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Editorial: And so another budget came

Nov 11 (CT) Given the way things have been moving over the past few years or more, most Sri Lankans are probably tired or sick of what is being called ĎBudgetsí, especially the one that comes up in Parliament at this time of the year. Gone are those days when Ronnie de Melís Budget Speeches were looked forward to, even when there was nothing in it. Now it seems that hardly a few heads turn, when it is the turn of the Budget in Parliament. The people are quite right to turn away from budgets or more..

'Chief Justice may not get a fair trial'

Nov 11 (SL) Former MP and Senior Counsel S.L. Gunasekera says the alleged statement by a governing party MP that the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice was because of the verdict against the Divi Neguma Bill is a threat to the Judiciary to give judgments hereafter that favor the govt and if they give any judgment that does not favor the govt, they would be impeached. ďI think this impeachment was not for the more..

Govt and CJ brace for showdown

Nov 11 (LB) The face-off between the govt and the judiciary is now being played out in the open On Tuesday, Parliament published the Order Paper of Nov 6, 2012 which levelled charges against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. It called, ďas per Article 107(2) of the Constitution, for a motion of Parliament to be presented to the president for the removal of the (Dr.) (Mrs.) Shirani Bandaranayake from the office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.Ē Among the 14 charges more..

Budget presentation buries rumblings behind impeachment moves

Nov 11 (NS) Itís budget week. President Mahinda Rajapaksa presented the 8th budget of his tenure in his capacity as Minister of Finance and Planning, last Thursday. Delivering the Budget speech, President said the govtís aim is to transform Sri Lanka to an upper middle income country, by reaching a per capita income of US$ 4,000 and a GDP of US$ 100 billion by 2016. He pointed out that Sri Lanka had achieved a satisfactory growth of around 6.8% due to the resilience of the more..

SL v NZ 4th OID: Bowlers deliver series win for Sri Lanka

Nov 11 (CI) Rain made an appearance for the fifth game in a row on this tour but that didn't prevent Sri Lanka from taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the ODI series. In another truncated fixture, Sri Lanka's bowlers gave New Zealand a tough time in conditions helpful for bowling and their batsmen approached the task of chasing down 131 in 32 overs positively. In what turned out to be a comfortable victory, more..

Crisis over impeachment gathering momentum

Nov 11 (NS) The crisis over the impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake is gathering momentum with the parties to the conflict preparing for an unrelenting duel although, as matters stand, indications are that the ruling party will eventually prevail. In the lead up to the motion being presented in Parliament, the state media carried out a concerted campaign against Chief Justice Bandaranayake that bordered on the vitriolic. This is an indication that this will be a no holds more..

Former financial fiddler playing budgetary blues

Nov 11 (ST) My dear PBJ, I thought I should write to you to congratulate you on this yearís budget because we know that you are responsible for it even though Mahinda maama read it out in Parliament. Ah, what a change of fortunes it has been for you! It was only a few years ago that you gave an undertaking to the courts that you would not be holding public office again but here you are presiding over the fiscal fortunes of our country while those who judged you are now themselves more..

CID to probe STF excess

Nov 11 (CT) The CID has launched a probe into Fridayís prison riot, in a bid to determine whether there were unnecessary casualties and extra-judicial killings of inmates that may have taken place. A senior CID officer said, they will be recording statements from inmates, prison officials and STF personnel, who were involved in the incident. According to CID sources, they will be looking into reports of prisoners being killed more..

Judging the Chief of the Judiciary

Nov 11 (Island) As one newspaper editor said, we get budgets once every year, but an impeachment (especially one that goes the whole hog) will be seen only once in a lifetime. Throughout the past week, the media has been on a feeding frenzy over the impeachment motion against the chief justice. The budget has been all but forgotten in the excitement. What enhances the heat and controversy is the fact that the same individual may be in two minds about the judiciary and its more..

Budget imposes additional tax on tuk tuks and lorries

Nov 11 (LB) Although the masses consider the tax increase on three-wheelers and lorries as unfair, the tax imposed was to Ďcontrolí the excess number of three-wheelers being imported to the country,Ē said Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya. He said, ďAlthough it is unfair to impose 5% tax on lorries and three-wheelers, we already have about 700,000 three-wheelers in the country. Several three-wheeler associations have submitted a proposal asking the govt to have a Ďcontrolí over three-wheelers more..

