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Sri Lanka: The time for an international investigation is now

Nov 22 (AC) British PM David Cameron’s presence at last week’s CHOGM facilitated coverage that might not have been possible otherwise for media organisations. But if the human rights and war crimes issues highlighted by the international media are to be redressed and Commonwealth values and international law upheld, the band-aid solution proposed by the Sri Lanka govt and aided by the Commonwealth Secretariat has to be dismissed. Instead, what is required is implementing more..

Some post-event comments on the Commonwealth meeting

Nov 22 (Island) The week long CHOGM 2013 event has just come to what can be confidently described as a happy and hopeful conclusion, with its chairmanship devolving on our president for the next two years. The fact that 50 member countries (with only three absentees) participated, and that out of them 27 were heads of state or government suggests that we are not being left out in the cold even in this hitherto western-oriented body of nations. No doubt, for the majority of more..

'SL has done well in the past three years'

Nov 22 (SO) We are here to encourage Sri Lanka common interest in stopping the people smuggling trade. Sri Lanka has done well in the past three years - Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop who arrived in the country to attend the Commonwealth Foreign Minister's meeting held a media briefing for the Australian media. Sunday Observer, report below questions raised and answers given by Bishop as to more..

Post-CHOGM: President has to walk the talk

Nov 22 (CT) On Sunday evening, sharp at seven, just three hours after the CHOGM wound up in Colombo, the media handlers of the Commonwealth shut down the CHOGM media centre at the BMICH. They were obviously in a hurry to call it a day, after a week of round-the-clock tiring work – and not to mention occasional guard dogs of the govt who had been unleashed on Richard Uku, the Commonwealth Spokesman. True to the Sri Lankan style, the govt's acolyte in the media even more..

Why go beyond the Chilcot report?

Nov 22 (CT) With David Cameron issuing an ultimatum to the SL Govt on investigating alleged war crimes, there are many reports in the media of the delay in the UK releasing the report of the Chilcot Commission on the UK's role in the Iraqi invasion. This matter was raised during some of the CHOGM related press conferences too. The UK Foreign Secretary William Hague sought to dispel doubts about the Chilcot report being released and assured it will be out soon. more..

Dead men tell no tales, but caretaker does

Nov 22 (ST) On the north end of the Bogambara lake is the hot-bed of Kandyan history. The Sri Dalada Maligawa, the old Courts Complex, St. Paul’s Church, the museum and the Queen’s Hotel all lie clustered together here. And in their midst, nestled against a hillside, lies the British Garrison Cemetery, almost forgotten. From its establishment in 1822, this cemetery was the designated final resting place of many British more..

Central Bank as advisor to the govt.: How and what it should advise?

Nov 22 (CT) An important role played by a central bank of a country is to advise its govt on economic and financial matters. This has not been clearly laid down in the case of the Monetary Law Act or MLA under which the Central Bank of Sri Lanka or CBSL has been set up except some provisions relating to selective areas where CBSL’s advice to the govt has been mandated. Under these selective areas, one important requirement is for CBSL to submit a special report to the govt, more..

What is the timeframe or war crime investigations Mr President?

Nov 22 (CT) If the Island report today (18), by Zacki Jabbar, is correct you have said that “time was of essence and the allegation of war crimes could not be investigated at the speed Britain wanted.” You may or may not be correct in respect of the time constraints, given the fact that the country and your support base are not being prepared for the necessity of conducting such investigations aftermath of the ‘war against terrorism.’ But the important fact is that you have not denied more..

Beyond Boston: with Dr. Harsha De Silva

'Only 23 heads of govt attended CHOGM and not 37 as stated by Rajapaksa regime'

Nov 22 (DBS) Many Sri Lankans are unaware of the heavy price that we have to incur in the coming weeks and months for the enormous cost borne for the CHOGM that was recently concluded. The public cannot be blamed for this since the Govt has purposefully left everyone in the dark regarding the exuberant expenditure for the event. Though the opposition has repeatedly asked for accounts for this event the Govt has not shown an iota of transparency. What was the cost of all more..

A CHOGM without Indian PM!

