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'Dispute won’t affect our political aspirations'

Oct 27 (DM) TNA leader R. Sampanthan said the ongoing discussion on the internal rift that had arisen in the party would not impede the headway being made in achieving the objectives of Sri Lanka’s Tamil speaking people. “There was a lengthy discussion and a frank exchange of views among the constituent parties on Thursday. We are carrying out a serious dialogue and hope to resolve this matter soon” more..

Ranatunga’s role, a conflict of interest: COPE

Oct 27 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Chairman Upali Dharmadasa said yesterday he would obtain legal advice on Nishantha Ranatunga’s dual role as SLC Secretary and CEO of Carlton Sports Network (CSN) when the COPE directs him to do so in writing. “I have not received any intimation from COPE either in writing or verbally. I will take necessary action if and when I receive the direction in writing,” Mr. Dharmadasa told Daily Daily Mirror. In a summary on more..

Hijacked ship intercepted, asylum seekers sent back to Sri Lanka

Oct 27 (TA) 14 suspected pirate asylum seekers who hijacked a boat two weeks ago off Sri Lanka's southern coast have been detained for questioning in Colombo. They were intercepted and flown back from Cocos Islands by Australian authorities on a specially chartered flight. Australian immigration department confirmed the group was intercepted by authorities off the coast of Cocos Island early yesterday morning and the stolen more..

Last nail in Indo-Lanka accord coffin

Oct 27 (ANN) Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the powerful defence secretary and brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has called for a repeal of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the island nation. The amendment was a result of the 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement signed by Rajiv Gandhi and J.R. Jayawardene. Though the present Sri Lankan leadership claims the agreement was imposed on Colombo by New Delhi, the truth is quite different. The Jayawardene govt was facing attacks more..

Bowen details Sri Lankan expulsion

Oct 27 (BPN) Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says the decision to sent 14 people from a hijacked trawler back to Sri Lanka was made by the government on the grounds that they had no entitlement to stay. He says the federal government was not pressured by Sri Lanka and he also denies that Canberra has been overly secretive over the issue, while the opposition says the boat should never have made it to Australian waters. One of the 15 people who arrived on the allegedly more..

WikiLeaks: After the war Gota – Blake meeting in America

Oct 27 (CT) “In a September 24 meeting with Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on the margins of the UN General Assembly, SCA A/S Robert Blake stressed the urgent importance of resettling as many IDPs as possible and providing them freedom of movement, and the urgency of beginning a political reconciliation process with the Tamil community, if we are to make progress in strengthening U.S.-Sri Lanka relations. more..

New scalpels of dissent

Oct 27 (CT) How does one resist State terror? Counter-terror was tried, and failed, for it only made State terror worse, and more pervasive. The relatively non-violent rallies and demonstrations over democracy deficits in and around the Fort Railway station and Lipton Circus spring to mind, if only because everyone over at least two generations has either witnessed them in person, learnt of them through the media, or courageously taken part in them. Informed by the recording of human more..

SL Cricket and political culture

Oct 27 (Island) What is the explanation for our national team's debacle at the Final of the T 20 World Cup Tournament? An explanation along the following lines will probably get a consensus. Three of our best batsmen got out to surprisingly injudicious strokes. There were two run-outs due to poor calculation. Our most renowned fast bowler gave away as much as a half-century of runs without taking a single wicket. His being allowed to bowl the full quota of four overs was an unexpected more..

Kabir Hashim on UNP, unity and way forward

Oct 27 (FT) Sarath Fonseka, who still does not have civic rights, cannot throw challenge to anybody, says MP Kabir Hashim, stressing that the UNP leadership is not threatened by Fonseka. Following are excerpts of an interview: Q: From the time UNP lost power, the party has been in a leadership crisis. When will this matter be solved? A: Usually, when a party is in opposition for an extended period, internal rumblings, more..

'Govt. that charged KP earlier now says he’s free'

Oct 27 (LT) The govt that charged KP earlier now says he doesn’t have any charges against him says JVP MP Vijitha Herath. He has said it is the govt that charged KP as a fierce criminal, he is being sought by the Interpol, he was the successor to Prabakaran, he sent ships full of arms to terrorists in Sri Lanka and he has carried out assassinations. However, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella now says there are no charges against KP. He is being protected more..

