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Ranil does a Gandhi

Nov 22 (CT) Strange things sometimes happen with canny drama. It was only two days ago -last Wednesday evening (20)- that I played the DVD of the Gandhi movie to educate my young grandson. Just as India was about to get independence after the long Gandhi-led struggle Ali Jinnah, one of the leaders of the national struggle, expressed his decision to go for a separate Pakistan explaining that “Muslims cannot have the British removed in order to be ruled by Hindus.” more..

New prospects for the opposition

Nov 22 (CT) According to the Daily News today (21), it is an ‘Election by Proclamation.’ The announcement itself signifies something odd with the procedure. It goes like the following. “KNOW YE that by virtue of the powers vested in me by paragraph (3A) of Article 31 of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, I, Mahinda Rajapaksa, President, do by this Proclamation, hereby declare my intention of appealing to the people for a mandate to more..

Nabbing a spooky smuggler

Nov 22 (SO) A Customs official on duty at the BIA on one busy weekday evening received an anonymous call on his mobile phone. The caller who didn't divulge his name gave a description of a passenger who would walk through the Customs gates at a scheduled time concealing gold nuggets in his rectum. But before hanging up the caller gave a four digit code, which was jotted down by the officer. more..


Nov 22 (CT) On 29 July 1987 the late PM of India, Rajiv Gandhi arrived in Sri Lanka to sign the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord for peace and normalcy and the accord was signed. Those who were against the accord were Venerable Madihe Pannaseeha Mahanayake Thera, Venerable Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera’s Mawbima Surekime Viyaparaya and the JVP sponsored Deshapremi Janatha Viyaparaya (DJV). Marxist parties were absent from all activities and a few Cabinet members more..

Some run, some crawl and some stand still

Nov 22 (NS) Tilvin Silva made an interesting point at the commemoration of comrades slain in 1988-89: ‘Mahinda has already run half the race.’ Constitution favors incumbent. Authorities turn a blind eye on the abuse of state resources and indeed the institutional arrangement is so poor in terms of checks and balances that this is a ‘given’. Citizens have, sadly, resolved to shoulder-shrug in a ‘par for the course’ sense. And then there’s the Opposition: broken, confused and running around in circles. more..

How Mahinda Yapa plans to feed the nation

Nov 22 (CT) Minister of Agriculture, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene, is in charge of feeding 20 million hungry people in this country, the question however is; what will he feed the people? He has to grapple with the health lobby which asks him to ban all chemicals in agriculture while he is told that his national food production would collapse without the chemicals. The minister's intention thus is to choose the middle path more..

Human security and peoples’ sovereignty

Nov 22 (SL) India’s aim was to get powers devolved to the Tamils while maintaining the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka. But the 13 Amendment to the constitution and the Provincial Councils Act which the Accord gave rise to, were fashioned in a hurry without considering whether the distribution of powers between the Centre and the Provinces was just and equitable. In the Provincial Councils Act, powers given to the provinces by one hand were taken away by the other. more..

Kosher, anyone? – The eating

Nov 22 (NS) As mentioned last week, after much soul searching I had decided to request Kosher (Jewish) meals on my flights to Colombo from Calgary. Buddhism and Judaism, it should be noted, count heavily on the concept of guilt to keep the flock in line. We all ARE guilty of something or will be sometime in the future. Buddhists also have to deal with the theological premise that our next life form will be dependent on our actions in this life. That tautology really depresses me because more..

CEB engineers have the power of light and darkness

Nov 22 (CT) President of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Engineers' Union, Dr. H. M. Wijekoon says the entire country was in darkness for three days in 1996 as the engineers took trade union action to prevent the signing of the agreements, at the Hilton Hotel, to privatize Lanka Electricity Company Private Limited (LECO). "If we let that happen, the CEB may not be in existence today, he told Ceylon Today in an interview. more..

Stock market loses Rs. 55 b in value as locals panic over politics

Nov 22 (FT) Colombo stock market yesterday lost Rs. 55 billion in value as investors panicked over political developments. The market capitalisation amounted to Rs. 3.144 trillion, down from Rs. 3.199 trillion on Thursday as the All Share Price Index lost 1.71% or 129 points. The 20-script S&P SL index lost 63.67 points (1.52%) to end at 4,127.26. “This was the second highest intra-day drop for the year,” Lanka Securities said. It said losses were mainly driven by counters such as more..

