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Tragedy of Indian politics today

Feb 23 (SL) The imbroglio that resulted among the New Delhi govt, the Tamil Nadu state led by its Chief Minister Jeyaram Jayalalitha and the Supreme Court caused a constitutional crisis which was stalled by the ruling of the Supreme Court but unless the basic issues that precipitated the crisis are resolved, it is likely to repeat itself. Sri Lanka is naturally concerned because we are in the eye of the storm and it is incumbent on the part of the Indian govt to resolve this crisis. more..

'Think and work as one nation'

Feb 23 (SO) Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon said if we all think and work as one Sri Lankan nation, we can find solutions to our internal problems. The Minister in an interview with the Sunday Observer said if people were divided based on ethnicity, various problems may crop up. If we don't think as one nation, these problems will multiply. All official documents should identify us as Sri Lankans. more..

The allure of one-upmanship

Feb 23 (NS) Last Thursday, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella claimed that ‘friendly nations’ will move a counter-resolution to the one the US is to table at the UNHRC which, among other things, it is reported, would call for an international probe on alleged war crimes. Now if there are friendly nations whose friendship is so strong as to and who are powerful enough to take on the USA and its allies in Europe on behalf of Sri Lanka, then this country is fortunate indeed. On the other hand, more..

The landmark judgment

Feb 23 (Island) Memories are notoriously short in this country and former CJ Shirani Bandaranayake, unceremoniously and in the perception of many, unfairly and unjustly impeached by Parliament, returned briefly to the public gaze on Friday when a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the determination of a three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal that had granted a writ quashing the findings of a Parliamentary Select Committee that sealed her fate. more..

'We are not terrorists'

Feb 23 (SL) NPC member Anandi Saseetharan, wife of former LTTE Trincomalee District political head S. Elilan, has been very active on the human rights issue ahead of the UNHRC session in Geneva. Saseetharan visited Geneva recently to draw attention to, what she says are the concerns of Tamils in the North. Saseetharan has, meanwhile, come under criticism by the Govt for her actions, with some even saying she, together with more..

North; Diaspora and India

Feb 23 (ST) Hot on the heels of passing a resolution in support of an international war crimes investigation in Sri Lanka, the NPC has passed a resolution calling for direct flights to India from Jaffna and Trincomalee (the latter is not even in the Northern Province and therefore outside the Council’s jurisdiction). Resolution also called for Kankesanturai to be developed into a major commercial port so that trade with India could be vastly increased. more..

Jaya’s poll dance with Rajiv killers

Feb 23 (ST) My Dear Jayalalithaa, I am writing to you because I heard you had taken action to order the release of those who were responsible for the killing of your former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. I must say that you took me by surprise, even though I know that you sometimes act in curious ways. I heard that while some are praising your decision, others are criticising it heavily. What they don’t realise is that, at first, this was not your idea at all. Most people seem to have forgotten that more..

'Economic embargoes should not be imposed on Sri Lanka'

Feb 23 (CT) Dr. Baheerathan Amirthalingam, son of late TULF Leader, A. Amirthalingam, strongly opposes any attempt to impose economic embargoes on Sri Lanka and says the US-sponsored resolution to be brought against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva can badly affect the ordinary people in the country. "The country is limping back to normalcy after three decades of war. The economy was in a very bad shape. more..

There is a raging battle down the alleyways of memory

Feb 23 (NS) When do wars end? Do they end with surrender, with military annihilation of protagonist, the recovery of livelihoods, reconstruction of houses, hospitals, schools, return of the displaced, erasing off things with military signature, free and fair elections and a shaking of hands all around? Do wars end that way, ever, though? Isn’t it true that the wars that have truly ‘ended’ for all practical purposes those which are beyond recall and whose identity-ties have been smudged by more..

A surprising no-confidence motion

Feb 23 (NS) UNP, surprised everyone by handing over a No-Confidence motion against the govt on the last sitting day of the parliament week. The motion, signed by 31 MPs was handed over to General Secretary of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake on Friday by Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga. It was the day allocated for the vote of condolence on former Minister Festus Perera. Amaratunga, participating in the debate, said Festus Perera was a teetotaler and more..

