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'Executive, legislature not above judiciary'

Dec 12 (Island) Bishop of Kandy Dr. Vianney Fernando yesterday said that the judiciary of the country should be independent. Addressing the media in Colombo, in the presence of Malcom Cardinal Ranjith , he said the judiciary was the body which interpreted the law and therefore, the legislature and the executive could not be regarded as entities above it. The judiciary should be totally free from interference from other branches of government, he said. more..

‘Govt gives priority to develop local industries’

Dec 12 (DN) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa presided when Parliament met at 9.30 am yesterday. After the presentation of papers and oral questions, the House took up the committee stage debate on the Appropriation Bill 2014 for the 15th allotted day. The committee took up the expenditure heads of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Ministry, Industry and Commerce Ministry, Agriculture Ministry and Irrigation and Water Resources Management Ministry. more..

Post-Shirani B battle: Govt. reacts angrily to Wijeyadasa’s move

Dec 12 (Island) The govt yesterday opposed the presenting of the private member’s bill, by UNP MP Wijayadasa Rajapakshe, seeking to ensure a fair, independent and impartial trial to the Judges of Superior Courts, in the event of a resolution being moved for removal of such a judge, to provide for a procedure for investigations and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Govt’s opposition not only prevented MP more..

A blank cheque for TNC corruption

Dec 12 (DM) One of the world’s most eminent jurists, prophet of social justice and advocate of multi-religious dialogue Judge C. G. Weeramantry, in a keynote speech to mark World Anti-Corruption day, said corruption all over the world was going on unchecked largely because of a veil of secrecy over multimillion dollar transactions mainly with Transnational Corporations (TNCs). Addressing a meeting organised by Transparency International, he said the lack of transparency more..

Mandela the moral leader

Dec 12 (DM) We live in the era of permanent revolution that teaches us about the incapacity of liberal leaders achieving tasks of the democratic revolution. Then how did Mandela achieve? Mandela was not a socialist leader or a leader of the working class. Of course South African workers, particularly the blacks, followed him with complete trust. But his vision was liberal democratic. Still he was able to achieve a substantial change in SA and established a liberal democratic state. more..

'Bribery allegations are completely false'

Dec 12 (DM) Chairman of the Commission to investigate Bribery or Corruption, former SC Judge Justice Jagath Balapatabendi who is currently under the media spotlight due to a vehicle he had used which was allegedly sold by a trader who was under a customs probe, denied allegations of corruption or bribery. He refuted allegations cast against him categorically stating that he had not been involved in any malpractice more..

Akashi’s international concerns and govt’s concern for imported dog food

Dec 12 (DM) Yasushi Akashi, Japan’s special envoy for Peace-Building, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction in Sri Lanka, is in town again, and this is his 23rd visit to the country since he assumed his role in 2002. Mr. Akashi’s visit is resonant with a greater meaning to Sri Lanka this time. On the one hand, it takes place, barely behind three months for the session of the UNHRC in March, next year. more..

SLC to monitor Bangladesh situation

Dec 12 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will appoint an independent security firm to evaluate the security situation in Bangladesh before the national cricket team’s scheduled tour of Bangladesh next month, sources said. “We have to monitor the situation for the next few weeks and take a decision on the tour. However, we don’t want to make hasty announcements right now as Bangladesh is a fellow Asian country more..

Strange case of the midnight ghost train

Dec 12 (ST) The phone on the desk of the Chief Railway Controller Nihal Ferdinands began to ring at around 1.45 a.m. The caller informed Ferdinands that a runaway train engine sans a driver was moving on the tracks and heading towards the southern coastline at a speed of around 5-10kph. The Chief Controller recalls that he alerted staff at all stations on the southern route on Thursday night: the instructions were to board the engine at more..

Between Myth and Stigma

Dec 12 (SL) According to the AIDS Foundation of Lanka (AFL), there are around three cases of HIV detected every seven days. The Colombo district has the highest percentage of the country’s AIDS infected, amounting to 52%, while in the Western Province, as a whole, the percentage is 60%. During the past 11 months, half a million blood samples were tested and it was found that 159 persons were infected with AIDS. more..

