3/30/2010

Ranminithenna once paved way to the closure of a radio channel now Sri Lanka's first ever tele cinema park


(March 30, Colombo - Lanka Polity)Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa will declare open the country’s first ever tele cinema park today in Thissamaharamaya in the Southern Province.

This namesake park is opened in the President’s home district. Hambanthota is the luckiest district of Sri Lanka under President Mahinda Rajapaksa although it is one of the least developed areas of the country. The district has won a port, an international airport, an international cricket stadium and many other projects.

Ranminithenna, the venue of the tele cinema park, once became famous with an early announced terrorist attack that led to a ban on a private radio channel.

Hiru FM owned by famous businessman Reno Silva announced in one of its news bulletins in 2008 that Ranminithenna village had come under a terrorist attack of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). The news proved wrong and the swiftly retaliated with the cancellation of the broadcasting licence of this pro-opposition radio channel. However, later there were some suspicious moves of terrorists in the area. By that time, LTTE was trying to expand war to south while the Army was advancing towards their strongholds in Kilinochchi. 

Later, Reno Silva cut a deal with the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Reno's younger brother Duminda Silva, a budding youth politician of the opposition United National Party (UNP) joined hands publicly with the President denying the UNP. The radio licence was reinstated and the once opposition backing radio now operates as yet another trumpet of the government.

The government spent Rs. 600 million for the construction of the first phase of the park. The park is a concept of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa who has acted in several movies and tele dramas. The park is located in a 200 acre land and two production crews can engage in work in it now.

The construction was commenced in 2007. The park consists of an administrative building, a dormitory with facilities for 96 individuals, a large studio of the size of 130 X 70 feet, three showrooms for costumes, two seminar halls, two libraries, kitchens and 31 sets.

The inauguration will coincide with a street musical drama that is participates by 450 artists.

Read the comic column in our sister Sinhala blog:




3/23/2010

Let them finish what they started in Sri Lanka

(March 23, Colombo - Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa is honored by Sinhalese for eliminating 'terrorism'. The term is generally used to define Sri Lanka Tamil's long drawn struggle for identity in the political system.

Under the rule of Rajapaksas, a rapid transformation took place in governance and politics as well. The liberal democrats might not like it but the majority of the voters had endorsed it. It is a transformation from the accepted norms of the democracy to a new political culture that the time will define ultimately some day.

We perceive that this trend in Sri Lanka cannot be averted now. Then why don't we allow to thrive it so that it can reach its culmination as early as possible.

Sri Lanka Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told The Divaina Sinhala daily today that no one could ban him addressing political rallies.

The Defense Secretary made this comment to the newspaper in response to the criticism against him on addressing political propaganda rallies of some candidates of the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

“Some question my addresses in political rallies. The way the terrorism in the north was eliminated and the situation of the country must be explained to the people. Anyone can say anything they like,” the newspaper quoted the Defense Secretary. He added that some elements could not put up with him addressing the meetings.

It is clear that the senior public officials that are paid with public coffers have no political rights according with the election laws and the code of ethics for the public servants of Sri Lanka. But what are the laws for in this country where the powerful politicos can stand above them?

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Minister of Labor Mervin Silva urged the voters of Gampaha district to usher Mr. Basil Rajapaksa to the premiership of the country following the upcoming election.

Addressing a religious ceremony held in Kelaniya temple, the Minister anticipated a two third majority to the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance at the general election and said that Mr. Basil Rajapaksa should be given the real leadership that can lead the parliamentary group.

Mr. Basil Rajapaksa, the brother of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, contests the general election from Gampaha district leading the district team of candidates. He is a national list MP and the senior adviser to the President. Minister Mervin Silva is also a national list MP. He is also a candidate for Gampaha district.

Come on, Mervin!





3/22/2010

Within two weeks two poor mothers throw their children to rivers in Sri Lanka

(March 22, Colombo - Lanka PolityAnother Sri Lankan woman threw her new born baby to a river on March 20, several days after a similar incident was highlighted by local media.

