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Tapping our natural resources for energy

Dec 1 (NS) Petroleum Minister, Susil Premjayantha speaking at the committee stage budget debate in Parliament on Monday stated that Sri Lanka has spent a staggering USD 139 million on oil and gas exploration. The Minister added that three oil wells have been drilled so far in the Mannar basin and natural gas has been found in two wells. He also revealed that the fourth well would be drilled in February next year. The Minister explained that the oil and gas exploration in more..

Caught between cultures: Part 4

Dec 1 (NS) The central theme of discussion up to this point was politics in post independent Ceylon (1948-’62), with special emphasis on the transition of ‘56, that changed, among other facets the religious and ethnic composition of men in Public and Military officer grades, where a high level of over representation of minorities existed up to late 50s. The string of changes, in linguistics, socio-cultural and economic fields that caused a rapid transformation, initiated by the policies of more..

Blatant attempt to justify ethnic cleansing in North

Dec 1 (NS) Last week I was in Jaffna. There, as a chief guest, I was privileged to address a “key person’s” forum which was facilitated by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and well-attended by many professionals and entrepreneurs. At the forum, an engineer raising an innocent, but interesting point asserted that in 1960s and 70s the best bakery food items in Jaffna were produced by the Sinhala people. Also, he queried, more..

The Parliament in Sri Lanka is Neither Sovereign nor Supreme

Dec 1 (DBS) There is no basis in the Sri Lanka Constitution for the proposition that the Sri Lanka Parliament is sovereign. It is neither sovereign nor supreme. The doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty has its roots in the legal theory developed by A V Dicey in relation to English constitutional law. It implied that there is no higher law to retrain Parliament from making- or unmaking- any law. It also implied that the Courts are obliged to give effect to the laws passed by Parliament. more..

How Wimal Weerawansa will help Tamil diaspora have referendum in North-East

Dec 1 (DBS) Minister Wimal Weerawansa, nicknamed as the ‘eldest son of the President’, during the 2010 presidential election campaign, came up with a rather serious proposal some two months back: To have a referendum to abolish the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the constitutional chapter that deals with devolution of power. Sinhala extremist parties and groups immediately expressed their support to the proposition, and some Colombo-based more..

Attack on Jaffna Undergraduates:An eye-witness account by a MP

Dec 1 (DBS) November 27th is the LTTE's Heros Day on which day people offer their commemoration to the demised warriors. It is customary for people to pay their respect to the deceased on such days. This salutation offered to their blood brothers, relations and parents has been mercilessly suppressed by the forces. This being a well planned act of the forces, the consequences had brought the Govt’s false disguise to more..

Impeachment And Dilemma Of Independent Judiciary

Dec 1 (CT) If my recollection is correct from Sir Edmund Codrington Carrington the first Chief Justice of Ceylon (maritime areas) to the Dr Shirani Bandaranayake there had been 43 chief justices in Ceylon and Sri Lanka. After the introduction of the 1978 Republican Constitution the judiciary was under eight Chief Justices beginning from Mr. Neville Samarakoon to incumbent Dr Shirani Bandaranayake. Out of eight Chief Justices three were destined to face impeachments. more..

Nov 28 Jaffna: Appalling attack and unjustifiable reactions

Dec 1 (CT) On the evening of the Nov 27 at 06:07 PM, flames were lit in commemoration of Maaveerar Naal 2012 (Martyrs’ Day 2012). It was initiated by the Tamil students from the Jaffna University. Pre-deployed troops forcibly entered into the Ladies’ Hostel and attacked the students and damaged properties, soon after they realized that the flames were lit inside the Ladies’ Hostel of the Jaffna University. The victims called the University administration to escape from more..

M. K. Rocksamy’s timeless contribution to film music

Dec 1 (Island) When Maria Kolande Rocksamy —better known as M. K. Rocksamy— died at 56 on Nov 30, 1988, in those days of political upheaval, nobody cared much except his immediate colleagues in the local film and music industry. But, ironically, through the 24 years that followed, the name M. K. Rocksamy has weathered all storms to remain an integral part of the common man’s psyche – a ‘rocking’ impression. more..

If you can’t afford bread try eating racing cars!

