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The collapsed house of Norwegian cards

Dec 1 (DM) After the Portuguese had brutalized the country, Queyroz said that the Sinhalese were "pride itself"; and think only they in the world "observed and maintained the art of government, cleanliness and propriety and that all the other nations are barbarous, low and wanting in cleanliness and propriety - especially Europeans." He said the Sinhalese considered those who do not eat as they do are the lowest and those who do not wash properly "neither clean nor proper" more..

Devolution is not about decentralization

Dec 1 (DM) Going by published accounts since the commencement of the talks on January 10, the two sides would side-step pitfalls and potholes until they have been able to remove mutual mistrust that had been the bane of political negotiations on the ethnic issue over the past decades. Taken to its logical conclusion, it would also mean that there could be -- and would have to be -- some give-and-take on issues that are contentious and controversial. more..

Sri Lankan women human rights defenders: Linking past and present challenges

Dec 1 (GV) As another year begins to draw to a close on post-war Sri Lanka, we can take stock of which changes, or the lack of change, we see around us. The full scope of human rights are still not available to civilians living in areas formerly controlled by the LTTE, which are now tightly controlled by the Sri Lankan armed forces, with strong restrictions prevailing on their right to move freely and their right to assemble, amongst other fundamental rights. more..

Reply to the Rebuttal of my article by the SJC87 Initiative

Dec 1 (GV) I welcome the statement by the SJC87 Initiative rebutting my aspersions about this charity. The primary focus of my research note was the contents and the publicity material of the book by Niromi de Soyza (nom de guerre). The SJC87 Initiative came into scrutiny because of the claim by the author of the Tamil Tigress that this is a charity of her “alma mater”. I stand by my claim and some of the attendees at the literary festival where Niromi made that more..

University malady, military remedy!

Dec 1 (Island) "A remedy as dangerous as the malady" is the heading of an open letter in The Island of 17th November 2011. It is addressed by Jayantha Dhanapala to our university teachers. Holding as he currently does the position adorned by Bertrand Russell, who founded the Pugwash Movement in 1957, JD commands the respectful attention of all serious- minded citizens in our country. In his judgment, "…what is needed as we face the current challenges of development more..

Budget 2012: BOLD step to depreciate rupee

Dec 1 (LB) Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) Dr. Saman Kelegama analyzing the 2012 budget and says that there will be a one-off increase in domestic prices of imported goods, but this is an increase in the Cost of Living (CoL), and not inflation. For it to become inflation, these increases have to be repeated over and over again for several months. The Central Bank, through prudent monetary policy should ensure that more..

Movements for change, ethics of resistance – I

Dec 1 (Island) The book that I wrote entails reflections on the ethics of violence as part of political transformation. It did not come entirely out of an academic exercise. It came as the result of an attempt to apply ideas and also to reflect on action and the deflection of those ideas by reality. Sri Lanka as you know has been a very violent place and in 1989 when the civil war in El Salvador was at its peak, the prestigious periodical, The Economist (London) referred to Sri Lanka as more..

Comment on Norwegian evaluation of their peace efforts in SL

Dec 1 (Island) The report commissioned by the Norwegian Govt titled "Pawns of Peace – Evaluation of Norwegian Peace Efforts in Sri Lanka 1997- 2009 answers some of the questions sought by the Sri Lankan Govt’s LLRC. The key answers sought by the LLRC were: "The facts and circumstances which led to the failure of the ceasefire agreement operationalized on 21st February, 2002…; Whether any person, group or institution directly or indirectly bear responsibility in this regard; more..

Sri Lanka’s first highway, ‘Southern Expressway’ opens

Dec 1 (NS) Sri Lanka’s first highway of the country’s proposed highway network system, the ‘Southern Expressway’, numbered as E-01, connecting country’s capital city and the Southern Provincial city, Matara via major cities of Western and Southern Provinces is ready for its operation from today. Sri Lanka’s proposed highway network system as per RDA’s current plans consists of five highways namely, more..

Editorial: Of that jumbo protest

Dec 1 (Island) All it takes for dictatorships to emerge is lack of democratic resistance. Governments with steamroller majorities bent on subjugating the rule of law, freedom of expression, right to dissent, media freedom––the whole enchilada––to the whims and fancies of ruling party potentates intoxicated with power, must be resisted with might and main for the wellbeing of democracy. Oppositional forces must remain active all the time and react at the first sign of trouble. more..

