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Saudi help for Rizana’s family

Jan 15 (DM) Yahya bin Abdul Aziz Ar- Rahith, the legal Advisor of the Princess Adila Bint Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has offered Rs. one million from his personal funds to the family of Rizana Nafeek, the Sri Lankan housemaid who was executed in Saudi Arabia last Wednesday. The Saudi official, who is currently in Sri Lanka handed over the cheque to Deputy Minister M.L.A.M.Hisbullah at Kattankudi on Saturday. Presidential Advisor for Middle Eastern Affairs Masood Moulana, more..

Razik Zarook new BOC Chairman

Jan 15 (FT) Top lawyer and former diplomat and head of several State entities Razik Zarook has been appointed as the new Chairman of Bank of Ceylon. He succeeds Dr. Gamini Wickramasinghe, who resigned last week after a six-year stint at the State giant. Zarook is expected to assume office at BOC this week. A senior Attorney-at-Law, who was enrolled to the Bar in 1969, Zarook’s management skills came to the limelight when he was appointed Chairman of the CWE by the then Trade more..

President to appoint new CJ today

Jan 15 (FT) The next Chief Justice is expected to take oaths before President Mahinda Rajapaksa today, amidst charges from the legal community and Opposition parties that the appointment was unconstitutional and unlawful, and the Commonwealth Secretariat putting Sri Lanka on notice regarding the dismissal of incumbent CJ Shirani Bandaranayake. Three names – including that of former Attorney General, more..

Editorial: Undiluted patriotism – Save fresh water

Jan 15 (DM) With heavy rain continuing and hundreds of thousands of people affected by floods and earthslips, the Government, while generously helping and rehabilitating the victims, needs to give more attention to the preservation of our rivers and fresh water. During the past 25 years several wars have been fought especially in Afghanistan and Iraq for the super-power United States to gain control of vast areas where there is an abundance of oil and natural gas resources. more..

Rizana’s unfortunate death: A wake-up call for authorities

Jan 15 (DM) Rizana’s unfortunate death is a wake-up call for the authorities in Sri Lanka on the need to sit back and take stock of their Foreign Employment policy – especially for housemaids. At the end of the day it is the Government’s responsibility as foreign employment is a major foreign exchange earner for the country. Since the eighties, when a need for domestic help in the Middle-East flourished, our young women, mostly from the rural Sri Lanka, were attracted to follow a rainbow with more..

Back to firewood for cooking if gas prices go up again

Jan 15 (ST) Consumers are considering cooking with firewood if gas prices continue to go up in price. Last Saturday the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) permitted LP gas suppliers Litro and Laugfs to raise the price of a 12.5 kg gas cylinder by Rs.150. The new price of a Litro and Laugfs LP gas cylinder is Rs. 2,396. The recent price hike on LP gas is reasonable, considering the increase in global fuel prices, a spokesman for the CAA more..

Impeachment and the preservation of democracy

Jan 15 (SL) Time and again the world has witnessed countries being ruled by dictators who have caused immense destruction to such countries and its people. Such dictators have had absolutely no regard to the democratic rights of their citizens and no respect for life or limb of others. The majority, if not all such dictators have made us realize the destruction and the damage that they can cause to a country and its people. more..

'I am not proud of some of the recent actions of my former student'

Jan 15 (DM) Prof. Peiris maintains that the decision by the Supreme Court, which deemed the PSC powerless to decide in the case of the impeachment of a Chief Justice, was an attempt by the judiciary to usurp the powers of Parliament to legislate. Therefore he claims that this was an attempt at distorting the separation of powers, inherent in the constitution. "There is an established principle of how a CJ should be impeached. more..

UNP to file legal action against 18 MPs this week

Jan 15 (Island) The UNP will go to Court this week against 18 of its MPs who had violated the party whip and voted in favour of the impeachment resolution against Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake in Parliament last Friday. Senior Vice President of the UNP Lakshman Kiriella said that the 18 MPs, including members of the SLMC, CWC and DPF, who had contested on the UNP ticket, but crossed over to the govt after more..