Dec 1 (NS) The title of this article, to my mind, summarizes the budget report of 2013. It appears that the rulers of this country are quite Bourbon in their thinking. I’m not talking about the whisky of course, the tariff on which was also increased. The stupendous arrogance that makes the govt lift all taxes on racing cars, and claim that it was done to boost that sport in our country could only be paralleled by the arrogance of the worthy Messieurs and Mesdames of the Bourbon clan of more..

Editorial: Hunting down sexual predators

Dec 1 (Island) In a shocking turn of events, a Health Ministry official has been threatened with death for allegedly leaking information to this newspaper about some politically connected sick elements who have obtained sexual favours from several female health workers in return for helping them with their transfers etc. Several unidentified callers have even threatened to throw acid at him, we are told. Anything is possible in this country. They would do well to remember what befell those more..

Crossing Fires - Moving On

Dissent and freedom from fear

Dec 1 (Island) Last year, the BBC’s Reith Lectures were on the theme ‘Securing Freedom. Two of the five lectures were delivered by Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader from Myanmar or Burma, and the other three by Baroness Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5, the British Security Service. The lectures are followed by a question-and answer session when the guest lecturer answered questions put to her by selected members of the audience, usually persons who had held more..

Can the UN learn from its own grave failures?

Dec 1 (EO) In early November a damning internal United Nations report into the organisation’s actions at the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War was leaked. The document, in uncharacteristically unequivocal terms, stated that the UN had shown “a grave failure” in its mandate to protect the lives of civilians as the conflict trudged towards its appalling climax. In early November a damning internal United Nations report into the organisation’s actions at the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War was leaked. more..

Tourism sector looks to 2012 target reality

Dec 1 (FT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2013 Budget presentation may have rushed to conclusions, but with a month to go for the year’s end, the tourism industry is getting anxious about 2012’s final arrival numbers amidst a recession in traditional markets and upturn in emerging source countries. Weven before 2012 has ended, in his Budget speech on 8 Nov, President said the tourism industry “attracted one more..

Nadesan and the Impeachment

Dec 1 (Island) Three weeks ago, when I pointed out that a coconut thief or a pick-pocket had more rights than the Chief Justice and other Judges of the Supreme Court, many laughed at me. Today, many others, who are legal luminaries, are echoing the same sentiments in petitions submitted to the Court of Appeal, by six law abiding citizens, challenging the procedure, adopted by the Parliamentary Select Committee, to conduct the inquiry, to impeach the Chief Justice. One of the most respected more..

World’s largest offshore wind farm pioneer wants Lanka to follow suit

Dec 1 (Island) A visionary who created England’s and the world’s largest 10,000 Megawatt offshore wind farm, wants Sri Lanka to follow suit by establishing the first off shore wind farm not only the in this country but for the South East Asian region in its entirety. Our business is the development of large scale off shoe wind farms and we desire to impart the technology for Sri Lanka to follow suit which will enable the island nation to be the first of its kind in South East Asia, Director of UK’s Zero more..

Anajli Patil wins best actress award in Lankan film

Dec 1 (DM) Indian actress Anjali Patil who played the lead role in Prasanna Vithanage’s newest movie ‘Oba Nethuwa Oba Ekka’ (With You Without You) won the best actress award for her role in the film at the 43rd Indian International Film Festival. This is the first time in Sinhala cinema’s 65-year history that an overseas actress has been awarded an international award in the best actress category in a Sinhala movie, Prasanna said. more..

Court postpones FR petition on Greek bonds till next year

Dec 1 (FT) The Supreme Court has postponed the Fundamental Rights (FR) petition filed against the Governor of the Central Bank over the controversial investment in Greek bonds till next year. The petition filed by UNP MP Sujeewa Senasinghe will be taken up on 13 Feb. The petitioner says the investment in Greek bonds has been carried out at the behest of the respondent in an arbitrary manner with callous disregard to the citizenry of Sri Lanka and with corrupt and malicious intent of personal gain. more..

Indigenous people on-board SriLankan Air Taxi

Dec 1 (FT) SriLankan Air Taxi operated a unique flight recently by taking indigenous people on-board, offering them a first-hand experience of viewing the land from the sky between two cities of Kandy and Mahiyanganaya. The Veddha Chief Uruwarige Wannila Aththo together with four others belonging to his community joined the flight. The entire journey of the indigenous people was documented by a film crew on-board for a video documentary produced to mark the celebration of the 100 years of more..

