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Lanka’s battlefield opens up with homestays

Nov 24 (DH) Two years on, after the end of the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE), the Sri Lankan government has now opened up its most “pristine” nature spots located in the northern parts of its country for tourism. As part of its possible “reconciliatory” measures, trying to spur economic growth for the Tamil-speaking population, the island nation has decided to convert the homes in Jaffna, Mulathivu, Vavuniya and other locations as homestays. Speaking to Deccan Herald, more..

Army Chief sues two newspapers

Nov 24 (CT) Commander of the Army, Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya, filed action against two prominent Jaffna newspapers yesterday, on the charge of publishing defamatory remarks against him. Brigadier Ranjith Rajapathirana said, "Just as much the army is not above the law, we are not below the law either. We will fight vigorously to protect the good name of the army and our heroic soldiers." The two newspapers, Uthayan and Valampuri had on 7 November, published more..

Hands off Parliament, Ministers tell judiciary

Nov 24 (DM) In a deepening conflict between the judiciary and the legislature, govt ministers yesterday requested the judiciary not to interfere with the parliamentary process with regard to the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. Addressing a hurriedly summoned news conference, Minister Lakshman Seneviratne said the judiciary should not interfere with this process. “We do so with due respect to more..

Most universities fail to answer audit queries

Nov 24 (Island) Most of the universities have not answered audit queries during the last few years. This had been noticed by the Parliamentary watchdog, the COPE. Universities and Higher Educational Institutions, coming under the UGC met the COPE during last three weeks. Each university had an audit committee and they met at least four times a year to answer audit queries. "The Peradeniya University did not answer 189 audit queries during the 2009 /2010 period," more..

Make no trouble for PSC - Parliamentarians

Nov 24 (DN) The impeachment motion is moved against the head of the Judiciary and it is hoped that judges, attorneys or other related parties would assist in continuing proceedings of this legal and constitutional action independently, as well as in a dignified manner without causing any hindrance, govt MPs including Ministers S B Dissanayake, W D J Seneviratne and Mahindananda Aluthgamage comprising the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) before which Chief Justice Shirani more..

CJ given till Nov.30 to file objections

Nov 24 (Island) Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, who appeared before the Parliamentary Select Committee, appointed to probe charges against her, was given time till November 30 to file objections in her defence. Accompanied by six of her lawyers, the Chief Justice arrived at the Parliamentary complex around 10.00 a.m. and was met at the public entrance by the Assistant Sarjeant-At-Arms Kushan Jayaratna as well as a more..

Editorial: Executive presidency root cause of crises

Nov 24 (DM) The time has come for the people and civic action groups to come forward, speak out and campaign actively for the abolition of the executive presidential system which has brought democracy to the brink of collapse with little or no checks and balances, rampant corruption and crime because of the criminalisation of politics and the politicisation of crime. Since 1978 and especially after the repeal of the 17th Amendment and the enforcement of the 18th Amendment, democratic principles more..

Editorial: Playing for money

Nov 24 (CT) Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage must surely be a man with many missions to accomplish. A year ago he threatened to take over the country's Football Federation giving them one month to put the house in order, and if that was not enough, he went on to the extent of forming his own rugby club called the 'Upcountry Lions'. But no one, of course, will grudge the fact that Aluthgamage is a sports enthusiast and, right or wrong, wants to clean up the mess in sport. more..

Sri Lankan keen to showcase Japanese innovation

Nov 24 (JT) Monte Cassim, 65, slips effortlessly from English to Japanese and back, as befits one of the few non-Japanese to have served as president of a major Japanese university. After heading Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Beppu, Oita Prefecture, from 2004 to 2009, the Sri Lankan architect and engineer is now a professor at Ritsumeikan University, vice chancellor of The Ritsumeikan Trust and director of more..

'Prabhakaran thwarted Oslo’s moves for a ceasefire in 2009'

Nov 24 (DBS) Q: The recent media exposure about an internal report compiled by the UN regarding its role and conduct in Sri Lanka has focused much attention on the final phase of the war against the LTTE in 2009. You also made several observations in this respect when I interviewed you in detail in 2010 for the “Daily Mirror”. In view of the media spotlight on this issue I am thinking of focusing on it again to clarify more..

