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Editorial: You buy the lie

Oct 17 (SL) Every Sunday you buy the lie. You buy the lie that this is a functioning media. They sell the lie that this is a functioning democracy. A week later they wrap your lunch in it, which is about all it’s really good for. Most papers today are just lies to keep the rice from falling out. As long as the economy keeps us fed, we don’t really care. We’re pumped full of stories via print, SMS, TV and radio but there’s precious little meat. more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka's crowning glory

Oct 17 (SO) Sri Lanka shot into prominence when boxer Manju Wanniarachchi won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games which concluded on Thursday in New Delhi. He eloquently rewrote Sri Lanka's sports history on Wednesday afternoon by winning the men's 56kg bantamweight gold medal at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in the Indian capital. The final was a keenly contested tussle for supremacy and the Lankan lad eventually out-pointed Sean McGoldrick of Wales more..

West Indies thrash Sri Lanka to take title

Oct 17 (CI) West Indies completed a dominant showing in the Twenty20 leg of the tournament by crushing Sri Lanka in the final with more than nine overs to spare. A series of run-outs undermined Sri Lanka's batting and they lurched to a measly 83 after choosing to bat. West Indies' strong batting had few problems knocking off those runs, with Deandra Dottin's boundary-laden 39 guiding the chase. more..

Special committee appointed : Move to minimise fatal accidents

Oct 17 (SO) A special committee headed by former Minister Mano Wijeratne has been appointed to make recommendations to minimise the ever increasing number of fatal accidents daily, in the country. The committee has already held three rounds of discussions. Wijeratne had also functioned as Head of the previous Parliamentary Select Committee appointed in this regard, Transport Minister Kumara Welgama told the Sunday Observer yesterday. more..

Editorial: Time for universities to take a leap

Oct 17 (NS) In these days of relative political tranquillity, a different kind of unrest has emerged. University students are taking on the might of the government at a time it has embarked on modernising higher education in the country. The government is not ashamed to announce its intentions: it says that the time has come to open the doors for private universities. Rather than hinder ‘free’ education, private campuses can enhance it, the authorities argue. more..

Vehicle manufacturers eye H'tota

Oct 17 (SO) Four international vehicle manufacturing companies are keen to set up assembly plants at the new Magampura Harbour in Hambantota. SLPA chairman Dr. Priyath Wickrama said that this includes Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) of India. M&M which manufactured army vehicles earlier is now a major automobile and tractor manufacturer. It has plants in China and the United Kingdom, and has three assembly plants in the USA. more..

Editorial: Pre-budget thoughts

Oct 17 (Island) The Securities and Exchange Commission regulating the Colombo stock market made an unusual, though welcome, announcement last week when what was widely perceived as an overheated market showed signs of losing some steam. A senior SEC official scotched market rumours that a capital gains tax on share trading profits was on the way by clearly stating that nothing of the sort was contemplated. more..

Editorial: Nobody's child

Oct 17 (ST) Most people are aware of the often-quoted warning that if anyone abuses or rapes a child, it would be better for that person to be thrown in to the deepest sea with a millstone tied around his neck. It may be a cliché but it is also a time-tested truth that the hands that rocked the cradle rule the world. Sadly, in Sri Lanka today, we seem to be in a crisis where the mother, cradle, baby and all are plunging into a precipice. more..

Harry J. creates Sri Lanka’s latest billionaire

Oct 17 (SL) Stanley Vivian Perera – the Warehouseman for the Stassens Tea Organisation – earns a salary in the region of Rs 25,000 plus allowances making a take home package of around Rs 50,000 per month. Yet, he recently collected a cool Rs 3.6 billion or approximately US$ 31 million – making him one of the richest men in Sri Lanka. However, senior tax consultants were at a loss to place Stanley Perera as amongst the top tax payers in the country. more..

Editorial: Any other ways to reconcile?

Oct 17 (LB) Reports reaching this newspaper indicate that the government is toying with the idea of launching a major drive-in trilingualism, enlisting in this regard, the help of big brother India. It’s been said that the proposed plans include requiring all Sinhalese to learn Tamil, and vice versa. The idea of using English as a mediating language has apparently been discarded. But English would be a compulsory language, we are told, more..

