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Sri Lanka – No turning back now!

Sep 28 (CT) I think there are some home truths to be faced now after the last elections. Those of us who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, who ramble on nostalgically about the values and standards we knew and even the parties we had… people it is all over! There have been some irrevocable changes in SL society and it has crept up on us when we were busy trying to survive the war. Over the last 30 odd years our perception of a politician (Dudley) has now changed to Rajapaksa. more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa: 'This is all propaganda'

Sri Lanka’s complex background: Correcting & amplifying Sheridan And Gotâbhaya

Sep 28 (CT) Invited to Sri Lanka by the govt Greg Sheridan, a senior journalist of conservative leanings in The Australian stable, brought together some of the themes pressed by the Defence Secretary and KP Pathmanathan of NERDO in illuminating ways. The news item was/is aimed at an Australian audience. This constituency is not well-informed about the settlement patterns and complexities of the Sri Lankan scenario. It will therefore be misled by some facets of the more..

What do NPC election results convey?

Sep 28 (CT) The unconquered will of the Tamils yet remains unconquerable. This genetic trait is conspicuously displayed. Trials and tribulations for 30 continuous years have not killed their spirit of defiance. Nor have they impaired their quest for freedom. Till they quench their thirst, the world will see the pursuit of this ideal. Freedom is my birthright and I shall have it, is sure to become the credo of every Tamil. If the spirit is understood and rights are conceded, the call will not become strident. more..

CIFL depositors granted interim relief

Sep 28 (Island) The Court of Appeal granted interim relief to a group of depositors, of the Central Investment and Finance Limited (CIFL), of Colombo 7, by suspending a recent Central Bank directive to convert 60% of the deposit liability to "Non-Voting Shares" of the CIFL. The stay order is valid till October 11, 2013. The petitioners said that, pursuant to the directions by the Director of the Department of Supervision of Non-Bank more..

41 Tamil Nadu fishermen held by Lanka return home

Sep 28 (PTI) 41 Tamil Nadu fishermen, arrested by Sri Lankan Navy on charges of crossing the International Boundary Line, arrived here on Saturday, after a court in Sri Lanka ordered their release few days back. 21 fishermen were arrested on July 5 and the rest on Aug 5. A court in Mannar had on Sept 25 ordered their release. The Navy officials handed over the fishermen at the International Boundary Line to Indian Coast Guard, who brought them to the shore. more..

Black July: Further indirect evidence of state involvement

Sep 28 (CT) We have found involved in the massacres, on the best testimony available, Rogers Jayasekere of Kelaniya, whose family were strong supporters of Jayewardene. Then we have the inexplicable behaviour of the Army on 25th July. Quite apart from their behaviour when the attack began, what is more disturbing is their preventing Jansz from taking the injured to hospital and then doing nothing while the injured were being attacked. Here we have some jailors leading the attack more..

SLFP is not a racist party: CBK

Sep 28 (CT) Racism and religious extremism have no place in the SLFP, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said at the commemoration of her father S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike’s death. Addressing the crowd, she said that the pact signed between her father and Federal Party Leader, popularly known as the Banda-Chelva Agreement, went far beyond the power sharing provisions of the 13th Amendment. more..

Accused, witness take ill on same day

Sep 28 (Island) When the Bharath Lakshman Premachandra killing case was taken up for inquiry, President’s Counsel Hemantha Warnakulasuriya informed Court that his client, the 11th suspect, Duminda Silva had suddenly taken ill and the doctors had advised him to get himself admitted to the Sri Jayawardenapura hospital. He then tendered to Court the medical certificate confirming Duminda Silva’s admission to the hospital. Thereafter, Shabdika Wellappili, appearing for the more..

Sri Lanka President meets US business networking group

Sep 28 (LBO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa had met representatives of the Business Council of International Understanding, a US-based organization that promotes links between political leaders and business. President Rajapaksa visited New York to attend the general assembly of the UN. At a breakfast meeting with BCIU, which was represented by top names including GE, Honeywell, Procter & Gamble, and Mastercard, Sri Lanka was promoted as destination for investment more..

'Grade 5 exam harmful to children, adds pressure'

Sep 28 (ST) Schoolchildren turning out to be metal mickeys due to high parental expectations and peer pressure Monitoring MP, Mohan Lal Grero believes that the Grade 5 scholarship exam is harmful for the children’s mind, as it adds pressure on them. Mr Grero, said that, “If the child is given the opportunity to read and explore the environment on his/her own, he/she will be able to perform even better during this exam.” more..

