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Ruling party blamed for recent crime wave

July 15 (NS) The crime wave that has swept the country is causing serious concern amidst allegations that the government is dragging its feet in taking preventive measures because most of the alleged offenders are either grassroots level ruling party politicians or those with links to them. The issue has reached such proportions that the ruling party’s popularity is being threatened and aspersions are being cast on the integrity of the govt. If not for any other reason, more..

The nemesis of communal politics in the East

July 15 (Island) Nominations for the Eastern, North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces will close on July 19. The Eastern Province was one place where things were dicey for the govt. Yet by re-nominating Pillaiyan, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has managed to sow consternation among his adversaries as his nomination as chief ministerial candidate, the UPFA held out the promise of a Tamil chief minister again to the eastern Tamils. This is significant in a situation where the TNA does not have enough Tamil votes in the east to more..

Battle in EP takes a new turn

July 15 (NS) Nominations for elections to the North Central, Eastern and Sabaragamuwa PCs will close on July 19 Friday. With only three more days to spare, political parties in the fray are busy finalizing the lists of candidates to be fielded. Despite speculation being rife that govt plans to hold snap polls to North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern PCs, the proclamation that the three councils would be dissolved came as an unpleasant surprise to the more..

Govt. to try new approach with the international community

July 15 (SL) Sri Lanka’s report to be presented at the forthcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on human rights at the 21st session of the UNHRC in Geneva this November was presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday. The report prepared by a committee headed by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe was presented for Presidential approval on Friday. The report is to be sent to the UNHRC on July 23. The 10,700 word report has comprehensively outlined the more..

Looming PC polls leave parties scrambling

July 15 (LB) Both the govt and the opposition has to up the ante with the elections for three provincial councils - East, North Central and Sabaragamuwa - coming up soon. It is also the time for political horse trading with the SLMC still not decided which way to go - with the govt or with the TNA - despite being offered nine nominations in the Eastern province. Though there was an apparent agreement with Rauf Hakeem, SLMC leader, after consultations with the president and his team earlier this week, this unravelled, more..

‘She threatened me’ - Defence Secy

July 15 (NS) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa says he “regrets” losing his temper during his much publicised exchange with Sunday Leader Editor Frederica Janz, but claims he was provoked as Janz ‘threatened’ him. The events leading up to the exchange between the two revolved around Rajapaksa’s attempt to bring down a puppy from Zurich, Switzerland via Sri Lankan Airlines. Sri Lankan Air Lines was allegedly planning to switch an A340 aircraft more..

Justice straight from the jungle

July 15 (ST) My Dear AG-to-be, I thought I must write to you because you are to be appointed as the country’s top legal officer at a time when there is a crime wave and everyone is complaining that there is no law and order in the country. So, even though everyone will be rushing to congratulate you these days, you will need to be careful, AG-to-be. That is because there is no such thing as ‘job security’ even in the high office that you will be holding. If you are in doubt about that, just ask some of your predecessors. more..

National Civil Defense Committees to be reactivated

July 15 (Island) The govt has decided to reactivate and empower the Community Police Service (National Civil Defense Committees) to arrest the growing trend rate of criminal and anti social activities in the country, SP Ajith Rohana, police media spokesperson said yesterday. Action will be initiated by Senior DIG Colombo Anura Senanayake to reactivate these Committees on the instructions of IGP N. K. Illangakoon on the advice of Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. more..

Fonseka tells UNP 'follow me'

July 15 (NS) Former army commander Sarath Fonseka stated that he would extend support to the UNP provided it adheres to his principles. Speaking to The Nation, Fonseka said he had no issues with the UNP at the forthcoming provincial council elections provided that the party leadership agrees to campaign on his principles. In addition, he also said the party should agree to form a common opposition. “There is no point in supporting them (UNP) if my principles are not followed,” more..

Unprofitable: Galle Face seafront for high-life

July 15 (LB) Economists claim that the govt’s decision to construct a golf course and a Formula One racing track on 560 acres of land to be reclaimed from the sea around the Galle Face Green at a cost of US$900 million is highly unprofitable. UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva charged that spending such an enormous amount of money to construct an ‘island’ with the help of a Chinese firm around the Green, would not only be an utter waste of money but also a complete futile more..

