Floods are a result of a curse for holding General Fonseka behind bars during Victory Day celebrations - Handunnetti
DNA parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetti, referring to the floods which had even affected the sittings of the House, told Parliament yesterday (18) that the country had received poetic justice on the eve of the Victory Day celebrations.
Handunnetti noted that it was because former Army Commander and DNA parliamentarian Retired General Sarath Fonseka, who had played a key role in the victory, was being held under military detention.
Eight-member Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission to commence work in a few weeks
Head of Sri Lanka’s eight-member Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, former Attorney General C.R. De Silva has said that it would take a few more weeks for the Commission to commence its work as there were several formalities to be attended to.
“First we must set up the commission secretariat and discuss among the members on the modalities to be adopted in calling for witnesses, recording statements and so forth,” De Silva had told the media yesterday (18).
SLAF offers helicopter service to civilian passengers
The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) has announced that its helicopters will be available for the transportation of passengers to and from Colombo and the Bandaranaike International Airport under the Heli Tours Service from today (19).
The SLAF has announced that passengers would be charged a nominal fee.
SLAF Spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara has said that anyone can call Heli Tours and arrange a helicopter ride to the airport and that the fee will be calculated according to the distance.
UDA undertakes demolition operation under the Defence Secretary
Ranil slams UDA
Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday (18) charged that the government body, Urban Development Authority (UDA) had become an Urban Destruction Agency following the demolition of houses in Slave Island last week.
Wickremesinghe made this statement during the debate on the Special Commodity Levy in parliament.
According to Wickremesinghe, the houses in Mews Street, Slave Island are being demolished to give the land over to a private company to put up a 15 story luxury apartment complex.
He further observed that one unit of the complex is to be priced at Rs. 40 million.
Rs. 10 million bribe taken to allocate frequencies to Hiru FM
A highly placed official at the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) had taken a bribe of Rs. 10 million to provide radio frequencies to ABC Radio Network’s Hiru FM in place of the frequencies that were forcibly taken over by the government,a TRC official said.
The President had ordered the TRS to provide Hiru FM with different frequencies.
Several key frequencies that were under Hiru FM were allocated by the President to his son Namal Rajapaksa for his private radio station and former TRC Chief Priyantha Kariyapperuma had handed the other frequencies to his brother’s radio network.
“There’s no problem in amending the Constitution to allow Mahinda to be President for another two or three terms” – Vasudeva
UPFA Ratnapura District parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkara has said there is no problem in amending the Constitution to permit President Mahinda Rajapaksa to hold office for another two or three terms, as he is still a young political leader.
He had made this statement during a friendly chat with several MPs in parliament.
Vasudeva had told the MPs that former President J.R. Jayewardene limited the terms of office of a President to two since he was suffering from old age at the time he completed twp terms in office and had questioned as to why Mahinda could not hold office for a few more terms if JR managed to stay in office even after the age of 80.
Sanath, Sangakkara rift intensifies
Sanga prepares to leave the team
A senior official at Sri Lanka Cricket told Lanka News Web that the rift between UPFA parliamentarian and Sri Lanka cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya and team leader Kumar Sangakkara has intensified and that Sanath had on several occasions openly reprimanded Sangakkara during the South African tour. The official said that Sanath had acted in the high handed manner taking into consideration support he enjoyed from First Son and UPFA parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa.
No one to take over the leadership
Ranil’s leadership stable again
A Ranil Wickremesinghe loyalist and UNP parliamentarian said that Ranil has decided to continue as the leader of the party for the benefit of the party and its supporters as no one has stepped forward to take over the party leadership even on a temporary basis after he announced his willingness to step down from the post and face an election top be re-elected to the UNP leadership.
He firmly said the party could not be manipulated by media institutions and that Sajith Premadasa realizing the media conspiracy has decided to support party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Decision to permit President to hold office for more than two terms
Objections rise from within the government
Constituent parties of the governing UPFA, the Communist Party (CP) and the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), have objected to the proposal to extend the terms of office of a President from its current two terms to an unlimited number.
The government is considering the extension of the number of terms a President could hold office citing flaws in the constitution that have been said to have made it impossible for a President to form a stable government to find solutions to key issues faced by the country.
