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Ushering in a new era of purified judiciary?

Apr 27 (CT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa was recently quoted as saying that he will take stern action to see that the judiciary will remain ‘pure’. This statement raises many questions. The test of a good judiciary is its ability to act independently. Here, ‘independent’ means the absence of dependence on the executive. The judiciary must be able to take any action when the law requires it to do against any executive agency including the executive president himself. more..

'VMS to monitor fishing vessels'

Apr 27 (SO) The Northern fishing waters rendered bereft of its fertile aquatic wealth, mainly due to poaching from across the Palk Strait, will now rebound with the recent enforcement of a total ban on poaching and all prohibited methods of fishing, said Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne. Poaching has now stopped completely and the Northern fishermen could engage in fishing peacefully in their traditional fishing grounds, more..

On the not so natural rise in electricity prices

Apr 27 (KN) One of the many conspiracy theories that has emerged with regard to the anti-Muslim campaign of the Bodu Bala Sena and others is that it is an attempt by the Government to distract people from other concerns, primarily the state of the economy. If so, it isn’t working. Last week’s increase in electricity tariffs hasn’t been overlooked by anybody in Sri Lanka. However, the Government has succeeded in convincing a fair share of the electorate that it isn’t really its fault. more..

For whom is the ‘Tamil Civil Society View’ causing trouble?

Apr 27 (CT) This is in response to Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka’s rejoinder (‘The Problem with Mr. Guruparan’s ‘Tamil Civil Society’ view’) to my article titled ‘Much Ado About Nothing: The Northern Provincial Council Elections, 13th Amendment and the rationale for a Transitional Administration’. I am thankful to Dr. Jayatilleke for the engagement. There is a lot of rhetoric and conceptual hair splitting in his response. I respond to what I see as his substantive arguments. Dr. Jayatilleka says the 13th more..

Radhika Hettiarachchi

Losing the Plot –Game, Set and Match?

Apr 27 (Island) Fifteen months ago, when the year 2011 was drawing to a close, the political climate in Sri Lanka was such that the position of President Rajapaksa and his govt seemed stable and secure. The majority of Sri Lankans were still in a state of euphoria following the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009. The President and his coalition easily won the elections held soon after. The ethnic issue was still not resolved and there was pressure from the international community to more..

Be a winner: Place your bets on the Casino

Apr 27 (Island) The privileged in our political species that populate the House at Diyawanna Oya have just shown their new capabilities. When it comes to issues of power – power that flows through the National Grid propped up by the bigger Power of Governance — they are prepared to use a barrage of water to douse the glow of the protesting flicker of candles. Bottled water is the answer to candlelight – this is the lesson that lawmakers in other countries should also learn. more..

Planters seek trade union, worker co-operation to increase productivity, efficiency

Apr 27 (Island) The Planters’ Association of Ceylon states that the latest plantation worker wage increase could ensure a monthly income of at least Rs 15,500 per person and called for trade union and worker co-operation to increase productivity and efficiency. The daily wage package was increased by 20% from Rs 515 to Rs 620. The wage increase will cause the cost of production of tea to escalate to its highest levels ever more..

Mismatch between supply and demand in SL higher education options

Apr 27 (ST) Sri Lanka has a massive mismatch in the demand and supply in higher education opportunities available in the country. “A total of 6705 students obtained 3As in the commerce stream but only about 4000 students got opportunity to enter university, thereby creating a massive gap in the higher education opportunities in our country,” noted Minister S.B. Dissanayake. He made these comments at the recent launch of the CA Sri Lanka Bachelor of Science in Applied more..

Sampath Bank initiates youth empowerment

Apr 27 (Island) Sampath Bank, the pioneer in innovation in the banking sector and as a socially responsible corporate citizen has joined hands with the AIESEC local committee of the University of Sri Jayawardenapura to promote youth empowerment in the country. Sampath Bank’s Managing Director Aravinda Perera and Vice Chancellor of University of Sri Jayawardenapura, Dr. N.L.A. Karunarathna announced the partnership at the signing of the MOU held at the bank’s auditorium more..

