Monday, June 13, 2016

What Signal to USA from Orlando Massacre?

by N.S.Venkataraman
( June 13, 2016, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) The wanton killing by a gun man of more than fifty innocent persons and injuring even more number of people that happened in Orlando has shocked not only Americans but people around the world , creating huge concern and anxiety.
While many are wondering as to why such ghastly incident has happened in a country like USA which is widely acclaimed as the most technologically and economically advanced country in the world , many explanations are being advanced which may make it look that the problem is not so serious.
May be terrorism :
Some quarter suspect that the shooter Omar Mateen, an American citizen of African origin ,could be an ISI activist and might have terror links. He might have indulged in such obnoxious act due to his association with radicalized Islamic movement and leanings towards what is called as Islamic terrorism. If this were to be so , the exponents of such view would think that America has been only a victim of terrorism and there was nothing radically wrong in American society that could cause such violence.
May be gun culture :
Another school of thought could be that the ready availability of the gun among U S citizens and inability of President Obama to ban free sale of gun in USA could be the reason for such massacre ,as any person suffering from emotional upset at any time could use the gun in a moment of mental crisis. The non availability of gun to people in such frame of mind could prevent such mass shooting. If this explanation were to be right , then one can conclude that there is no basic flaw in the American way of life and behavior pattern of the people.
May be deeper malaise :
However, more discerning thinkers would refuse to believe that the reasons for the type of massacre that happened in Orlando could be as simple as this. There may be deeper malaise in the present culture and life style of Americans , that cause such incidents. Such explanation could be supported by the fact that similar deadliest mass shooting incidents in US have taken place not once but several times in the recent past.
In the year 2014, 280 persons were killed in mass shooting in USA. The figure increased to 330 in 2015. In 2016, even in the first six months so far, 171 innocent people have lost their lives in mass shooting. This includes mass shooting in schools, universities and technical campus.
Obviously, in such scenario , the reasons for mass shooting and violence cult has to be searched with much more care and introspection than attributing them to the act of terrorists and spreading level of gun availability in USA.
Economic progress is not the be all and end all :
Many people believe that high level of civilisation happens along with the technological and economic progress. It is even said that the economic growth and higher prosperity index are the pre condition for growth of human culture and civilization. The scenario in America today indicate that this cannot be so.
Americans should look more inward :
American Presidents including the present President Obama, U S senators and other law makers often criticize other societies for what they call as lack of freedom for people, racial discrimination, religious intolerance etc. During the last visit to India, President Obama made some adverse reference to India for what he called as lack of tolerance level. The present conditions in America should make the US President and senators to realise that they should look more inward rather than making critical remarks about other societies.
Need for introspection :
The Orlando shooting must make the Americans sit back and introspect as to whether Americans are developing a trait of intolerance.
The fact that shootings and killings have taken place even in school premises indicate that violence may be developing as a trait even amongst children in the formative age group.
While USA has made huge progress in getting material affluence, this by itself is not adequate to form a cohesive and progressive society with value system. The battle for the future for America has to be fought now in the mind and heart of the citizens and America needs a revolution in value systems.
Symptoms are disturbing and the political leadership of America must have the wisdom to recognize this and the need for ushering a moral revolution in the country.

People’s Bank unveils solar power loan scheme

June 13, 2016 (LBO) People’s Bank has launched a solar power loan scheme to promote the use of solar energy as part of its drive towards being a carbon conscious bank.
Launched on World Environment Day which falls on 5th June 2016, People’s Bank now offers loans to customers who would like to install solar power facilities in their homes and offices.
“As a socially responsible financial institution, People’s Bank has embarked on a powerful sustainability journey to measure, manage and mitigate its carbon footprint by launching a formal Environmental Sustainability Policy, called ‘People’s Green Pulse,’” a statement said.
The Solar power loan scheme is one such initiative that leverages on the “bank’s sustainability commitment,” the bank said.
“A growing population and greater pressure for energy generation necessitates the urgency towards finding sustainable solutions for the future. The megapolis of the future will feature smart urban settlements and seek to discover solutions to resolve issues related to urbanization of which energy is a major component,” Deepal Abeysekara, head of marketing and research, People’s Bank said.
The loan scheme will also be available to customers who wish to purchase electric cars.
People’s Bank customers can avail of concessionary interest rates and loan amounts of up to 2.5 million rupees for a maximum repayment period of five years, the bank said.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Video - Orlando Shooting | Emotional Mom of Son Allegedly at Gay Nightclub

Fifty people are now known to have died in Saturday's shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and a state of emergency has been declared, the city's mayor Buddy Dyer has said.

The gunman, named by officials as Omar Mateen, was killed after taking hostages.

Another 53 people were injured in the shooting at the Pulse club.

It is the worst mass shooting in recent US history. Police described it as an act of terrorism.

Officials said the killings were likely to be ideologically motivated, though there was no information that the gunman was associated with a particular group.


මහින්ද, ජපන් යන්නත් ආණ්ඩුවෙන් වරප්‍රසාද ඉල්ලලා

පසුගියදා ජපානයේ සංචාරයක් සඳහා පිටත්ව ගිය හිටපු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ එම සංචාරය සඳහාත් ප්‍රභූ( VIP) පහසුකම් ලබා දෙන්නැයි විදේශ අමාත්‍යංශයෙන් ඉල්ලා තිබේ. පසුගිය මාසයේ උගන්ඩාවේ සංචාරය කිරීම සඳහා වන වියදම සහ ප්‍රභූ පහසුකම් විදේශ අමාත්‍යංශය විසින් ලබා දී තිබිණි.
ඒ එම සංචාරය සඳහා වන නිල ආරාධනයක් උගන්ඩා රජයෙන් එවා තිබු බැවිනි. එහෙත් දින දහයක ජපන් සංචාරය පෞද්ගලික සංචාරයක් වන අතර ඒ සඳහා ශ්‍රී ලංකා රජයේ මුදල් හෝ රාජතාන්ත්‍රික පහසුකම් ලබා දීම සිදු කළ නොහැකි බව විදේශ අමාත්‍යංශය දන්වා තිබේ. රාජපක්ෂ මහතාගේ පෞද්ගලික ලේකම් උදිත් ලොකු බණ්ඩාර මහතා විසින් මෙම ඉල්ලීම ලිඛිතව ඉදිරිපත් කර තිබූ අතර එහිදී කොළඹ සිට හොන් කොන් වලටත් එතැන් සිට ජපානය දක්වා ත් ප්‍රභූ පහසුකම් ඉල්ලා ඇත.

කෙසේ නමුත් අවසානයේ රාජපක්ෂ මහතාට ජපාන සංචාරයේ නිරත වීමේ හැකියාව ලැබුනේ සාමාන්‍ය මන්ත්‍රීවරයකු ලෙසය. එමෙන්ම හිටපු ජනාධිතිවරයා ලෙස රාජතාන්ත්‍රික පිළිගැනිමක්ද ජපානයේදී ඔහුට ලැබෙන්නේද නැත.

කෙසේ නමුත් ඔහුගේ මෙම සංචාරයට පෙර දින ආරක්ෂකයන් දස දෙනෙකු සමඟ 23න් දෙනෙකුගේ කණ්ඩායමක් ජාපානය බලා ගොස් ඇත. මෙහි ගුවන් ප්‍රවේශ පත්‍ර ලොහාන් රත්වත්තේ විසින් ලබා දිම සිදු කර තිබේ. යෝෂිත රාජපක්ෂ ගේ නවතම පෙම්වතිය වන්නේද ලොහාන් රත්වත්තාගේ දියණිය වන යොහානාය.

