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Is EPF FR case designed to embarrass SC?

Nov 1 (SL) Knowledgeable legal circles are speculating as to whether the recently filed Fundamental Rights (FR) action against the EPF, master-minded by the UNP and petitioned by 11 Trade Unions, is a ploy to embarrass the Supreme Court. Such a debate has arisen because the petitioners have, knowingly or unknowingly, introduced a matter which is obviously sensitive to the Supreme Court, into the FR plaint. more..

Ten Software Companies represent Sri Lanka at Dubai's GITEX

Nov 1 (GDI) Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) in collaboration with the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Dubai organized a Country Pavilion at GITEX 2012. This year, 10 Sri Lankan software companies exhibited their software solutions at GITEX Technology Week held in Dubai World Trade Centre from Oct 14-18, 2012. Sri Lanka’s software export sector more..

Sri Lanka adjust to unusual pace in Pallekele

Nov 1 (CI) Somewhere in the world, a cricket fan may have tuned into the beginning of New Zealand's innings in the Twenty20 on Tuesday and suspected she was witnessing the first ever day-night Test match. The teams were not wearing whites, but New Zealand's kit was unsullied by a sponsor's logo. Perhaps coloured clothing had become part of the deal in cricket's efforts to sex up its fuddiest format, and for some reason, more..

TNA ready to take part in PSC

Nov 1 (CT) The TNA is ready to take part in the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), if the govt provides a positive response to the party's demands. TNA MP, Suresh Premachandran said the Provincial Councils should be given, “all powers including land and police powers except Defence, Foreign and Financial powers.” He pointed out that though the Provincial Councils have already been given land and police powers according more..

No plans to replace Iran as Island's main crude supplier

Nov 1 (FNA) Sri Lanka's Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) does not plan to replace Iran as the main supplier of its crude oil imports, media reports said. "CPC has no immediate plans to tie up a new term import contract to replace Iranian crude as it awaits greater clarity on the Iran situation. It will instead seek regular imports of 135,000 metric tons cargoes for delivery every 20 days to meet its refinery's requirements," more..

Suspension of UNP MPs, PC members to be lifted if they apologise

Nov 1 (Island) The three UNP MPs and two provincial councilors, who had defied a Working Committee decision and attended the October 18, Hyde Park rally, to re-launch the political career of former army commander Sarath Fonseka, are to be pardoned, provided they apologize and agree to toe the party line in the future. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had informed party seniors that he had no objection to the suspension more..

Sri Lanka draws new battle line with old friends

Nov 1 (AFP) Three years after the armed forces crushed its Tamil Tiger enemies, Sri Lanka's govt is now turning on former allies, with the head of the Supreme Court becoming the latest to fall from grace. Evoking memories of the demise of ex-army head Sarath Fonseka, who ended up behind bars after trying to run against President Mahinda Rajapakse in 2010, the govt in recent months has appeared to be tightening its grip on power. more..

Sri Lanka starts process to impeach chief justice

Nov 1 (BBC) Sri Lankan governing party MPs have begun moves to impeach Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. A parliamentary motion to impeach Ms Bandaranayake was submitted on Thursday, officials say. Impeachment is the only constitutional way to remove a sitting chief justice. Correspondents say the move is the latest manifestation of tension between the government and the judiciary, which has made some rulings unfavourable to it in recent months. more..

Dialog TV subscribers top 250,000

Nov 1 (LBO) Dialog Television, a direct-to-home pay television service run by the Sri Lanka's unit of Malaysia's Axiata group said subscribers rose 50,000 over the past year to top 250,000 by end September 2012. Revenues had grown 29% to 2.2 billion rupees for the nine months ending September 2012, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization grew 32% to 498 million rupees. Dialog Television had lost 13 million rupees during the September quarter, more..

Forum highlights paperless trade benefits

Nov 1 (LBO) Reducing red tape and adopting paperless systems will improve competitiveness of South Asian countries whose intra-regional trade costs are almost 50 percent higher than those of East Asia, a UN trade official said. And getting importers and exporters involved in designing such systems is essential as govt initiatives without private sector consultation are likely to fail, Ravi Ratnayake told a trade facilitation forum in Colombo. "The hidden cost of red tape amounts to more..