Just two days before the three-year-old toddler succumbed, the second baby was killed within three hours of its birth and was thrown into a river,

The incident was reported from Ambalangoda, a town in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka.

The mother was arrested and she had confessed about the crime. She told to police the child was conceived as a result of an affiar with a Bangladeshi as the woman was working as a housemaid in Dubai. The father of the child is a driver in the house, according to the woman's confession. The employers have sent her back after the pregnancy was disclosed.

This woman is also a tsunami victim as same as the first woman that threw her child to River Kalu two weeks ago. She is 41 years old and has five other children of whom two daughters are married. She is a single mother abandoned by her legal husband.


3/19/2010

Coal goes ahead in Sri Lanka but the reality still unknown

(March 19, Colombo - Lanka Polity)  Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday inaugurated the second phase of the Norochcholai coal power plant.

Norochcholai, situated in North Western Province, provides vicinity to Sri Lanka’s first coal power plant. The 300 MW first phase of the project is now near completion.

The government repeatedly says that the rates of electricity tariffs will be slashed with the commencement of coal electricity generation. Hope that dream will be materialized. Sri Lanka is among the countries where the electricity rates are very high.

The cheapness of coal power electricity is challenged by environmentalists. They argue that the cost of the environmental and healthcare damages are not usually calculated when computing the price of a coal power unit.

By the time the proposal for the coal power plant in Norochcholai was moved, there was vehement protest from villagers, environmentalists and social activists. Following is an argument against this move that was published by BBC.


The construction of the three phases of the project costs US$ 1.35 billion, Ministry of Energy sources say.
300 MW plant will require 2640 MT of coal daily. A minimum of six months stock will be (2640 mt X 30 X 6 ) 475,200 MT. One meter high storage facility will require over 100 acres land or 2 m high facility require 50 acres. To suppress the coal dust due to heavy blowing using sprinklers to cover this facility will be practically an impossible task. Even if it is possible the requirement of water if taken from the ground water resource will starve the agricultural crops and even the drinking water wells will dry up in addition to seepage of seawater. Desalination of seawater for this purpose will add to the cost of production of power.

However, now the plant in Norochcholai will be upgraded to 900 MW under the second and third phases. The cost for the second phase is estimated US $ 891 million. China CMEC Company is the contractor of construction.


The first stage of the Norochcholai power plant was started in 2006. The construction of the third stage begins in 2012 and is to be finalized in 2013.



3/17/2010

A commendable comment that reflects undermined Sri Lankan mind

(March 17, Colombo - Lanka Polity)  Following comment was posted in The Hindu website:

This is good news. We need somebody to look at recent affairs in our country objectively.

Yes, as a Sinhalese Sri Lankan my culture, language, and a Sri Lankan philosophy of life are important to me. But we live in a global village (too bad the expression is so hackneyed) and I consider all these political notions of sovereignty to be quite meaningless.

The Rajapaksas are no longer "sons of the soil." Gotabaya is an American citizen. General Fonseka has a Green Card and his children are now American. I cannot really be more committed to Sri Lanka than I am. But I know that our culture is largely Indian; my family and I are brown Asians; but we are all part of the world which is dominated (for good or ill) by the species "homo sapiens".

I spent yesterday reading about Barack Obama and Manmohan Singh. When will a "non-Sinhala Buddhist" ever be the leader of my country? Even caste remains an important consideration, although it can be exploited only with great subtlety. President Premadasa cleverly used it in an inverted sort of way.

Yes, Mr Ban Ki-moon, we need your help.
from: Dayaratne
Posted on: Mar 17, 2010 at 11:41 IST

The comment is related to the following post in The Hindu website:

UN Chief to go ahead with proposal for panel on Sri lanka

B. MURALIDHAR REDDY

The United Nation’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that he is going ahead with his proposal for a panel of experts on Sri Lanka as part of an accountability process following the end of the civil war in island nation despite vehement objections from Colombo and defended it on the ground that the panel would not infringe on the country’s sovereignty.