සාලාව පිපුරුම අවි ජාවාරමුන්ගේ වැඩක්?

අවිස්සාවේල්ල කොස්ගම සාලාව යුද හමුදා කඳවුරේ පිහිටි ‘උප වෙඩි උණ්ඩ ගබඩාව’ පුපුරා යාම පිටුපස මෙරට අවි ජාවාරම්කරුවෝ සිටින බවට බරපතළ සැකයක් පවතී.

සාලාව ගබඩාව පුපුරා යෑමට හේතුව නිල වශයෙන් යුද හමුදාව හෝ මේ සම්බන්ධ පරීක්ෂණ පවත්වන රස පරීක්ෂක දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව සහ අපරාධ පරීක්ෂණ දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව ප‍්‍රකාශ කර නැතත් මේ වන විට අනාවරණය කරගෙන ඇති තොරතුරු අනුව මෙය සැලසුම් සහගත ක‍්‍රියාවක් යැයි සැක කළ හැකි බව පොලිස් ආරංචි මාර්ග පවසයි.

පසුගිය ඉරිදා (05) සවස 5.42 ට පමණ උණ්ඩ ගබඩාවේ ගින්න ඇතිවන අවස්ථාව වන විට සුපුරුදු පරිදි කඳවුරේ රාජකාරි ස්ථාන ගතවීම  ක‍්‍රියාත්මක වෙමින් තිබිණි. එම මොහොතේ කඳවුරේ සියලූ සෙබළුන් සූදානමින් පසුවන අවස්ථාවක් වීම සහ හදිසි තත්ත්වයක දී ගත යුතු ආරක්ෂාකාරි පියවර වහා ක‍්‍රියාත්මක කිරීමේ සූදානමක ද පසුවීම නිසා එක ජීවිත හානියකින් මේ විනාශය වළක්වාගත හැකිව තිබිණි. ගඩබාව ගිනිගෙන පිපිරීම ආරම්භ වී තිබුණේ 6.30ට පමණය. ඒ අවස්ථාව වන විට හමුදාව අවට ප‍්‍රදේශයෙන් ජනතාව ඉවත් කිරීමට ද සමත් විය. මෙම ගින්න සැලසුම් සහගත ක‍්‍රියාවක් නම් එම ගින්න සිදුවූ මොහොත ද එය ජීවිත හානි වළක්වා ගනිමින් සිදු කිරීම ද එම සැලසුමේම කොටසක් විය හැකි බවටත් සැක කෙරේ. මෙම ගබඩාවේ ආරක්ෂාව සම්බන්ධයෙන් කිසිසේත්ම නිදහසට කරුණු දැක්විය නොහැකි තරම් අඩුපාඩු දුර්වලතා රැසක් මෙම ගින්න සිදුවීමට දින කිහිපයකට පෙර සිට සිදුව තිබීමත් සැකයට භාජනය වී ඇත. එසේම ගින්න සම්බන්ධයෙන් කෙරෙන පොලිස් විමර්ශන සඳහා හමුදාවේ ඉහළ නිලධාරීන්ගෙන් අවශ්‍ය තරම් සහයෝගය නොලැබීම සම්බන්ධයෙන් ද මේ වන විට ගැටලූකාරී තත්ත්වයක් මතු වී තිබේ.

කෙසේ නමුත් මේ අභිරහස ඉක්මනින්ම විසඳා ගැනීමට හැකි වනු ඇති බව ඔවුන්ගේ මතය වී ඇත. අවි ජාවාරම්කරුවන් මේ පිටුපස සිටී යන සැක සහිතභාවය නිසා පසුගිය යුද සමයේ දී මෙරටට අවි ආයුධ ගෙන්වනු ලැබූ ව්‍යාපාරිකයන් සහ එම කටයුතු සඳහා හවුල් වූ ආරක්ෂක අංශ නිලධාරීන් මෙන්ම ලංකා ලොජිස්ටික් සමාගමේ ගනුදෙනු සම්බන්ධයෙන් විශේෂ විමර්ශනයක් ආරම්භ කිරීමට ද පොලීසිය කටයුතු කරමින් සිටින බව එම ආරංචි මාර්ග වැඩිදුරටත් පවසයි. විශේෂයෙන්ම මෙම සම්බන්ධතා ජාලය අතර හුවමාරු වූ දුරකථන ඇමැතුම් කෙරෙහි වැඩි අවධානයක් මේ වන විටත් යොමුව ඇතැයි දැන ගැනීමට ඇත.

සාලාව ගබඩාව පිපිරී යාම නිසා භාවිතයට ගත හැකිව තිබූ වෙඩි උණ්ඩ ටොන් දහස් ගණනක් විනාශ වී ඇත. එම අඩුව පිරැවීම සඳහා අලූතෙන් වෙඩි උණ්ඩ සහ අනෙක් උපකරණ විදේශයන්ගෙන් ආනයනය කිරීමට සිදුව ඇත. එමෙන්ම අවි සහ උණ්ඩ ගබඩා කිරීම සඳහා නව ගබඩා පිහිටුවන්නේ නම් ඊට අදාළ තාක්ෂණික මෙවලම් ද විදේශයන්ගෙන් ගෙන්වා ගැනීමට සිදු වනු ඇත. පසුගිය යුද සමය අවසන් වූ 2009 වසරෙන් පසුව මෙරටට තොග වශයෙන් ආයුධ ගෙන්වීම නතර වීම නිසා එම ව්‍යාපාරයෙන් බිලියන් ගණනින් ලාබ ඉපැයූ ව්‍යාපාරිකයන් කිහිප දෙනෙකුගේ ආදායම් අහිමිව ගොස් ඇත. යුද්ධයක් නොමැති තත්ත්වයක් තුළ අවි ආයුධවල අවශ්‍යතාවක් නොමැති නමුත් මෙලෙස පිපිරීමකින් විශාල අවි තොගයක් අහිමි වීම මත නැවත වතාවක් එම ව්‍යාපාරිකයන්ට අදාළ ව්‍යාපාරයෙහි යෙදීමේ අවස්ථාව නිතැතින්ම හිමිවේ. මෙලෙස අහිමි වූ උණ්ඩ තොගයේ වටිනාකම රුපියල් බිලියන සියයක් පමණ වන බවට මේ වන විට අනුමාන වශයෙන් තක්සේරු කර ඇත.


ඒ කෙසේ නමුත් යුද හමුදා ආරංචි මාර්ග පවසන්නේ අහිමි වූ උණ්ඩ තොගය වෙනුවට දැනට අලූතෙන් උණ්ඩ මිලදී ගැනීමක් සිදු කිරීමේ අවශ්‍යතාවක් නොමැති බවය. මේ වන විට යුද වාතාවරණයක් නොමැති නිසාත් යුද හමුදා සෙබළුන්ගේ පුහුණු වීම සඳහා ඇති තරම් අවි සහ උණ්ඩ යුද හමුදාව සතුව තිබීමත් නිසා හදිසි මිලදී ගැනීමක් අවශ්‍ය නොවන බව එම නිලධාරීහු පෙන්වා දෙති.

