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‘I crucified Gamini Dissanayake’

Jan 30 (NS) The following is an extract from the address delivered by Prof Carlo Fonseka at the launch of Edward Gunawardena’s book ‘Memorable Tidbits Including the Jaffna Library Fire’. Ladies and gentlemen, the striking front cover of Edward Gunawardena’s Memoir proclaims that among the tidbits of his memorable, eventful life of some seventy-eight years is the story of the Jaffna library fire. It seems to be that calling the Jaffna Library fire a tidbit is a bit like calling Her Royal more..

Lessons to learn from Rizana’s fate

Jan 30 (NS) The fate of Rizana Nazeek, languishing in a prison of Saudi Arabia, made headline news during the past few weeks. Based on optimistic utterances of certain ministers, organizations and news reports, I was of the view that Rizana would be freed without being paid any blood money to relevant parties. Minister of Eastern Province and the Deputy leader of SLMC, Nazeer Ahamad who was instrumental in building the more..

Smuggled Ivory confiscated by Customs should be burned and not given to temples

Jan 30 (DBS) Recently, Sri Lanka Customs seized a massive quantity of illegal ivory. The container which the ivory was transported in was being shipped to Dubai from Kenya via the port of Colombo. Probes revealed there were 600 raw tusks which would have been worth millions of dollars. Today, officials have decided to donate those tusks to Buddhist temples but the question is, should that be the end of the story? Activists point out that the smuggled ivory should be destroyed, since more..

Systemic crisis: It is not over

Jan 30 (DBS) There is an unusual and unexpected calmness in Hulftsdorp in the post-impeachment days in spite of the fact that all traditions and conventions were put aside in the appointment of the new Chief Justice 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 more..

Protect livelihood, say Northern fishermen

Jan 30 (SO) Even as President Rajapaksa said leadership level talks are necessary for resolving the long unsettled fishermen's cross-border issue between India and Sri Lanka, and Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne reiterated it, the issue seems to assume wider and international dimensions consequent to a workshop held last Monday at the Jaffna campus. The workshop for deliberations mainly on the depletion of fish more..

Big brother cannot fool all of the people all of the time!

Jan 30 (CT) With remarkable–though regrettable – success, the Govt has covered up “its commissions and omissions (which are legion) by manipulating or harassing the Media. A rare, but welcome indication that Media freedom in Sri Lanka is not altogether “dead and buried” as yet, is that the above captioned comment in the editorial of the Island Newspaper of 25th Jan, 2013 was accompanied by sorely needed and appropriate publicity given to the fact that in a neighbouring country a prominent Editor more..

Colombo, Tamil Nadu & New Delhi: What’s in them for Sri Lankan Tamils ?

Jan 30 (CT) The impeachment against Chief Justice Dr. Ms. Shirani Bandaranayake was brought to an end with the Rajapaksa govt shunning the determination of the apex Courts in Hulftsdorp, to remove her and appoint on 15 January, the new Chief Justice. Its trusted choice, former Attorney General and thereafter Legal Advisor to the Cabinet of Ministers, Mohan Peiris. The SC ruled the whole Parliamentary Select Committee process to impeach the CJ, as illegal. more..

The killing of the messenger, with the message

Jan 30 (CT) In July 2008, standing by the Journalists’ Memorial at the Nuseum in Washington DC, US – a museum dedicated to journalism – I cracked an unfortunate joke. Scrutinizing the list of journalists killed the world over and Sri Lanka in particular, I quipped that by 2009, there could be a few more Sri Lankans added. Those unfortunate words came to haunt on 8 Jan 2009 when the name of my former editor, Lasantha more..

'I don’t claim we handled Rizana's case perfectly'

Jan 30 (CT) In 10 years, by the year 2023, Sri Lanka will no longer be sending women to foreign countries as domestic workers; only skilled workers will be sent overseas for employment, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), Amal Senalankadhikara said in an interview with Ceylon Today. Following are excerpts: Q: There are many allegations that the SLBFE and the Govt of Sri Lanka failed, ignored and neglected Rizana Nafeek’s case. Do you agree? more..

Outstanding tax refunds: Top tax officials contradict each other

Jan 30 (Island) A major dispute within the Department of Inland Revenue had arisen over the appointment of a three member panel to resolve long outstanding tax refunds; a senior official said the finance ministry had instructed the department to resolve the tax refund issues prevailing prior to the S-Vat scheme introduced in 2011. Inland Revenue Commissioner K. Dharmasena, addressing a recent forum organised by the Charted Institute of Management and KPMG Sri Lanka, more..