A report posted on the UN News Centre web site quoted Mr. Ban Ki-Moon as telling reporters at his routine monthly news conference that the establishment of the panel is in line with a joint statement he issued with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his visit to the country last May.

Since the defeat of the LTTE, the government has been engaged in war of words with all those who have demanding a commission to investigate alleged human rights violations in the war and repeatedly pointed to the resolution by the Human Rights Commission lauding Sri Lanka on the issue.

After Mr. Rajapaksa personally spoke to Mr. Ban Ki-Moon describing the move on experts panel as 'uncalled for and unwarranted’, Sri Lanka had also reached out to several countries in a bid to stall the UN experts panel. Last week Chair of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement, Ambassador and Permanent Representative Maged A. Abdelaziz in his letter to Mr. Ban said: “The Non-Aligned Movement strongly condemns selective targeting of individual countries which it deems contrary to the Founding Principles of the Movement and the United Nations Charter.

In his latest interaction with the media at New York Mr. Ban Ki-Moon has been quoted as saying, “This joint statement contained a commitment related to ensuring an accountability process for addressing violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws,” he said in response to questions from reporters at his monthly press conference at UN Headquarters in New York.

“The panel I am establishing will advise me on the standards, benchmarks and parameters, based on international experience, that must guide any accountability process such as the one mentioned in the joint statement. Now this panel will report to me directly and not to another body.”

Mr. Ban said a recent letter on the subject he received from the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) indicated “there is a misunderstanding on the nature and purpose” of the experts’ panel.

“I am convinced that it is well within my power as Secretary-General of the United Nations to ask such a body to furnish me with their advice of this nature. This does not in any way infringe on the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.”

Last week the UN chief voiced concern about the lack of progress on political reconciliation, the treatment of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the setting up of an accountability process since he reached the joint statement with Mr. Rajapaksa.

Earlier this month Mr. Ban had what he described as “a frank and honest exchange of views” by telephone with Mr. Rajapaksa. Since the ballot was held the runner-up candidate, General Sarath Fonseka, has been arrested and faces trial.

B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, is slated to soon head to Sri Lanka for talks with senior officials in the Government.


3/16/2010

Frustrated mother throws her baby to river while the politicians boast about per capita income in Sri Lanka

(March 16, Colombo - Lanka Polity)  While Sri Lanka government is boasting about the increase of per capita income over US $ 2000 per annum, a 30-year-old mother that says she was frustrated with her failure to feed her five children, threw the youngest to a river.

The magistrate court of Kaluthara yesterday directed the children of a suspected mother that attempted to drown her two years and eight month old son to be taken care of the Probation and Childcare Department. This mother said she had earlier attempted in vain to hand over this child to probation care. These officials that work less while withdrawing public money as salaries appear only after the horse bolted. No need to talk about the officials and the politicians that have the duty of monitoring these systems.

The murder suspect is a 30 year old woman and she was arrested and remanded. Police says that she has given a statement that she threw the child to the river after failing to abandon him near Kaluthara Bodhiya sacred shrine. The suspect is a single mother of five children that lived in a village for tsunami victims in Panadura and made living out of selling lottery tickets. She told to police that her husband abandoned her and she faced utmost difficulties in taking care of the five children. An enormous amount of tsunami aids were swindled by fraudulent elements of various social stratas while the women like this one did not see a better future.

She attempted to abandon the youngest child at Kaluthara Bodhiya sacred shrine. But the child came after her and she then fed him with some rice that she begged for the boy and herself. She was walking with the child along the rail bridge as the child fell asleep. Suddenly, this unfortunate women had a mind to throw the child into water, according to police reports.

The place she got the cruel mind to throw her baby to water is a Buddhist shrine that earns massive amounts of money from the passerby motorists. It is a time the politicians are spending millions of rupees that can fed hundreds of thousands of children like this, for election propaganda campaigns.