මේ සම්බන්ධයෙන් සවිස්තරාත්මක ලිපියක් ජුනි 12 සත්හඬ පුවත්පතේ පළවේ.

- සුභාෂ් ජයවර්ධන

වාහන ගන්න ඇමතිලා සුදුසුයිලු - එක්කෙනෙක්ගේ සුදුසුකම් පරීක්ෂා කරමු

අද නුසුදුසු පුද්ගලයනුත් වාහන ගන්නවා” යැයි ජෝන් අමරතුංග පැවසීය. එහෙත් ‘සුදුසු’ පුද්ගලයන් කවුද ‘නුසුදුසු’ පුද්ගලයන් කවුද යන්න පැහැදිලි කිරීමට ජෝන් අමරතුංගට නොහැකි විය.

ඒ වෙනුවට ඔහු කළේ බග් බග් ගෑම පමණි. ක‍්‍රමවත් සුවදායක පොදු ප‍්‍රවාහන සේවයක් නැති රටක ජනයා පෞද්ගලිකව වාහන පාවිච්චි කරන්නේ මන්ද යන්න සාකච්ඡා කෙරෙන ලිපියක් පසුගිය සත්හඬ කලාපයක පළ වූ නිසා ඒ ගැන වැඩි යමක් අප පුනරුච්චාරණය කරන්නේ නැත. කෙසේ වෙතත් මේ සතිය වන විට අලූ‍ත් වාහන ගැනීම සඳහා මැති ඇමැතිවරුන් පෝලිම් ගැසී සිටින බව වාර්තා වෙයි.


ඛනිජ තෙල් අමාත්‍ය චන්දිම වීරක්කොඩි සහ නියෝජ්‍ය ඇමැතිනී අනෝමා ගමගේ සඳහා රුපියල් හත් කෝටියක් ද අනූෂ පැල්පිටට නැවත කැඳවූ ස්වදේශ කටයුතු අමාත්‍ය වජිර අබේවර්ධනට වාහන දෙකක් ද මීගමුවේ ෆ්‍රෙඞී ගමගේ මාධ්‍යවේදියාට පහරදීම හා ඒ පන්නයේ වැඩවලට දනන් තුඩ තුඩ රැව්දෙන නියෝජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය නිමල් ලන්සාට වාහනයක් සඳහා රුපියල් නවකෝටි අනූලක්ෂයක් ද විදුලි සංදේශ හා ඩිජිටල් යටිතල පහසුකම් අමාත්‍ය හරීන් ප‍්‍රනාන්දු සහ නියෝජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය තාරානාත් බස්නායකට රුපියල් නවකෝටි දසලක්ෂයක් ද නිපුණතා සංවර්ධන අමාත්‍ය මහින්ද සමරසිංහ වාහන දෙකක් සඳහා රුපියල් කෝටි පහක් ද නියෝජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය ලසන්ත අලගියවන්නට රුපියල් පන්කෝටි හැටලක්ෂයක් ද රාජපක්ෂ රෙජීමයේ ඝාතන සැඟවීම සඳහා ප‍්‍රගීත් එක්නැළිගොඩ ප‍්‍රංශයේ දී දැක්කා යැයි කී සංචාරක ප‍්‍රවර්ධන අමාත්‍ය අරුන්දික ප‍්‍රනාන්දුගේ වාහනයට රුපියල් පන්කෝටි හැටලක්ෂයක් ද ඉල්ලා පරිපූරක ඇස්තමේන්තුවක් පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට දමා ඇත.

එපමණක් නොව, ආපදා කළමනාකරණ අමාත්‍ය අනුර ප‍්‍රියදර්ශන යාපා සහ නියෝජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය දුනේෂ් ගන්කන්දගේ වාහන සඳහා රුපියල් හයකෝටි තිස්ලක්ෂයක් ද ඊයේ පෙරේදා වනතෙක් මහින්ද සුළෙඟ් නැලවුණු විදේශ රැකියා නියෝජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය මනූෂ නානායක්කාරට රුපියල් දෙකෝටි අසූලක්ෂයක් ද ගංවතුරෙන් අවතැන් වූවන්ට කෙසෙල් ගෙඩි බෙදූ රාජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය සූජීව සේනසිංහට වාහන දෙකක් සඳහා රුපියල් තුන්කෝටි පනස් ලක්ෂයක් ද තිරසාර සංවර්ධන හා වනජීවී අමාත්‍ය ගාමිණී ජයවික‍්‍රම පෙරේරා සහ නියෝජ්‍ය ඇමතිනී සුමේධා ජී. ජයසේනගේ තිරසාර සංවර්ධනයට වාහන අත්‍යවශ්‍ය නිසා රුපියල් හත්කෝටියක් ද විදුලිබල හා පුනර්ජනනීය බලශක්ති අමාත්‍ය රංජිත් සියඹලාපිටියට.. ඔව් ඔව්.. මහින්දගේ ආණ්ඩුවේ ප‍්‍රබලයෙක් තමා.. එයාට රුපියල් තුන්කෝටි පනස් ලක්ෂයක් ද කඳුරට නව ගම්මාන යටිතල පහසුකම් හා ප‍්‍රජා සංවර්ධන අමාත්‍ය පලනි දිගම්බරන්ගේ වාහනයට රුපියල් තුන්කෝටි පනස් ලක්ෂයක් ද වාරිමාර්ග රාජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය වසන්ත සේනානායකට රුපියල් තුන්කෝටි පනස් ලක්ෂයක් ද ඇවන්ට්ගාඞ් අධිපතිගේ හිතමිත‍්‍ර අධිකරණ අමාත්‍ය විජයදාස රාජපක්ෂ හා නියෝජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය දුෂ්මන්ත මිත‍්‍රපාලගේ වාහන සඳහා රුපියල් හත්කෝටියක් ද ඉල්ලා තිබේ.

බන්ධනාගාර අමාත්‍ය ඞී.එම්.ස්වාමිනාදන් හා ඒ කාලයේ නාමල් නිසා ගුවන් තොටුපළේ පත්වීමක්වත් දෙන්න බැරි වුණා යැයි තවමත් නාහෙන් අඬන රාජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය ප‍්‍රියංකර ජයරත්න ට රුපියල් හත්කෝටියක් ද නගර සැලසුම් හා ජල සම්පාදන අමාත්‍ය රවුෆ් හකීම්ට රුපියල් තුන්කෝටි පනස්ලක්ෂයක් ද නිවාස ඉදිකිරීම් නියෝජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය ඉන්දික බණ්ඩාරනායකට රුපියල් දෙකෝටි අසූලක්ෂයක් ද ප‍්‍රාදේශීය සංවර්ධන අමාත්‍ය සරත් ෆොන්සේකාට රුපියල් හත්කෝටියක් ද කර්මාන්ත අමාත්‍ය චම්පිකා පේ‍්‍රමදාසට රුපියල් තුන්කෝටි පනස්ලක්ෂයක් ද විශේෂ කාර්යභාර (මොනවද දන්නෑ) අමාත්‍ය සරත් අමුණුගමට රුපියල් තුන්කෝටි පනස් ලක්ෂයක් ද රාජ්‍ය පරිපාලන නියෝජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය සුසන්ත පුංචිනිලමේට රුපියල් දෙකෝටි හැත්තෑපන් ලක්ෂයක් ද ඊයේ පෙරේදා මහින්ද එක්ක රහස් කතා කළ රාජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය ටී.බී.ඒකනායකට රුපියල් තුන්කෝටි පනස් ලක්ෂයක් ද අප්පච්චි මළා කියා යහපාලනයෙන් ලකුණු දමාගත් වාරිමාර්ග අමාත්‍ය විජිත් විජයමුණි සොයිසා ට රුපියල් තුන්කෝටි පනස් ලක්ෂයක් ද ලබා ගැනීම සඳහා රුපියල් කෝටි 118ක් හා ලක්ෂ 25ක මුදලක් ඉල්ලා පරිපූරක ඇස්තමේන්තුවක් පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට ඉදිරිපත් කර ඇති බව මේ ලිපිය ලියන මොහොත වන විට දිනපතා පුවත්පතක් වාර්තා කර ඇත.