The Kingsbury unveils the ‘Sky Lounge’

Apr 27 (Island) Sitting atop the royal splendour of The Kingsbury with its dignified splendour, is a unique jewel in its crown; Sky Lounge, the epicenter of Colombo’s nightlife. Sky Lounge redefines the parameters of entertainment as it illuminates eminence from the center of Colombo. Its alluring style and captivating ambiance will provide an ideal haven for socializing with specially curated live music and DJs. Undeniably one of the more..

Sri Lankan courts extend fishermen’s remand again

Apr 27 (Hindu) The wait for the 56 fishermen from Tamil Nadu – who were caught in Sri Lankan waters earlier this month – has only become longer after the magistrate courts in Mannar and Kayts Island on Friday extended their remand. On April 6, the Sri Lankan Navy arrested 30 fishermen from Rameswaram on the charges of alleged illegal fishing activity in Sri Lankan waters. The case came up for hearing on April 18, and the fishermen’s remand was extended to April 26. more..

88 Sri Lankan refugees rescued, 5 nabbed for human trafficking

Apr 27 (PTI) The central crime branch has nabbed five people for alleged human trafficking and rescued 88 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees from their clutches, police said on Friday. The accused were caught on Tuesday from a boat parked at the Mangalore Port while they were illegally transporting the refugees, including 22 women and children, to Australia on the pretext of providing them employment. The refugees will be sent back to their camps in Tamil Nadu, more..

Many GK depositors reject CB action plan

Apr 27 (ST) Many disgruntled Golden Key depositors who breathed a sigh of relief following the Central Bank’s action plan to make repayments promptly have re-assessed their position and now protesting against the initiative saying it will swallow up their security deposits. After an in-depth study and closer inspection of this plan, some depositors who have analysed it said that they have been deprived of a large portion of more..

50% of coconut mills closed in Wayamba

Apr 27 (CT) Some 10,000 workers employed in the coconut mills in the North-Western Province (NWP) have lost their jobs, with the closure of more than 50% of the mills in the Province in the recent past. Although there were 23 coconut mills in the NWP, at present only 11 are functioning, sources said. There are 51 coconut mills registered with the Coconut Development Board islandwide. Out of them, 23 mills are located in the Kurunegala and Puttalam Districts. The main reasons for more..

UNP PS member knocks down mother, daughter

Apr 27 (Island) A woman and her daughter were injured and hospitalised on Thursday evening after being knocked down, near the Etiyawala School in Dankotuwa, by a cab driven by UNP member of the Udubaddawa Pradeshiya Sabha. Dankotuwa police had arrested the PS member and taken his vehicle into custody. The mother had been transferred to the Negombo hospital from the Dankotuwa hospital where both were first admitted, SP?Siriwardana said. According to the police, more..

Over 50,000 kilos of vegetables discarded; Govt. blames farmers

Apr 27 (Island) Over 50,000 kilos of vegetables had been discarded at the Dambulla Economic Centre, after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, for which the govt had not only foolishly blamed the farmers, but also claimed that no loss had been suffered, the UNP said. MP P. Harrison said that Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena instead of advising the farmers had the audacity to blame them by claiming they had over-produced. more..

GMOA insists on transfer of sister, nurse

Apr 27 (Island) The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) urged the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital authorities to implement their decision and ensure that the sister in charge of the operating theatre and a theatre nurse were transferred out. GMOA Media spokesman Dr. Naveen de Zoysa said that the decision had been taken by an investigating body, appointed by the Hospital Director, following a complaint that a doctor in the theatre had not been given an apron. more..

Monks clash with Moratuwa UC workers

Apr 27 (CT) A violent clash ensued between Buddhist monks and Moratuwa Urban Council (UC) workers yesterday, when Vice Chairman, Sujith Pushpakumara, was brought to the Council premises from the remand prison, to attend the Council meeting. The Vice Chairman is a suspect in the murder of Ven. Metigahatenne Wimalawansa Thera, the Chief Incumbent of the Egoda Uyana Sunandopananda Vihara. With permission from Court, the suspect was brought to attend more..

'Ministries should work to derive maximum benefit for country'

Apr 27 (DN) Signing of agreements with foreign countries related to development and technical information exchanges will amount to a mere farce, if ministries do not take follow up action and explore the opportunities presented by them, President Rajapaksa said yesterday. He said ministries should pay close attention to such MOUs and details which are relevant to their fields and initiate follow up action with the aim of more..

