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Radhika Coomaraswamy & the International Justice System

Dec 8 (Island) Last Tuesday, Radhika Coomaraswamy delivered a public lecture on ‘the Rule of Law and the Enlightenment’ at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies auditorium where she spoke in glowing terms of the Western enlightenment which upheld reason, universal truth and universal rights applicable to all societies and cultures. She bemoaned the fact that a ‘toxic mix’ of ideas including nationalism was leading to the death of enlightenment values in Sri Lanka. more..

'Tamil aspirations have to be met'

Dec 8 (SL) TNA Leader R Sampanthan, while acknowledging the landslide victory of his party in the NPC elections, said that an acceptable, reasonable and sustainable solution should be provided to the problem of the Tamil people. The aspirations of the Tamil community are to have an impartial political authority in a united and undivided Sri Lanka. He added that he sees the establishment of the NPC as a beginning of more..

Nelson Mandela

Dec 8 (ST) The passing away of Nelson ‘Madiba’ Mandela at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa on Thursday night is a merciful end to the life of one of the 20th century’s, nay, history’s most iconic personalities. He was the face of resistance to one of the worst forms of racial discrimination the world has ever seen — Apartheid; arguably surpassing the treatment of the indigenous peoples of Australia and America by the new settlers, the African slaves in the new America or more..

Nadu looking Jaffna going

Dec 8 (ST) My Dear Manmohan, I thought I must write to you when I heard that you were planning to travel to Jaffna. Needless to say, it came as a big surprise because we had been told that you were too busy to attend the Commonwealth Summit a few weeks ago. We heard that although you rejected the invitation sent to you by Mahinda maama, you were happy to accept an invitation by Wigneswaran maama. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that, Manmohan, but I hope you realise that more..

Signs of Olympic quagmire deepening

Dec 8 (ST) Ten days have gone since the International Olympic Committee (IOC) summoned the top officials of the Ministry of Sports and National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOC) but the cold war between the two local factions remains intact. The current NOC office-bearers enjoyed an extension to their present tenure, which was supposed to end on Dec 27, after the IOC duly informed the Minster more..

Hula’s Casanovic life questioned

Dec 8 (NS) Third reading of the Budget 2014 is in progress in Parliament. Some happenings that took place during the course of week kept alive the proceedings. Thus there had been much news that hit the headlines of papers and became talk of the town. On Monday when the Third reading of the Budget 2014 Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga registered the UNP’s opposition against the proposed visit of Indian PM Manmohan Singh to travel the North of Sri Lanka on more..

Superstars and Wild Boars

Dec 8 (SL) The ruling party lost several budget votes one after another, in several local govt institutions, causing embarrassment to the top echelons of the govt who brag about a two thirds majority in Parliament. The main reasons behind such defeats were personality clashes and internal power struggles between various individuals and groups within the same party. Although a defeat at a budget-vote does not warrant dissolution of a local government body, it can certainly be more..

13th Amendment: Is it a political solution?

Dec 8 (SL) TNA together with India has been pushing the Sri Lankan govt to find a political solution to national issues in the country through the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution. President Rajapaksa has pledged in bilateral discussions with India and under several other occasions that the Sri Lankan govt would be committed to fully implementing and enhancing the 13th Amendment. more..

Budget snub for TEA

Dec 8 (NS) None of the proposals that were put forward by the Tea Exporters Association (TEA) had been taken into account by treasury officials when preparing the budget for year 2014, despite the government’s constant emphasis on the said sector as one of the main exchange earners for Sri Lanka, a top industry official lamented last week. The Chairman of TEA Rohan Fernando said that although the govt had taken certain decisions for the uplifting of the industry such as more..

Lankan barbers come together

Dec 8 (ST) Small-time barbers across the country are banding together to form a potent force and fight for their rights, a spokesperson of a new association said. The Sri Lanka Barbers Association will be launched at the BMICH on Monday with some 200-300 barbers attending with discussions on ways of looking after the interests of some 60,000 barbers across the country. Members will be made up of small, street-shop barbers, the traditional hair-cutter, and not the upmarket hair salons more..

