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Sarath N. Silva calls for wiser counsel to prevail

Jan 18 (FT) For the first time in its history, the country has two Chief Justices, which further damages the Judiciary, said former CJ Sarath N. Silva. Silva stressed that Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake should not continue to claim to be the CJ, adding that the Govt’s hasty decision to appoint someone from outside as the head of the Judiciary cannot be accepted. While pointing out the importance of appointing a suitable person as the CJ more..

SB to award schols to Rizana’s sisters

Jan 18 (Island) Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake has expressed willingness to award scholarships to the two younger sisters of Rizana Nafeek, who was executed in Saudi Arabia recently. This was disclosed at the general meeting of the Kandy Municipal Council, on Wednesday 16 afternoon, by the former mayor and present council member Raja Pushpakumara, who said he had contacted the Higher Education Minister. Pushpakumara told the meeting, chaired by more..

Two expressways race to a finish

Jan 18 (DN) Work on the Southern Expressway and Colombo - Katunayake expressway will be completed this year. The first stage of the Southern Expressway from Kottawa to Pinnaduwa was opened on November 27, 2011 and by July 2013, the expressway will be extended up to Godagama (Matara) under the second stage. The third stage of the project will be from Godagama to Hambantota. The Colombo - Katunayake Expressway is scheduled to be completed by mid year. more..

Japan lends Rs.53.8b for infrastructure projects

Jan 18 (FT) Increasing its borrowings, Cabinet yesterday gave approval for the Govt to obtain Rs. 53.8 billion in loans from the Japanese Govt for a range of infrastructure projects, including power transmission, bridges, and road construction. Rs. 23.9 billion has been allocated for the Greater Colombo Transmission and Distribution Loss Reduction Project that will concentrate on meeting the electricity demand in the capital. more..

Abused children to be protected from busybodies

Jan 18 (Island) Minister Maithripala Sirisena instructed Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka to issue circulars to all main hospitals, to have separate rooms for the sexually harassed children. He gave the order in response to a request made by NCPA Chairperson Ms. Anoma Dissanayake who claimed that those children being warded with other child patients led to further trauma as hospital visitors were in the habit of going to see the affected children. A media spokesman for the more..

For Sri Lanka, it's all in the family

Jan 18 (NST) Never in Sri Lanka's post-independence history has so much power been concentrated in the hands of so few. The nasty, brutish and short impeachment process of Dr Shirani Bandaranayake from the post of Chief Justice and the appointment of presidential adviser Mohan Peiris as her replacement has emasculated the last institution bold enough to stand up to President Rajapakse. Most lawyers, judges and human rights activists saw the process as deeply flawed more..

Fr. Tissa Balasuriya passes away

Jan 18 (AHRC) Fr. Tissa Balasuriya OMI, a Sri Lankan Catholic priest who once came to the attention of the world due to his excommunication by Rome which was later lifted, passed away yesterday in Colombo. He had been unwell for some time and was 89 years of age at the time of his death. He was a trained economist and was ordained as a priest in 1953. He worked in many capacities such as the rector of the more..

SL takes a dip in Freedom House rankings

Jan 18 (FT) US based rights watchdog Freedom House downgraded Sri Lanka on its annual survey of civil and political rights in countries across the world, saying the country’s score had deteriorated due to increasing corruption and the recent impeachment of the Chief Justice. The Freedom House annual survey for 2013 said the most serious declines in the Asia-Pacific region took place in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The Organization lists countries according to how ‘free’ they are, more..

Sri Lanka to imports 4,500 dairy cows

Jan 18 (LBO) State-run National Livestock Development Board is spending 28.537 million US dollars to import 4,500 dairy cows, of which 500 animals have already arrived in the country. The cows will be distributed among three farms in Bopaththalawa, Nikaweratiya and Sirignapatha. Under the first stage 500 cows have already arrived in the country and 1,500 are due shortly. The agreement submitted by livestock minister Arumugam Thondaman, had been approved more..

Sri Lanka shuffles further down the path to dictatorship

Jan 18 (Economist) His foes accuse Mahinda Rajapaksa of many sins during his seven years as Sri Lanka’s president. They blame him for the savagery that cost so many civilian lives as his army defeated the rebel Tamil Tigers in 2009. They bridle at how he has carved up the govt among his brothers, like a thriving family-run conglomerate. They resent the amendment of the constitution pushed through in 2010 to remove the limit more..