Berty’s henchman arrested

Oct 27 (LT) Sarath Weerasinghe, UPFA Member for Madhya Nuwragampalatha Pradeshiya Sabha and a strong supporter of former chief minister for North Central Province Berty Premalal Dissanayake has been taken into custody. The arrest has been made on an order from DIG Anuradhapura on a complaint made by Special Site Manageress of Anuradhapura Archeology Ms. Priyanka Amarasinghe. She has complained that the suspect was constructing two unauthorized buildings more..

Flour and bread prices rise

Oct 27 (DM) The price of flour was increased by an amount ranging from Rs 4 to Rs 6 a kilogramme from today compelling bakers to raise bread prices likely from next week. The price of Prima flour was increased by Rs. 6 and Serendib flour by Rs 4 a kilogramme. All Ceylon Bakers Association President N.I.L. Jayawardene said that they would be compelled to increase the price of bread as a result of this increase. However he said more..

Let’s stone the courts – Sri Ranga

Oct 27 (LT) Let’s all Parliamentarians get together and pelt stones at the Judiciary says govt MP J. Sri Ranga. He said this participating in the adjournment debate in Parliament on the 25th. Sri Ranga said, “During the Parliamentary elections a person was murdered in Jaffna demanding ransom. Subsequently the Magistrate in the area was transferred. Such incidents often occur in the North and the East. How did these issues in the Judiciary sector begin? more..

Increased intensity, frequency of lightning experienced

Oct 27 (DN) Recent studies by scientists have found out the frequency and intensity of lightning have risen in the present era than in the past, Meteorology Department meteorologist-in-charge D A Jayasinghearachchi said. He said this might be a consequence of global warming and climate change, even though it is not scientifically proven. He observed we do get more lightening now and their intensity too has grown than in the past. more..

Museum theft: Key suspect arrested

Oct 27 (CT) The key suspect in connection with the Colombo National Museum theft has been arrested by a special team of CID sleuths from a tourist hotel in Negombo. At the time of the arrest the suspect was found working as a mason at a construction site of a hotel. The CID officials who gathered the details on the suspect had tracked him down at the Negombo hotel building site. The suspect has been identified as more..

GMOA to hold discussions

Oct 27 (CT) The Executive committee of the Govt Medical Officer’s Association (GMOA) will hold discussions with the General Committee of the GMOA over the progress reached between the association and the Treasury Secretary P.B.Jayasundara on Thursday. The spokesperson for the GMOA Dr. Navin De Soyza said that the GMOA Executive committee had a meeting with Treasury Secretary P.B.Jayasundara and several issues were taken up with regard to the more..

Korea - Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital opens next month

Oct 27 (DN) Work on the Korea - Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital in Kotawila, Matara has been completed at Rs 740 million and will open next month, a Health Ministry spokesman said. He said the Korean govt spent Rs 500 million to construct the hospital while the Sri Lankan govt spent Rs 240 million. "This fully completed hospital will operate from next month. Several units of the Matara Hospital removed to provide space for the Matara City Development Plan launched by the govt, more..

Iran offers Sri Lanka oil without LCs

Oct 27 (Island) With a view to overcoming American sanctions, Iran has given Sri Lanka the opportunity to purchase its crude oil requirements, without opening Letters of Credit. Iranian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mohammed Nabi Hassanipour, said that the arrangement contained in an agreement reached between the two countries recently was meant to assist a friendly country which had been affected by the unfair embargoes imposed by "insensitive global policemen." more..

Editorial: Are trade union demands realistic?

Oct 28 (SO) It was only a week ago that university lecturers ended their 100-day strike and returned to work. Due to the irresponsible trade union action on the part of the FUTA, work at all universities countrywide came to a complete standstill, causing immense heartburn to thousands of undergraduates. University dons initially demanded a salary increase, several other perks and preferential treatment. Subsequently, FUTA cadged a more attractive slogan from the extremist JVP, more..

Editorial: India’s kite-flying lesson

Oct 28 (NS) India is no island and neither is Sri Lanka one. Not in this globalized world of the 21st Century. Indeed, there hasn’t been such ‘islandic’ isolation for millennia. Water and wind know no borders, need no visas. People move. Money does too, along with goods and services. If a butterfly flapping its wings in one corner of the world can precipitate a whirlwind at the other end, only a fool would say that India’s Kundakulam Nuclear Plant is not Sri Lanka’s business, more..