‘We will make sure the report to Congress is identified as secondary source reporting’

Nov 1 (CT) “Blake said that the report requested by Congress on potential violations of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity committed during the final stages of the conflict is expected to be released in mid to late October. It is secondary source reporting and we will make sure it is identified as such, Blake said.” the US State Department wrote to US Embassy Colombo. “However, part of political more..

NZ v SL 1st ODI: Match abandoned without ball bowled

Nov 1 (CI) Incessant rain and drizzle forced abandonment in the first ODI between Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Pallekele, without a ball being bowled. The covers were never removed, and match referee Andy Pycroft called off the match at 17.15 local time. The weather had also severely hampered both teams' preparation in the lead-up to the match. Tuesday's Twenty20 was also a washout, after only 16 overs were bowled. The action now heads to Colombo, which hosts the more..

Govt. to introduce national policy on telecom towers

Nov 1 (NS) Cabinet has approved a proposal brought forward by the President as Minister in charge of Telecommunication Regulatory Authority to implement a national policy on telecommunication towers with specific guidelines. This was disclosed at the Cabinet press briefing held today. At present 9 public switched telecommunication network service providers are providing telecommunication services in the country and more than 2900 antenna more..

Affect of heavy rain and cyclone

Nov 1 (GDI) The affect of Nilam cyclone caused heavy rain and high winds in many part of the country since 29th Oct. Department of Meteorology issued a bulleting on 01st Nov saying that under the influence of the cyclonic storm Nilam, South-western parts of the island (Western, Central, Sabaragamuwa and Southern provinces) are receiving heavy rainfalls and it is likely to continue for next 9 hours. Strong winds are also likely more..

AVANI opens second resort in Sri Lanka

Nov 1 (IT) Minor Hotel Group, in partnership with Serendib Leisure, has announced the opening of the second AVANI resort – AVANI Kalutara Resort & Spa, on Sri Lanka’s south west coast. Formerly known as Kani Lanka, the resort has reopened after a significant renovation and refurbishment representing a USD five million investment. Located an hour south of the island’s capital Colombo and approximately a 2.5 hour drive from BIA, AVANI Kalutara has a remarkable situation, more..

Sri Lanka stocks close 0.3% lower

Nov 1 (LBO) Stocks fell 0.35% Thursday dragged down by financial sector stocks despite gains by index heavy Dialog Axiata, brokers said while the ruling coalition moved to impeach the country's chief justice. The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index fell 19.10 points to 5,494.54 and the S&P SL 20 Index fell 13.90 points (0.47%) to 2,974.15 points. Turnover was 138 million rupees, the lowest since July 09, when daily turnover fell to 125.1 million rupees, according to CSE data. more..

Amunugama appointed Deputy Finance Minister

Nov 1 (ST) Sarath Amunugama, appointed on Thursday as Deputy Minister of Finance, will present the 2013 budget in parliament on Nov 8 and spearhead the budget debate. The sudden changes at the Finance Ministry was owing to President Rajapaksa, who is the Finance Minister, being away from the country on Nov 8, a govt official said. Last year the more..

Sri Lanka to lease islet for resort

Nov 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka will lease an islet off the Western coast of the island for a 1,070 million rupee upfront payment to a developer to build an integrated tourist resort, minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said. The cabinet had approved a proposal by minister Basil Rajapaksa to lease the 450 islet for 99 year to Sapphire Bay Resorts (Pvt) Ltd, he said. The islet called Uchchimunai off Kalapitiya is among several state-owned that have been offered to foreign investors. more..

Sri Lanka's upscale hotels suffer faltering occupancies

Nov 1 (TTG) Even though visitor numbers to Sri Lanka remain on target for the year, high-end hotels and resorts in the country have registered 10 to 15% dips in occupancy levels this winter. Arrivals rose 18.1% year-on-year in September, while visitor numbers from January to September increased 16% year-on-year to 693,772, paving the way for Sri Lanka to reach its target of one million visitors for 2012. “However the arrivals (growth) is not more..

Mahela's olive branch to angry cricket fans

Nov 1 (E24|7) Mahela Jayawardene offered an olive branch to fans who have lost faith in watching cricket and heartbrokern after Sri Lanka choked in the World Twenty20 final against West Indies less than a month ago. The one-off T20 international between Sri Lanka and New Zealand saw less than 500 people at Pallekele stadium in Kandy on Tuesday night. Inclement weather which caused the match to be abandoned may more..