'Chandimal will not be looked as an opener'

July 15 (ST) “Though young right hander Dinesh Chandimal became a successful option as an opener we will not be looking at him in that slot on a permanent basis” said National cricket chief selector Asantha de Mel. Chandimal who was drafted into Sri Lanka’s third Test against Pakistan at Pallekele made a stylish 65 as an opener in the second innings which sparked off some speculation of the youngster playing more often in that slot. De Mel said “When regular opener more..

No special flight for Gota’s Swiss dog

July 15 (SL) SriLankan Airlines has cancelled the elaborate special arrangements made to bring a puppy dog from Zurich for Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa after The Sunday Leader Exposé last week. After this newspaper hit the stands, SriLankan hurriedly reversed a previous decision to replace the regular A340 with an A330 to fly Colombo – Kuwait – Zurich on Friday merely to accommodate Capt. Praveen Wijesinghe who is not certified to fly an A340. more..

Topic of reconciliation left to civilians at defence seminar

July 15 (Island) Civilian speakers will handle the subject of reconciliation at the army arranged Defence Seminar – 2012 "Towards Lasting Peace and Stability" to be held at the Galadari Hotel from August 8 to 10, Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya told a news briefing last week. He said up to Tuesday, a total of 24 representatives from 14 countries have confirmed participation and a few dozen others from abroad are in close contact with the army over the arrangements. more..

Poll violations on the rise

July 15 (CT) Election monitors have complained to the Elections Dept over schools in the Anuradhapura District being used to hold political rallies. The Executive Director for the CaFFE, Keerthi Tennakoon said, parents with children attending both schools in question had been duped as they did not expect a political meeting. He added that the meeting had taken place on Friday and the parents were surprised to see local political ‘would be candidates’ for the North-Central Province attending the meeting, more..

Hirunika promises to petition Singapore to ‘get Duminda’

July 15 (LB) If MP Duminda Silva does not return to Sri Lanka in the near future, the family of the assassinated Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra plans to write to the Singapore govt notifying them that a murder suspect is in their country. Hirunika Premachandra said that she did not know what Silva’s medical condition is. “One day he has to come back,” she averred. “He can’t live in Singapore forever. I want him to come back because more..

No warrant for ITN’s Sudharman – Police

July 15 (SL) The Police says there is no pending arrest warrant on ITN Deputy Manager Sudharman Radaliyagoda and so there is no need to arrest him. Police spokesman S.P. Ajith Rohana said that though a warrant had been issued in May to arrest Radaliyagoda that warrant did not exist at the moment. “There is no existing court order calling for the arrest of Radaliyagoda,” he said. He said that to the best of his knowledge the previous court order was lifted. more..

JHU: A no-show at PC polls

July 15 (NS) The JHU has decided not to contest the forthcoming elections for the North-Central, Sabaragamuwa, and Eastern provincial councils, its national organizer Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said. Speaking to The Nation, Warnasinghe said the party’s central and political committees had discussed the matter at length and had taken all aspects into consideration. These included the economic, social, and cultural conditions which currently prevailed in the country, he claimed. more..

ITAK gets lion’s share of Tamil ticket for EP poll

July 15 (Island) After much haggling among Tamil political parties, the ITAK has secured the lion’s share of the nominations for all three Eastern districts at the forthcoming PC polls. Sources said that EPRLF (Suresh Premachandran faction), PLOTE, TELO (Selvam Adaikalanathan) and TULF had no option but to accept ITAK’s demand for 50 per cent of nominations to prevent a break-up of the Tamil alliance. more..

Diplomatic allowances unpaid for six months

July 15 (Island) It has come to light that entertainment allowances paid to Sri Lankan diplomats have remained unpaid for over six months. Several diplomats complained that they were entertaining diplomats in other countries in their respective postings, using their own personal credit card and have run up considerable debts on their personal cards. The External Affairs Ministry in Colombo, strapped for cash, is holding back on these payments due to our High Commissions and Embassies abroad. more..

DIG North appeals to Civil Society

July 15 (CT) The Deputy Inspector General of Police North, Eric Perera has appealed to the Civil Society leaders in Jaffna to assist the police to tackle the increasing criminal activities in the North. DIG Perera at a press conference in Jaffna yesterday said, measures should be taken to tackle the increasing number of crimes and the Civil Society should cooperate with the police to tackle the situation. He said the sexual abuse of women and underage children were more..

