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'No executive presidency if we were not robbed'

Oct 18 (DM) Former Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka speaking at the rally held at Hyde Park this evening said that the executive presidency would have been abolished if ‘victory was not robbed at the last presidential election’. “If they didn’t threaten us and intimidate our families and supporters and rob us of our victory the executive Presidency would have been abolished by now,” he said. more..

Game changer in eliminating rural poverty

Oct 19 (NS) Much to the disappointment of Sri Lankan cricket fans, the West Indies cricket team became the champions of the ICC T20 World Cup beating the host nation Sri Lanka by 36 runs. T20 world cup this year was dominated by several unorthodox players who turned the tournament topsy-turvy. Chris Gayle, obviously, was the most prominent example. Marlon Samuels, who took the finals away from Sri Lanka with a blistering half century was another unorthodox player: more..

Regime Change 2

Oct 19 (NS) Later Sri Lanka survived an attempt by Rajiv Gandhi who forced President Jayawardena to change our Constitution with the 13th Amendment forcing Tamil as a national language (when Tamil is not accepted as a national language even in India, the home of the Tamils) and also enforcing power devolution through Provincial Councils. This power devolution meant that the Government is no longer is in a position to attend to any development work island-wide. more..

Rajapaksa’s forgotten Chintana and the deafening silence on electoral reform

Oct 19 (CT) The Local Government Elections Act was amended last week, with no debate either inside or outside Parliament. But was the change genuinely uncontroversial? I don’t think so. Given that the process was initiated in the immediate aftermath of the passage of the 18th Amendment, we should have been more suspicious. The 18th Amendment was part of Mahinda Rajapaksa‘s post-war strategy to tighten his more..

October is National Reading Month

Oct 19 (SO) Adolf Hitler made everybody buy a copy of Mein Kampf so that the people could understand his vision and appreciate it. Martin Luther translated the Bible into German and wrote his own interpretation of how things should be, so that the people could read about it. Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto which inspired so many people, that it is almost unbelievable. In Sri Lanka, however, we have missed out on the significance of the printing press, big time. Although, as a country we have a high literacy rate and a good more..

Judging Sri Lanka through Western lenses

Oct 19 (SO) Emboldened by the back-door attack on Sri Lanka led by the US at the UNHRC in March - April this year the global network of the anti-Sri Lankan lobby has accelerated its offensive to increase international pressure hoping that they can get somewhere if they strike now when the iron is hot. This lobby working hand-in-glove with the West failed to nail Sri Lanka at the UN soon after the war and even at the UNHRC twice subsequently. The military success on the ground, more..

The TNA position on the prevailing stalemate regarding the PSC

Oct 19 (DBS) Today the most important question that is being asked of the TNA is “Why are you not joining the PSC?” This seems Iike a very reasonable question since the Govt has quite successfully carried on a campaign to convince everyone that the only reason why a political settlement cannot be reached is because the TNA is being obstinate and is refusing to join this more..

New local govt bill: No Panacea unless….

Oct 19 (CT) Last week, a Local Government Elections Reform Bill was passed in Parliament by a unanimous vote. As I have argued before, the problems with violence in elections or lack of accountability afterwards is not really about the system of elections. The problems are due to the abuse of the electoral process for personal gain. As long as politics is viewed as a way of making a better living, come next election, we may find that we are no better under the new system. more..

Midweek Politics:A Rally To Divide

Oct 19 (CT) Somewhere in Temple Trees, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is probably jubilant after an alliance that was to rally the collective opposition to agitate against the absolute power of the executive presidency, descended into chaos late last week. The UNP Working Committee, the party’s apex body decided last Friday to ban its membership from attending the inaugural rally organised by the alliance, placing several of its members in a precarious position, many of them more..

Sanath goes for the culinary drive with Qbaa

Oct 19 (ST) Whether playing his trademark cut shot over point, bowling his slow left-arm spin or grooving to eastern beats, Sri Lanka’s ace cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya, has a knack for adding a magic touch to whatever he does. This time around the Master Blaster has taken guard for a different innings – one of the culinary kind. He launched “Qbaa” – a fine dining restaurant in Colombo 5 while T20 excitement was at more..

