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Responding to the Politics of the Budget

Nov 2 (Island) Budgets are deeply political because they are about the distribution of resources. If we take the budget of a family, it is hierarchical and gendered; decision making on expenditure is often monopolised by the head of the family, where male and monetised work are valued over others, particularly domestic work. The same goes for the national budget, not only in terms of the priorities of resource allocation, but also the value given to certain sectors, the limited number of more..

Editorial: Let sanity prevail!

Nov 2 (Island) In an unfortunate turn of events, a group of UPFA MPs yesterday submitted to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa an impeachment motion against Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. The stage has now been set for a showdown between the govt and the Supreme Court. This battle will surely have no victors and the first casualty will be the country's stability. A clash between the executive and the judiciary has come about because those two branches of govt have the bad habit of treading on each other's corn. more..

Midweek Politics: Chief Justice faces judgment day

Nov 2 (CT) On 18 May 2011, then 53-year-old Supreme Court Justice Shirani Bandaranayake clad in a maroon Kandyan saree and wearing a simple adornment of black pearls, took oaths as Sri Lanka’s first female Chief Justice before President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Her appointment came 15 years after she was appointed to the Supreme Court, blazing a trail then too, as the first female Justice of the country’s highest Court. She is the senior most Judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and more..

Boston Lanka News: November 01, 2012

Life gets that much harder for NRFC holders

Nov 2 (ST) In the movie “It’s a wonderful life”, George Bailey is a fictional businessman who shifts from despair to intense motivation. Undoubtedly holders of foreign currency accounts locally can relate to the mood swings. Counterfactuals helped George Bailey in the movie. NRFC depositors may also benefit from such counterfactuals about the actions of global central bankers. Foreign exchange markets are the most notorious asset class to forecast due to its “supposedly” zero-sum more..

Fiscal performance facing substantial risks

Nov 2 (Island) Sri Lanka’s fiscal performance faces substantial risks from slower growth, higher interest rates and a weaker rupee in the medium term with latest data indicating a departure from the significant improvements made over the last few years. After ballooning to 9.9 percent of GDP in 2009, the budget deficit was brought down to 8 percent in 2010 and 6.9 percent in 2011 due to a combination of factors including reforms to the tax system, expenditure consolidation and monitoring by the IMF more..

Legal procedure on impeachment is blatantly one sided-Ex CJ

Nov 2 (DM) Former chief justice Sarath N. Silva said that the legal procedure to impeach the Chief Justice was blatantly one sided and fundamentally flawed. Mr. Silva told a press conference that this procedure for impeachment was blatantly one sided. He said investigations into the allegations under the current standing orders were conducted by a Select Committee comprising seven MPs, of whom the majority would be from the govt. more..

Duty free permits for vehicle imports scandalous, says think tank

Nov 2 (Island) Describing the Duty Free Permit scheme for vehicle imports as scandalous, the Pathfinder Foundation says that over the years it has evolved in to a lucrative method for distributing patronage, incentivising political cronies at the expense of the people. "Historically, Duty Free Permit Schemes were introduced as a way of providing incentives for the professionals (doctors, engineers and other public servants with recognized postgraduate qualifications) to more..

'Public service reform to bear fruit by 2015'

Nov 2 (DN) All measures are in place to convert the public service to make it adapt to the modern world by 2015 through the introduction of a number of reforms, Minister W D J Seneviratne said. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has taken measures to establish a people - friendly public service in Sri Lanka while developing social and democratic values. He has also given priority to create an efficient and humane public service system in the Mahinda Chinthana future vision, he said. more..

Promises made to dons not kept

Nov 2 (Island) Three weeks after suspending their 100–day-long strike, university teachers met Minister S. B. Dissanayake yesterday and discussed the progress of the promises made to them. Minister Dissanayake, Secretary Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne, UGC Chairman Prof. Gamini Samaranayake and FUTA members attended the discussion held at the ministry auditorium. President of the FUTA Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said more..