Transparency Intl. ranks Sri Lanka high on defence corruption

Jan 30 (FT) Transparency International yesterday put Sri Lanka among countries that scored low on promoting accountability in multi-million dollar defence transactions, releasing a first-time study on global defence corruption that evaluates 82 countries. Sri Lanka is placed in Band E, among motley of nations including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Tunisia. Though Sri Lanka scored low so did 70% of the countries that were more..

The hegemonic Christian Culture

Jan 30 (Island) Mr. Annesley de Silva writing to the editor on 25th January 2013 says he read with amusement what I wrote to the Midweek Review on 23rd January on ‘Defending the Constitution’. He may be amused writing from Australia when we poor Sinhala Buddhists refer to the multiculturalism practised in the US, but we who have suffered for more than five hundred years under western Christian modernity have no alternative but to reveal the hypocrisy of western Christian culture. more..

'Batticaloa leads in tobacco use'

Jan 30 (DN) Batticaloa leads the country in the use of tobacco and comes third in the use of alcohol according to a survey conducted by the WHO, said Minister Dullas Alahapperuma. He said so at a meeting to discuss school dropouts and school leavers in the Batticaloa district at Vincent Girls' High National School, Batticaloa. Tertiary education will prepare the young generation for occupation. Every child is born with inborn talents. It is our duty to discover and develop these talents, more..

'Family rule is sitting on a volcano'

Jan 30 (DM) Q: It seems there is another crisis brewing within the UNP, with the failure to appoint a deputy leader. What exactly is happening inside the UNP at the moment? A: These are all internal party matters and I don’t see it as a crisis at all. The UNP after a long time is moving, even at the grassroots level. We have commenced programmes for grassroots level organization and on the 2nd of Feb there will be a mass more..

Editorial: The Cabinet Kottu

Jan 30 (Island) In reshuffling his jumbo Cabinet, President Rajapaksa must have had the same difficulty as a kottu bass who has to put together what would otherwise go into the refuse bin in such a way that his roti becomes appealing to the public. The Cabinet reshuffle may have served the purpose of anyone but the ordinary people who pay through the nose to maintain it. The number of Cabinet ministers has increased from 52 to 57 (including the President and the Prime Minister). more..

UDA calls proposals for five high-value lands

Jan 30 (DM) The Urban Development Authority (UDA) is now seeking development proposals for five pieces of high-value land in the Colombo District. The largest extent of land on offer is 1.3 hectares of land in Buthgamuwa, Rajagiriya, followed by the 1.09 hectares of Borella Bakery. The authority is also seeking proposals for 0.18 hactares in Kadurugasthuduwa, Sri Jayawardenapura and 0.39 hectares in Kolonnawa, as well as proposals for the Central Cinema in Maradana. more..

MER has nothing to do with LTTE

Jan 30 (CT) The Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) was accused racist elements in the country of spreading rumours that the LTTE trying to stage a comeback under the patronage of the FSP. "On 26 Jan, there was an address made by our leader, Kumar Gunaratnam in Switzerland under the mantle of the Movement for Equal Rights (MER). He was asked by a certain individual whether the MER was working with the LTTE, to which Gunaratnam more..

Sri Lanka beaches beckon with water fun, slow pace

Jan 30 (ABS) Sri Lanka overwhelms the senses. The air is heavy with the scent of jasmine, the food richly spiced and the landscape one of utter beauty; the radiant green rice paddies, forests of swaying palm trees and mountains puckered in tea plantations are utterly bewitching. But for many people Sri Lanka can be summed up in two simple words: the beach. No matter what kind of beach bum you want to be, you’ll find a patch of palm-backed perfection here. You can book in for more..

‘Massive’ foreign participation: Record bond issue attracts Rs. 133.32bn, yields ease

Jan 30 (Island) The record Rs. 45 billion Treasury bond issue attracted investments amounting to Rs. 133.32 billion yesterday with the Central Bank accepting bids amounting to Rs. 45.45 billion, data released by the Public Debt Department of the Central Bank showed. Foreign investor participation was ‘massive’, currency dealers said. The rupee gained some ground against the US dollar on account of the foreign interest in the bond auction. The rupee which opened at Rs. 127.05/10 more..

