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Sacking a CJ with minimal domestic political fuss or costs

Jan 25 (Island) Hats off to the Rajapaksa regime, which has pulled it off! Sacking a Chief Justice and getting away with it is no easy task and few govts succeed. The Fijian generals who periodically overthrow that tortured nation’s democratic govts usually follow up by sacking the chief justice, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe has found it necessary to curb an independent judiciary, the list is not long. Now Sri Lanka joins this group, where the govt has successfully got rid of a CJ who became in a more..

This is our country too and it is worth fighting for

Jan 25 (CT) Last week Fr. Tissa Balasuriya died. Fr. Balasuriya, in and through his life, personified what is best and most humane about Christianity. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’: that was Father Balasuriya in thought and deed. In a previous repressive era, when many chose indifference or equivocation, he stood up for democracy, provided a platform for dissent and kept his doors ever more..

Systemic crisis: It is not over

Jan 25 (CT) There is an unusual and unexpected calmness in Hultsdorf in the post-impeachment days in spite of the fact that all traditions and conventions were put aside in the appointment of the new CJ in place of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. At the time of appointment as the CJ, Mr Mohan Pieris was a director of many private companies and the legal advisor to the Cabinet. Previously, of course with rare exceptions, it was either a most senior Supreme Court Judge or the Attorney General more..

Popular demand for Malini

Jan 25 (Island) National list MP and one time queen of the Lankan silver screen Malini Fonseka yesterday said that a number of persons had urged her to be the Chief Organiser of the Kelaniya electorate, but she was yet to express her willingness to undertake such a responsibility. Ms. Fonseka said "Those from Kelaniya forgot me at the initial stages but I don’t want to enter into a controversy since I love my native place," she said. She assured her fullest support and more..

Jayasuriya a chance for SL selection panel

Jan 25 (CI) Sanath Jayasuriya could be nominated for a place in the new selection panel, which is due to be named by the end of January, according to Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive Ajit Jayasekara. SLC had already sent a list of 11 names to the sports minister who appoints the panel likely to comprise five selectors, but Jayasekara confirmed that more names will be added to that list. Jayasuriya is also an MP for the ruling more..

Editorial : Big Brother tilting at windmills

Jan 25 (Island) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that neither the media nor the judiciary could topple the present govt. He is of the opinion that only the masses could accomplish that task. (He is apparently waiting till the people do it for him!) But, the govt does not seem to have taken his claim seriously. Maybe, it is wary of trusting him any longer after his dramatic U-turn on the impeachment of CJ Shirani Bandaranayake. It has obviously left nothing to chance. more..

How the Welikada prison was named after the Sand Pingo!

Jan 25 (Island) The Welikada Prison is the largest prison in Sri Lanka with the maximum security. It was built in 1841 by the British under Governor Cameron. The prison covers an area of 48 acres (190,000 square metres). It is over-crowded with about 1700 detainees, exceeding the actual number that could be accommodated there. The prison also has the gallows but it has not been used since 1976. It also has its own hospital. It is also relevant that old names still continue to be remembered more..

Low interest rates for SMEs: Chamber says empty promise by President

Jan 25 (Island) The Sri Lanka Chamber of Small and Medium Industries (SLC-SMI) said President Rajapaksa’s promises of reduced interest rates on loans to the SME sector were limited to being mere words as the country’s economic growth engine continues to struggle accessing bank loans. SLC-SMI President Alloy Jayewardene said that the President’s pledge for lower interest rates to the SME sector, more..

Trekurious introduces Channa Daswatte’s Bawa Tour

Jan 25 (ST) Trekurious, Sri Lanka’s online experiential tour and activity company, provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in Geoffrey Bawa’s rich architectural legacy with a curated day tour showcasing some of his best works in the company of his protege Channa Daswatte, a release stated. Thought to be one of the most influential Asian architects of the 20th century, Geoffrey Bawa is known as the father of the ‘Tropical Modernism’ style of architecture. more..

‘Open warrant on Deputy Minister will be looked into’

Jan 25 (DN) Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody observed that the matter raised by Deputy Minister Sarana Gunawardena stating that his privileges were violated by the fact that open warrant was issued against him by the Attanagalla Magistrate on a day he attended Parliament will be looked into. He made this observation when Deputy Minister raised a privileges matter in Parliament. Deputy Minister stated that he had been summoned by the Attanagalla Magistrate to appear more..

