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A new political regime post - 2010 in Sri Lanka: A hybrid regime

May 31 (CT) The 2010 Sri Lankan Presidential and Parliamentary elections that took place shortly after the end of a debilitating 25 year-old civil war in 2009 constitutes a watershed in Sri Lanka’s politics. Despite the unsettled conditions over the last two decades emanating from this turbulent environment created by the civil war and the seemingly intractable obstacles encountered, Sri Lanka was able to maintain some semblance of the principles and practices of a liberal democracy more..

Boston Lanka With Upeka Gangodawila

UNP’s new constitutional principles: Radical future or radical farce?

May 31 (DBS) When regimes are dictatorial and dangerous, alternative forces which promise a better society and future do tend to be taken seriously by the people. This, quite simply, is because the future promised by such alternative forces tends to be better than the present. But one thing many people can’t do about the present UNP is to take it seriously. The UNP’s new constitutional principles – which it claims will shape and form the new constitution it hopes to place before the more..

SL Muslim problem, Sinhala racists’ problem or Sinhala politicians’ problem?

May 31 (Island) There is of course a Sri Lankan Muslim problem in the sense that there has been a prolonged hate campaign against our Muslims and anti-Muslim action in various forms. My argument is that that problem cannot be given a rationale in terms of the acts of commission and omission on the part of the Muslims. It can only be given a rationale in terms of an anterior racism among some Sinhalese who want to kick the Muslims down. My further argument is that the anti-Muslim more..

JHU is govt’s ‘rebellious son’ says Gammanpila

May 31 (FT) The Sinhalese have been too tolerant and the minorities have abused that tolerance in an undue manner, stresses Udaya Gammanpila, Senior Member of the JHU and Minister in the Western Provincial Council. “We are the champions of minority rights. We have no international obligation to devolve power. There is no minority right called devolution of power,” Gammanpila points out. more..

Spence ends FY13 with mixed fortunes

May 31 (FT) Blue chip conglomerate Aitken Spence reported a profit from operations of Rs. 5.5 billion, an increase of 14.4% in FY13 over the previous year excluding the reported capital gains (of around Rs. 630 million) on the sale of the shares of Colombo International Container Terminals Ltd. (CICT). The profit before tax is at Rs. 5 b for the year with a growth of 8.9% as compared with Rs. 4.59 b in the previous year, excluding capital gains on the sale of the shares of CICT. more..

Rain ruins Sri Lanka’s warm up game

May 31 (Island) Sri Lanka’s preparations for the Champions Trophy haven’t been ideal and the three warm up games in England ahead of the tournament were crucial for them. There was a massive blow to the Sri Lankan squad’s preparation yesterday after their practice match against Pakistan was abandoned in Birmingham. The day-night encounter was supposed to get underway at 1pm, but was abandoned at 4pm after persistent rain. Sri Lanka have two more warm-up games, also at more..

Non-smoking will help create a healthier nation

May 31 (SO) The World No Tobacco Day is commemorated today under the theme, "Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship" by the World Health Organisation. Tobacco claims a large number of lives every year in the world. Around 39% of males smoke cigarettes while nearly 2% of females are addicted to this habit. Smoking affects the entire body causing a large number of diseases (NCDs) - almost all the NCDs, more..

‘Unity with power-sharing’ Answer to national problem

May 31 (DBS) The cry for devolution is not a new phenomenon to Lanka. In ancient times too, Lanka was divided into three provinces though it was united under one umbrella. With the rise of Lankan bourgeoisie the federal idea was originated among the Sinhalese. In 1925 S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike was prepared to come out with that suggestion. The young Bandaranaike was a brilliant student of Oxford; he returned to the island in 1925 with a firm resolution to serve his motherland as a more..

Vesak Day at Buddhist Temple

May 31 (EMC) It was a Vesak Day to remember at the Cambodian Buddhist Temple on Hazeldean Road in Stittsville last Saturday. It was not only officially proclaimed by city of Ottawa mayor Jim Watson but also it saw the grand opening of the new Ottawa Meditation Garden on the grounds of the Cambodian Buddhist Temple, an exhibition and judging of lanterns which in the Buddhist tradition symbolize wisdom and have the power to light the world through the right path, and the more..

Suraj Dandeniya battered by ex shuttlers!