SLPA’s struggle to stay afloat

Nov 24 (SL) Plagued with inefficiencies and incompetencies, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has failed to reap the benefits of the ports in the country while also losing the battle in building a hub port in Colombo. A probe into the SLPA has also revealed that excluding the Colombo Port; most of the other ports in the country were running at a loss. The govt’s foreign policies have also taken its toll on the SLPA’s business more..

HC Kantha reviews Indian-assisted projects

Nov 24 (Island) Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha last week reviewed the progress of Indian-assisted development projects in the Central Province. He was accompanied by Chief Minister of the Central Province Sarath Ekanayake. During his visit to the Central Province the Indian HC visited the Most Venerable Udugama Buddharakkita, Mahanayake Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter more..

SriLankan to break even by end 2014/15

Nov 24 (ST) National carrier SriLankan Airlines, currently operating at a loss is looking to break even by 2014/15, its CEO Kapila Chandrasena said at the recently concluded International Air Travel Association (IATA) Global Aviation Human Capital for the second yea in Colombo this week. However, he said this would depend greatly on jet fuel noting that these prices were currently on the rise and contributing to more..

Justice for the judge and the judged

Nov 24 (DM) The move to impeach the Chief Justice (CJ) and the prison riot at Welikada in which a number of prisoners died, have aroused considerable public interest over the recent past. The Govt’s reactions and actions have come under the scrutiny of the people in what seems like an unofficial referendum. But public interest and scrutiny must be sustained consistently if the Judge and the judged are to receive the justice more..

Yawning gap between promise and performance

Nov 24 (CT) On paper, the Peoples’ Republic of China has an impressive policy on the ethnic and religious minorities, with all the rights expected from a modern state guaranteed. But performance falls far short of promises in crucial matters, particularly in the political sphere. No wonder a delegation of the ITAK, which spent ten days in China earlier this month at the invitation of the Chinese Govt, came back disappointed. more..

Malaysian NGOs to protest against President’s visit

Nov 24 (FMT) A PKR-linked NGO leader has vowed to use force if necessary to prevent the President Mahinda Rajapaksa from entering Malaysia for an international Islamic forum from Dec 4 to 6. The People Welfare and Rights Organisation president Gobi Krisnan issued the threats after lodging a police report against Rajapaksa’s arrival with other NGOs leaders today. The NGOs were upset that the govt has planned for a more..

Private labs offer test at lower cost

Nov 24 (Island) Private medical laboratory technologists say they could help bring down the cost of medical tests for non-communicable diseases if the govt invited them. President of the Sri Lanka Society for Medical Laboratory Science (SLSMLS) Ravi Kumudesh said that locally qualified private medical lab practitioners were willing to form a network, with support from the Health Ministry, to perform blood sugar tests for Rs. 50 and more..

All weapons to be withdrawn from prisons

Nov 24 (Island) The Defence Ministry has decided to withdraw all firearms in the possession prison officers. This follows the Welikada prison riot, early this month, during which prisoners broke open one of its armouries and helped themselves to about 90 assault rifles and pistols. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told The Island that he had formally directed the prison authorities to hand over all weapons. more..

Millers ‘conspire’ to jack up rice prices

Nov 24 (Island) The Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade has received information that rice millers are planning to jack up the price of a kilo of rice by Rs. 5. A ministry source said that they had received a confidential report that the millers met in Eppawela and decided to retain their stocks to force the govt to release its buffer stocks into the market. He said that Minister Johnston Fernando had called for an immediate investigation and report from the Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Authority more..

Over 150 families affected by floods

Nov 24 (DM) Over 150 families have been affected by floods in the Polonnaruwa and Hambanthota districts due to heavy rainfall prevalent in the areas, the Disaster Management Center (DMC) said. DMC Media Spokesman Sarath Lal Kumara said the areas of Ranawarapura and Deuranwehera are inundated due to the overflowing of Maha Wewa and Kirindi Oya as a result of excessive rainfall and added some 80 families in the areas have been affected by the floods. Meanwhile, he also more..

Laws preventing domestic violence against women to be abolished ?