Sri Lanka to raise minimum age for hiring overseas maids to 25

Jan 15 (E24|7) Minister Dilan Perera said that the minimum age limit of female migrant domestic aids would be raised from 21 to 25 besides bringing new conditions to the terms of their employment contracts in order to strengthen their rights and ensure safety. He made this announcement during a memorial service held at a mosque in Colombo for Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan maid who was executed in Saudi Arabia more..

Two foreigners caught fleeing with paper used to print dollars

Jan 15 (E24|7) Two foreign nationals were arrested by customs officials at the BIA, Katunayake early morning on Friday with a bundle of papers used for printing of fake American dollars, the Divaina newspaper reported. The two were computer technology experts from Uganda and Sierra Leon. They were arrested as they were trying to leave through the green channel exit which is used by passengers who have no goods to declare. more..

'UK recognises and welcomes progress made in Sri Lanka'

Jan 15 (Island) The United Kingdom recognizes and welcomes progress made in Sri Lanka as the absence of conflict has brought greater security and opened up economic development, Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt has said recently. Speaking at the UK parliamentary debate on "Sri Lanka and the UN responsibility to protect" last week Burt said, UK officials have visited all nine provinces of more..

Impeachment will impact on foreign investment-US

Jan 15 (DM) Reiterating its concern on the impeachment of CJ Shirani Bandaranayake, the United States yesterday said any action that undermines an independent judiciary would impact on Sri Lanka’s ability to attract foreign investment.’ Addressing the media, spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, “Well, we are deeply concerned about the impeachment of Sri Lankan CJ Shirani Bandaranayake. more..

'Govt. didn't do enough to save Rizana'

Jan 15 (CT) Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister, Dilan Perera and Foreign Employment Bureau Chairman, Amal Senadhilankara should resign from their posts within 24 hours, if they have any self respect or remorse over the death of Rizana Nafeek, UNP MP, Ranjan Ramanayake demanded. He said the Saudi govt had stated that Rizana was not a minor and that she was 23 years of age at the time more..

Sri Lanka seals impeachment with new judge

Jan 15 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president completed the controversial impeachment of the chief justice by choosing a successor Monday, his spokesman said, as lawyers vowed to keep up a battle for judicial independence. President Mahinda Rajapakse nominated a new chief justice who is expected to be confirmed by a parliamentary panel on Tuesday, his spokesman Mohan Samaranayake said. Rajapakse selected the successor to more..

2000 coconut seedlings among 2000 families

Jan 15 (GDI) The 521 Brigade of Point Pedro launched a livelihood project in Nagar Kovil, Ampan, Kudaththane and Potpathy Grama Niladhari Divisions in Vadamaratchi distributing coconut seedlings to improve the economy of newly resettled people in those areas. In the project launched under the Civil Military Coordination (CIMIC) programme initiated by the Commander Security Forces Jaffna (SF-J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, 2000 coconut seedlings were given to 340 families. more..

Editorial: Ranil's historic silence

Jan 15 (CT) Even as President Rajapaksa added what would perhaps be deemed the last chapter to the impeachment saga and the first to the real constitutional crisis, when he had the expulsion order hand delivered to CJ, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, on Sunday, the page turner was provided by the Leader of the UNP, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had the nation wondering about his allegiances. The most revealing moment was perhaps during the impeachment debate more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Democracy mourns for judgment fled to brutish beasts

Jan 15 (CT) As the sun went down this Friday on barebodied ruffians raucously celebrating Parliament’s spectacularly unjust impeachment of the country’s CJ with crackers and kiribath, judgment fled to brutish beasts and Sri Lanka entered its darkest phase since independence. This Govt with its ineffectual ally, the main Opposition UNP, could together boast of seemingly levelling a death blow at the last remaining bulwark of a defiantly rebellious judiciary. more..

The AHRC writes to the UN and Sri Lankan President

Jan 15 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is writing this letter both to your goodself and to The President of Sri Lanka, to strongly urge an inquiry into the execution of Ms. Rizana Nafeek, in Saudi Arabia. The Govt of Saudi Arabia executed Rizana at 11:48 am on January 9. The matters that we request your office to urge for an investigation are the following: a. What is the evidence upon which the court in Saudi Arabia sentenced Rizana for capital punishment? more..

