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Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Oct 19 (ST) External Affairs Ministry (EAM) evidently needs a crash course in the European justice system. A media statement issued on Thursday said Govt of Sri Lanka had “noted with concern the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Oct 16, to annul the EU regulations proscribing the LTTE”. “Concern” is certainly a valid sentiment to express — except that it was not the European Court of Justice that had reversed more..

The UN Security Souncil and Sri Lanka

Oct 19 (Island) UN Security Council (UNSC) is perhaps the most powerful of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states. more..

0.8% of GDP to develop the temple of justice

Oct 19 (CT) 'Justice delayed, is justice denied,' is an oft repeated adage. Recently retired Attorney General (AG), Palitha Fernando, imputed just that, in an interview. He raised two, no three issues in that interview, which are the causes of 'justice delayed.' Those were the lack of Court Houses to clear the backlog of cases, lack of space in the AG's Department and this lack, ipso facto, preventing the expansion of the AG Department's cadre strength to tackle the burning issue of 'laws delays.' more..

Cracks in UPFA, UNP as President finalises plans for January polls

Oct 19 (ST) It is less than a handful who could muster such a political event with the hierarchy of the Government and the main Opposition in attendance. If that was a feat last Tuesday, the blunt message delivered by the convener was unsurpassed. A touch of irony was that it came from a UPFA partner, a live wire that espoused the cause of the majority Sinhala-Buddhist people in the ruling coalition. more..

All political parties agree to limit election propaganda

Oct 19 (NS) JHU policy of not harming the environment with banners and cut-outs at the election propaganda campaigns has been given thumbs up at the Friday’s meeting between the political party secretaries and the Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya. The party officials who represented the meetings had agreed to come to consensus on using the cut-outs considering the environmental and ethical aspects. Udaya Gammanpila said that the parties agreed to more..

Land Bill is a concern, needs flexibility: US Trade Rep

Oct 19 (ST) Sri Lanka’s proposed new Land Bill shouldn’t be ‘one size fits only’ and should accommodate unique situations, according to a top US trade delegate. “We have a few concerns on the new Land Bill. It is a ‘one size fits all’ Bill at present. It should have (provisions) to fit individual situations that merit flexibility,” Michael J. Delaney Assistant US Trade Representative for Central and South Asia told the Business Times on the sidelines of SL–USA Business Forum on Thursday. more..

Pope’s visit in the balance: Cardinal writes to President

Oct 19 (ST) Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has sought President Rajapaksa’s early advice whether the visit of Pope Francis should go ahead or be cancelled in the light of the upcoming presidential election. 3-day visit is scheduled to begin on Jan 13 next year. Request has gone in the form of a letter sent to President this week. Cardinal said, “I wrote a confidential letter. I cannot tell you anything more. I am awaiting a response.” more..

'Lifting of curbs may help revival of LTTE'

Oct 19 (ENS) European Union Court’s annulment of the EU’s ban on the LTTE will help revive the separatist and terrorist outfit in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, warned V Anandasangaree, President of the TULF. “Pro-LTTE groups both within the island and overseas have received a shot in the arm, and will now openly propagate the LTTE’s cause of separatism and terrorism. The TNA will now up its ante reflecting the LTTE’s demands,” Anandasangaree said. more..

Tourism stumped by northern travel ban

Oct 19 (ST) Sri Lanka’s tourism industry was caught unawares after the Govt announced restrictions on travel to the north for foreigners. While one industry body said they had received news of the restriction and noted that henceforth it would take 2-3 days to get clearance for foreigners to visit the north, at least two other associations were unaware and expressed surprise. “I thought the ban was temporary due to the President’s visit to the north last week,” one association official said. more..

Top FAO official, hundreds of others turned away at Omanthai

Oct 19 (ST) A top UN official was turned away at the Omanthai checkpoint this week as the Defence Ministry started strictly enforcing a requirement that prior approval is needed for foreign passport holders to travel to the north. UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Country Representative, Beth Crawford, was on her way to Kilinochchi on Wednesday when she was turned back. more..

Fined Rs 60,000 for trying to sell protected species

Oct 19 (CT) Five Star-Tortoises and two giant squirrels were rescued from captivity, on Thursday, following a raid conducted by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC). The raid was carried out on a tip off received by DWC Director General H.G. Ratnayake. One suspect was arrested in this connection. Suspect (45), a resident of Gonawala, had in his possession five star tortoises and two giant squirrels in separate cages, presumably for sale. These species are protected and more..

MILCO to shift to Badalgama

Oct 19 (CT) State-owned MILCO (Pvt) Ltd, successors to the National Milk Board and Milk Industries of Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, will get a brand new factory at Badalgama, in the Kurunegala District, costing Euro 60 million. MILCO's operations will also be shifted to Badalgama. Cabinet approved construction of a new factory to increase fresh milk production and also allied products such as butter, yoghurt and ice cream, while the Ambewela factory will concentrate on increasing the production more..