ඒවා එහෙම වෙද්දී එදා ජෝන් අමරතුංග පෙන් වූයේ වාහන පාවිච්චිය පිළිබඳ කෙහෙල්මල් සමාජ විද්‍යාත්මක පැහැදිලි කිරීමක් නොව තමන් තුළ උද්දච්ච වැඩවසම් නරුම මනෝභාවයයි. කෝටි දෙතුන් සීයේ වාහන පාවිච්චි කිරීමට උන්ට අයිතියක් ඇතත් ‘ප‍්‍රවාහනයට අදාළ සරල විසඳුමක්වත්’ හොයාගන්නට අපට අයිතියක් නැත කියා නොවේද මේ කියන්නේ? උන් හැමදේටම ‘සුදුසු’ පුද්ගලයන්ය. උන්ට අනුව අප ‘නුසුදුසු’ පුද්ගලයන්ය. මේක නම්, හරිම ප‍්‍රීතිදායක තත්ත්වයක් වන අතර ඒ ප‍්‍රීතිය මධ්‍යයේම මෙවන් දූපතක දේශපාලනය කිරීමට ජෝන් අමරතුංගට තිබෙන ‘සුදුසුකම්’ මොනවාදැයි සොයා බලන්නට අපට සිතිණි.

1940 මැයි 21 දා උපන් ජෝන් ඇන්තනී එමානුවෙල් අමරතුංග එක්සත් ජාතික පක්ෂයේ ගම්පහ දිස්ත‍්‍රික් පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත‍්‍රීවරයා වන අතර ඒ මන්ත‍්‍රී ධුරය ඡුන්දයෙන් ලබාගත් එකක් නොව ජාතික ලැයිස්තුවෙන් පිනට ලැබුණ එකකි. සංචාරක සංවර්ධන හා ක‍්‍රිස්තියානි ආගමික කටයුතු අමාත්‍ය සහ ඉඩම් අමාත්‍ය ධුරය ඔහු සතු බව පාර්ලිමේන්තු වෙබ් අඩවිය කියයි. මූලාශ‍්‍රය විශේෂයෙන් සඳහන් කරන්නේ අම්මපා මේ කාලයේ ඇමැතිවරු මොක්කුද, උන් දරන ඇමැතිකම් මක්කද යන්න සහ ඇමැති මණ්ඩලේ ඉන්නේ මොකාද නැත්තේ මොකාද යන්න මෙලෝ සම්මජාතියකට මතක හිටින්නේ නැති හින්දාය. මන්ද, ඇමැති ධුර දරන්නේ ඒ තරම්ම ‘සුදුසු’ උදවිය ය.

ජෝන් අමරතුංග පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට මුලින්ම තේරී පත් වන්නේ 89 වර්ෂයේය. 88 සහ 89 යන ඉලක්කම් දෙක ඔහුගේ ජීවිතයට සම්බන්ධ වන්නේ ඒ කාරණා දෙක නිසා පමණක් නොවන බව 88 - 89 භීෂණ සමයේ දී යාන්තම් දිවි ගලවා ගත් ගම්පහ දිස්ත‍්‍රික්කයේ ඇතැම්හු පවසති. මේ මජර නරුම කාලකණ්ණි දේශපාලන ක‍්‍රමය සඳහා ප‍්‍රවිෂ්ට වන්නට තමන්ගේ ඇති ‘සුදුසුකම්’ ඉතා හොඳින් සපුරන්නට ජෝන් අමරතුංගට හැකියාව සහ අවස්ථාව එකල තිබුණු බව 89 දී එක්සත් ජාතික පක්ෂයෙන් පාර්ලිමේන්තු ආවාය කියන කාරණාව ප‍්‍රබල සාක්ෂියකි. නිල හා නිල නොවන ඝාතක කල්ලිවලට තරුණ තරුණයන්ගේ නම් ලැයිස්තු දීම කොයිතරම් වැදගත් ‘සුදුසුකමක්’ද කියා පාඨක ඔබ තේරුම්ගත යුතුය.

එසේ පාර්ලිමේන්තු පැමිණි ජෝන් අමරතුංග ජනාධිපති පේ‍්‍රමදාස යුගයේ අවසානය තෙක්මත් එතැන් සිට අද දක්වාත් මේ දෙකයි පනහේ දේශපාලනයට අවශ්‍ය සුදුසුකම් නොමඳව රැස් කළේය. තම දේශපාලන කඳවුර විසින් සිදු කරන ලද හොර මැරකම්, ඝාතන ගැන ජෝන් අමරතුංග කටක් ඇර වචනයක් කියා නැත. ඉතින් එහෙව් මිනිහෙක් මේ දේශපාලනයට ‘නුසුදුසු මිනිහෙක්’ වෙන්නේ කොහොමද? එපමණක් නොව රාජපක්ෂ රෙජීමය පවතින සමයේ ජෝන් අමරතුංග ඉතා පැහැදිලිව ඩබල් ගේම් දේශපාලනයක යෙදුණ බව දන්නෝ දනිති. රාජපක්ෂ සමඟ විදේශ සංචාර ගණනාවකට තම පක්ෂයේ මතයවත් නොතකා සහභාගී වූ ඔහු කොහොමද ‘නුසුදුසු පුද්ගලයෙක්’ වන්නේ?

බලයෙන් මත් වූ උද්දච්ච දේශපාළුවන් උම්මත්තකයන් සේ උම්බෑ කීම මේ දූපතේ මිනිසුන්ට අලූ‍ත්ම අත්දැකීමක් නොවන නමුත් ජෝන් අමරතුංගලාගේ මේ නරුම හැසිරීම්වලට ජනයා පිළිතුරු දෙන්නට උවමනාය. උන් අපව හැමදා සියල්ලට නුසුදුස්සන් කර ඇත. උන්ට අනුව අප සුදුසු වන්නේ උන්ව කර තබාගෙන යාම සඳහා පමණි. හැබැයි, රුපියල් කෝටි ගණන් සුඛෝපභෝගී වාහනවලට වියදම් කරමින් පිළිකා රෝහලට යන්ත‍්‍ර ගන්නට බදු බරෙන් පීඩිත සාමාන්‍ය ජනයාගෙන් සල්ලි එකතු කරන මේ විකාර දේශපාලනය පිටුදකින්නට අප සුදුසුකම් ලබන්නේ කවදාද යන ප‍්‍රශ්නය අප අබිමුව ඇත.

