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Editorial: People's security - the top priority

Apr 1 (SO) The US and those countries which supported the American Resolution against Sri Lanka at the recent UNHRC and shouted from the rooftops over the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka should bear in mind that it was the Govt which initiated the reconciliation process following the liberation of the East, long before the Tigers were vanquished from the North. After the successful liberation of the Eastern Province, the Govt embarked on many development and nation-building more..

Editorial: Sri Lankan political dementia

Apr 1 (SL) British Prime Minister David Cameron last week expressed alarm over the spread of dementia among British patients saying that it was a scandal that the disease was being ignored with a quarter of patients in hospitals suffering from the disease. He doubled funding towards treatment of the disease from 26 million pounds sterling to 66 million pounds. Today is April 1 and we are not joking when we say that the spread of the disease in Sri Lanka too needs serious study judging from more..

'UN should not browbeat small nations'

Apr 1 (SO) Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said India’s decision to vote in favour of the US resolution against Sri Lanka is due to the complexity of India’s internal political crisis and not because of any human rights issue or alleged war crime charges. He said that this is a serious mistake that India has made. The one billion Indians could witness the phenomenon of White House over the Rashtrapati Bhavan for the first time since independence more..

Editorial: The buck of corruption floats up

Apr 1 (NS) ‘The Rising Crime Rate’ is a standard essay topic in schools and has been so for decades. It says something about the persistence of the phenomenon and also a manifest inability and lack of will on the part of relevant authorities to combat the menace. It points to complicity or deliberate, systematic and skilled partaking. The National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) is reported to be investigating four ministers, two deputy ministers and several provincial more..

Editorial: Yes we need a strategy – Not the chattering class strategy

Apr 1 (LB) Post Geneva, clearly, has been open season for patriots. Patriots —- the scoundrels whose last resort it is to be patriotic, yes those of that species by reputation – have emerged from every crevice in the woodwork to say that unless the United States of America, the world community and India are not appeased, the fate of this country is sealed. It’s curious that it is these people who rhetorically decry patriotism as ‘the last resort of the scoundrel’ more..

We will function independently – Opatha

Apr 1 (NS) The JVP dissidents announced recently that they would set up a new party very soon. They accused the JVP of moving away from its principles and said the leadership of the new party would consist of several members. Most of the former JVPers who left the party have joined with the newly formed organization named Jana Aragala Vyaparaya (Movement for People’s Struggle), and they had several public appearances too. more..

Time to speak with one voice

Apr 1 (NS) It is all over in Geneva, bar the shouting. After weeks of hectic diplomatic activity, the UNHRC adopted a United States sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka week before last urging the country to probe alleged war crimes during the final Eelam war in May 2009. It is all over in Geneva, bar the shouting. After weeks of hectic diplomatic activity, the UNHRC adopted a United States sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka week before last urging the country to more..

Vips differ on LLRC

Apr 1 (NS) More than one week has already passed since the adoption of the US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka by the UNHRC. However, the resolution continues to draw a spate of opinions and critical comments from various quarters in our country. Meanwhile, govt ministers as well as prominent politicians from the constituent political parties keep expressing conflicting views about the recommendations of the LLRC. Now that the resolution is a fait accompli, people are more..

ICC playing dollar politics with DRS

Apr 1 (ST) Once a cricketing higher-up speaking ‘off the record’ was explaining how the Indian delegation came to the ICC executive committee meeting and spoke against the Decision Review System (DRS) with its own version of defence and called the new system the ‘Dravid Removal System’. This was after India’s disastrous 2011 England tour during which they lost their collar as the number one Test playing nation and thus made way for the Englishmen to wear it. more..

Editorial: Caveat emptor

Apr 1 (Island) Caveat emptor or `Buyer Beware’ is a well known maxim that most people are aware of. Sadly, too many do not show the awareness they should in making everyday purchases and too many businesses and traders are ever ready to rip off their customers. This must change with the ever spiraling cost of living, the depreciation of the rupee and the difficulties that most people have in making ends meet. We say this in the context of an experience somebody claims to have had at a well known private hospital, more..

