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Bandula vows tough action against principals taking money from children

Feb 9 (Island) Minister Bandula Gunawardena vowed in Parliament that tough action would be taken against principals who collect money from children for purposes such as colour-washing and refurbishing of class rooms. He said that such principals would be interdicted from the service. Already, a circular had been issued prohibiting the school principals soliciting money from pupils, the minister said adding that a fresh circular too would be issued soon to prevent them fleecing more..

CEB engineers warn against rushing to commission 3rd N’cholai plant

Feb 9 (Island) Advancing the commissioning date and the construction of the third Lak Wijeya coal power plant complex at Norochcholai could lead to losses running into billions of rupees as happened with the first plant, senior CEB engineers warned. Earlier this week Power and Energy Ministry Secretary M.M.C. Ferdinando decided to commission the third plant before the end of this year, even though more..

The ‘bleak’ state of rule of law in Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (CT) Today, the 65th National Day of Sri Lanka, offers a moment to reflect on achievements since independence. Although more than three years have passed since the end of the war in 2009, prospects for justice, peace and reconciliation continue to elude the tiny island in South Asia. More recent developments highlight the crises in the rule of law sphere, which, if not addressed, can immediately have a chilling effect on hopes for a functioning democracy and sustainable more..

'Sri Lanka's over-priced hotel boom ending'

Feb 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka is about 500 to 800 US dollars more expensive than alternatives for a 10-day holiday with standards lower than competition, which may hit occupancy in the future, an equities research report has warned. A 10-day holiday in Sri Lanka may cost between 2,000 to 2,600 US dollars with a 4 to 5 star category accommodation or twin sharing, with airfare, 'Trying to live up the hype," a report on the leisure sector released by Capital Alliance, a Colombo brokerage says. more..

Fowzie walks away from SLFP central committee

Feb 9 (LT) The conflicts within the SLFP are deepening with the arbitrary policy followed by the President in appointing electoral organizers say reports. The immediate incident has been when Senior Minister A.H.M. Fowzie walked away from the SLFP Central Committee meeting held regarding appointment of an organizer for Colombo Central. Fowzie, who is the SLFP Organizer for Colombo Central, had said he did not want half of more..

Suspicion the main cause of ethnic, religious tension–Hakeem

Feb 9 (Island) "Suspicion has been the root cause of the rise in irrational hatred and intolerance towards Muslims and Islam as a religion, provoking some religious bigots in the country to embark on hate campaigns and hostile activities," Justice Minister and SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem told German Ambassador Dr. Juergen Morhard, when they met at at the Ministry of Justice. Hakeem, responding to a query by the visiting Ambassador stated that communities must look beyond baseless more..

Ven. Sobitha thero explains the need for a new constitution

Feb 9 (DM) The United Bhikku Front (UBF) urged the people to support an amendment to the constitution to abolish the Executive Presidency which they said was the primary threat to the rule of law. The UBF spokesman and incumbent of the Kotte Nagaviharaya Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero said, a new constitution was necessary to ensure fair play and justice. He said that the constitution which has been in force since 1978, by J.R. Jayawardena, was not meant to more..

COPE finds more bad loans granted to LG bodies

Feb 9 (DM) The COPE which resumed its sittings last Wednesday said it had found how millions of rupees in public funds had been wasted by granting loans to local government bodies without collateral or a mechanism to recover them. The funds released by the Treasury had been granted to local government bodies headed by ‘our chaps’ by a fairly unknown ‘Local Loans and Development Fund’ (LLDF) under the more..

Rifle, ammunition in grandma's garden

Feb 9 (E24|7) A grandmother in Sri Lanka's Jaffna area stumbled upon a T-56 assault rifle with two magazines, and 56 rounds of ammunition in her garden. A report in 'The Island' quoted police as saying, the old woman was preparing the garden for her grandson to play on, when she accidently made the discovery in her house located near the Tinachikulam tank close to the Murugan Kovil in Jaffna. The grandmother was quoted as reporting to police that her spade hit upon something more..

