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Editorial: When autumn winds buffet democracy

Nov 21 (Island) Democracy has perhaps come under threat more from its western defenders who systematically abuse and undermine it to further or protect their interests than from dictators. For, dictatorial rulers suppress democracy so flagrantly that people are jolted into rising against them––albeit with delay in most cases. But, duplicitous policies of pseudo champions of democracy who resort to undemocratic methods to safeguard their interests have led to a more..

It is Sri Lanaka’s good fortune that Norway became a failed facilitator

Nov 21 (TC) The official Norwegian assessment of its 12-year peace effort (1997-2009) in Sri Lanka titled “Pawns of Peace” is a mere surface scratch. The judge and the jury in the report being Norway, the fault lines are spread in other directions omitting to mention the more sensitive mistakes Norway made. The report is a whitewash of its Sri Lankan adventure. It could re-enact a repeat performance elsewhere due to a faulty analysis: that may prove costly to another more..

‘Get rid of PMG, we will end OT boycott’

Nov 21 (Island) Representatives of 17 postal trade unions with 22,000 members demand to know why the govt cannot sack Post Master General M.K.D. Dissanayake with over 21 corruption charges against him. It was indeed tragic that the govt was dilly-dallying on the issue while there was prima facie evidence of corruption against the PMG as determined by a three-member commission of inquiry chaired by retired High Court Judge Nihal de Silva, Media spokesman for more..

Political football: Debt management, tax administration contentious issues

Nov 21 (Island) As the country releases the Budget 2012 today, debt management and taxation would take centre stage as the debate commences with the govt yet to come to grips with these two burning issues. The controversial revival bill has also done a lot of damage and the govt would have to outline a clear and inspirational policy direction. Already, a senior tax official has said no tax concessions would be granted in Budget 2012 and Standard Chartered Bank too more..

Law strengthened to curb smoking in public places

Nov 21 (SO) The effort to circumvent the law by manufacturers of beedi producers has been thwarted following the decision of the Court of Appeal recently. Although white Beedi manufacturers argued that their product does not fall within the ambit of law under the Tobacco Tax Act No 8 of 1999 and Tobacco Tax (Amendment) Act No 9 of 2004, Courts have held that all Beedi production was governed by law. At a discussion held recently on the developments of law relating to more..

'Meet basic requirements of people before launching grandiose projects'

Nov 21 (Island) The parish priest of Yatiyana, Rev. Fr. Christopher Madurawela, yesterday strongly criticized the govt for making a bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Rev. Fr. Madurawela told a Sunday congregation at Walanagoda the post-war Sri Lanka was saved by the UPFA’s failure to beat Australia in spite of an expensive campaign. The government said that it spent $ 1 mn out of $ 8 mn cost of the campaign and the travelling expenses. more..

Ceylon Chamber wants taxation unchanged; clear and consistent investor, exporter friendly policies

Nov 21 (FT) The country’s premier private sector lobby, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has urged the Govt to retain the current taxation regime in addition to better facilitation of exports and investments. In a first-of-its-kind formal pre-Budget statement, the Chamber said that the Government introduced significant reforms to the taxation system with Budget 2011. “The Ceylon Chamber acknowledges that those reforms were largely in line with the more..

Police launches re-registration of Tamil residents in Colombo

Nov 21 (TN) Sri Lanka Police has launched re-registration of persons in Colombo district under Section 76 of the Police ordinance. Civil sources said police personnel are distributing forms to houses where Tamil families reside. However, the Police media spokesman Ajith Rohana told media persons when queried that all three communities have been asked to fill such forms for re-registration. The Police started distribution of forms on Saturday evening in Kotahena more..

Why Gen Sarath Fonseka was found guilty on the first charge

Nov 21 (TC) Excerpts of judgment by Deepali Wijesundara, President of the High Court Trial-at-Bar, and Judge Zulfikar Razeen. It should be considered whether the accused had an intention of disrupting the Government and creating unrest among the public. In the statement made in courts it was evident that he had a grudge against the President and the Defence Secretary. According to evidence given by the defendant, on July 12, 2009, more..

Payment of farmers’ pensions to resume

Nov 21 (Island) The Farmers’ Pension scheme which ran into a financial snag a fortnight ago would resume in December, an official from the Agriculture and Agrarian Insurance Board said. The scheme was suspended early this month due to the non-allocation of funds by the Treasury. "There was a delay of 15 days and the board will take immediate steps to pay farmers’ pensions through post offices countrywide," Chairperson of the Agricultural Insurance Board, Sumana Ariyadasa said. more..