Editorial: Stop quibbling; implement LLRC report

Apr 1 (ST) Now that the dust has almost settled, following the hectic campaign to first ward off and then to defeat a US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva, the question that keeps popping up is; "what is the Govt's position vis-à-vis the LLRC report?" The answer is blowing in the wind. A multitude of voices from Govt ranks, not surprisingly, has caused the confusion. If there is one constant, it is confusion, so much so that one wonders whether more..

Tax Dept. dilemma on revenue targets

Apr 1 (ST) Inland Revenue Department (IRD) officials are facing a daunting task in meeting the revenue target of Rs. 400 billion this year owing to a drop in revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT) and due to a sudden decline in imports following the depreciation of the Rupee, IRD sources said. The govt's decision to reduce the VAT from 22 % to 12 % has also contributed towards the decline in revenue. Revenue from VAT on domestic sources fell marginally in 2011 and more..

Sweet honey for Mahinda’s ears

Apr 1 (Island) As the sordid drama in Geneva came to a close, a no less sordid drama was in the making back home in relation to domestic politics and the political party system. On Monday, UNP Provincial Councillor Srinath Perera handed in the report of the committee of inquiry appointed to look into the attack on Sirikotha that took place on 19 December 2011. The committee was chaired by Srinath Perera, PC, a former Additional Solicitor General, and its other members were Nissanka Nanayakkara, Rajiv Seneviratne and more..

A saber rattling govt. now forced to take stock

Apr 1 (SL) The Mahinda Rajapaksa administration is yet to formulate a proper stance on the UNHRC Resolution and how the govt planned to approach the issue. Still engaged in the blame game, the govt is yet to realize the need for a proper assessment of its foreign policy, which has been under scrutiny for some time. Although the watered down UNHRC Resolution lacked the desired strength among most members of the international community, the passing of it is testament to the blunders more..

'I have stopped the state media calling people traitors'

Apr 1 (SL) Following the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, Sri Lankan state media and members of the government have been on the offensive against human rights activists and independent media groups calling them ‘traitors’. Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, acting Minister of Mass Media, in an interview with The Sunday Leader says he has put a stop to that but accused some NGO’s of using forged documents to accuse the government of human rights violations. more..

5th column: GL- Geneva lost, groans Lanka

Apr 1 (ST) My Dear GL (or should I say Geneva Lost?), I did not intend to write to you again so soon but now I feel I must, after hearing you moan every day about what happened in Geneva, after we lost the vote on the resolution against us sponsored by Uncle Sam. I am confused, GL, because at first you were saying that you were confident of winning the vote with ease. I am not sure whether you thought that the opposition you faced was like the UNP and the JVP or whether there would be a computer ‘jilmart’, but that is what you said. more..

Own goals aplenty

Apr 1 (LB) It would have been fair for the president and his governing coalition to have some sort of reprieve after the events of Geneva 2012, but this was not to be because his own party’s own goals were overwhelming him. Bandula Gunawardena’s Marie Antoinette proclamaiton that a family of four can live on Rs 7500 was stupid as stupid is, but what was more alarming was that rather than apologies for something that was grossly and pathetically incorrect — the minister went on more..

No arrests yet on failed abduction of 11-year-old Visakha schoolgirl

Apr 1 (ST) Investigations on the abduction of an 11-year-old student of Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo, three weeks ago, is continuing, but no breakthrough has been made. Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said the police will be questioning the victim again to obtain further information regarding the incident. The abduction took place after school, when the child was on her way to her school van parked on De Fonseka Road. The van used for the abduction was more..

‘Dr. Jayamaha’ both a fake and a flake

Apr 1 (LB) Praveen Jayamaha, who had been posing as a lecturer on child psychology for a number of years, even having appeared on local television and been featured in newspapers, has now been proved to be a fraud. His act was discovered by the Kandy district Crime Detection Bureau after he had sought a sum of Rs500,000 to admit a child to Grade 2 at Dharmaraja College, by compiling bogus documents to facilitate admission. Investigations have revealed that he has not even passed the more..

Illicit lovers get caught, disappear and take their lives

Apr 1 (LB) Two close relatives, their illicit affair having been found out, took their lives by hanging themselves in a room in the Southern Star hotel in Induruwa. 36 year old Thushara Gunathilaka of Kaduwela had been having an affair with 25 year old Udula Jayasinghe of Kandy, a younger sister of his wife. On March 22, Thushara’s wife and mother of his two children had found her husband in a compromising position with her sister in their house. more..