In clay pots, a taste of home

Jan 30 (NYT) We had been driving less than 10 minutes from the toll plaza on the Staten Island side of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge when we spotted the elephants. Draped with bright red and yellow carpets, their trunks raised importantly, the animals marched with a retinue of turbaned drummers and attendants across a nearly life-size mural that covered the first floor of a building. “I think we’ve found it,” I said. Our destination more..

Customs should be fully automated - PB

Jan 30 (DM) The Customs Department should move towards paperless transactions on imports/ exports as the country had to compete with its fast developing neighbours in Asia that have already moved to that stage, Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera said. He was speaking at an event organized by the Customs to celebrate the International Customs Day at its new headquarters in Colombo Fort. Dr. Jayasundera was of the view that a fully automated system will help more..

Global meet on Buddhist heritage to begin on Feb. 1

Jan 30 (Hindu) Twenty top foreign scholars on Buddhism from United States of America, Sri Lanka, Poland, Nepal, Japan, United Kingdom, and South Korea and 75 scholars from India will take part in the three-day international conference on Buddhist Heritage of Odisha beginning from February 1. Monks from different parts of the country will be taking part in the conference being organised by the Department of Tourism and Culture, Odisha. The conference would seek to showcase the more..

Cairn Lanka sets Feb 1 for spudding fourth exploratory well

Jan 30 (Island) Cairn Lanka will commence drilling a fourth exploratory well 21km off the Kalpitiya coast on Feb 1, 2013, in its search for commercially viable hydrocarbon deposits in Sri Lanka’s side of the Mannar Basin. The availability of a drillship, the ‘Discoverer Seven Seas’ owned by Singapore-based Transocean Inc, made it possible for Cairn Lanka to advance the drilling by a quarter, paving way for the team to exploit more..

Delimitation Commission invites written proposals

Jan 30 (Island) The National Delimitation Commission (NDC), tasked with the re-demarcation of electoral boundaries in the country, has invited civic organizations, political parties and individuals to send in their written proposals to the NDC Secretariat, at No. C/51, Keppettipola Mawatha, off Jawatte Road, Colombo-5, before Feb 15, 2013, according to Chairman of the Commission Jayalath Ravi Dissanayake. He said that around 5,000 elected members of local councils throughout more..

Eight entrepreneurs to invest US dollars 1 billion at Magampura Port

Jan 30 (DN) Eight investors have signed agreements with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to begin new business ventures at the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa port, Ports and Aviation Project Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena said yesterday. “We have spent USD 361 million for the first phase construction of the Magampura Port and USD 808 million on the second phase. But these investors have agreed to invest USD 01 billion at the port to start new factories. more..

SriLankan is now in Gampaha

Jan 30 (Island) SriLankan Airlines in a bid to increase its presence in all parts of the country opened its latest passenger sales office in Gampaha; under the patronage CEO of the SriLankan Airlines Kapila Chandrasena. The branch office will facilitate travel formalities to a large clientele in the Gampaha district. This includes handling of reservations, ticketing, Prepaid Ticket Advices, requests for special services, more..

'Equal facilities to students, island wide'

Jan 30 (CT) While challenges are an essential part of governance and indeed of life, the government is always ready to share its thoughts and plans with the public, because the support of the people is the ultimate strength of the government, Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs said. He was speaking at ceremonies to inaugurate a computer laboratory at Wakamulla Vidyalaya, Tangalle, and to donate equipment and books at Kirama Dhammananda Vidyalaya, Mulkirigala, more..

Tough justice at J’pura University

Jan 30 (Island) The Student Council of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura yesterday claimed that the university administration, with the approval of its Senate, expelled four undergraduates and suspended the studentship of seven others for three years. Representative of the Student Council Kimbullewe Ananda thera told The Island that four final-year undergraduates of the Management and Arts Faculties had been expelled just two days prior to their graduation. more..

'Champika removed to please India'

Jan 30 (Island) The govt had removed Champika Ranawaka from the post of Power and Energy Minister to please India, the UNP alleged yesterday. General Secretary of the UNP, Tissa Attanayake said that it was Ranawaka who had resisted moves to give New Delhi a free hand in commissioning the Sampur Coal Power Plant, which was scheduled for 2016. The former Power Minister was opposed to the terms of agreement more..

High demand for SL Army courses from abroad

Jan 30 (DM) Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya said there was a high demand for Sri Lanka Army courses offered to foreign servicemen. “The demand has risen now that the war has ended. We offer four such courses for foreign servicemen,” he said. “The most important part is that we conduct such training courses which have been enriched by personal and practical experiences gained during the war.” The courses are mostly on battlefield tactics and methods along with warfare strategies. more..