Kabir Hashim on impeachment, new CJ and the way forward

Jan 25 (FT) This Govt is drunk with power and feels it can do whatever it feels like doing because it has a two-thirds majority and that is not democracy, asserted UNP MP Kabir Hashim. Despite there being so much opposition in the country over the impeachment process, the Govt went ahead with it, which highlights the pure arrogance of the Rajapaksa administration, Hashim pointed out. According to Hashim, more..

Podi Premadasa readies for clean-up of SLBC

Jan 25 (Island) Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation Chairman (SLBC) Hudson Samarasinghe revealed that there were 20 directors and officers without the requisite qualifications at the national radio. Already the services of some of them had been terminated, he added. They had been recruited by successive govts and some of them had submitted bogus birth certificates when applying for promotions, he said. "The birth certificate submitted when recruited to the institution and those submitted subsequently more..

'Jaffna development on the front burner'

Jan 25 (DN) The govt gives priority to the development of the Jaffna district, said Minister Douglas Devananda. He was participating as the Chief Guest at a ceremony held at Jaffna Public Library to mark the opening of International Commercial and Industrial Trade Exhibition at Duraiappah Stadium from January 18 to 2. Minister said the Jaffna International Trade Exhibition would prove to be a fraternal bridge joining the North and South as well as an occasion of more..

'My fiancé assaulted me'

Jan 25 (CT) “I was brutally beaten by my finance. We always had arguments. He is a Sultan from an Arab country. Please take him into custody and mete out justice,” Nirosha Wimalaratne, famously known as the ‘cobra girl,’ requested yesterday. She said her Arab boyfriend and one of his relations beat her at dawn yesterday. “He was profusely drunk. They chased me out of the house. I appeal to the police more..

Public outrage over ‘unfair’ trial for Shirani Bandaranayake

Jan 25 (ST) Unlimited presidential terms, a leader who behaves like a dictator and a govt ‘caring a damn’ about international opinion over the impeachment of Shirani Bandaranayake, who says she is still the chief justice, were among the many comments the Business Times received in this week’s email poll. The poll was on the removal of the chief justice through an impeachment motion. (See Page 1 for results of the poll). Here are excerpts of the comments. more..

No vegetable imports to overcome high prices problem

Jan 25 (Island) Although the country is currently facing an acute vegetable shortage, which has resulted in the sky rocketing of prices in the market, the Agriculture Ministry said yesterday it would not allow imports to overcome the temporary problem. Following a prolonged drought, followed by monsoonal downpours and floods in much of the country, vegetable prices are soaring and traders are urging for the import of vegetables from India to bring down the prices. more..

No fair trial for Shirani B: BT poll reveals

Jan 25 (ST) Lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects and various other professionals this week slammed the impeachment of Shirani Bandaranayake in a near unanimous vote saying she was unfairly judged. Asked in a Business Times poll this week whether Ms Bandaranayake (who says she is legally still the chief justice) got a fair trial, more than 90% of the respondents said NO. The email poll which asked two more more..

High fuel prices hurting fishermen

Jan 25 (Island) In the wake of President Mahinda Rajapaksa having promised to assist the small scale fishermen to rise to industrial level, at a function held at Temple Trees recently, a fishermen’s association, affiliated to the JVP, claimed yesterday that the govt had in fact neglected the fisheries industry although the country’s fish production and imports had increased drastically in the last few years. Convener of the All Ceylon Common Fisheries Association Rathna Gamage told The Island that more..

Majority community given responsible position at Jaffna Information Department

Jan 25 (OU) A person from the majority community had been appointed as the responsible officer to the Jaffna district secretariat Information Department. In year 2004, the Information Department office was launched by the Media Ministry at the Jaffna district secretariat. However none was appointed as officer in charge. In year 2011, July month, in view of the local council election, two officials were appointed temporarily to the Information Department. Officers from the Muslim and Sinhala communities more..

'Foreign mail service to be handed over to private sector'

Jan 25 (Island) A JVP affiliated postal union urged the govt to stop wasting money on unnecessary programmes and invest it in converting the Postal Department into a profitable institution without plotting to privatise it. President of the Lanka Postal Service Union, Jayantha Wijesinghe alleged that the privatisation project of the Postal Department had begun in 2007 and the foreign mail service was scheduled to be more..