එහෙමනම් අපි මේ කතාබහ අවසන් කරමු. අංක 88, මීගමු පාර, කඳාන ලිපිනයේ පදිංචි ජෝන් අමරතුංග කිතු බැතිමතෙක් නිසා බයිබලයේ එන වැකියක් උපුටා දක්වා මේ සටහන අවසන් කරන්නට අප කැමැත්තේ වැරදීමකින් හෝ මෙය ඔහු නෙත ගැටුණොත් වටිනා බැවිනි. රෝමානු කතෝලික ජෝන් අමරතුංගට පමණක් නොව, සිංහල බෞද්ධ, මුසල්මානු ඉස්ලාම්, දෙමළ හින්දු කොයි දේශපාලකයාටත් මේ වැකිය වලංගුය.

”කථාවෙනුත් හැසිරීමෙනුත් පේ‍්‍රමයෙනුත් ඇදහිල්ලෙනුත් පිරිසිදුකමෙනුත් නුඹම ආදර්ශයක් වන්න”(තිමෝති 4:12)

- විමල් කැටිපෙආරච්චි

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Is SLFEB making ....the rule an ass?

The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) appears to have changed some of its operational activities in the Act, without prior information to the relevant authorities like the Embassies representing Sri Lanka abroad whereby infringing on an altogether separate entity like the Department of Immigration and Emigration (DIE) and also the Human Rights Commission (HRC).

In the morning of Saturday, June 4 an innocent Tamil woman from the back of beyond in Hali Ela who had a valid Visit Visa for three months was harassed at the SLFEB counter at the Katunayake Airport without a final and complete inquiry findings and thus prevented her from taking Flight FZ 559 to Dubai.

First of all what has she got to do with SLFEB as she had a valid return ticket and was not going for foreign employment! She was to visit her brother’s sick wife who is a Muslim. Doesn’t this Tamil woman have the human rights to visit her sister-in-law? Is SLFEB going to make good the cost of the Visit Visa and the air ticket totaling Rs 100,000?

Hasn’t the SLFEB allowed the corrupt politicians, drug traffickers, murderers and the others who have a fairer skin to enter the Departure Lounge on a daily basis without a hassle? Why this indifference SLFEB which is duty bound to explain to the members of the public, through the same media!

Interviewing an Additional General Manager (who kept me waiting for over an hour due to no proper organized token number system), at the SLFEB office in Battaramulla, I had to infer that this office has given instructions to their staff at the airport to adopt an age-old method of "Show me the face and I will show you the rule", thereby making the Rule an Ass!

What type of prior notice has been given to DIE or the Sri Lankan Embassy in Dubai regarding SLFEB’s new rules is beyond our comprehension, as otherwise one, at the time of applying for Visit Visa, will be forewarned of the consequences at the airport and also avoid the forfeiture of the high cost of not only the visa but also the ticket, not forgetting the resultant embarrassment caused to the passenger.

It is time the SLFEB confines itself to its rules only regarding foreign employment as stipulated in its Act and not go beyond borders so to say, thereby interfering or intervening in other matters, causing a lot of inconvenience to innocent and genuine passengers.

Imagine this Tamil woman having to travel many times down and up from Hali Ela to Colombo, first for her Passport, and then arranging for her two children’s accommodation for three months at a cost - all of which SLFEB is not meeting - and then the final journey to see her loved ones!

Her innocence is obvious as she failed to lodge an entry at the Police Post at the airport and then proceed to the HRC, the latter being available to give some redress even at a later stage in regard to the harassment, pain of mind, heavy expenses incurred and the tremendous hardships undergone!!

SLFEB spokesman, Upul Deshapriya: Our officers at the BIA have a legitimate right to intervene only if the ‘Job Category’ on the visa (to Dubai in this reported case) indicates ‘Employment’.

Therefore, it is imperative to establish whether the passenger concerned was under the ‘Employment’ category in the visa issued to her. If not, there was no possibility of her being turned away and prevented from boarding the flight by SLFEB officers at the airport.

The SLFEB is legally mandated to disallow passengers, especially bound for the Middle East for employment purposes if they fail to produce documentation on SLFEB registration/job training, a copy of the work agreement and approval of the Sri Lankan mission in the country concerned.

Passengers under the ‘Tourism’ category on their visas have no issue and do not come under the purview of the SLFEB. All Sri Lankans leaving for employment have to adhere to an established process and our officers have a legal right to prevent them from emplaning, if they are not armed with the necessary documentation.

Some Sri Lankans seeking employment in the Middle East, particularly Dubai, adopt a ruse to avoid the 40-day compulsory, in-house training given by the SLFEB to those leaving for employment.

They first travel to Dubai on a ‘Visit Visa’, spend about two to three months with a known party, find a job and return to Sri Lanka on the assurance that they will come back for employment. This happens because some women are basically lazy to undergo 40 days training.

Later, they try to leave the country saying that they have already found employment, and as a result, they face immense problems without a basic knowledge of the language of the country or any formal training.

In this backdrop, when these migrant workers face difficulties, they run away to seek refuge in Sri Lankan missions to avoid harassment at the hands of their employers. These incidents are then highlighted in the media and the authorities come under flak for not implementing regulations.