University non-academics threaten continuous strike unless …

Nov 21 (Island) University non academic workers threaten to stage a continuous strike if their talks with Higher Education Secretary Dr. Sunil Navaratne tomorrow on the rectification of their salary anomalies fail. President of the Inter University Trade Union Federation R.M. Chandrapala said that the union’s executive committee had been scheduled to meet on Friday to decide when to commence the strike, but that meeting had been cancelled due to the ministry’s invitation. more..

Why Gen. Sarath Fonseka was found not guilty on all three charges

Nov 21 (TC) Excerpts of dissenting judgment by Judge W.T.M.P.B. Warawewa. This case is based on an interview the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka gave The Sunday Leader Editor Frederica Jansz in Dec 2010. Frederica Jansz is a journalist by profession who had begun her journalism career in 1990 with Viz News and then worked at The Sunday Times before moving to The Sunday Leader. After joining the Leader as an investigative journalist in 1999, more..

Underwater earthquake off Colombo

Nov 21 (Island) News reports of an underwater earthquake at a depth of 10 km in the Lakshadweep Sea about 341 km South South West of Colombo on Saturday triggered panic. The Hindu quoted authorities as having said no tsunami warning was issued. The seismograph at the Meteorology Centre here and the one of the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS) located at Peechi recorded the earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale. The quake occurred at 10 minutes past 4 pm. more..

SL team in Guruvayur to learn Kerala model

Nov 21 (TOI) An 11-member Sri Lankan team is on a tour of the state to study local governance here with the objective to emulate the same to emulate it in their country. The team visited the Guruvayur municipality, which implemented e-governance successfully, which earned it the World Bank's appreciation for the services provided through information technology. Guruvayur municipal chairman T T Sivadas said: "We shared our experience about e-governance, which we more..

'Sri Lanka expropriations will hurt economy'

Nov 21 (LBO) A Venezuela-style law to expropriate dozens of private enterprises will hurt the economy, undermine policy predictability and scare investors despite state assurances that it will be a 'one off', UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit said. "The Sri Lankan authorities have repeatedly tried to assure investors that this is a "one-off" measure which will not be repeated," EIU said in a risk analysis. "Unavoidably, however, the move undermines more..

Overproduction of eggs; small timers close down

Nov 21 (LB) Colombo egg prices retailed at a near rock-bottom low of Rs7.50 to Rs10 last week, and in contrast, in October last year eggs in Colombo’s main markets sold at around Rs20 each. Chairman, All Island Poultry Association (AIPA) Dr. D.D. Wanasinghe said that while the cost of production of an egg was around Rs8, big-time producers survived, often breaking even, but small-time producers hit by losses has resulted in some even closing down their business. more..

IMF team due to review economy

Nov 21 (DM) A delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is due to arrive in Sri Lanka to review the economic situation in January next year, officials said today. The IMF has approved a Stand by Arrangement of US $ 2.9 billion, and some of it has already been delivered in several tranches. Asked for a comment in this regard, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivaard Cabraal said Sri Lanka was not in a desperate need for IMF loans at the moment. “Our economy is stable. more..

‘Sexercise’ scandal shocks Hanwella

Nov 21 (ST) It is a mixed school in the outskirts of Hanwella and the sports master there opted for the boys from grade eight onwards for an exercise he described as ‘leadership training’. It all began on October five when a group of seven students and another youth left their homes in and around Hanwella to join the sports master on a trip to Kataragama. Earlier the parents of the boys were informed by the school sports master that the group would be more..

Ven. Sobitha points out Opp. failure to take on MR

Nov 21 (Island) Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha thera on Friday blamed the Opposition for the pathetic failure on its part to take on the Pajapaksa regime. Addressing a group of civil society activists at the J.R. Jayewardene Centre, Ven. Sobitha told UNP Co- Deputy Leader, Karu Jayasuriya, that the situation would have been different if the Opposition had been strong and organised to oppose the government. MP Jayasuriya was seated on the front-row of the audience. more..

Domestic aide dupes SLBFE

Nov 21 (DN) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) has paid monetary compensation to a Bahraini national to obtain the release of a Sri Lankan female domestic aide who had falsely accused her employer of torture. The Sri Lankan maid had accused her employer of embedding nails in her body. After the SLBFE officials intervened and put her in the care of a NGO in Bahrain (as Sri Lanka does not have an embassy in the country), she is believed to have retracted the statement. more..

