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'SLRC loses Rs.131M because of Carlton Network'

Nov 17 (DM) The Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) has lost Rs.131 million by transferring broadcasting rights to Carlton Sports Network (CSN) and thus giving up the sole broadcasting rights of sports programmes, UNP front-liner Ravi Karunanayake told Parliament yesterday. He said this was a serious matter because losses incurred by state institutions were losses incurred by the people. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella more..

Food poisoning scare in Parliament

Nov 17 (Island) Parliament police yesterday commenced an investigation into a food poisoning scare and how a kohila (lacia aculeata) curry, meant to be served at the Members’ guests’ canteen, turned unusually red. Usually, the food prepared in Parliament kitchens is checked, before it is served by police food inspectors. The inspectors had found the Kohila curry was unusually red and stopped it being sent to the canteen. more..

GL stresses need to forge ties with Africa

Nov 17 (SL) Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said that Sri Lanka hoped to strengthen its relationships with the countries in the African continent and island nations and would make use of the country’s ocean resources to the fullest to generate income. He said that Sri Lanka needed to strengthen its ties with those nations especially with Madagascar and Seychelles. "Investors in these countries think that the time is right to invest more..

Things fall apart: Do we have lessons?

Nov 17 (CT) One of the penetrating novels that I have ever read was Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. When I read it for the first time, sometime back, Okonkwo’s character reminded me of Silidu in Leonard Wolf’s Village in the Jungle. But today Okonkwo reminds me somebody else. It would not be so difficult for you to guess. The tragedy of Okonkwo and Silidu was determined by the conditions of colonial transition in two societies, Nigeria and Sri Lanka, then Ceylon. more..

Silva: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Nov 17 (CT) In the context of former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva’s recent interventions into the public debate on the controversial impeachment proceedings now being taken against the current Chief Justice, we reproduce below the Editorial of The Sunday Leader of 7th June 2009, marking the occasion of Silva’s retirement from the Supreme Court Bench. It was written by Asanga Welikala on the invitation of the then Editor of The Sunday Leader, Frederica Jansz. more..

WikiLeaks:‘Nobody else could do the Norwegian job’

Nov 17 (CT) “The Ambassador demurred and told Rajapakse that, for example, the call to renegotiate the CFA and the disavowal of the P-TOMS both could be seen as indications of a lack of faith in the peace process and could, therefore, be used to stir up trouble by those opposed to a lasting peace agreement with the LTTE. Of course the PM wanted peace but it was also important to avoid the possibility of an ‘accidental return to war,’ more..

One million coconut sapling cultivation programme to mark President’s birthday

Nov 17 (DN) A programme to cultivate one million coconut saplings throughout the country to mark President Rajapaksa’s birthday and seventh anniversary since assuming of duties as President will be launched by the Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development Ministry. This programme will be inaugurated from the Madulla Divisional Secretariat division tomorrow. Over 100,000 coconut saplings are to be planted in the Madulla Divisional Secretariat Division to more..

MillenniumIT to provide platform for Hong Kong

Nov 17 (LBO) MillenniumIT, a Sri Lanka based unit of the London Stock Exchange has signed a deal to provide Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx) with an order routing platform. HKEx is the holding company of Hong Kong's stock and futures exchanges and its clearing unit. Millennium IT software has been selected for HKEx's 'Orion Central Gateway' project. The project sets up a central gateway to replace the existing distributed gateway infrastructure in more..

It’s Not Mahinda vs. Shirani but the Rajapaksas vs. the Rest

Nov 17 (DBS) Ideally Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranaike would have prevented her husband from accepting Rajapaksa largesse; ideally. Ideally, the Supreme Court would have resisted the 18th Amendment; ideally. Ideally the term-limit provision would be in place and a post-Rajapaksa future just five years away; ideally. But as Gandalf of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy told Frodo Baggins, “All we have to decide is what to do more..

Another eight asylum seekers return home

Nov 17 (AAP) Another eight Sri Lankan asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat have agreed to return home. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship says the eight men - including five who were in detention on Nauru - left Australia late on Friday. "The men chose to return home voluntarily," a departmental spokesman said. "Regular transfers to Nauru and more Sri Lankans returning home is further proof that there is no advantage engaging with people smugglers." more..