Editorial: Battle of the Blues

Nov 22 (Island) Announcement of Maithripala Sirisena as the common Opposition candidate yesterday came as no surprise. That he wanted to challenge his political boss had been on the political grapevine for quite some time and the differences he had with the Rajapaksas were only too well known. He was also one of the several prime ministerial aspirants in the SLFP. In a strange turn of events replete with irony, the next presidential election will be a contest between the SLFP & the SLFP, more..

'PSC is right forum to address Tamil issues'

Nov 22 (NS) Jaffna District MP and General Secretary of EPDP, Douglas Devananda, says that he welcomed the Supreme Court determination that allowed President Rajapaksa to contest Presidential polls for the third time since he was the only leader to provide a dignified peace to the country where all people are treated equal. He criticized the TNA for indulging in selfish politics that deprived the Tamil people of their rights, more..

Winning U-19 World Cup my vision: Roy Dias

Nov 22 (CT) Newly appointed Sri Lanka Under 19 and Under 17 Batting Coach and dashing former Sri Lanka Test and ODI batsman Roy Luke Dias said yesterday that his vision and dream was to ensure that he brings the 2016 Under 19 Cricket World Cup which will be played in Bangladesh to Sri Lanka. I will be getting my letter of appointment today and I will see the talent available which will help me to hone their batting skills which will also mould them to reach the national team, more..

A missing link

Nov 22 (ST) It all started when my father stumbled upon a small railway lamp discarded in the dungeons of the Ceylon Naval Armament Depot (CNAD) within the Naval Dockyard at Trincomalee. Made by Sherwoods Ltd., Birmingham, U.K., the lamp is black with a red glass lens. My father connected the lamp with the small independent railway line within CNAD Trincomalee which is a ‘Highly Restricted Area’. This was back in 1984 when my father, Admiral Clancy Fernando more..

Five fishermen recall ordeal with tears

Nov 22 (DC) Almost the entire population in Thangatchimadam fishing village turned up with flowers and broke into music and dance to give the heroes’ welcome when the five fishermen returned home around noon on Friday after being freed from the gallows by a presidential pardon in Sri Lanka. It was a long haul as the Indian foreign ministry flew them from Colombo to Delhi on Thursday for ‘debriefing’ in the MEA and more..

Judgment time in the Wonder of Asia

Nov 22 (Island) "Now is the time for judgment …," says the Bible, but here, in what is said to be the Wonder of Asia, the time for judgment is right now. An apex judicial opinion paved the way for the next presidential election that has now been proclaimed. The debates that raged for months on the legality of such an election are over; pushed into the dustbin of history, it seems. The people have been elevated to the role of judges in the wider court of public opinion and political thinking. more..

Please stay, Sangakara!

Nov 22 (PT) Kumar Sangakkara’s Test future remains undecided after Sri Lanka’s selectors implored him to reconsider his decision to retire from all formats after the 2015 World Cup. Sangakkara told the selectors he would quit internationals in April at a meeting on Thursday morning but he is now rethinking that move upon request from the selectors, among others. He has repeatedly said he would not play ODIs beyond the World Cup, and that is unlikely to change. more..

Govt sign agreement for clean energy loan

Nov 22 (DN) Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Sri Lankan govt yesterday signed the first tranche loan agreement of a two-part $300 million loan to scale up use of clean energy and cut the country's reliance on costly petroleum oil for electricity generation. "The use of expensive oil-fired thermal plants to meet the growing demand is not a viable and sustainable solution for energy security and environment protection in the long term," more..

USAID visits shelter for landslide victims

Nov 22 (FT) Mission Director Sherry Carlin from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) visited today the Poonagala Tea Factory camp that houses victims of the recent Koslanda landslide. This new site provides shelter for families directly impacted by the natural disaster. Carlin commended the Sri Lankan military for their efforts to provide short and long-term assistance to people affected by the landslide. She also joined World Vision humanitarian representatives to more..