Sparks to fly at Monday’s CMC meeting

Sep 28 (Island) The September meeting of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), scheduled to be held on Monday at the Town Hall, is expected to be a fiery affair with two Opposition Councillors planning to fire series of questions at Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil regarding the large number of files, belonging to the CMC, being burned and destroyed at the General Cemetery, Kanatte on August 17 and also regarding Chief Officer of the CMC Flying Squad U.L.S.N. Perera. more..

Children of a lesser God

Sep 28 (ST) Will you travel 60 km to cast your vote? But for the villagers of Pookulam, -a small fishing community bordering the Mannar coastline and the Wilpattu National Park in Puttalam– this has been the reality. There has never been a polling booth in their village. The 261 voters had to travel 60 km to the polling booth at the Eluwankulum polling centre. During the 2009 poll not a single voter from the area cast his/her vote and the Election Commissioner declared the poll void. more..

Separate licence for passenger transport vehicle divers

Sep 28 (CT) With the purpose of reducing the large number of accidents caused by passenger transport vehicles, the Department of Motor Traffic is hoping to introduce a separate driving licence for drivers of such vehicles. In a recent discussion with the Ministry of Private Transport Services, IGP, N.K. Ilangakoon, revealed that 2,444 people have been killed due to the 42,145 accidents that took place in 2012, out of more..

Public warned of rains bringing possible dengue outbreak

Sep 28 (ST) Health authorities warn the public, especially within Colombo’s suburbs, of a possible dengue outbreak with the onset of intermittent rains. The warning comes with a sudden increase last month with the Colombo District topping the list of dengue victims with 23,569 cases. Among the vulnerable areas in the district are Kolonnawa, Maharagama, Dehiwala-Mt. Lavinia, Kaduwela, Nugegoda and Kotte. This year, Colombo District recorded 7,175 cases, followed by Gampaha more..

Two UNPers begin fast against Ranil

Sep 28 (CT) Two staunch UNP activists from Pallepola and Mahawela in Matale, have commenced a fast-unto-death near the Matale clock tower yesterday, against the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe. R.C. Ramanayake of Pallepola and Ajith Seneviratne of Mahawela claimed that because of Wickremesinghe the UNP has gone to wrack and ruin. They staged the fast under a banner that displays the words, 'Fast unto death to rescue the UNP', demanding that more..

From a Dvora, we see the rape of our sea

Sep 28 (ST) In an island where large rocky coral stones heavily outnumber civilian inhabitants and wild ponies, 56-year-old Illangan Anthonimuthu sat distraught outside his home on the beachfront — a crumbled structure of cement blocks with rusty tin sheets for a roof. The frustration of not being able to set out to sea on Monday September 9, as his family had done for generations, reflected in his face. Instead he was tending to a torn net when more..

Imtiyaz to West from UNP

Sep 28 (SM) Sajith Premadasa has suggested nominating the former Minister Imtiyaz Bakeer Markar as the Chief Minister candidate of the UNP in the oncoming Western Provincial Council election. He has said that if Bakeer Markar contests for the Western Provincial Council election, he would give his full support in the election campaign. When inquired, Mr. Bakeer Markar, with a smile in his face, said that he has faith that the God he believes in would not put him in trouble. more..

Dayasiri to become the Bingiriya organizer

Sep 28 (SM) Dayasiri Jayasekara has made a request from the SLFP national organizer Minister Basil Rajapaksa to give him a SLFP organizer post from Kurunegala district. As the organizers for all the 14 electorates in the Kurunegala district have been appointed, Minister Basil Rajapaksa has agreed to discuss the matter further with the President after his arrival from New York. However, sources in the SLFP HQ say that the post of SLFP organizer of Bingiriya electorate in Kurunegala district more..

Sri Lanka could fall short by 800,000 of 2.5 mln arrivals’ target in 2016 : Report

Sep 28 (ST) The Govt is likely to fall 800,000 short of its tourism target of 2.5 million arrivals in 2016, a stock research agency has said. “… we believe given the current status-quo Sri Lanka would fall short by 800,000 and record tourist arrivals of 1.7 million by 2016,” noted TKS Securities in a comprehensive report last month. Still, it said, the industry growth CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) is encouraging at 14.2% more..