Power cuts imminent post election?

Feb 23 (CT) The dry weather prevailing in the country is to continue for two-three more weeks until the inter-monsoon period begins. According to the Met. Department, dry weather is expected this time of the year and can have adverse impacts on hydropower generation, drinking water supply and the agriculture sector. Electricity workers' trade unions noted that due to the decrease in hydropower generation, more..

That elusive ‘internal inquiry’ into war crimes

Feb 23 (Island) There seems to be a school of thought in the country that the govt should heed the calls made by the Western powers for an internal inquiry into allegations of human rights violations during the last few months of the war. The UNP put out a special statement the week before last, blaming the govt for not heeding the call of the ‘international community’ for an internal inquiry. They drew attention to the fact that President Rajapaksa himself pledged to the UN more..

A Pleasure Island to rise from the Deep Sea

Feb 23 (Island) A fear that was niggling the mind for a couple of years, that is soon after the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port and the Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksa Airport were completed was that a piece of land was to be raised from the Indian Ocean adjacent to Galle Face Green. With the economy not being robust, (truth to tell ailing) we surmised this project was shelved. But no; the fear is confirmed. No less than Ranil Wickremasinghe, Leader of the Opposition, raised the question: more..

Personality clashes galore!

Feb 23 (SL) Just five weeks ahead of the Geneva Human Rights battle, President Rajapaksa decided to include Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe in the delegation that visits Geneva for the 25th session of the UNHRC. Samarasinghe, a former diplomat, has led Sri Lankan delegations to Geneva on two occasions amidst serious challenges from the international community over alleged war crimes and human rights violations during more..

Musical chairs again at the Tax Dept.

Feb 23 (ST) Several senior changes have been made at the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) just before the impending retirement of the Commissioner General Mallika Samarasekara, official sources said, triggering concern that an irregular appointment would be made. Ms. Samarasekera’s appointment in 2011 was smooth compared to earlier when trade unions opposed the appointment of outsiders to this key post. K.A.P. Kaluarachchi, Deputy Commissioner General more..

Scaled down, Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort to be ready soon !

Feb 23 (ST) Hong Kong-based Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort and Spa is to be completed by the end of this year or early next year by scaling down construction work under the first phase of the project, informed sources said. “Pressure exerted by a top politician” is leading to the construction work being concluded haphazardly, and may result in a reduction of the number of rooms in the new hotel to 50 or 150 depending on the urgency to finish the project by the top authorities, more..

Tax holiday request from Ansell Lanka rejected

Feb 23 (ST) Sri Lanka’s BOI has turned down a fresh application for tax concessions from Ansell Lanka Ltd to increase production through a new expansion plan, officials said. The reason for the rejection of the tax concessions for Ansell Lanka, the local subsidiary of world renowned glove manufacturer Ansell Ltd of Australia, was its failure to settle a workers’ dispute that has dragged on for the past four months, a official of BOI disclosed. more..

Fissures in Fonseka’s party

Feb 23 (NS) Resignation of Sanjeewa Samarasinghe, the Media Coordinator of the Democratic Party (DP) led by former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, has brought to the fore simmering internal conflicts. Samarasinghe, who was in the party from the very beginning, said that his decision to quit was prompted by a palpable absence of democracy within the party. He claimed that he left the party almost two weeks ago on account of being disgruntled about more..

Ajhan Brahmavamso here for Poson

Feb 23 (Island) Ajhan Brahmavamso, now a household name in Sri Lanka, will be here on a brief visit during Poson Poya amidst his busy schedule. Ajahn Brahm Society Sri Lanka is planning to make the best use of his short stay by planning a series of Dhamma talks and discussions at a few locations both in and around Colombo and in the South, the organizers said. "In order to give an opportunity for a large number to listen to Ajahn Bram in Colombo, arrangements are being made to more..

Port City developer defends itself vigorously

Feb 23 (Island) China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC), handling the mega Colombo Port City Development, issued a detailed statement titled "Clarification on the Colombo Port City Project" vigorously defending itself against various allegations and statements recently made against the company. Writing from an office on the West Tower of the World Trade Centre at Echelon Square, CHEC Port City Company more..