Govt. gobbles money from EPF: AG

July 15 (ST) The Auditor General has pointed out several accounting deficiencies and management inefficiencies in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), including failure to credit millions of rupees into members’ personal accounts. The disclosures are contained in the AG’s report on the financial statements of the EPF. These statements were included in the Fund’s 2010 report, which was presented to Parliament recently. more..

RMV issues licences for ‘auto’ vehicles

July 15 (SO) The Department of Motor Traffic now permits trial runs on vehicles with automatic transmission to issue driving licences, Commissioner General S.H. Harischandra said. However, the holder of an ‘automatic’ driving licence will be permitted to drive only auto-vehicles. The holder of this specified licence will be prohibited from driving manual vehicles making it a punishable offence under the country’s traffic laws. The Commissioner General said the decision was more..

SLC nominates three umpires for ICC panel

July 15 (NS) Sri Lanka Cricket has decided to nominate Ranmore Martinesz, Tyron Wijewardene and Ruchira Palliyaguruge to the ICC panel of umpires based on their performance during the past year. Martinesz and Wijewardene are to be nominated as on-field umpires and Palliyaguruge as an third umpire to the ICC. All three umpires have played first-class cricket. In selecting these umpires the SLC Umpires Selection Panel picked Martinesz for his consistent performances more..

SLMC faces split after Hakeem goes back on his word

July 15 (CT) Several senior members of the SLMC, including the General Secretary of the Party, Hassan Ali, and the party’s Additional Propaganda Secretary and the former Senator Masoor Maulana, have expressed their dismay over the decision taken by Leader of the party and the Minister of Justice, Rauf Hakeem, to join hands with the UPFA to contest in the Eastern Provincial Council polls in September. more..

Julampitiye affair forces underworld goons to surface

July 15 (LB) The Department of Police plans to conduct an islandwide operation to nab persons who have been issued court warrants. Informed police sources told LAKBIMAnEWS that the Police Department has shown an unprecedented greater urgency to nab those issued with warrants. According to data collated by the Police Department, during the past fortnight alone they had been able to round up over 5000 suspects who have been issued with open warrants for their arrest. more..

TNA to submit prisoner report to UNHRC

July 15 (SL) The TNA is in the process of preparing a report over the abuse of several Tamil prisoners, and the death of one, in Vavuniya. This report is to be submitted to the UUHRC, according to TNA MP Suresh Premachandran. He explained that, “we are preparing a detailed report over the unfortunate death of Ganesan Nimalaruban along with the abuse of several others. This is a serious matter, and one which the international community and the UN must be made aware of.” more..

Govt. maintains focus on diplomatic battles against external forces

July 15 (ST) For a second week in succession, matters relating to the conduct of the country’s foreign policy preoccupied the Government. Last Sunday, Sri Lanka’s envoys overseas wrapped up a two-day workshop that helped them learn the new thinking of the UPFA leaders with regard to a multitude of issues related to external relations. Most emphasis was more..

Trade association says new prices from this week

July 15 (Island) A major Pettah trader yesterday said that they will pass down Friday’s reduced import duties on essentials including Bombay onion, potatoes and dry fish and canned fish to consumers with effect from this week. Mr. G. Illamanathan, General Secretary of the Essential Food Commodities Importers and Traders Association, said that although they had paid previous duties on some existing stocks, they would carry the loss and price these essentials on the basis of more..

Raging battle for top DG slot amidst vilification campaign

July 15 (Island) Amidst the battle to stake a claim to the state health administrative sector’s top job intensifying, Dr. Ajith Mendis, the incumbent Director-General of Health Services, has been targeted, in what medical officials described as a "malicious vilification campaign orchestrated to thwart a possible extension of service". Scurrilous literature castigating the DG has also surfaced at the Health Ministry in a vicious attack on the senior-most medical administrator in Sri Lanka, more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

July 15 (ST) With so much of other work to do, it is not always that the police keep a tab on private bus drivers. There are occasions when drivers of state-run buses, during their off days, moonlight as private bus drivers. That may not be an offence, one might say. But what of the private bus drivers who operate without a valid driving licence. An insider who knows the workings of the private bus services says there are many of those. The reason, they are cheap to hire and more..