Save 20 percent and get electricity free

Apr 1 (SO) The CEB has launched a program to supply electricity free for selected consumers who save over 20 percent on their electricity bills, during April, May and June. The program introduced by the Power and Energy Ministry in keeping with the 'Conserve energy today for tomorrow' concept calls upon its 4.6 million power consumers to participate in their energy saving effort. Households which show a 20 percent reduction in their April, May or June bills more..

MR to lead campaign to get people’s support

Apr 1 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to lead a campaign organized by the govt to muster the support of the people against the Resolution passed at the UNHRC in Geneva. Following the adoption of the UNHRC Resolution, the govt has decided to hold a series of rallies at district level to create awareness among the people about the UNHRC Resolution and the govt’s take on it. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said the rallies would be held under the patronage of the President more..

Fraud investigation at Malik’s group

Apr 1 (SL) Companies connected to Malik Samarawickrama, have launched an internal investigation into an alleged Rs. 80 Million fraud. Samarawickrama is one of the major players in the garment industry. His companies include the Penguin garment group and Hoodvian. Sources have indicated that the fraud has been committed by a group of persons trusted by Samarawickrama over a number of years. The same sources commented that Malik Samarawickrama was “very angry and hurt” by the turn of events more..

Police investigating Mervin

Apr 1 (CT) The police are conducting investigations on the details of the statement made by Minister Mervin Silva concerning journalist Poddala Jayantha. Police Media Spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana said that legal action would be taken in connection with the statement if the police are able to find adequate evidence relating to the statement. “The police are conducting investigations on the remark made by Minister Mervin Silva about the attack on a journalist. more..

TNA undecided on May Day rally

Apr 1 (CT) The TNA leader R. Sampanthan has said his party has not decided, on anything concrete, to hold a joint May Day rally with UNP in Jaffna. According to Sampanthan there are moves to hold a joint May Day rally by opposition parties in Jaffna. However the TNA has not yet decided on holding the rally jointly with the UNP, he reiterated. The reason for the TNA to still consider holding the joint rally with the UNP in Jaffna is the factional tussle within the UNP, more..

Shortage of ETT in over 70 hospitals

Apr 1 (CT) All major hospitals in the country are facing a severe shortage of Endo Trachea Tubes (ETT), the All Ceylon Health Service Union (ACHSU) alleged. ACHSU General Secretary Gamini Kumarasinghe told Ceylon Today the reason for the shortage of ETTs in over 70 major hospitals countrywide is because the Ministry of Health failed to call for tenders for the purchasing of ETTs for this year. He mentioned that the ETTs are essential to clear the trachea of patients more..

Ban Wants LLRC Implemented

Apr 1 (SL) UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, has expressed his desire to see the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC. Speaking to The Sunday Leader an official at the office of the spokesperson for the UN Secretary General explained that Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the US Resolution as it called for the implementation of the LLRC report. The official, who did not wish to be named, stated that the Secretary General believed that more..

Prices skyrocket ahead of Avurudhu

Apr 1 (ST) Prices of essential goods are increasing ahead of the National New Year as a direct result of the depreciation of the rupee, importers said. The warning came as the Central Bank on Friday said inflation increased by 5.5 per cent last month. Old Moor Street Traders’ Association President P. Sundaram said the prices of imported food items would now increase as stocks imported earlier were over. Among the imported commodities, prices of which have already gone up, are big onions, tinned-fish, sugar, dhal and potatoes. more..

SLC wanted tax exception

Apr 1 (SL) The Sri Lankan Cricket Board had requested the Galle Municipal Council not to charge the entertainment tax on tickets sold for the first Test between England and Sri Lanka held at the Galle International Cricket stadium last week. Galle Mayor Methsiri de Silva said that the tax exception was sought as the Cricket Board was facing a financial crisis and could not afford to pay the tax. The Mayor refuted allegations that the Municipal Council faced a big financial loss as more..