Imperative to repeal 13th A - Faiszer

Nov 2 (DN) It has become imperative to repeal the 13th Amendment and enact new legislation to ensure that the sovereignty of the nation and the territorial integrity of the country are safeguarded whilst providing equal opportunities to all, fostering communal harmony and promoting a Sri Lankan identity, Deputy Minister Faiszer Musthapha said. In this regard the best option would be to give effect to President Rajapaksa’s statement stressing the fact that “there are no majority or minorities in more..

Ancient temple in a state of neglect

Nov 2 (Island) Legend has it that the Udapola Sri Sunandaramaya was built by a group of princes during the Anuradhapura Period. The steps made of granite, stone pillars and the Moonstone (Sandakadapahana) etc in the temple bears testimony to the fact that it belongs to an ancient period. There are three bo-trees in the temple which were planted in the same era––one of them by Mayura Devi according to the documents available in the temple. At the time the temple was more..

President orders maximum funds for flood relief

Nov 2 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered officials to provide the maximum possible relief for those affected by the torrential rains throughout the country. The President requested the Disaster Management Ministry to release unlimited funds to meet all contingencies, Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. Around Rs 200 million has been allocated to provide relief and facilities to the people affected by the bad weather. more..

Five Lankan artistes honoured with Bunka Awards

Nov 2 (DN) The 19th Bunka (Cultural) awards ceremony organised by the Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund was held at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation. The Bunka Awards are presented annually by the Fund, established in 1993, on the initiative of the Japanese Solidarity Association and the Japanese Commerce and Industry Association in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Japanese embassy. For the past 18 years, 103 such awards have been presented to mid-career individuals more..

Ask Lonely Planet: Nature reigns in Sri Lanka

Nov 2 (NZH) You can rarely travel along any stretch of Sri Lanka's coastline for long without coming upon a simply stunning stretch of sand. For beaches a bit off the beaten track, head to the east coast. Consider Navalady, Vakarai, and the strip from Uppuveli and Nilaveli. Pigeon Island, a national park off Nilaveli Beach, offers excellent snorkelling with its crystal waters, shallow reefs and colourful fish. Further south, Arugam Bay is the classic hangout for surfers. more..

A pearl in the emerald isle

Nov 2 (Hindu) At the other end from Jaffna, on the map and in every other way, is what some Sri Lankans refer to, only half-jokingly, as Sri Lanka’s new capital. Hambantota is located about 220 km from Colombo, on the southern coast that is the island’s bulgy bottom. It falls in the parliamentary constituency of Namal Rajapaksa, son of President Rajapaksa. The constituency has long been in the Rajapaksa family. Still, it bears more..

Rs 7.4 B allocated for President – UBF

Nov 2 (CT) The Bhikkhu wing of the UNP, United Bhikku Front (UBF) yesterday revealed that Rs 7,400 million has been allocated to the President from the Budget 2013. UBF General Secretary, Ven. Thiniyawala Palitha Thera said whereas enough funds have not been allocated to essential sectors, 20% from the budget has been allocated to maintain politicians. “Rs 400 million has been allocated as the expenditure for 10 senior ministers. This govt is wasting public money,” he charged. more..

CID to grill businessmen, company directors

Nov 2 (CT) The CID is expected to interrogate several businessmen and directors of private firms, who are believed to have been connected to the Rs 180 million VAT fraud at the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). An official from the Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) of the CID told Ceylon Today that they will be questioning the said directors and businessmen as their accounts were listed in a computer that had been tampered with. The officer said they believe more suspects are more..

Sri Lanka’s empty promises and denial of rights crisis exposed at UN

Nov 2 (AI) Sri Lanka’s promises on human rights should no longer be accepted by the international community, Amnesty International said as the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 1 Nov highlighted Colombo’s continued denial of the human rights crisis in the country and the need for independent investigations into new alleged human rights violations and past war crimes. The UN examines the human rights situation more..

Govt. denies many signatories had not seen charges against CJ

Nov 2 (Island) Amidst allegations that many of the MPs, who had signed the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, had not seen the charges contained in it, Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi yesterday claimed that the signatories had read and understood the motion. She told a news conference in Colombo that all the parliamentarians, who had endorsed the impeachment process, had done it voluntarily and knowing fully well its implications. more..