Karu J asks media to unite in condemning Gota’s remarks

July 15 (Island) UNP MP Leader Karu Jayasuriya, in a statement, called on media rights groups at home and abroad to unite in condemning recent remarks attributed to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in a recent telephone exchange with Sunday Leader Editor Frederica Jansz. Jayasuriya said that given that this dialogue had been widely published and not contradicted by either the state media or more..

Prices still the same, election gimmick says consumer and trade

July 15 (Island) Potatoes were selling wholesale at Rs. 65 per kilo in Pettah yesterday while the retail price was Rs. 80 whether they came from Pakistan or China", Yogeswaran, a Pettah wholesaler said. A Kg. of Bombay onions too sold Rs. 65 wholesale while it retailed at Rs. 80. These were the prices on Friday before the duty reductions were announced and they remained the same on Saturday. more..

Channel 4 hammers India over 'war crimes' in Jammu and Kashmir

July 15 (Island) UK media outfit, Channel 4 pursuing international war crimes inquiry targeting Sri Lanka over accountability issues during Eeelam War IV has now accused India of war crimes in Jammu and Kashmir. The hour-long TV documentary, ‘Kashmir’s torture trail’ telecast late Tuesday lashed out at India over atrocities committed by its troops, while UK’s Guardian newspaper, too, attacked the Indian govt also on the same issue. more..

Enter Swiss firm as CPC’s overpriced oil deal backfires

July 15 (ST) A Swiss-based company has emerged to negotiate a disputed payment deal the UAE-based Fujairah Petroleum Company had signed with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to supply up to 160,000 tons of low sulphur oil. Last week the Sunday Times reported that the government agency stands to lose at least Rs. 1 billion from the deal which industry sources allege is irregular and violated tender norms. more..

Major parties finalise nomination lists as closing date nears

July 15 (ST) With nominations for the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern provinces due to close on Thursday, the UPFA has decided to field its former chief miniterial candidates to lead their campaigns, while the UNP and the JVP have picked its leaders in the provinces to spearhead their campaigns. Though nominations for the elections commenced on July 12, all the main parties are due to hand over their nominations more..

Hapless PHIs fight losing battle

July 15 (ST) The killing of a Public Health Inspector (PHI) and a series of reported assaults and threats have brought into focus the safety of these officers and the reasons behind such attacks. As the dengue death toll rose to 85, with 17,000 cases reported during the first seven months of this year, the Health Ministry declared a National Dengue Control month from June 25 to July 24. Police and Health officials launched comprehensive inspection programmes, more..

Hi-tech measures to stop job swindles in the Middle East

July 15 (ST) Sri Lankans seeking jobs in the Middle East will now face electronic fingerprinting and biometric scanning prior to departure to crack down on rampant fraud and other irregularities in the recruitment trade. Scanning devices would be installed at the departure and arrival areas of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and at all Sri Lankan diplomatic missions in the Middle Eastern countries more..

Debate brewing over Sri Lanka tea blending plans

July 15 (AFP) Sri Lanka's tea industry is deeply divided over plans to boost earnings by importing cheaper leaves for blending and re-export, over fears the changes could water down the "Pure Ceylon" brand. Pure Ceylon -- using the country's colonial-era name -- is to tea what single malt is to whisky, according to some aficionados, with single-origin Sri Lankan tea costing as much as twice that of a multi-origin tea. more..

President Rajapaksa declares open the Upper Kotmale Hydro Power Project

July 15 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa ceremonially declared open the 150MW Upper Kotmale Hydropower Plant this morning (14) at the auspicious time of 10.45 am. The ceremonial opening also attended by Minister Champika Ranawaka and Japanese Ambassador in Colombo, Nobuhito Hobo. The Upper Kotmale hydro power plant which consists of two generators with 75 MW of capacity adds 150MW of power to more..

Sweden to kick out Lankan ‘war refugees’

July 15 (LB) Diplomatic sources said that the Swedish govt was in the process of sending back all Sri Lankan ‘war refugees’ to Colombo shortly. These sources also said that a decision to this effect was to be taken by the Swedish govt before passing it down to the relevant security channels to make it official. They added that the Swedish govt had decided to take such a decision as the situation in Sri Lanka has ‘turned for the better’ since the end of hostilities between the security forces and more..