John, JVP tell ex-CJ: don’t listen to bad advise

Jan 18 (Island) Minister John Seneviratne said yesterday that former certain elements were continuing with their attempts to mislead former CJ Shirani Bandaranayake. He warned the former CJ not to listen to those unscrupulous elements as she would fall into trouble. The only recourse for her now was to leave the country, he said. Seneviratne said that she was not a suitable person to engage in politics and those who had worked in the comfort of air-conditioned rooms were more..

Judges’ transfers cancelled

Jan 18 (DM) The transfers of seven judges that were made by the former Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake with effect from January 21 have been cancelled with immediate effect by newly appointed Chief Justice Mohan Peries. Informed sources said that the letters of cancellation of transfers were faxed to the respective judges by the secretary to Mr. Mohan Peiris. The following transfers have been cancelled: Colombo High Court Judge Kumuduni Wickremesinghe as more..

'Sri Lanka targeted for defeating LTTE'

Jan 18 (DN) The eradication of LTTE terrorism is the only reason for all foreign interferences in Sri Lanka's internal matters, Minister and NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa said. Delivering the keynote address at a seminar under the theme of 'Sri Lanka after war and impeachment', he said Foreign conspiracies against Sri Lanka takes different forms. The Minister said the Tamil diaspora and certain Western countries want to more..

Mervyn’s ‘fate’ to be decided by SLFP CC

Jan 18 (CT) UPFA general secretary Susil Premajayantha said yesterday that Minister Mervyn Silva’s role in Kelaniya will be decided at a Central Committee meeting of the SLFP. He said this when journalists asked whether Silva will be arrested and if someone else will be appointed to the post of organizer for Kelaniya, vacated by Silva following Hasitha Madawala’s murder. “He was the SLFP organizer, so his replacement should be decided by the SLFP Central Committee. more..

14 suspects detained for Rs. 263 m fraud

Jan 18 (FT) Fourteen suspects who were allegedly involved in a massive financial fraud after fraudulently withdrawing money from the accounts of foreign credit cardholders through an e-commerce application service provided by a State bank in Sri Lanka had been arrested and detained under the custody of CID. Due to this international financial fraud, the State bank has to incur a loss of Rs.263 million and the suspects had been charged under the Public Property Act, more..

JVP alleges CJ impeachment strengthens int’l conspiracy against Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (Island) The JVP alleged that the govt was playing into the hands of those seeking to haul Sri Lanka up before an international war crimes tribunal. Addressing a gathering of trade union representatives, at the New Town Hall on Monday (14), former JVP MP Lal Kantha said that a glaring case in point was the recent impeachment of Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake through unconstitutional means. more..

Conspiracies against govt began with defeat of terrorism: Aluthgamage

Jan 18 (DN) All constitutions anywhere in the world have shortcomings. India amended its Constitution 96 times. Sri Lanka amended its Constitution on 18 occasions. Some countries amend the Constitution as soon as the judiciary gives an anti-govt verdict. The Sri Lankan govt never resorted to this practice, Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said. He said the people’s sovereignty is in the Legislature (Parliament) because people’s sovereignty is people’s verdict. more..

Sri Lanka major bridges, roads built with Japan, OPEC loans

Jan 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka will build 37 major bridges on national roads with a loan from the Japan and major roads in Colombo will be re-built with another credit, minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said. Sri Lanka will borrow 18.57 billion rupees for the bridge project. The loans will have a repayment period of 40 years with a 10 year grace period and an interest rate of 0.2%. Sri Lanka will also borrow 50 million US dollars from the OPEC Fund for International Development to expand road in Colombo. more..

Now, USAID $ 4.5 mn project to strengthen rule of law in Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (Island) Reiterating the US govt’s concern over the recent impeachment of CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, US Ambassador Michele Sison yesterday said that the two countries were working together to strengthen the rule of law in Sri Lanka. Ambassador Sison said that USAID would implement a new $ 4.5 mn project with Justice Ministry, Judicial Service Commission and Judges Training Institute (JTI). more..