Satire in Sri Lanka

Dec 12 (Economist) The last man the playwright had expected to hear on his telephone was Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president, calling to commiserate with him over the banning of his latest script. During a genial, 15-minute conversation, Mr Rajapaksa said he was piqued with the govt’s Public Performances Board for blocking the political play. He made all the appropriate noises and promised to sort it out. more..

State plantation workers petition HRC over non-payment of benefits

Dec 12 (Island) A group of public sector plantation employees has handed over a petition, to the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission, complaining that the Janatha Estate Development Board (JEDB), Sri Lanka State Plantation Corporation (SLSPC) and Elkaduwa Plantation Company (EPC) have failed to pay their arrears of EPF, ETF and gratuity amounting Rs. 1,888 million. The plantation employees, while more..

'PC system inadequate to address issues of Tamil people'

Dec 12 (CT) Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, delivering his first budget speech to the NPC on Tuesday, said, "It is essential that an international strategy is innovated to quickly ascertain the views of the Tamil speaking people presently still occupying their traditional homelands. If the international community shows laxity, lethargy and indifference to the plight of the Tamil speaking people, more..

Polls chief in bid to dispel fears among political parties

Dec 12 (Island) The Election Secretariat has launched a novel project to dispel fears among political parties, that the electoral process, particularly the counting procedure, could be manipulated to the advantage of the ruling SLFP-led coalition. Sources said that the Election Department intended to brief political parties separately in the run-up to Provincial Council polls in the Western, Uva and Southern Provinces next year. more..

'A development based strategy needed for durable solutions for IDPs'

Dec 12 (UNHRC) "After having made impressive strides in rebuilding infrastructure destroyed during the conflict, post conflict reconstruction in Sri Lanka should also focus on addressing durable solutions for all IDPs and those who have returned to their areas of origin on a comprehensive basis," the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, Chaloka Beyani, said at the end of his visit to Sri Lanka from 2 to 6 Dec. more..

The cancer of corruption

Dec 12 (CT) Chief Justice, Mohan Peiris, made some strong comments with regard to the cancer of corruption that seems to be afflicting our country, at an event last Monday to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day at the premises of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption. Significantly, the CJ made some stern remarks against public officials, who abuse their authority to further themselves financially through bribery and corruption. more..

The JVP: Towards a second comeback

Dec 12 (CT) Several of the original leaders of the JVP, including its leader Rohana Wijeweera, were earlier in N. Shanmugathasan’s Communist Party (Peking Wing) and formed the JVP in the late 1960s. Their 1971 rebellion against the newly elected Left-leaning govt of Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike was brutally crushed and the leaders were imprisoned. They were released by the Jayewardene Govt in 1977 and a section of them was for a time used to harass and discredit those in the SLFP more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka stocks end higher

Dec 12 (LBO) Stocks closed higher Thursday with diversified stocks gaining amid net foreign buying on the bourse. All Share Price Index closed 5.38 points higher at 5,793.19, up 0.09%. The S&P SL20 closed 7.17 points higher at 3,189.44, up 0.23%. Turnover was 247.70 million rupees, up from 180.07 million rupees a day earlier, with stocks of 76 firms closing in the red against 70 gainers. Asiri Hospital Holdings closed 10 cents higher at 16.00 rupees with market transactions of 65.92 million rupees more..

Schools offering English medium: Kurunegala tops list

Dec 12 (Island) Kurunegala comes first in the list of districts with the highest number of govt schools that provide education from Grade Six to the A/L in the English medium, according to a document tabled in Parliament, by Minister Bandula Gunawardena. The Kurunegala District has 116 govt schools which provide English medium education for the secondary level classes, while the Kandy district has 111 schools and the Colombo district had 100 schools, the document reveals. more..

Video: Ministry mum on NTC sponsored ‘ransom mafia’ - Gemunu

Dec 12 (AD) The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association says that the private bus industry in Sri Lanka will completely decline by the year 2020 and that the govt is responsible for it. LPBOA Chairman Gemunu Wijeratne stated that private buses have seen a 20% decline in passengers in the past 5 years and that if the decline continues in the next five years not only the private bus industry but all bus owners will be “wiped out”. more..