BT-RCB poll on Geneva: You can take part!

Feb 23 (ST) A resolution against Sri Lanka is being moved at next month’s UNHRC Sessions in Geneva, demanding an international inquiry into alleged violations of international human rights in Sri Lanka. The Govt says it is confident of defeating the resolution through its supporters on the UN HRC council. However concern is rising on what impact it would have, if passed, on the social, cultural and economic fabric of Sri Lanka. What do you think? We would like your views by responding to more..

Wanathamulla residents to vote for JVP

Feb 23 (CT) Wanathamulla residents yesterday said they have all unanimously decided to vote for the JVP at the upcoming WPC elections. Secretary of Wanathamulla Housing Protection Society, P. Damayanthi, said the residents are grateful to the JVP for being with them right through the misfortune that has besieged their community. "We cannot forget their help during our bad times and it is because of them the issue has reached Parliament today. We will always be grateful," more..

Police name Harry J

Feb 23 (SL) Businessman Harry Jayawardena has been named by the Police’s Commercial Fraud Unit of the CID in connection with a complaint that a forged document was supplied to the Gibraltar based bank ‘S G Hambros’. The businessman, who has been in the news on a variety of subjects, is accused by the complainant of having forged a letter purporting it to have been issued by the Company Secretaries. more..

Eye Hospital’s lightening arrestor goes missing: Union wants probe

Feb 23 (Island) The All Ceylon Nurses Union yesterday complained that a lightening arrestor installed at a cost of over Rs. 1.5 million at the Colombo Eye Hospital had gone missing a few days ago. This has endangered equipment worth hundreds of million rupees in the hospital’s operating theatre and examination rooms. A crisis has emerged in the use of this valuable equipment sans the lightening arrestor, which protected them during inclement weather, more..

New heads take over duties in key government medical institutions

Feb 23 (Island) Several new heads have assumed duties in key govt medical institutions with the annual transfer of senior administrative grade medical officers with effect from Feb 1, 2014. The applications received have been processed by the transfer board in accordance with the merit list, says Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka, Secretary to the Health Ministry in a general circular to all provincial secretaries of health services, and provincial and regional directors, directors and more..

Sobhitha Thera claims Two ministerial brats cleared two containers

Feb 23 (CT) Sons of two leading govt ministers were directly involved in the clearance of two containers, in the past two weeks, that possibly contained narcotics, weapons and ethanol, a leading Buddhist monk charged. Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera, Leader of the JHU, said that the govt has converted this vital institution – Sri Lanka Customs – into a den of corruption that carries out the dictates of politicians and more..

Udaya Sri Kariyawasam Circumvents Presidential Investigation

Feb 23 (NS) Udaya Sri Kariyawasam, an official who has been identified as an unsuitable person to function as the head of any public sector institute by an investigation conducted by the Presidential Investigation Unit (PIU) in 2007, continues to function as the Chairman of Janatha Estate Development Board (JEDB). Kariyawasam is a former employee of Bank of Ceylon. JEDB employees who spoke to The Nation on the condition of anonymity contend that not only more..

UDA on a building spree within Colombo city

Feb 23 (ST) A string of development projects in Colombo, initiated by the UDA, is under way, with some of them already under construction, while others are ready for launch. UDA Chairman Nimal Perera said that the projects include mixed developments that will have hotels, apartments, shopping complexes and a floating market. He said that some of them will be developed with foreign investments, and others with local funding. He said that some of the projects will help ease more..

Duty-free vehicles filled with black money

Feb 23 (ST) Money launderers are paying premium prices and buying up duty-free vehicle permits. The trend, which came to light at a top level conference of Central Bank and Customs officials, had prompted them to examine whether advertising of such permits should be banned. A duty-free permit to import a vehicle now fetches a profit of between Rs. 800,000 and Rs. 1 million. “We are trying to prevent persons more..

Two more popular milk products under scrutiny

Feb 23 (SO) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has called for an immediate investigation of two popular milk products following increasing complaints from the public. “We have received a number of complaints from the public, including prominent hoteliers and restaurants in the city on the low quality of these two brands which are found in most supermarkets.” “We have ordered an immediate investigation and asked our officers to get samples of the two brands. more..

