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2013 Budget: Capitalist Road to Development

Nov 18 (Island) If we are to solve the problems of the people of Sri Lanka, be it poverty and the resultant lack of proper nutrition, housing, employment, education, health care or transport, there must be rapid economic development. The main focus of this Budget is on achieving this objective by following the capitalist road, according to the East Asian model which enabled Japan, South Korea and Singapore to emerge as developed nations. Countries with socialist govts like more..

Were prisoners summarily executed?

Nov 18 (LB) Scores of inmates who died in the Welikada prison clash were in fact summarily executed by the Special Task Force after the army commandos quelled the prison riot, prisoners and prison officials allege. “The last inmate was killed at around 6 am on Saturday,” said a prison employee. “The army took control of the prison around 2-3 am on Saturday. After the riot was quelled, prisoners had reportedly to gone to more..

TNA unaware of 19th Amendment

Nov 18 (NS) The TNA said the govt was yet to communicate them the proposed 19th Amendment to the constitution. TNA Parliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan told The Nation he was not aware of any moves by the government towards a 19th amendment to the constitution. Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa last week reportedly said the government was working out 19th Amendment to the Constitution that would replace the existing 13th Amendment. more..

Committee to investigate Sapugaskanda leak

Nov 18 (LB) Minister Susil Premjayantha has appointed a committee to investigate the gas leak at the Sapugaskanda oil refinery which killed two persons and injured several others. Minister, making a special statement in Parliament noted that the ministry could take a final decision on whether the gas leakage was a technical glitch or sabotage once a report is submitted by the committee. The minister explained that the gas leakage had taken place at 6.00 pm on November 16 and more..

CJ impeachment: Editors to be Summoned

Nov 18 (CT) Heads of several media institutions are likely to be summoned before Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and called for explanations on the reporting on the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to probe charges against Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, after several MPs raised privilege issues regarding the manner in which the matter is being handled by certain media institutions. Accordingly, editors of at least more..

Arjuna calls for 5 party coalition

Nov 18 (NS) DNA MP Arjuna Ranatunga, in an interview with our sister paper Rivira, stressed that he would only board the DNA platform if a proper common opposition was formed. He added that such an opposition should comprise all parties and lamented that none of the five parties could now be seen on the DNA platform. Speaking on his DNA colleague, former army chief Sarath Fonseka, Ranatunga said that he would not engross Fonseka addressing people in a wrong manner. more..

SL v NZ 1st Test: Patience pays off for Sri Lanka's bowlers

Nov 18 (CI) Even Sri Lanka's weather seems to have taken umbrage at the board's removal of Tests from the 2013 schedule in favour of ODIs. Daily monsoon rains that had reduced the limited-overs leg of the tour to one rung above farce cleared abruptly for the first day of Test cricket, and barely a cloud gathered to object to a full day's play in a setting whose history and allure matches and enhances the wonder of the game it hosts. The cricketers also endorsed Test cricket in more..

'Weerawansa’s bid against 13A postponed, not abandoned'

Nov 18 (Island) UPFA constituent, the NFF yesterday emphasized that it would move the Supreme Court against the 13th Amendment to the Constitution regardless outcome of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) inquiry into a spate of allegations directed at the Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. Minister Wimal Weerawansa is confident that action could be initiated early next year. Attorney- at-law, more..

Do maitri bhavana, Sirisena tells Mangala

Nov 18 (Island) Minister Maithripala Sirisena advised his onetime Cabinet colleague MP Mangala Samaraweera to engage in ‘maitri bhavana’ to overcome the affliction of hatred and enmity he felt towards President Rajapaksa. "Mangala Samaraweera should go to a temple and engage in some meditation. It will do him some good," Minister Sirisena who spoke after a hard hitting speech by the UNP MP during the second reading debate of the Budget in Parliament said. more..

CJ denied leave by PSC

Nov 18 (LB) Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake has sought three weeks leave from the Parliament Select Committee to answer charges levelled against her. The chief justice has replied through her attorneys, Neelakandan and Neelakandan, to the notice sent to her by the PSC to appear in person or through a nominee before the PSC on Nov 23. However, the PSC decided not to proceed with the request due to a procedural error in the communication made by the attorneys of the more..

