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Greens miss the wood for the trees

Nov 25 (ST) My Dear Green Man and Sajith, I thought I must write to you as both of you prepare for the annual convention of the Greens next Saturday. While we hope that there won’t be a repeat of last year’s unruly scenes, I thought of writing to you to remind both of you on the greater responsibilities that you now have to shoulder. It is no secret that both of you don’t see eye to eye on many issues. It is also no secret, Sajith, that you believe that the Green Man has overstayed more..

SL v NZ 2th Test: P Sara bounce could boost New Zealand

Nov 25 (CI) The second Test at the P Sara Oval finds the two teams heading in seemingly opposite directions. Sri Lanka had not won a Test series in three years until they defeated Pakistan at home in July, and if a manful recovery with the bat and ruthlessness with the ball in the Galle Test are any indication, they are a side who have reclaimed the fight they had misplaced following the 2011 World Cup and have begun to make winning a habit again. 


SL batsmen must overcome pace test

Nov 25 (CI) Though New Zealand lost the first Test early due to their failure against spin, Sri Lanka's batsmen hadn't fared too well either. On the second day, four top-order batsmen and the nightwatchman had fallen for 50 runs, and a first-innings lead, which they eventually achieved, seemed a long way away. A measured partnership between Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews rescued them then, but it was made easier by a Galle pitch that withdrew its assistance for more..

Rs. 83 m per month from Southern Expressway

Nov 25 (ST) Toll fees from the Southern Expressway bring in revenue of more than Rs. 83 million a month, Parliament heard yesterday. Deputy Minister of Ports and Highways Nirmala Kotalawala said around 283,000 vehicles use the expressway each month. The targeted traffic volume is 300,000 vehicles a month, he said. The Southern Expressway project was financed through the Asian Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (IJICA), and the Export Import Bank of China (Exim). more..

Kotte mayor to reveal all

Nov 25 (SL) Kotte Mayor Janaka Ranawaka has threatened to reveal the names of the police officers and drug dealers involved in the heroin trade in the Kotte area. Ranawaka said that he will make the startling revelation on his return from a trip to India this week. “I will have a press conference this week and reveal the names. My life is under threat but I will still make the revelation,” he said. Ranawaka said that he has also written to IGP more..

Slaughtering the innocence of the nation

Nov 25 (LB) Last week in our lead story, we reported the alleged summary executions of inmates at the Welikada prison. We quoted both inmates and prison officials who spoke under the condition of anonymity about the summary killings of at least 11 inmates carried out by special police units after the prison riot was brought under control by the army. Many other media institutions, mainly those termed as ‘alternative media’ also exposed the gory details of summary executions. more..

Culture of fear in the legal fraternity

Nov 25 (Island) The Lalith Athulathmudali memorial oration was delivered by a distinguished Sri Lankan legal luminary C.G.Weeramantry last Thursday. The event was organised by the Institute for Democracy and Leadership headed by Ravi Karunanayake and sponsored by the Fredreich Naumann Foundation which is affiliated to the German Liberal Party. It was Judge Weeramantry who headed the team that drafted the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct which were extensively quoted more..

Implement LLRC proposals- urge garment exporters

Nov 25 (ST) Sri Lanka’s apparel industry, struggling against an economic crisis that has hit its main buyer – Europe -, is urging the government to implement recommendations of Sri Lanka’s post-war reconciliation commission in a bid to regain GSP concessions from the European Union (EU). This comes in the wake of a leadership change within the apparel exporters’ body that took place last Monday during its AGM. Newly appointed Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters more..

Impeachment may cause immense collateral damage

Nov 25 (NS) The storm clouds revolving around the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake gathered momentum this week with numerous petitions being filed in the higher courts, questioning its validity. Some petitions questioned the role of Parliament in sitting in judgement over the judiciary and argued that this would be in contravention of what was envisaged in the Constitution. Another petition, also filed this week, questioned the propriety of more..

Cheers for CJ, but growing caution engulfs judiciary-legislative battle

Nov 25 (NS) The battle between executive and judiciary, now transformed into a contest between the latter and the legislative, entered the procedural arena this week. A petition contesting the procedure was ‘sent up’ to the Supreme Court by the Appeals Court with the former playing safe by requesting (not ordering) the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to postpone sittings until a determination was made on the matter. The PSC exercised the prerogative to more..