The child was rescued by several youth and he is now in Lady Ridgeway Children's Hospital in critical condition.

The remaining boy child and the three girl children of the ill-fated were handed over to separate children’s homes with a condition of allowing them to unite once a week.

Meanwhile, the child that was saved by people whilst he was floating in the river was still in critical condition in Colombo Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital and doctors did not predict positively regarding his life. The child had not been given proper first aid since the rescuers were not trained in them, said the hospital sources.

The rescuing incident was video recorded by a volunteer and it was aired by a private TV channel.



3/11/2010

Latest Sri Lanka Parliament Joke; two new MPs for two days

Ranjan in a scene from movie Parliament Jokes
(March 11, Colombo - Lanka Polity)  There is no end to the 'Parliament(ary) Jokes' in Sri Lanka. (Parliament Jokes is a comic movie created by Ranjan Ramanayaka who is now contesting in the 2010 general election seeking an integral place in this joke.)
In the latest episode, two candidates of the 2004 general election nominations of the Sri Lanka’s major opposition United National Party are likely to take oaths as Members of Parliament as the parliament meets on April 06 for the extension of emergency for another month, the sole purpose of this so called highest echelon of democracy for the fourth consecutive month.

These candidates are Anura Gopallawa and D.M. Bandaranayake who were next in line of the preferential votes list after Minister Johnston Fernando and Minister Indika Bandaranayaka can take oath as MPs when Parliament meets next time on April 6.

Johnston Fernando contested the 2004 general election from the Kurunegala district and got elected to Parliament with over 100,000 preferential votes. He came second in the list next to former MP Gamini Jayawickrama Perera. Indika Bandaranaike was also elected as an MP in 2004 from the same district. Both these MPs crossed over to the government recently and they were sacked by the UNP. They had filed fundamental rights petitions against the party decision but withdrew them after the parliament was dissolved.

What fool would imagine that a parliament that was dissolved right at the end of its term would be re-convened. The two Ministers were thrifty not to pay more money to black coats to safeguard a seat that had already gone. But, anything can happen in this land where politicians are like cricketers that play the ball they are delivered by the bowler. No wonder, Sanath Jayasuriya entering politics. Politics too is a ball by ball play in Sri Lanka. No plan at all. But, fortunately or rather unfortunately, we have the executive presidency that the creator of this menace J.R. Jayawardhana correctly defined as one that has all powers sans that of transforming a man into a woman or wise versa.

MPs Johnston and Indika were not allowed to attend the parliamentary meeting held on March 09 since they had lost the MP posts. It is yet to be made clear how they act as Ministers without being parliamentarians.

In the last Parliament, over 40 members elected on the UNP ticket teamed up with the ruling UPFA and held different portfolios. When the UNP expelled them from the party, they went to court and sought legal redress to retain their positions as MPs. None of them sans Johnston Fernando and Indika Bandaranayaka lost their MP posts.

The new MPs will hold the posts just for two days if they take oaths on April 06. However, they will withdraw a handsome salary well over Rs. 50,000 with fuel, transport and telephone allowances that worth another Rs. 50,000. They will be paid from public coffers for the sole sitting they attend too.

I am not sure if this is a matter to laugh wildly or cry loudly.




3/10/2010

Sri Lanka MPs' salary sacrifices and other stories

(March 10, Colombo - Lanka Polity)  Sri Lanka Minister of Labor Dr. Mervin Silva proposed the parliamentarians on March 08 not to withdraw this month’s salary because the parliament met only for one sitting this month.

The MPs are to get paid the full salary including all other perks such as fuel and mobile phone allowance and MSD security for the month of March and April for a few hours of job which was to participate in the emergency debate in Parliament. An MP draws Rs. 54,285 as the fixed salary with a fuel allowance of Rs. 30,000, Transport Allowance of Rs. 10,000, and Entertainment Allowance of Rs. 1,000 and hand phone allowance of Rs. 2,000 a month in addition to Rs, 500 for every parliamentary session.