Nov 22 (SL) Much has been written about Indian PM Manmohan Singh’s participation in the just-concluded CHOGM-2013 in Colombo in recent weeks and months in the two countries in particular that his decision now not to fly to Sri Lanka on the occasion may have helped revert the focus entirely on the Commonwealth Summit, where it had – and should have originally – belonged. The political and media obsession in India on Singh’s participation, centred on the southern Tamil Nadu State, more..

Budget 2014 Speech: Full Text

Nov 22 (Island) Honourable Speaker, I am pleased to present the 9th Budget of the UPFA having made use of the previous 8 Budgets to bring about national security, peace and economic progress to our nation. Our nation is proud today that our Govt has converted the once mined lands of the North and East into lands that harvest the dividend of peace and prosperity. The consolidation of the democratization process more..

Editorial: Marriages are made in heaven

Nov 22 (Island) Whoever would have thought a few decades ago that in India, notorious for male chauvinism, men would have to band together and form an outfit to protect themselves against their spouses? Yesterday, we reported that thousands of Indians harassed by their wives had formed an organisation called the Association for Protection of Men and it had received as many as 5,000 complaints from Chennai alone! We thought the club-wielding TN men who set upon more..

Sri Lankan govt deserves better

Nov 22 (NST) The just-ended CHOGM, unfortunately, shifted focus away again from CHOGM's agenda to the secondary issue of the host country's internal affairs. The very idea of having CHOGM in Sri Lanka should have been to shine the spotlight on the many strides the country has made since the end of its ferocious civil war several years ago and the decades of civil unrest preceding that, with ghastly suicide bombings perpetrated by operatives of the Tamil Tigers occurring more..

Govt. borrowings to reach Rs. 516.1 Bn

Nov 22 (Island) According to the Budget 2014 the govt expects total deficit financing at Rs. 516.1 billion next year. Foreign financing is expected to reach Rs. 235.5 billion, while domestic financing would be Rs. 280.6 billion. The foreign gross-borrowings would reach Rs. 331.5 billion next year, up from Rs 247.1 billion this year. The govt would borrow 234 billion from foreign funds and 97.5 billion foreign commercials. more..

Kusal brings out his rugby moves

Nov 22 (CI) Kandy is considered the rugby capital of Sri Lanka, and against opponents from the best rugby nation in the world, Kusal Perera did a decent imitation of a trendy pass. He ran in from deep midwicket to take a top-edged catch off Anton Devcich in the eighth over, as Nuwan Kulasekara also approached from long-on. Kusal got his hands to the descending ball, but as if imitating a centre linking with a wing in a swift backline move, he palmed it out to Kulasekara, more..

UNP on Budget 2014

Nov 22 (FT) The Budget deficit has been narrowed by cutting down school uniforms and the fertilizer subsidy. These promises are unrealistic. The reload tax and the supermarket taxes are pushing the public from the frying pan to the fire. This is nothing more than a CHOGM tax. Knowing what is going to happen we kept away from the Budget speech. This is a Budget that will further promulgate Govet inefficiency and bankruptcy. There are no benefits extended from Budget 2014. more..

SLMA confers Diplomas on Cadet officers

Nov 22 (SLA) Sri Lanka Military Academy (SLMA), now affiliated to the Sabaragamuwa University, held its 5th Diploma Awarding ceremony Wednesday with the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake in presence as the Chief Guest. 45 cadet officers upon completion of the two-year long course of studies during a formal military ceremony, received their Diplomas, in the presence of a distinguished gathering more..

Rs. 20.6 b CoL hike snubs 57 months of single digit inflation claim

Nov 22 (FT) The Govt’s, especially the Central Bank’s, assertion that inflation has remained at a single digit for near 60 months was seemingly snubbed by President and Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s move to hike the Cost of Living (COL) Allowance for public servants. Delivering good news, President in his 2014 Budget speech yesterday proposed to increase the Cost of Living Allowance to all public servants by Rs. 1,200 per month, from January 2014. more..

Flemingo launches major seasonal promotion with Johnnie Walker

Nov 22 (MR) Flemingo Duty Free, Sri Lanka has launched a three-month promotion with Diageo at the BIA. Themed ‘Explore the World with Johnnie Walker’, the promotion runs through Nov, Dec and Jan. Customers spending US$50 on Johnnie Walker products, including one of the Explorers’ Club range, are eligible to enter a draw where the big prize is a Suzuki Swift. Further prizes include Sony DSLR cameras each week as well as daily price-offs. “Since inception we have asked our past more..