Nov 24 (Island) Moves to scrap the law preventing domestic violence against women should be resisted, the UNP said yesterday. Leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe said that calls for abolishing laws governing domestic violence against females should be nipped in the bud. Some in the govt wanted domestic violence sorted out at home but such stupid comments should not even be considered, he noted. "Are the authorities more..

Has the parliamentary select committee become a political tribunal?

Nov 24 (CT) The Parliamentary Select Committee’s rejection of the Supreme Court’s decision that the impeachment proceedings against the Chief Justice should be postponed until the Supreme Court determines the constitutionality of the Standing Order 78A that purportedly governs such proceedings, as requested by the Court of Appeal, undoubtedly is the latest breach against the judicial authority in Sri Lanka by the political authority. The decision of the Supreme Court more..

Govt putting Rs.10 in people’s pocket and taking Rs.90 - Ravi

Nov 24 (AD) The govt is following a system where it puts 10 rupees in the people’s pockets and takes back 90 rupees from them, charged UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake. Even thought the govt says it has raised wages of public sector employees, not even a wage hike of “5 cents” has been afforded to private sector worker, he said during the Committee Stage Debate on the 2013 Appropriation Bill in Parliament today. He accused the govt of not taking any steps to increase the wages in the private sector, more..

Sri Lanka welcome back Dilshan for second test

Nov 24 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will welcome back opener Tillakaratne Dilshan for the second and final test against New Zealand in Colombo starting on Sunday after he recovered from a back injury. Dilshan, whose last innings was an unbeaten 102 in the third match of the five-game ODI series, missed Sri Lanka's 10-wicket win inside three days in the first test in Galle. "Dilshan is pretty much 100% fit and Dimuth Karunaratne more..

Whose beaches in Sri Lanka?

Nov 24 (GV) During the last week of October this year, the BBC Sinhala Sandeshaya service featured a story about Sri Lankan tourism, which was in turn aired by the SLBC. The piece drew particular attention to irregularities in development and other environmental concerns caused by the tourism industry in Sri Lanka. In the same dialogue, a civil society organization (CSO) representative raised the issue of poor environmental management, referring to the establishment of camp sites more..

Coconuts dashed as CJ goes to parliament

Nov 24 (Island) Coconuts were dashed on the road near the Bo-tree, at the gateway leading to the Superior Courts Complex, as the limousine taking the Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, left for the Parliamentary complex, at Sri Jayewardenepura. The Chief Justice was on her way to parliament to answer summons by the Parliamentary Select Committee. She took the public pathway yesterday, while the Justice of the Upper Courts generally use a side gate to enter and leave the complex. more..

More buses on our roads soon

Nov 24 (DN) The Transport Ministry will purchase 2,000 new buses next year under a leasing system and with funds from the Treasury, Minister Kumara Welgama said. "Moves are also underway to add 25 super luxury buses to the Colombo urban area transport system in 2013. Arrangements will be made to book seats via hand phones," he said. He said the number of passengers using public transport in Sri Lanka increased more..

Investigate your journalists! -Rail

Nov 24 (CT) Talking to CT, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he is writing to Lord Christopher Patten, Chairman of the BBC Trust regarding the misconduct of its journalists. Two of its journalists, BBC World Service producer Chandana Keerthi Bandara and the Colombo Reporter Elmo Fernando, applied Rs. 1,200,000/-each by way of interest free loans from the state banks to purchase cars or vans, where the interest will be paid by the Treasury using tax payer money. more..

Sri Lankan found dead on flat roof top

Nov 24 (MM) THE body of a Sri Lankan man was found on the second floor roof of the 20-storey Impian Seri Setia Flats at Sungai Way here today. The victim was identified as 24-year-old Gullahar, an assistant at a telephone shop at the flats. The body was found by a cleaner at the flats about 10.30am. Petaling Jaya District Police Chief Police ACP Arjunaidi Mohamed, when contacted, believed the victim had fallen from one of the flat units and would wait for the post mortem report to determine more..

