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                A new definition for ahimsa

The two baby tuskers Raju and Sindu (less than three years old)
who were forcibly taken away from the Pinnawela Elephant
orphanage on July 25 allegedly by Diyawadane Nilame Nilanga
Dela were beaten with poles by mahouts within the Dalada
Maligawa premises to force them to move away from their
mother. Photo shows a mahout beating one of the tuskers
with a pole while the inset photo shows Diyawadane Nilame
Nilanga Dela with a pole in his hand about to hit the other animal.

Damning indictment on PBJ

By Faraz Shauketaly

The public interest litigator and US-quali-fied fraud investigator, Nihal Sri Ameresekere has provided a 36-page affidavit as part of his objections to P.B. Jayasundera's application to have his affidavit annulled or withdrawn - with a view  towards making a comeback to public service.

Earlier in the month, the President's Secretary, Lalith Weeratunga had written to Jayasundera, asking him to return to the fold of the public service.

The Sunday Leader ran an SMS-based campaign asking the public to vote whether the return of P.B. Jayasundera was in the national interest or not. An overwhelming 91.04% of the responses said 'No, Not in the National Interest.'

Jayasundera a former Central Banker has held a host of senior positions in public service including Chairman Sri Lankan Airlines and Secretary to the Treasury.  He was castigated in the Supreme Court for his unlawful acts, for acting ultra-vires, for misleading the Cabinet of Ministers and even misleading the then President, Chandrika Kumaratunga.  

Jayasundera has petitioned the Supreme Court stating that the President wishes he returns to public service and in that context is seeking the annulment of his affidavit given previously to the Supreme Court. Jayasundera has subsequently made an amended petition to the highest court in the land and the hearing is set for August 3.

Nihal Sri Ameresekere in his 36-page affidavit listing his objections has painstakingly provided extracts of various Supreme Court directions and observations concerning Jayasundera and his misdeeds whilst in public service. In one section Ameresekere avers that a statement by Jayasundera that he has acted with the highest probity and with the National Interest at heart, is "palpably false." Included in his affidavit is an extract of a telephone bill which subject to verification shows that a nexus of collusion can be established between the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Clive Haswell and P.B. Jayasundera as well as Citibank. Jayasundera was the man who appointed the infamous Study Group on Hedging and failed to appoint a representative of the Attorney General's Department - who if present on the committee would have been able to clarify that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Act did not permit the CPC to engage in deals such as that the CPC entered into with the SCB and other banks, causing a potential loss of nearly US$ 800 Million dollars.

Committee probing diplomatic nominations

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti 

With several key diplomatic appointments likely to be made in the coming weeks, at least two nominees, both ruling party politicians, are being examined by the Committee on High Posts for their suitability.

The nominees, former northern governor Dixon Sarathchandra Dela Bandara and former SLFP parliamentarian Nawalage Bennet Cooray are being examined by the special purpose parliamentary committee at present. 

The two politicians are designated as heads of Sri Lankan missions in the Maldives and the Philippines respectively.

As required by law, the Acting Secretary General of Parliament has now called upon any organisation or individual through public newspaper advertisement to make representations with regard to the above nominations.

Individuals and organisations could make representations with regard to Dela Bandara and Cooray's nominations to the top diplomatic posts, in the form of written memoranda reaching the parliament secretariat by August 10.

The committee is the authority to examine the suitability of persons who have been either appointed to any post or nominated to hold office in any post determined by the Cabinet of Ministers and to make recommendations with regard to such persons.

When contacted, ambassador designate Dixon Dela Bandara said that he would not be the first politician to be appointed as an ambassador and there should be no reason for any objections. "I have served this country in various capacities and this time it is different. That's all," he said.

Ambassador designate Nawalage Bennet Cooray also said there was nothing objectionable in appointing politicians and said it was the president's prerogative.

Onetime State Minister for Foreign Affairs and High Posts Committee member John Amaratunge said there was a general decline in the foreign service presently due to excessive political appointments.

He said during his tenure as state minister, career diplomats had a trade union and the government accepted in principle their position that 60% of the vacancies will be filled by career diplomats leaving only 40% for political appointments.