Lack of data hampers battle against drugs

Nov 22 (Island) Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, J.A. Ranjith observed that the supply of dangerous drugs to Sri Lanka had to be stopped or greatly curtailed if drug abuse was to be tackled. Addressing the gathering, following the launch of the Drug related research publications, the Additional Secretary however said that the only way to stop the supply was to control the use of dangerous drugs. more..

PM's softly softly on Sri Lanka may just work

Nov 22 (NZH) After four days of being grilled about New Zealand's stance on Sri Lanka's human rights situation, John Key was back in his natural habitat this week, speaking to investors and joking about his infamous three-way handshake with Richie McCaw and world rugby chief Bernard Lapasset. He was in Thailand, had met up with his travelling troupe of chief executives from New Zealand and was busy schmoozing Thai investors with them - including meeting the person he described as more..

Colombo gets new four star Hotel

Nov 22 (Island) The new 4-star 60 roomed Mirage Hotel in Sri Lanka’s latest addition to star class accommodation located at 61 Moor’s Road on Marine Drive in Wellawatte. Although it was opened on Nov 10, the ‘soft’ opening is scheduled for today. Executive Director Ms. Sweeni Wijewardene said that the Mirage Colombo includes rooms with a view of the Indian Ocean, and also superior deluxe rooms, deluxe rooms, standard rooms, family rooms and suite with extra large beds. more..

JVP wants CHOGM cars auctioned

Nov 22 (Island) Although the govt had imported 54 super luxury cars for the use of leaders attending the CHOGM, only 24 country heads had come for the summit, the JVP claimed yesterday. JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath told journalists, at party head office, that Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella earlier claimed that 34 country heads had confirmed their participation, but it was false. more..

Treasury bungles uploading President's Budget speech

Nov 22 (CT) Treasury officials yesterday bungled the placing of the English version of President Rajapaksa's ninth budget address to Parliament, putting daily English newspapers in a dilemma. Officials of the Finance Ministry who were present at the Parliament press gallery had faithfully promised to upload the English version by 4.00 p.m., but it had not happened even as late as 9.00 p.m., by which time the security officers of the Ministry said that the IT staff had locked all the doors and left more..

UNP Leadership Council drops inquiry against errant MPs

Nov 22 (FT) In a bid to restore party unity after establishment of a new leadership structure within the UNP Leadership Council decided to drop all investigations against MPs Palitha Range Bandara and Asoka Abeysinghe and reinstated them as electoral organisers. The new Council chaired by Karu Jayasuriya made the decision during a meeting held yesterday. LC decided to restore Bandara and Abeysinghe to their organiser positions for the Kurunegala and Puttlam Districts respectively more..

SL to tax land leased to foreigners at 15%

Nov 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka will stop the freehold sale of state or private citizen's land to foreigners and will charge a 15% tax on leases, President Rajapaksa said. "From this year foreigners can have access to state and private land only through long term lease arrangements," President said. Freehold where people own the land and have absolute right to alienate rather than the king originated in Britain with the breakdown of more..

Asia's basketball damsels to perform in SL

Nov 22 (CT) Sri Lanka will host its first ever international basketball championship, when the 3rd FIBA Asia Under-16 Basketball Championship for Women, will be played from Nov. 23 to 30 at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, Colombo. Sri Lanka Basketball Federation (SLBF), along with FIBA officials. The top three teams of the competition will be eligible to represent FIBA Asia in the 2014 FIBA Under 17 World Championships for women which will be played in Bratislava more..

US Army War College exhibition features SL

Nov 22 (MoD) The annual "Know Your World" public exhibition conducted by the International Fellows at the United States Army War College (USAWC) was successfully held in Carlisle, Pennsylvania recently (7). Sri Lankan participation at the exhibition saw its booth, organized by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington DC showcasing the country's culture, food and tourist attractions to the hundreds cultural enthusiasts present at the event. Visitors had the unique opportunity of tasting, more..

Venomous snake in Ranil’s office

Nov 22 (Island) A mapila (Barnes’ Cat Snake) was found in a flower pot inside the Opposition Leader’s office in the Parliament complex yesterday. The snake was found by the employees of the IT department of Parliament summoned by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to attend to his internet connection around 12.15 pm yesterday. The snake was later captured and handed over to the Wildlife officials. more..