Sri Lanka’s most famous singer visits Manila

Feb 9 (BM) I RECENTLY emceed the Sri Lanka Tourism Road Show organized by the Sri Lankan Embassy at the InterContinental Hotel Manila. It was a packed dinner event, attended by over 300 dignitaries, including top officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, business leaders and members of the diplomatic community. The highlight of the evening was a special performance by Sri Lanka’s leading songstress, Deepika Priyadarshani Peiris, and dances by members of more..

Sri Lanka hopes India will vote for it

Feb 9 (IANS) Sri Lanka Saturday said it hoped India will vote for it in the upcoming UNHRC meeting in Geneva. India had voted for a US-sponsored resolution last year that pulled up Colombo on issues related to human rights and the re-settlement of Tamils displaced by the military conflict. Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne said that there had been "a remarkable improvement in the human rights situation" in his country. more..

Jurgensen sets sights on Sri Lanka success

Feb 9 (CI) Shane Jurgensen was pleasantly surprised to learn of the BCB's decision to continue with him as Bangladesh's head coach but knows he has a challenging assignment ahead. "I have a lot of feelings at the moment," he said. "I am surprised, excited and honoured to be given responsibility to look after the team. I would like to continue on the recent success against West Indies." The chief concern for Jurgensen ahead of the Sri Lanka series next month is the bowling, which will more..

Iranian FM stresses ample potential for expansion of Iran-Sri Lanka relations

Feb 9 (FNA) Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi underlined that Iran and Sri Lanka enjoy abundant potentials and capacities for developing their all-out relations. Speaking in a meeting with new Sri Lankan Ambassador to Tehran Mohammad Feisal Razin on Saturday, Salehi described the relations between Tehran and Colombo as "very good". He voiced Iran's readiness to boost ties with the South Asian nation, and stated, "The two countries enjoy high capacities in trade, more..

Sinhalese on friction with Suresh MP at Nawatkuli

Feb 9 (OU) How can you'll get settled in the lands lived by Tamil people? With whose permission you'll are building houses? Why are you'll living here? You’ll should live in the lands in which you occupied before? Was the questions raised by TNA MP Suresh Piremachandran from the people living at Nawatkuli. He visited the Tamil families living in the lands belonging to the Housing Directive Board at Nawatkuli yesterday. more..

Editorial : Playing for money

Feb 10 (CT) The former president of the United States of America John F. Kennedy once made an iconic utterance that shook the conscience of his country and still remains one of the most treasured statements of patriotism. He said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. Today, no matter what the world has to say about America or what happens in America by way of shootings and common crime, nearly 90 % of the world’s population dream of living more..

Editorial : India is our ‘friend’, right?

Feb 10 (NS) It was not the first time that Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans have been treated shabbily in India and by Indians. Friday’s vandalization of an office of the Bank of Ceylon in Tamil Nadu by pro-LTTE elements of that State who are wont to shed copious tears over ‘the plight of Tamil brethren in Sri Lanka’ ironically left two Tamils, one Sri Lankan and one Indian, injured. It is a well-known fact that for all the love professed for Sri Lankan Tamils by Tamil Nadu politicians, they (Sri Lankan Tamils) are more..

'Unity and reconciliation, the need of the hour'

Feb 10 (SO) Senior Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said the need of the hour is ethnic unity and reconciliation. If our people remain disunited, then it will be very difficult for us nationally and internationally. The Minister in an interview said that certain people who don’t wish this country well or are very shortsighted only espouse narrow-minded causes. This is bad for Sri Lanka and has to be stopped somehow. more..

Editorial : Diffuse Religious Tensions Immediately

Feb 10 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa raised two significant issues in his Independence Day address. Firstly he pointed out to the sovereign equality of all member states of the United Nations and that the UN Charter precludes all members from the use of threats or force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state and that the United Nations’ Charter does not authorise even the United Nations to intervene in the domestic affairs of member states. more..

Editorial : Govt will protect people and country's Constitution

Feb 10 (SO) It is an open secret that LTTE cohorts and a section of the Tamil Diaspora are doing their damnedest to mislead certain countries in the West and take the maximum advantage of their close ties with various international organisations to discredit Sri Lanka. This modus operandi was also adopted when the LTTE waged its deadliest battle against the Security Forces. The Tigers launched a massive propaganda campaign and resorted to various means to discredit Sri Lanka and more..