Sri Lankan Navy arrests 30 Indian fishermen

Dec 12 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan Navy arrested 30 Indian fishermen off Kankesanthurai, Jaffna, on Wednesday night. A total of eight trawlers were confiscated from them. The arrest comes soon after 110 Indian fishermen were caught earlier on Wednesday for engaging in illegal activity, off Sri Lanka’s eastern coast. “The number of Indian trawlers fishing in Sri Lankan waters has increased of late. We don’t know how to curb this practice. The only option we have is to arrest them, more..

Govt. radiologists report sick today

Dec 12 (Island) Radiological Technologists’ warned they would resort to a 24-hour sick note campaign today demanding the Health Ministry withdraw its decision to recruit GCE A/L qualified students for the radiological technology diploma course, instead recruiting graduate radiographers. General Secretary of the Govt Radiological Technologists’ Association (GRTA), Dharmakeerthi Epa said there was a shortage of over 50% of radiographers in government hospitals. more..

'We were 15 runs short'

Dec 12 (CI) Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal has admitted his team may have misread conditions in Dubai after their three-wicket loss to Pakistan in the first Twenty20. Chandimal had said his team should have aimed to score 150 batting first at the toss, but after the match he suggested the pitch played better than he had anticipated, and a score closer to 160 should have been their goal. Sri Lanka made 145 for 5. more..

SAP targets more business in Sri Lanka

Dec 12 (LBO) SAP AG, an information technology company known for its enterprises resource planning software is expecting more business in Sri Lanka with a wider range of its products including e-government solutions, an official said. SAP is running in several large Sri Lankan firms including MAS, John Keells Holdings and petroleum distributors. "I think we have just started in Sri Lanka," Deb Deep Sengupta, chief operating officer for SAP in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. more..

Sri Lankan dead in weather-related crash in Lebanon

Dec 12 (DS) A woman died of injuries Thursday in a weather-related accident in the Metn area as snow storm “Alexa” continued to affect areas in the north and northeast where major refugee populations are located. A security source told The Daily Star Vanita Patikiri, a Sri Lankan national, died at the hospital after her motorcycle skidded off Dahr al-Basheq road in the Metn region northeast of Beirut Wednesday during heavy rain. The woman's death was the third fatality after a winter storm more..

Jayalalithaa slams Centre over arrest of fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy

Dec 12 (PTI) TN Chief Minister Jayalalithaa lambasted Centre for what she termed as "facile do not touch policy" over the arrest of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan navy, and asked PM Manmohan Singh to personally take up the matter with Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Referring to the arrest of 140 fishermen in the last two days, she described them as "the largest and most outrageous acts of mass abduction" more..

Intl. Budget P’ship Ranking: MR Govt. falls from 13th to 52nd place

Dec 12 (Island) According to the Independent International Budget Partnership (IBP), the Rajapaksa govt had fallen from 13th place in 2010 to 52nd by the beginning of this year. Western Provincial Council UNP member Harshana Rajakaruna said that the IBP rankings were based on the degree of transparency exhibited by a country in the pre, mid term and post budget stages. Due to the lack of transparency in keeping with internationally accepted standards, more..

SL navy turned Bay of Bengal into an "open-air prison": Karunanidhi

Dec 12 (PTI) Slamming Sri Lanka and India over the issue of repeated instances of arrest of Indian fishermen, DMK president M Karunanidhi today said the navy of that country had turned Bay of Bengal into an "open-air prison," and charged New Delhi with allowing that. Referring to yesterday's incident of Sri Lankan navy retaining 100 of the over 200 Indian fishermen it had arrested, Karunanidhi said DMK MPs had immediately raised the issue in the Parliament on his directions. more..

Video: Anti-SL campaign by PPT and TNA targeting UNHRC 2014

Dec 12 (DM) A huge anti-Sri Lanka campaign has been activated, targeting the March 2014 UNHRC sessions in Geneva by local and global elements headed by the so-called ‘Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal’ (PPT) in Germany and the TNA, NFP leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa said today. He said the objective of the two anti-govt entities was to keep the allegations of human rights violations alive and incite member countries more..