Most people in favour of 2013 budget proposals

Nov 11 (ST) A snap poll on Sri Lankaís 2013 budget from email and street responses saw a majority of the respondents appearing to back the govtís proposals. The poll was jointly conducted by the Business Times (BT) and polling partner, Research and Consultancy Bureau (RCB) soon after President Rajapaksa ended his budget speech in Parliament on Thursday. Questions (targeting a cross-section of the public) were asked on the wage hike of more..

Alleged killer of Kotte monks amongst the slain

Nov 11 (Island) Manjusri Harsha, the suspect held on remand in connection with the slaying of two Buddhist monks at the Kotte Raja Maha Viharaya early this year was amongst the 27 inmates killed during Fridayís riot. SSP Prashantha Jayakody said that eleven of those killed have been identified as notorious underworld figures and the majority of them were in the death row. The identity of the following prisoners who lost their lives in the violence were released yesterday: more..

Publishers from 15 countries to meet in Colombo

Nov 11 (Island) Book publishers in Sri Lanka will receive valuable exposure to their international counterparts later this month, when the Asia Pacific Publishersí Association (APPA) holds its Annual General Meeting and Publishing Forum in Colombo. 27 senior executives representing publishing companies and publishersí associations in 14 countries besides Sri Lanka have confirmed attendance at the November 17 event, to be hosted by the Sri Lanka Book Publishersí more..

Reconsider impeachment: BASL

Nov 11 (ST) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka at a special general meeting yesterday passed a resolution calling on President and Speaker to reconsider the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. Pandemonium reigned at the meeting attended by more than 1,000 lawyers from various parts of the country as views were exchanged for and against the 8-point resolution. more..

Editorial: Impeachment or inquisition of CJ?

Nov 11 (ST) At least this time, the Govt is truthful about it; it has made it known that the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice tabled in Parliament this week in what was clearly an Ďindecent hurryí, is a Ďpolitical decisioní. That such step would be taken as revenge for scuttling the Divineguma Bill was talked about for some time. The Supreme Court holding certain provisions of the Bill as being unconstitutional was taken as an affront to the Govt. But the law is the law, and the Constitution more..

Arjuna to remain in DNA until opposition parties unite

Nov 11 (NS) Sri Lankaís world cup winning former cricket captain, Arjuna Ranatunga, who resigned from the Democratic Partyís Deputy leader position, told The Nation that however, he continued to be a member of the Democratic Alliance with complete faith in former Army Chief, the party leader, Sarath Fonseka. ďI quit the position because some of the party members are Ďdilutedí in their way of thinking. But I remain to be a member of the Alliance where I have complete faith in Sarath Fonseka,Ē more..

Govt. to consider acquisition of GK assets through legal enactment

Nov 11 (Island) Minister Basil Rajapaksa last week assured a delegation of Golden Key (GK) depositorsí representatives that the govt will actively consider the acquisition of all assets and properties of this collapsed Ceylinco subsidiary through a legislative enactment of Parliament to raise liquid cash for the repayment of struggling investors. The assurance by the Minister, described by jubilant GK investors as a "major breakthrough more..

Fonsekaís party not yet registered Ė Polls Chief

Nov 11 (SL) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya says the political party of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has not been registered. Fonseka had sought the registration of the Democratic Party as a recognized political party with the Department of Elections. Deshapriya says the Democratic Party was not registered since at the time it was submitted for registration elections had been called for in two local councils in the north. Last week Democratic Party member more..

Govt: Accusations on killing of former rebel in France 'ridiculous'

Nov 11 (SL) The Sri Lankan Embassy in France termed as ĀgridiculousĀh accusations that the military intelligence was behind the assassination of a former LTTE commander in France. Sri LankaĀfs Ambassador to France, Dayan Jayatilleka, said that the French law enforcement authorities are investigating the incident. Nadarajah Mathinthiran alias Parithi, an ex-LTTE commander who had left the movement in the early 90Ā's and later coordinated Tamil political activities in France since 2003, more..

