed. Revellers who danced their way into the New Year in crowded hotels seized the holiday to sleep it out. So did most of those who watched the New Year dawn on television programmes. more..

J’pura Campus closed as student protest continues

Jan 8 (SM) The Sri Jayawardenapura University has been closed indefinitely as a sit-down protest by its students is continuing. The administration also ordered the closure of the hostels of the university, reports said. The IUSF says all students remain at the campus premises and keep on with their protest against the authoritarian rule of the vice chancellor and the deployment of Rakna Lanka security firm personnel. Its convener Sanjeewa Bandara told more..

Bus fined for dropping passengers on expressway

Jan 8 (SL) A bus was reported to have allowed passengers to get off along the Southern Expressway this week. Speaking on the issue, Police spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana said, “We detected a case on Wednesday, when our CCTV cameras caught a driver of one of the newly operated bus services dropping off two passengers at Kurundugahatenne,” he said. According to SP Rohana, the bus driver was issued a spot fine of Rs 500 at the destination. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Jan 8 (ST) Former Army Commander, one time General Sarath Fonseka, who led troops to victory in the military battles against Tiger guerrillas, has been at the Welikade jail for almost three years. For one of his erstwhile enemies in the battlefield in the years before, it is a different story. Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias "Colonel Karuna," a onetime 'Eastern Commander' of the LTTE, was joyously welcoming the New Year at a luxury hotel in Colombo. more..

Millions more spent on costly sterile gloves purchases to avert disruption of surgical procedures

Jan 8 (Island) A critical dearth of sterile gloves has forced the Medical Supplies Division (MSD) to place emergency orders for local purchases costing hundreds of millions of rupees more than customary tender procurements to avert the disruption of surgical procedures in govt hospitals. The Colombo National Hospital has already made an emergency purchase of 40,000 pairs of sterile gloves at a cost of more..

Ex LTTE cadres could join police

Jan 8 (SO) The Sri Lanka Police Department will create opportunities for former LTTE cadres who are well educated to join the police, IGP N.K. Illangakoon said. He said if the former LTTE cadres were willing to join the police after fulfilling the requirements, the Department would recruit them. “They need to have the required educational qualifications and pass the physical fitness tests”, he said. more..

5-day week option for private firms, factories

Jan 8 (ST) Private sector establishments will be allowed to have a five-day week in terms of a new agreement. The National Labour Advisory Council (NLCA) has agreed that the arrangement, particularly in factories, will be implemented if the employees and the management concur. If this happens, companies or factories will need to formulate extended work hours from Monday to Friday. more..