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'Party politics is absolute taboo for monks'

Mar 2 (CT) The decision arrived at by the Amarapura Sri Saddhammawansa Chapter, to proscribe Buddhist monks under its purview from all political activities as well as prohibiting them from engaging in protests and demonstrations, has created equal controversy amongst the bhikkhu and lay societies alike. JHU was one of the forerunners in denouncing the move, with party member, Ven. Thebuwana Piyananda Thera, more..

Rajapaksa regime and the Ukraine parallel

Mar 2 (NS) The record of the Rajapaksa Govt in the four years that have passed since the end of the civil conflict has not been great. It has dawdled on reconciliation and has sometimes done things that hurt the sensitivities of the minorities. Its members, including the male Minister in charge of women’s affairs, have expressed some peculiar ideas on the status of women. It is hopelessly inefficient, riddled with corruption and its socio-economic and infrastructural priorities are skew-whiff. more..

Diluting Parliament’s power

Mar 2 (NS) Opposition is weeping buckets that govt is undermining Parliamentary supremacy. It was the other day that JVP’s newly appointed leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told foreign journalists in Colombo that the two-third majority the government enjoys in Parliament was illegitimate. It was illegitimate, he said, as the people had never given the ruling UPFA a two-thirds majority. The illegal advantage the govt had obtained in the legislature was being used to heap more burdens on more..

Geneva battle begins

Mar 2 (SL) All eyes will be on Geneva this week as the UNHRC meets for its 25th regular session. The Sri Lankan issue will be in the spotlight as the US puts forward a resolution calling for an independent investigation into Sri Lanka. The call for an independent probe was last week echoed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a report on Sri Lanka which was placed in the public domain. The Govt has maintained more..

Senate Res. No:364 and India

Mar 2 (Island) Within the month of February 2014, two groups of US Senators presented two different resolutions on Sri Lanka, one against and the other supporting SL. The US Senate is a small body consisting of just 100 members and for a division like this to emerge within such a body over a small Asian country is a very significant development indeed – something that all members of the UNHRC will have to take note of when casting their vote on the resolution to be presented against more..

Robson's fifth hundred completes Lions' job

Mar 2 (CI) The last three days saw barely a soul in attendance at the Premadasa Stadium, but as England Lions secured the draw they needed to take the series, England's Test aspirants may have felt one set of eyes scanning them more keenly than any other. Graham Gooch had arrived in Sri Lanka ahead of this match, foregoing most people's favourite cricket tour - a trip to the West Indies, with the national side. Gooch is in Colombo to measure England's emerging talent, as the more..

Poll: UN resolution will be passed; no chaos however

Mar 2 (ST) It is inevitable. A majority of Sri Lankans believe a US-backed resolution against Sri Lanka at this month’s UNHRC sessions in Geneva on alleged human rights violations will be approved but reckon it won’t create any chaos or serious impact on the country. These are the results of three polls conducted separately this week by the Business Times under its ongoing, popular series of ascertaining the people’s views on issues more..

Bajaj quadricycle could ease out 3-wheelers in Colombo

Mar 2 (ST) Sri Lanka has been carrying out test runs for Bajaj’s all new vehicle called ‘quadricycle” designed to be a four wheeled mini taxi that is set to replace the humble 3-wheeler by ensuring more comfort and safety, industry sources said. Bajaj is reported to have sent its first prototypes to countries where the three-wheeler is popular like Sri Lanka, Columbia and Kenya. Officials of Bajaj’s local dealer confirmed that they had received the prototypes for test runs in Sri Lanka more..

Stop Shuffling Thirimanne

Mar 2 (Island) As Duleep and Roy were reaching the twilight of their careers, critics feared for the health of Sri Lankan cricket the day the duo quit. But the likes of Aravinda and Arjuna shouldered the burden admirably and there was no fuss. The sentiments, however, were echoed again as Arjuna and Aravinda were reaching mid-30s. But the likes of Sanath and Marvan took on the reins and took the team to a new level. The sentiments were repeated a few years ago, but Sanga, Mahela and more..

Krrish project on amidst payment delays

Mar 2 (ST) Despite a delay of 17 months, the UDA is confident that the Krrish Group will complete its due payments to lease the Transwork Square property for its long, overdue mega development project. UDA Chairman, Nimal Perera said that Krrish must make a payment of Rs.589. 7 million to close the land lease deal. The total payment made by them up to now is Rs. 4.4 billion. Full payment due is Rs. 4.995 billion. more..