FUTA poised to strike again

Nov 11 (NS) The FUTA has threatened to take appropriate action if their demands, which the govt recently agreed to grant, were not met. FUTA has claimed the education authorities, mainly the Vice Chancellors have failed to implement the agreement reached between them and Minister Basil Rajapaksa. In a letter to Rajapaksa, FUTA has expressed its displeasure over the education authoritiesí lackadaisical attitude in not more..

UNP, JVP reject President's invite

Nov 11 (SL) The opposition UNP and JVP have rejected an open invite extended by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to join hands with him on national, political and economic issues. President Rajapaksa had extended the invitation at the end of the budget speech in Parliament last week. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that the UNP had rejected the invitation as in the opinion of the party the invitation was not genuine. ďThe President does everything on his own but more..

Ranil raps impeachment coverage by Press

Nov 11 (Island) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that media has become a nuisance in their reporting of the issues relating to the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Banadaranayake. Wickremesinghe said that some reports have implied that he had a grudge against the Chief Justice over the Supreme Courtís backing of the 18th Amendment. "I have no grudge against the Chief Justice over the 18th Amendment. more..

Prisoners at war

Nov 11 (ST) It all began on Friday afternoon, with heavily armed Special Task Force (STF) personnel in search of banned items such as mobile phones, tobacco, alcohol, narcotics, etc among prisoners serving life and long sentences at Welikada jail. The search operation involving more than 200 STF personnel started around 2.00 pm from Ward ĎLí which accommodates remand as well as convicted prisoners. more..

Lankan nationals who tried to migrate sent back

Nov 11 (Hindu) With the State govt deciding to drop action against 65 Sri Lankan nationals against whom a case was registered under the provisions of the Foreigners Act, the office of the Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka here facilitated their return. The first batch of 56 persons left Chennai on Friday night to Colombo by a Sri Lankan airlines flight. The Sri Lankan nationals, including women and children, were heading to Christmas Islands (Australia) in a boat from Jaffna. more..

High-powered committee to probe Welikada Prison violence

Nov 11 (SO) The Govt yesterday appointed a three-member high-powered committee to probe the violence at the Welikada Prison which led to the death of 27 inmates on Friday evening. The police deployed a special CID team to probe the incident, which also left several police personnel injured. The mayhem erupted when prison officials and the Special Task Force launched a search operation to seize heroin and mobile phones smuggled into the prison. As the search operation was more..

19th Amendment for new devolution package

Nov 11 (ST) The Govt is working out a 19th Amendment to the Constitution to incorporate a new devolution package to address Tamil grievances and replace the existing Provincial Council system. A draft of this amendment is to be presented to a Parliamentary Select Committee which the Govt wants to appoint. ďIt is up to the TNA to join. We will give it time. Otherwise we will have to go ahead,Ē Minister Basil Rajapaksa said. more..

Hedging: CPC to challenge US court verdict

Nov 11 (NS) The Petroleum Ministry on Friday said it had sought the advice of the Attorney Generalís Department to challenge the order against the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) by a US based court on the hedging deal. The US based court delivered a judgment imposing a fine of USD 60 million to be paid by the CPC to the Duetsche Bank A spokesperson for the Petroleum Ministry said they were in touch with the AGís Department on the matter and they would proceed further more..

UNP wants PSC on prison riot

Nov 11 (CT) The UNP handed over a motion to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday, calling for the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to investigate the riot in the Welikada Prison, where a number of inmates and law enforcement members were killed. Chief Opposition Whip, John Amaratunga, said the Welikada Prison riot was of an enormous magnitude and had resulted in nearly 30 deaths and an equal number of injured, including the DIG more..

CJ decides to stay on and fight

Nov 11 (ST) Arriving some 15 minutes late for Mondayís Supreme Court sittings, the usually punctual Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake declared from the bench ďas you understand, I had to collect so many documentsĒ. She did not elaborate. Nor did lawyers present to represent clients in cases listed for that day raise any query. There was little doubt it was a reference to the impeachment resolution 117 govt MPs more..

TV channels to also have new frequencies

Nov 11 (SL) Following the decision to allocate new frequencies to radio stations, the TRC is now looking at doing the same with television stations. Director General of the TRC Anusha Pelpita said that there are 23 television stations operating in Sri Lanka. He said that frequencies cannot be provided to new television channels as almost all the frequencies have been taken. The TRC is looking at issuing new frequencies in order to ensure better reception for the public similar to the system adopted with more..