'Rata Viruvo to protect Lankan expats in dire straits'

Oct 28 (SO) Minister Dilan Perera is sharp-witted and outspoken but all the same buoyant. Come what may he sticks to his principles even if they are favoured by a few. He said that some members of the TNA and some extremist elements in the South are working together behind the screen to create problems once again. There is a combination between the two elements. The actions of the extremists in the South ultimately help their more..

Editorial: Abolition of 13th amendment - A great leap forward or backward?

Oct 28 (SL) The crescendo for the abolition of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution has been increasing since Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary, Ministry of Defence, called for its abolition recently. It is expected to be a Great Leap Forward by removing constitutional obstacles that have been in the way of the govt’s development programme. No doubt some may consider it a great leap backward in time – a leap of 25 years – since it was enacted in the heady days of 1987. more..

Editorial: 13th A'ment vs 18th A'ment

Oct 28 (LB) The Constitution making process in this country has often been arbitrary, unilateral and carried out at the whims and fancies of the rulers of the day. With each of those Constitution-making exercises, which have successively burred the separation of power principle, a key constitutional tenet, there had also been efforts to cater to the popular majoritarian impulses of the time. Such manoeuverings were meant to sugarcoat the bitter pill, and force it down the throat of a more..

'Who is playing Jekyll and Hyde?'

Oct 28 (LB) TNA leader R. Sampanthan says that the govt is playing Jekyll and Hyde on the political solution to the Tamil grievances. He spoke to Afreeha Jawad on a gamut of issues. Excerpt: There is widespread belief of an unwillingness on your part to take part in the parliamentary select committee for a negotiated settlement to end the ethnic crisis. How would you respond to this? A: Let me explain to you and then you will find for more..

Editorial: Ranil’s one liner

Oct 28 (Island) Perhaps the D.R. Wijewardene blood coursing through his veins helped Ranil Wickremesinghe to come up with a good line at last week’s Business Today Awards ceremony. Talking of the Colombo Stock Market, he said that it was a casino with a laundry and altar attached. The CSE, he said, was where black money from Malaysia and India is turned white. The altar had been added this year with two chairpersons of the Securities and Exchange Commission sacrificed upon it! more..

Cold war comes to the open: A motion against the Judiciary

Oct 28 (LB) Late last week the ruling party members of Parliament were queuing up to sign a motion that ostensibly called for measures to prevent the Judiciary from overstepping its purview. Over 100 odd signatures from govt MPs had already been obtained for the motion by the end of the week. The motion requires 75 votes for it to be presented to Parliament for a special debate. Once presented, it can be taken up at an emergency debate. more..

'Every govt needs a threat for existence'

Oct 28 (SL) JVP Leader Somawansa Amerasinghe says that as predicted by the party at the inception, the 13th Amendment has become a complete failure because it has not brought democracy to the Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and people of other ethnic communities. “It has not created equal opportunities among the people,” he said, adding that the national issue faced by the country is based on inequality and the lack more..

Handling judges the Indian way

Oct 28 (Island) For those of us who knew Gamini Dissanayake personally, Thursday provided a trip down memory lane. The commemorative book launch at the BMICH on October 25 was well attended and Dr Wickrema Weerasooria was at his scintillating best, describing the man and politician Gamini Dissanayake. The Indian High Commissioner Asok K. Kantha was to be the chief guest but had to go to India and his place was taken by the Deputy High Commissioner of India more..

Have PCs served any purpose?

Oct 28 (NS) Twenty-five years after it was introduced, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that paved the way for the creation of provincial councils has proved unlucky yet again: sections of the ruling coalition are seeking its repeal and the controversy is set to unravel all over again. When President J. R. Jayewardene signed the Indo-Lanka Accord under duress from India, no one really wanted the provincial councils it created. There were mass protests against it. more..

'Some are only expressing views'

Oct 28 (SL) Minister Maithripala Sirisena says that the govt has not had any official discussion on the 13th Amendment or an alternative to it. He added that regardless of whether it is the 13th Amendment or the devolution of power the govt and the SLFP would work according to the policies of the Mahinda Chinthana presented by the President. “The SLFP and govt would always work for a system that best suits our country,” he said. more..