War tourism skips reality

Nov 24 (IPS) The tour guide’s voice echoes around the dark, musty room, three stories underground. Fifty visitors – among them mothers holding infants, youths snapping pictures on mobile phones and grandparents leaning against the walls – are crammed into the narrow stairwell that leads down into the chamber, listening attentively to his every word. The tourists have travelled hundreds of kilometres to see more..

School van pins child against wall

Nov 24 (Island) An 8-year-old child, studying at S. Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia, suffered critical head injuries when a parked school van rolled forward and pinned him against the school wall, near the main gate, on Thursday. The injured child was rushed to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Dehiwala, and then transferred to the National Hospital around 1.00 p.m. The child, whose parents are doctors, was recovering following surgery to the base of his skull, a hospital sources said. more..

Mystery object falls from sky

Nov 24 (Island) Villagers, in their numbers, rushed to get a glimpse of a ‘mysterious’ piece of steel which had fallen from the sky into the garden of a house at Deegala in the Alawathugoda police area, yesterday 23. The object was first spotted by some mothers who had escorted their children to the village school in the morning. The Alawathugoda police visited the scene and provided security to the object pending investigations. According to ASP Chamika Premasiri, about eight inches of the object more..

UK circus owner found guilty of elephant cruelty

Nov 24 (AP) A British court has found a circus owner guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a performing elephant. A judge at Northampton Crown Court convicted Bobby Roberts after the court was shown secretly-filmed footage of a groom hitting 58-year-old elephant Anne with a pitchfork. The video, which was recorded by the group Animal Defenders International in 2011, showed the groom kicking and hitting the more..

Editorial: Duplicity, the name of the game

Nov 25 (SO) Several countries and international organisations have shown an extraordinary concern about people residing in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. The people's grievances in these two provinces have been conveniently tagged as 'ethnic conflict', 'national problem' or 'Tamil issue' by certain countries and International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) for reasons best known to them. Nevertheless, the real problems are quite different to more..

Editorial: Douglas Devananda's budget speech and the TNA

Nov 25 (SL) Minister Douglas Devananda’s speech on the budget on the 17th was a defence of the government’s record in the North and an anti-TNA diatribe. His claims are worth an internal TNA review for its own edification. The pacifist S. J. V. Chelvanayagam’s Federal Party is the senior partner in the LTTE-originated TNA led by R. Sampathan from the FP. TNA MPs contested under the FP symbol because the TNA is not registered. The other constituents of the TNA want it more..

'President feels the pulse of the common man'

Nov 25 (SO) Deputy Minister Faizer Musthapha, the forthright and affable politician representing the Kandy district who was elevated as a President’s Counsel recently said that certain politicians who don’t concentrate on real development rouse racial feelings to secure votes. Some minority parties think they can always demand the full pound of flesh which is absolutely wrong. He said that the majority parties should make a concerted effort to woo more..

Editorial: Floundering without integrity and ethics

Nov 25 (NS) There are two processes before us. In one, a set of judges whose career advancement is tied to decisions taken by a body presided over by a particular individual, deliberates on the constitutionality of a second and simultaneous process that seeks to oust that very same individual. In the second case, a set of people also sit in judgment over the conduct of that individual. The majority of this group share membership in a political party with more..

Editorial: Impeachment - further complications

Nov 25 (Island) The decision of the parliamentary select committee now pondering the impeachment resolution against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake that it will not await the Supreme Court determination on the legality of the process has now added a further complication to an already messy situation. There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that the decision to impeach the CJ was that of the president and none other. The decision to get on with the job regardless of more..

'People have the supremacy and every govt must listen'

Nov 25 (SL) Chief incumbent of the Naga Vihara in Kotte, the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, who recently formed a movement to fight for social justice, says the country is in need of a new constitution in order to solve issues that are plaguing the society. He called for the abolition of the executive presidency, which he observed was the root cause for issues in many areas. Speaking of the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice, more..

Editorial: Act before the next Geneva sessions

Nov 25 (ST) It was a year ago that the LLRC report was submitted to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Commission was not without its share of ‘Doubting Thomases’, especially in the West who felt that it was merely going to ‘whitewash’ the Govt of Sri Lanka of accountability, especially in regard to the allegations of violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) during the final military offensive against the LTTE in 2009. To ward off international pressure more..