President to leave for BIMSTEC Summit

Mar 2 (SO) President Rajapaksa will leave for Myanmar tomorrow to attend 3rd BIMSTEC Summit where leaders of seven Asian States will meet. He will meet Indian Premier Manmohan Singh and Myanmar leaders on the sidelines of the sub-regional grouping, Presidential spokesman Mohan Samaranayake said. The members of the BIMSTEC grouping (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Thailand, more..

Geneva trap and Sampur carrot

Mar 2 (SL) Sri Lankan economy had expanded rapidly in the post conflict period and that bilateral ties between the countries go back to time immemorial. UNP MP Dr Harsha de Silva earned the ire of top echelons of the govt when he claimed that the govt was constructing the ‘Colombo Port City’ with a Chinese company that is facing a World Bank debarment for fraudulent practices. Although he made this remark last week, World Bank had issued a public statement in this regard more..

Another mess-up and another huge debacle

Mar 2 (ST) It was only the other day, a senior spokesman of Sri Lanka Cricket had stated that they are contemplating to sustain the present under 19 squad and train them to be the inputs to the national grid in the future. Ironically this under 19 squad made a mess of itself in the last Junior Asia Cup as well as the present Under 19 World Cup tournament in Dubai. Yet, the question is whether the best squad of players really more..

JEDB Chairman replies

Mar 2 (NS) Janatha Estate Development Board (JEDB) Chairman Udayasri Kariyawasam has sent us the following response regarding last week’s article ‘Udayasri Kariyawasm circumvents presidential Investigation’. We carry his response below in full (without changes), respecting the right of reply given to our readers. Reply to; ‘Udayasri Kariyawasm circumvents presidential Investigation’ published article. This referrers to the Article ‘Udayasri Kariyawasam circumvents more..

Touchwood investors raise concerns

Mar 2 (ST) Questions are being raised on whether authorities should suspend trading in stocks of the troubled forestry firm Touchwood when the company is not fully functional, industry sources said. One depositor told the Business Times that no one picked up the phones at the company office. “I found out that their office has been relocated to Nawala from Joseph Lane, Colombo 4.” He raised concerns as to why the regulators are allowing this share to trade on the stock exchange. more..

Pillay, GL in key talks

Mar 2 (SL) Minister G.L. Peiris is to have key talks with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay in Geneva this week, on the sidelines of the 25th session of the UNHRC. The meeting comes ahead of Pillay submitting her report on Sri Lanka to the Council, the draft of which has already been placed in the public domain. The Minister, speaking to Colombo-based foreign media correspondents last Friday, said that he will more..

Rajiva challenges removal as Trinity Governor, claims damages

Mar 2 (Island) Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, MP, and Member of the Board of Governors of Trinity College, Kandy, has filed plaint in the District Court of Colombo claiming Rs 5 million as damages from Bishop Shantha Francis, Bishop of Kurunegala and Chairman of the Board of Governors, for loss of reputation for his allegedly illegal removal from the Board of Governors. Wijesinha claims that the Constitution of the Board states explicitly that the removal of a Board member requires 2/3 more..

Launch of ‘Hambantota’ DVD — a powerful brand for world tourism

Mar 2 (Island) The launch of the ‘Hambantota Hub of Tourism in Asia’ DVD, last week had interesting projections for tourism promotion in the South of Sri Lanka. Hambantota could develop to the power of Brand status in the tourism agenda for Sri Lanka. The launch of the DVD, ‘Hambantota’ portrayed varied attractions that could result in a tour destination unsurpassed in the Indian Ocean Region, and further afield, in the South Pacific as well. President, ASMET, more..

TNA non-committal on IPKF atrocities

Mar 2 (NS) With allegations of gross human rights violations committed against Tamil civilians in the North and East by the IPKF starting to re-emerge, the TNA has chosen to either stay silent or become evasive on whether the allegations need to be investigated. When questioned about an investigation into alleged atrocities committed by the IPKF during its time of operations in Sri Lanka (1987-1990), TNA MP Suresh more..