Commonwealth and HRC to determine roadmap for national reconciliation

Sep 28 (Island) The Commonwealth Secretariat said that it is working with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) to determine a roadmap for the Commission’s role in national reconciliation efforts. The Commonwealth Secretariat said it will facilitate a roundtable from 26 to 27 September in Vavuniya to bring together the Chairperson, commissioners and senior staff of the Commission, civil society organizations from the North, and religious leaders who are actively engaged in more..

Refugee boat sinks on way to Australia, 21 dead

Sep 28 (Reuters) A boat carrying migrants to Australia sank off the Indonesian coast on Friday, killing at least 21 people, Indonesian police said, a sign that Australia's tough new immigration rules may not be enough to deter would-be asylum seekers. The latest disaster to strike refugees using Indonesia's southern coast to try to reach Australia will cast a shadow over a visit to Jakarta on Monday by Australia's new conservative prime minister Tony Abbott, whose tough stance more..

TNA to study SC judgement before taking decison

Sep 28 (DM) TNA leader R. Sampanthan said the party would ‘carefully study the Supreme Court judgement on the issue of land and the powers of PCs pertaining to land, before deciding on the next course of action. “The judgment of the Supreme Court does not appear to be in conformity with the judgements delivered earlier by the Supreme Court over a period of time,” he said. He said land has been a moot point of the conflict since more..

President's UN address, a good eye-opener

Sep 29 (SO) Last weekend’s PC elections result was a resounding victory for President Rajapaksa and his UPFA-led Govt. The landslide victories in the Central and North Western Provinces are ample testimony that the majority of people still repose absolute faith in the President’s leadership and the UPFA Govt. The ruling party’s victory at the elections in the North Western and Central PCs clearly demonstrates that people are deeply cognizant of the Mahinda Chinthana policy more..

North-South Politics: Give Time A Chance

Sep 29 (SL) The sweeping electoral victories of the ruling UPFA in the North Western and Central provinces are indeed remarkable considering the prevalent high cost of living – a factor which is not conducive to victory of ruling parties. The margins of victory in both provinces rubbish whatever criticisms made to slight the victories. In the Northern Province the TNA also scored an overwhelming victory against all the opposition winning 30 of the 38 seats with 78.8% of the votes polled. more..

'PSC, the ideal forum for TNA to find solutions'

Sep 29 (SO) Minister Susil Premajayantha said the expectation of all Sri Lankans and the international community is that the TNA should make use of the mandate gained by them in the North to cooperate with the govt to promote reconciliation and create a new political culture in the North. He said the TNA at a press briefing had expressed willingness to work with the govt to develop the Northern province. more..

Time to unclench fists

Sep 29 (NS) On May 14, 1976 the TULF passed a resolution in Vadukoddai (Batakotte). That document was voted on, in effect, on July 21, 1977. The TULF won 18 seats. Last Saturday, the political successor to the TULF, the TNA, armed with a manifesto that was a virtual one-to-one of the 1976 document, secured the NPC with a resounding majority. In hindsight, both resolution-moment and election result in the seventies provided opportunities for all communities to revisit the ideas of nation more..

Cat among the pigeons

Sep 29 (Island) Minister Mathripala Sirisena, an aspirant for the prime ministry, set the cat among the pigeons when he alleged at a recent meeting in Polonnaruwa that the tobacco industry had offered him a huge bribe – enough for 14 generations to live in a first world country, he is reported to have said - to go slow on his campaign to further shackle cigarette manufacturers from marketing their deadly product. We have now gone far beyond the compulsory `Smoking is Dangerous’ warning more..

'It is clear people voted for a change'

Sep 29 (SL) The Democratic Party (DP), led by former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka having received three seats in the NWP and two in the CPC elections emerged as the third force in Sri Lankan politics. DP MP Jayantha Ketagoda said that it was clear that the people wanted a change. The people had given them great strength and the Democratic Party will now look at taking their political policies further. more..

PC polls: Bitter-sweet outcome for Govt.

Sep 29 (ST) “Two States; Two Parties” exclaimed a wag punning on yesteryear’s famous quote of a famous man, Dr. Colvin R. De Silva – “One Language; Two States/Two Languages; One State” to describe the North-South divide of the time. What the wag was referring to, of course, was the overwhelming electoral victories in the South by the ruling UPFA and in the North by the TNA — verdicts which sharply portrayed the politics of this country as it is now. The North and the South seem more..