Minister Mervin Silva seems forgotten the fact that the parliament met only for one sittings in January and February as well. Will Minister Mervin Silva pay back what he withdrew in these months?

He made this proposal during the debate for the extension of emergency regulations declaring he would not withdraw his salary this month since the parliament met for only one sitting this month. He asked all MPs to sacrifice their monthly salary to the nation in order to strengthen the President’s hands in developing the country.

The President dissolved the parliament on February 08 and called for elections. The elections are to be held on April 08. But later the parliament was reconvened to approve the proclamation signed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on March 1 extending the emergency state for another month.

The parliament is to meet again on April 06 two days ahead of the general election with the same purpose. For four consecutive months, the parliament of Sri Lanka is meeting with the sole purpose of extending the emergency state. What a ridicule to a parliamentary democracy!

The response of the MPs to Mervin Silva's proposal was not available immediately.

However, the Sri Lankan public are likely to lose this wonderful Minister in the next parliament that meets on April 22. Mervyn Silva yesterday vowed in Parliament that he would not attend the sessions of the next Parliament if at least a single member is elected to Parliament from the ‘Trophy’ symbol at the upcoming general election.

Responding to a statement made by JVP MP Sunil Handunetthi, Minister Silva said that none of the candidates contesting under the ‘Trophy’ symbol would be elected to the next Parliament.

If Minister Silva will not attend the parliament for three consecutive months, he will be considered vacated the post. He has not declared if he will not withdraw the salaries of these three months.

We beg Dr. Mervin Silva to change his mind. Please sir, your stay is a must. Parliament is a place that provides jokes as well to this marvelous polity.



3/09/2010

JVP coming to consciousness after the horse bolted from the stable

(March 10, Colombo - Lanka PolityAt the right end of the history of People's Liberation Front's (JVP's) golden era of parliamentary politics, the leftist nationalist party has eventually decided to vote against the draconian emergency regulations.


Since 2004, and even since long before that, the JVP parliamentarians did not vote against the emergency regulations. Until recent times, they just abstained voting lacking guts to vote against. The draconian emergency regulations grant sweeping powers to the police and security forces of Sri Lanka to arrest and detain people that rise against the system. The victims were Tamils first but now the JVP is also paying heavily. This year, the government sealed a newspaper office of the JVP and detained an editor. After all the JVP is a movement against the present system although they have their own limitations what they call as their uniqueness.

Until the demise of the Tamil rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), JVP's political strategy was tuned to be against the Tigers on an ethnic chauvinist basis that was forwarded to masses in the guise of pseudo-Leninism. Ever since the military annihilation of the Tiger movement by the government, the JVP has lost balance or imbalance rather. 

However, the party is shifting towards a policy change and that should be commended. JVP was always swaying like a pendulum between left and right. After been in ultra right for many years, it is the turn to be in left after April 08 elections. 

Comrades, welcome to reality!

3/05/2010

Police to save Sri Lanka President's family goodwill; no police can protect your good name but yourself sir

(March 05, Colombo - Lanka Polity)  Media reports say that a special police team of investigation has been appointed to probe the complaints received by the police headquarters regarding several organized unscrupulous groups that are engaged in frauds covering to the good names of the members of the ruling Rajapaksa family.

According to reports, these groups have used the names of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakasa and the Chairman of the Tomorrow for Youth Namal Rajapaksa and police have begun investigation since yesterday. Basil Rajapaksa's name was not in reports.

This unit is under the direct supervision of the Deputy Inspector General of Police Mahinda Balasuriya, under monitoring of Senior Deputy Inspector General N.K. Ilangakoon and it is administered by the Deputy Inspector General in charge of crime and organized crime Anura Senanayaka.

Police headquarters says that has received a complaint regarding a shocking incident of a person appearing a close associate of the President’s son Namal Rajapaksa molesting a young woman in addition to swindling Rs. 4.5 million promising to purchase a motor vehicle tax free.