Fresh milk: Stop acting like buffaloes

Jan 18 (DM) With the cost of living soaring beyond the reach of millions, the govt needs to urgently work out a national policy on food and nutrition with one of the main goals being to make people aware of how to get nutritious food at affordable prices. To start at the beginning is a good place to start, and the govt needs to be commended for taking a major initiative to revive the local fresh milk industry by importing thousands of hybrid cows. The United Bhikkhu Front, however has accused govt leaders of more..

Mohan Peiris: Before a tougher hurdle

Jan 18 (DM) Mohan Peiris, appointed as the country’s new Chief Justice on Tuesday, is the latest actor to enter the impeachment drama. As the spotlight shifts from impeached Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, his will be the most controversial selection to this high office. Peiris’s appointment follows weeks of uncertainty and bitter legal battles between the executive and the legislature on the one hand and the judiciary and the legal profession on the other. more..

Bloody ivory for temples; Lanka violates international conventions

Jan 18 (ST) Sri Lanka will suffer a major loss of face in the eyes of the international community if the “blood ivory” from Kenya confiscated by the Customs last year is released to Buddhist temples including the Dalada Maligawa through the Presidential Secretariat, conservationists warned this week. Condemning reported instructions by the Presidential Secretariat in a letter to the Customs that the 359 elephant tusks be handed over more..

If parliament breaks the constitution, should Tamils do so too?

Jan 18 (SL) He that Steals an Egg will Steal an Ox. By the time this piece appears in print on Sunday 13th, Parliament would have decided on the CJ issue; to either vote for her impeachment or obey the courts’ determination that the Parliamentary Select Committee’s finding is null and void. If Parliament chooses to impeach the CJ, it would be a brazen violation of the Constitution and will kill any semblance of democracy the more..

Letter of threat to J.C. Weliamuna

Jan 18 (CT) Senior attorney J.C. Weliamuna yesterday said that judges and lawyers who opposed the impeachment of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake are facing imminent threats to their lives. Speaking to Ceylon Today, Weliamuna said: “A complaint has been lodged with the Inspector General of Police, N.K. Illangakoon and the Kohuwala Police station with regard to a letter of threat received recently. more..

Liquidity spikes in Sri Lanka money markets

Jan 18 (LBO) Liquidity in Sri Lanka's money markets has climbed to around 40 billion rupees amid dollar inflows bought by the monetary authority, but two terms auctions were announced Friday to mop up liquidity. Sri Lanka's central bank creates money through dollar purchases to maintain a de facto peg to the US dollar through its foreign exchange operations, though there is an overall commitment to maintain a 'flexible' exchange more..

Suspects arrested in the north detained in Boosa

Jan 18 (CG) At least 44 Tamils arrested in Jaffna and Killinochchi have been detained in Boosa, the human rights commission in Jaffna said. The 44 suspects were among 47 people arrested in the north following a tense situation which developed at the Jaffna University last November. The Terrorist Investigations Division (TID) had arrested 46 people in December alone and complaints had been lodged with the more..

HSTUA alleges frauds in local purchase of drugs

Jan 18 (Island) The Health Ministry was accused of purchasing low quality drugs and thereby wasting govt funds. The accusation was leveled by the Health Services Trade Union Alliance (HSTUA), whose chief, Saman Ratnapriya, said that the Ministry should formulate a proper tender procedure when importing drugs to avoid malpractices which occur during local purchasing. Ratnapriya, explaining the situation more..

Health Ministry employs 35,000 labourers but outsources janitorial and security work

Jan 18 (Island) The govt pays private security and janitorial service companies around six billion rupees per year for cleaning and security services in State-run hospitals though the Health Ministry employs more than 35,000 sanitary workers and other minor workers. The minor staff recruited under the direct influence of some politicians to maintain cleaning and security services have been idling, according to sources. more..

India to set up 9 language labs in Sri Lanka's 9 provinces

Jan 18 (GDI) As per the commitment made by the Govt of India during the visit of President Rajapaksa to India in June 2010, which was reflected in the Joint Declaration issued on the occasion, the Govt of India is undertaking a project to set up nine language labs in the nine provinces of Sri Lanka. A MoU was signed between India and Sri Lanka on 13 Sept 2011 for “Setting up of a Three-Tier English Language Training System in Sri Lanka”. more..

Sri Lanka: A tale of two chief justices

Jan 18 (AJ) The question of who is Sri Lanka's chief justice depends on whom you talk to. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sworn in one of his advisers, Mohan Peiris, as the country's new chief justice. Peiris is a former attorney general who has worked closely with the govt in recent years. However, the judge he replaced, Shirani Bandaranayake, says she still is "the duly appointed legitimate chief justice". In a process more..