Rain guard system for rubber planters

Nov 17 (DN) The Rubber Research Institute (RRI) introduced the rain guard system for rubber planters to help tap rubber throughout the year. "Rubber tapping is possible only when the bark of the tree is dry. So, a proper rain guard system is necessary for the uninterrupted tapping of trees during the rainy season. The product is so designed that it can be fitted on the rubber tree, protecting tapping panel and latex collection cup from rain water," RRI sources explained. more..

Herath five-for gives Sri Lanka control

Nov 17 (CI) New Zealand's troubles against spin refused to leave them. They had few answers against R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha during the tour of India, and ran into Rangana Herath in Galle in conditions less lethal. Under sunny skies on a track good for batting, New Zealand failed to take advantage after winning the toss, allowing a disciplined Sri Lankan attack to first make inroads through pace before capitulating to Herath's more..

Wish upon a star: A judicial dilemma?

Nov 17 (CT) In the midst of all the uncertainties and the ambiguities of the impeachment saga the one firm ground we Sri Lankans have is the comfort of knowing that the impeachment motion was handed over to the Speaker of parliament at the auspicious time. The daily newspapers carried the picture of the smiling parliamentarians, who it was reported had waited patiently for the right “time”, to submit their all important petition. And it was done. What follows, for those confirmed believers in the time tested more..

I, me and myself syndrome: The dilemma of Sri Lankan governance

Nov 17 (CT) People’s sovereignty is supreme is the familiar phrase that is bandied about in the world. In some countries this holds true, but in Sri Lanka this is reversed, so much so that it is felt that there is no turning back. People through the constitution have vested their power with the Judiciary, the Executive and Legislature for right action to bring about justice and well being. In Sri Lanka today this has taken a full turn. Let me be very plain and simple. more..

Basil pledges resettlement of Muslim IDPs before 23rd anniversary

Nov 17 (Island) On the 22nd anniversary of the expulsion of around 90,000 Muslims from the North, by the LTTE, the govt said that it will work towards ensuring that there won’t be a need for a commemoration meeting next year. Minister Basil Rajapaksa admitted that most of the IDPs in Sri Lanka currently were Muslims and the govt was focused on ensuring that all of them would be resettled in their original homes, more..

Health Ministry dispatches another medical team

Nov 17 (Island) The Health Ministry dispatched a team of dermatologists to Gamopola in order to ascertain what had caused a large number of school children to develop an allergic reaction. The Health Ministry spokesman said the two teams would work in collaboration with the medical experts in the central province to identify the cause of allergic reaction. He said the first team had been deployed when over 1,000 students from Jinaraja Balika Vidyalaya more..

Pelwatte Sugar in deep debt

Nov 17 (ST) Pelwatte Sugar Industries fell into deep financial debt long before the government expropriated the property in November 2011, a court action seeking a winding-up of the company has revealed. Allied Commercial Fertilizer (Pvt) Ltd issuing Pelwatte for non-payment of dues and has filed action in the Colombo High Court to wind up the sugar firm. Pelwatte owes Rs. 26.8 million to Allied Commercial in dues with the latter making the claim in January 2011. more..

Second reading of 2013 Budget passed

Nov 17 (AD) The second reading of the 2013 Budget was passed in Parliament with a majority 103 votes a short while ago as 156 members voted for and 53 MPs voting against it. The UNP, TNA and DNA voted against the budget when Parliament went for division on Budget 2013 this evening. Budget 2013 was presented in Parliament by President Rajapaksa on Nov 8 and following the debate on it for seven days was taken for vote. more..

UN internal report: BBC newshour interview With Rajiva Wijesinha

Nov 17 (CT) Razia Iqbal: Why (did) the Govt of Sri Lanka want the UN to go? Was it because you couldn’t protect them or did you have another reason? Rajiva Wijesinha: Well in fact we didn’t want them to go. In Sept we asked the NGOs to leave, one of them had actually been supplying vehicles to the Tigers. We specifically asked, and that letter is available, UNFPA and UNHCR to stay along with the Red Cross. I’m afraid the then UNDP rep was galvanised by some people who more..