Prisons' Chief meets LTTE detainees at A'pura prison

Apr 27 (DN) Commissioner General of Prisons Chandraratne Pallegama visited the Anuradhapura Prison on an inspection tour last week. Cells housing LTTE detainees drew the Commissioner General's special attention during the inspection tour. The LTTE detainees requested the Commissioner General to expedite their cases and release them if they are not found guilty. The Commissioner General who told the detainees that the Prisons Department could not act more..

Gale force winds cause havoc in Kurunegala

Apr 27 (Island) Gale force winds that swept across seven villages, in the Kurunegala District Secretariat area, on Thursday night, destroyed two houses and partially damaged 44 others within a few minutes, deputy director of the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) Sarath Lal Kumara said. He said that about 166 persons of 46 families were affected by the destruction caused by the strange weather condition. The two families who lost their houses had shifted to the homes of relatives, more..

Sampur power pricing on India’s terms

Apr 27 (Island) Crucial terms and pricing of a unit of electricity to be produced by the Sampur coal-fired power plant in Trincomalee, will be according to stipulations laid down by the largest power generation utility of India, the NTPC, senior engineers of the CEB say. Due to earlier objections by Ministry Secretary, M M.C. Ferdinando and particularly by former Minister Champika Ranawaka the project was delayed. more..

Ranil calls for a Northern civil Governor

Apr 27 (FT) Leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremasinghe, who is currently touring the North, said his party would contest the Northern Provincial Council election. Wickremasinghe has also called on the Govt to appoint a civil Governor for the Northern Province, in place of the current governor who is a retired army major general. He said before the Government holds election for the Northern PC, it has to fulfil four conditions and appointing a civil governor was one of them. more..

Agrochemicals and Kidney Disease

Apr 27 (HP) In 1962, Rachel Carson warned in Silent Spring that "For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals from the moment of conception until death." Today, the cycle of poison created by chemical agriculture envelops all life on earth -- water, soil and air, plants and animals -- and threatens the very survival of humans and the health of ecosystems. An example of how agriculture-related chemicals are affecting humans more..

Canada still poised to boycott Sri Lanka's Commonwealth meet over human rights

Apr 27 (G&M) The Harper govt is setting the stage for a boycott of November’s Commonwealth leaders’ summit in Sri Lanka, delivering withering criticisms after ministers from the 54-nation organization took no action on the country’s human-rights record. The Commonwealth’s Ministerial Action Group closed a meeting in London with no official mention of Sri Lanka – but PM Stephen Harper’s representatives emerged calling more..

Sri Lanka looks forward to rebuilding with FIFA support

Apr 27 (IWF) Sri Lankan FA president Ranjith Rodrigo met with FIFA president Sepp Blatter to discuss Sri Lanka's reconstruction efforts after years of conflict and the 2004 tsunami. Following the end of the conflict in 2009, FIFA has contributed with financial support of $3.5m which has gone to rebuilding of regional technical centres in Colombo and other affected areas of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has been caught up in the corruption scandals with the suspension of Manilal Fernando from more..

'Govt. borrows to pay salaries'

Apr 27 (CT) The Inter Company Employees' Union (ICEU) claims the govt has borrowed Rs 410 billion from the Bank of Ceylon and People's Bank at an interest rate of 17% in Dec 2012, in order to pay salaries of the public sector employees and various other pending bills. President of the ICEU, Wasantha Samarasinghe, noted the loans have been obtained at a higher interest rate of 17%, while the Treasury offers 10% to 11% on Treasury Bills. He warned, taking such big amounts as loans more..

Australia rules out Sri Lanka CHOGM boycott

Apr 27 (ABC) Foreign Minister Bob Carr says he will not boycott the CHOGM in Sri Lanka over allegations of human rights violations. Former PM Malcolm Fraser called for Australia to skip the conference, which is scheduled to be held in November, following reports of the torture of Tamil civilians and govt-sanctioned abuse of journalists, judges and opposition politicians. "No, we shouldn't [attend]," Mr Fraser said. more..

Editorial: Powerful uproar over the shocking Power Crisis

Apr 27 (DM) Amid cross-currents and disconnections, deception and damn lies, controversies contradictions and allegations of wide-spread corruption, the Rajapaksa regime appears to be determined to go ahead with its shocking increase in electricity rates. When the rubber stamp parliament met on Tuesday, there was a thundering uproar over who and what was responsible for the huge losses in the Ceylon Electricity Board, and the speaker was forced to suspend sittings. more..