Colombo to go bust by the year 2017?

Jan 25 (NS) At the pace of development currently taking place in the City of Colombo, it is presumed that vacant land will be highly scarce by 2017, a recent report on the real estate market prepared by a stock brokerage firm has pointed out. Taprobane Securities Ltd says that according to the concentration of developments happening, it is projected that distribution of vacant land in the future will be significantly low. ‘Therefore the current land value in Colombo 1, 2 and 3 areas have the more..

‘My cobras are starving’

Jan 25 (CT) Nirosha Wimalaratne, famously known as the 'cobra girl,' had cried to the Police to get her two cobras from her boyfriend's residence as they will starve and die. Police investigations have found that Nirosha's Arab boyfriend had disappeared after attacking her. The house they had occupied is locked. Police had informed her that they cannot break the doors of the house to rescue the two cobras, adding that cobras can survive without food for a few days. more..

JVP blames army for police arrest of Northerners

Jan 25 (Island) The Peace and Solidarity Organisation, of Sri Lanka (PASOS) yesterday accused the military of continuing to arrest Tamil civilians in the Northern Province even three years after the war had ended. PASOS President and former JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake said that the military intelligence arrested around ten Tamil civilians in the Puttur area of the Peninsula during the course of last month. He said that most more..

Govt. refuses to answer question on number of deserters

Jan 25 (Island) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday rejected a request from the Opposition, to reveal to Parliament the number of deserters from the tri-forces since 2006, citing security reasons. Asked to reveal the numbers of deserters taken into custody he answered in the same manner saying that investigations pertaining to them were in progress. The question about the number of the tri force deserters was raised by DNA Colombo District MP Sunil Handunetti. more..

Did Police sergeant take his own life?

Jan 25 (Island) A 42-year-old Police Sergeant, attached to the Mahaoya police station, in the Ampara District, allegedly committed suicide, in the early hours of yesterday, by shooting himself on the chin with his service weapon. Police suspect it was a family dispute though his wife has told investigators that there wasn’t any problem at home. The incident had taken place in police barracks where about four policemen were resting at night, police source said. The incident had occurred around 3.30 a.m. more..

Judges around the world condemn impeachment of CJ

Jan 25 (ICJ) Today, senior judges and eminent jurists from around the world joined together, calling on the Govt of Sri Lanka to reinstate the legal Chief Justice Dr Shirani Bandaranayake. An open letter issued by the Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) was sent to the Speaker of Parliament Chamal Rajapakse and President Mahinda Rajapakse, more..

WP to go ahead with pre-paid card system

Jan 25 (CT) Despite the All Island Private Bus Owners Federation (AIPBOF) objecting to the implementation of the pre-paid card system for buses, which they say needs further study, Western Province Transport Minister, Upali Kodikara, said they will implement the pre-paid card system. AIPBOF General Secretary, Anjana Priyanjith said, the Western Province Transport Minister, Upali Kodikara, had scheduled a meeting on 22 January to discuss the pre-paid card system but more..

Kulasekara named Player of the Series

Jan 25 (Island) It was a huge disappointment for the local fans that Sri Lanka could not win their second ODI series in Australia after leading the five match series 2-1 with two games to go. While the fourth ODI was abandoned in Sydney much to the displeasure of the tourists, they lost the fifth and final ODI in Hobart as the series was squared 2-2. Despite the disappointments, however, the heroics of seam bowler Nuwan Kulasekara was a massive satisfaction as he was named Player of the more..

Bilingual national anthem violates Constitution – JHU

Jan 25 (CT) Govt constituent party, the JHU, yesterday claimed that singing the national anthem, in both Sinhala and Tamil, during national ceremonies will be a gross violation of Sri Lanka's Constitution. JHU Deputy General Secretary, Udaya Gammanpila said that the Constitution highlighted the national anthem should be sung during national ceremonies only in the Sinhala language as it is the native and more..

Foes at work! Official encounters between new CJ Peiris, ex-CJ’s lawyers

Jan 25 (FT) Fresh from his ceremonial sittings on Wednesday, Chief Justice Mohan Peiris presided over a bench that took up several listed cases before the Supreme Court yesterday. Several senior lawyers appeared before Chief Justice Mohan Pieris when the day’s listed cases were taken up. President’s Counsel Romesh De Silva and Attorney-at-Law Saliya Peiris, both lawyers who appeared on behalf of impeached Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake at the PSC proceedings and more..