Revision TV from Dialog for next month’s OL exam

Nov 17 (ST) Dialog Television (DTV), Sri Lanka’s leading Direct-to-Home (DTH) Digital Satellite TV service, is offering its subscribers Revision TV, a state of the art learning facility that promises to help your child obtain the best O/L results by revising eight years of past papers from the comfort of home. Revision TV, the latest addition to Dialog Television’s extensive range of edutainment channels is offered to all Dialog TV subscribers free, the company said. more..

Boost for Science and Commerce A/L streams

Nov 17 (DM) The number of students in the A/L Science and Commerce streams would be increased by 2016 to tackle unemployment among youth. Minister Bandula Gunawardena said, “At present, 53% of A/L students follow Arts subjects, while 22% choose Science and 25% Commerce. However, the majority of employment opportunities exist for Commerce graduates. In order to reduce graduate more..

The almost-new ball, and Taylor's tactlessness

Nov 17 (CI) Brendon McCullum showed excellent judgement of when to hit out during his 68, but he might regret having incurred Rangana Herath's wrath when he thumped an overpitched ball from Herath back over the bowler's head for six. Herath produced the delivery of the day next ball, when he drifted one in from wide of the crease, pitched it on a length on middle and off, then got it to kick away from McCullum sharply, beating the batsman's prod and clipping the outside of off stump. more..

Gives up masonry for groping

Nov 17 (DM) The Morawaka police arrested a mason who is alleged to have posed off as a gynaecologist and visited homes in Morawaka and Banagala where he had examine women who wanted to be examined whether they were pregnant. The man clad in tie, long sleeve shirt and trousers had impressed gullible villagers who believed he was a qualified gynaecologist and gladly welcomed him to have them examined. The bubble burst when the ‘doctor’ had attempted to grope more..

'Australia has rules that encourage refugees'

Nov 17 (AD) Illegal immigrants from Sri Lanka, who are caught on their way to Australia, have become fairly common. Australian MP Donald James Randall believes that these illegal immigrants are in truth, coming in search of better jobs and not to escape persecution. In an exclusive interview, the Liberal MP for Canning describes his views on the matter, and what needs to be done. The MP explains how his interests towards Sri Lanka more..

Editorial: Rescued civilians, the best judges of human rights

Nov 18 (SO) The international media, quoting an internal report of the United Nations (UN), reported last week that the UN has failed in its mandate to protect civilians in the last months of Sri Lanka's battle against LTTE terrorists. One is at a loss to understand whether the so-called "leaked draft of a highly critical internal UN report" has been 'unveiled' by those with vested interests to coincide with the ongoing sessions of the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva. more..

Editorial: Are we a civilised country anymore?

Nov 18 (LB) This editorial is not meant to be a discourse on civilisation but we hope it would serve as an eye opener to the public, whose indifference is fuelling a cycle of brutalisation of our very society. We have been indifferent to the plight of the ‘other;’ we looked the other way when our neighbours were abducted in white vans. We tend to justify it in the name of national security, when 300,000 Tamils were herded to the Menik farm and are now being let to languish in temporary huts for nearly more..

'Govt targets US $4,000 per capita income in two years'

Nov 18 (SO) Minister Susil Premajayantha said that the Govt will definitely realise its targets and the Opposition will not have any anti-govt slogans when the Divineguma programme is implemented within the next two to three years. He said whatever the Opposition says, there will be major elections in 2015 and 2016 and they will have to take up this challenge. When Divineguma program is implemented, more more..

Editorial: Who will guard the guard themselves?

Nov 18 (SL) Despite the many lofty ideals espoused in our penal system such as making better citizens of those who are sent to jail the foremost and most transparent of reasons is one of self-interest – safeguarding the interests of society at large and of course one’s own self-interests, life and property. When we study Sri Lanka’s penal system, over the years and even today, there is little doubt that the fundamental objective of rulers of this country, police and judiciary is to have those who more..

Editorial: If 19 is to equal 13+

Nov 18 (NS) There seem to be fewer and fewer takers for dogmatic positions on the 13th Amendment. Even the leader of the TNA, R. Sampanthan, while holding fast to ‘devolution’, has expressed a willingness to go for re-demarcation of unit, i.e. three or four zones instead of the present nine provinces. Sampanthan has warned that repealing the 13th ‘could cause grave and irreparable damage to the country’s future’. It is heartening that the TNA leader, even at this more..