'Budget response to doctorsí positive'

Nov 11 (NS) The Budget proposals, with regard to one of the main requests made by the GMOA for a pay hike, have been positive says GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr Nalin Ariyaratne. ďWe have been requesting the Treasury for over two years to expand the present government sector salary ratio from 1:4 to 1:12, since the difference in the minimum wage for skilled professionals and unskilled employees such as laborers is very small, despite the fact that there is a huge difference in more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Nov 11 (ST) If he once commanded thousands of troops and led them to the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas, former General Sarath Fonseka has now become a political orphan. Two stalwarts of his Democratic Party Ė Tiran Alles and Arjuna Ranatunga Ė both MPs, have resigned. That leaves only one MP Ė Jayantha Ketagoda Ė with him. Even three UNP MPs who backed Fonseka have now backtracked in the face of more..

Lanka to buy oil from Sípore spot market

Nov 11 (ST) Spot purchases in the Singapore market are among options the Govt is looking at to ensure continued fuel supplies, Minister Susil Premajayantha said. He said that with the disruption of supplies from Iran due to problems in opening Letters of Credit through banks, the CPC was also seeking Cabinet approval to make mechanical adjustments at the Sapugaskanda refinery to handle crude oil from other more..

If CJ is guilty, so is MR of making a bad appointment

Nov 11 (Island) JVP frontliner K.D. Lal Kantha asserts that if the Chief Justice, against whom an impeachment motion has been presented to Parliament is found to be a person unfit to hold such office, then President Mahinda Rajapaksa who appointed her to that position must also be found guilty of having appointed such a person. The former MP and JVP Politburo member said that the countryís Chief Justice is not more..

Budget 2013: Sops for middle and working classes; farmers, fishermen get little relief

Nov 11 (ST) If it was good news for flashy racing car drivers and bare footed children who trudge to school through rocky roads, last Thursdayís budget was bad news for most others. President Rajapaksa announced that racing cars will be allowed into the country without duty and school children in rural areas will receive free footwear. However, a cross section of the public was livid there was very little for them to reduce the burden of high living costs. more..

Krrish has paid only 10 % of lease for prime Fort property, admits Govt.

Nov 11 (ST) The Govt on Friday conceded that M/s Krrish Group India has only made an initial deposit of Rs. 499.5 million or 10% of the total lease premium for the Transworks House property in Colombo Fort. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva in response to a question raised by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said as a follow up action after making the initial deposit, the UDA has taken steps to vest the Heritage building site more..

SLFP CC to discuss key issues causing divisions within UPFA.

Nov 11 (Island) The Central Committee (CC) of the SLFP is scheduled to discuss some of the crucial issues of national importance which had led to divisions amongst Cabinet Ministers of the UPFA, govt sources said yesterday. The SLFP CC on November 15 will be followed by a meeting of the Samasta Lanka Karaka Sabhawa of the SLFP, the sources said. Some of the controversial issues are the call for the abolition of the 13th more..

Udul and 2 others arrested over JVP, FSP clash

Nov 11 (AD) Former convener of the Inter University Students Federation and FSP stalwart Udul Premaratne and two other JVP supporters have been arrested by Boralesgamuwa Police over an assault. A clash between a group of members of the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) and members of the JVP had occurred yesterday in the Sirimal Mawatha area between Pepiliyana and Rattanapitiya. FSP members lodged a complaint with Police more..

'UNP will support 13th Amendment abolition if coupled with Executive Presidency'

Nov 11 (Island) Minister Wimal Weerawansa met with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to enlist his support for the abolition of the provincial council system. Minister Weerawansa whose NFF has launched a campaign to abolish the PCs called on Wickremesinghe at the Opposition Leaderís Office of the Parliamentary Complex yesterday. "We are meeting with different political parties with a view to forming an alliance more..

Killings unlimited in Galleís gang rivalry

Nov 11 (ST) A longstanding feud between two groups in the Galle area, has left 12 persons brutally killed and many others disabled without limbs, and even eyes. The Dangedera area in Galle was predominantly Buddhists, with little less than an equal number of Muslims. The Seneviratne family maintained the peace between the two feuding parties, and would mediate for peace in the event of a conflict, with Nandana Seneviratne in the forefront of such peacekeeping efforts. more..