From Opposition to Acquiescence – Worrisome shifts in Lankan politics

Oct 17 (Island) The Opposition Party is among the many things that Sri Lankans have grown accustomed to in their adaptation of the British parliamentary system over the last sixty years. The opposition has been as important a feature as the government in their political experience. Now, the opposition in Sri Lanka is facing extinction even as the government is getting entrenched. It is not just the pathetic decline of the UNP that should be of concern, but more..

Geneva to forward decision on jailing of Fonseka

Oct 17 (ST) The Committee on Human Rights of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is looking into a complaint relating to the jailing of former Sri Lanka Army Commander, Sarath Fonseka. Human Rights Committee Secretary Ingeborg Schwarz told the Sunday Times that she was responding to an e-mail inquiry over claims by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe that the IPU had rejected the complaint. more..

Will Amnesty, HRW and ICG co-operate with Norway on failed peace bid study?

Oct 17 (Island) Now that three of the International Crisis Groups, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have refused to appear before Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), it would be interesting to see whether they would make representations to the Norway-based NGO Christian Michelsen Institute (CMI) investigating the Norwegian peace efforts in Sri Lanka, with the emphasis on the disastrous 2002 bid, more..

Politicos block fencing of Dahaiyagala Sanctuary

Oct 17 (ST) Local politicians have thwarted Wildlife officers from erecting an electric fence in the Dahaiyagala sanctuary, according to eyewitnesses. A member of the Thanamalwila Pradeshiya Sabha on Thursday sat down in front of the bulldozer brought down to clear the area for an electric fence, and the police who were summoned to the scene, did not use sufficient force to disperse the crowd, thus aborting the exercise, the eyewitnesses said. more..

Unusual security back-up for IGP

Oct 17 (LB) It is reliably learnt that never in the history of the police department has an IGP been given such a comprehensive security contingent as now. IGP Mahinda Balasuriya has beefed up his personal security cadre by as much as 180 police officers from the STF of the police department. Apart from such a huge cadre of policemen, IGP Balasuriya has also no fewer than 19 vehicles to provide him security whenever he is on the move. more..

Economy on the upswing amid political acrimony

Oct 17 (NS) After a 30-year civil war that virtually crippled the country’s economy, Sri Lanka is showing a gradual but a firm commitment towards economic recovery. These were the sentiments expressed in many forums here and overseas over Sri Lanka’s economic prospects for the next couple of years. The US is impressed and optimistic over Sri Lanka’s economic growth, but emphasised that there is ample room for political reconciliation, more..

The Rajapaksa Commonwealth coup

Oct 17 (SL) Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s attendance at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in the Indian capital New Delhi was a public relations coup that dismayed the hardline Tamil diaspora organisations around the world. President Rajapaksa flew to India on Wednesday and was present at the closing of the games side by side with Britain’s Prince Edward who was representing Queen Elizabeth II. more..

'Lankan soil not used by LeT to train terrorists'

Oct 17 (TOI) Despite a probe by its defence authorities, Sri Lanka has found no evidence to suggest that the island nation's territory is being used by terror group LeT to train terrorists. Sri Lankan foreign minister G L Peiris, who is on a four-day visit to India, said on Saturday there is no merit in such claims. Earlier, one of the accused in the Pune bakery blast case had said LeT operatives were being trained in Lanka. more..

17,000 drug cases ‘stuck in system’

Oct 17 (NS) More than 17,000 productions pertaining to narcotic cases are reportedly piled up at the Government Analyst’s Department waiting to be analysed, causing a massive backlog in the judicial system. According to sources, these evidence seized during various raids and arrests made by law enforcement agencies including the Police, Customs Department and Excise Department were forwarded by the courts to the Analyst’s Department for its expert opinion. more..

'Police team, including ASP, held on treasure hunt charges were on official duty'

Oct 17 (Island) The team of police officers, including the Vakarai ASP, who were arrested and remanded on charges of treasure hunting, were on official duty when they were taken into police custody at a checkpoint, defence counsel Konara Dharmaratne said. "They did not have any implements used for treasure hunting in their possession", he said when the case against the suspects - 10 policemen and three civilians – came up before more..