Kulasekara sets up low-scoring SL win

Jan 18 (CI) A fearsome spell of inswing bowling from Nuwan Kulasekara was the definitive performance in a bizarre third ODI at the Gabba, where both captains would have batted first, but 100 may have been a winning total. Kulasekara took a career-best 5 for 22 as he damned Australia to 74 all out, with the aid of Lasith Malinga, who tore down the tail. Sri Lanka's run chase shaped as a straightforward one, but more..

Editorial: Heed the warnings

Jan 18 (CT) The US neither wasted time nor minced its words in relaying its response to the appointment of the new CJ. In what was both an echo of the sentiment of the international community and a dire warning, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, while expressing deep concern over the impeachment of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, said the impeachment raises serious questions about the separation of powers in Sri Lanka, which is a fundamental tenet of a healthy democracy. more..

Massive smuggling attempt thwarted

Jan 18 (Island) A major attempt to smuggle in various items including cigarettes to the value of over Rs. 130 million was foiled by the Customs special vigilant task unit yesterday. The Customs officers on duty at the Rank Container Terminal (RCT) in Orugodawatta, on suspicion, had examined uncleared passenger luggage addressed to over 10 persons. They found the baggages contained cigarettes, shoes, cardamom, cheese, cloves, refrigerators and vehicle spare parts to the more..

The end game

Jan 18 (FT) On Friday, 11 January, moments after Speaker of Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa announced the results of a vote on the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, fireworks lit the night sky outside the Parliamentary Complex on the banks of the Diyawanna Oya where history had been made. The beautiful Geoffery Bawa designed building comprises several balconies, terraces and more..

An open letter to UN and SL President

Jan 18 (CT) 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, a Sri Lankan citizen in Saudi Arabia. The Govt of Saudi Arabia executed Rizana at 11:48 am on Jan 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 brief envoys on Commonwealth Business Forum

Jan 18 (GDI) Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Neomal Perera, met the envoys of 79 countries accredited to Sri Lanka from New Delhi this week and briefed them about the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) that will be held in Colombo from 12-14 Nov 2013 preceding the Commonwealth Heads of Govt Meeting (CHOGM). He explained to the envoys that CHOGM is being held in Asia which is now a region of high growth and opportunity, after a lapse of 25 years, and that the CBF 2013 more..

Sri Lanka new vehicle registration fall 44% in Dec

Jan 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's new vehicle registrations fell 44.8% to 25,308 in December 2012, with new registrations of small Maruti and Suzuki cars down 64% and BMW cars up 161%, data compiled by JB Securities equities research shows. New motor car registrations were down 54% to 1,464 in December from a year earlier, but were up from the low of 1,073 hit in September. Three wheeler registrations were down 44% to more..

Hasitha Madawala assassination suspects remanded till Jan. 31

Jan 18 (Island) People with posters and placards, demanding justice, gathered near the Mahara Magistrate’s Court yesterday as the suspects in the Hasith Madawala assassination case were produced there. Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha chairman, Prasanna Ranaweera, who was among the protesters, alleged that Mervyn Silva’s stooges killed Hasitha Madawala, a member of the Kelaniya PS. He claimed that the suspects had been plotting to kill persons who sided with him (Ranaweera). more..

No mercy for traffic law breaking police officers

Jan 18 (DM) Police Chief N.K. Ilangakone in a directive issued to all senior Police officers, ordered that all Police officers who break traffic law be dealt with prevailing laws. A senior police officer from the police headquarters said the step had been taken after publication of photographs of offending Police officers in uniform. “Media reports attached with six photographs were sent to the awareness of the officers along with the order,” he said. “Engaging in conversations via mobile phones, more..

Former CJ treated worse than a common criminal - UNP

Jan 18 (AD) The UNP today said that the people of Sri Lanka “unequivocally and unreservedly condemn” the appointment of Mohan Peiris as the Chief Justice and still consider Shirani Bandaranayake as the country’s top judge, says the UNP. “It is the position of all those in Sri Lanka who believe in democracy and the rule of law that Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake is, and continues to be, the lawful Chief Justice of Sri Lanka,” more..