Editorial: Liberate hapless commuters

Oct 19 (Island) Private bus operators and Western Province Transport Minister Upali Kodikara are notorious for settling their scores at the expense of hapless commuters. Their bitter feud often finds expression in strikes like the one which crippled several vital bus routes yesterday much to the inconvenience and consternation of the commuting public. Thankfully, it was called off yesterday morning itself. The Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association (LPBOA) has accused Minister more..

From Divineguma to the Judiciary: the govt faces a challenge

Oct 19 (Island) For the Rajapaksa Administration which pushed through the 18th Amendment to the constitution with barely a squeak of protest from society, the furor over the Divineguma bill must be hard to comprehend. The Bill is challenged in Court, the ruling is a defeat for the govt and there is now a serious public debate over the issues concerned, with trade unions joining with protests and opposition to the Bill. The timing of the furore over the Divineguma Bill comes at a more..

Boston Lanka News: October 18, 2012

Proven failure Kapugedara back in reckoning

Oct 19 (Island) The obsession of national cricket selectors with proven failure Chamara Kapugedara seems to continue as the 25-year-old under fire batsman was picked in Sri Lanka’s squad for the upcoming Hong Kong Sixes Cricket Tournament in Kowloon yesterday. Since making his international debut in 2006 at the age of 18, there have been many opportunities for Kapugedara, but despite repeated failures selectors have continued to have faith on him. Although he was dumped after more..

MAS and Nike strengthen their partnership by investing in Kilinochchi

Oct 19 (Island) MAS Holdings has been an integral part of Sri Lanka’s history for more than 25 years through employment generation and its extensive community-based projects. With the conclusion of the 30-year war, MAS Holdings has taken the lead to create job opportunities and provide aspirations to youth in the North. With this in mind MAS Holdings chose to invest in Kilinochchi, a long deprived community on account of the conflict. more..

Fresh challenge against SC Special Determination on Expropriation Bill

Oct 19 (FT) Public interest litigator Nihal Sri Ameresekere filed a landmark application in the Supreme Court yesterday seeking to have the Court’s determination pertaining to the Govt’s controversial Expropriation Act reviewed and re-examined and declared null and void and having no force in law. The Under Performing and Under Utilised Assets Act, which allows the Government to expropriate private enterprises arbitrarily, more..

Govt. needs to shift economic policy, says citizen group

Oct 19 (Island) A network of citizen groups has sent in its proposals for the 2013 budget to the President, asking the govt to give more weight to developing a macroeconomic and political strategy which would uplift the rural economy, marginalised communities and urban poor, instead of pursuing a course favouring infrastructure development, urbanisation, tourism and financialisation. Organised in to the Active Citizenship for Development Network (ACDN) their recommendations more..

Shouldn’t Tamil Eelaam be in Tamil Nadu?

Oct 19 (EAR) Tamils in India want a Tamil homeland, Tamils in Malaysia are also voicing similar sentiments, the LTTE Diaspora and TNA in Sri Lanka want a Tamil homeland and probably with time Tamils in Canada and Tamils in the UK may also start joining in the chorus. If this be the case with 72m Tamils already living together in one single State, where the language of Tamil is officially the majority language in a state whose name Tamil Nadu translated means Land of the Tamils, more..

Insurance planned for over 70s

Oct 19 (DN) The govt is planning to introduce a new insurance scheme for Senior Citizens who are above 70 years. Social Services Minister Felix Perera said Senior Citizens over 70 years, who are getting a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 will be entitled to this new insurance scheme. “The new insurance scheme is meant to promote the health, well-being and independence of Senior Citizens in the country,” he said. The minister was more..

Tea boy to tycoon

Oct 19 (FT) Business tycoon Harry Jayawardena yesterday turned nostalgic whilst sending a very inspiring message at the launch of his latest venture, Melsta Regal Finance Ltd., where he recalled the origins of his working career as a tea boy in a British-owned firm in Colombo. What took him down memory lane was the location of the head office of the new finance company – the land connecting Park Street and Braybrook Place in Colombo 2. Jayawardena said the location and the launch of a new company was “unique” because his first more..

