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Midweek Politics: Political pickles and quicksilver fortunes

Sept 14 (CT) On Friday (7) afternoon, the eve of provincial council elections in three provinces, a certain gathering took place at 101, Rosmead Place, which houses the corporate offices of DNA National List MP, Tiran Alles. Consultations that lasted for hours, took place between Alles and UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa and a few of the DNA MP’s other close associates. It was around this time that the news first broke that Alles had resigned from his position as General Secretary more..

Response to Prof. HL: Sobitha the only horse in the draw? Of course not

Sept 14 (CT) I thank Prof. H.L. Seneviratne for “On Kumar and Nimalka: The Single-Issue Debate” and request space for a brief reply. Yes HL has identified two hurdles facing my single-issue presidential candidacy proposal. It’s not new; I have been in political gatherings where these were discussed. (a) Can the single-issue candidate be trusted to abolish the Executive Presidency (EP) immediately upon election and not attempt to hang on as the EP? Haven’t we the people been cheated more..

TFC breaks laws, but CB uses EPF to buy more of its shares!

Sept 14 (Island) Amidst a number of questionable investments in the CSE, the EPF has been used by the Central Bank to invest in shares of The Finance Company PLC (TFC) which was found violating Central Bank directives and the financial laws of the country. As at the financial year ended March 31, 2011, the EPF held a 7.44 stake in TFC with 4,497,600 shares. That year, TFC reported a loss of Rs. 3,682.8 million. more..

Three Provincial Elections were not free nor fair allege election monitors

Sept 14 (DBS) Local election monitoring bodies Sunday ruled the Provincial Council Elections in the North Central, Eastern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces as neither free nor fair. Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) and the Network for Election Monitoring of Intellectuals for Human Rights (NEM-IHR), at the culmination of Saturday’s polling said the elections had not been held in a fair and free manner. more..

Children from 60 Tamil families in Norway taken away by authorities and placed under foster care

Sept 14 (DBS) Aggrieved Sri Lankan Tamil parents, whose children have been forcibly taken away by Norwegian Child Welfare Authorities and placed in foster care, are planning to launch a hunger strike, taking their campaign for justice and to get back their children, to the next level and create a broader global awareness about the actions of the Norwegian Government. “We’ve met and decided to launch a hunger strike to bring it to the notice of the authorities as well as more..

Boston Lanka News: Sept 13, 2012

Anti Sri Lanka wave in Tamil Nadu is born of new political compulsions

Sept 14 (DBS) Panic-stricken Sri Lankan pilgrims huddled in a convoy of buses with broken window panes and smashed windshields while being rushed to the Tiruchi airport in Tamil Nadu under heavy police security as they flee India—it’s hardly a picture to promote good neighbourly relations and strengthen the credentials of the world’s largest democracy. In what was a harrowing experience for the 180 Sri Lankan visitors on a pilgrimage to Christian shrines in Tamil Nadu, their more..

Editorial: Frankenstein's monster on the rampage

Sept 14 (Island) Wednesday's killing of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Libya has shocked the world. That barbaric crime must be condemned by one and all and the perpetrators brought to justice. That the killers had been provoked by a spoof of Islam cannot be cited in extenuation of that brutal act. President Barack Obama has vowed to track them down. It is a supreme irony that the place where the US diplomats perished is Benghazi, more..

From bust to boom?

Sept 14 (FT) The Rs. 407 billion rise in the Colombo stock market’s overall value in three months or since its lowest level year-to-date in June gives the impression of a bust to boom scenario. Amidst scepticism and concerns by some, the blue chips joining the rally has given greater credence to the unprecedented rebound of late. If some felt the Bourse has gained too much too soon, then the 100 points each rise by both the ASI and MPI yesterday was telling. more..

Renewable energy developers irked by policy blackout

Sept 14 (Island) The Small Hydro Power Developers Association has requested for an urgent meeting with the Public Utilities Commission demanding to know why the tariff rates which the Commission published on Tuesday morning were suspended that night itself on the Commission website! "In view of this most unfortunate incident, we together with the Wind and Bio-mass Associations, request an urgent meeting with the Public Utilities Commission, to ascertain the reason for the more..