‘Female’ tusker report to be verified before news can be trumpeted

Dec 1 (ST) The “hot” news in the wildlife circuit last week was that a female tusker had been spotted in the Yala National Park. Only male Asian elephants have tusks, and only a small percentage of male Asian elephants have tusks. So the reported sighting of a “female elephant with tusks” has naturally caused a stir, sparking debate among wildlife experts and even prompting search parties to go in pursuit of the unlikely creature. The idea of a young “female tusker” becomes more..

Reintegration of Tigers to society nearing completion – IOM

Dec 1 (Island) A project, spearheaded by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to rehabilitate those who had fought for the LTTE is nearing completion, with Japan, too, throwing its weight behind the programme. The IOM launched the project in the East in early 2009 and subsequently expanded it to the Northern Province, the home for the majority of ex-LTTE combatants and support personnel. more..

Ex-minister Abdul Majeed no more

Dec 1 (DN) Veteran Politician of the East M.A. Abdul Majeed, 85, passed away at the Sammanthurai Base Hospital on Tuesday after a brief illness. Late Abdul Majeed who hails from a family in Vanniya in Sammanthurai entered local politics in 1954 and was elected chairman for the Sammanthurai Town Council till 1960 and thereafter took to National Politics. Late Majeed contested the Pottuvil seat in March 1960 and in July 1960, 1965 and 1970 and won the seat. more..

Security Forces occupied lands for rightful owners

Dec 1 (DN) A discussion was held at Jaffna District Secretariat on November 18 chaired by Minister Douglas Devananda concerning the returning of houses and property and public places in Jaffna district, at present occupied by the Security Forces and Police, to the rightful owners. The Divisional Secretaries presented to the minster details pertaining to private and public properties occupied by the Army, Navy and Police in their respective administrative areas. more..

Navy officer granted bail

Dec 1 (DM) A navy officer who was held in remand custody for more than a year for allegedly selling 270,600 litres of diesel valued at Rs.21.9 million belonging to the Navy to private filling stations was released on bail by a Colombo Court yesterday. The suspect, G. Siri Lal Ranjith of Ruwanwella and another six suspects including three navy personnel, two CPC employees and two fuel filling station owners were arrested by CID for committing an offence more..

Awareness on cyber security for schools

Dec 1 (Island) The Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Responses Team (SLCERT) has conducted an awareness programme on cyber security for school children in order to create awareness among them. SLCERT official Rohana Palliyaguru said that the awareness programme had already been conducted in Royal College Colombo and the Teachers’ Training Institute Rathnapura. The SLCERT next step is to host an awareness programme on cyber security for the officials of the more..

Bus owners not satisfied with 2.2 pc hike

Dec 1 (Island) Private Transport Ministry Secretary Victor Samaraweera said that Minister C. B. Ratnayaka had already submitted a private bus fare revision to the Cabinet for approval with a 2.2 per cent increase. When contacted, Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne said LPBOA would never agree to a 2.2 per cent hike as it wanted an increase of 3.5 per cent. Samaraweera said that at the last meeting Minister C. B. Ratnayaka more..

Documents confirming SL’s ownership of Kach tabled

Dec 1 (Island) The Govt yesterday tabled in Parliament the two agreements signed between India and Sri Lanka in 1974 and 1976 under which Sri Lanka’s sovereignty over the Kachchativu island was confirmed. The agreements were tabled in response to a question raised by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayaka about various claims made by some Indian politicians asserting an Indian claim over the island. "Kachchativu was not given or ceded to Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka seeks more banking services

Dec 1 (TS) Banks have a plethora of opportunities to uncover in Sri Lanka as its economic recovery calls for ambitious plans in the coming years. In particular, Sri Lanka is opening its door to banks that have the capacity for additional investment for infrastructure development, ability to facilitate remittances and bring credit to the SME sector. Sri Lanka Central Bank governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said the country welcomed banks which could fulfill services for any or more..

Wimal wants Ranil suspended

Dec 1 (Island) Minister Wimal Weerawansa yesterday called for the suspension from Parliament of Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for removing his tie inside the Chamber on Tuesday, in protest when he was disallowed from making a statement in the House. Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkoday said he would inquire into the matter and see if Opposition Leader Wickremesinghe had acted in violation of Standing Orders by his actions. The Opposition Leader removed his tie as more..