Boost to Oman-Lanka ties, sign MoU

Nov 1 (ON) Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, yesterday held a number of meetings during his official visit to Sri Lanka. The Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs signed a MoU with minister G L Peiris, related to political talks between the Sultanate and Sri Lanka. The two sides also held talks in the presence of the delegation accompanying Alawi and top officials at the Sri Lankan foreign ministry. They discussed ways of promoting the Omani-Sri Lankan more..

eSwabhimani receives more than 200 applications

Nov 1 (GDI) An unprecedented number of applications has been received for the fourth eSwabhimani (2012), an initiative of the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) for recognition of local digital content developers. From its inception in 2009 the eSwabhimani Award has evinced great interest and this year’s applications have hit the 219th mark, the highest in the Award’s history. This year too ICTA had invited developers to spruce up their more..

Changes in FM frequencies from today

Nov 1 (DM) The TRC had taken a decision to allocate new FM radio frequencies to FM radio networks which would come into effect from today, TRC Director General Anusha Palpita said. He said that the main purpose of allocating new frequencies was to provide clearer reception for radio frequencies in any part of the country. “Under the new plan the frequencies have been allocated in such a manner to ensure that all FM radio more..

Religious ceremonies to bless President

Nov 1 (GDI) A series of religious programmes have been organized to bless President Mahinda Rajapaksa in connection with the President’s birthday falling on the 18th of this month and to mark President Rajapaksa’s seventh anniversary of assuming Office. Accordingly, religious programmes will be held throughout the country from today onwards. One week's Pirith chanting will be held from November 12 to 19 at main Vihara in all the districts. In Kandy it will be held at more..

Sri Lanka offers to repatriate 10 Indian prisoners

Nov 1 (PTI) Sri Lanka has offered to repatriate 10 Indian prisoners, currently serving their sentence in the island nation's jails, to India to complete their remaining prison term. This was conveyed by Colombo to New Delhi through diplomatic channels saying it wanted to send the prisoners back as part of a pact signed by Sri Lanka and India on exchange of prisoners in 2010, official sources said. Most of the Indian prisoners in Sri Lanka are from Tamil Nadu and Kerala. more..

Boat people to be sent home under 'turn-back' provision

Nov 1 (DT) The Australian govt has enacted a virtual "turn-back" provision for asylum seekers for the first time, in a crackdown on boat arrivals who fail to make credible claims for entry. The Daily Telegraph has learned that 26 Sri Lankans were put aboard a charter flight from Christmas Island back to their home country last night after being refused entry on the basis their claims for asylum were not credible. more..

Right to extricate from poverty – a major human right

Nov 2 (NS) Last week I read the biography of Muhammad Yunus, the man who introduced the Grameen Bank system to Bangladesh for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. The title of the book is ‘Banker to the poor’. While elaborating on how the Grameen Bank system was developed in Bangladesh, Yunus, in his book, also says that development should be looked at as a human rights issue. “If foreign aid is to have some impact more..

A hidden displacement crisis

Nov 2 (IDMC) More than three years after the end of the 26-year armed conflict between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the LTTE, nearly 470,000 people displaced during its various stages have returned to their home areas. This does not mean, however, that there is no internal displacement in the country any more. As of the end of September 2012, more than 115,000 IDPs were still living in camps, with host communities or in transit sites, or had been relocated, often against their will, to areas more..

Judiciary and the executive at loggerheads

Nov 2 (DM) Thursday’s parliamentary debate on the crisis between the judiciary and the executive ended with a note which suggested that the government would be tough against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. Deputy Minister Jayaratne Herath who participated in the debate even tried to table a scurrilous anonymous letter against her in Parliament. It was interpreted by political observers that the govt is hell- bent on taking action more..

13th amendment is just, fair and here to stay

Nov 2 (DBS) The Thirteenth Amendment (13 A) to the Constitution had a very ominous birth. It was an integral part of the Gandhi/JR Accord that was signed between the two heads of the Govts of India and Sri Lanka at the time. So much has been written about the circumstances surrounding the signing of the Accord and its immediate aftermath. The country was engulfed in a violent frenzy. The then main Opposition, the SLFP led by the mother and son combination of Sirimavo and Anura more..