25 UNESCO ambassadors to participate in inter-religious conference

Nov 2 (DN) UNESCO General Conference President Dr. Katalin Bogyay and about 25 UNESCO ambassadors will arrive in Sri Lanka today to participate in an Inter-religious and Cultural International Conference on world peace. The Conference is to be held from November 3 to 10 with the participation of about 600 foreign delegates including Venerable Master Chin Kung, the Australian Pure Land Buddhist Association President. The aim of the conference is to more..

Challenge to supremacy of Parliament reason for impeachment against CJ – Govt.

Nov 2 (Island) The govt yesterday claimed that the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, presented to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, had been necessitated by the judiciary’s attempt to disregard the supremacy of Parliament. The seven charges said to constitute "improper behaviour", pertained to the Chief Justice’s conduct both in her official and personal capacity, it said. Minster Keheliya more..

Divineguma Bill: SC ruling conveyed to Speaker, President

Nov 2 (Island) The Supreme Court, on Oct. 31, had conveyed to the Speaker of Parliament and President Rajapaksa, its determination in respect of the constitutionality of the second ‘Divineguma Department’ Bill, the Supreme Court Registrar Duminda Mudunkotuwa said. The Secretary of the Samurdhi Development Officers’ Union had petitioned the Court claiming that the Bill vested too much power in the Minister, in respect of financial control and appointment of persons to the more..

Country turning into a ‘Sinhala-Buddhist republic’

Nov 2 (CT) The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka will be converted into a republic of Sinhala Buddhists, as there is a strong move by the government to disregard the minorities in the country, the Democratic People’s Front (DPF) alleged yesterday. The DPF also alleged the 30-year civil war was not conducted against the LTTE, but was against the whole of the Tamil community as a large number of innocent Tamil villagers were “intentionally massacred.” DPF Leader, more..

World divided on Sri Lanka's human rights

Nov 2 (SMH) Pilloried and praised, congratulated and condemned, Sri Lanka has received a forthright, but divided, assessment of its postwar human rights record. Sri Lanka, whose 26-year-civil war ended in 2009 with the defeat of the separatist Tamil Tigers, was excoriated by a swath of countries, including the US, Britain, France and Canada, at the UN Human Rights Commissioner's universal periodic review hearing in Geneva. Those countries detailed allegations of continuing more..

Sri Lankan men sent home from Christmas Island

Nov 2 (CT) The Gillard government has returned a group of 26 Sri Lankan men to Sri Lanka on a charter flight that left from Christmas Island last night. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said in a statement that the men arrived by boat at Christmas Island and Cocos Islands earlier this week, and 'raised no issues that engaged Australia's international obligations'. Mr Bowen said the government was sending a message that it would not accept 'economic refugees.' more..

Jaffna Police launch crackdown on organized drug dealers

Nov 2 (CT) In a bid to curb the rising flow of narcotics within the Jaffna peninsula, the Jaffna Police Division has launched a crackdown on an organized group who are operating with the assistance of Indian nationals to traffic narcotics to the peninsula. A senior officer from the Jaffna Police Division said during police investigations it had transpired that currently several Indian nationals had infiltrated into Jaffna peninsula to coordinate the flow of narcotics in the area. more..

Ire over Govt. move to fire CJ

Nov 2 (FT) Amidst Opposition fire, the ruling UPFA coalition set the Constitutional process in motion to remove the Head of the country’s judiciary, by handing over a motion of impeachment against the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake to Speaker of Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday. The motion, signed by 117 MPs, was handed over to the Speaker by four UPFA MPs led by Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi and including Deputy Minister more..

Editorial: Cricket mudalalis watch out - Disaster if you lose your fans

Nov 2 (DM) Gone with the wind is the lofty Olympic motto, “When the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name He writes not whether you won or lost but how you played the game”. This motto and motive carried sportsmen and women to legendary heights enabling them – as Mahatma Gandhi wished – not only to fly like birds or swim like fish but more importantly to walk like human beings. They not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk as men and women with great qualities and more..

The sword of damocles over democratic governance?