Corruption in BOI

Dec 8 (SL) A senior official at the Board of Investment (BOI) is being investigated over a serious allegation of corruption. Ministry of Power and Energy Secretary M.M.C. Ferdinando confirmed that instructions have been issued to investigate the official and to relieve him of his current duties whilst the investigation is carried out. Significantly, the aggrieved parties have also been invited to make their own submissions. more..

A new sport for Mahindananda

Dec 8 (LT) Ms. Asha Perera, the wife of the Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, has sent a letter to the IGP stating she is being threatened with death by her husband. In her letter she has stated that her life is in danger and has asked the IGP to take measures to protect her. Ms. Perera states someone has complained to the Bribery Commission regarding Minister Aluthgamage and she is being threatened with death as the Minister suspects that she was behind the complaint more..

New proposal to UNP Leadership Council

Dec 8 (SL) A group of UNP MPs are to present a fresh proposal to the UNP Leadership Council urging the Council to prohibit its members from holding other key positions in the party. A UNP MP said that this move will give more opportunities for second-tier leaders of the parties, enabling them to hold key responsibilities within the party. “The proposal will be presented to the Leadership Council in the third week of December and we sincerely hope there will be a favourable response more..

Sihala Ravaya banishes monk due to misconduct

Dec 8 (CT) It has come to light that Chairman of the Sihala Ravaya Organization, Ven. Akmeemana Dayarathana Thera, had led a group of Bhikkhus to storm the Lumbini Pirivena in Battaramulla during the wee hours of Friday, and had taken measures to banish the temple's Chief Incumbent as well as a Dasa Sil Matha on the change of engaging in lewd conduct. Incident had caused a huge raucous as residents in the more..

Pettah fire: Hydrocarbon test to be conducted

Dec 8 (NS) Investigators yesterday evening revealed they had been able to pinpoint the exact location of the fire that gutted around 100 stalls in Pettah on Friday. Investigations have revealed that the fire had originated at store number 77 located along the row of shops. The Govt Analyst has obtained samples from the said shop in order to determine whether the fire had started due to a lamp that was inside the shop or whether it originated from fuel that was within the generator, more..

MR to launch English program

Dec 8 (Island) The ceremonial launching of the young learners English program for 1500 students in Colombo district will be officially inaugurated by President Rajapaksa on Monday at Musaeus College Auditorium. This program is a concept of Deputy Minister Faiszer Musthapha and organized by Faiszer Musthapha Foundation with the sponsorship of Lanka IOC Limited. The students are selected from 15 Dhamma Schools from all parts of Colombo comprising of all religions. more..

CHOGM vehicles to be given to ministries

Dec 8 (CT) Minister G.L. Peiris, breaking the silence over the vehicles imported for the CHOGM said the vehicles will be used by the ministries. "The Budget allocated funds to different ministries to purchase vehicles and there was CHOGM money too for the purchasing of luxury vehicles. Accordingly, we have decided that some of the vehicles that were imported by the ministries should be given to those ministries, more..

President Rajapaksa to attend funeral

Dec 8 (SO) President Rajapaksa is expected to attend South African president Nelson Mandela's funeral next week. The President accompanied by Minister G.L. Peiris will travel to South Africa on their return from a pre-planned official trip to Kenya from December 10 to 14, official sources said. According to foreign media reports the revered South African leader who died at the age of 95 is expected to be buried on Dec 15, in the hilly areas of Qunu where he grew up. more..

Move to remove statues

Dec 8 (SL) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) member Sunil Withanage has submitted a proposal to the CMC seeking support to have statues in the Colombo city removed. According to the proposal, 40 statues in the city of Colombo have been proposed to be removed and relocated in the National Museum and the Department of National Archives. Among the statues the proposal seeks to relocate are statues of national leaders, artists, military personnel and religious leaders more..

Politico instructed to issue letters to Customs

Dec 8 (CT) The coordinating secretary of a senior politician, who had issued letters to the Customs to reduce VAT and demurrage charges on a consignment, which was later discovered to have contained 261 kilos of heroin imported from Pakistan, has told Police Narcotic Bureau that the letters were issued on the instruction of the said politician and not on his own volition. This was revealed by the coordinating secretary during more..