Cut-out King Swims in Fish Pond Controversy

From Sunday Leader - by Hafsa Sabry
The illegal construction of a large fish pond has been identified as one of the contributing factors in the recent flood in Kolonnawa and Kohilawatte areas by residents who allege that Kuma Stickers Pvt Ltd, one of the most well-known advertising companiy’s which displays cut-outs of high-ranking politicians, is behind it.
Even though the residents have informed the relevant authorities about the illegal fish pond construction built blocking the public canal, the waterway which carries water to the Kelani river, there was no action taken against it as the private company is alleged to have links with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, influential politicians and even President Maithripala Sirisena by displaying cut-outs during election times.
It was also revealed that the businessman had bought several lands near the factory and built the fish pond in it. Several nets of different sizes had been put up blocking the canal for fish breeding while a big wall had been built to cover the nets and the fish pond.
People around the fish pond area claimed that even after a little rainfall the water gushed into their houses. Residents charged that the people had to suffer this hardship just because the businessman enjoyed breeding fish. Villagers also claimed that flooding had become a recurring feature in the area after the fish pond was built.
They also alleged that they were at a loss as to who to lodge a complaint with as divisional secretariat and urban council officers were bribed by the company owner whenever they visited the premises for inspection and then the case went unnoticed. The officers however cannot be wholly blamed residents said as they receive calls from high-ranking politicians and made to obey their orders. Residents lamented that they did not vote in politicians so they could work for the businessman but for the people who are now being victimised by the influence of politics and power. Even the good governance administration is yet to address this issue, they said.
“A decade ago the people used to play elle in that ground which has now become a pool as the public canal was blocked to build the large fish pond. This area starts flooding when there is rain as the waterway is blocked,” one resident told The Sunday Leader.
It was revealed that this businessman had erected giant displays of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa around the country during the election and after the defeat of his regime, he had then put up portraits of Maithripala Siresena. Therefore, it was alleged, due to his high political connections the authorities turned a blind eye to the illegal construction.
The residents also said that several letters had been sent and meetings arranged with the relevant authorities but solid action was yet to be taken against the businessman and his fish pond that blocks the public canal. Following continuous pressure by the residents, some officials arrived recently to break down the walls and the nets blocking the public waterway but after a call received from some high-ranking politician they halted the demolition.
“It happened right in front of us; the officials visited the particular fish pond with equipment and machines to break the walls and nets and we were happy that some good would finally happen and that we would be relieved of the flood issue but then they got a call from some politician and left the place,” a resident claimed.
A resident whose house is in close proximity to the fish pond said that recently when the area was fully flooded, the businessman had broken some parts of the wall for the water to recede but they re-built the broken wall in two days after the water receded.
The residents charged that the businessman was in complete violation of the law and was committing a punishable offence by blocking public property for his personal benefit costing the government millions of rupees.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Kotikawatte Urban Council Prasanna Solongarachchi has also been accused of supporting the businessman in his illegal construction of the fish pond.
The Sunday Leader attempted to contact Solongarachchi to get his response to the allegation levelled at him that he has connections with the illegal construction of the fish pond blocking the public waterway. Since Solongarachchi was busy with meetings, his private secretary speaking on his behalf said that neither the chairman nor the urban council had any connections with it and that the fish pond was a private construction.
The owner of  Kuma Stickers Pvt, Ltd. W. Kulatunga speaking to The Sunday Leader said he completely refutes the allegations levelled against him.
“A number of petitions were handed over to several authorities regarding the fish tank that I built in my own land but all the officials who visited the place accepted that there is no blocking of the canal,”Kulatunga said.
Kulatunga claimed that the Chief Minister of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) visited the place recently and said there was no blockage of the public canal and that he could continue breeding fish in the pond.
Responding to a question with regards to breaking the wall for the flood waters to recede, Kulatunga said that the military had broken some parts of the wall with his permission to ensure that there was no difference in the water level even after breaking the wall and that the residents had understood that it was not an issue at all.
“I have built nets around the fish pond to protect it from garbage and to keep it clean and not to block the canal. However, the area is prone to flooding and the government should build a bridge and not a 3 ft canal for the water to flow away,” Kulatunga claimed.
“When there is a flood that rises 7 feet and there is a canal for only 3 feet, the water will try to find another place where there is room for it and that is how that private area was filled with water some years back; it was not due to my fish pond. One of the Sinhala newspapers had written badly about me and the fish pond but there is no truth in it. They even said that I chased the army personnel who came to inspect the canal and the fish pond but the question is how can an individual chase army officials away?” Kulatunga said.
He also claimed that he did not bribe anyone but that the people around the area were jealous of the success of his business and accused him of blocking a public property for his personal benefit which is not a fact.
Kulatunga further said UNP MP S. M. Marikkar had also visited the place following a petition filed by the residents but he too had not found any blocking or issues with the fish pond. He stated that most of the residents knew the truth except for a few who were jealous.
“About 97 percent of the people here understand and do not express concern over the fish pond. It is a private fish pond built in my space which does not block the water flow to the Kelani river or the public canal in the area,” he added.

Explosive Revelations

Military was in the process of negotiating disposal of ammunition stocks when incident occurred
From Sunday Leader - by Camelia Nathaniel
Military sources say, had the entire stock of ammunition previously stored at the Salawa ammunition been there at the time of the blast, the damage to life and property caused by the blast would have been unprecedented.
Prior to the incident, almost one third of the ammunition stocks at Salawa had been transferred to the Veyangoda armoury. The fire is believed to have started near the log commander’s office at the small armoury, and once the fire had engulfed that building, there was no chance of containing it and it had spread exploding the ammunitions. Around 20 fire engines of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Fire Brigade had rushed to the area, but the explosions prevented them from getting anywhere near the scene to douse the fire.
With this incident, many theories were expressed, and one of them was that officers without specialised training have been deployed to manage the sub ammunition dump of the Salawa Army Camp in Kosgama.
However, speaking to The Sunday Leader, a very senior military official denied the allegations that proper measures were not taken and that the lack or absence of trained and qualified personnel in handling of explosives was one of the factors that might have led to the incident.
“It is a false conception that there were unqualified personnel at the camp. There is Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that has to be followed at every camp. There are many versions being spread, but none can determine the cause of the fire until the investigations are carried out,” said the official.
Army Commander Lieutenant General Chrishantha de Silva had taken steps to appoint a Court of Inquiry on a directive of the National Security Council to ascertain the cause.
Meanwhile, military Spokesman Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera said in a statement that a parallel investigation by the CID too had commenced.
According to information obtained by The Sunday Leader, after assuming office in February last year, the Army Commander had made it a priority to examine all the stocks of ammunition in the Army. Having examined, he had asked the officers if they were crazy to retain such large stocks of nearly outdated ammunition.
Then the Army Commander had met the Secretary of Defence at that time, Mr. Basnayake, and told him that they needed to dispose of the ammunition quickly, and the Defence Secretary had asked him what he had in mind. The Commander had then told him to send it back to the same people who had sold it to them, even at half price. The Defence Secretary was baffled and had asked the Commander if that was even possible. In response the Commander had said that they needed to make it possible as they could not keep these weapons being a small country with limited space to dispose of these weapons.
The Commander had then written to the Ministry of Defence and his first letter was sent on May 14, 2015. Most of the ammunition had been purchased in 2006-2007 and maintained. But in the letter written by the current Commander to the MoD, he had explained that most of the ammunition was about to expire and that the Army did not have the stipulated facilities to store them. He had also emphasised the importance of addressing this issue right away. Unfortunately, this incident took place before the issue was settled. According to the very senior army officer, this problem should have been addressed much earlier as the government had six years after the war to dispose of these outdated stocks. He said that although the current Commander had taken all measures possible to address this problem, but he did not have enough time to complete the actions that he had commenced.
After receiving the Army Commander’s letter, the Defence Secretary had agreed and asked the Commander to give him a cost of the items. The Commander had then done the costing and sent it to the Defence Secretary and wanted to get Lanka Logistics to negotiate. One of the groups that came to inspect the stock of weapons was Norinco. The China North Industries Corporation, officially known in English as Norinco, is a State-run conglomerate best known for producing and exporting firearms and other types of ordnance, and is largest weapons manufacturer in China, and they supplied bulk of the weapons for the Sri Lanka Army. They had then visited the Army Commander and wanted to go around and have a look at the weapons. This whole process had taken around six months. However, according to military sources, this is something that should have been done soon after the war ended in 2009.
However, Cabinet approval for the disposing of the stocks was given in April this year, and the military was negotiating with Norinco to send the stocks of almost out-dated ammunition, when this incident occurred.
“The war ended in 2009, and the previous regime had not taken any measures to dispose of the excess ammunitions or shift the facility. The outdated ones and the excess should have been disposed of right after the war, perhaps in 2010 or 2011. We do not use now some of the ammunition in stock which are about to expire. Authorities should have looked at these issues properly,” added the army official.
Explaining the chain of command deployed at these armouries, the senior official said that there is a commandant for the central arms and ammunition depot, and he is in charge of all these ammunition dumps.
“We place various personnel under him, he is a qualified man. He is answerable to the Director Ordinance Services, who is a fully qualified brigadier and trained Ammunition Technical Officer (ATO), involved in all aspects of the use of ammunition in the army. This includes disposing bombs, investigating explosions, procuring, managing services, storage, inspections and repairs. In addition, the commander of that area controls the security measures in place. So, one cannot claim that there are no qualified people at the facility. The ammunition dump at Salawa was also under the commandant of the central arms and ammunition depot. These facilities are properly managed and there are standing orders and drill practices that have to be followed in an emergency which army personnel practised daily. The casualty figures would have been much higher had these practices not carried out daily.
“Within 45 minutes, the Commander had also arrived at the scene. However, soldiers had carried out the drill by then and evacuated everyone from the facility,” he added.
When asked what the risks are of storing expired ammunition, the senior officer said that it was as dangerous as having other explosives.
“In any case, having large or excess stocks of ammunition is very dangerous. That is why we asked that the expired stocks be dumped at sea, which we used to do earlier. But as environmentalists raised concerns, we had to stop it. However, while accepting that there was a significant environmental impact, we did point out that compared to the danger in maintaining such large expired stocks, the threat to life and property was greater. Hence we appealed to the environmentalists again, as we do not have the land area in the country to dispose of these stocks. The commander even asked for foreign assistance, as he foresaw the impending danger,” said the officer.
When transporting and storing ammunition, specific requirements given with them and their expiry dates must also be taken into account. Accordingly, a reliable ammunition safety management regime is an essential component of effective Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM) to prevent both accidents and diversion. Every month, about two to three explosions of ammunition storages are recorded around the world, and they are more frequent now.
There are seven major issues to be dealt with from a security perspective of human when managing ammunition and related matters: dealing with unmanaged and dangerous stockpiles, placing ammunition in or near populated centres, keeping expired and surplus ammunition, inadequate storage infrastructure and poor storekeeping, planning absent lifecycle and reinforcing controls over stocks, handling unaccountable leadership and unqualified personnel and, in some cases, keeping abandoned and unexploded ordnance amongst serviceable stock. To avoid these instances are of great significance, but sometimes not much attention is focused on them.
Ammunition in any form or state is never completely safe. Explosives are combinations of chemicals, and the chance of them reacting with each other is always prevalent. Depending on the level of exposure to environmental conditions, these chemical processes can either slow down or get sped up. Regardless of the design of conventional ammunition, triggering and initiating them is done with simple mechanical-chemical or electric-chemical systems. By neglecting the basic requirements for safekeeping, related explosions can occur, and thei number increases over time. Badly kept ammunition will accidentally explode one day or fail to function as designed. And it will be more expensive to get rid of them because increased care and safety measures have to be applied throughout the disposal operations of such ammunitions.