Wimal Weerawansa’s supporters sidelined
Udaya Sri Kariyawasam demoted
Supporters of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Minister Wimal Weerawansa have been sidelined when making appointments to state institutions.
Although appointments to state institutions in 2005 after President Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed office was made in consultation with Basil Rajapaksa and Willie Gamage, this time around the task had been handed over to a committee headed by young parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa.
AG’s Department taken under the President to issue directives to punish General Fonseka
A senior official at the Attorney General’s (AG) Department told Lanka News Web that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had taken the AG’s Department under his purview to receive the necessary legal aid to make constitutional amendments as he pleases and to get some charge framed against General Sarath Fonseka in order to arrest him.
After the President took over the AG’s Department that was under the purview of the Justice Ministry for the past few decades, the Department under a Presidential directive filed three cases against parliamentarian General Fonseka. The cases have been filed under
“Please don’t hang my photograph in buildings under the ministry” – Cabinet minister makes surprising statement
Political sources say that a Cabinet minister in the current government has issued a surprising order to his staff, who are usually of the practice of hanging the photograph of the new subject minister in the ministry building as well as buildings that belong to the ministry.
Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka had issued a directive to his staff members not to hang his photograph in all the building that come under the ministry purview.
He had said that like in his former Environment Ministry, he would act to bring international attention on Sri Lanka’s Power and Energy Ministry. Ranawaka had further noted that like he did during his tenure as Environment Minister, he would once again act to leave his mark in the Power and Energy Ministry as well.
I will be patient only till November – Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva
Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has told several senior government ministers that his current portfolio was a useless one and that he would tolerate the situation only till November, SLFP sources said.
He has said that his political future would come to an end if the President fails to appoint him to a powerful ministry at the Cabinet reshuffle that is to take place in November after President Mahinda Rajapaksa is sworn in to office for a second term.
According to de Silva, he would then contemplate on accepting a post that has been offered to him at the World Health Organization, which is said to be offered to individuals who held the health portfolio in their respective countries for a long period.
Well-Done Jayasuriya For Your Self-Inflicted Destruction
Sanjay Manjrekar, analyzing the Sri Lanka's defeat against England in the T20 world cup semi-finals, commented that performance of Sri Lanka team was below par and the obvious reason being Jayasuriya at the top and failing. He said Sri Lanka would realize that persisting with Jayasuriya at the top was a mistake.
Yet, who knows cricket better than Rajapakse. He is the person who ordered return of Jayasuriya to the National team when he was dropped after his repeated failure. However, the President’s shallow decision forced the entire nation to pay heavily. Persisting with failed Jayasuriya not
Sri Lanka : UN must investigate human rights violations Amnesty launches fresh call a year on from end of conflict
Amnesty expert available for interview
Amnesty International today called on the United Nations to set up an immediate and independent investigation into the massive human rights violations committed by both government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam forces, commonly known as the Tamil Tigers, during the country’s recent civil war.
The call came a day before the first anniversary of the end of the conflict (18 May).
INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP - NEW REPORT
War Crimes in Sri Lanka
Newly revealed evidence of war crimes in Sri Lanka last year makes an international inquiry essential.
War Crimes in Sri Lanka ,* the latest report from the International Crisis Group, exposes repeated violations of international law by both the Sri Lankan security forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the last five months of their 30-year civil war. That evidence suggests that the period of January to May 2009 saw tens of thousands of Tamil civilian men, women, children and the elderly killed, countless more wounded, and hundreds of thousands deprived of adequate food and medical care, resulting in more deaths.
On parliamentarian Raviraj’s mysterious assassination
Navy Sampath’s revelations cast aside
The Attorney General’s Department is yet to take any action on the important revelations made by the Navy officer named Navy Sampath to the CID in relation to the assassination of parliamentarian Nataraja Raviraj. Navy Sampath was arrested by the CID last June under emergency regulations and is currently held under detention order issued by the Defence Secretary.
Navy Sampath was the personal security officer for former Navy Commander and Highways Ministry Secretary Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda and remained a serving Naval officer until he surrendered himself to the CID last year. After surrendering himself to the CID, Navy Sampath revealed many details about the period of terror experienced during the war.