Govt looks for Trinco 5 witnesses

Oct 19 (SL) Govt is still looking for three key witnesses to the case involving the murder of five youth in Trincomalee in 2006, in what is now knows as the ‘Trinco 5’ murder. In a written submission to UNHRC, which is now meeting in Geneva, SL govt recalled that the prosecution had moved for summons on three witnesses by email. Registrar of Trincomalee Magistrates Court was directed to issue email notice about the date of further inquiry. more..

'LTTE seeks legal loopholes on foreign soil'

Oct 19 (SO) LTTE is now reorganising to seek legitimacy on foreign soil through loopholes in their legal systems with the same ruthlessness and deceptiveness it operated in Sri Lanka in the post 2009 phase, Terrorism Expert Rohan Gunaratna said. Commenting on the recent ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that may unfreeze LTTE assets in the EU, he said LTTE groups are planning similar cases in Canada, US, UK, and India where the LTTE is still blacklisted. more..

Army denies, Police to probe

Oct 19 (SL) The military denied allegations that it was involved in threatening journalists who attended an awards presentation ceremony last week while the police said if there is a complaint it will investigate the claims. The ‘Investigative Journalists Action Committee’ requested the President and the Govt to hold an investigation immediately and arrest those responsible for disrupting an awards presentation ceremony for investigative journalists arranged by Transparency International SL, more..

Sabaragamuwa Uni tensions reach boiling point

Oct 19 (NS) Tension still prevailed at the Sabaragamuwa University last evening after police took action to remove the temporary structure built by students engaged in a Sathyagraha campaign. Students accused police of trying to remove them from the streets surrounding the university after they had earlier vacated the university hostels following a court order. Tense situation arose after police showed up at more..

'Some people have completely misconstrued the Chapter on corruption'

Oct 19 (Island) The Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA) convened a special forum to fete Prof. A.D.V. De. S. Indraratna who completed a decade’s service to the institution as its Chairman. Indraratna pioneered teaching economics in the University, switching from English to Sinhala. Before he retired from the faculty as its Dean, he is credited with teaching over 20,000 students, who eventually contributed to the economic wellbeing of the country. He was also responsible for teaching more..

2 Heroin peddlers from Sri Lanka held

Oct 19 (ENS) In an inter-state joint police operation, the anti-narcotics wing of the Delhi Police and the Chennai city police nabbed two Sri Lankans and a Chennai resident from a hideout at Poonamallee, on Friday night. The three were part of a gang involved in international heroin smuggling. The police, based on specific clues, zeroed in on the two suspects residing at a house in Narasimha Nagar near Poonamallee. Nearly 17 kilograms of heroin was seized from the two suspects more..

Illegal fishing: EU threatens more

Oct 19 (SL) European Union, which had just last week proposed a ban on importing fish caught by Sri Lankan flagged vessels, is considering more sanctions on Sri Lanka if the govt fails to address concern related to illegal fishing. Among the trade measures proposed to accompany the trade ban include a ban on fishing in the waters of Sri Lanka by EU flagged vessels, on joint fishing operations, on the reflagging of EU vessels to more..

Rajapaksa PR skills enliven Jaffna Peninsula

Oct 19 (SL) Saatchi & Saatchi may want to take lessons in PR from Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He arrived in the Jaffna peninsula to inaugurate the train service to Jaffna Station after a lapse of some 24 years. All throughout the journey crowds thronged the various stations and at several places the crowd mobbed the President. He was in his element. Said a guest, “Nothing makes the President happier than being with the people. He is a natural.” The crowd-pulling Presidential visit more..

INFOTEL–2014 starts on Oct 24

Oct 19 (Island) INFOTEL – 2014, South Asia’s biggest Information and Technology Exhibition organized by the Federation of Information and Technology Industry Sri Lanka (FITIS) will open at the BMICH on October 24. The event will be held from October 24 – 26 and the inclusion of many novel and innovative features will be a specialty in this year’s exhibition – a long awaited annual happening in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) calendar. more..

'Rajapaksa most likely to hold snap election'

Oct 19 (ST) President Rajapaksa will hold a snap presidential election in early January, was the view of a majority of people in a Business Times (BT) email poll held this week. Asked whether the President will hold a (presidential) election in January 2015 or not, 72% of the respondents said YES, while 19% said NO and the balance were unsure of either. Speculation is rife that the President will hold a poll before more..

China snubs Sri Lanka media

Oct 19 (NS) Authorities in China have snubbed the media in Sri Lanka by refusing to grant Accreditation to cover the third and final Leg of the Asian Sevens in Beijing which commenced yesterday. The rebuff has irked media rights groups who charged that the matter was a deep contrast to the Sri Lanka government’s unwavering desire to grant the Chinese plenty of leverage in the country even above their own countrymen as is visible throughout the island. more..

Train Travel to Jaffna in the mid-1950s

Oct 19 (Island) "Jaffna, here I come" proclaims President Mahinda Rajapaksa with arms lifted high as the Yal Devi Express comes into the Jaffna Railway Station after a lapse of 24 years. This was the caption of the front page picture in The Island newspaper on Tuesday 14 with all other newspapers and TV news channels highlighting this glad news. My first thought on seeing these pictures was that I had approached the rail station and alighted from the Jaffna train very many times long ago, more..