Java Lane residents allowed to proceed with FR plea against land takeover

Sept 14 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday granted leave to proceed with the Fundamental Rights Violation Application, filed by a group of residents of Java Lane, Slave Island, Colombo 2, who had complained about an attempt by the Divisional Secretary of Colombo to acquire about seven acres of land where they reside. The notice had been issued on July 23, 2012. The petitioners had said the aforesaid notice was mala-fide and arbitrary. They wanted the Court to more..

SEC Chief has escape clause for conflicts of interests - Govt.

Sept 14 (Island) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that there was an escape clause for the likes of SEC Chairman Dr Nalaka Gohahewa who were holding high office and had links with entities believed to be investigated and who simultaneously had conflicts of interests. He was responding to a question about the rationale underpinning the govt’s appointment of Dr. Godahewa as the Chairman of SEC more..

The govt has become a joke: UNP

Sept 14 (DM) The Govt has become a joke by trying to show the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) delegates that a nonexistent rule of law and democracy prevails in the country, the UNP charged today. UNP MP Ruwan Wijewardene told journalists the govt had become a joke by telling the delegates there is democracy in the country after enacting the 18th Amendment to the constitution, under which independent commissions including the Elections Commission, more..

'Technical education reinforces development strategy'

Sept 14 (DN) It is only by developing technical eduction that the country could be transformed into a developed country. There is a world of difference between a person with a traditional degree and one with a degree relating to the technical field. The latter would be a more active and practical person than the former, said the Ministry's monitoring MP, Mohan Lal Grero. He was addressing a meeting after opening a new Vocational Training more..

UNOCHA, Survey Dept. sign historic deal to reduce impact of disasters

Sept 14 (FT) The Govt and the United Nations, Sri Lanka yesterday signed a historic agreement for Digital Data Dissemination aimed reducing the impact of disasters in the country and for the betterment of the economy and the environment as well. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in the last 34 years natural disasters have killed more than 37,000 Sri Lankans. As recently as November 2010, more..

GEF invests US$ 24mn on Lankan alternative energy project

Sept 14 (Island) The UNIDO focal point office in Colombo has successfully marshalled a US based top tier global fund for its pioneering bamboo initiative leading to large scale bio-mass alternative energy material growth in Sri Lanka," the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said. "We are highly encouraged by the strong co-financing support of the Global Environment Fund (GEF) headed by Jeffrey Leonard whose firm now has $1 Bn invested in dozens of energy-related projects more..

Sri Lanka US$300mn road, flyover contract to China firm

Sept 14 (LBO) China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited has been given a 40 billion rupees (303 million US dollars) contract to build roads and flyovers in Hambantota in the South. Minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said 85 percent of the financing will come from the Exim Bank of China and the balance will be put by Sri Lanka. The contract involves 64 kilometres of roads and flyovers including a - 23.34 kilometre road from Mirijjewila to Sooriyawewa, more..

President felicitates first ever Sri Lankan Paralympics medalist

Sept 14 (IL) Lance Corporal Pradeep Sanjaya who did Sri Lanka proud by winning a Bronze Medal at the London Paralympic Games recently met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees today (13). A Lance Corporal of the Sinha Regiment, Pradeep succeeded in boosting Sri Lanka’s image by winning the bronze medal in the 400 metres sprint in T-46 in 49.28 seconds for the first time in Sri Lanka’s history. more..

Maliban biscuits gets make-over

Sept 14 (LBO) Maliban Biscuits says it has given a make-over to its popular 40-year old 'Lemon Puff' brand, which also a niche export market, making more appealing to younger consumers. The brand has been re-launched with pop stars Bathiya and Santhush as brand ambassadors. The Maliban Lemon Puff brand has been in the market for more than 40 years and become a household name when entertaining guests. "It's a vibrant and authentic product, appeal to youth and entertains consumers," Jayawardena said. more..

Julampitiye Amare, two others further remanded

Sept 14 (Island) Geeganage Amarasena, alias ‘Julampitiye Amare’ and two others were further remanded till September 27 by Walasmulla District Judge and Magistrate Channa Saliya Abeyratne. They had been charged with attacking a JVP meeting at Katuwana ,about three months ago, in which two people were killed. The case was postponed to September 27. The other two suspects were Koggala Unangalage Danushka Chaturanga, and Abeyratnalage Sumudu Dilshan. more..