JVP Dissidents to part ways officially

Nov 21 (DM) JVP dissidents will officially break ranks with the party next month after the formation of a new leftist movement by summoning a special convention. The dissident group is now engaged in the formation of this movement but they are yet to decide on a name for the new faction. A dissident member who wished to remain anonymous told the Daily Mirror that a special convention would be held in December to elect office bearers to the latest more..

Govt. hints at no tax benefits

Nov 21 (Island) A top government minister and a senior public official have both intimated that the tax regime may not undergo changes with the new budget. Minister Basil Rajapaksa recently told The Island Financial Review that everything had been done in the taxation front to attract new investment. "Everything has been done and it is now up to investors to decide whether or not they would reap the benefits of investing in Sri Lanka," he said. more..

COPE to issue latest report

Nov 21 (DN) The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) expects to present its latest report to Parliament on December 1, COPE chairman DEW Gunasekere said. He said that the COPE last Friday completed probing into 229 public enterprises which come under its scrutiny and the final report is now being compiled. He said that the defunct enterprises were omitted from the COPE report. He said that a number of recommendations to improve the performances of these enterprises more..

Fonseka exits with a stir

Nov 21 (LB) As journalists, politicians and public waited for Sarath Fonseka to exit the Colombo High Court after his sentencing Friday, authorities smuggled him out the back, forced him down the steps and roughly bundled him into the van taking him back to jail. But if they were hoping for a quick getaway, it was not to be. Supporters–who quickly became demonstrators–were already incensed that the former army commander was sentenced to more..

Action on Iran will cause third WW: Wimal

Nov 21 (DM) Any military strike on Iran would bring about a third world war, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said assuring that Sri Lanka is ready to face any consequence of it. Addressing a public ceremony in Kaduwala today he said Sri Lanka is ready for any consequence of an international conflict including a food shortage. Minister explained that it would be obvious that countries such as China and Russia would get involved in an event there is a military strike in Iraq. more..

Budget 2012 out today

Nov 21 (Island) With the controversial revival bill doing a lot of damage, attention would be more than intense when the budget for next year is announced today. President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Minister of Finance will present Parliament the Budget 2012 today at 1.30 pm. The country has made significant improvements in fiscal discipline this year and is likely to meet the deficit target of 6.8 percent of GDP. However, public debt to cover the deficit this year has ballooned from Rs. 433.7 billion estimated for the whole year to Rs. 515 billion in new loans by end August. more..

Will Mahinda’s 7th Budget be lucky for Lanka?

Nov 21 (FT) All stakeholders are hoping that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 7th Budget and his second in post-war Sri Lanka will be lucky for the country in effectively steering the nation towards greater socioeconomic prosperity. Given the recent local developments, global issues such as the recession in the West and high oil prices, as well as some undelivered proposals from last year’s exercise, the 2012 Budget is the most challenging more..

Chamara Silva called up as injury cover

Nov 21 (CI) Chamara Silva, a middle-order batsman, has joined Sri Lanka's squad in the UAE as back up for Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene, who are both injured. While the extent of Dilshan's niggle is not known, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) already announced that Jayawardene will not be considered for selection for the Twenty20 international against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on November 25. SLC also said that fast bowlers Nuwan Kulasekera, Dhammika Prasad more..

India praised for saving Lanka during balance-of-payment crisis

Nov 21 (Island) The Sri Lankan govt last week publicly thanked India for coming to its rescue during the critical balance-of-payment situation faced by the country. Indian support helped Sri Lanka sustain the military campaign directed at the LTTE. Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama expressed his gratitude for India’s emphatic support for the IMF Stand by Arrangement during the critical balance-of-payment situation faced by Sri Lanka. He recalled the strong ties more..

They ate, drank, praised us and voted for the other side

Nov 21 (LB) Sri Lanka spent around SLR880 million for the recent Hambantota 2018 bid to host the Commonwealth Games. This included hundreds of millions spent on PR firms, to woo representatives from Commonwealth nations, and on the 120 strong delegation to St. Kitts and Nevis, while Australia sent only 20 representatives. Although official figures have been given for the expenses for the delegation, it is said that the price of an air ticket to St. Kitts was Rs150,000 more..