Road accidents, deaths and regulations

Apr 27 (DM) The recent shocking revelation that 627 persons were killed due to fatal accidents in the first three months of this year has opened up the debate on whether Sri Lankan roads are able to sustain rapid development and a heavy load of vehicular traffic. Statistics reveal that nearly five persons lose their lives due to injuries sustained, owing to a road accident, and it was noted that these accidents mostly involved motorbikes, trishaws and buses. Although there is a significant drop in more..

'I will never be defeated'

Apr 27 (CT) SLFP Organizer for Bentara-Elpitiya, Geetha Kumarasinghe, has been in the limelight ever since she cast aside her acting costume and donned the attire of a politician. In a wide ranging interview with Ceylon Today, the vociferous actress-turned-politician, delved into the beginning of her acting career, her association with the Bandaranaike family, her relationship with Vijaya Kumaratunga and her political career. more..

'CEB assets privatized'

Apr 27 (CT) Clear evidence of privatization of power generating assets of the CEB since year 2005, has recently come to light, the UNP alleged yesterday. UNP MP, Dr. Harsha de Silva, speaking on the private umbrella company Lanka Transformers Ltd (LTL) and citing information obtained from the Auditor General's Department said, "When the UNP lost power in 2004, 63% of the shares of LTL belonged to the CEB. more..

Compulsory colour code for passenger transport vehicles despite protests

Apr 27 (ST) Despite protests from private bus owners, Sri Lanka is going ahead with a new colour code system for passenger transport buses and school vans enabling it to be identified easily, officials said. This move would help to properly regulate motor vehicles being used for different types of passenger services and identify these separately as well as to minimise road traffic accidents and bring more discipline on roads, they added. more..

President congratulates new Netherlands King, Czech President

Apr 27 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa sent a congratulatory message to the new King of Netherlands, Willem-Alexander. The message adds: “Sri Lanka and The Netherlands have traditionally enjoyed over 400 years of friendship, which I am confident will continue to flourish and expand into new areas of cooperation during the reign of Your Majesty,” states a release from the Presidential Media Unit. more..

Canada attacks 'evil' of Sri Lanka hosting Commonwealth summit

Apr 27 (Guardian) The Canadian govt has launched a blistering attack on Sri Lanka's "appalling" record on democratic accountability as the controversy intensifies over the Commonwealth's decision to allow Colombo to host its biennial heads of govt meeting later this year. The Commonwealth's general secretary said on Friday that he saw no reason to strip Sri Lanka of the honour of staging the meeting in more..

Govt congratulated on child health achievements

Apr 27 (Island) The Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians was thankful to the govt for the tremendous progress in immunization programmes and the related gains in child health, Consultant Paediatrician Prof. Dulanie Gunesekera said. She said routine immunization rates were excellent at over 95%. By being able to vaccinate every child, Sri Lanka had eliminated polio and neo-natal tetanus and had dramatically reduced measles and more..

Tariff hikes: Cabinet looking at concessions

Apr 27 (DM) Amid growing public agitation against the increase in electricity tariffs, the Cabinet is exploring the possibility of giving concessions to consumers, a minister said yesterday. Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara had told the April 18 Cabinet meeting that consumers should be given concessions and though the ministers wanted to discuss this proposal further on April 24, it could not be done because some of them were absent. more..

Duminda leaves hospital, meets MR

Apr 27 (CG) MP Duminda Silva left the Nawaloka hospital this morning and was scheduled to meet President Rajapaksa. Silva was receiving treatment in hospital for injuries suffered during the Bharatha Lakshman shooting incident. Silva was this week released on bail in the Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra murder case. Four others were also granted bail by the Colombo High Court in relation to the case. more..

An afternoon with an ex-rebel leader

Apr 27 (Haveeru) Elusive. Secretive. Notorious. These are some of the words used by journalists and law enforcement officials to describe Selvarasa Pathmanathan, alias Kumaran Pathmanathan or simply KP, who served as the chief arms procurer for the LTTE. As I entered the premises of the famous Sencholai children's home in the northern Sri Lankan district of Kilinochchi, a girl in her early twenties asked more..