Sales plunge as car prices race beyond reach of middle-class consumer

Nov 25 (ST) The price of cars of under 1,000 CC engine capacity has shot up to more than half a million rupees this year, making a small car a distant dream for the middle class.�It’s a dashed hope for Madura Fernando, a junior executive at a private company. He was hoping to buy a car before his wedding next year. The first price increase came in April when taxes were raised, and this was followed by a further price increase with the November 8 Budget. more..

Opposition warns of deeper rift

Nov 25 (SL) The opposition has warned of a deeper rift developing between the judiciary and legislature after parliament had last week ignored a request by the Supreme Court to postpone the impeachment hearing on Chief Justice Shirani Banadaranayake. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that when the late Anura Bandaranayake was the Speaker of parliament he had given instructions to ensure that the Supreme Court does not give orders to parliament. “But what was given by more..

I have not been approached – Peiris

Nov 25 (SL) Former Attorney General Mohan Peiris says he has not been approached for the post of Chief Justice in the event the current Chief Justice is removed. Responding to a question posed by The Sunday Leader, Peiris said he has never given thought to seeking to be appointed as the Chief Justice. There were reports in the media to the effect that Mohan Peiris, who is now an adviser to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, will be appointed as the Chief Justice. “Those reports are false. more..

Rajapaksa Govt. on a coup against the Constitution

Nov 25 (SL) The Mahinda Rajapaksa government it seems is engaged in a coup against the constitution to remove all areas that would hinder the path towards further consolidating its powers during the forthcoming election years. The first move in this coup was the repealing of the 17th Amendment to constitution and the introduction of the 18th Amendment of the constitution, which removed the limit of a two-year term for the President. more..

‘CB fools us over budget deficit’

Nov 25 (LB) The Central Bank has misled the country stating that last year’s budget deficit was 6.9 when in fact it was 8.6. The Central Bank had omitted the losses incurred by the CPC and the CEB,” said UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne. When those figures are added, the accumulated figure is 8.6, he noted. The MP revealed that excluding losses of state owned institutions has been referred to in the IMF website after the last IMF tranche was issued to Sri Lanka, and the matter was discussed in a report. more..

No police salute for CJ in Parliament

Nov 25 (LB) None of the police officers who met chief justice Shirani Bandaranayake at the entrance to the Parliament, and in the House saluted her, our photographer Priyantha Gamage said. Photographers were at the entrance to Parliament waiting to picture chief justice Bandaranayake who came to attend the Parliamentary Select Committee with regard to the impeachment motion against her. Many senior police officers who were at the main gate of the Parliament ignored protocol and more..

Prisoners urge international probe

Nov 25 (LB) Several prison inmates who witnessed the Welikada Prison riots are urging for an impartial international probe, and are prepared to give evidence vis-a-vis the killing of 11 inmates on Nov 10. At the prison mayhem on Nov 9, 27 prisoners were killed and eyewitnesses alleged that 11 inmates were killed by the police after the riot was quelled, consequent to their names being called in the early hours of Nov 10, after prisoners were more..

Don’t obstruct development in North and East, Tamil politicos tell TNA

Nov 25 (ST) The TNA has been asked by two Tamil politicians not to stand in the way of development initiatives undertaken by the Government in the North and the East. The politicians are Douglas Devananda, Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development, and Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan. “The actions of the LTTE have caused the Tamils to lose what we already had, physically as well as politically,” Minister Devananda said yesterday more..

New guidelines soon to protect tourists

Nov 25 (SO) New guidelines and regulations will come into effect to protect tourists visiting the country and make their stay free from any hassle. The Ceylon Tourism Authority along with the Tourist Police has drawn up a plan to educate touts and three-wheeler taxi drivers to refrain from exploiting foreign tourists to safeguard the country’s image. Steps will be taken to prosecute those who harass tourists, Police Media Spokesman SSP Prishantha Jayakody told the Sunday Observer. more..

More Jaffna land being released to owners by military

Nov 25 (Island) EPDP leader Douglas Devananda says contrary to allegations, the armed forces are in the process of releasing more land in the Jaffna peninsula to rightful owners. Devananda, who is in charge of traditional industries and small enterprise development portfolios, alleges those critical of post-war security forces presence in the Jaffna peninsula had ignored the gradual releasing of land. Minister Devananda was speaking to more..