Police says that this organized group has cheated money from people promising employment, land deals etc. using the goodwill of the President and his immediate family.

This special police unit has roused criticism of the opposition since it is assigned to protect the good name of one family. But the serious issue is not that. Why did this family, that claims to have made history in Sri Lanka need special police to protect their good name?

Rajapaksas have to think seriously about why this happened. No police can protect what they can do for themselves.


3/03/2010

Examination phobia of Sri Lankan teachers and students

(March 03, Colombo - Lanka Polity)  Examination phobia of some sections of the students training to be qualified as the teachers have caused a massive damage to the public coffers of Sri Lanka. Examination Commissioner of Sri Lanka Anura Edirisinghe says that additional Rs. 12 million was needed to hold the postponed examinations of the Colleges of Educations.

Around 3000 would be teachers studying in 17 Colleges of Education are to sit for this examination and Edirisinghe pointed out that Rs. 18 million was spent for the final examinations of the Colleges of Education last year.

Sources said that the store of examination papers was not given additional security except the regular watchmen available for job.

Sri Lanka police arrested 33 students of Uva College of Education in suspicion of the theft of examination papers. The Examination Commissioner guaranteed tough legal action against the culprits.

The Department of Examination had to postpone the final examinations of all the Colleges of Education that were to be held since yesterday. An unknown person or a group stole one examination paper each from all sets of question papers that were stored in Uva College of Education in Bandarawela. The arrested students were residing in the hostel of the College.

Meanwhile, reports say that pilfering of examination papers has taken place in Polgolla College of Education in Kandy. However, no arrest has been made yet. Sources say that the students have broken open the sealed question paper packets, taken them out and photocopied them before returning them to the packets.

This incident should be focussed to identify the competitiveness of Sri Lanka's educational and examination system. Examinations have become a severe burden to education.

Must testing be a fear factor of education? Definitely not.

We have to think if such happened in Sri Lanka. How can we solve this problem?

Colleges of Education final examination is not a competitive examination like Advanced Levels. These students have less fears about the future since they are guaranteed government teacher positions once they are passed out of the colleges.

Informed sources say that various kinds of examination frauds are wide spread among the teacher trainees that are studying for professional qualifications. These teachers might be definite the distributors of examination phobia among the students.



Sri Lanka government in need of some kind of tension to maintain draconian laws

(March 03, Colombo - Lanka Polity)  Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reconvened the parliament. Last month he dissolved the parliament and called for elections. The general election is scheduled to be held on April 08.

The President has used his executive powers to extend the state of emergency for a period of one month subjected to the approval of the parliament within 10 days. The aim of reconvening the parliament is approving the extension of emergency.

Sri Lanka is under state of emergency since decades due to the war with the Tamil Tiger rebels. The emergency regulations provide sweeping authorities to police and security forces to interfere in the rights of the citizens.

The government has decided to maintain the emergency regulations further covering to the argument that the Tamil Tiger rebels that were defeated militarily last year might attempt a comeback if the security grip was loosened.

The Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka recently said that several suicide cadres of the Tamil Tiger organization are in Colombo. Police arrested a Tiger financial affairs activist this week.

Peace that prevails after May 18, the day the Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabakaran was killed, seems uncomfortable to the government. The government needs some kind of tension to rationalize the maintaining of draconian laws such as emergency regulations and Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Government needs these draconian laws to suppress unrest. Thousands of Tamil youth are still in custody without urgent legal action thanks to these laws.





3/02/2010

Can Sri Lanka government that robs Peter to pay Paul hoodwink IMF?

Robbing Hoodwink
(March 02, Colombo - Lanka Polity)  Sri Lanka overshoot its 2009 budget deficit target set by the IMF for a $2.6 billion loan. High post-war reconstruction costs are attributed for this by central bank officials.