Nurses’ islandwide TU action to continue till demands met

Nov 18 (ST) Nurses are threatening to cripple State-run hospitals with a countrywide strike, if their demands are not heeded. Saman Ratnapriya, President of the Govt Nursing Officer’s Association (GNOA) which consist of about 12,000 nurses, said the strike was a result of failed discussions with both Minister Maitripala Sirisena and Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatillake. Among their demands is an increase in overtime payment and risk allowance, more..

CPI calls for probe into Sri Lankan war crimes

Nov 18 (TOI) "An independent international mechanism should be in place to probe war crimes and gross human rights violation against Sri Lankan Tamils. India should also raise the voice to bring about a political change to the Lankan Tamils," said D Raja, national secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), here on Saturday. Raja addressed the media prior to a party meeting in the city. He was accompanied by CPI state secretary D Pandian and senior CPI leader R Nallakannu. more..

Romesh To Appear For CJ

Nov 18 (SL) President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva is to appear on behalf of Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake when the impeachment motion is taken up for probing before a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), The Sunday Leader learns. The PSC has called on the Chief Justice to appear before the Committee on Friday (23) to give evidence on the motion against her. An 11 member PSC is currently probing the impeachment motion carrying 14 charges against the Chief Justice. more..

Auditor General slams SLPA

Nov 18 (NS) The Auditor General in a latest report to Parliament last Thursday slammed the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) for alleged fraud, corrupt activities, financial irregularities, dubious land deals and mismanagement. The AG had pointed out that the SLPA had assessed a land not belonging to it as assets and assessed such land to the value of Rs.700 million using a private audit firm in the final accounts distorting more..

Harmless algae-bearing red rain scares villagers

Nov 18 (ST) A harmless algae was the cause of red rain experienced in some parts of the country, MRI Director Dr. Anil Samaranayake said. “It’s a moss-like fresh water algae belonging to the group ‘trachelomonas’,” he said. This week, short spells of red rain were reported in Hingurakgoda, Sevenagala, Manampitiya, Moneragala and Padiyatalawa areas, causing alarm among the public. “Usually, this algae is green, but on multiplying, it turns red. more..

Ceylon Today, Mawbima censored at Welikada

Nov 18 (CT) Authorities at the Welikada Prison have imposed a censorship of sorts on Ceylon Today and Mawbima by cutting out the news articles related to the recent prison riot, before circulating them amongst the inmates. A prison official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the decision to cut out all articles related to the recent riot had been taken by the Discipline Division of the Welikada Prison. “Senior prison officials decided on this as they did not want the news related to more..

Two prison probes tackle reasons for riot

Nov 18 (ST) Overcrowding of prisons, easy access to narcotics, resistance by prisoners to search operations carried out by the Special Task Force were the main reasons for last week’s mayhem at Welikada jail, two separate committees that probed the incident revealed. The two committees — one appointed by the Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera and the other by the Prisons more..

Traces of arsenic and cyanide in kohila curry

Nov 18 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament that the initial tests have shown that there were traces of arsenic and cyanide in the kohila curry that was prepared to be served to MPs at the Parliament kitchen on Friday. Speaker said this in response to a query raised by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayaka regarding the police investigation that was started after an unusual colour was detected in the kohila curry. "I was told that there were traces of arsenic and cyanide in the curry," more..

Tea for oil pact with Iran mulled but deemed impracticable

Nov 18 (Island) With the looming crisis in the tea sector on bilateral trade with Iran remaining largely unresolved, a meeting was convened by the Central Bank on steps to be taken to circumvent tea sales to Tehran, but no specific decision was arrived at, officials said. The Tea Brokers Association was also invited for the November 16 meeting, but it had declined to attend the forum. The Tea Board, Bank of Ceylon, and the Tea trade were, however, active participants, The Sunday Island understands. more..

Petrie report: Diplomatic blunder projects Sri Lanka as a Rwanda

Nov 18 (ST) It was a week of more challenges for the UPFA Govt both in Sri Lanka and abroad. In Colombo, the official process to impeach Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake began on Wednesday. The eleven-member Parliamentary Select Committee chaired by Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa held its first meeting in Parliament. Standing Orders of Parliament prevent reportage of proceedings of the Committee. more..