Valuation Dept. Work not satisfactory

Nov 22 (CT) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa observed in Parliament yesterday that the work done by the Department of Valuation was not satisfactory and action should be initiated to bring about a mechanism to cover the lapses. Speaker Rajapaksa said this when JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti was questioning the Minister of Highways on the differences in valuing done by the Department to compensate the owners of lands acquired for road development. more..

China, Sri Lanka join hands for peaceful Maritime Silk Road cooperation

Nov 22 (FT) The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) and the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) organised a high-level seminar on cooperation between Sri Lanka and China, to advance the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) initiative in Colombo, yesterday. It was recognised that the underlying rationale for MSR initiative was to generate inclusive development through win-win cooperation, enhance mutual trust and more..

UNESCO forum endorses youth participation in education policy planning, implementation

Nov 22 (Island) UNESCO hosted its World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Aichi Nagoya, Japan last week, where young leaders from 52 countries drafted a global youth statement to empower and mobilise youth from all over the world. Sri Lanka was represented at the forum by Kishor Hameed, who presented the Youth Statement to the Minister of Education, Bandula Gunawardane, at the Ministry yesterday. more..

Daya Gamage upset over picking Sirisena

Nov 22 (CT) National Organizer of UNP, Daya Gamage, has strongly criticized the decision taken by UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, to field SLFP General Secretary, Maithripala Sirisena, as the common Opposition candidate. The UNP Leader had proposed Siresena's name at a meeting of UNP seniors. Gamage, having heard the proposal, had insisted that the presidential candidate should come from the UNP and thus it should either be Ranil Wickremesinghe or Sajith Premadasa. more..

Minister Tennakoon lambastes SLFP colleagues, indicates readiness to quit...

Nov 22 (Island) Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon alleged in Parliament that the popularity of the SLFP-led UPFA coalition had been rapidly dwindling primarily due to drug dealers and ethanol businessmen within govt ranks. He was responding to UNP MP P. Harrison’s assertion that some key ministers had been deprived of their powers. MP Harrison said that Deputy Minister Lakshman Perera had allocated land in Matale recently though more..

TNA decision tomorrow

Nov 22 (CT) All MPs of the TNA are to hold a special meeting in Colombo tomorrow to take final decision on who to support at the Presidential Election to be held in January next year. TNA Leader R. Sampanthan said, they will extend their support to a candidate who will consider their demands. The TNA demands include, a solution to the ethnic issue, withdrawing the Army from the Northern Province, resettling the people in the Northern Province on their own lands and more..

New Cabinet soon

Nov 22 (CT) Govt has decided to strip all ministers, who have left the govt, of their portfolios and party positions. An amendment would be introduced this week by the Cabinet to withdraw all privileges and positions given to those ministers. Thus, a new Cabinet is to be appointed within the coming week. Govt sources also revealed that new electoral organizers too would be appointed. Meanwhile, several changes to the posts of SLFP organizers are to take place within the next week. more..

Swamy seeks ban on Prabhakaran birth anniversary celebration

Nov 22 (PTI) BJP leader Subramanian Swamy urged Minister Rajnath Singh to issue a directive to the TN govt to ban the move to celebrate birth anniversary of slain chief of LTTE V Prabhakaran, who was responsible for killing of former PM Rajiv Gandhi. "These celebrations are being organised by MDMK leader Vaiko. MDMK must be ejected from the NDA and Vaiko should be locked up under the National Security Act," more..

SLMC to support candidate providing solutions

Nov 22 (CT) The SLMC stressed that it will extend its support to a candidate who will provide solutions to problems faced by the Muslim community. SLMC General Secretary, Hasan Ali said, that a special meeting would be held in Colombo tomorrow, with the participation of all MPs and Provincial Council members of the SLMC. He added that although the SLMC is not an opportunistic party, they expect solutions for the Muslim community, at this very critical moment. more..

SLPA agreement with IHC for state of the art dredger

Nov 22 (CT) Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) entered into a Contract Agreement with IHC Holland BV of Netherlands to procure a 4,000 cubic metre capacity Trailing Suction Hopper dredger recently, this month. Agreement was endorsed by Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama – the Chairman and Capt. Nihal Keppetipola - the Managing Director on behalf of SLPA and Kees Derks – the Area Director on behalf of IHC Holland BV. Louis W M Piet - the Dutch Ambassador to SL graced the occasion more..