Biswal, India may discuss Lanka

Mar 2 (CG) US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal may discuss the Sri Lankan issue during her visit to India next week. US State Department said Biswal will travel to Bangalore and New Delhi from March 4-6 and during her visit, Assistant Secretary Biswal she will seek to further broaden and deepen the U.S.-India relationship, which President Obama has called “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.” On March 4, Assistant Secretary Biswal will more..

Free health package for kidney patients

Mar 2 (SO) The Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital will conduct its first “all under one roof” clinic for kidney patients at the hospital’s lobby on March 13 to check the spread of kidney disease islandwide. “The new service will be launched to mark World Kidney Day on March 13. Our aim is to prevent kidney disease through early detection, thus saving lives and cutting down heavy government expenditure on treating advanced kidney patients”, Consultant Nephrologist at the Sri J'pura Hospital, more..

'BJP can be a force of unity'

Mar 2 (Hindu) Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam said that his country believed that the BJP could be a force of unity. Asked whether he expected a change in the BJP’s views on Sri Lanka after it allied with the MDMK led by Vaiko, he said, “Our belief is that Mr. Vaiko will become more enlightened and will veer away from his anti-Sri Lankan stance. This stance is irrational more..

No clearance from CAA for UAV

Mar 2 (SL) The Wildlife Department has not obtained the approval of the Defence Ministry or the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for the deployment of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to report on illegal activities taking place within the wild life parks. According to a high ranking official of the Civil Aviation Authority no request has been submitted to them seeking approval to either import or develop such a device to be used by the Wildlife Department for surveillance. more..

Opposition invited to post Geneva committee

Mar 2 (SL) The committee appointed by the govt to face the outcome of the UNHRC in Geneva is expected to invite representatives of the opposition parties to participate in the committee. Minister Reginald Cooray said that it is important for all the parties to come together to face the challenges and criticism directed at Sri Lanka. He added that if the country has to face economic sanctions all political parties should come together without making party politics a priority. more..

New law to help families of missing people

Mar 2 (ST) Govt is drafting legislation to grant a ‘certificate of absence’ to relatives of the missing who do not want to accept certificates of death for their loved ones. Certificate of absence—which has never before been issued in Sri Lanka but is used in several other countries with large numbers of missing people—will entitle the holder to the same rights enjoyed by the holder of a certificate of death. more..

Minister in alleged betel nut racket

Mar 2 (ST) Customs say they thwarted an attempt by a Cabinet minister to clear 15 containers carrying betel nut imported to Sri Lanka by a businessman. They allege that the loss of revenue, if the consignment was cleared, would amount to Rs. 120 million. Containers were carrying betel nut, a dried form of areca nut, from Indonesia. They were meant to be processed and re-exported, an officer said. Minister had attempted to get the containers cleared but was stopped by the Customs more..

Sri Lanka faces tough task in Geneva due to lack of strategy

Mar 2 (Island) Sri Lanka faces an uphill task in Geneva because the country has no strategy. There have been previous reports of infighting even amongst members of the Sri Lankan delegation to the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, says Douglas Wickramaratne, President of the Sinhala Association in the United Kingdom. "Ministers and Ambassadors try to score points, rather than concentrate on the main function of defeating the motion", he complained. more..

Govt. to reject international probe commission; what next?

Mar 2 (ST) “If you cannot stay in the Govt, you can get out,” President Rajapaksa warned SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem at Friday’s re-scheduled meeting of ministers. He accused Minister Hakeem of “betraying the country” in what seemed a simmering battle for months now with the SLMC, one of the UPFA’s partners. Rajapaksa had been angered by allegations that the Muslim Congress was behind some of the lobbying more..

Hakeem owes country an explanation

Mar 2 (CT) Minister of Justice, Rauff Hakeem, certainly appears to have poured petrol on to the flames, with media reports that he or members of his Party the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress had handed over a document to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, during her visit to Sri Lanka last August. The 50-page document is reported to have contained detailed accounts of attacks on Christians and Muslims in Sri Lanka, which have allegedly taken place last year. more..

The Impeachment Closure

Mar 2 (Island) I have heard a story about a little known University Lecturer in Mathematics and a well-known Queen’s Counsel Lawyer in Colombo. The lecturer did not agree with a circular put out by his university administration regarding the terms of employment of university teachers. Being a man of logical mind, he thought that the circular was illogical, wrong, and unjust. Being also a principled man, he wanted to challenge it whereas all his colleagues went about their business of more..