'US govt believed Pillay held biased views'

Jan 25 (DN) The US govt at first was reluctant to support the appointment of Navinitham Pillay to the position of UN Human Rights Commissioner because of the anxiety that she could over react and hold biased views. This has been very clearly proven today, Batticaloa district SLFP organiser Arun Tambimuttu said. He said today she is very interested in the issue of removal and appointment of Chief Justices in Sri Lanka. Ms. Pillay has been always a strong critic of Sri Lanka. more..

Army report snubs LLRC

Jan 25 (CT) The Army’ s report on the implementation of the LLRC recommendations, submitted to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has recommended the continuation of the Police Department under the Defence Ministry – a drastic departure from the very recommendations that the report wanted to be implemented. Going a step further, the Army report states that International Humanitarian Law (IHL) principles applicable more..

Rizana: Tragedy of denied justice

Jan 25 (DM) Rizana Nafeek’s tragedy is that she was a Muslim and a poor Sri Lankan. As a result, she gets little sympathy from either her fellow Muslims or from non-Muslim fellow countrymen. This becomes quite clear when you read comments published after her death by beheading in Saudi Arabia recently. Many Muslims held the view that they could not question Islamic Sharia law. Comments from non-Muslims, while expressing (in some cases) a degree of sympathy, were more..

Editorial : Religious leaders must come forward together

Jan 25 (DM) For more than 2500 years, whenever there was a national crisis, the Buddhist clergy has come forward and acted effectively to save the country. With Sri Lanka now facing one of its biggest constitutional crises, former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, who is one of the leaders of the National Movement for Social Justice, has called on the Maha Sangha to come forward and lead a people power movement to restore democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency more..

Jigsaw puzzle from outer space divides scientists

Jan 25 (ST) Since the skies over Sri Lanka started raining “colours” and dropping rock fragments across the country, scientists have been scratching their heads to explain the strange “alien” phenomena. Some claim these came from outer space, while others say these originated within the earth’s atmosphere. It all started with the shower of “red” rain that fell on Moneragala and Polonnaruwa in November last year. more..

Land Grab Galore In NCP Forest Reserves

Jan 25 (SL) Hundreds of acres in the Andarawewa Forest Reserve in Nochchiyagama have been grabbed by powerful politicians in the North Central Province with the alleged connivance of the Mahaweli Authority. The Andarawewa Forest Reserve is 1,050 acres in extent and comes under the purview of the Mahaweli Authority. It is situated within the Mahaweli ‘H’ zone and was declared as a wildlife protection zone in 1982 and is one more..

Role of Lawyers in protecting the Independence of the Judiciary

Jan 25 (DM) The societies that sprang along the river valleys of the East and those of the Mediterranean considered women weaker than men. Aristotle thought that women were weaker and impulsive than men. Plato had a better reflection of women’s abilities. He thought women could equal men as philosophers and admitted them to his Academy. Men were allowed to study law and medicine and not women. more..

Sirisena warns Ministry drug mafia their days are numbered

Jan 25 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday warned the officials of the Health Ministry’s Technical Evaluation Committee and the Tender Board to do their jobs consciously or leave without getting involved in any more fraud. The Technical Evaluation Committee and the Tender Board could be considered as bottomless pits when it came to corruption, fraud, malpractices and irregularities, more..

Another contaminated injection phial found

Jan 25 (Island) The Govt Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA), urged the Health Ministry yesterday to conduct an investigation into an antibiotic injection phial with a piece of glass in it, found at the Marawila Base Hospital on Wednesday. GNOA President Saman Ratnapriya said it had been detected at the Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The antibiotic injection ‘Meropenem’ was used on critical ill patients more..

Sri Lanka's Test and ODI contrast

Jan 25 (CI) In the Test matches that they played in Australia, Sri Lanka were hopelessly outclassed: their batting was limp and inconsistent, and the bowling was consistently toothless (except for Rangana Herath). The result was a 3-0 whitewash, which meant their overall Test record in Australia was 11 defeats in 13 Tests, with two draws. Then came the ODIs, which gave Sri Lanka an opportunity to take on the hosts in a more..