Pyramid schemes flourish despite Central Bank ban

Oct 17 (ST) The Central Bank ban on Pyramid-style scams, where people are called to invest money in a scheme with assurances that the investment continues to multiply, is being ignored in several areas in the Puttalam and Kurunegala districts. Residents in Galgamuwa, Maho and Nikaweratiya areas who were lured into joining the scheme have already found that they are unable to recover their money. more..

Sri Lanka may have 20,000 illegals mainly from Pakistan, India: report

Oct 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka may have about 20,000 guest workers, mainly from India and Pakistan working as labourers, domestic workers, cooks and waiters in restaurants in several towns without proper authority, a media report said. The Sunday Times newspaper said the number was an 'official estimate' but the island's immigration chief had declined to give an actual number. "We are carrying out certain checks on people illegally staying in the country," more..

Local Authorities Amendment Bill to be challenged

Oct 17 (LB) A large number of civil society groups are set to challenge the proposed Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill saying it seeks to marginalize small parties and independent groups while strengthening the two-party system in local authorities. It is argued that, although the bill introduces new measures for local authorities, it broadens the powers of the central government rather than empowering local authorities. more..

Ranjan Ramanayaka Sordid details of love life emerge

Oct 17 (LB) More details have emerged as to how famous actor, director, producer and MP, Ranjan Ramanayaka allegedly cheated a teacher of a Kandy school. Details of his association came to light after he was arrested by the CID while he was hiding in a house near UNP head quarters, Sirikotha, last Thursday evening. Central Province DIG Pujith Jayasundara on a tip off got the CID to arrest Ramanayake, sources said. more..

LTTE resurrects in Norway etc.

Oct 17 (LB) The remaining LTTE leaders and cadres are in a bid to re-group in Canada and Norway, security expert Dr. Rohan Gunaratna warned Sri Lanka. “The Sri Lankan government has not done enough to organize the arrest and deportation of Nediyavan who is behind its international human smuggling racket,” said Professor Gunaratna. He added that the government should immediately begin talks with the Norwegian government regarding the matter. more..

Sampanthan ‘has no plans to quit politics’

Oct 17 (NS) TNA parliamentary group leader R Sampanthan dismissed reports that he would step down from politics. It was reported that Sampanthan would quit politics, citing ill health. “Anyone can speculate. All these are speculations,” Sampanthan told The Nation. According to earlier media reports, senior TNA members were in the process of holding discussions to appoint a younger person as the parliamentary group head in place of Sampanthan. more..

Ban on heavy vehicles on city highways mooted

Oct 17 (SO) The City Police have focused attention on banning heavy vehicles plying on main highways in the Colombo City during peak hours in the mornings and evenings. According to the police, containers, caterpillars and lorries with heavy logs and boulders could cause road accidents. Therefore, laws must be implemented forthwith to stop heavy vehicles plying on the main highways at least during peak hours or direct them on alternative roads. more..

Ceysands sale will infuse cash into Golden Key settlement

Oct 17 (Island) The transaction to sell Ceysands Hotel – the first major asset belonging to Lalith Kotelawala – is expected to be finalized on Monday as the Supreme Court appointed three-member Committee of Chartered Accountants struggle to raise liquid cash to repay Golden Key depositors. "There have been some very attractive bids", a senior official said. "We will be sealing the deal with the highest bidder". more..

'Sri Lankans working abroad remit around US$ 3 billion annually'

Oct 17 (Island) Deputy Minister of Finance Dr. Sarath Amunugama, said global recovery from recent recession was sluggish. Beset by systemic problems most Western Governments including the US had unemployment leading their agenda for sluggishness that thwarted recovery although there was some sort of knee jerk inferences that recovery was well on its way to realization. He pointedly said it was no more the West and Western economies that have shown positive recovery, but more..

SF supporters turn abusive at protest

Oct 17 (SL) Senior journalists of The Sunday Leader newspaper were assaulted during the coverage of the Black Protest in support of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka last Monday (11). Fonseka supporters, who were present at the hearing of the “white flag” case, were present at the ‘Black Protest’ march and rally organised by the People’s Movement for Democracy on October 11. During the rally outside the Welikada Prison that followed the protest march more..