Weliamuna varies on Speaker’s ruling

Dec 1 (FT) All laws including the Parliamentary Power and Privileges Act should be interpreted subject to the Constitution, Constitutional Lawyer and former Executive Director, Transparency International Sri Lanka, J. C. Weliamuna said yesterday. Presenting his observations on Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa’s ruling on notices issued by the courts on Members of Parliament, which sparked a new controversy between more..

Int'l Oceanography Conference here

Dec 1 (DN) The first International Conference on Oceanography in the Bay of Bengal was held at Taj Samudra Hotel on November 28 and 29 under the patronage of Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne. Over 70 scientists from Sri Lanka, America, India and France attended this international conference. They held several discussions on variable nature of the Bay of Bengal and impact on monsoon breakdowns. More than twenty scientific papers were presented and discussed during the two day conference. more..

Sri Lanka tops in sexual harassment in South Asia

Dec 1 (FT) Sri Lanka tops in the South Asian region on women being sexual harassed in public transport, the Legal Aid Commission Chairman said yesterday. LAC Chairman S.S. Wijeratne made this revelation while addressing the White Ribbon campaign that was held at Bastian Mawatha aiming to stop sexual harassment in public transport. Referring to a journal report that was published recently, Wijeratne said as Sri Lankans we should be seriously concerned about the matter. more..

Crucial UNP convention today: Vote on extending leader’s term to six years

Dec 1 (Island) The stage has been set for a showdown at today’s 54th UNP Convention, which will be called upon to vote on extending the leader’s term to six years from the current duration of one year. The annual conference is to be staged amidst unprecedented security measures at ‘Sirikotha’ in a bid to avoid a repeat of last year’s damage caused to party headquarters by a stone throwing mob, after results of the leadership more..

Bangladesh Naval ship in Colombo

Dec 1 (SLN) Bangladesh naval ship “Bangabandhu” arrived at the Port of Colombo on a goodwill visit on 30th November 2012. The visiting ship sailing under the command of Captain MIR Ershad Ali (G), psn, BN was welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions on arrival. The Commanding Officer of the BNS Bangabandhu was accompanied by the Bangladesh Defence Adviser to Sri Lanka, Commodore M. Nasir paid a courtesy call on the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, more..

Five fishermen languishing in Sri Lanka jail

Dec 1 (Hindu) Five fishermen from Thangachimadam have completed a one-year prison term in Sri Lanka on Thursday as their family members and Alliance for Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF), fighting to secure their release, pinned their hopes on the Colombo High Court, which takes up the case for hearing on January 16. The fishermen — P. Emarson (36), P. Agastas (33), R. Wilson (42), K. Prasath (32) and J. Langlet (22) — ventured into the sea on Nov 28, 2011. more..

No one is above the law: Asgiri Mahanayake

Dec 1 (DM) Asgiriya Chapter Maha Nayake Thera the Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkita Thera yesterday underlined the statement made by the Mahanayake Theras against the impeachment motion on the Chief Justice. He said if there was a law in the country it should be applied equally to all. Speaking to US ambassador Michele J. Sison who paid a courtesy call on the Prelate, he said some people in more..

Pakistan football team to leave for Sri Lanka

Dec 1 (TN) Pakistan U23 football team is leaving for Sri Lanka tomorrow, Saturday to take part in Mahinda Rajapaksa International Football Tournament from December 3-9 at Nawalapitiya, Jayathilaka Stadium. "The participation in the event will help our team to prepare for South Asian Games likely to be organized in September, 2013",said President, Pakistan Football Federation here on Friday. He wished the team good luck and expressed the optimism that it will produce more..

No news about Aussie paedophile hiding in Lanka

Dec 1 (Island) The manhunt for the Australian paedophile, alleged to be hiding in Sri Lanka, was continuing, the Police Desk of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) said yesterday. It said it was awaiting more information on Bernard McGrath, the Australian National who is facing over 250 child sex charges in Australia. The NCPA spokesman said that they had received verbal information from Interpol that it had not received any information in that regard from the Australian Authorities. more..