'Mutual understanding vital for communal harmony'

Feb 10 (SO) Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that much headway has been made during the last two years to implement Tamil as an official language and promote communal amity and mutual understanding among the different communities towards the goal of unifying the country as one nation. He said the last UNHCR resolution was not drastic but in implementing the LLRC report which the Govt has started on, more..

Editorial : Eight coconuts and a 13-year old

Feb 10 (Island) Last week’s horror story of the 13-year old girl hauled before a magistrate for picking eight fallen coconuts from a neighbour’s garden grabbed front page space in national newspapers and the electronic media and shocked the conscience of the nation. The only saving grace was that two lawyers from a provincial bar appeared for the child pro deo. What is particularly galling is that the reason for the child helping herself to the coconuts fallen from a kalpa ruksha, more..

Editorial: C'wealth rope hangs over Lanka

Feb 10 (ST) The Commonwealth Secretary General arrives in Colombo today with the sword of Damocles, so to say, hanging over the head of Sri Lanka; both in terms of hosting the Commonwealth Summit (CHOGM) later this year and even more importantly, our very existence as a member of the 54-member grouping of former British colonies. The fact that the Minister of External Affairs had to rush to London to meet the Secretary General just a few days before the SG emplaned for Colombo more..

'Govt. has allowed hate campaigns against Muslims to go unchecked'

Feb 10 (SL) UNP MP and economist Kabir Hashim says the anti-Muslim campaign carried out in the country is politically motivated to divert people’s attention from the Govt’s failures. He observed that the current anti-Muslim campaign would be detrimental in the sense that the international community has already made many allegations against the Govt on its inaction to protect the democratic rights of citizens. more..

Opposition badgers Govt. into exact definition of ‘terrorist’, ‘terrorist act’

Feb 10 (ST) Govt and Opposition legislators locked horns in Parliament this week on the definition of who a “terrorist” is, and what constitutes a “terrorist act”, during the debate on an amendment to the Convention on Suppression of Terrorist Financing Act. When the Bill was taken up for debate on Tuesday, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, along with several other Opposition MPs, asked the Government to come up with a precise definition for the term “terrorist” and “terrorist act”, more..

UNP goes to grassroots; SLMC threatens to resign

Feb 10 (NS) The week which began with the Independence Day celebrations in Trincomalee on Monday, was followed by a personal visit of the President to India, where he was warmly received by the Bihar Province Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the Gaya international Airport. In Parliament the Convention on Suppression of Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Act was debated where Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva gave a new definition to the word ‘Terrorist’. The Halal issue continued more..

Boston Lanka News: February 10, 2013

Why SL should leave the Commonwealth

Feb 10 (Island) The Sunday before last, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe wrote an article to the Sunday Times, with the title "President Rajapaksa: The Prisoner of Latimer House". This was one of the few well argued, well informed articles written on the international fallout of the impeachment written by the opposition. It is all the more remarkable in that it was not written by a political scientist or a constitutional lawyer but by an active politician. Usually one would think that an active more..

A new threat to hard-earned peace

Feb 10 (NS) The Eelam war ended for all intents and purposes in May 2009. Since then, Sri Lankans have looked forward to sustained peace, having been at the receiving end of the cruel consequences of terrorism for three decades. That peace has materialized to a large extent. All areas of the country are now accessible. Citizens leaving home for work in the mornings have the assurance that they will return to their families at the end of the day. These are but a few ways in which that more..

'Halal food certification - purely voluntary'

Feb 10 (SO) The 'Halal certification' by the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulamas (ACJU) has become a contentious issue inviting criticism among a section of the society while others curry favour with it. Fuelled by a malicious email campaign that causes more damage to the country than protect the interests of the Sinhalese Buddhists, certain sections have warned that the issue will sow communal hatred and drag the country more..

Courting the C'wealth with clever cons

Feb 10 (ST) My Dear Queen Elizabeth, I thought I must write to you because some people in your government are trying to prevent our paradise island from hosting the next Commonwealth summit. I know that you don’t generally interfere in issues like this but as the Head of the Commonwealth, I think you really should. I am sure you would remember the two previous visits to our lovely Paradise. The first was in the fifties when Sir John was calling the shots and you had just ascended the throne. more..