May 31 (Island) One of the most controversial sports officials in recent years, Suraj Dandeniya, former head of Sri Lanka Cricket’s 2011 ICC World Cup organising committee, was fervently censured before a media gathering at Nippon Hotel, Colombo last morning. The event was a media briefing hosted by Prof. Ranjith de Silva and his team that walked out last April from the Sri Lanka Badminton Association (SLBA) AGM, more..

ICC Cricket Committee reacts to SLC decision?

May 31 (Island) ICC’s Cricket Committee was quick to take remedial measures yesterday to safeguard the interests of Test cricket, presumably after the extraordinary decision of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to cancel/postpone several Test series last year. SLC in 2012 cancelled a 3 Test series against India and then postponed another 3 Test series against South Africa, scheduled for this year. Another 3 Test series against West Indies, scheduled straight after the Champions Trophy, more..

Goons block journo’s from taking pictures of judge

May 31 (DM) Prior to the Homagama District Judge Sunil Abesinghe being taken out of the Cinnamon Gardens Police station this evening, goons purported to be his supporters, threatened journalists present at the station and warned them against taking pictures of the suspect Judge. One of the goons threatened a photographer stating that he would break the lens of the camera if he takes pictures of the suspect Judge. The Bribery Commission vehicle in which the judge more..

'System of governance: UNP has given the public three options'

May 31 (Island) The UNP’s proposed new constitution was unique, since it gave the people three options of political governance to choose from, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He said that while his party was committed to the abolition of the executive presidency, the powers of which would be divided among the Head of State, Prime Minister and the Speaker’s Council, it had proposed three systems of govt. more..

Three police officers, three others identified in Slave Island Rs. 10 m robbery

May 31 (FT) Six suspects, including three police officers who were arrested in connection with the robbery of Rs. 10 million that took place at Slave Island, were identified at an identification parade by witnesses. When the case came up before the Colombo Fort Magistrate, the eight suspects who were allegedly involved in the incident were produced at an identification parade. Inspector Ananda Adikari, the OIC attached to the traffic police division of the Fort police, and more..

Most NCD related sicknesses caused by tobacco, alcohol

May 31 (DN) On World No Tobacco Day today, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena issuing a stark warning said 20 percent of hospital beds in Lanka are occupied by patients suffering from tobacco and alcohol related diseases. It was also revealed that over 72 percent of sicknesses in Sri Lanka are Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) caused by tobacco and alcohol addiction. Around 20 Sri Lankans die of heart attacks daily while 600 are hospitalized for heart treatment. more..

New solid waste system in Colombo from tomorrow

May 31 (DN) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) in a bid to solve the garbage problem in the Colombo city will introduce a new solid waste management system to be implemented from tomorrow. The CMC under this programme will distribute a specially made bag among all households. Items that can be recycled should be added into this bag. Householders can include waste such as paper, cardboard, polythene, more..

Thondaman ordered to pay Rs 500,000

May 31 (CT) Minister of Estates, Infrastructure, Electricity, Sports and Social Services of the Uva Province, Senthil Thondaman, who was produced before Bandarawala Magistrate, on charges of hurling rotten eggs at MP P. Digambaram was ordered to pay a personal bail of Rs 500,000. Reportedly, when MP Digambaram, who had checked into a hotel in Badulla on 18 March 2013, in order to attend a meeting in Badulla, Minister Thondaman and a group had surrounded more..

Hemas buys Morison in a Rs. 1.7 bn deal

May 31 (FT) Hemas Holdings yesterday purchased a 71.5% voting stake and a 50% non-voting stake in J.L. Morison Son & Jones (JLM) valued at Rs. 1.7 billion. Voting stake of 4.153 million shares was acquired via crossing at Rs. 366.50 per share, a premium of Rs. 53.80 or 17% from Thursday’s closing. A block of 648,580 non-voting shares was done at Rs. 219.70 each and further block of 223,787 non-voting shares at Rs. 213.66 each were also bought. more..

'IPL brought disrepute to Indian cricket'

May 31 (Hindu) Ridiculing the Indian Premier League (IPL) for turning cricketers into a bunch of avaricious people, former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga said that the cash-awash T20 league has given Indian cricket nothing but disrepute. IPL is embroiled in a spot-fixing scandal, leading to arrest of India’s Test pacer S. Sreesanth and several others including BCCI President’s son-in-law on charges of betting. more..