Battle lines drawn over the 13th

Oct 28 (NS) Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s statement regarding the 13th Amendment has now framed the issue of ‘solution’ and indeed ‘devolution’. It is no longer about 13 (plus or minus), but whether it stays or goes. Predictably, the statement has provoked statements from both sides of the devolution debate. Tissa Vitharana and the ‘Left’ elements in the Government have defended the 13th, and other 13-advocates have expressed concerns that a repeal would revive terrorism. more..

International symposium on Polymer Science & Technology here

Oct 28 (Island) An International Symposium of Polymer Science and Technology will be held in Colombo from Nov 2 to 4 under the auspices of the Dept of Chemistry of the University of Sri J'pura in collaboration with industries, institutions and universities here, the organisers announced. The symposium has attracted over 200 participants from Sri Lanka and abroad and Senior Minister Sarath Amunugama will be the chief guest at more..

Litmus test for Rajapaksa govt in Geneva

Oct 28 (SL) Sri Lanka’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on human rights scheduled to be taken up this week at the UNHRC will be a litmus test for the Rajapaksa govt. That the international community would question the govt’s commitment on effectively implementing the 13th Amendment would be a key issue at the UPR is evident given the role played by India as the head of the troika that would review Sri Lanka’s report on more..

'I will not resign from politics'

Oct 28 (SL) UNP MP Palitha Thewarapperuma says he has no intention of resigning from politics despite being temporarily suspended from his party. He said that he also had no plans to join the govt and reports to that effect were false. “I will remain in the UNP. I have no plans to leave,” he said. Thewarapperuma and two other UNP MPs were suspended from the party for taking part in a rally attended by former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka despite a ban by the UNP working committee. more..

Epasinghe honoured with honorofic title

Oct 28 (Island) Versatile writer lecturer, media personality and marketing consultant Premasara Epasinghe has been conferred the Honorofic Title – Sannivedenasuri Dharmapriya by the Most Venerated, Prestigious Kotte Kalyani Samagi Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha, in recognition of his service in the propogation of Buddhism. He received his title from Most Venerable Aggamaha Pandita Bellana Sri Gnanawila Mahanayaka Thera at Kotte Rajamahaviharaya on his 75th birthday on October 5, 2012. more..

Skyscrapers galore as city skyline changes dramatically

Oct 28 (SL) Colombo’s skyline will dramatically change in the next few years with several skyscrapers approved for construction according to information now available, authoritative business sources said yesterday. These include a 68-floor Indocean Tower to be developed by Indocean Developers (Pvt) Ltd, a venture of the Indian property group South City Projects (Kolkata) to be completed by 2016 opposite the Beira Lake. more..

'UNP Convention: Ranil shuts dissidents out'

Oct 28 (LB) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is working systematically to limit the attendance of members to the party’s forthcoming National Convention, in a bid to confine entry to his loyalists, dissident members in the party alleged. The National Convention is expected to take measures to extend the tenure of Wickremesinghe as the leader of the party for a period of six years. “Mr. Wickremesinghe is conspiring to prevent many members from attending the convention more..

Polls Chief ready for North elections

Oct 28 (SL) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya says the Elections Department is ready to hold Provincial Council elections in the Northern Province at anytime. However he says so far the govt has not notified the department on a date to prepare to hold the elections. The govt had said that elections for the Northern Provincial Council will be held in September 2013 but a date has not been fixed. “If we are notified about the date when the elections will be held we can make the more..

Corex-D ban to continue as probe into deaths continue

Oct 28 (Island) The two brands of locally manufactured cough syrup linked to the recent death of six persons will remain banned until the outcome of the ongoing probe determines the follow-up action to be adopted, a National Cosmetic Devices and Drugs Authority (NCDDA) official said. "The investigation is still in progress", says Dr. Sriyani Dissanayake, NCDDA’s acting more..

‘Mano Ganeshan may be daydreaming’

Oct 28 (SO) Cabinet spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the Government has no intention of re-demarcating provincial boundaries to have five provinces, as alleged by DPF leader Mano Ganeshan. “Ganeshan may be ‘daydreaming’,” the Minister said adding that even the people whom he claims to represent will not believe him on this issue because they know that the Government is committed towards the rights and political representation of the minority communities”. more..