‘President proposed 13+ and I am for it’

Nov 18 (LB) Minister Douglas Devanada says the president has expressed his commitment to ‘the 13th Amendment Plus’ as the solution to the national question. The president proposed it and I am for it,” he said. He spoke to LAKBIMAnEWS about a wide-range of issues including how influential he is within the govt. Q: Some influential personalities of the govt, some of whom are very close to the president are more..

Editorial: Some cracks in the ceiling?

Nov 18 (Island) We publish an article written by PM D.M. Jayaratne in today’s issue of this newspaper to mark the beginning of President Rajapaksa’s eighth year in office. It is predictably adulatory but Jayaratne has, for whatever reason, cautioned Rajapaksa about hangers-on who take advantage of his good nature and asked the president to be careful about selecting his trusted lieutenants. He has also called for efficiency and integrity rather than sycophancy in the public service, more..

People Vs CJ

Nov 18 (NS) The battle over the Chief Justice moved to formal ground this week. The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to probe the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake met last Wednesday and decided to summon her before the Committee on Nov 23. The Committee got its 11th and final member when the JVP nominated Vijitha Herath. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s appeal for a greater number for the opposition was more..

'Provincial councils never became a law'

Nov 18 (NS) Wimal Weerawansa who began politics with the JVP left the party and formed his own political front, NFF. In an exclusive interview, the former JVPer stressed on the abolishment of the 13th Amendment. Further, he said, “the UNP must be brought before the courts for introducing the Provincial Council System to the country without going for a referendum as directed by the Judiciary”. Given below are the excerpts of the interview. more..

Political reasons for the impeachment

Nov 18 (Island) One of the points raised against the impeachment of the chief justice is that it is motivated by ‘political reasons’. Only the blind would say that it is not. All this started after the special determinations delivered by the supreme court on the Divineguma Bill. Before presenting this bill to parliament, the govt would have sought the opinion of the Attorney General and he would have said that the bill was not inconsistent with the constitution. However, the Bill was challenged in the SC more..

A gag order on PSC proceedings?

Nov 18 (LB) Should the proceedings of the Parliamentary SelectCommittee (PSC) which was mandated to investigate the allegations levelled against the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, in pursuance of an impeachment motion be an official secret? That, ironically though, had been the topic for deliberation of the PSC in its second sitting on Friday. That was after the govt members of the committee complained about media reports which appeared in newspapers; mainly in more..

The heat is on for the Rajapaksa govt

Nov 18 (SL) The heat on the Rajapaksa govt has started to intensify with opposition political parties beginning to publicly voice concerns and displeasure while also questioning the govt’s stance on key issues, especially the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The real architects behind the call for the abolition of the 13th Amendment are gradually coming out in the open. The fact that the intense campaign, by the more..

Welikada riots: A black mark against prison system

Nov 18 (NS) The riots at the Welikada prison that left 27 prisoners dead last week are a stinging indictment on the current state of law and order in Sri Lanka and should serve as a rude but timely wake up call for the authorities. It is well-known that prisons in the country are among the most corrupt institutions in the land. For some time now, there have been reports that prisoners were masterminding criminal activities elsewhere in the nation through their proxies. more..

Editorial: Scrap 13 A, give credible alternative

Nov 18 (ST) In the midst of the excitement over the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice, the Govt seems to have taken a decisive step on the matter of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The 13th Amendment (13A) has never come to be totally accepted in Sri Lanka. The circumstances in which it was introduced have a lot do with it. The Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 was signed in not the most conducive of climates. It was meant to be, at least in India’s perspective, more..

Indian vehicle imports curbed

Nov 18 (ST) Prohibitive duties may edge out Indian vehicles from Sri Lanka’s market while exemptions to those coming from Japan will give them an added advantage in the market. Amidst this move, govt has granted clearance for a Chinese investor to set up car-assembly plants in Hambantota and Gampaha. An investment of US $ 20 million is being made. Customs official said high taxes had been placed on cars and trucks more..

The Budget was also debated

Nov 18 (ST) The Budget debate should be more about economics and less about politics, but as the debate on the Second Reading of the Appropriation Bill drew to an end, it was overshadowed by several other issues such as the move to impeach the Chief Justice (CJ), the Welikada prison riots and the lingering questions about the future of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. On Thursday, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa announced the names of the 11 Govt and Opposition members more..