Govt. to back private unis, won’t privatise state ones

Nov 25 (ST) The issue of private universities came up in Parliament on Wednesday, when the votes of the Ministry of Higher Education were taken up for debate. Minister S.B. Dissanayaka said that Govt would encourage private higher educational institutions, but would not privatise State-owned universities. “Of the 150,000 students who qualify for higher education in this country, only around 20,000 can find placements within State universities. It is the responsibility of more..

Bribery Commission spreads its tentacles

Nov 25 (SO) The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption in its bid to combat bribery and corrupt practices in the country has arrested 84 government officials including provincial and local level politicians after conducting 71 successful raids this year, its Commissioner Dr. Jayantha Wickremaratne told the Sunday Observer. He said the highest number of arrests had been made in the Police Department where 22 police officers were caught in the bribery net this year. more..

Lanka, Iran work out deal on huge oil bill

Nov 25 (ST) Two billion rupees in unpaid fuel bills to Iran will be diverted to fund the Teheran-aided Uma Oya Project, Irrigation and Water Resources Management Ministry Secretary Ivan de Silva said yesterday. This is in the light of Sri Lanka’s inability to remit the funds to Iran due to current sanctions imposed by the United States. Mr. de Silva said the money spent by the Govt would be set off from funds Iran would provide for the project. more..

Coalition against Corruption seeks public support

Nov 25 (Island) The Coalition against Corruption last week appealed to government officials and the public to forward all instances of bribery, corruption and other malpractices with sufficient evidence to substantiate. The Coalition was launched on October 31 with the participation of trade unions, civil society organisations, professionals, academics, media personnel and artistes. The Coalition hopes to present such instances of malpractices to the Commission on Investigation more..

UNP MP Questions Silence

Nov 25 (SL) UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara has questioned the silence of UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa and MP Karu Jayasuriya on the party leadership issue. Bandara said that he had never opposed to Ranil Wickremesinghe being party leader but only insisted on a strong party leadership. “I had no issue with the party leader himself. But Sajith Premadasa and Karu Jayasuriya had an issue but are now silent about it,” he said. Bandara also recalled that he had joined former Army Commander more..

Sri Lanka shoots into orbit on Tuesday

Nov 25 (ST) Govt maintained a deafening silence when the question of Sri Lanka’s first satellite was raised in Parliament yesterday during the vote on the Ministry of Economic Development. Opposition UNP MP Ruwan Wijewardena asked why both, the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of defence were silent on the impending launch of a satellite with the Sri Lankan flag and name by a private Sri Lankan company with a state owned Chinese company. more..

Leader To Intervene

Nov 25 (SL) A case was instituted in the District Court of Mt Lavinia by Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa citing Lasantha Wickrematunge, Editor The Sunday Leader and Leader Publications (Pvt) Ltd as respondents for carrying an article in The Sunday Leader newspaper with reference to the tender called for the printing of the National Identity Cards which the plaintiff alleged was defamatory of him. Secretary Rajapaksa claimed Rs 1 billion by way of damages. more..

Wreckage Of Ship To Be Salvaged

Nov 25 (SL) The Commercial Court has given an order to salvage the wreckage of the foreign owned ship, which sank off Panadura in August and sell the parts and use it to pay the dues to the crew and others. Director General of Merchant Shipping, Ajith Seneviratne said that the court had ordered that the goods on the ship which had also gone under water with the vessel, be recovered and stored at a suitable location in Trincomalee. MV Thermopylae Sierra was found drifting off the coast of more..

Legislature and judiciary on collision course

Nov 25 (ST) When Emirates flight 231 from Dubai touched down 38 minutes ahead of schedule at Washington’s Dulles International Airport on a chilly Thursday morning, a posse of secret service agents and a motorcade were on the ready. Within minutes, they whisked away President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who arrived in the US capital, to the Four Seasons hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. The hotel overlooks the eastern front of the harbour there. more..

Sri Lanka should adopt national ethics revision mechanism on clinical trials

Nov 25 (Island) The critical importance of Sri Lanka adopting a national-level mechanism to review ethics of clinical trials, in a bid to protect human lives, was taken up as a key issue at last week’s high-profile international medical parley in Colombo. After three decades of being relegated to the back burner, it is time Sri Lanka accorded top priority to the introduction of an accreditation system to minimize harm and maximize benefits in this more..