More Lankans consume rice flour now

May 31 (DM) Sri Lanka’s per capita wheat flour consumption has dropped from 35.5 kilos in 2004 to 24.2 kilos in 2011 while the rice flour consumption has increased from 94.1 kilos to 117 kilos during this period, Minister Johnston Fernando revealed in Parliament. He was responding to a question asked by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara. The minister said this was a positive trend and pointed out that that it was the result of the Govt levying high taxes on wheat flour to discourage consumption. more..

10 LTTE suspects acquitted by Bangalore court in bomb case

May 31 (PTI) A local court today acquitted 10 LTTE suspects who were being tried for allegedly possessing explosives and substances used for making bombs. Sessions Judge M S Balakrishna acquitted the 10 accused for lack of evidence. The ten were arrested by Frazer town police in the city in 2002. They were in judicial custody and were subsequently granted bail by Supreme Court and Karnataka High Court. Two others arrested in the case died some years ago.

President Rajapaksa at ICAPP: Solutions to environmental problems must be equitable

May 31 (DN) Solutions to imminent environment problems must be equitable, President Rajapaksa said addressing the opening ceremony of the 2013 International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) Special Conference at the State Guest House of Shaanxi Province yesterday. "It is important to remember that the present situation is one which has been brought about by excessive consumption on the part of the industrialised more..

Rudra tells Thai PM to raise concerns

May 31 (CG) The self appointed ‘Prime Minister’ of the Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) and former senior LTTE member and peace negotiator Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, today urged the Prime Minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, to raise concerns over the war during her three day visit to Sri Lanka. Rudrakumaran told the Thai Premier in a statement that according to a UN report tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were killed in five months due to deliberate and more..

Ruhuna undergraduates clash

May 31 (Island) A clash between two student factions at the Ruhuna University resulted in three students suffering head injuries on Wednesday night at a hostel in Meddawatte, Matara. Secretary of the Students’ Council Jeewantha Vithanachchi told The Island that some undergraduates had brought thugs to assault them at the Vipul Edirirathne hostel around 8.45p.m. on Wednesday. "Around 20 villagers came with five students and assaulted us," Vithanachchi said, adding that more..

JHU pledges support to Bill on voting rights

May 31 (CT) JHU urged the govt to give voting rights to persons displaced from 1977, as the amendment to the Bill on the Registration of Voters Act, Article No. 4, serves to give voting rights to persons displaced since 1983. General Secretary of the JHU, Minister Champika Ranawaka, in a surprise statement, declared his party would support the amendment to the Registration of Voters Act, Article No.4, to be more..

Mass protest against placing Buddha statue

May 31 (CT) A mass protest urging those concerned to desist from using the statue of The Buddha as a symbol of anarchy, was held in Batticaloa on Wednesday, with the participation of TNA Parliamentarians from the Batticaloa District, Eastern Provincial Councillors, members of local bodies and civilians. The protest was staged to prevent the erection of a statue of The Buddha at the gateway to the Batticaloa District, in front of a temple of the Hindu deity, Lord Ganesha. more..

Debt market makes positive strides with maiden 30-year bond auction

May 31 (FT) In a move that will help Sri Lanka’s Treasury bond markets by way of developing its long-term yield curve, the Public Debt Department (PDD) of Central Bank yesterday successfully auctioned its first-ever 30-year bond maturity. Wealth Trust Securities said an amount of Rs. 3 billion was accepted at the auction at a weighted average of 12.50% from bids of Rs. 6 billion received. In line with this activity in secondary bond markets picked up yesterday, more..

CEB losses mount due to questionable overhaul

May 31 (Island) Amidst a huge public outcry over the massive electricity tariff increase and allegations and counter-allegations of super-sized corruption in the CEB, plans are underway to spend more than Rs. 500 million on overhauling four diesel generators at the Sapugaskanda Stage I. CEB Engineers said that the generators were currently operating at the normal level and delivering 16MW of power each. The planned overhaul was more..