Nov 2 (DM) Accounts, claiming varying degrees of authenticity abound of the impending impeachment of the Chief Justice. This is not the first time this has been attempted. Denizens of Hulftsdorf within its ranks stopped the UNF govt in its tracks from attempting to do this. A third of the members of parliament are required to sign a motion to this effect, which once entertained by the speaker will go to a select committee. The findings of that committee are reported back to parliament, more..

Sri Lanka hydro power generation up on cyclonic rains

Nov 2 (LBO) State-run Ceylon Electricity Board has upped hydro power generation and stored more water as cyclonic rains lashed the island, while irrigation tanks in several areas were also filling up, data from state agencies show. Data shows that daily hydro power generation had risen to 11.2 million units of electricity (GigaWatt hours) or 41.7% of the total by October 31 compared with 4.7 GWh or 14.6% on October 01. more..

Budget and the burden: People say 'We want relief'

Nov 2 (ST) With the budget just 10 days away, expectations of the people are high that measures will be put in place to reduce the spiraling cost of living. In recent months, prices of several commodities and imported items have gone up, with the latest being Friday night’s flour price increase which is set to push up the prices of bread and other flour-based products. Fuel, LP gas, milk powder, bread and canned fish prices went more..

Higher Education: Increased fund allocations call for policy reforms

Nov 2 (SL) The Appropriations Bill for the year 2013 was presented to parliament by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. During the coming weeks, Sunday Leader will take a detailed look at spending patterns on key subject areas, and attempt to set them in a historical context. This week, we focus on state-spending on tertiary education. State spending on education was a hot topic this year, which managed to garner more..

No court has defined 'misbehaviour or incapacity' – UNP

Nov 2 (Island) Since no Court has defined "misbehaviour or incapacity", Parliament would be acting in a judicial capacity when called upon to make a determination. Therefore MPs should refrain from acting politically in such an instance, the UNP said. General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake said that until 1700 the King of England had the power to appoint and remove Judges. The King exercised his powers to more..

Treat security forces as ‘kith and kin’

Nov 2 (CT) Mayor of Jaffna, Yogeswari Patkunaraja has urged the student community in Jaffna to treat the security forces personnel as their kith and kin. The Mayor was speaking at an event where students from Jaffna, who had performed well in the Year Five Scholarship Exam, were felicitated. The ceremony was held at the Civil Affairs and Public Relations office on Wednesday, for the second consecutive year. more..

Colombo ODIs moved to Pallekele

Nov 2 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has moved the second and third ODIs in the ongoing series against New Zealand from the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo to the Pallekele Stadium, because the Premadasa is under water after three weeks of monsoon rain. Bad weather is forecast for both venues over the next two days, but it is expected to clear in time for the second ODI. The matches will be played on Nov 4 and 6 more..

Samarasinghe tells UPR army probing allegations

Nov 2 (Island) Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday said that the Sri Lankan Army was investigating the Channel 4 allegations that military personnel had engaged in atrocities during the final phase of the conflict. The minister was addressing the 14th sessions of UPR (Universal Periodic Review) Working Group in Geneva yesterday. Commenting further on the subject of accountability, more..

'Sri Lanka still struggling with separatist supporters'

Nov 2 (PTI) Sri Lanka is still working to counter supporters of the Tamil Tiger separatist rebels crushed three years ago, the country’s special representative on human rights told the UN today. Speaking before the UNHRC, which was conducting a periodic review of Sri Lanka’s human rights record, Mahinda Samarasinghe stressed “there are still some elements that support the LTTE’s cause of dismemberment and more..

Judiciary is the latest victim of the dictatorial frenzy – JVP

Nov 2 (LT) The latest victim of the dictatorial frenzy is the judiciary and his party is taking measures to rally all those who represent democracy including lawyers and other professionals to carry out a massive protest action says the JVP MP Anura Dissanayake. He said, “At the moment the executive is pressurizing the judiciary. We believe that we should inform the stand of the JVP regarding its latest developments. more..

UPR: Many countries commend Sri Lanka

Nov 2 (DM) Most of the member countries, that took part in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Sri Lanka, which was held today at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, commended the country’s achievements in many areas including the early completion of the resettlement of IDPs. However, a few countries, including United States, expressed their concern over the continuing human rights violations and also the threat to the country’s judicial system. more..