On the drum beat

Nov 18 (DH) During my visit to Sri Lanka, one thing that struck me bold and bright, like the sun and sand in the place, was the native love for music. It didn’t take me long to realise that music plays a very important role in the lives of Sri Lankans, so much so that no gathering or occasion is complete without music. The traditional music of Sri Lanka is quite unique, mirroring the diverse influences it has had over the centuries. It is a fine blend of Buddhist, Portuguese and African influences. more..

Sapugaskanda will not be sold - CPC

Nov 18 (NS) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has denied reports that the Sapugaskanda oil refinery was to be sold to the private sector. A CPC spokesperson said it was a false rumor spread by the trade unions to mislead the public and tarnish the good image of the corporation. “CPC or the govt has no intention of selling the Sapugaskanda refinery to the private sector, he emphasized. He further said neither the govt nor the CPC were responsible for the recent oil shortage that more..

Cargo village in Peliyagoda to reduce container traffic congestion in City

Nov 18 (ST) The entry of containers to Colombo City will be completely halted from May next year with the construction of a new cargo village where the containers which are accommodated in the harbour will henceforth be accommodated in the cargo village, Deputy Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena said. Under this project the existing cargo village in Peliyagoda will be expanded with the utilisation of a seven acre block more..

Rising sex abuse cases make state health sector sick

Nov 18 (ST) Two minor employees of the Kalubowila hospital sought the help of a female co-worker to move a body within the morgue. Not used to such a task, she fainted. When she regained her consciousness, she found herself lying on the floor and realised she had been sexually abused. However, she did not lodge a complaint with the police or the investigation unit of the Health Ministry as she feared reprisals from the more..

SEC says to continue old and new investigations ‘to the very end’

Nov 18 (ST) The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has seen a ‘few’ stock market offences during the past three months, its new chairman Dr Nalaka Godahewa now nearly three months in the hot seat said, but reiterated that the regulator will continue the past, pending and new probes to the end. “We have seen a few offences and all investigations will continue,” he told the Business Times in response to a question more..

State seeks more time to study ‘grease devil’ scare petitions

Nov 18 (ST) The Supreme Court has granted the Attorney General time till January 31 to file objections to 61 fundamental rights petitions filed by Jaffna residents who allege they were unlawfully arrested and tortured by the police during the ‘grease devil’ scare last year. The petitioners cited Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya, Jaffna Commander Mahinda Hathurasinghe, more..

13 A meaningless, we rejected it – TNA MP

Nov 18 (SO) TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran admitted that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution is ‘meaningless’ and that the TNA had rejected it right from the start. Sumanthiran made this statement in Parliament on Nov 9, though it was not highlighted in the media. “The 13th Amendment to the Constitution is something that we had rejected right through as being meaningless,” the TNA MP told the House. more..

Fishermen warned of SL-made IED afloat

Nov 18 (NIP) Following an intelligence alert that an explosive material made by former Sri Lankan navy officials is afloat near Tamil Nadu’s coast, fishermen have been warned not to touch anything in the sea and coastal security has been beefed up accordingly. According to sources, from Friday night, coastal security police of Tamil Nadu intensified their patrolling following a red alert issued by the IB on explosive substance more..

Govt to increase fines for treasure hunting

Nov 18 (SL) The govt has decided to increase the fine imposed on treasure hunters. Director General of the Archaeology Department Dr. Senarath Dissanayake said that the proposed changes to the law to impose the new fines have already been sent to the Legal Draftsman’s Department. At present treasure hunters are fined between Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 250,000, but with an increase in the incidents involving treasure more..

Will racing cars overtake Marutis?

Nov 18 (ST) The govt has controversially reduced duties on racing cars while increasing excise duty on small cars with engine capacity of less than 1000cc through last week’s budget – a fact that was not disclosed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his speech. Many people said this has shattered the dream of Sri Lanka’s middle income earners in owning a small vehicle with the Maruti 800, said to be the cheapest more..

