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Tiger suspect attempts hara-kiri in court

Oct 13 (Island) An LTTE suspect yesterday slit open part of his stomach and neck with a sharp object inside the dock of the Moneragala Magistrate’s court. Police and prison officials immediately rushed the suspect to the Moneragala prison hospital. He had been in custody for about three years over his alleged involvement in terrorist acts including a deadly claymore mine attack on a bus at Buttala in which a large number of passengers were killed and wounded. He is a resident of Batticaloa. The suspect has so far not been charged, but more..

'Replace Victory Day with a National Remembrance Day'

Oct 13 (CT) A group of young MPs and political party representatives urged the govt to do away with Victory Day celebrations from next year in order to promote reconciliation. They said that the second generation of the Tamil Diaspora is willing to return to the country and that the young MPs, who were elected to Parliament in 2010, are having discussions with the Tamil Diaspora to encourage them to invest in the country’s more..

Editorial: Constitutional crisis - The best way out

Oct 13 (DM) One of the worst-ever crises between the Rajapaksa govt and the judiciary has been compounded by a dispute over the controversial Divi Neguma Bill. A Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice Shiranee Bandaranayake ruled recently that some of the provisions of this bill came within the jurisdiction of provincial councils, and the bill could be passed by parliament only after all the PCs approved it by a simple majority. The Govt complied with the ruling and more..

Groundviews is down, But not an attack by the govt

Oct 13 (CT) “Both Groundviews and its equivalent in Sinhala, Vikalpa , are inaccessible at the moment due to technical issues. This is NOT a block on the sites. This is NOT an attack orchestrated by the Govt. There is NO indication whatsoever that this is anything other than an unfortunate hosting issue which came to a head a few days ago.” says Groundviews. “We are working as hard as we can to resolve the issue, but reinstating the site will take a couple of days at the earliest. more..

Celebrating Success

Oct 13 (SL) Sri Lanka’s troubled Stock Market – now in the throes of an apparent recovery – whilst continuing to produce encouraging returns has yet to reach its full potential. According to a new book due to be published later in the year, the market capitalization of the main listed companies in December 2011 stood at Rs 3,177,748,987,025 – Rs 3.177 trillion, or USD 24.25 billion – which amounted to a fraction of the country’s GDP of USD 64 billion more..

Cash deposit ATM network launched in Colombo

Oct 13 (DN) Sri Lankan consumers will enter the era of direct cash payments through ATMs on Octo 15 when five cash deposit taking ATMs will start operating in Colombo for the first time. Abdul Rahuman, Managing Director of One & Only, the owning firm of the ‘PayTM’ network, said the initiative is a joint venture with Japan Cash Machines Co Ltd (JCM), the well-known maker of money-handling machines, equipment, and more..

Expo Rail turns one

Oct 13 (FT) A year ago, Expo Rail commenced its journey to redefine train travel in Sri Lanka with the first luxury compartment attached to the Kandy Intercity train. Badulla was then added to the list of destinations on 10 December 2011 while the first train to Vavuniya was flagged off on 31 January 2012, making Expo Rail the fastest growing luxury train service provider in Sri Lanka. Trincomalee is the latest major destination that was added to more..

Rag: Get into campus life!

Oct 13 (ST) Every year a large number of young Sri Lankans enter state universities, fortune having smiled on them in free education. They come from different backgrounds, they want different things in life and they don’t know each other-yet in their hearts is one common fear. It’s what keeps them awake the night before that terrifying first day. How will I face the ragging? Joseph, a regular Colombo boy and dreamer at heart enters university determined to finally be the one to more..

SLPL under siege as somerset chairman exposed

Oct 13 (DM) While the international focus has fallen on the umpires connected to the match fixing scandal, unknown to many, a bigger cloud of gloom has darkened the credibility of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL), casting doubts on the tournament’s image.Part of the revelations made by India TV on their programme on the sting operation that exposed the umpires, claimed evidence on how SLPL’s managing more..

Govt, FUTA thank all who helped reach settlement

Oct 13 (DN) The govt and the Federation of University Teachers' Association (FUTA) yesterday issued a joint-statement declaring the end of the three month strike by university academics. The official govt - FUTA joint statement was released as a result of negotiations between Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Treasury Secretary Dr P B Jayasundara on President Rajapaksa's more..