Secretary Defence graces Prize Giving at Devi Balika Vidyalaya

Oct 19 (MoD) Secretary Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the Chief Guest at the Annual Prize Giving ceremony of Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo today (18). Upon arrival at the school the Secretary Defence was welcomed by the Principal Brevet Colonel W D P K Samarasinghe. Under the recommendations of the White Paper on Education (1950), Govt Girls College, Castle Street, Borella in Colombo was set up. This exclusive girls school was founded more..

'Launching of alternative political movement detrimental to UNP’s interests'

Oct 19 (Island) UNP Deputy Leader, Sajith Premadasa, MP, warned that any attempt to launch an alternative political movement would be detrimental to the UNP. He warned that such a course of action would weaken the UNP further hence making it advantageous to the authoritarian Rajapaksa regime. He was speaking at the Mother of Good Health Church, Bingiriya on Oct 11, the day before the decision making Working more..

'Govt working to clear targets on women’s empowerment'

Oct 19 (DN) The government’s engagement with the Convention on the the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CEDAW) Committee in 2010/2011 identified areas of concern and gave it clear targets to achieve in forming policy oriented national plans of action for women, Plantation Industries Minister and Special Presidential Envoy on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe said. He was addressing the UN General Sessions at the Third Committee Meeting in New York. more..

Ten men to be charged with cruelty to animals

Oct 19 (Island) Ududumbara Police, in night operations arrested ten men transporting 67-head of cattle, packed like sardine, in six lorries. The police said the cattle were transported having obtained permits but without adequate room for the animals. Hence the suspects would be charged for cruelty to animals, police said. The animals and the lorries were taken into police custody pending a Court order. The suspects would be produced before the Teldeniya Magistrate Courts police said. more..

'UPFA won’t play politics with garbage issue'

Oct 19 (Island) NFF leader and Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa yesterday said that the govt wouldn’t play politics when addressing problems faced by people. The minister cited the govt and the UNP-run Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) working closely to tackle the crisis caused by some 165 families being forced to leave their dwellings due to the Meethotamulla garbage mountain sinking. Due to the massive pressure caused by the sinking garbage mountain more..

Car registrations fall 75% in September

Oct 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's motor car registrations fell 75% to 1,072 in September 2012 from a year earlier while total registrations had fallen 45% to 24,478 data analyzed by JB Securities, has shown. An analysis of data from motor vehicle registry had shown that brand new cars were 75.4% to 643 and used or reconditioned cars were down 75.3% to 429 in September. Some car importers had sought permission from the state to export vehicles already bought into the country, media reports said. more..

'Gotabhaya shouts as if he has seen a bad dream'

Oct 19 (LT) The Defense Secretary, as if he has woken up suddenly from a bad dream, is making a big noise saying the 13th amendment should be amended but the JVP has been saying this since the Indo-Sri Lanka pact in 1987 as we saw the bad consequences of it even before it was adopted says the Information Secretary of the JVP Vijitha Herath. He said this responding to a question raised by a journalist at a media conference held at more..

Sri Lankan minister must appear in person for murder trial: Chennai court

Oct 19 (TOI) A Chennai sessions court on Thursday refused to revoke a non-bailable arrest warrant issued against minister Douglas Devananda and turned down his offer to face the murder trial he faces in India through video-conferencing. Devananda and nine others are accused of firing on local residents and killing one person at Choolaimedu in Chennai in Nov 1986. All the 10 were arrested and charged with murder. more..

Reality check for Ranil

Oct 19 (CT) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was faced an embarrassing situation when he went to distribute some hand bills against the govt, at the Market Complex in Nugegoda. One trader accused him of destroying the party, by supporting the govt.“Don’t try to fool us,” he shouted and refused to accept the pamphlet. Wickremesinghe turned towards another trader in a sorrowful mood, but had to face the same situation. “What are you going to do? You have driven away all the clever party members,“ another trader alleged. more..

Trinco hotels accused of fleecing tourists

Oct 19 (Island) Hotels in Trincomalee were charging exorbitant rates per night from local and foreign visitors, Trincomalee Rehabilitation Project Director Anura Weeraratne said. He stressed that Sri Lanka was targeting one million tourist arrivals this year which would be a boon to the tourism industry and the country’s ailing economy. But, exorbitant prices would keep many tourists away. Sri Lanka expects to raise the number of arrivals to 2.5 million and to earn an annual revenue of US$ 2.75 billion by 2016. He warned that the greed of hotel owners more..

