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Sanath Jayasuriya’s second coming

Feb 2 (CT) Sanath Jayasuriya is no stranger to politics – cricket politics, national politics, controversies and questions about his swashbuckling lifestyle which has made him a subject of debate and discussion among the public, pubs and bars. One thing about Jayasuriya is that he is known for living life to the fullest, and without regret. Jayasuriya is someone who can never be kept out of the public eye and continues to make off-field news in a way he did not, as a striking more..

Kerosene subsidy not reimbursed

Feb 2 (CT) Around 1,500 families in Angunukolapelessa and Ambalanthota Divisional Secretariats are perturbed as the authorities concerned have not reimbursed Rs 129,900 subsidy on kerosene oil issued by the filling station maintained by the Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society (MPCS), Hungama in the past two months. The government took a decision last year to pay a subsidy of Rs 1,000 to nearly 1,500 low income residents, who have no electricity facilities in more..

Sri Lanka at 65 faces unfinished task of building a ‘new’ nation

Feb 2 (DBS) Sri Lanka will Celebrate its Sixty-fifth Anniversary of Independence from the United Kingdom this Monday. The country then known as Ceylon obtained full freedom from the British on February 4th 1948.Completing 65 years is significant as it is the age denoting “Seniority” in most Western nations. By that yardstick Sri Lanka becomes a Senior nation on Independence day. Independent Sri Lanka or more..

Strategy for democratic resistance, manifesto for change

Feb 2 (CT) However bad things are in Sri Lanka today and however bad things may get, there is almost nothing that cannot be reversed in three years when elections come around. That election may however be the last chance at reversal of the negative aspects, preventing their cumulative growth from embryonic structure to stable system. Sri Lanka is not under a dictatorship today, though there may be a dictatorial project or latent tendency towards dictatorship. If dictatorship is ever erected more..

Some reflections on the outdated notion of parliamentary supremacy

Feb 2 (CT) During the recent controversies on the impeachment of the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, the view has been taken quite strongly by MPs of both the govt and the opposition that the orders of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal (S.C.Reference No. 312012/C.A.(Writ) Application No.35812012, 01.01.2013, 07. 01. 2003) issued against the proceedings of the Parliamentary Select Committee which inquired into the impeachment, is an affront to the supremacy of Parliament. more..

Embassy of Sri Lanka in Sweden hosts colourful Thai Pongal celebration

Feb 2 (IL) On 17th January, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Stockholm organised a Thai Pongal celebration on its premises. The Embassy was decorated in an elaborate manner, and the Ambassador held a welcome speech where he emphasised the importance of bringing the Sri Lankan community together. Hindu priest Mohan from Stockholm Ganesh Temple then briefly explained the history and meaning of more..

Dislodging the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime

Feb 2 (CT) There is a growing sense of frustration among those who wish to see the Mahinda Rajapaksa Regime (MRR) being superseded by a more responsive, responsible and accountable system of democratic governance. Following the impeachment and sacking of the Chief Justice and her replacement by Mr. Mohan Pieris, who had been a government spokesman and a legal advisor to the Cabinet, along with such credentials as withdrawing a murder case and a rape case against two more..

CWE vegetables cheap, moving fast

Feb 2 (Island) Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) vegetables were being sold, through 30 Lanka Sathosa outlets, since last Tuesday at prices below those in the open market. This has been a success with the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade reporting that 100,000 kgs. of veggies were sold to consumers within three days, up to Thursday. Minister Johnston Fernando was happy with the initial results in his endeavour to provide consumers with fresh vegetables at more..

Southern, Sabaragamuwa take honours in numbers eligible to enter universities

Feb 2 (Island) A majority of students from the Southern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces have secured university entry according to the results of the GCE (A/L) exam, 2012 under the old and new syllabi, respectively. 67.79% of the old syllabus students of the Southern Province have qualified to enter university, while 64.89% of students in the Sabaragamuwa Province qualified under the new syllabus. more..

Docs’ transfers go hi-tech, those in remote areas left in the lurch

Feb 2 (Island) Around 4,000 medical officers working in rural hospitals of the North and East, difficult areas and the peripheral clinics had been left in the lurch as the Health Ministry’s annual transfer list was connected on-line from yesterday. Approximately 4,000 doctors in those areas were unable to apply for transfers due to lack of on-line facilities. The Govt Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) had made a strong complaint to the Health Secretary over the issue, more..