Lankan worker stabbed to death in UK

Dec 1 (Mirror) Police hunting the killer of a Sri Lankan shopkeeper, who was stabbed to death as he worked, are scouring CCTV footage. The 30-year-old victim, who has not yet been named, was knifed in the neck during the attack at the Liverpool shop at around 9pm on Tuesday night He was found collapsed inside Stanley News and Wines on Kingsway, Huyton, and died at Whiston Hospital a short time later. Merseyside Police said the motive for the murder remains more..

Sri Lanka HC in Kuala Lumpur celebrates Deepavali

Dec 1 (Island) The Sri Lanka High Commission in Kuala Lumpur celebrated Deepavali at the High Commission premises recently with a gathering of representatives of all communities living in Malaysia and mainly the Tamil community. Deepavali is the most significant festival celebrated by the Hindu Tamil community in Malaysia. The colourful event was attended by around hundred and fifty participants including a cross-section of the Sri Lanka origin as well as more..

Gold worth Rs 1 bn seized from smugglers in 15 years

Dec 1 (Island) Gold worth around 1,028 million rupees had been seized from smugglers during the 15-year period, from 1994 to 2010, Parliament was told. Deputy Minister Geethanjana Gunawardena said that Gold worth around Rs 308 million had been seized while being smuggled into the country. A total stock of gold worth Rs 720 million had been taken into custody while being smuggled out of the country. Responding to a question raised by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera, more..

MPs take aim at Sri Lanka minister over dumped coconuts

Dec 1 (BBC) A govt minister has come under fire over the fate of thousands of Indian coconuts. Questioned in parliament, internal trade minister Johnston Fernando admitted that 22,500 coconuts had been dumped in the sea last year. They were imported because of a shortage in Sri Lanka but the scarcity had subsided by the time the nuts arrived, the house was told. They were then thrown in the ocean so as not to compete with local producers. more..

GMOA against PGIM stopping Consultant training

Dec 1 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers Association (GMOA) yesterday objected to the draconian law, practiced by the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM), in stopping training of Consultants. The GMOA pointed out that only 1,000 Consultants were serving the medical profession for a population of 20 million. Due to the dearth of adequate Consultants, long queues, both in the public and private sector hospitals, were a common scene. The GMOA had decided to request more..

Coats Thread upbeat on Sri Lanka apparel prospects

Dec 1 (JS) Coats Thread Exports, the largest domestic producer of thread for Sri Lanka's export apparel makers, says the local industry will most probably weather the economic slowdown in major western markets without too much pain. Giles Watkins, who took over as managing director of UK based Coats Plc's Sri Lanka operations in December 2010, told just-style that Sri Lanka's garment industry has a number of strengths that will help see it through the hard times that lie ahead. more..

Budget second reading passed

Dec 1 (Island) The second reading stage of the Budget 2012 was passed in Parliament yesterday by a majority of 91 votes. The Budget proposals received 151 votes in favour and 60 against. The number of seats in support of the govt increased by one with UNP MP Mohanlal Grero voting for the budget and crossing over to Govt side. When the time for the vote was announced by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga requested a division by name. more..

Agrarian Tribunals to settle Anda govi grievances

Dec 1 (Island) The Govt has decided to set up Agrarian Tribunals, on a district basis, to hear over 4,500 complaints from farmers. The majority of these complaints have come from tenant farmers (Anda goviyo) in the Ratnapura district. Following representations made to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, by tenant farmers over the years, on injustices meted out to them by landlords, he had directed Minister S.M. Chandrasena to submit the necessary amendments to more..

UNP to take disciplinary action against Grero

Dec 1 (Island) The UNP is to take disciplinary action against Mohan Lal Grero who crossed over to the government yesterday and was tipped to be appointed Deputy Education Minister. Chief Opposition Whip John Ameratunga told "The Island", that the UNP would exercise its rights by holding an inquiry into Grero’s conduct. Asked, as to what had led to the defection, Ameratunga while admitting that there were internal issues, said it could also be related to Grero’s business interests. more..

Land sale!

Dec 1 (FT) The Govt has decided to handover the city lands acquired under the contentious Revival Act to the UDA and the rest to be advertised for private sector. The modalities were discussed this week at the first ever meeting of Competent Authorities appointed for 37 enterprises that came under the Act. Sources said that apart from the lands in and around Colombo which will be assigned to the UDA, the rest would be opened up for competitive bidding with more..