Video: Sajith could strengthen the UNP leadership council

Dec 12 (AD) We have invited UNP MP Sajith Premadasa to join the UNP leadership council, Adviser of the Eksath Bhikkhu Peramuna, Ven. Girambe Ananda thero said. He added that there were minor disagreements within the council however they could be ironed out. Ananda thero claimed that he requested Premadasa to join the council if he loved the people. A powerful leadership council could be formed if Sajith joins, he added. Criticizing the council will be more..

PM should not undermine his post-JHU

Dec 12 (DM) JHU WPC Minister Udaya Gammanpila said this was essential because the PM held the second most important post in Sri Lanka. He expressed these views at the Western Province Skills Award Ceremony. He said it did not matter whether the Prime Minister sacked his coordinating secretary or whether the secretary resigned on his own but what matters most was that PM D.M. Jayaratne had acted in a manner which undermined the post of Prime Minister. more..

Error made in case of SL refugee Ranjini

Dec 12 (ABC) The Immigration Department erred in the handling of the case of a Sri Lankan refugee with a negative security assessment from ASIO, the High Court has ruled. The Sri Lankan national, known as Ranjini, arrived in Australia by boat in 2010. She was pregnant and living in Melbourne when she was originally granted refugee status. A subsequent adverse security assessment then saw her flown to Sydney more..

Police clear Sports Minister

Dec 12 (CG) The police have dismissed the allegations raised against Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage by his wife, the police media unit said today. A police statement said that investigations had found that there was no substantial evidence to prove the allegations raised against the Minister. Asha Aluthgamage had written to the IGP alleging that the Minister was attempting to harm her and that her life was under threat. The police statement said that a special more..

Govt slams TN CM Jayalalithaa

Dec 12 (CG) The Govt today accused Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram of keeping Sri Lankan fishermen “hostage” in order to achieve her political goals. Deputy Minister of Fisheries Sarath Gunarathne said that by arresting SL fishermen and holding them in Tamil Nadu, Jayalalitha is attempting to win the support of Indian fishing communities. He claimed that the TN Chief Minister is demanding that Indian fishermen be allowed to poach in Sri Lankan waters more..

'A steep increase in fish exports'

Dec 12 (CGI) There is a steep rise in the export sea food and the income earned from sea food and fish products. There is a great demand for sea weeds, sea cucumbers, sea leeches, prawns, lobsters and oysters. Steps have been taken to increase production of these sea food items as there is a great demand for these varieties in the European countries and Japan. Among the projects being launched for increase sea food more..

Court extends TN fshermen remand

Dec 12 (PTI) The remand of the 32 fishermen of Karaikal has been extended till 24th of this month by the Thirigonamalai court today. The 32 fishermen of Karaikal were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy personnel on October 16 when they were fishing near Kodiyakarai and have been lodged in Thirigonamali prison. Pamban Innocent Fishermen Organisation President U Arulanandam speaking to PTI from Sri Lanka by phone said today the 32 fishermen were produced before the court more..

No price hike during x-mas

Dec 12 (CG) The Govt today assured that there will not be a price hike on essential goods or commodities during the festive season. Deputy Minister Hemal Gunasekera told Parliament today that his Ministry is one that faces the most criticism. He noted that, for example, when gas prices go up there is criticism and at the same time when gas prices decrease his Ministry is still criticized. “Recently there was a debate on the price of potatoes and onions. more..

Two more budgets defeated

Dec 12 (DM) The 2014 budget of the Waththegama Urban Council and Hanguranketha Pradeshiya Sabha were defeated today. UPFA governed Waththegama Urban Council was defeated with a majority of one vote. The proposals received 4 votes in favour and 5 votes against. Chairman of the Waththegama Urban Council K.C. Liyanage said 5 UPFA Council members, 3 UNP Councilors and an independent councilor are in the Council. more..

Music’s power to heal societal ills

Dec 13 (NS) Music is a powerful tool in media which can reform society. Quite a few bold Sri Lankan artistes, it seems, have tried, but failed at this attempt at reforming society through music. There is a huge attraction for music videos these days with Facebook and youtube providing the platforms to showcase these creations. Unlike the videos revolving around incidents, music videos have tremendous potential to capture a very large audience; to make the audience respond to more..