Woman raped by monk says rights group

Feb 2 (CG) The chief monk of a Temple in the Kelaniya area has been accused of raping a 43-year-old woman this month, the Asian Human Rights Commission said in a statement today. According to the human rights group, the Peliyagoda police have also refused to look into the complaint as it involved a Buddhist monk. The Asian Human Rights Commission statement further adds: “The prosecutrix, a mother of two, has complained that she had known this monk for some time. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Prioritising Trincomalee Port development

Feb 2 (CT) Environmentally the Trincomalee (TCO) Harbor is the second best natural harbor in the world. Its available water and land area is about ten times larger than the Colombo Port. TCO has its history with European powers vying for mastery of TCO harbor and the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and the English, each holding it in turn. The harbor, the fifth largest natural harbor in the world, is overlooked by terraced highlands and its entrance is guarded by two headlands. more..

Power- sharing Alliance has split into two

Feb 2 (OU) Mano Ganeshan and Azath Saali's joint effort in pressurizing the govt by originating a movement named “share powers and unite the country” has got split into two. The cause of this split is due to the controversies emerged amidst the members of this Alliance; hence New Sihala Urumaya party was disappointed towards the activities and left the movement. The leader of New Sinhala Urumaya Party Sarath Manamendra along with two parties propose to originate a more..

Confiscated tortoises were ‘pets’, says Chinese restaurant owner

Feb 2 (ST) The 14 tortoises seized during a Police raid on a Chinese restaurant in Thimbirigasyaya, have been handed over to the Dehiwala Zoological Gardens until the investigation is completed. The raid followed a complaint that cooked tortoise flesh was being served to diners. The restaurant owner, a Chinese national, was arrested and released on bail. He told the Police that the tortoises were being kept as pets. more..

Davis Cup: Pakistan take lead, Sri Lanka under pressure

Feb 2 (DM) Pakistan gained a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup group II tie against Sri Lanka as Aisam Qureshi and Aqeel Khan beat Rajeev Rajapaksa and Harshana Godamanna by 3-2 in the doubles match played at SLTA courts on Saturday. The hotly contested final saw Rajapaksa and Godamanne, going down to the tournament favorites, Aisam Qureshi and Aqeel Khan, by 6/2, 6/7, 2/6, 6/3 and 6/2. The battle was even as both teams won a single each by Friday evening. more..

Sri Lanka and Luxemburg to avoid double taxation

Feb 2 (N360) Sri Lanka and Luxembourg has signed an agreement on ‘Avoidance of Double Taxation’ (DTA) between Sri Lanka and Luxemberg. The agreement which has been inked on the 31st of January in Luxembourg has been signed between the Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in that country P.M. Amza and the Finance Minister of Luxemberg Luc Frieden. Finance Minister Luc Frieden has stated that the business community from both countries should make use of the benefits generated more..

Army Commander visits Trinco, inspects housing projects

Feb 2 (SLA) Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Army, currently in Trincomalee attending to National Independence Day final arrangements took time off on Friday afternoon to visit a couple of ongoing housing and development projects in Sampoor and Seedanaveli areas in the East. As the first stopover, progress, related to the ongoing Army ‘Seedanaveli’ housing project with 56 new houses for recently more..

SL congratulates US Senator Kerry

Feb 2 (DM) Minister of External Affairs Prof G.L.Peiris in a letter to newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry extended his congratulations on the nomination and expressed Sri Lanka’s willingness to continue working with the US in full cooperation on matters of mutual concern. “I look forward to working closely with you to further strengthen our bilateral partnership based on your understanding of the importance of our relations and the challenges Sri Lanka faces after more..

136 skulls dug up from Matale mass grave

Feb 2 (AD) As excavations being conducted at the mass grave discovered near the Matale Hospital continue, the number of human skulls unearthed from excavations carried out so far has reached 136. It has been reported that 142 skeletal remains have also been found and that additional teams have currently been placed to carry out further excavations. Skulls and partial skeletons were discovered in November last year by workers building a facility at a hospital in Matale. more..