It’s people stupid, not the Constitution

May 31 (DM) The UNP has come up with an all new Constitution claiming that the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime had desecrated all the checks and balances ensured in the second Republican Constitution adopted in 1978 under the J.R. Jayewardene regime. According to the UNP the present Constitution has been amended so many times the way the rulers wanted and does not reflect or ensure the aspirations of the average Sri Lankans. The key features of the draft Constitution proposed more..

Fervour that ended in a fatal fire

May 31 (DM) A week ago, he was virtually unknown. Today, he is famous but is also dead. That is the tragic fate of Bowatte Indarathana Thera, the Buddhist monk who set himself alight near the Dalada Maligawa on Vesak Poya Day and later succumbed to the extensive burn injuries he sustained. Self-immolation as a form of protest, though seen in India is a novelty in this country. Hence the incident attracted much attention not only for the cause the monk supposedly espoused more..

Narcotics: The silent killer haunting the schools in Sri Lanka

May 31 (DM) The JHU MP, Athuraliye Rathana Thera expressed concern that popular national schools in Sri Lanka has seen an unusual spike in narcotic usage among students in the recent months. Not stopping at Colombo schools, various types of narcotics have also started claiming young lives in rural areas as well, he said. Upon learning this, DM investigated the trends in narcotic usage among school children, more..

The man who stepped into Murali's shoes

May 31 (CI) Around 2.30pm on July 2, 2009, Rangana Herath was preparing to go to the gym on a day off from training with his Staffordshire club. Had he left without his phone half an hour earlier, he might still be kicking around the first-class circuit. Sri Lanka might still be awaiting their first Test win since Muttiah Muralitharan's retirement. Their biggest away win in 13 years might never have transpired. He remembers the day clearly, more..

Mental health checks for all prisoners

May 31 (Island) The govt has decided to check the mental health of all prisoners countrywide as it has been revealed that most of them are suffering from depression and stress. According to a top official, prisoners are depressed due to long periods of incarceration and drug addiction. Many of them are also addicted to liquor. Prison officials, including the Commissioner General of Prisons, held a discussion with Director General of Health more..

Sri Lanka opens embassy

May 31 (GDN) SRI Lanka took another step into the Gulf yesterday with the official opening of its first-ever embassy in Bahrain. The new mission could soon be followed by a school that would specifically cater to around 600 Sri Lankan children living with their parents in Bahrain. It is part of a new effort to enhance diplomatic ties between Bahrain and Sri Lanka, an up-and-coming player on the Asian stage. "The setting up of the more..

Tourist arrivals at variance with occupancy

May 31 (SL) For a country recording an impressive million tourists in the last year alone, allegations are rampant that the hospitality industry is lagging behind in meeting the high end needs of the Western traveller. Questions have been raised about whether the training given to hotel staff, the standards maintained by the star class hotels and the accessibility to certain tourist hot spots are sufficient. Although sales at regular tourist more..

Homagama District Judge remanded

May 31 (Island) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya yesterday evening remanded Homagama District Judge Sunil Abeysinghe till June 3, on an allegation of bribery. The officials of the CIAOBC produced the District Judge before the Magistrate at the latter’s residence late yesterday evening claiming that he had been nabbed red-handed accepting a bribe of Rs. 300,000 from a businessman. more..

No solution under a unitary state: TNA

May 31 (DM) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) does not believe in a power sharing arrangement under a unitary state, TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah said yesterday. “Under a unitary rule, it is not possible to find solutions to the national question,” he told a news conference held at the Jaffna Press Institute. “Power sharing under a unitary system is questionable in today’s context of domination by Buddhist extremists.” more..

Signature campaign by NFF

May 31 (CT) The NFF will be collecting signatures from the public commencing 3 June, for a petition demanding the 13th Amendment to the Constitution be abolished. NFF member, Piyasiri Wijenayake, said a petition which is against elections that would give those coming to power in the North, control over land and the police, will be signed in all parts of the country, for 10 days, beginning next week. more..

Upgraded Jaffna hospital offers full-service facility

May 31 (KSA) Selvam Jesudasan, 53, admitted his 12-year-old son to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital (JTH) on April 12th with an infected leg. Doctors prescribed minor surgery – which led Jesudasan to worry it would not be done in a timely manner. When Jesudasan was small, the hospital lacked sufficient facilities, leading to routine delays. Now, JTH has been renovated, thanks to financial assistance from Japan. more..