Sri Lanka reins in errant casinos and betting centres

Jan 15 (ST) The Govt is increasing its scrutiny of betting and gaming industry with the first sign of a crackdown on unregistered casinos and betting centres emerging following the tax increase in the 2013 budget on gambling. A senior official said that Betting and Gaming Levies have been revised and any person who fails to register with the department by Feb 8th will be barred from continuing the business. more..

Customs to go fully online; poised to handle US $30b trade : PBJ

Jan 15 (DM) Sri Lanka Customs is set to go fully online from end March 2013, with the implementation of latest version of Automated System for Customs Data, widely known as ‘ASYCUDA World’, according to the Treasury Secretary. Once completed, the Air Cargo terminal will also see its activities automated for the first time, a process started in November 2011 with sea cargo now being fully cleared electronically. “With ASYCUDA World, our Customs is going to more..

The beheading of a housemaid in Saudi Arabia highlights slave-like conditions

Jan 15 (Independent) A young Sri Lankan woman was beheaded with a sword last Wednesday in a Dawadmi, a small town in Saudi Arabia. Rizana Nafeek was found guilty of murdering her employers’ child – a crime she vehemently denied until death. Rizana is not the only migrant worker to have been executed in Saudi Arabia – at least 27 were executed in 2010 and more than 45 foreign maids are facing execution on death row according to Amnesty International. more..

A family in pain

Jan 15 (AJ) Life for the Nafeek family seems to have lost its meaning. Its eldest daughter Rizana was beheaded in Saudi Arabia. It was her punishment after being found guilty of murdering a four month old infant in her care. For her parents and younger siblings it ends seven years of waiting, desperately hoping for a pardon. They seem lost, not knowing what to do next. Fareen Nafeek, Rizana's mother, is distraught. more..

CSE set for boom in 2013 - C T Smith

Jan 15 (DM) Fresh after witnessing a full year of volatility and challenges in 2012 with the benchmark All Share Index closing down 7.1% at 5643, the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is now poised to make a leap, predominantly backed by budgetary proposals and further monetary easing, according to leading stock broking & research firm. “The market seemed to have regained momentum and stabilized towards year end largely driven by high foreign investor participation. more..

Stocks flat, rupee weaker

Jan 15 (LBO) Stocks closed flat Tuesday and the rupee weakened on importer demand in late trading. The Colombo All Share Index closed at 5,750.24 points 0.07% higher and the S&P SL20 Index closed at 3,134.32 up barely 0.01%. Turnover was 727 million rupees. Ceylon Tobacco rose 22.90 rupees to 874.90 contributing most to the index gain. DFCC Bank rose 60 cents to close at 119.00 rupees, Commercial Bank closed flat at 105.00 and Central Finance closed at 180.00 up 3.40. more..

New CJ Mohan Peiris takes oaths

Jan 15 (IL) Former Attorney General and legal advisor to the president, Mohan Peiris was sworn in as the 44th Chief Justice of Sri Lanka a short while ago, the President Media Unit confirmed. He took oaths before President Mahinda Rajapaksa at 12.35 pm today at Temple Trees. The swearing in at Temple Trees was attended by president’s secretary Lalith Weeratunga and family members of Mohan Peiris. more..

Still in the dark

Jan 15 (CT) While the number of skeletal remains found in the backyard of the Matale Hospital has risen to 74, the authorities are still unable to find exact details of the remains, unearthed nearly two months ago – on 24 Nov last year. SSP Prishantha Jayakody said 74 skeletal remains have been found up to this week, though investigations are yet to reveal the cause of death and the mass burial. "It is too early to say why these people died, or why there was a mass burial. more..

Repairs on oil pipeline after leak

Jan 15 (CT) An oil-pipeline running from port to the Kolonnawa refinery had sprung leaks in two places last night, spilling a large stock of oil in Bloemandhal and Kambi Kotuwa Watta, according to the Spokesman of the refinery Nissanka Jayawardene. He added that Naphtha oil produced mainly for export had spilled due to the cracks. He further stated that while one crack had been completely sealed the other has so far been closed up to about 80% adding that cracks have appeared in more..

‘I am still the Chief Justice’

Jan 15 (DM) While asserting that she still is the legitimate Chief Justice of the country, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, leaving her official residence this evening, said she is ‘not guilty’ and that the safety of her family is in the hands of the people. “I have not taken a red cent during my 32 years of state service, nor have I taken a day’s leave during this time. I have always worked according to the law. Now the people have to look after me. more..

