Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne told Parliament yesterday that it was wrong for one of his Coordinating Secretaries to sign the letter requesting to release a container with narcotics.He said he requested Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa for permission to make a special statement in Parliament but decided not to do so on the instructions of government and opposition members.The Prime Minister said his statement in Parliament would be a hindrance to investigations in progress.“I kept silent so far, as investigations are in progress. My statements here could jeopardise the investigations. Therefore, I remain silent. Both government and opposition members advised me not to say anything with regard to this.
Complaints accepted till December 31 this year , Commission to investigate disappearances from June 10, 1990 to May 19, 2009 , The Commission appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to investigate complaints regarding the disappearance of persons in the Northern and Eastern Provinces to facilitate the implementation of LLRC recommendations has decided to extend the closing date for (receiving) complaints till December 31 this year.Although the Commission earlier announced November 31, 2013 as the closing date for complaints, its members asked to extend the closing date in response to requests by the public and various institutions, announced the President’s Media Unit in a press release issued on December 12.
Sri Lanka steps up pressure on Indian poachers: 141 ‘netted’ with 23 trawlers …alleges some trawlers moving too close to land
Sri Lanka is stepping up pressure on Indian fishing fleet poaching in local waters with operations both in the northern as well as eastern seas.“We are trying to discourage them from crossing the Indo-Lanka maritime boundary, especially in the wake of an upsurge in poaching,” a senior security official told The Island.On the first day of the operation, the Sri Lanka Navy took 23 trawlers into its custody along with 141 fishermen in northern and eastern waters. Out of the total, the SLN netted 15 trawlers and 111 fishermen north-east of Trincomalee in the early hours of Wednesday.
UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe yesterday claimed that some UPFA ministers didn’t know what was good for the country as well as the government.President’s Counsel Rajapakshe said that he was dismayed by the UPFA’s opposition to his motion seeking consensus on the removal of judges, of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, in accordance with the Latimar House Principles already adopted by several leading members of the Commonwealth.Those vociferously opposed to Latimar House principles seemed to have forgotten now that Sri Lanka had taken over the Commonwealth leadership, the government couldn’t shun them, the UNPer said.
Only half able to pay employees on time amid rows over inefficiency and corruption, Susantha Jayasiri, 37, is worried that he won’t be able to buy his children schoolbooks and shoes next term. Two grocers who gave him food on credit have stopped. He has taken loans from a number of relatives and friends who make sure they drop by his place at least once a day seeking repayment.His daughter’s only pair of shoes, shabby and worn-out, lie drying in the front yard after a scrub. Susantha’s wife will take them to the cobbler next week to extend their life. Susantha, from Yaddigama in Maho area in the Kurunegala district, is a conductor attached to the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) Maho depot, one of about 200 workers there who held protests this week demanding that their salaries be paid.
A code of conduct and a performance evaluation for judges are among the important changes to be introduced to the judicial system, Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem told Parliament yesterday. The Minister said, the code of conduct would be gazetted early next year and will be based on the Bangalore and Latimer House Principles. The Bangalore Principles are intended to establish standards of ethical conduct for judges while the Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles govern issues including the harmonious balance of power and the interaction between the Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary.Speaking during the Committee Stage debate of the Ministry of Justice, Minister Hakeem said the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) would also introduce a system of evaluating the performance of judges. The evaluation would include delays in writing judgements. He said those in the legal fraternity would be able to make presentations to the JSC during such a process.
UPFA National List MP J.R.P.Suriyapperuma hurled abuses at Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament yesterday calling him an old man (nakiya) and a fool who will soon be thrown out of power by the Indian people. Eighty five year-old Mr. Suriyapperuma, who is four years older than the Indian Prime Minister directed his ire at Premier Singh for failing to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Colombo last month.“The Indian Prime Minister who promised to attend CHOGM and did not come has been rejected by the people at the election held to five Indian states. The old man (nakiya) will be thrown out of office soon. This fool has gone and created a new state in India now,” Mr. Suriyapperuma said while speaking during the Committee Stage debate of the Ministry of External Affairs.
The Australian Immigration Department has made an error in the handling of the case of a Sri Lankan refugee with a negative security assessment from ASIO, the High Court in Australia has ruled.According to a report by ABC News the Sri Lankan national, known as Ranjini, arrived in Australia by boat in 2010. She was pregnant and living in Melbourne when she was originally granted refugee status.A subsequent adverse security assessment then saw her flown to Sydney with her two sons, aged nine and seven, and the family detained at Villawood Detention Centre.
India cannot continue with the facile “do not touch” policy with Sri Lanka in the wake of its “brazen” and “warlike” mass abduction of Indian fishermen, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said Thursday.“These are the largest and most outrageous acts of mass abduction of our fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy,” According to Indian media reports Jayalalithaa said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the text of which was released to the Indian media.Jayalalithaa was referring to the Sri Lankan Navy’s alleged attempt to abduct 325 Indian fishermen.
The Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith yesterday warned the Government that foreign intervention would be inevitable unless serious allegations of rights abuses and the work of reconciliation is addressed within the country. Issuing a pastoral letter yesterday, the Cardinal urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Tamil National Alliance to work towards finding a long term political solution to the ethnic conflict. “Foreigners should not tell us what to do. We are not a pack of fools. But if we do not resolve these issues, then we open ourselves to foreign intervention,” the Cardinal said. In his pastoral letter, the Cardinal warned that an international inquiry into war crimes could pose a serious threat to the country’s sovereignty. In its 24-page letter, the church also asked the government to ensure accountability for politically-motivated killings going back four decades.
The Coordinating Secretary to the Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, who had allegedly intervened to release a heroin container from the Customs, had tendered his resignation to Prime Minister and the Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs D.M. Jayaratne from December 9, However, Secretary Keerthi Sri Weerasinghe, had said in his resignation letter that he had no connection whatsoever with the alleged incident of importing heroin or releasing a heroin container from the Customs.
The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) has unanimously passed a resolution yesterday, urging President Mahinda Rajapaksa to remove Maj. Gen. G.A. Chandrasiri from the post of Northern Governor, and appoint a new Governor with no military background. The resolution was brought by former Parliamentarian and NPC Councillor, M.K. Sivajilingam, and was seconded by Councillor, K. Sarveswaran. Although the resolution was passed unanimously, the Opposition members pointed out that when selecting a new Governor with no military background, it should be done on a national basis, instead of demanding the appointment of a person of Tamil or Northern origin.
Nawa Sama Samaja Party leader Wickramabahu Karunaratne has called for the National flag of Sri Lanka to be changed. Speaking at a press briefing in Colombo today, Karunaratne said that the Lion symbol must be replaced as it does not suite the country. He said that instead there should be a farmer or another symbol which reflects Sri Lanka. Northern Provincial Council Minister P. Ingaranesan had recently decided to snub the National flag saying it does not represent the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. At a function held last weekend the Provincial Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Water Supply, who was the chief guest, refused to raise the National flag.
Former LTTE peace negotiator Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran has been selected once again to head the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), a group consisting of mainly Tamil Diaspora members who are campaigning against the Sri Lankan government. A statement by the TGTE said that its second self proclaimed parliament was inaugurated recently in New Jersey in the United States where the newly elected 112 TGTE Members of Parliament (MPs) met. Several dignitaries from around the world, including legislators and political leaders, addressed the meeting. During this session, Rudrakumaran was elected as their Prime Minister. The TGTE however does not have UN or international recognition as a parliament.
Six weeks after Thavisha Peiris was stabbed to death in Sheffield on his final shift as a pizza delivery driver, his mother Sudharma Narangoda is a long way from coming to terms with his death.
“I feel like the whole world has been destroyed,” Mrs Narangoda told me.
“It was hard bringing him up, it was a lot of love and sacrifice, all wiped out, now we have no hope for the future.”
Mr Peiris, 25, had studied at Sheffield Hallam University and, having graduated in 2011, was on the cusp of a new career as an IT consultant when he was killed on 27 October.Visiting the Peiris family home in the Nawala district of Colombo, Sri Lanka, you get a sense of what a close family they are. Most of the surrounding houses belong to close friends or relatives.
Seeking to deconstruct a much-laboured criticism against the Congress in Tamil Nadu and at the national level for being ‘anti-Tamil’ in its approach to the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, Union Finance Minister and Senior Congress leader, P. Chidambaram, at a recent meeting in Chennai, argues that the 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, continues to offer the best possible solution to resolve the crisis and ensure a better deal for the island’s Tamils. M.R. Venkatesh explores.
Colombo: The US is keeping a close tab on Sri Lanka to see that it develops a credible justice mechanism to address allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, a top American official has said.
“We do also continue to be concerned about on going issues regarding restrictions on freedom of the press and expression, on the erosion of the rule of law and violence against religious minorities,” US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said yesterday in Washington.
Canada says justice will be served in Sri Lanka over allegations of human rights abuses and the Canadian Government will look to work with the Tamil community in Canada to achieve that goal.Canadian ruling party Brampton-Springdale MP, Parm Gill, said the Sri Lankan government has failed to uphold the Commonwealth’s core values, which he says are cherished by Canadians.He said that Canada is deeply concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka and the absence of accountability for the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian standards during and after the civil war is unacceptable.
The Catholic church Wednesday warned Sri Lanka’s government of foreign intervention unless it worked towards reconciliation and addressed allegations of war crimes during the war against Tamil separatists.
Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, said he was urging President Mahinda Rajapakse and the main ethnic Tamil party to hammer out a political settlement or risk an international probe.
“Foreigners should not tell us what to do… We are not a pack of fools,” the cardinal said. “But if we do not resolve these issues, then we open ourselves to foreign intervention.”Sri Lanka has resisted international calls to investigate allegations that up to 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians were killed by security forces in the final months of fighting in 2009.
A senior official at the Board of Investment Sri Lanka (BOI) is being investigated over a serious allegation of corruption, The Sunday Leader learns. Ministry of Power and Energy Secretary M. M. C. Ferdinando confirmed that instructions have been issued to investigate the official and to relieve him of his current duties whilst the investigation is carried out.Significantly, the aggrieved parties have also been invited to make their own submissions. The alleged corrupt practise is estimated to have cost the aggrieved parties in excess of Rs 240 Million in losses and the loss of control of their business.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday offered active support to the government to address the accountability issue if the government meets certain conditions.Among the conditions, the TNA said, is the need for the government to agree to make an honest effort to address the issue with an open mind and work with the international community including India and the US and learn from the South African experience.“You will have our active support and participation in such a process of accountability and reconciliation,” TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran said in a speech made in parliament yesterday.
If some observers in Sri Lanka are expecting a resounding BJP victory at India’s next general election, sometime early next year, they cannot be faulted because recent state level polls in India seem to be bearing out this prediction. In these polls, including those held in New Delhi, the Grand Old Party of India, the Congress Party, has suffered defeat and the expectation that the Congress would be routed at the next Lok Sabha polls seems to be well founded at present.Thanks to the vibrancy of the democratic process in India, political parties at the helm of governance in India change periodically and this is something defenders of democracy the world over need to warmly welcome.
The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) leader Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera, on Sunday, demanded the immediate arrest of Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne, over the issuing of a letter to the Customs, from his office, to obtain the release of a container which was subsequently found to contain heroin. But, the JHU will not pull out of the government even if its demand is not granted.JHU Spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe confirmed that Ven. Sobitha Thera’s call for the PM’s arrest and the responsible official was consistent with his party’s stand.”We ask the government to reveal the name of the secretary who issued the letter on the Prime Minister’s letterhead and sack him,” he said.Addressing the Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thera Commemoration Ceremony on Sunday,
UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told The Island that he would move a private member’s motion in Parliament today (11) seeking consensus on the removal of the judges of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal in accordance with the Latimar House Principles already adopted by several leading member states of the Commonwealth.Having taken over the leadership of the Commonwealth for a period of two years, Sri Lanka couldn’t afford to reject the Latimar House principles, Rajapakshe, PC, said. “In fact, I delayed my move until President Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed the Commonwealth leadership amidst protests by a section of the Commonwealth community.
A solitary Police constable was interdicted and 13 other police officers including a chief inspector charge-sheeted at the conclusion of the investigations into the conduct of police officers of the Deraniyagala Police Station during the alleged ‘era of terror’ unleashed by former Deraniyagala PS Chairman and his political cohorts.Not a single senior police officer who was in charge of the area during the past decade had been scrutinized by the Special Investigations Unit, which was appointed to probe the conduct of the police personnel.
A Sri Lankan worker who lost his leg while working refused Monday to accept SR5,000 as compensation from his Saudi sponsor.Ruwan Chamara Herath, 29, suffered a serious accident while driving a vehicle without headlights. He claimed his sponsor forced him to drive the vehicle at midnight even though he knew that the headlights were not working, Herath alleged.The worker said that the sponsor wants to forcibly repatriate him against his wishes without giving proper compensation. “The SR5,000 which the sponsor has promised is my three months’ wages and allowances,” he said, lamenting that he cannot go home in this manner.
The 2014 budget of the Alawwa Pradeshiya Sabha was defeated for the second time today by a majority of one vote.The vote on the budget was by secret ballot with five members voting in favour of the budget with six voting against.The 2014 budget proposals of the Alawwa Pradeshiya Sabha was earlier defeated for the first time on November 28.PS Chairman Chanaka Sampath Madugoda said he would have to step down from the post of chairman now that the budget had been defeated for the second time.“We would have won the vote on the budget if the voting was not carried out by secret ballot.
Even China, the country that provides the largest amount of loans to Sri Lanka had charged that the Sri Lankan government was corrupt, main Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said at a seminar held on the 2014 budget at the Jathika Sevaka Sangama Headquarters today.He said a Chinese national newspaper had highlighted that corruption in Sri Lanka, Malawi and Morocco government sectors was on the rise.“China is the country that generously provides funds and loans to Sri Lanka. But now they have also realised how corrupt our rulers and the government are,” he said.He said the national debt was Rs. 1.8 trillion in 2005 after so many governments ruled the country