All SLFP MPs asked to be present in Parliament

Dec 8 (Island) As a preventive measure to ensure that what’s happening to UPFA administered Local bodies continued defeat of budgets for 2014 does not spread in any case to Parliament. Minister Maithripala Sirisena has asked the party’s MPs to ensure their presence in Parliament until the committee stage of voting for the Budget 2014 is over. In the wake of the budgets of UPFA administered local bodies in Peliyagoda, Mirigama, Kesbewa, Rajangane, Wattala, more..

US responsible for Lanka's successive UNHRC defeat: Peiris

Dec 8 (PTI) Some countries had to support the UN resolutions against Sri Lanka over its human rights records due to factors which affected their bilateral relationship with the US, External affairs minister GL Peiris said on Saturday. Answering an opposition query, Peiris said, "Some of the countries privately told us that they had to support the resolutions against Sri Lanka as there were factors which affected their bilateral relationship with the US," Peiris said. more..

Suriyapperuma goes on a tirade against Singh, Cameron and Obama

Dec 8 (ST) UPFA MP J.R.P.Suriyapperuma hurled abuses at Indian PM Manmohan Singh in Parliament calling him an old man (nakiya) and a fool who will soon be thrown out of power by the Indian people. 85 year-old Mr. Suriyapperuma, who is four years older than the Indian PM directed his ire at Premier Singh for failing to attend the CHOGM held in Colombo. “The Indian PM who promised to attend CHOGM more..

500 Pakistani Catholics seek help here

Dec 8 (ST) More than 500 Pakistani Catholics have sought refuge in Sri Lanka and the Church has appealed to the Govt to provide support to these people, it was revealed yesterday. The Pakistanis including families are staying in pre-dominantly Catholic areas such as Negombo and Maggona and in and around Mount Lavinia and Moratuwa, a spokesman for the Archbishop’s House in Colombo said. “They have been in the country for the past one year or even more. more..

Lanka tribunal meets in Germany

Dec 8 (CG) The Rome based Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) – which dates back to the Russell – Satre Tribunal established during the Vietnam War – was scheduled to begin its second hearing on Sri Lanka yesterday (Saturday) in Bremen, Germany. An eminent panel of jurors will be assembled by the PPT to hear charges made against Sri Lanka by the International Human Rights Association (IMRV) in Bremen and the Irish Forum for Peace in Sri Lanka (IFPSL). The charges are that more..

Bribery Chief under ‘bribery probe’

Dec 8 (NS) The Chairman of the Commission to Investigate Allegations into Bribery and Corruption former SC Judge, Justice Jagath Balapatabendi received a vehicle which was released through a judgment in a bench he presided over. Investigations carried out by The Nation revealed that the former Supreme Court judge had been presented with a car (KG-9321) by a person by the name of Harsha Prabath more..

600 more duty-free luxury vehicles coming

Dec 8 (ST) The Government is to issue duty-free permits to import vehicles to launch a ‘luxury taxi service’ to be operated from the country’s two international airports at Katunayaka and Mattala, Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratna said. Initially, the Government would offer upto 600 permits to import BMW 7 Series, Benz cars, Jaguars, Chryslers and other luxury vehicles mainly to be used by the visiting business community and VIPs, he said. more..

Safety alert for Sri Lankan domestic workers travelling to Gulf

Dec 8 (E24|7) The relevant authorities in Sri Lanka along with international bodies have reached an agreement to formulate standard service terms focusing on the safety of migrant domestic workers. This was decided upon at the recently concluded Asia-Gulf states regional dialogue on ‘Standard terms of employment for migrant domestic workers’. Six Asian states and six Gulf states along with the ILO, IOM and UN Women Affairs participated in the forum. more..

Petty warlords shake Govt. as it faces the crucial Geneva sessions

Dec 8 (ST) A pre-emptive strike by President Rajapaksa appears to have saved his Govt from one more accusation before the UNHRC in Geneva — last week’s murder of Daniel Rexian (42), Chairman of the Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) in Delft, the furthest inhabited island off the northern Jaffna peninsula. Accusations, including some from sections of the UPFA partner, the EPDP, were initially levelled against the SL Navy that more..