Hilton Colombo: The Chairman’s special deal

Nov 21 (SL) The one time Chairman of Hotel Developers Lanka Plc (HDL) – the owning company of the Hilton Colombo – Nihal Sri Ameresekera – made a claim for a staggering Rs 1, 962,022,410 (Rs 1.96 Billion or US$ 17.8 Million in today’s money) from the Treasury for his efforts in ‘writing-off’ Rs 10 Billion from the Japanese contractors’ claim against the country. The claim, made in a report – never published before in the media – says Nihal Sri Ameresekera has asked for this staggering amount of money which more..

SL hails Coast Guard criticism of TN poachers

Nov 21 (Island) The Sri Lanka Navy hailed the Indian Coast Guard’s admission that the Tamil Nadu fishing fleet adopted destructive fishing methods prohibited in Sri Lankan waters. A senior official based in the North said that the Indian statement couldn’t have come at a better time for the SLN, which has been under flak for alleged attacks on poachers. The official said that the position taken by the Indian Coast Guard had effectively silenced those bashing the SLN. more..

Moves to oppose setting up of non-state universities

Nov 21 (DM) The Movement to Protect Free Education, an organization comprising school teachers, students and university lecturers, yesterday vowed to challenge, in a court of law, the proposed bill to set up non state universities. According to the bill, non-state universities can be registered under the Companies Act and the Board of Investment Act. A council is to be established to administer these nonstate universities under the bill comprising two representatives from more..

Financial Assistance provided for Hindu Kovils

Nov 21 (GDI) Mahinda Chinthana has emphasized that religions of all faiths in the country will be developed under a national programme and govt will provide assistance in this regard. Under this programme financial assistance were provided for 240 Hindu Kovils in the Northern Province was provided under the patronage of Prime Minister Mr. D.M.Jayaratne during the weekend. The Prime Minister who visited Jaffna to attend this function was more..

No more forms at BIA for home-bound Lankans

Nov 21 (ST) Sri Lankans returning to the country will no longer be required to fill the disembarkation form at the passport control counter of the BIA, Immigration and Emigration Chief Chulananda Perera said. He said this was because the passports of incoming passengers were scanned at the Immigration counter on arrival and the data of passengers were stored. Sri Lankans leaving the country would, however, have to fill the embarkation forms more..

Postal strike comes to an end

Nov 21 (NF) The Postal Trade Union Coalition has called off the trade union action carried out by postal workers. It was called off from 12 this afternoon. Convenor of the Postal Trade Union Alliance Chinthaka Bandara said that they decided to call of the trade union action following a special discussion with the Minister of Postal Services, Jeewan Kumaratunga. He noted that steps will be taken to distribute the 1.8 million letters that have piled up at more..

Budget 2012 - Live Blogging

Nov 21 (DM) 14: 57 He also promises that over 8000 families without electricity can hope to be “enlightened”, thanks to the coming budget. 14:55 The President is talking incessantly about the preservation and utilization of water resources. His plans for developing tourism and transport seem heavily depended on water resources. 14: 48 Revenue taxes for busses and Lorries remain unchanged 14: 45 Looks like we can all hope to take up gardening in our free time; more..

Dissenting judge harassed: Ranil

Nov 21 (DM) High Court Judge W.T.M.P.B. Warawewa, who acquitted former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka of all charges in the white flag case, is being harassed, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe alleged yesterday. Mr. Wickremesinghe told a public meeting at Dematagoda that Justice Warawewa’s computer had been damaged soon after he gave his verdict. He said his party would raise this matter in parliament. more..

Sri Lanka tipped to raise defence spending

Nov 21 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president is expected to raise defence spending when he unveils his 2012 budget Monday, officials said, even though the country's bloody civil war came to an end two-and-a-half years ago. As the island nation's export-dependent economy is hit by a downturn in key US and European markets, Mahinda Rajapakse, who is also finance minister, is expected to outline plans to cut the country's deficit and raise new revenues. more..

Samurdhi Udanaya Exhibition & Fair held in Gampaha

Nov 21 (GDI) The Gampaha District Samurdhi Udanaya Exhibition and Fair was held at Gampaha Keppetipola College during the weekend. Minister Basil Rajapaksa participated as the Chief Guest on the final day of the Exhibition and Fair. The first day of the opening ceremony was held under the auspices of Chairperson of the Liya Abhiman Organization Ms.Pushpa Rajapaksa. Representatives of many Samurdhi Associations contributed to this event and products of self employed more..