Interest rates under pressure

Dec 1 (Island) Benchmark Treasury bill rates shot up for a second week as Central Bank intervention to keep the exchange rate steady at Rs.113.90 against the greenback is causing a liquidity crunch in the banking system with foreign banks holding a majority of excess liquidity in the system. These banks, and some state-owned banks, are unable to lend to their counterparts because of limit restrictions. Therefore these funds end up with the Central Bank overnight at more..

LLRC translation work soon

Dec 1 (Hindu) Work on translating the voluminous report of the committee that had studied the years since the collapse of the truce with the Tamil Tigers in 2002 to the end of the war in 2009 is set to begin soon. One official in the know said the report prepared by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, which submitted its report to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on November 20, will be presented to Parliament in three languages — English, Tamil and Sinhalese. more..

Govt. employing Neo-liberal economic policies: UNP

Dec 1 (DM) Features of neo-liberal economic policies are visible under the Mahinda Chinthana policies more than ever despite repeated denials in this regard, the UNP charged in Parliament. Making his remarks during the budget debate, UNP MP Kabir Hashim said though President Mahinda Rajapaksa struck a note of criticism over the open market economic policies introduced by late President J.R. Jayewardene in 1977, the present govt had liberalised more..

Sri Lanka port gets U$15mn cement plant

Dec 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka has approved a 15.6 million US dollar cement plant by Pakistan's Thatta cement to be built on an industrial zone next to Hambantota port in the island's south. Sri Lanka Ports Authority chairman said the cabinet of ministers had approved the plant this week. The industrial zone had already attracted a chemical plant from Singapore's Peak Energy (Pvt) Ltd which will invest 434.5 million US dollars which will build a PET resin plant and more..

Sexual allegations against Kandy CI

Dec 1 (DM) Kandy Chief Magistrate Udaya Karalliyadde allowed an application for anticipatory bail by a Chief Inspector of Police attached to the Kandy Police Special Crimes Investigation Division, since he fears that on an allegation of sexual harassment on a Woman Sub Inspector has been lodged and he submitted that he fears he would be arrested and remanded. The application was made by Attorney's at Law Channa Gallapathige, Nanda Senanayake, Upalli Bogahapitiya and more..

Sri Lanka Budget: A case for a govt that can be satisfied with a little mean

Dec 1 (SL) I am indebted to Lord Buddha for borrowing an idea to coin the above caption. Buddha said “ Human beings should be satisfied with a fewer means”. When I look into the subject of macroeconomics I was amazed that what Lord Buddha had said is highly applicable to the government as well. According to macroeconomics a country needs a government that can be satisfied with a little means (Ratata Sudusu Pahasuwen Poshanaya Kolaheki Aanduwak). more..

Tamil Media the worse wretched failure in Lanka

Dec 1 (LB) A text of the speech delivered by Noel Nadesan at the National Reconciliation Seminar held at the Kadirgarmar Institute: When things go wrong in society, not only politicians but media too has to accept its share of blame. They are both interconnected and dependent on each other for survival. This makes them equally responsible for what happens in society. And as we look forward to reconciliation there is no doubt that media has to play more..

Ranil first declines and later makes statement

Dec 1 (ST) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe declined to make a special statement in Parliament this morning despite getting Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa’s permission to do so saying that he did not agree with the manner in which the statement has been amended. However later on in the day, while participating in the committee stage debate of the Budget, Mr.Wickremesinghe read out the statement which had ran into controversy over more..

COPE report presented in parliament

Dec 1 (DM) The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) which examined the financial performance at 229 state institutions today presented its report to Parliament highlighting, among others, that some Ministry secretaries had failed to deliver their duties as the chief accounting officers of their respective ministries in controlling financial irregularities, frauds and malpractices. The COPE chaired by Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara has identified 40 institutions as ones running at a loss at the moment. more..

Rs. 3.5 bn in compensation for workers

Dec 1 (Island) One hundred and seventy employees of the recently leased out Embilipitiya Paper Corporation, who have been laid off under a voluntary retirement scheme, were compensated yesterday. A sum in excess of Rs. 3.5 billion had been allocated to compensate the aggrieved employees. Speaking at the event, Minister Dayasrita Tissera said that the govt had to lease out the Corporation to Australia’s Perth Engineering and Maintenance Company due to more..