Friday, June 10, 2016

University of Sri Jayawardenapura - Dept of Food Science finds a solution to control your daily oil intake

Cholesterol among many other frustrating diseases happens to be a common problem that we all face despite one’s age; Rumesh Liyanage and team from the Department of Food Sciences of the Faculty of Applied Sciences at University of Sri Jayewardenepura have found a method to control the intake of oil during the daily consumption of deep fried foods thus providing us with a solution we all so desperately need!
Read More in Sinhala - SINHALA 
This all natural solution was featured on Silumina on the 5th June 2016 with a comprehensive description on how one could get it done even at home.
Method of preparation:
  • Rinse and mash the leaves of davul kurundhu and strain with water as deemed adequate.
  • Dip the food item that is to be fried in this water prepared by straining the leaves
  • Fry it as you would usually do
*Since the residue of the leaves will contain a green hue, if you believe that it will affect the color of your food item you can also steam it instead of dipping it directly in the dish containing the water prepared by straining the leaves.
Since it would be challenging to locate these leaves in urban areas, Rumesh and team have also proposed an alternative method of preparation which involves ladiesfingers/okra.
Alternative method of preparation:
  • Finely chop the ladiesfingers/okra and add it onto a dish
  • Add the food items that are to be fried into this dish and apply the slimy substance of the ladiesfinders/okra well on the surface of these food items.
  • Fry the food items as usual after the oil is well heated.
Rumesh and team hereby extended their sincere gratitude to Senior lecturer, S.B Nawarathne; for constantly guiding and motivating them throughout this journey of testing new waters. This indeed is marks history for the department of Food Sciences since it yet again proves its worth as Rumesh and team reaches this mile stone of their lives as true researchers whom we all can be proud of.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Wake Up, America!

While Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are battling in their final round in the Democratic primaries and Donald Trump is arguing that Clinton should be in prison for failing to safeguard state secrets while she was secretary of state, the same FBI that is diligently investigating her is quietly and perniciously seeking to cut more holes in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
That amendment – which requires the government to obtain a search warrant issued by a judge based upon some evidence of criminal wrongdoing, called probable cause, before the government can search persons, houses, papers or effects – is the linchpin of the right to privacy, famously referred to by Justice Louis Brandeis as the right to be let alone.
The Fourth Amendment has a painful yet unambiguous history. The essence of that history is the well-documented and nearly universal Colonial revulsion to the British use of general warrants.
General warrants, which were usually issued in secret in London, permitted British soldiers and agents in America to search wherever they wished and seize whatever they found. General warrants were not based upon any individualized suspicion, much less any probable cause. Their stated purpose was the need to enforce the Stamp Act, a totalitarian measure that cost more to enforce than it generated in revenue.
The Stamp Act required all colonists to purchase and affix stamps to all legal, financial, political, personal and public documents. It was billed as a revenue-gathering measure, but it truly was used as an excuse to humiliate the colonists by permitting soldiers and agents to enter their homes ostensibly looking for the stamps. They were really looking for evidence of revolutionary ideas and plans against the king.
After Americans won the Revolution and wrote the Constitution, they did so with the determination never to permit the new government here to do to Americans what the pre-Revolutionary British government had done to the colonists. Their chosen instrument of that prevention was the Fourth Amendment.
But the feds have been wearing away at the right to privacy for generations. The Right to Financial Privacy Act (which has nothing to do with protecting privacy) permits federal agents to obtain certain bank records with search warrants issued by other federal agents – as opposed to judges – as long as they are looking for mobsters or drug dealers. The Patriot Act (which has nothing to do with patriotism) enables FBI agents to issue search warrants to other FBI agents for certain business records – including doctors’ and lawyers’ offices, car and jewelry dealers, and the post office – as long as they are looking for threats to national security. And the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (which interferes with the privacy of almost all electronic communications) permits FBI agents to access certain metadata (the who, where and when of emails, but not their contents), as long as one FBI agent issues the warrant to another and as long as the recipient uses it for national security purposes.
Now the FBI wants access to everyone’s internet browser history, as long as its agents are looking for spies or terrorists; and again, it proposes that rather than present probable cause to a judge and seek a warrant as the Fourth Amendment requires, one FBI agent be authorized to issue a search warrant to another.
The federal government’s antipathy to the Fourth Amendment is palpable and well-known – notwithstanding that everyone who works for the feds has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, not evade or avoid it. Last week, FBI Director James Comey effectively told the Senate committee that is writing this damnable new legislation that complying with the Fourth Amendment is a pain in the neck and his agents could operate more efficiently without it.
Wake up, America. The Fourth Amendment is supposed to be a pain in the neck for the government.
The Fourth Amendment was expressly written to protect our individual right to privacy from the voracious and insatiable appetite of government to assault it. It was also written to ensure that government can seek evidence against bad guys, but it was meant to force the government to target them based on real evidence, not to let it sweep them up in a suspicionless net along with the innocent.
When Edward Snowden revealed the nature and extent of domestic spying on everyone in America three years ago, he revealed a secret that somehow 60,000 federal agents and contractors were able to keep. That secret was a novel and perverse interpretation of certain federal statutes so as to use them to justify spying on innocents.
But what we have here with this FBI request to access our browsing history – which reveals deeply personal, political, medical, legal and intimate data about us – is coming about openly through our elected representatives. It is not only the FBI that secretly wants this but also members of Congress who are on the verge of openly approving it.
And don’t expect your internet service provider to tell you that the FBI has come calling, as this legislation would prohibit the service provider from telling you that your records have been accessed. This provision violates the First Amendment to the Constitution, which states that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.”
Wake up, America. How many congressional assaults on the Constitution will we tolerate?
Since the government obviously does not take its obligation to uphold the Constitution seriously, why bother with requiring one FBI agent to authorize another? Why not let any FBI agent search wherever he or she wants, break down any door, seize any records and invade anyone’s privacy, lest compliance with the Constitution be a pain in the neck.
Wake up, America. The Constitution has become a pain in the neck to our personal liberties, because as a safeguard of them, it obviously no longer works.
Judge Andrew P. Napolitano is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of the State of New Jersey. He sat on the bench from 1987 to 1995, during which time he presided over 150 jury trials and thousands of motions, sentencings and hearings. He taught constitutional law at Seton Hall Law School for 11 years, and he returned to private practice in 1995.