Ranil to get a post similar to Sonia Gandhi
A leadership council to operate the UNP
The UNP’s reforms committee has received a proposal to provide a position to Ranil Wickremesinghe similar to that of Sonia Gandhi of India’s Congress I party and to hand over the party functions to a leadership council, sources from Sirikotha said.
UNP parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekera says that NFF Leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa had last week summoned a press conference and criticized the so called intervention of the Indian Foreign Secretary in Sri Lankan affairs, following a Presidential directive.
Claims that Sajith has converted from his religion
A mud slinging campaign carried out within the UNP against Sajith
Sources from Sirikotha say that a mud slinging campaign has been launched within the UNP against Sajith Premadasa claiming he had converted his religion and has become a member of the Assembly of God following pressure from his sister, Dulanjali Jayakody.
Some UNPers who are against Sajith have spread rumors that Sjaith has become a prisoner among his sister Dulanjali and UNP parliamentarians Rosy Senanayake and Eran Wickremaratne, who are all members of Assembly of God.
Basil admires wild life in Wilpattu from a helicopter
Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa had visited the Wilpattu National Park in a helicopter and due to the inability to see the wild life from the craft, he had had to land in the National Park.
However, a media official attached to Basil’s staff had requested the media not to publicize the fact that Basil had arrived in the park in a helicopter.
UNP Hambantota District parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa has told several of his close friends in Kandy on the 16th that UPFA parliamentarian Thilanga Sumathipala has extended his support to him saying that he along with several others would re-join the UNP if Sajith takes over the party leadership.
Sajith has also said that many UNPers who have defected to the government due to their displeasure over Ranil Wickremesinghe would re-join the UNP if he takes over the leadership.
IFJ Urges Speedy Processing of Tissainayagam’s Pardon
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges Sri Lanka’s Government to speed up its processing of a full and unconditional presidential pardon for senior Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagam.
On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, Sri Lanka’s Minister for External Affairs, G.L. Peiris, reportedly told a press conference that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would pardon Tissainayagam, who was sentenced last year to 20 years’ jail on accusations of terrorism-related activities.
The subject of exploration for petroleum resources, which was under the purview of the Petroleum Ministry, has been taken under the purview of the President and the subject of providing essential services to the displaced, which was under the Disaster Management Ministry, has been assigned to the Resettlement Ministry.
It is learnt that Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha had queried as to why the petroleum resources exploration subject had been taken away from him at the Cabinet meeting on the 5th.
Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunge had responded by saying that all natural resources were under the President’s purview.
Taking the AG under the President is a threat to judicial independence – Lal Wijenayake
Sri Lanka Lawyers Association Executive Committee member Attorney Lal Wijenayake says that the independence of the judiciary and democracy have been threatened by the decision to take the Attorney General’s Department and the Legal Draftsman’s Department under the Executive President.
Wijenayake said that the Association would issue a statement condemning the move to take over the judiciary under the Executive Presidency as opposed to the reduction of the powers vested with the Executive as pledged by the President.
The official government website has stated that the period allocated for the commission appointed to prepare a response to the US State Department report on alleged incidents that had taken place in Sri Lanka during the final stages of the war last year has been extended till end July.
One of the key allegations against the Sri Lankan government highlighted in the report is the lack of food and medicinal supplies being sent to the people in the Northern displaced camps and in the no fire zone during the war.
Mahinda brings back Reawakening (Pubudamu) Sri Lanka programme
The decision to remove street vendors and unauthorized structures from Colombo and its suburbs as well as on the coast line had been made during the Ranil Wickremesinghe government in 2002, as part of a programme aimed at tourism promotion, it is learnt.
The UPFA rejected this porogramme, which was presented under the “Reawakening Sri Lanka” programme introduced by the UNP.
Keselwatte OIC suspended for arresting Mervyn’s supporters
Sources from the police department said that Keselwatte OIC W.M. Chandrathileka had been suspended with immediate effect for arresting several supporters of Mervyn Silva and producing them before court for attacking a sathyagraha organized outside the Aluthkade courts complex by supporters of General Sarath Fonseka.
However, Police Spokesperson SP Preshantha Jayakody when inquired about the suspension of work of the Keselwatte OIC, said the action had been taken due to the OIC’s failure to take into custody the murders of one Arunajith Suramya Rajapakse from Keselwatte.