UNICEF commends Sri Lanka

Oct 13 (DM) UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, Ms. Karin Hulshof commended Sri Lankan govt’s programs and efforts to uplift the welfare of rural communities, during her meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday. She had praised the government’s commitment to solve issues faced by the children, particularly in reducing child malnutrition and improving the health care of rural children. Ms. Hulshof and her team are visiting Sri Lanka as part of an official tour that more..

'Sri Lanka budget: nobody said deficit is too large'

Oct 13 (LBO) Not a single representative of the public or business community that had met Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also finance minister, ahead of next month's budget said the deficit was too large, an official said. Treasury secretary P B Jayasundera said President Rajapaksa has met numerous delegations and representatives of 18 out of 25 districts so far. more..

SRI LANKA: Pandora’s Box

Oct 13 (Scoop) She was an icon who gave her energy to develop Sri Lankan cinema. Perhaps it was the era in which the country was searching for meaning through cinema to find and assert its uniqueness. However, she later joined the govt as a part of popular 'patriotism', eventually being installed as a national list Member of Parliament by the President. Time passed. On many occasions she has enjoyed the fruits of 'patriotism' and tried justify whatever the govt has done. more..

An assault on the judiciary amid rising dissent

Oct 13 (Island) Last weekend, Judicial Services Commission (JSC) Secretary Manjula Tilakaratne was brutally assaulted by an armed gang outside S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavina, where he was waiting after dropping his son there for a sporting event. The assault occurred after Mr. Tilakaratne on the instruction of the JSC had issued a much publicized press statement, that there were attempts by the Executive to interfere in the independence and the work of the Judiciary. more..

WikiLeaks: US state department collected information from INGOs

Oct 13 (CT) “Nils Mork of CARE said that the organization had 300 representatives on the ground in Sri Lanka, 95 percent of whom were Sri Lankan nationals. CARE compiled situation reports from staff in the conflict zone once a week, and there were plenty of anecdotes that could be of interest for purposes of the congressionally mandated report. He promised to speak to his director and see if it would be more..

SLTB to get 1000 Chinese buses early next year

Oct 13 (Island) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama has announced that 1,000 Chinese buses would arrive in Sri Lanka at the beginning of next year. He placed the order for news buses in spite of opposition from the private bus owners. Minister Welgama said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had asked him whether the private bus association would launch a strike if he imported Chinese buses and he had replied that there was no need to more..

Wimal’s crazy idea: Dayasiri

Oct 13 (DM) Suggesting that Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Secretary Manjula Tillekaratne had assaulted himself is a big joke which makes no sense at all, UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said. He was referring to a statement made by Minister Wimal Weeawansa where he expressed suspicion over the attack on Mr. Tillekaratne. Mr. Jayasekera said the statement made by Mr. Weerawansa was not something an intelligent person could even imagine. “One could understand if somebody like more..

Meters must for trishaws

Oct 13 (DM) Restriction on xenon headlights and reduced fines for minor offences such as the failure to wear a seat belt are some of the amendments being introduced to the Motor Traffic Act by the Department of Motor Traffic, the Motor Traffic Department Chief said yesterday. He said the Police would also be authorised to impose spot fines. Commissioner General S.H. Harischandra said that the Department would introduce a series of amendments to the Motor Traffic Act more..

Harper avoids questions on Sri Lanka

Oct 13 (CG) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stayed clear from responding to questions on Sri Lanka during a news conference in Senegal today. Harper was questioned by the media why he will attend a summit in the Republic of the Congo despite being concerned about the human rights situation in the country. The Canadian Premier had said last year that he will not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka next year until the govt addresses more..

Great grandpa uses foul language in Parliament – Anura

Oct 13 (LT) Mr. J.R.P Sooriyaperuma uses foul language in Parliament and it indicates that the image he has developed through the media is only a fabrication says JVP MP Anura Dissanayake. He said this speaking in Parliament yesterday regarding words and expressions used by UPFA MP J.R.P. Sooriyapperuma when he got up to interrupt MP Ajith Perera while he was speaking on education. Ajith P Perera: It was said this country would more..