Sri Lankan leaders are clever or perhaps corrupt enough to handle the delegations sent by the IMF or any other international body and it will somehow manage to obtain the next tranche also although it is delayed due to economic mismanagement of the Sri Lanka government. They know the science to win hearts. The IMF officials also have some soft corners that can be touched by our clever men and women.

This is a real pragmatic game of politics. Who wants to be honest to this pirate IMF? Rajapaksa regime knows too well the science of getting their support without being prey to the conditions. They rule the country for today and tomorrow my friend is blowing in the wind. The polity needs no better future. They live for today and Mahind Chinthanaya delivers what they want.

An IMF mission was in Sri Lanka last week to assess December data before deciding on the third tranche of the loan. Sri Lanka’s IMF resident representative Koshy Mathai has said whether or not the IMF is flexible in a country is determined on a “case by case” basis.

The IMF had set budget deficit targets of 7 percent of GDP by end-2009 and 6 percent this year as conditions for a $2.6 billion loan approved last July to help Sri Lanka avert a balance of payment crisis during the global financial crisis.

On Thursday, the IMF said it was delaying payment of a third tranche of the loan until it sees the budget after the parliamentary polls scheduled on April 8.

"The budget deficit of 469,627 million rupees ($4.1 billion) turned out to be 9.7 percent of the GDP," the Ministry of Finance said in a "Pre-election budgetary position report" posted on its website www.treasury.gov.lk.

The 2010 budget deficit is estimated at 7.5 percent, well above the IMF target of 6 percent, the report showed.

"Fiscal adjustment towards containing the budget deficit below 7 percent in 2009 suffered a setback due to a less than expected recovery in trade-based activities and due to a more than envisaged impact of the global economic crisis on the Sri Lankan economy."

Revenue had declined by 0.5 percent of GDP, while interest payments and public investments have increased by 0.8 percent and 1 percent of the GDP respectively, the report said.

Though government revenue had declined only by 3.25 percent from the estimated level, expenditures were 22.2 percent higher than the full-year estimated spending, data showed.

"High spending has been also due to welfare spending on rehabilitation and humanitarian expenditure after the end of the country's 25-year war last year, increased wages for state employees due to expanded public sector," says Reuters.

However, these are the prides of the reign of the Rajapaksa regime and peeling them off will open the hollow inside.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul, said George Bernard Shaw,


3/01/2010

One arm of Sri Lanka government protests UK while another arm consoles

(March 01, Colombo - Lanka Polity)  Sri Lanka government has sent one arm of the ruling coalition to protest the British government while another arm denied the government had any link with the protest.

National Freedom Front (JNP), a coalition party of Sri Lanka’s ruling alliance led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa's close ally ex-MP Vimal Weerawansa held a protest demonstration before the British High Commission of Colombo today alleging the former Colonial ruler was aiding and abetting terrorism.

Addressing a forcible protest meeting held blocking the gates of the High Commission, vociferous Weerawansa warned that the JNP would continue protests unless UK avoids anti-Sri Lankan actions like British Foreign Secretary David Miliband's attendance last week at a meeting of Global Tamil Forum.

Weerawansa's clan left the High Commission after handing in a protest letter to a High Commission official leaving a hoarding across the gate in which British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband dressed in Tamil Tiger military outfits.

British Prime Minister met the representatives of the Tamil organization following the meeting held in British Parliamentary House. The Global Tamil Forum was successful to win cross party representation from UK for the event held in support of the fight for the rights of Sri Lankan Tamils. British Foreign Ministry later defended the Foreign Secretary's action stating that it held the position of engaging with all stakeholders of the issue.

Sri Lanka accuses the Global Tamil Forum of being sympathizers of Tamil Tiger rebels that were militarily defeated last year. However, Sri Lankan authorities failed to do anything to prevent the meeting being a success with the participation of the bigwigs.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the protest was a private affair that the government had no link.

Vimal Weerawansa is running for elections from Colombo district and he needs shows to gain votes amidst a tooth and nail fight among ruling coalition candidates for re-election under the proportional representation.






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