Irrigation Minister attends international health conference
The World Health Summit is to be held in Geneva, Switzerland on the 17th and 18th and Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has left the country to attend the conference.
Former Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva is the Chairman of the organization. He had left the country to attend the summit following an official invitation extended to him requesting his participation at the event.
The government has rejected an opposition request to hold the chair of the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunge said that although the opposition had made a written request from the Speaker to allocate the chairs of these two committee to the opposition, the Speaker had rejected the request at the party leaders’ meeting.
The proposed constitutional amendments by the government are to remove the stipulated two term period for an Executive President to hold office and extend it without a time frame.
A senior government minister said that several opposition parliamentarians have already expressed their willingness to help the government gain the required two thirds majority in parliament to made the proposed constitutional amendments including the extension of the terms of office by the Executive President.
UNP reforms report to be presented to the Working Committee on the 17th
The UNP reforms committee has decided to hand in its report prepared on proposed party reforms proposals to the UNP Working Committee on the 17th.
Member of the reforms committee, parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella said that the committee had discussed at length about the unanimous decision arrived at the last Working Committee meeting on electing individuals to senior positions in the party.
He also noted that the report on reforms would not be a mere piece of document, but a complete report on party reforms.
Mahinda Yapa attacks Maithripala on a Presidential directive
Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena had recently said, “People in every village should receive the services of the Agriculture Department. People in villages say they have not received any benefits. When inquired in to it, you see that the Agriculture Department had not served the people in the past,” targeting former Agriculture Minister Maithripala Sirisena on a Presidential directive, it is reliable learnt.
Mahinda Yapa had made the statement on the 13th at a discussion at the Peradeniya, Gannoruwa Agro Park.
The Presidential Media unit had invited the media to provide coverage to the event.
President reprimands Ministers Wimal and Jeewan for attending Cabinet in casuals
The President had reprimanded Ministers Wimal Weerawansa and Jeewan Kumaratunge last Wednesday for attending the Cabinet meeting in casual attire. He had then called on all ministers to attend Cabinet meetings in an outfit that would safe guard the dignity of the Cabinet.
The President had also advised ministers not to criticize their predecessors after assuming work in new ministries.
Harry J appointed as Chairman CPC to get Hillary Clinton’s support
The President’s decision to appoint well known businessman Harry Jayawardena as the Chairman of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has been due to his intention of building closer ties with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sources from the Presidential Secretariat said.
Harry Jayawardena, who is a member of the Clinton Foundation, is a close friend of the Clintons. His daughter is a member of Hillary Clinton’s staff.
Sources further said the President aims at taking more such strategic steps in future in order to re-build strain diplomatic relations with the US and European countries.
Won’t allow power devolution due to Indian pressure – Minister Wimal Weerawansa
NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa says that India could not give deadlines to the Sri Lankan government to implement the 13th amendment and that if a decision is taken to devolve power following Indian pressure, he would act against such a move and launch a struggle within the government.
Wimal had made this statement during a meeting with several leaders of the Patriotic National movement on Friday (14). He had also emphasized the need to initiate a discussion with other patriotic forces within the government like the JHU in relation to taking a stance against Indian intervention.
Land in the Eastern Province - Politics, Policy and Conflict
In Sri Lanka, land has been a critical factor in the ethnic conflict that intensified and resulted in the outbreak of a war that spanned over two decades. In a post-war context the Government, political parties, civil society and citizens at large are faced with an unprecedented opportunity to address the root causes of the ethnic conflict and long-term grievances faced by different communities.
The report titled “LAND IN THE EASTERN PROVINCE: POLITICS, POLICY AND CONFLICT” by CPA highlights the gaps and shortcomings in several areas including the existing
Maithripala to take a stand on behalf of the defeated candidates
SLFP General Secretary and Minister Maithripala Sirisena it is learnt has decided to stand by the defeated SLFP organizers at the general election against the President’s decision not to give any key positions in government corporations and boards to candidates who were defeated at the lections.
Sources from the SLFP party headquarters said that many SLFP electoral organizers who have lost positions and vehicles used by the following their defeat at the general election had met with Maithripala to explain their plight.