House sittings suspended thrice following uproar

Dec 1 (Island) Sittings of the House were suspended thrice yesterday following an uproar caused by UPFA National List MP A.H.M. Azwer, who was chairing the Committee Stage debate of the budget 2013, under the financial headings of the Ministry of External Affairs, when he named and told two members of the Opposition to leave the Chamber. UNP Colombo District MP Ravi Karunanayake, participating in the debate, more..

'DC cannot decide on party expulsions'

Dec 1 (Island) UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, yesterday told Civil Appellate High Court of Colombo that the District Court had no jurisdiction on matters relating to expulsion of members from political parties as well as those who were holding membership of political parties. President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) President’s Counsel Rajapakshe was making representations on behalf of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, MP and General Secretary of the party more..

Herath becomes highest-ranked spinner

Dec 1 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath has become the highest-ranked spinner in the ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers following the conclusion of the Colombo Test, which New Zealand won by 167 runs to draw the two-Test series at one-all. Herath returned figures of six for 103 and three for 67 at the P.Sara Oval. For this performance, he has been rewarded with a jump of two places, which has put him in second position, ahead of Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and more..

'War-losers using Hulfsdorp'

Dec 1 (DN) President Rajapaksa yesterday said some elements with vested interests, who could not achieve what they wanted through 30 years of conflict, are trying to achieve their sinister moves through Hulftsdorp. President Rajapaksa said he as a lawyer, has the highest respect towards the Judiciary and is committed to protect and promote its dignity. He said members of the judiciary should protect the dignity of more..

President Rajapaksa fetes Mexican President

Dec 1 (DN) “On behalf of the Govt and the people of Sri Lanka and that of my own, I congratulate Your Excellency on your resounding victory in the recently concluded Presidential Election and assumption of office as the President of the United Mexican States. “This appointment accorded to you, reflects the confidence placed in your ability and statesmanship and I wish you every success in accomplishing this important mandate. I am confident that Your Excellency’s vast experience in the political more..

PM wants his son in Parliament

Dec 1 (CT) Prime Minister, D.M. Jayaratne, who is currently on medical leave, has requested President Mahinda Rajapaksa to appoint his son, Anuradha Jayaratne, for Parliament in his place, sources said. The govt is now considering the appointment of Anuradha Jayaratne through the National List, sources confirmed. According to reliable sources, the Prime Minister made the request when President Rajapaksa visited him at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in the US recently. more..

SC goes ahead with Appeal Court reference

Dec 1 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday fixed the hearing of the reference from the Court of Appeal for December 13 and 14, and directed the Registrar of the Court to notify the respondents of the dates fixed for the hearing. The reference is on the interpretation of Article 107/3 of the Constitution. The respondents are the members of the PSC and the Speaker. An intervention by one Roshan Fernando was refused, since more..

Editorial: Listen to this elder statesman

Dec 1 (DM) With the Legislature and the Judiciary on a potentially-disastrous collision course over the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, our law makers and politicians need to take guidance from an elder statesman in the judicial service if they sincerely love the country and wish to save it from dictatorial hell hole. Justice C.G. Weeramanthri -- former senior vice president of the International Court of Justice and a man respected all over the world for more..

Editorial: Road safety not in laws

Dec 1 (CT) A report in yesterday's edition of this paper said the police have decided to enforce the law that prohibits auto rickshaws or what is commonly known as three-wheelers from transporting more than three passengers following the death of six persons, who travelled in one of them, at a level-crossing. This is typical of the Sri Lankan Police. They turn a blind eye to almost every violation of the Highway Code other than the helmet law, colour-light violation or occasionally more..

Sri Lanka expects fruit and vegetable exports to grow in 2012

Dec 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka's fruit and vegetable exports are expected to grow between 3 - 5% in 2012 after growing 10% in 2011, despite a global downturn that had dragged down total exports an industry official has said. Sivagnanam Gnanaskandan, the new chairman of the Lanka Fruit and Vegetable Producers, Processors and Exporters Association (LFVPPEA) of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, said fruit exports were up in 2012 more..

'Claiming Parliament is supreme the government degrades judiciary'

Dec 1 (LT) The Parliament stating it is supreme and judiciary orders are not relevant degrades the authority the judiciary has been vested in the Constitution states the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. Tilvin Silva said, “The impeachment motion brought by the govt against the Chief Justice is getting muddled day by day. The situation has become complex due to the statement made by the Speaker in Parliament yesterday (29). more..