Teenagers 15 – 19 too among AIDS carriers in the country

Feb 2 (Island) Irrespective of controls and awareness programmes, the spread of HIV/AIDS continues to plague the country with three new cases being discovered per week. Deputy Minister of Health Lalith Dissanayake said at the ‘Launch of a pledge campaign and media conference, initiated by the corporate sector to raise workplace awareness on HIV and AIDS’, on Wednesday, that the shocking incidence of schoolchildren being infected more..

UNP to raise Bodu Bala Sena’s actions in Parliament

Feb 2 (Island) The UNP is to raise the sustained campaign by the Bodu Bala Sena, against the minorities, in parliament and call for a debate on the disturbing trend. This was conveyed to several Muslim Organisations including the Jamayaithul Ulama, when they met the Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, at his office in Colombo yesterday, to convey their concerns. The Muslim representatives had noted that with the end of the war it was expected that more..

'UN resolutions not the way to help Sri Lanka'

Feb 2 (PTI) Sri Lanka has slammed the US move to introduce a fresh UN resolution against the country over its alleged war crimes committed during the civil war. "Are UN resolutions the way to treat Sri Lanka, a country that is trying to find its own feet?" said GL Peiris. The US is all set to move a second resolution later this month at the UNHRC in Geneva against the alleged war crimes committed during the strife in northern Sri Lanka. Peiris added Sri Lanka was making steady progress in its post more..

UK to support proposed resolution

Feb 2 (DM) Visiting Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for South Asia Alistair Burt said yesterday that his country would support the planned procedural resolution by the United States on Sri Lanka at next month’s session of the UNHRC. Addressing a seminar, Mr. Burt, referred to a wide range of issues. While acknowledging progress made by Sri Lanka in the post war period, he was critical of some more..

Editorial : February 4, a landmark for Sri Lanka and Sunday Observer

Feb 3 (SO) Sri Lanka celebrates her 65th anniversary of independence tomorrow. It was exactly six-and-a-half decades ago that we gained independence from the British and since then, the nation has faced many challenges. Almost half of the post-independence era was affected by LTTE terrorism which not only affected the country's economy adversely, but also claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians, social, political and religious leaders. more..

Editorial : Can a new constitution help democracy

Feb 3 (SL) This country goes into bouts of periodic political convulsions only to come out of them like a patient from an epileptic fit and wonder what it was all about. The impeachment of Chief Justice Dr Shirani Bandaranayake was the latest instance. Certainly the agitation was justifiable since it was a question of the independence of the judiciary where the future of the highest ranking judge of the Supreme Court was in question. But what was the outcome? For all practical purposes more..

'CPC cannot provide subsidies forever'

Feb 3 (SO) Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa who has held the portfolios of Environment and Media previously was offered one of the most challenging ministries - the Petroleum Industries - in the recent Cabinet re-shuffle. Often deemed as an unpopular Ministry which earns the wrath of the masses, straightforward decisions could sometimes be detrimental to the future of one’s political more..

Editorial : It is all about moral high ground

Feb 3 (NS) British Under Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Alistair Burt has spoken. He has spoken for Britain, a country he describes as ‘a candid friend of Sri Lanka’. In the classic, hold-the-hand-and-rap-knuckles mode, Burt has clearly stated that Britain will continue to back anti-Sri Lankan moves at the UNHRC sessions later this month in Geneva (because Britain is a friend!) Burt was speaking on the topic of ‘Sri Lanka – 2013 and Beyond’ at a seminar organized by the more..

Editorial : Reshuffling to expand and please

Feb 3 (CT) So the Jumbo Cabinet, said to be one of the biggest in a democratic nation, had to have its seams let out last week to accommodate a few more MPs, who were given some nonsensical ministerial portfolios in what is being described as a reward for ‘exceeding the expectations of the President.’ In the parliamentary system of govt, Cabinet reshuffles are nothing new. But, in the Sri Lankan context, when the Westminster system was being practised and collective responsibility of the Cabinet of more..

'People have confidence in the govt'

Feb 3 (SL) Secretary of the governing UPFA and Minister Susil Premajayantha says the govt expected actions like critical statements and resolutions against Sri Lanka when terrorism was eradicated from the country. He observed that the failure by countries that have shown interest in Sri Lanka’s affairs to issue statements on Israel’s decision not to attend the UN review on the country indicated the true motives of some more..