Minister John Seneviratne decides to give Ratnapura as daughter’s dowry to his son-in-law
Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister John Seneviratne has decided not to contest future elections and is making necessary arrangements for his daughter’s husband, one businessman called Prabath, to take over his Ratnapura electorate, sources from the SLFP headquarters said.
Sources also said that Minister John Seneviratne is unhappy with the portfolio handed to him when allocating ministries in the new government.
Labor Party leader’s residence worth Rs. 100,000 per month taken on rent
Ratnasiri Wickremanayake pays a rent of Rs. 300,000 per month
State Administration and Reforms Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has ended the hunt for a suitable building for his ministry by deciding to take on Labor Party Leader A.S.P. Liyanage’s residence, also known as “White House,” on J.P Wijesinghe Mawatha in Battaramulla on a rent of Rs. 300,000 per month.
Liyanage was on the look out for some one to rent the house for Rs. 100,000 per month and has now decided to rent it out to Ratnasiri for Rs. 300,000 per month for his ministry.
UNP parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa and his group of supporters who are conducting a massive campaign against the party leadership have decided to carry out a massive poster campaign against the UNP leadership during the weekend.
The task of printing and distributing the posters have been assigned to a group of parliamentarians including Rosy Senanayake, Chandrani Bandara, Kabir Hashim, Earl Gunasekera, Ranjtih Madduma Bandara, Dayasiri Jayasekera, Mansha Nanayakkara and Buddhika Pathirana.
Seelaratne appointed editorial board director at Lake House
Mahinda Abeysundera’s request ignored
Media Secretary to former Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, Seelaratne Senarath has been appointed as an editorial board director of Lake House.
The President it is learnt had ignored a request made by Dinamina Editor Mahinda Abeysundera to be appointed to the respective post.
An invitation extended by Additional Presidential Secretary Gamini Senarath to journalist A.B. Lalith Silva to become and editorial board director at Lake House had been turned down by Silva, who had said he was not ready to work under a Chairman like Bandula Padmakumara.
“Wouldn’t it be good for you to move out of cricket at least now?”
President asks Sanath Jayasuriya
Sources from Sri Lanka Cricket said that the President in a telephone conversation with Sri Lanka cricketer and parliamentarian Sanath Jayasuriya had asked “Sanath, wouldn’t it be good for you to move out of cricket at least now?” The President it is learnt had asked this following Jayasuriya’s dismal performance at the T20 Cricket World Cup currently being played.
Dullas to go to Singapore to be treated for mental stress
Youth Affairs Minister Dullas Alahapperuma is scheduled to visit Singapore to be treated for mental stress, sources from the Ministry said.
Dullas it is learnt is displeased that several institutions like the Foreign Employment Bureau, which were to be assigned to his ministry, have been taken away by Namal Rajapaksa and over the appointment of a member of Namal’s Nil Balakaya, Attorney Lalith Piyum Perera, as the head of the National Youth Services Council without consulting him.
I am the wonder of all ministers in the government – Sarath Amunugama
Deputy Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama had asked his staff on Tuesday (11) if it indeed was not a wonder for him to be appointed as the deputy minister of a ministry of which he had been the minister in charge not so long ago.
He had said that his fate was an indication of the “Bright future” of the wonder that would be Sri Lanka.
Although the media reported that Dr. Amunugama has been appointed as a senior Presidential advisor, one of his personal staff members told us that he has not yet been asked for any advice by the President.
First salvo fired against the President Decision not to appoint defeated candidates to positions boomerangs on the President
The President’s decision not to appoint any of the defeated SLFP candidates to state corporations and boards has boomeranged on him, sources from the SLFP headquarters said.
Sources said the appointment of members from Namal Rajapaksa’s Nil Balakaya to key positions in state owned corporations and boards after sidelining SLFP organizers who have worked for the party but were defeated at the elections are now displeased with the President.
To gain power at village level
Basil establishes Jana Sabha
Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa has established a new political programme called Jana Sabha, in order to gain power at village level. Basil has already launched a political campaign with the intention of becoming the future political leader of the country.
The Minister has named senior lecturer of the Colombo University Dhamma Dissanayake as the Jana Sabha Commissioner and has already made arrangements to enroll 5,000 graduates at village level. It is also interesting to note that these graduates have been employed purely on the recommendation of SLFP electoral organizers without conducting an interview.