Sri Pada season begins on December 26

Nov 25 (Island) The Sri Pada season for 2012/13 will begin on Wednesday, December 26 with the procession carrying the statue and sacred relics departing from the Sri Pada Raja Maha Vihare Pelmadulla, Gallpothawela, said Basnayake Nilame of the Ratnapura Saman Devalaya Suni Shantha Weerasekera. With cries of "Karunavai, karunavai Saman Devindu Karunavai‘ thousands of devotees, mainly Buddhists make their annual pilgrimage to the sacred mountain abode during more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Nov 25 (ST) Leave alone major diplomatic issues, the fact that the External Affairs Ministry has sunk to such low depths in efficiency, is no secret. Minister G.L. Peiris or his mandarins there were able to correctly advise President Mahinda Rajapaksa that he was arriving in the Kazakhstan capital of Astana in below zero temperatures. That was during the three-day official visit to that country, once a part of the now dismembered Soviet Union. more..

What’s in a colour? A lot say transport stakeholders

Nov 25 (ST) The cabinet maybe revving to go ahead with a decision to introduce a colour coding system for passenger transport vehicles but it may not be such a smooth and bright ride. Private bus and schoolbus owners, drivers and passengers are opposing the moving pointing out that there are far more urgent issues that needed to be tackled first. The cabinet last week approved a proposal by transport minister Kumara Welgama to more..

Public sector unions threaten massive TU action

Nov 25 (ST) Trade unions affiliated to political parties of the governing UPFA – LSSP, Ceylon Communist Party (CP) and NSSP – are joining hands with 46 other public sector trade unions in demanding a pay hike. The unions have put forward three main demands – an increase of Rs.10,000 in the basic salary, the settlement of salary anomalies and an increase in the cost of living allowance of Rs. 280 per unit. more..

More men infertile

Nov 25 (CT) Infertility among men in Sri Lanka is said to be on the increase, mainly due to the use of chemicals in agriculture and other related products, according to researchers. Head of the Entomology and Nematology Division at the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka, Dr. Keerthi M. Mohotti, said three separate studies indicate that male reproduction capacity is 34% below the World Health Organization (WHO) standards. “This is not the first time we found more..

Killings unlimited

Nov 25 (ST) At least two persons are killed every day in the country, showing a marked increase in homicides during the past few months, police revealed this week. This week brought this fact of local life into sharp focus, with a string of homicides including the killing of an Officer in Charge (OIC) of Police in Ratnapura, a family of three in Bulathsinhala, and a lecturer in Merchant Shipping in Bambalapitiya. more..

No action for spreading religious hatred on Facebook

Nov 25 (DM) The Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Response Team (SLCERT) said that no concrete action could be taken against those who spread religious and racial hatred on Facebook despite efforts being taken to liaise with Facebook and curb posts conveying religious and racial hatred. Spokesman for SLCERT Roshan Chandraguptha said that Facebook terms of use have prevented Lankan authorities from taking any action regarding this issue. more..

SL v NZ 1th Test: Taylor, Williamson put New Zealand in control

Nov 25 (CI) In an otherwise one-sided tour, New Zealand finally took ownership of an entire day. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor showed refreshing patience and application to wear down the Sri Lanka bowlers for the better part of three sessions to set a solid platform for a big score. All talk of a bouncy pitch and seaming conditions were put to rest as the bowlers struggled to create chances, with both batsmen adding an unbeaten 209. more..

Accused paedophile on 252 charges sipping tea in Sri Lanka

Nov 25 (CT) A FORMER Catholic brother charged five months ago with hundreds of counts of sexual abuse against children and young adults is living on a tea plantation in Sri Lanka because the authorities dragged their feet in extraditing him to Australia. Bernard Kevin McGrath, who is among the most infamous members of the disgraced St John of God order, had 252 charges laid against him in a Newcastle court on June 27. more..

Establish mechanisms to ensure implementation of these excellent ideas

Nov 25 (CT) The Budget Speech delivered last week, Mr Speaker, lays down a range of imaginative and constructive policies which it is an honour to support. The hallmark of great Liberal govts at a time of social change was the pursuit of reform that promoted opportunities for all, and this is the basic principle behind the proposals laid down in the budget speech. Amongst those of immense importance are the commitment to promote school enrollment amongst low income families more..