Maithripala Sirisena

Cross over celebration ends in shooting

Nov 22 (DM) A former UNP Pradeshiya Sabha member was injured in a shooting incident at Maggona in Payagala this evening while a group of UNP supporters were celebrating the crossover of some UPFA parliamentarians and Ministers, police said. They said the injured Chamila Ranasinghe who was a former UNP member of the Beruwala Pradeshiya Sabha was admitted to the Kalutara Hospital and later transferred to the Colombo National Hospital in a critical condition. more..

JVP still undecided

Nov 22 (CT) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) said it is yet to decide on their stance on the upcoming Presidential Election. General Secretary of the JVP, Tilvin Silva, said they would decide in thenext few days whether they would support a common candidate, propose their own or boycott the election altogether. "Though others make their decisions in haste, we need not do so. We have until the last day on which the nominations are handed over to decide. more..

MR can win third term no matter who challenged him - UPFA

Nov 22 (Island) UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha and National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa yesterday said that incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa was capable of securing a third term hands down regardless of who challenged him at the next presidential election. Addressing the media at SLFP headquarters yesterday afternoon, they said UPFA was confident of a comfortable victory more..

Australia always supports Sri Lanka’s national development goals - Australian HC

Nov 22 (DN) "Australia has been a long term partner in supporting Sri Lanka achieve its national development goals,” said Australian High Commissioner Robyn Mudie. The Australian High Commissioner was speaking at a reception held on Thursday to congratulate 35 Sri Lankans who have been offered Australia Awards to read for post-graduate degrees at Australian universities in 2015. The Chief Guest at the reception was the External Affairs Minister Prof. G L Peiris. more..

U.S. EPA welcomes Colombo participation in Cities Clean Air Partnership (CCAP) program

Nov 22 (AT) Officials from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) met with Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy B.M.E.D. Basnayake to commend Sri Lanka for designating Colombo City as a participant in the Cities Clean Air Partnership (CCAP) program, a city-to-city support program that links Asian cities with California cities that have decades of experience reducing air pollution. “Congratulations to Colombo on joining as a pilot partner more..

Maithripala promises to scrap presidency within 100 days

Nov 22 (Island) SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena declared that he would be the common candidate of the Opposition at the next presidential election to be held on Jan 8 next year. Addressing the media at the New Town Hall, he said that he had sacrificed all positions and privileges for the sake of the country and its people. He was flanked by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Minister Rajitha Senaratne, more..

We can’t wait: The flush and the blush

Nov 22 (DM) Though the call of nature cannot be connected too closely with the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence, it was a strange coincidence that November 19, was World Toilet Day and also World Philosophy Day. Philosophies apart, we need to seriously look at some stark realities relating to World Toilet Day. According to the UN, more than 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to basic sanitation, including toilets or latrines more..

Will Maithri be the next Minneriya Deiyo?

Nov 22 (DM) Yesterday’s historic political events where the ruling SLFP’s veteran General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena crossed over and was named as the opposition’s common candidate for the next Presidential Election on Jan 8 brought back memories of a similar historic event 50 years ago. We can learn a lot from the 1964 crossover, the only time crossovers served to bring down a govt. According to a report in the ST, it was meticulously planned by some political masterminds more..

'My association with UPFA means I will work to re-elect the President'

Nov 22 (DM) A UNPer for 25 years from the Gampola area, Sarath Gamini Hettiarachchi who was also holding the prestigious position of the Mayor of the Gampola Municipal Council recently crossed over to the UPFA govt. While insisting that he continues to be a UNPer Mr. Hettiarachchi says that he will support President Rajapaksa to win the upcoming election. He explains why he crossed over to the govt. more..

Amended Standing Orders to better COPE as waste, corruption continue unabated

Nov 22 (ST) Parliament is looking to amend Standing Orders, to give more teeth to the oversight committee on Public Finance, the Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE), its Chairman, Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera said on Friday. The Minister’s comments came when he presented the Second Interim Report of COPE to Parliament, in which, once again, massive waste and loss of public money was exposed. more..