Investigate seized Sri Lanka boat: Abbott

Oct 19 (SMH) The seizure of a fishing boat that may have been preparing to set sail from Sri Lanka to Australia should be fully investigated, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says. Sri Lankan police said yesterday that three crewmen and the skipper of a trawler had staged a hijacking off Sri Lanka on Sunday night to try to cover up the theft of the boat and use it for people smuggling. Two crewmen were reportedly found bobbing in waters south of Sri Lanka early on Monday. more..

Families refuse CMC relief

Oct 19 (CT) The families displaced in Meetotamulla due to the oversized garbage dump causing structural damages to their houses, refused to accept the relief package proposed by the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC). The displaced men and women were convened to a special discussion at the Kolonnawa Divisional Secretariat yesterday morning to inform them of the relief package of the CMC. Around 800 tonnes of garbage had been disposed by the CMC on a daily basis in State lands in more..

Pakistan, Sri Lanka agree to consolidate cooperation

Oct 19 (Island) Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has told President Rajapaksa that his country desired to further strengthen economic ties between the two countries. The two leaders held a discussion on the sidelines Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit. A statement from the Pakistan High Commission quoted PM Ashraf as having said that the people of Pakistan recalled with fond memories the visit of President Rajapaksa more..

SF urges masses to help change current political culture

Oct 19 (Island) Former Army Commander and DNA Leader Gen. Sarath Fonseka yesterday called upon the people to rally around him and the Maha Sangha to change the prevailing political culture in the country. Addressing a public rally, organised by the United Bhikkhu Front at the Hyde Park in Colombo, Gen. Fonseka said that mere changes of governments would not bring about solutions to the problems of the people. more..

Thewarapperuma blasts last minute pullouts

Oct 19 (Island) A leading UNP reformist blasted those who pulled out of yesterday’s Hyde Park rally, organised by the National Bhikku Front, chaired by former Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka. Obviously, referring to the last minute change of mind by former UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya, UNP MP Palitha Thewarapperuma said that those who had backed out at the last minute were people without principles who lacked the strength of character to withstand pressure from some quarters. more..

Kazakhstan Consulate opens in Colombo

Oct 19 (FT) The Consulate of the Republic of Kazakhstan was officially declared open on Wednesday by the Ambassador for Kazakhstan in India Doulat Kuanyshev. Kazakhstan, a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, is the ninth largest country in the world and it is geographically the largest of the former Soviet Republic excluding Russia. Kazakhstan is officially a unitary republic, and the current President is Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has served the country since 1990. more..

Tax on drinking wells

Oct 19 (DM) Sri Lankans who dig traditional or tube wells to obtain water for drinking, agriculture, commercial or industrial purposes will have to obtain an annual permit from the Water Resources Board (WRB) at fees ranging from Rs.7,500 to Rs.15,000. This is in keeping with the set of far reaching amendments to be introduced by the government to the Water Resources Board Act of 1964. Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva would submit the relevant Cabinet paper more..

Editorial: Wisdom weighs more than wealth and power

Oct 19 (DM) It was a great sage who said thousands of years ago, but valid for all times “I prayed and understanding was given me; I entreated, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I esteemed her more than sceptres and thrones; compared with her, I held riches as nothing. Compared with wisdom, all gold is a pinch of sand and beside her silver ranks as mud. I loved her more than health or beauty. In her company all good things come to me, at her hands riches not to be numbered.” more..

The path to accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Oct 19 (CT) Recently concluded General Debate at the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said that “The noticeable recent tendency to selectively and arbitrarily intervene in the internal affairs of states flies in the face of this principle and dilutes the confidence so carefully nurtured in the UN system.” During the same session United Nation Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has highlighted the need to find a political more..

University dons’ strike ends; a fleeting lull?

Oct 19 (LB) The 99-day strike of university academics, called off last Thursday is but a temporary lull, academics said. They vowed to continue their long drawn trade union action against the govt and win for themselves a wide range of demands, including pay rise. Vice president of the FUTA, Ven. Dambara Amila Thera underscored that the strike was called off temporarily, because the govt had sounded a positive response to resolve most of their more..