APRC proposals differ from 13th Amendment

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

The final proposals of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) will not fall in line with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and does not propose the absolute devolution of power.

It would be an indigenous method that would bring about a solution to the ethnic issue. 

APRC Chairman and Science and Technology Minister, Prof. Tissa Vitharana told The Sunday Leader that the final APRC proposals would not in anyway "fall in line with the 13th Amendment."

"It is an indigenous method that would work out a solution for our country. However, there would not be absolute devolution of power," he said.

Vitharana said the APRC proposes the abolishing of the Executive Presidency and reverting to the Westminster system.

It also proposes the setting up of a Commission that functions under the purview of the central government to determine and monitor policies with regard to land and water.

The APRC has looked at the formation of a village committee system and a second chamber consisting of representatives from the nine provinces.

Vitharana explained that following a series of discussions, the APRC has prepared a draft of its final proposals that would be submitted for endorsement from the parties that were represented in the APRC.

The first copy of the draft is to be presented to President Mahinda Rajapakse, who is the head of the SLFP, for his observations.

"After the President is handed over the first draft, the other parties that were in the APRC would be given copies of the draft to receive the views of their respective party leaders," Vitharana said.

Once the APRC receives the observations made by each party, it would be discussed and the final report would be prepared with the signatures of all member parties.

The final report would then be handed over to parties like the UNP, JVP and TNA that did not participate in the APRC proceedings.

Customs investigating fuel imports

By John Ashkar

The Sri Lanka Customs is investigating the import declarations made by certain importers of fuel. Taking advantage of a technical quirk in the chemical make-up of fuel, importers have been getting away with paying a lesser amount of duty, depriving this country of revenue.˜

Refined petroleum products are subject to taxes on the volume imported to the country measured in litres at actual temperature. However, imported consignments of fuel are usually measured in metric tonnes. Sri Lanka Customs has been using a conversion factor of 1196 litres per metric ton for diesel for calculating customs and excise duties payable by CPC amongst others.

In the booklet Statistical Digest 2006 issued by CPC, it is clearly stated that 1 metric tonne of Diesel is equivalent to 1196 litres at operation temperature. Operating temperature is the actual temperature which is around 30 degrees Celsius - the temperature at which local sales are done ( eg. at "Petrol Sheds" or retail outlets).

The importer under investigation has been paying duties / taxes using a smaller volume conversion factor which is 1182 litres per metric tonne. The difference between these two factors is 14 litres per metric tonne.

Value addition of a different kind

By Faraz Shauketaly

This bottle of Sprite was bought in Digana, Kandy and provides fascinating value additions. There are objects floating inside and it appears to be flakes of some sort. We contacted the Coca Cola Company one of whose brands is Sprite.

They professed complete puzzlement as to how whatever has got in has got in and wanted us to come over to their factory where they proposed to open the bottle.

In fact the Coca Cola Company offered to send a car to pick and drop us off, so that they could conduct us on a tour of their facility and explain how very difficult it is for a bottle such as this to be contaminated.

On explaining that we were really pushed for time and that we didn't really want them to open the bottle until independent witnesses could be available, maybe from the Government Analyst, the Coca Cola Company stated that they hoped we would change our mind and contact them again if we wished to come over with the bottle of course. All I can say of course, is that it is  jolly good that Black Label does not mix with Sprite so well!


Police dragging their feet in Lasantha investigation

The investigation into the murder of the slain Editor-in-Chief of The Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge has shown no progress for the past˜seven months although the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate ordered the police to submit the investigation progress report to courts.

When Wickrematunge's murder trial was taken up at the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate's Court on Thursday, July 23, once again the Mirihana police failed to appear in court. However the Mt. Lavinia police produced a further investigation report.

When asked as to why the Mirihana police failed to appear in court although the court had ordered them to produce their investigation report, Police Spokesperson SSP Ranjith Gunasekera told The Sunday Leader that there was no necessity for both police parties to appear in court and that one party could represent the other party as well.




More News....


Committee probing diplomatic nominations

APRC proposals differ from 13th Amendment



Customs investigating fuel imports


Value addition of a different kind


Police dragging their feet in Lasantha investigation

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