Govt moves on disaster data-sharing

Nov 2 (IRIN) The Sri Lankan govt is working to improve its disaster response capacity by sharing geographic data, say experts. “Ensuring organizations [national authorities and partners] all use the same geographic data is essential,” Shyamalie Perera, deputy surveyor-general of Sri Lanka’s Survey Department, said. “Sharing digital data will help national authorities and humanitarian organizations exchange data, thereby improving the effectiveness of humanitarian more..

US recommendations for SL at UPR

Nov 2 (CT) The United States while noting steps taken by the govt of Sri Lanka to resettle IDPs, foster economic growth, and develop a National Action Plan for implementing a number of recommendations of the LLRC called for the strengthening of judicial independence by ending government interference with the judicial process, protecting members of the judiciary from attacks, and restoring a fair, independent, and more..

The Constitution of Sri Lanka (Part 10)

Nov 2 (NS) We in Sri Lanka are in the midst of agitations and movements calling for good governance and constitutional changes. The rationale for the call of constitutional changes emanate from a belief that the power invested in presidential rule is pernicious to the well-being of the people. The constitution is a dictatorial document and therefore it has to be got rid of, according to the charges leveled against it. A constitution detrimental to the well-being of the people more..

Reading the Nation Census

Nov 2 (NS) According to census data, the Muslim population is 1,869,820 in 2012, as against 1,038,127 in 1981 and during the period under review; its total growth is 80%. In this regard it has to be noted that although the rate of population growth of the entire country is under one percent, the rate of growth of Muslim population alone is about 2% - double that of the country. This means that although the country needs 78 to 82 years to double its existing population, the Muslim community more..


Nov 2 (SL) Rajapaksas obsessively intent on getting the Divi Neguma Bill through? Why is the regime orchestrating a campaign against the 13th Amendment? Why were principals of 23 leading schools made to undergo a week’s ‘Leadership Training’ and made brevet colonels? Why have the police failed to catch the assailants of JSC Secretary and High Court Judge Manjula Tilakeratne? Why does the govt spend on buying/maintaining more..

History Repeats Itself…

Nov 2 (SL) When I decided to use an old quote about history repeating itself I was torn between George Santayana’s that went, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” and what Karl Marx had to say on the same subject: “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce”, because either would have fitted the bill with regard to what I am about to say apropos of the legislation stampeded through Parliament which enables the current regime to appropriate more..

With an Impeachment on the kerb, 'single issues' and dissenting 'Left' worth nothing

Nov 2 (CT) A new Rajapaksa campaign is now given unofficial prominence. That of impeaching the Chief Justice. It was reported a few days ago, some Ministers have put their signatures at an auspicious time, last Friday. Of course it was also said the signatures were on blank paper. But, the reports indicated the signatures were meant for impeachment of the CJ. This comes in the wake of a Court indictment against Pradeep Kariyawasam, husband of Chief Justice, Bandaranayake. more..

13th amendment can be built upon and made more meaningful

Nov 2 (DBS) Last week, we heard a cacophony of voices from within the govt in relation to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Quarter of a century after the enactment, it took centre stage again with many expressing their opinions for and against this Amendment not continuing to remain in force, but remain in the statute books! Many important parts of this amendment are yet to see the light of day, more..

Sri Lanka: A war on words

Nov 2 (CT) The people of Sri Lanka are still reeling from the trauma of a conflict can’t forget. The consistent negligence and stubbornness of the Sri Lankan government in dealing with its critics and dissidents is shameful. Peaceful critics are labelled as terrorists, journalists are abducted, and dissidence is suppressed with an iron hand. In Sri Lanka, in one of the more dangerous places to ever pick up a pen or camera, Lasantha Wickramatunga decided to become a journalist. more..

Glimpses of the real university crisis

Nov 2 (Island) Three months of agonising wait is finally over for tens of thousands of youth in the higher strata of our educational system, now that the so-called ‘university crisis’ is deemed to have ended, and our dons have decided to resume their routine duties. Many among them would like us to know that had it not been for their patriotic zeal they would have left Sri Lanka to sell their brains in far more lucrative markets. Mighty decent of them. In fairness to this fraternity I should say that it more..