CID questions CIFL depositor on Geneva issue

Feb 23 (ST) The CID has recorded a statement from an official of the CIFL Deposit Holders’ Association about a letter in which he reportedly said he would take the woes of depositors to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The association’s Secretary P.K. Mahindapala was summoned by the CID on Tuesday. He was shown two letters that he is alleged to have written and sent. The first was addressed to the Central Bank, the second to Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga. more..

Foot-and-mouth in five districts

Feb 23 (ST) Amid an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease spreading in 5 districts; Anuradhapura, Puttalam, Trincomalee, Ampara and Vavuniya, health authorities have been directed to ban all forms of meat other than poultry and introduce other stringent measures. Also brought under the ban is the Divisional Secretary’s Division in the Mullaitivu District. All meat stalls selling beef, pork and mutton will be closed down with immediate effect. more..

Film on Sri Lankan war screened

Feb 23 (Hindu) As part of their effort to mobilise public opinion in favour of the US resolution against Sri Lanka and for urging India to move a resolution seeking an independent inquiry into the war crimes in the last moments of civil war, Youths and Students Federation screened Callum Macrae’s film, No Fire Zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka, followed by an interaction over Skype with him. “Our objective is to educate the people so that the Indian govt will not fall prey to the designs of Sri Lanka more..

Employment Authority to regulate foreign jobs

Feb 23 (ST) The Govt is to set up an Employment Migration Authority to regulate the foreign employment sector – the single largest source of foreign exchange for the country. A new law setting up this body will replace the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Act which has been in force for the past 28 years. During this period, the number of Sri Lankans employed abroad had risen from 14,456 in 1986 to 282,331 in 2012, according to Minister Dilan Perera. more..

Pillay report next week: Western powers likely to base resolution on it

Feb 23 (ST) Even the help of deities is being sought to defeat the latest United States backed resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva next month. President Rajapaksa flew from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya in his Air Force helicopter on Friday to take part in a special Pooja according to Hindu rites. Ten-day long ritual including the lighting up of the sacrificial fire has been playing out at the private residence of more..

Lesson’s from GTF’s Geneva stunner

Feb 23 (CT) In a worryingly portentous assessment of how things will pan out in Geneva, come the crucial UNHRC vote in March, the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has claimed, as revealed in Friday's issue of this paper, that 23 countries (all named) would vote for the US sponsored resolution, and that the resolution would be based on the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay. When one considers the work put in by the GTF to arrive at the conclusion, the emerging more..

Search for new National Water Policy smacks of old top heavy, top down approach

Feb 23 (Island) It is good that the govt is embarking on a new National Water Policy development. But it is not so good that the development of the new policy appears to be following the old top heavy and top down approach. It is also surprising that the Ministry of Land and Land Development is taking the lead on this matter and has placed full-page newspaper advertisements soliciting public input to the process of policy development. The process itself will apparently be directed by more..

Passengers tell of terrible experience on diverted SriLankan Airlines flight

Feb 23 (ST) Feedback is pouring in on our story last week about SriLankan Airlines flight UL195 that was diverted from New Delhi to Jaipur for refuelling. Aircraft reached its destination three hours past the scheduled time of arrival on Feb 12. New Delhi-bound flight carried some high profile personalities, including Indian High Commission diplomats, a well-known book publisher and a multi-millionaire businessman. more..

Power crisis but CEB halts new power sources

Feb 23 (ST) The CEB, just as Sri Lanka struggles through a drought and faces possible power cuts, is rejecting applications for new power sources that could increase the country’s total energy capacity by around 800%. Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA) officials said that the CEB has stopped accepting new wind and solar projects due to technical issues in the national grid and their unstable nature. more..

'Sri Lanka bank in talks with Paypal for inward payments'

Feb 23 (LBO) A bank in Sri Lanka is in talks with US-based Paypal to become its partner bank for inward remittances, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. Sri Lanka allows outward payments through Paypal via credit cards, but receipts and withdrawals from a domestic bank account are still not allowed. Cabraal promised to free inward payments last year saying Sri Lanka must move with the times. At a meeting with foreign correspondents more..