Sri Lanka finance firms, development banks, asked to merge, tax breaks for listing

Nov 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka finance companies with subsidiary finance companies as well as banks having subsidiary finance companies will be asked to merge, President Rajapaksa said. "…I propose that any finance company which is a subsidiary company owned by a main company be absorbed by the main company to consolidate their operations," President said in a budget for 2014. "I also propose that banks, which have finance companies, to consolidate their operations." more..

India questions David Cameron’s stand on Lanka war crimes

Nov 22 (ET) India questioned British PM David Cameron's style of addressing war crime allegations in Sri Lanka and averred that such style is counterproductive. Cameron, who left Colombo after attending CHOGM, had set a fourmonth deadline for Sri Lanka to order an independent probe into alleged brutality against civilians or face an international UN-backed investigation. However, President Rajapaksa shot back immediately, saying "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones", more..

UK reiterates threat to Sri Lanka

Nov 22 (CG) The British Govt has reiterated it will push an international investigation if the Sri Lankan Govt fails to make further progress on investigating alleged war crimes. Senior Minister of State at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Warsi, told the House of Lords that PM David Cameron was right in attending the CHOGM. She said that by going, the PM shone a spotlight on the situation in Sri Lanka, and he was the more..

Budget for the world record books

Nov 22 (DN) Creating a new world record, President Rajapaksa will become the first Chairman among CHOGM to present a national budget, when he presents the Budget 2014 in Parliament today (21). This is Independent Sri Lanka’s 67th budget and the ninth budget presented by President Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Finance and Planning Minister, in itself a record for a Head of State. President Rajapaksa who assumed office as the fifth Executive President on November 19, 2005, more..

Resolution against Murali

Nov 22 (DM) A resolution condemning the statement made byMuttiah Muralitharan was unanimously passed at the monthly meeting of the Chavakachcheri Urban Council today. Resolution which was proposed by Councillor P. Sritharan and seconded by Councillor Kishore, was adopted with all members unanimously voting for it. “Perhaps, Muralitharan was playing cricket overseas when the Tamil people in the North were suffering and scores of young men and women disappeared. more..

President presents development budget

Nov 22 (Island) President Rajapaksa, presenting his govt’s ninth consecutive budget in Parliament yesterday, offered a Rs. 1,500-7,800 monthly allowance to state sector employee, Rs. 7,500 monthly allowance to veterinary surgeon, proposed an allocation of Rs. 1,000 million to strengthen the farmer pension scheme and setting up of five holiday bungalows for artistes among other reliefs. The UNP and JVP boycotted more..

Save the Children: Their name is Tomorrow

Nov 22 (DM) A day after the budget, with ruling politicians who appear to care little and do less for millions of people in the country, the people themselves need to reflect on the vital factors which have to be restored to bring about a just and fair society with sustainable development and lasting peace. We need to begin at the beginning, with the child or children whose name is Tomorrow. The plight of our children today, beginning from the milk they drink to what is fed to them or done to more..

‘SL has found a new friend in Tony Abbott’

Nov 22 (DM) Amidst the strong international criticism that came Sri Lanka’s way during the recently concluded Commonwealth summit, there emerged one leader of a developed country that supported Sri Lanka to the hilt: Australian PM Tony Abbott. Abbott’s and Australia’s unwavering support for Sri Lanka was in stark contrast to the stance taken by British PM David Cameron who overstepped his mark in calling for an inquiry into war crimes allegations against Sri Lanka and more..

'Violation of Commonwealth values'

Nov 22 (SL) The UNP decided not to have any of its representatives present at the CHOGM that was held on Friday after their party headquarters at Sirikotha was attacked by a violent mob on Thursday (14). UNP MP Rosy Senanayake explained her stance on the matter. Senanayake pointed out the absence of the Minister of Trade and Investment at the Commonwealth Business Forum as a clear indication that the govt is not more..

IOC objects to govt interference

Nov 22 (ST) The International Olympic Committee, in a letter addressed to the Minister of Sports, Mahindananda Aluthgamage has intimated that the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka was an autonomous body with its own constitution and should not have its inner workings governed by the country’s sports laws. “A National Olympic Committee is not a govt entity and must not be treated as such. more..