Editorial : Parliamentary oversight

Feb 3 (Island) The opposition has been unsuccessfully pushing for parliamentary oversight committees like the PAC and the COPE to be headed by an opposition MP rather than a govt nominee. During the J.R. Jayewardene govt of 1977, veteran Samasamajist Bernard Soysa headed the PAC with great acceptance. Soysa, who along with J.R. Jayewardene had represented the old multi-member Colombo South electorate in Parliament, with the two MPs once elected uncontested. more..

Editorial : Fight for freedom and democracy

Feb 3 (ST) As the men and women of the Armed Forces apply ‘spit and polish’ in preparation for the 65th anniversary celebrations of this country’s Independence tomorrow, we thought of referring to what we said on the eve of Independence last year. This is how we concluded our comment: “Only a few years ago, Sri Lanka was being touted as a failed state, and it was not far from the truth. With the ‘war’ behind us, and at least an appearance of economic development taking place such more..

'Amendments aimed at making MR family rule forever'

Feb 3 (SL) JVP MP Vijitha Herath, said the govt is engaged in an attempt to strengthen the family rule and has failed to address the crises faced by the people. “The govt has only temporary solutions,” he said, adding that whenever the international community raises issues the govt tries to silence them by giving economic bribes. Herath observed that the govt was only concerned about its survival and that the JVP would build a strong more..

Recent cabinet reshuffle not very impressive

Feb 3 (NS) The much awaited cabinet reshuffle finally materialized this week, but was an anti-climax to those who expected sweeping changes in sectors where ministers have been underperforming. If at all anything, it was an exercise in political appeasement. The ‘highlight’ of the reshuffle was the appointment of five new ministers. The subjects selected for the new portfolios are hardly groundbreaking in nature. Most of the new appointments were rewards for loyalty to more..

Bloated jumbo govt plans big ‘show’ at UNHRC session

Feb 3 (NS) After more than a year of speculation regarding a cabinet reshuffle President Mahinda Rajapaksa finally did it, changing 10 ministerial portfolios with two new project ministers and six deputy ministers. Susil Premajayantha, who was earlier Minister of Petroleum Industries, was appointed as the Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy, while the former Power Minister Champika Ranawaka was given the title of Technology, Research and Atomic Energy. more..

MR’s govt trying to whistle past the graveyard while US breathes fire

Feb 3 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his newly expanded Cabinet of ministers have their work cut out for them in order to save face of the govt at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva that begins this month and the Commonwealth heads of state summit scheduled later this year. After showing gratitude to a few governing party members by offering them key Cabinet portfolios, the Rajapaksa govt is now focused on facing more..

US-SL Relations: It’s Kerry’s call

Feb 3 (Island) John Kerry assumed duties as US Secretary of State on last Friday. It was also last week that three officials of the US State Department visited Sri Lanka and declared that the US will be sponsoring a procedural resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, plunging US-Sri Lanka relations to a new low. Kerry has been a critic of the manner in which his predecessor Hillary Clinton handled Sri Lanka. In December 2009, he signed along with his colleague Senator Richard G.Lugar more..

Minting ministers: More the merrier

Feb 3 (ST) My Dear Cabinet of Ministers, I thought I must write to you since you have been ‘reshuffled’ even though this reshuffle was not what most people expected. You usually reshuffle a pack of cards to get a better hand but if you reshuffle a pack full of jokers, that wouldn’t happen, would it? Now, you must excuse me for thinking that this reshuffle is a joke of some sort. What else can I do when some poor chap has been made a cabinet minister in charge of botanical gardens! more..

The Tzar of the working class celebrates 65 years in the CMU

Feb 3 (Island) Given a platform to mark his 65th year of service to the CMU, veteran trade unionist Bala Tampoe of Friday used the no frills occasion to trace the progress of the union rather than his own. "Most decisively it was in 1922, the year in which I was born, just four years after the Russian revolution that the Ceylon Labour Union was born under the aegis of Alexander Ekanayake Goonasinha," he reminisced. more..

COPE has no mandate to probe SLT, says outgoing CEO

Feb 3 (ST) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) has submitted its financial statements, documents on staff promotions and recruitments, details of recent procurements and its tender procedure to the COPE although COPE has no mandate to probe into company activities, outgoing SLT CEO Greg Young said. “We are a listed company in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and all our deals are transparent and everything is made known to CSE enabling it to create awareness more..