More Sri Lankan asylum seekers sent home

Nov 18 (News) The federal government has sent more Sri Lankan asylum seekers home, bringing the total number of Sri Lankans "involuntarily" returned to 282. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the 50 men were advised of their status and that they were to be removed from Australia. The men were returned to Sri Lanka from Christmas Island on Sunday. The group was made up of recent arrivals from a number of more..

President celebrates 67th birthday today

Nov 18 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the 5th President of Sri Lanka, assumed his second term of office on Nov 19, 2010, celebrate his birth day Sunday. Series of religious ceremonies island wide have been organized by the people of the country to mark this great day with the all-night pirith ceremony at the Temple Trees. Percy Mahendra "Mahinda" Rajapaksa born Nov 18, 1945 is the 6th President of Sri Lanka and Commander in more..

Editorial: Emergence of a ‘Lamborghini culture’

Nov 18 (CT) The 2012/2013 Budget gave a slight opening of the window and Mervyn Silva, the ever-so-evasive court-jester of the current ruling court flew out of it. The megalomaniacal comments made by the Minister of Public Relations and Public Affairs surely demonstrate he does not reside in the same Universe that most of us do. What it immediately brought into mind was that ancient saying rightly or wrongly attributed to Euripides: “Those whom the gods wish to destroy are first made mad.” more..

Sri Lanka rubber firms expect business expansion with Norway

Nov 18 (LBO) A delegation of rubber industrialists who visited Norway are expecting an expansion of business including the development of new products, Sri Lanka's Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said. A delegation from the Sri Lanka-Norway Business Matchmaking Programme (BMMP) of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce had participated in 34 meetings in Oslo during a week long visit are expecting business to develop from half of them. "Keen interest was shown by the Norwegians more..

EU gives 'yellow card' to SL for illegal fishing

Nov 18 (DM) The European Commission warned eight developing countries including Sri Lanka of sanctions if they did not do more to stop ‘criminal’ illegal fishing, saying it was taking the first step of its kind, the AFP reported. The Commission said it did not plan to impose penalties as yet on Belize, Cambodia, Fiji, Guinea, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu, but stressed they could face a ban on the sale of fishing more..

Mano to complain to UNHRC on prison riot

Nov 18 (SL) Former MP Mano Ganeshan says he is gathering data to file a complaint with the UNHRC regarding the recent riot at the Welikada prison. Ganeshan said that during the riot serious human rights violations had reportedly taken place. He said the Prisons Department had violated the guidelines given by the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission when the riot broke out. Ganeshan said that an investigation must be carried out on the actions of the police Special Task Force and more..

Police training college OIC shot dead

Nov 18 (DM) Officer in-charge of the In-Service Police Training College Sabaragamuwa, Chief Inspector Indrasoma Rathnayake has been shot dead in Elapatha a short while ago, sources said. Initial investigations revealed that the 57 year old Chief Inspector was shot due to a personal dispute revolving around a land issue. One person has been arrested by the Rathnapura Police, together with a weapon suspected to be used for the murder, in connection to the incident. more..

Russians arrested over credit card scam

Nov 18 (Xinhua) The police on Sunday said that five Russians had been arrested over a major credit card scam. Officers from the police CID arrested the Russians in Colombo with 250 forged credit cards. Investigation found the Russians had carried out the scam with accomplices in Cambodia and Vietnam. The Russians had over 25,000 U.S. dollars in their possession withdrawn from ATM machines in Sri Lanka. more..

Fonseka says no loss without Arjuna, Tiran

Nov 18 (SL) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka castigated MPs Arjuna Ranatunga and Tiran Alles saying they did nothing for the betterment of the DNP. Ranatunga and Alles had resigned from the party two weeks ago citing differences with Fonseka and Fonseka had then written to both MPs seeking a clarification on their resignation. When contacted last week, Fonseka said the resignation of Ranatunga and Alles had no impact on the party. more..

Address national debt – World Bank

Nov 18 (LB) Sri Lanka’s investment factor is growing very fast but is still facing the challenges on productivity and quality of labour, World Bank managing director, Sri Mulyani Indrawati told LAKBIMAnEWS. “The issue is that the private sector does not find persons with skills they need. The quality of the graduates should match the skills the industry wants,” she added. She said although Sri Lanka’s economic growth compared to the global economy is encouraging, more..