Editor admits to mistake during defence counsel grilling

Oct 17 (ST) 1.Making a false statement to Frederica Sandra Kamela Jansz, the Editor of the Sunday Leader newspaper, that the Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had ordered Brigadier Shavindra Silva over the phone ‘not to let any of the LTTE leaders to surrender and to kill them all’ and thereby creating terror and panic. (Charged under Emergency Regulations – Penalty: A prison term not less than three months not exceeding five years and a fine) more..

Alles debunks secret talks reports as ‘utter rubbish’

Oct 17 (Island) DNA MP Tiran Alles dismissed as "utter rubbish" reports in some websites that he had entered into a pact with the government. "All this is bunkum", an irate national list MP protested. "They are being planted by interested parties". One website quoted, what it termed, "a reliable source" as saying that "Alles has started a cold war with the DNA and at the same time is pursuing secret discussions within the President’s circle". more..

Ranil deletes Sajith’s name from UNP speakers list

Oct 17 (LB) The crisis which is raging within the UNP regarding its leadership is still not over, with serious divisions now taking place between those purportedly supporting Ranil Wickremesinghe and those who are supposedly standing for the adoption of reforms, an MP who is playing a pivotal role for the implementation of reforms told this newspaper. He said that the UNP leader is least concerned or bothered about uniting the more..

Sri Lanka urges hard line on Tamil asylum-seekers

Oct 18 (TA) Sri Lanka's security supremo has called on Canberra to get tough with asylum-seekers amid claims most return home within a year. The call by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa came as terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna said 70 per cent of Tamils granted asylum in Australia and Canada had returned to Sri Lanka for a visit. Mr Rajapaksa said the navy and police, now with the command of the seas around the island, more..

Go-ahead for Sri Lanka mission in Bahrain

Oct 18 (TA) A permanent Sri Lankan diplomatic mission will finally be set up in Bahrain, it has been announced. A feasibility study has been completed giving the project the green light, said sources. 'The Sri Lankan Embassy in Kuwait has just finalised a feasibility study for the project,' they told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN). However, the sources said no location for the building had yet been earmarked. more..

UNP: IPU may condemn Sri Lanka

Oct 18 (SL) UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena says Sri Lanka may stand to be condemned by a large number of foreign countries. He told the media that in the event the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) finds former Army Commander and DNA MP Sarath Fonseka’s human rights to have been violated, Sri Lanka will be condemned by 151 countries. Dr. Jayawardena handed a complaint to the IPU in Geneva on behalf of Fonseka last week. more..

SLMC pushing for inclusion of its LG electoral amendments

Oct 18 (SL) The SLMC has said the party would oppose the government’s proposed local government electoral reforms, if the proposals presented by the party are not included in the amendments. SLMC’s Nizam Kariapper said that the party had held several rounds of talks with the government regarding the proposed amendments and also submitted its proposals. He has said the SLMC would not support the local government electoral reforms if the party’s proposals are not included. more..

JVP to continue with campaign for SF

Oct 18 (SL) The JVP today (17) said it would continue with its campaign calling for former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s release and to restore democracy. JVP Leader Somawansa Amerasinghe has said the party would also continue with poster campaign regardless of various obstacles like the ban imposed by the government against posters. Amerasinghe had made this statement while addressing the party’s Provincial Councilors. more..

ICEU to agitate for private sector workers

Oct 18 (SL) The private sector trade union association, the Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU), is to launch a campaign to call on authorities to address issues faced by the private sector employees in the country. As a first step, ICEU Head Wasantha Samarasinghe said the union would launch a leaflet distribution campaign tomorrow (18). He said the campaign would be launched in Ratmalana and will be carried out outside all workplaces. more..

Indian foreign minister here in end November

Oct 18 (Island) Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will make his maiden visit to Sri Lanka during 25-28 November, his visiting Sri Lankan counterpart Gamini Lakshman Peiris told The Sunday Island here today. Krishna will attend a meeting in Colombo of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission, which he will chair as head of the Indian delegation. Colombo had also hosted the last meeting of the Joint Commission in 2005. more..