CBK hits out at abuse of power, corruption

Oct 13 (DM) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said on Thursday that we live in a country where the naked demonstration of the abuse of power, the shameless indulgence in corruption and nepotism, the violation of human rights and the rule of law had become the order of the day. Speaking at the United Nations Day celebrations held at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, she said, “The sudden and accelerated onslaught of more..

A dragon in Dehiwala

Oct 13 (NF) A group of new animals arrived at the National Zoological Gardens in Dehiwela yesterday. The new arrivals were brought down to Sri Lanka from the Prague zoo in the Czech republic. The first Komodo Dragon set foot in Sri Lanka yesterday. The Komodo Dragon which is the largest in the Varanus Genus, are endemic to Indonesia and a carnivore animal with a lifespan of fifty years. Their usual habitat is open grasslands and tropical forests. Although much larger in size, the Komodo more..

BTC joins Conservatives to propagate Lankan Tamils’ plight

Oct 13 (Island) The British Tamil Conservatives (BTC) have teamed up with the Conservatives to propagate the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils in post-war Sri Lanka. In line with its strategy, the BTC recently obtained affiliation of the Conservative Party, UK based sources told The Island. Sources said that it was the first specific ethnic group to be affiliated to the party. Addressing a reception on Oct 9 at the ICC Castle Fine Arts Gallery, more..

Murali backs life ban for fixing

Oct 13 (AJ) Anyone involved in spot-fixing should be banned for life, former Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan told Reuters on Saturday, days after six umpires were provisionally suspended for allegedly agreeing to fix matches. Hindi-language India TV showed footage on Monday of what the news channel said was officials from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka negotiating deals with under-cover reporters to affect more..

Editorial: Hallmarks of democracy

Oct 14 (SO) Opposition politicians seem to have conveniently forgotten the 1977-1994 dark era under former Presidents J.R. Jayewardene and Ranasinghe Premadasa. The freedom of expression, the rights of the working class to resort to trade union action, the independence of the judiciary, the people's right to support a political party of their choice and staging political rallies or processions came to a virtual standstill as the Jayewardene regime did not give a more..

Editorial: Judicial Independence - Last bastion to protect freedom of the people

Oct 14 (SL) The islandwide outrage of the public as well as the legal profession on the attack on the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is only natural but should be no cause for surprise. Some professionals who were held in some degree of esteem by the public of this country and who have not acted in consonance with the policies of the ruling party or dared to disagree openly have been subjected to threats and assaults and more..

'Patients at the receiving end of drug companies'

Oct 14 (SO) One-time Director of the Medical Research Institute Prof. Tissa Vitarana throughout specialised in medical research. In later years he ventured into the cauldron of turbulent politics, perhaps to carry forward the mission of his kinsman, Trotskyite guru Dr. N.M.Perera. Senior Minister for Scientific Affairs Prof. Tissa Vitarana told the Sunday Observer that there are people in Tamil Nadu who treat more..

Editorial: Humility and trust should frame PSC

Oct 14 (NS) It is almost as though the TNA is a creature of Delhi, for that party rushes to India at the drop of a hat. This time around, Delhi has told the TNA to talk with the Govt of Sri Lanka. The TNA states that its position with respect to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) set up to resolve the so-called ‘Ethnic Question’ has not changed. Got-TNA talks came to a halt when the TNA demanded that joining the PSC must be preceded by an agreement on more..

Editorial: Brevet colonels - Militarization of our schools?

Oct 14 (LB) Twenty three Grade 1 principals of the Sri Lankan Education Administrative Service were commissioned as Brevet Colonels of the National Cadet Corp last week, after a training programme conducted at the National Cadet Training Academy in Rantambe. Plans are also afoot to commission another batch of Grade 2 principals as Majors of the National Cadet Corp. The rationale of this new endeavour is that military training would inculcate discipline, as stated by more..

‘No necessity for the govt. to interfere with the judiciary’

Oct 14 (LB) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that so far there is nothing to substantiate that the government has interfered or intervened in any matter with regard to the judiciary. He added that there is no necessity for the government to intervene in any matters pertaining to the judiciary. Q: Lawyers have taken to the streets and are alleging that the executive is interfering with the judiciary. What are your comments? more..