'SL pilgrims will have no problem here'

Sept 14 (Hindu) Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday said Sri Lankan tourists and pilgrims would face no problem in the State and sought to explain that she had prevented sportspersons from that country playing or training in Tamil Nadu only to express the State’s anguish and protest over the denial of rights due to Tamils in the island nation. She said she had taken measures such as getting a resolution passed in the State Assembly seeking more..

Hirunika condemns police for not arresting Malaka

Sept 14 (Island) Hirunika Premachandra, daughter of the late Presidential Advisor Baratha Lakshman Premachandra said she was concerned over the inability of the police to act impartially and enforce the law when it came to politicians’ sons. A disgusted Hirunika said, "Despite the fact that we are close family friends and Malaka Aiya being a friend of mine for so long, as an ordinary citizen of this country, I feel the police should arrest him and the persons who were involved with more..

UPFA will form provincial administration in EP - Minister

Sept 14 (DN) An UPFA administration will be set up in the Eastern Provincial Council, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He was addressing the weekly Cabinet media briefing yesterday at the ministry auditorium. In accordance with the result of the recent Provincial Council election for the Eastern Province, the UPFA obtained the majority returning 14 members. ‘Therefore, the UPFA as the party, which obtained the majority has the right to set up the administration in the Eastern Province. more..

'PC polls results confirm large number do not approve Govt'

Sept 14 (FT) UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya yesterday said that the results of the last week PC elections confirm that a large number of people do not approve the Govt and the path it has taken with many burning issues unresolved. Following is the full text of the statement issued by Jayasuriya: The PC election which was thrust on the people has been concluded. The Govt says that the public opinion is in favour of the Govt. more..

Blake expresses interest in Northern economy

Sept 14 (DM) The US Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake who is on a 3-day visit to Sri Lanka met Minister G.L. Peiris on Thursday and expressed interest in the economy of the North. The minister briefed him on the development activities, the resettlement of IDPs and the reintegration into society of ex-combatants. The minister said there had been no specific mention of the US-led resolution adopted at the UNHRC more..

Keheliya to striking academics: Resolve issues through dialogue

Sept 14 (DN) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday called on striking academics to resolve issues through dialogue without pawning the future of the younger generation. He said he was certain there was no room in their conscience to cause injustice to the student population. He said as foremost intellectuals in society, it was his belief that university professors and lecturers would look at issues in a more compassionate manner. more..

Negative perception was changed -C’wealth

Sept 14 (DM) General Secretary of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Dr. William F. Shija who led a delegation to Jaffna said yesterday that he had really had a change of his negative perception of Sri Lanka after visiting the war affected area. Dr. Shija, after concluding the observation tour in the north, said that the international media had painted a negative picture of Sri Lanka to the effect that nothing had been done about the more..

Tamil text to be included on currency notes

Sept 14 (CT) The Central Bank will include Tamil text in currency notes to be issued by the bank in the future, reflecting the country’s language policy. Accordingly, the new currency notes will include the words ‘this currency note issued on behalf the Government of Sri Lanka is valid for any financial transaction within Sri Lanka’ in the Tamil language as well. The decision was arrived at in response to a complaint by Lionel Guruge of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRC). more..

TNA not nominating reps to PSC has delayed its work

Sept 14 (CT) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told the visiting United States’ Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake that the failure of the TNA to nominate its representatives to the committee, has delayed the work of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) deliberations. He made this comment during a discussion held with the United States’ Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake at his ministry on Thursday. more..

Govt. ally proposes all-party council in EP: SLMC agreeable

Sept 14 (Island) The Communist Party of Sri Lanka (CPSL) yesterday proposed that the govt and the Opposition explore the possibility of forming a joint provincial administration in the Eastern Province. The CPSL said that the ongoing post-war national reconciliation efforts would receive a tremendous boost through setting up of an all-party provincial administration. Having consulted senior representatives of political parties, more..