Australian and Sri Lankan cricketers leave ill will after tense T20 match on the field

Jan 30 (DT) Sri Lanka's cricketers flew home yesterday with their pride partially restored and no ill-will towards their Australian opponents, according to one of the two captains who have overseen this mixed-bag mission. Angelo Matthews, who took over when veteran superstar Mahela Jayawardene stepped down after the disastrous Test series, played down the aggro that broke out at the end of Monday night's T-20 match at the MCG. So did Australian skipper George Bailey. more..

US senators press for Sri Lanka probe

Jan 30 (AFP) Two US senators on Tuesday renewed calls for an international investigation into potential war crimes in Sri Lanka, accusing Colombo of failing to address legitimate concerns. Senators Patrick Leahy and Bob Casey, prominent voices on foreign policy in President Barack Obama's Democratic Party, said the island had failed to carry out recommendations from its own LLRC. "The Sri Lankan people deserve more..

Mulling over changes

Jan 30 (CT) The government is considering the appointment of a Committee to look into the areas in the Constitution that require amendments, in order to end the present constitutional deadlock. President Rajapaksa hinted at the possibility of a constitutional amendment during a meeting he had with newspaper editors on Monday night. He said the government sees the need for a constitutional amendment and the matter has already been conveyed to the Speaker of Parliament. more..

'Basil washes hands off FDI by dumping it on Lakshman'

Jan 30 (FT) UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday in a statement said having failed miserably to attract even half the US$ 2 billion target of Foreign Direct Investments for 2012 and with the writing on the wall for 2013, Minister Basil Rajapaksa has conveniently passed the headache to Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene. In his statement, he also said: The first test is to see if he succeeds in completing the delayed payment from Krrish Group for the four-acre Transworks land that was handed over more..

Sri Lanka on fast track to cut flood risk, modernize capital

Jan 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka has begun a fast track execution of a 220 million US dollar World Bank funded plan to cut floods, boost drainage as well as create waterfront entertainment areas in a bid to modernize the capital Colombo, officials said. "The Colombo metropolitan region produces almost 60% of gross domestic product and 80% of industrial output," Rosanna Nitti, senior urban specialist at Sri Lanka's World Bank office said. more..

Healthy steps to build a wealthy nation

Jan 30 (DM) The President, the Health Minister and other Govt leaders have been stressing that top priority will be given to health because the budgetary allocation for health needs to be seen as a productive investment. We need healthy people, and we need to educate people on how to lead a healthy life if we wish to make rapid progress towards sustainable development to become a wealthy nation. Yet talk and promises alone are not enough. Politicians are notorious for not practising more..

Buddhism and Blood Ivory

Jan 30 (DM) Sri Lanka customs confiscated blood ivory from Kenya last year. The tusks were being smuggled to Dubai from Kenya. The tusks weighting over 1,500 kilos have been valued over Rs 400 million. More than 200 African elephants had been massacred to obtain these tusks. The Presidential Secretariat has decided to donate these poached tusks to the Dalada Maligawa and many other Buddhist temples. Buddhism teaches essentials, very specially to abandon evil and to do more..

'Silva desecrates sacred Kelaniya'

Jan 30 (SL) The sacred city of Kelaniya has become a haven for drug peddlers, extortionists, prostitution, intimidators and murderers, says Prasanna Ranaweera, Chairman, Kelaniya PS. According to him, the main causes for the desecration in the electorates is the notorious Silva. “This infamous Silva has not spared even school boys and have destroyed families with the introduction of drugs, gun culture and more..

Fear, threats and bad food: life aboard a sanctions-hit Iranian ship

Jan 30 (Reuters) The eight Indian crew members on board the MV Amina had no inkling they were trapped on the frontline of the West's economic war against Iran. All experienced seamen, they joined the Iranian-flagged cargo ship last year. Within months, they were caught up in a fight to prevent the ship fleeing to international waters to escape port arrest in Sri Lanka. Having disobeyed the captain's orders to weigh anchor, more..

'Int’l challenges nothing new, understanding of our people the crucial factor'

Jan 30 (Island) While challenges are an essential part of governance and indeed of life, the govt was always ready to share its thoughts and plans with the public, because the support of the people was the ultimate strength of the govt, Minister G. L. Peiris said in Tangalle and Mulkirigala on Monday. He was speaking at ceremonies to inaugurate a computer laboratory at Wakamulla Vidyalaya and to donate equipment and books at Kirama more..