Editorial: How much will the dons get?

Oct 14 (Island) Both FUTA and the govt have been coy about the deal struck between the two sides to end the three-month long university strike. They’ve been clearly heard proclaiming that the strike is over but have been much more reticent about the actual terms of settlement. FUTA is on record saying it’s a "truce" and govt must "honour its undertakings" implying that there is a feeling at least within some of its ranks that such might not be the case. We take the view that the strike was more..

Editorial: No harm in judicious clash!

Oct 14 (ST) Parliament (the Legislature) seems to have exercised its right of reply to a recent salvo from the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) that there was an oblique attempt by the President (Executive) to interfere with the independence of the Judiciary. Over the past few weeks, this tussle between the competing pillars of any democracy has been on the boil. On the eve of the Speaker’s announcement on Tuesday was the unfortunate incident of a hitherto unidentified group of more..

'Judiciary under threat from the executive'

Oct 14 (SL) UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera says the Judiciary is at the moment standing between a dictatorship and democracy and is facing the threat of being subjugated by the Executive. “The country would be on a clear road towards a Burmese-style rule if there was no balance of power between the Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature,” he said. However, Samaraweera also noted that the Judiciary itself has a certain more..

Indian brokered compromise over PSC

Oct 14 (LB) A seven member delegation from the TNA was expected to arrive in the island last night after a three day visit in India. New Delhi gave the go ahead for the visit, after it intervened to broker a deal to resume the dialogue between the govt in Colombo and the TNA. Earlier this year, the govt suspended bilateral talks with the TNA until the TNA joins the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) set up by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to ‘explore a political solution.’ The TNA, on its part, more..

Getting past the Supreme Court in disguise

Oct 14 (Island) The assault on the Secretary of the Judicial Services Commission raised a mighty stink last week. Naturally all fingers point to the government. Our streets are no longer safe. On the one hand we find ministerial brats surrounded by kappankaraya types running amok at house parties and nightclubs and key state officials being mauled by goons in broad daylight. Since the police have not made any breakthroughs, we can only speculate on what happened, more..

SLC and clubs on collision course

Oct 14 (ST) The SLC Cricket Committee’s vision of pulling alley-driven local cricket and making its national unit the number one team by the year 2015 seems to be challenged by the clubs. The Cricket Committee in its proposal has emphasised that the changes proposed by it would guide the country’s cricket side “to be the number one ranked team in all formats of the game” while enabling Sri Lanka “to produce the most more..

SL’s willingness paves way to work with T’Nadu and UN

Oct 14 (NS) The week was marked by new developments on multiple fronts, most significantly in terms of India’s moves to help improve Govt-TNA relations, the United Nations’ interest in human rights issues in Sri Lanka, and continued intra-party conflicts within the UNP and that party’s relations with others in the Opposition, all of which were overshadowed by an agreement that ended the 100 day strike launched by FUTA (Federation of University Teachers’ Associations). more..

Conflict with judiciary may result in adverse consequences

Oct 14 (NS) The Sri Lankan cricket team was engrossed in a do-or-die game with the West Indies last Sunday, but elsewhere another battle, probably with more serious implications, was being played out. It was the tussle between the Executive and the Judiciary. The Sunday morning assault on the Secretary of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) Manjula Tillekeratne displaced even that night’s dispirited performance of the Sri Lankan cricket team from the headlines. more..

Elections to Municipal Councils, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas

Oct 14 (Island) The Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill was finally passed by parliament last week. This is undoubtedly one of the most positive legislative steps taken by the govt in recent times. This heralds a partial return to the first past the post electoral system that we had in this country more than three decades ago. There was a groundswell of opinion in the country that the electoral system should be changed to more..

Catching crises and dropping blame

Oct 14 (ST) My Dear Mahinda Maama, I thought I must write to you again because these days, everyone seems to be blaming you for everything and maybe you need to be aware of that-because those close to you may not be telling you the whole truth. Why, Mahinda maama, they even blamed you for Sri Lanka losing that cricket match to the West Indies. That is because they believed that by being present at the finals, you brought bad luck to the team. Surely, that shouldn’t prevent you from watching an important game that is more..