Editorial: Blank cheques, not checks, for corruption

Sept 14 (DM) Despite election victories and boasts about achievements to make Sri Lanka a model or miracle of Asia, widespread corruption continues unchecked with politicians and others making millions at the top and thousands at the bottom. For instance, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation -- which plays a vital role in the economy of the country – continues to be on fire and under heavy fire in the aftermath of the multi-million-dollar frauds in the import of sub-standard fuel. more..

Fighting the real war against war

Sept 14 (DM) With a few books clutched in his left hand, Jayasankar Thayutsan walks heavily, dragging his right foot, trying to keep pace with his classmates running towards the playground. The stump of his amputated right arm twists as he attempts to quicken his pace. But instead of joining his friends at play, Thayutsan retires into the shade of a tree. The prosthetic limb that is in place of his right leg does not bend as he sits - so he stretches it forward. This 14-year-old boy had lost his right arm and leg about four years ago, caught in the more..

Keheliya explains failure to arrest Malaka

Sept 14 (DM) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said on Thursday that Malaka Silva, the son of Minister Mervyn Silva who was wanted in connection with the assault on an Army major had not been arrested while he was at the Kelaniya Temple as the police would have felt that arresting him in the sacred precincts of the Kelaniya Temple was not proper. “Police would have thought that arresting him in the presence of the Sacred Relics was not etiquette,” he said. more..

Shocked UNP, apologises to delegates

Sept 14 (CT) The UNP said yesterday they were shocked at the conduct of the Deputy Speaker of Parliament and member of the Sri Lanka delegation, Chandima Weerakkody, alleging that he has broken all covenants in making false accusations against the Leader of the Opposition, two UNP Members of Parliament and other delegates, who took part in the workshop of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) on the Commission of Human Rights and Democracy. more..

LTTE gold sneaking into India

Sept 14 (AA) Spurt in gold smuggling from Colombo after the ethnic war got over in Sri Lanka has forced some officials in Indian customs intelligence to believe that a lot of illegally-held gold is being smuggled out of the island nation. “It is possible that someone had found LTTE’s gold reserve which is now being smuggled out in slow manner,” sources said. Since January this year, the customs and DRI officials had made 29 seizures of smuggled gold at the Chennai airport. more..

‘Vedi Pitiya’ – where villagers fear to tread

Sept 14 (ST) An explosive device that blew up and killed two persons and seriously injured three last week on Kandakuli Beach is the latest in a string of accidents that have prompted locals to describe the area as “Vedi Pitiya”, or “Explosives Village.” The accident occurred in Kalpitiya, in the district of Puttalam, on the northwest coast. The area adjoins a Sri Lanka Air Force training camp. A party of five young people, including a 17-year-old and four children, were playing on the beach more..

Special banquet for CPA Conference delegates at Temple Trees

Sept 14 (IL) Special banquet for CPA Conference delegates at Temple Trees Foreign delegates attending the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Conference in Colombo attended a special banquet hosted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on 12 September. This is an ongoing tradition that the head of the state of the hosting country of the CPA annual conference to more..

Sri Lanka: A different approach for a better society

Sept 14 (OW) In the hilly terrain of central Sri Lanka lies the small village of Tholangamuwa. Recently these green hills and rolling meadows played host to a group of young people who used the calm surroundings to engage in a week-long training comprised of workshops, discussions and debates as well as a range of more unconventional activities such as yoga, drama and dance. The training was part of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society’s flagship ‘Youth as Agents of Behavioral Change’ more..

Striking dons out to make govt. surrender

Sept 14 (Island) University teachers, who have been on a continuous strike for over two months, staged a demonstration yesterday opposite the Fort Railway Station to force the govt to meet their demands immediately. President of the FUTA Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said that the govt was yet to provide acceptable solutions to their demands. FUTA’s main demands are the allocation 6% of the GDP for education, consulting university teachers when decisions on higher education and more..

TRC assigning new frequencies

Sept 14 (Island) The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) had taken steps to assign new frequencies to all radio stations in the country with effect from Nov. 1, its Director General Anusha Palpita said. Radio stations which had more than five frequencies would have two, while stations with fewer than five frequencies, would have one. Radio stations which got one frequency would get countrywide coverage, he said, adding that steps had also more..