Sri Lanka after the war: Seeing both sides

Mar 2 (Economist) The end of their bitter war, nearly 5 years ago, has done little to unite Sri Lanka’s divided communities. In their modest way, a photographer and an anthropologist are working together to try bridging the distance that separates country’s two largest ethnic groups—by showing them how they worship the same goddess. Majority, Sinhala-speaking Buddhists, call her Pattini while minority Tamil Hindus name her Kannaki. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Mar 2 (ST) The mood could be likened to the launch of a spaceship by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from one of its facilities in Houston though the purpose of the local exercise was quite limited. It was the launch of an unmanned, less sophisticated version of a drone over strict natural reserves of the Ruhuna National Park or the Yala sanctuary. The battery operated ‘spycraft’ made locally with more..

Handunetti to file action against Bribery Commission

Mar 2 (NS) DNA MP Sunil Handunnetti plans to go before court against the Bribery Commission over its inaction or failure to launch an investigation over a case filed by him. JVP stalwart Handunnetti had lodged a complaint with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption against its Chairman Justice Jagath Balapatabendi, for alleged bribery and corruption charges. MP Handunnetti had complained more..

Blogger-journalist under threat for allegedly exposing Civil Security misbehaviour

Mar 2 (ST) A blogger and journalist has pulled out of his media related work with immediate effect, owing to intimidation and death threats from a group of persons who are members of a Civil Security committee in Quarry Road, Dehiwala, with alleged links to the area police, it was revealed yesterday. Wiki Wickramaratna, a freelance journalist and blogger, said that the threats and intimidation started in May last year, after more..

Water-cuts if rains do not come soon

Mar 2 (ST) Water cuts will be definitely imposed if rains do not come this month, National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) Chairman Karunasena Hettiarattchchi warned yesterday. “Sporadic rain over the past few weeks has been insufficient to replenish water supplies even though the water levels in the Kelani Ganga, the Maha Oya and the Kalu Ganga have risen marginally,” he said. more..

'Secret deals at UNHRC: Govt. has let down armed forces, country'

Mar 2 (Island) Govt had entered into secret deals with the UNHRC and let down the armed forces and the country, the UNP alleged. Vice Chairman of the UNP Lakshman Kirielle, said that some Ministers were behaving like a bunch of jokers by making stupid statements on accountability issues while covert pledges had been given to the UNHRC. Rajapaksa regime which claimed to be the most patriotic in Sri Lanka’s history more..

New laws to allocate state land for private condominiums

Mar 2 (ST) The Government will release state lands to the private sector to construct condominiums. Laws to facilitate this are to be introduced in Parliament soon. They will come in the form of regulations under the Land Development Ordinance, Land Grants (Special Provisions) Act and the State Lands Ordinance. The move follows a recommendation made to the Cabinet by the Lands Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon. more..

Modern 58-acre prisons complex in Hambantota to house 1,000 inmates

Mar 2 (ST) New prisons to be set up in Hambantota will be fully equipped with a gymnasium, indoor sports complex and better toilet facilities, a senior official said. The new prison complex will be constructed on a 58-acre plot of land in the Angunukolapelessa area in the Hambantota district. The Cabinet-approved prisons project is to commence next month and continue for 22 months. Stage I of the project is estimated to cost more..

Foreigners to pay a fee to climb Adam’s Peak, enter wild life parks

Mar 2 (ST) Foreigners will have to pay a fee to climb Adam’s Peak (Siripada) under a new plan to be implemented shortly in order to improve facilities for visitors to the sacred site. Locals will however be exempted from buying a ticket, Minister Wijithamuni Zoysa said. Cabinet approval has been granted for his proposal. He said the monies collected from ticket sales will be used to improve facilities for visitors including more..

SLMC says future in UPFA linked to Govt’s attitude towards Muslim grievances

Mar 2 (ST) The future of the SLMC as a constituent member of the ruling UPFA Govt would depend on the attitude of the other members of the Govt and how they choose to address the grievances faced by the Muslim population of the country, SLMC General Secretary and MP M.T.Hasen Ali said. At Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, there had been a heated exchange of words between some members of the Govt and SLMC leader more..