Sharp increase in cannabis users

Dec 8 (SO) The growing number of cannabis users, has now resorted to trafficking the drug illicitly using public transport to avoid arrest, a spokesperson for the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board said. “This trend has been seen in recent years as the number of cannabis users has increased islandwide”, Assistant Director NDDCB Ms Badhrani Senanayake, said. Her recently released report on the drug situation in Sri Lanka, says that compared to 2011, the number of cannabis related more..

Sri Lanka attracts $ 870 m in FDI

Dec 8 (SO) Sri Lanka has received US$ 870 million in Foreign Direct Investment during the first nine months of 2013, through 55 projects which have launched commercial operations in the country. This is a 41% increase over the corresponding period of the past year,” BOI sources said. A majority of the investments have come into the manufacturing sector amounting to 31% of the total FDIs received. The port sector has received 19%, telecom - 17% and property development has garnered 13% more..

Talk at the Cafe spector

Dec 8 (ST) A minister’s wife has made two requests from the IGP – to afford her protection and also investigate corruption allegations against her husband. She has said in a letter to the Police Chief that she is being suspected over a letter which the Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption has received. This letter is said to contain details of how the minister in question allegedly amassed wealth and the sources of his undeclared income. more..

Milk powder companies complicit in hoarding

Dec 8 (NS) Milk powder companies accused by the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) of hoarding have now come up with strange excuses as to why they stored large stocks in their warehouses or facilities known to them. CAA officials raided a factory in Welisara belonging to Lanka Milk Foods, distributor of Lakspray, and uncovered 12 metric tons of milk powder that had allegedly been hoarded there. more..

Shirani Mooted As WPC Candidate

Dec 8 (SL) The UNP and several other political parties in the opposition are now in discussions to field former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranaike as the common Chief Ministerial Candidate of the opposition at the forthcoming Western Provincial Council (WPC) elections. A prominent UNP MP said the party has already embarked on the process of forming a “grand opposition coalition” for the WPC election more..

PSC Sought On Norochcholai

Dec 8 (SL) Opposition political parties, CEB trade unions and the National Electricity Consumers Movement are now pushing for a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to investigate into problems involving the first phase of the Norochcholai coal power plant. Since commencement in December 2011, the coal power plant, constructed by China Machinery and Engineering Corporation (CMEC), has more..

Ceylinco assets worth Rs. 4 bn. transferred to SPV to repay GK depositors

Dec 8 (Island) In an unprecedented boost to the prolonged struggle to repay suffering Golden Key (GK) depositors, the Supreme Court last week directed the transfer of two major Ceylinco Consolidated assets valued at around Rs. 4 billion to the dedicated Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). This was the first time since the collapse of GK, a Ceylinco subsidiary in 2008, that two significant assets of substantial monetary value are more..

'Doubled tongue foreign policy has led to external interference'

Dec 8 (Island) Accusing the govt of adopting a misguided and floundering foreign policy, UNP MP Sajith Premadasa said yesterday that it had no one to blame but itself, for opening the doors to external intervention by making various pledges to the United Nations. He said that on more than one occasion Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris had given undertakings to the international community to investigate allegations of human rights more..

Arson suspected in major Pettah blaze

Dec 8 (Island) Police are probing whether the blaze which destroyed around 100 shops at Bodhiraja Mawatha in Pettah on Friday night was an act of arson. The row of shops had been well stocked for the festive season. The fire, which broke out around 7.30 pm, gutted all the business establishments. "They were all reduced to ashes", a police officials said. Secretary of the Federation of Self-Employed, Chanaka Hettiarachchi said more..

IT park coming up in former Tripoli market

Dec 8 (ST) The one time Tripoli market in Pettah, Colombo is to be converted into an Information Technology (IT) park attracting a range of IT related companies, under an UDA project, a senior official said. UDA Urban Regeneration Project head E.A.C. Priyashantha said that the project known as ‘iRACE’ had already commenced and was due to be completed in a year’s time. A 10 acre block of land will be more..

Backs to the wall, families face swathe of price rises

Dec 8 (ST) Whether it’s a lunch packet from the local bath kade or children’s school van fees, many essential goods and services will rise in price in coming weeks due to the impact of Budget’s direct and indirect taxes on low-income groups. Govt statistics show the rises are hitting urban families most, with expenditure outstripping income and households skimping on medical care on food quality to make ends meet. more..