Gang nabbed with Rs 50m

Oct 18 (NS) The Colombo Crimes Division on Thursday made a major breakthrough into a gang, believed to be led by a serving army officer, that had been extorting money from wealthy Tamil businessmen, when CCD detectives waiting in ambush at a private hospital caught at least three of its members when they came to collect a ransom of Rs 50 million from a leading Sea Street jeweller. Out of five gangsters who came to collect the ransom two had managed to escape. more..

Brothers who tamed the Tigers

Oct 18 (TA) Wars can still be won, even against formidable terrorist organisations. And Sri Lanka shows how. That is the core message of the country's security supremo, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a rare interview with The Australian. His office is in the Defence Ministry - his brother, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, holds the title of Defence Minister - a British colonial era building bristling with armed soldiers, more..

Who are the ‘enemies’in the 'economic war' of post-war Sri Lanka?

Oct 18 (TC) The victory Sri Lanka achieved in its war against the LTTE was a significant one. People belonging to all ethnic and religious communities in all parts of the country had to undergo a great degree of suffering, not only during the last stages of the war, but for decades, due to the ruthless terrorist menace. That war came to an end last year, bringing along an end also to much of the suffering caused as an inevitable consequence of war. more..

The police attack on the university student’s demonstration and on journalists

Oct 18 (TC) The Free Media Movement considers the attack on the university students demonstrating in front of the Ministry of Higher Education and journalists who were reporting the incident as dastardly act and denounces it. As reported, university students who held a demonstration demanding the immediate release of six fellow university students in custody in Word Place in front of the Ministry of Education, had entered the Ministry premises declaring that more..

Sangakkara looking forward to Australian test

Oct 18 (CI) Sri Lanka's build-up to next year's World Cup continues when they leave for Australia on Sunday to play a three-ODI series. One of the biggest challenges ahead of Kumar Sangakkara and his team is winning next year's marquee tournament, and thereby emulate the achievement of Arjuna Ranatunga's side which won the World Cup in 1996, the last time it was held in the subcontinent. more..

Journalism: In defence of the Sunday Leader editor Frederica Jansz

Oct 18 (LG) Defense Counsel Nalin Laduwahetty acts like he is on a television court drama. His cross-examination of the Sunday Leader editor Frederica Jansz on trivia such as not getting APF bureau chief and successive governments’ favourite pet journalist Amal Jayasinghe’s name right is brandished in all the newspapers. Then he finds fault with Frederica offering her story for an award. more..

Editorial: Cheque book Development work of Basil Rajapakse

Oct 18 (LG) The government is very adamant that economic development is the way forward to bring about socio-political cohesion in the country. The upbeat message of economic boom is spinned by the daily throw of new development stories through the government’s friendly media outlets. Economic growth forecast of 8% and the upward index of the speculative Colombo stock market are the yardsticks to measure the economic growth of Sri Lanka. more..

New mega Auditorium at SFHQ- W sees the light of day

Oct 18 (MoD) The security forces headquarters, Wanni (SFHQ-W) in Vavuniya made a significant step forward in its history and opened its first-ever mega auditorium in the premises, fulfilling a long-felt requirement in Wanni as development cycle is in its full wing. The auditorium with 800-man seating capacity with most modern sound and multi-media systems, a broad stage and other technical accessories, more..

A War Criminal concluding the CWG is the best it could go!

Oct 18 (LG) Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka was the guest of honour at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2010, New Delhi. He presided over the extravagant ceremony that would declare the arrival of India on the big stage, conclusively. Presiding over something is nothing new for the President. He has presided over the last leg of the decades long civil war leading to the final victory of the Sri Lankan state over the rebels. more..

'Viru Kekulu' kids display skills in annual concert

Oct 18 (MoD) Kids from the Seva Vanitha Army Branch managed Panagoda 'Viru Kekulu', Manning Town 'Viru Kekulu' pre-schools and 'Senehasa' pre-school for children with special needs, had their annual concert that showcased their skills and artistic talents at Colombo 3, Mahanama College auditorium Friday evening. First Lady Mrs Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Chief Guest and Mrs Ioma Rajapaksa, President, Ministry of Defence Seva Vanitha Unit as Guest of Honour, more..