Mervyn appoints eminent advisory panel

Jan 15 (DM) Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva has appointed an advisory panel today consisting of University lecturers and professors to advise him on political and development matters, Public Relations Ministry said. Head of the languages Department of the Pali University Professor Uthurawala Dammarathana Thera has been appointed as the President of the panel and Secretary is the Kelaniya University’s Human Rights Department Asst. Registrar Kamalasiri Mallikaarachchi, more..

Lankan housemaid assaulted in Saudi

Jan 15 (DM) A 30-year-old Sri Lankan housemaid working in Saudi Arabia has been injured after being assaulted and dumped on a roadside. She was later hospitalized by the police following information received by a citizen of the country. The victim identified as Agnes Perera from Bloemendhal Road, Colombo who had gone to Saudi Arabia one year ago, had been ruthlessly assaulted allegedly by her employer. Her left hand had five cut injuries while the right had burn injuries. more..

'Govt’s impeachment process paves the way for imperialists'

Jan 15 (LT) In the past too the arbitrary conduct of the ruler paved the way for imperialists to plunder our country and what is happening today is a repetition of this historical fact says the co-convener of Anti-imperialist People’s Movement Ven. Dhambara Amila Thera. He said the impeachment process would be held in the future as an act of traitors. Ven. Amila Thera said, “A dialogue was created in the country regarding more..

Govt allocates more funds for rehabilitation of ex-LTTE cadres

Jan 15 (MoD) The govt has increased the allocations for rehabilitating the former LTTE cadres from Rs. 300 million to Rs. 500 million. Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera said. He revealed this addressing a ceremony held in Vavuniya Cultural Centre yesterday to release a batch of former cadres of LTTE. A group of 313 former cadres were reintegrated into the society yesterday to mark the Hindu cultural festival Thai Pongal that more..

Seven petitions against the PSC report withdrawn from Appeals Court

Jan 15 (AD) Seven petitions filed before the Appeals Court against the Parliamentary Select Committee report on the impeachment of former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake were withdrawn today by petitioners. The petitions challenged the authority of the PSC in investigating impeachment charges against the Chief Justice. The petitions were however withdrawn today following the appointment of the former Attorney General Mohan Peiris as the new Chief Justice. more..

Former CJ Sarath N. Silva unhappy with President's choice for CJ

Jan 15 (OU) “We voiced and supported because we felt politics did not exist in the issue of removing Shirani Bandaranayake from the CJ position. But now we feel that we have voiced for an erroneous issue because govt has decided to appoint Mohan Peiris as CJ. The present situation is like giving ginger and buying pepper”. Such statements were made by former CJ Sarath N. Silva. He commented about the appointment of more..

Complaint to Bribery Commission against new CJ

Jan 15 (LT) It is reported that a complaint has been made to the Bribery Commission against the new Chief Justice Mohan Peiris. The ‘Voice of Anti-Corruption (VAC)’ made the complaint today evening stating Mr. Mohan Peiris was directly involved in a financial fraud and asking the Bribery Commission to investigate. The convener of Voice of Anti-Corruption (VAC) Wasanthe Samarasinghe said his organization handed over details regarding a financial fraud that amounts to Rs.75 million more..

Schools reborn on former minefields

Jan 15 (RW) MAG's work in the war-torn region of Puthukudiyiruppu in northern Sri Lanka has helped hundreds of children get back to school. "When you took those mines out of the ground, our children were able to come back," said Anton Kulathas, the principal of Puthukudiyiruppu Roman Catholic School. “They have happily restarted their new school lives in peace.” In total, 279 landmines and nearly 500 other dangerous remnants of conflict were removed from the school and more..

Sri Lanka's media crackdown

We failed you Rizana!

Jan 16 (NS) Saudi Arabia defied all international protests as well as outcry of Sri Lanka to release Rizana Nafeek and beheaded her last week. A sword-wielding executioner carried out the decree in Dawadami, near Riyadh; hours after the Saudi Interior Ministry endorsed the judgment against her. Who failed Rizana Nafeek is the question that usually follows the solace of remembering her. She was beheaded even after a one-hour long appeal was made to spare her life. more..