Govt. mini-budget: Huge increases in vehicle prices

Apr 1 (ST) The Got yesterday introduced a mini-budget, raising taxes on vehicle imports, cigarettes and alcohol. The move will have immediate implications with vehicle prices going up by amounts ranging from Rs. 300,000 to Rs. five million, hard-liquor by Rs. 60 a litre, imported beer by Rs. 50 a litre and local cigarettes by Rs. one. The govt said it was expecting to raise Rs. 3 billion from the tax on tobacco and liquor. However the tax on more..

Sri Lanka on notice: Where do we go from here?

Apr 1 (TS) State sovereignty continues to be a shield throughout much of the world where there is a need to circumvent international law and human rights obligations. Sri Lanka is one such state and is a well-known violator of human rights. As a historic first, the United Nations Human Rights Council has taken a strong stance against the Sri Lankan state’s human rights record through a U.S.-initiated, Canada-sponsored resolution that questions the actions of the Sri Lankan govt and more..

Silence kills, in Sri Lanka and Syria

Apr 1 (AN) Riding the tiger is an art that isn’t easy to master in the best of circumstances. While a tiger’s back may be the safest place to be when you are riding it, you should be ready for what comes when the ride inevitably ends. There was a time when many in India, including the Tamil, identified with Tamil Tigers with the establishment and Indian agencies offering every possible support to “our boys.” The LTTE training camps in Tamil Nadu were a secret that no one more..

Hambantota to be free port

Apr 1 (ST) Laws permitting free trade -- exempt from customs, exchange control and import-export regulations -- have been passed in Parliament. The areas where free trading could take place have not been specified so far, but will be gazetted, according to the amendments made to the Finance Act on Friday. The move comes in the wake of comments by SLPA Chairman Priyath Wickrama that Hambantota would be a free port with no tax involvements. more..

Sri Lankan House to debate Geneva resolution

Apr 1 (Hindu) Sri Lankan Parliament will debate on April 3 and 4 the UNHRC resolution which called on the country to implement recommendations of a panel that examined comprehensively the war with the Tamil Tigers. The mood in Parliament reflected the prevailing patriotic fervour in the Sinhala dominated parts of Sri Lanka. Catering to this, the External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris informed Parliament on Friday that the govt was clear on the resolution from the beginning. more..

Tax hikes come ahead of crucial IMF talks

Apr 1 (ST) The Govt’s decision yesterday to raise tax revenue and curb imports is aimed at cutting the burgeoning trade deficit ahead of a crucial meeting of the IMF tomorrow in Washington on the final instalment of US$ 800 million under the fund’s US$ 2.6 billion Standby Arrangement. Taxes on cigarettes and alcohol were raised while high taxes on motor vehicles were also imposed to curb imports, a step also taken earlier by the Central Bank when it enforced a credit squeeze. more..

Geneva debacle: The realities behind the diplomatic rhetoric

Apr 1 (ST) If the debacle at Geneva last week was bad enough for President Mahinda Rajapaksa, some of the things some of his Ministers are saying in public are making matters worse for him. Minister Mervyn Silva had already dropped a bombshell by making a confession that he was responsible for breaking the legs of a media activist who had to leave the country thereafter. The Police said they would inquire. more..

PSC okays interviews

Apr 1 (Island) The Secretary to the Health Ministry has been given the green light to conduct interviews for the appointment of a director to the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL), a senior Public Service Commission (PSC) official said last week. The aspirants who earlier applied for this top slot in Sri Lanka’s biggest state-run medical facility can be summoned to face the interview process, the official said. "The coast is now clear". The go-ahead to fill the vacancy in this 2,920-bed hospital more..

CAA gets tough with errant traders

Apr 1 (SO) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has been directed to increase the number of raids against errant traders during the festive season, said Minister Johnston Fernando. Traders should sell essential food items at controlled prices, he said. Adequate stocks of essential food items have been supplied to Lanka Sathosa and Coop Cities during the recent weeks. A shortage of food especially during the festive season orchestrated by unscrupulous traders is a common more..

Permanent blackout for power pirates warns Champika

Apr 1 (Island) Power Minister Patali Champika has warned that anyone caught pirating electricity twice wouldn’t be given power connection again. The JHU stalwart emphasized that he wouldn’t give in to political pressure or any other factor when dealing with those continuing to pirate electricity at the expense of the national economy. The warning was given at a recent public meeting in the Eastern Province. more..