Talking statues and flouting statutes

Sep 29 (ST) As Paradise was preparing for its next international summit in more than thirty-five years, its statues were having a conference of their own. They had been summoned by the statue of the Father of the Nation, the DS Statue. “Actually as a matter of fact,” the DS statue said, “I wanted to know your views about this plan to move my statute from Independence Square.” “Who wants to do that?” the other statues asked. “That is what I heard,” the DS statue said, “suddenly everyone is talking more..

'TNA wants autonomous state'

Sep 29 (SL) Having won the majority of the seats in the concluded NPC elections, the TNA is sceptical about the intentions of the govt and their sincerity in addressing the concerns of the Tamil people. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran stated that the govt is simply exaggerating the LTTE threat by speculating on LTTE cadres still at large in order to justify the need for additional troops in the Northern peninsula. He claims that, in spite of more..

Calling for blood a verdict and a death

Sep 29 (NS) It’s all done and dusted. Elections have been held in the Wayamba, Central and Northern Provinces. We saw posters, wild rhetoric, intra-party skirmishes in the now time-honored ritual called the ‘Manaapa Poraya’ (Fight over preferential votes), abuse of state resources, vote-solicitation via scandalous gifting courtesy mind-boggling wealth gotten from who knows where or how, losers offering explanations and winners doing victory laps. The season is over, for now, more..

Focus on consultative committees

Sep 29 (NS) The Hansard, the official record of parliamentary debates, on the first day of every sitting month is the thickest because it carries lists of names of all members and committees. Among them is a list of consultative committees, one for each cabinet ministry. Currently there are 69 of them with newly created Ministry of Law and Order. When this writer asked one of his senior colleague covering Parliament for decades what these committees really were, she said they were more..

'Expect significant changes in the party'

Sep 29 (SL) UNP MP Harin Fernando says that the UNP is to get a new facelift from next week but added that he is not ready to divulge any more details as the media would distort the details. Speaking on Dayasiri’s defection, he said that although Dayasiri was able to create history by obtaining the most number of preferential votes in PC history, Dayasiri was not able to break UNP vote bank as he predicted. more..

Wigneswaran wins two, loses three

Sep 29 (Island) If anybody got a flying start in politics, it has to be C.V. Wigeswaran. Not only has he been given a ringing personal endorsement by the people of the North with over 132,000 preference votes, the party he led at the election got 78% of the votes. This victory is in many ways reminiscent of the victory scored by A. Amirthalingam at the 1977 general elections. There are similarities going beyond just the percentage of votes received. more..

Red lights start blinking at Rajapaksa govt

Sep 29 (SL) President Rajapaksa while taking a swipe at some members of the international community during his speech at the 68th UN General Assembly in New York last week also displayed his govt’s apprehension against a public uprising. He noted that there was no need for policing by a few states and also went on to say that embargoes and economic sanctions imposed on countries affect a vast number of people apart from those specifically targeted. more..

From Whatmore to what’s next

Sep 29 (ST) It was a different era in cricket in Sri Lanka, yet the same blue skies hovered over the island, though the evening shadows were just about to cast in. Even if the most junior cricketer in today’s context walks into that setup he certainly would not recognise the ambiance; in short the Lankans were a set of gusty cricketers who were already in the big scene, but treated as minnows. Yet, at the same time they had very little to more..

Abeysinghe, Rathnayake hog limelight

Sep 29 (Island) Top ranking swimmer Mathew Abeysinghe of Asian International School and S.K. Rathnayake of St. Joseph’s Balika Vidyala, Kegalle were adjudged as the most outstanding male and female Sportsperson at the 21st Milo Sri Lanka Schools Colours Award held at BMICH on Friday. Abeysinghe, together with up and coming cricketer Tharindu Kaushal of Devapathiraja College, Rathgama and athlete Milan Rajasinghe of Central College, Hanwella were nominated for the more..

Sri Lanka an option for 2014 IPL matches

Sep 29 (NS) Sri Lanka is one of the venues the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is seriously considering playing their matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 due to the Indian General Elections being held around the same time as the two-month long tournament. The IPL annually takes place in April and May. Reports from New Delhi indicate that the BCCI is considering the option to shift the seventh edition of the cash-rich IPL out of India on account of the General Elections. more..