On the Yal Devi to Yalpanam

Oct 19 (ST) Though all the media hype was on the inaugural Yal Devi, the first train to officially arrive at the Jaffna Railway Station after 24 years on October 13 with President Rajapaksa on board, that special train made its journey only within the peninsula from Pallai to Jaffna. Determined to make the first trip to Jaffna from Colombo, I called Mobitel 365 on the 11th evening but all I got for the 4-minute call that cost Rs 40 was the response that more..

A touch of goodness with a cricket sense

Oct 19 (ST) Though on surface it was only a reconnaissance tour about a pending cricket tournament which is scheduled to take place in the former war-torn areas at the end of this month, certainly there was more to it. The modus operandi of this exercise is to bring back normalcy — through the game of cricket — to the people who really faced the strife through the thirty long years of that devastating war. But, what really engulfed my imagination is that reconciliation is a process more..

Trivialities that trip

Oct 19 (NS) During the heady days of the Ceasefire Agreement between the then Govt and the LTTE, the advertising agency Phoenix O&M organized an exhibition titled ‘The Other Side,’ featuring the creative work of its staff outside of advertising briefs. Harith Gunawardena, a Creative Director, came up with a simple cardboard box carrying the legend (A gift to Milinda Moragoda from the Norwegian Govet). There was an invitation to open the box and take a look inside. more..

'I will create a background for me to engage in politics in Sri Lanka'

Oct 19 (CT) Leader of Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), Kumar Gunaratnam, says his party plans to field a leftist common candidate at the forthcoming Presidential Election. Q: Will you be contesting the Presidential Election? A: We have decided to enter the discussions on the Presidential Election and to take part in it with the hope of creating a dialogue on building Socialism in the country. Q: Are you going to be the more..

Brown’s to raise Rs. 3.8 bn. disposing under-utilized assets

Oct 19 (Island) Brown & Company, one of the oldest business conglomerates quoted on the Colombo Stock Exchange who’d origin goes back to 1872 when James Brown set up a bicycle repair business in Hatton, has posted an attributable group profit of nearly Rs.1.7 billion, up from Rs.412 million a year earlier while at company level there was a profit of Rs.2.1 billion against a loss of Rs.464.7 million the previous year. The group’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Ishara Nanayakkara, has more..

Political bullets won’t kill war hero

Oct 19 (ST) My dear General, I thought I must write to you because you are in the news again, although for the wrong reasons: they tell me that they have taken away your right to vote, which also means that you have also lost your right to contest elections. For a man who nearly lost his life several times trying to rid this country of terrorism, losing your right to vote and contest elections may not mean much, but I am sure there are many others who would feel that you have been cheated and wronged more..

'We are aware of their double standards'

Oct 19 (SL) Some have been of the view that the govt of Sri Lanka has failed internationally, especially due to their reluctance in addressing human rights issues in the country and due to wrong diplomatic approaches. However justifying the govt’s diplomatic relationship with the British govt, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the British govt had been maintaining double standards & had always supported forces against SL govt. more..

A return to the bad old days

Oct 19 (ST) The importance — and significance of the re-opening of the railway line up to Kankesanthurai this week — cannot be downplayed. Unfortunately, the whole exercise has been soured by seemingly valid claims that the cost overheads were nearly triple what they should have been, a common and frequent complaint about this Govt’s accelerated economic development programmes. That is the high price the people have to pay for development. It is the grease that motivates more..

European Conspiracy against Sri Lanka

Oct 19 (Island) The fact that the General Court of the European Court of Justice has rendered invalid the listing of the LTTE as a terrorist organization in the EU has caused much consternation in Sri Lanka. It has to be noted that bodies like the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the European Court of Human Rights often deliver judgments that cause much distress in member states of the EU itself so it’s hardly surprising that we would find one of their rulings disconcerting. more..

'UK stands by its position on Sri Lanka '

Oct 19 (SL) British Govt has taken a very active role on the Sri Lankan issue, especially at the UNHRC. British High Commissioner, John Rankin, spoke about the UK position on Sri Lanka, talks Britain has with the diaspora and the potential Sri Lanka has for investments. Q: Does the British Govt see positive developments in Sri Lanka in the recent months and a more concerted effort to address the human rights issue? more..

The return of the Yal Devi

Oct 19 (Island) The Yal Devi’s return to Jaffna last week predictably evoked a lot of sentiment reflected in three articles we publish today. Regular columnist Rajan Philips writing in this page says he had for long taken for granted that the Yal Devi was inaugurated somewhere in the 1960s but has now found that it made its maiden run a few days after the SWRD Bandaranaike electoral landslide of 1956. But unlike during the return of the Yal Devi there was no president, prime minister or more..

Opposition needs a Dark Horse and not yet another Green Man

Oct 19 (NS) While it is widely speculated that a presidential election is likely to be held before January 15, political parties of the opposition are busy formulating their political strategies to turn the tables on the govt, using presidential polls as a platform. Upbeat with the outcome of the Uva PC election, the UNP is now in the process of consolidating its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s position as the presidential candidate of the UNP at the forthcoming election. more..

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