All-win Australia faces unpredictable Sri Lanka today

Feb 10 (Island) When Australia, the five-time titlist, takes on Sri Lanka at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on today, the odds will be stacked heavily against the Sri Lankans. Australia is unbeaten in this edition thus far, while Sri Lanka has blown hot and cold, pulling off two major upsets — against England and India – but also losing two games comprehensively, to the West Indies and to New Zealand, in the lead-up to this Super Six game of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2013. more..

Rajapaksa govt facing failures of the ‘Medamulana Doctrine’

Feb 10 (SL) The Rajapaksa govt for all its bravado at the 65th Independence Day celebrations last week is now eating humble pie by holding discussions with the IMF on securing a billion dollar budgetary support facility and preparing to re-apply for the EU’s GSP Plus trade concession. The IMF delegation headed by John Nelms including IMF’s resident representative in Colombo Koshy Mathai is currently engaged in discussions more..

Etisalat to head start on 4G

Feb 10 (ST) Etisalat Lanka has held discussions with suppliers of 4G (Fourth Generation of mobile phone mobile communications standards) in a bid to prepare itself for the 4G spectrum licences the Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) plans to roll out soon, officials say. “We are looking to the government (to deploy) 4G and they are talking about more spectrum. We have already spoken with 4G suppliers,” Robert Lee, Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat told the Business Times. more..

Turkish Airlines begins operations

Feb 10 (NS) Turkish Airlines which claims to be the best airline in Europe and flies the most countries in the world, last week added its 219th destination and its 98th country by commencing flights to Colombo. Following the announcement, this year marks the first time that flights will be available directly from Colombo to Istanbul. Turkish Airlines will operate flights to Colombo 5 days per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays arriving at 1510 LT and more..

Top official should have been charged for fraud, corruption

Feb 10 (ST) Janaka Ratnayake, an influential Sri Lankan Govt official was reprimanded and labelled ‘not fit and proper (to serve in any position)’ and accused of corruption, the PSC report on the impeachment probe against former CJ Shirani Bandaranayake has revealed. Mr Ratnayake, a former chairman of the Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka (MBSL), former Chairman of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EBD) and more..

Karu to meet polls chief on ballot papers

Feb 10 (SL) UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya is to meet Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya this week to discuss the recovery of some ballot papers from a drain in Ratnapura soon after the 2010 Presidential elections. he said that 64 ballot papers had been found from the drain by a provincial council member. Following a request put forward to the then Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake, the UNP MP said he kept some of the recovered ballot papers with him. more..

Death Sentence: Tissa to submit proposal

Feb 10 (SL) Child Development and Women’s Affairs Minister Tissa Karaliyadda is to submit a proposal to parliament on the implementation of the death sentence. He said that he has already submitted a report on the death sentence to the AG’s Department. He said that the government needs to look at amending the laws on rape instead of building highways, ports and airports. “There is no need if the economy is improving while issues involving children are not addressed,” more..

Govt to re-apply for GSP

Feb 10 (SL) The govt is to re-apply for the EU GSP Plus trade concession that was withdrawn from the country in August 2010 for the non-compliance of the conditions connected to the facility. Despite govt claims in 2010 that the loss of the GSP Plus facility would not have a severe impact on the country’s economy, the EU’s decision to withdraw the facility was estimated to cost the govt US$ 1.5 billion. more..

Political parties will not be registered when polls pending

Feb 10 (NS) The Elections Department said political parties will not be registered when there are polls pending. The department recently refused to register former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s political party Democratic Party (DP). Deputy Elections Commissioner, R.M.A.L. Rathnayake said that they cannot facilitate as elections were yet to be held in Puthukudiyiruppu and Maritimepattu divisions in Mullaithivu. Specifying that according to the Election law a party registration more..

BOI’s new chief misses bosses assumption of office

Feb 10 (Island) Newly appointed Chairman and Director General of country’s premier investment promotion agency, Lakshman Jayaweera, missed the recent assumption of office of Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene as the Investment Promotion Minister. Many an eyebrow was raised when the Sydney based chemical engineer and entrepreneur didn’t turn up at the ceremony held at level 25 of the West Tower of the plush building. Abeywardene’s deputy, Faizer Mustapha, too, assumed duties at more..