Sri Lanka to introduce capital gains tax & remove exchange control: PM

June 09, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s government will remove exchange control regulations before the end of this year with improved inflows coming into the country, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
Speaking at the debate of the no-confidence motion against Finance Minister, the Premier said the proposal will be implemented with the 2017 budget proposals.
“We are strong enough and confident to say that we can remove exchange control before the 2017 budget,” Wickremesinghe said.
However, Wickremesinghe once again suggested that there will be a capital gains tax that will possibly be introduced with the budget.
“We are going to tax the capital gains; this will be the first time we are going to tax capitalists.”
Prime Minister further revealed that during the months of January to May this year, the government has signed foreign loan agreements worth 9 billion US dollars.
He added that the government is also planning to issue another 3 billion US dollars worth bonds in the international market in the latter part of this year.

Thewarapperuma Refuses Ministerial Vehicle: "Politicians Should Focus More On Serving People"

From AM
Deputy Minister of North Western Development and Cultural Affairs Palitha Thewarapperuma has refused a vehicle that was allocated for him by the Ministry.

Sending a letter to the Secretary to the Ministry, Thewarapperuma said that he does not need a vehicle from the Ministry. He directed the minister to transfer the Rs 28 million for a welfare program for local artistes.

Thewarapperuma explained that politicians should focus on serving people rather than their personal comfort. He added that politicians do not receive a positive feedback especially in social media due to their excessive spending.

The government is facing severe criticism for seeking an allocation of Rs 1,180 million for vehicles for a number of Ministers.

Why did Wild Life Department chief resign?

From DM Online
Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya a leading environmental specialist in the South Asia Environment, Water Resources and Climate Change Unit at the World Bank office who was appointed as the Director General of the Wild Life Conservation Department (WLCD) in April made a promise: “ As an environmental professional, during my tenure as director general I will not violate the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance or do anything detrimental to wildlife conservation in Sri Lanka. I would rather resign than be instrumental in causing a negative impact on wildlife conservation.”

Many environmentalists extended their gratitude for appointing such an ecologist who had the academic knowledge as well as extensive experience in the World Bank managing its wildlife projects. 

Dr. Pilapitiya bade goodbye to his job as the lead environmental specialist for the South Asia Environment, Water Resources and Climate Change Unit at the World Bank office, and undertook this post to work on his passion of wild life specially elephants and to protect this country’s wildlife and fauna and flora. 

However, on Monday in a controversial manner he tendered his resignation to Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera. The Daily Mirror in an attempt to find out the real reason for his sudden resignation came across some serious issues which needed more clarifications by the relevant and responsible authorities.

According to a WLCD official, a doctor who wished to remain anonymous told the Daily Mirror that there were serious incidents which prompted Dr. Pilapitiya to resign his post.

Dr.Pilapitiya was branded as a ‘stubborn’ officer: WLCD official 

The official said so much pressure was placed on Dr. Pilapitiya over various issues and they had allegedly disrupted his work.

There were issues; one had been regarding the release of some illegally detained elephants and more recently about a raid where a dead tiger and 46 kilos of animal meat found in the Yala National Park. Both these incidents made  Dr. Pilapitiya to rethink about his job. 

“In a previous  instance, a person,  representing all private elephant owners who was also holding a religiously and culturally important position of the country, had contacted Dr. Pilapitiya and asked him to release elephants to their private owners claiming they needed to be used for processions in temples. Subsequently, Dr. Piliapitiya had sought the advice of the Attorney General who had intimated that the elephants could not be released. The AG had also said that if the DG sends a request in writing [which can be interpreted as being against the law] , it can be done. Dr. Pilapitiya had refused to do so and had informed the AG that as long as he serves as DG of the Wild Life Department, he would not allow such things to happen,” the WLCD official said.

However, this incident had been reported to the President who had directed Dr. Pilapitiya to issue permits to capture the required number of elephants from forests which are under the administration of the Wildlife Conservation Department. 

Dr. Piliapitiya has not agreed to initiate that directive either. 

Real Reason for resignation 

However, this had not been the main reason for the resignation of the WLCD chief. According to the departmental official, an incident when Sustainable Development and Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera had exerted pressure on Suranga Ratnayake, Warden of the Yala National Park  to apologise to Minister Sajith Premadasa was the main reason that Dr. Pilapitiya found disagreeable. It had been one of the main reasons for his resignation. 
Speaking to the Daily Mirror , Suranga Ratnayake confirmed that the particular WLCD official’s claims and said since the day he was appointed as the warden of the Yala Wildlife Park, Minister Sajith Premadasa had allegedly pressurised the then DWC Chief Chandrasiri Bandara and the recently resigned DWC Chief Dr.Sumith Pilapitiya to remove Sunranga from his post.
Suranga Ratnayake had been appointed as the warden of the Yala Park in February 2016. 
Before that he had been the park warden of Kumana where he worked freely without any political pressure.“Political pressure was exerted not only on Dr. Pilapitiya but also on all former DG’s of the department. During the previous regime, MP Namal Rajapaksa had also meddled with issues in Yala. It had been a Jeep Owners’ Association comprising some of his supporters that handled the administration of the Yala, not the Wild Life Department. 
On June 05, I as the warden of Yala Park, sent a group for a raid that was launched on information we had received. During the raid we arrested a man who had 46 kgs of animal meats, an illegal weapon and a dead tiger whose jaws had been removed in his possession. As WLCD officials, we have the power to arrest poachers and produce them before courts. So we produced the arrested poacher before court and he was remanded. On that day, Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera called me and admonished me for producing the suspect  in court without producing him before the police. But, we have the powers to produce suspects directly before a magistrate. Poachers have been killing animals as a practice in Yala for a long time.” 

Sixty per cent of  appointments in the Yala Park were Allegedly made by Minister Sajith Premadasa: Suranga rathnayake

Suranga spoke  how Minister Sajith Premadasa who was not related to the ministry got involved in the issue.
“Sixty per cent of appointments in the Yala Park were made by Minister Sajith Premadasa. I was not allowed to do my duties by the minister. He kept visiting the park as he wished, without following Wild Life Department’s regulations. One day, I  spoke directly to the minister [about it]. In response Minister Premadasa said that he had a habit of visiting the park and that just because I had been appointed as the new park warden, such habits could not be changed. 
 However, after that incident, much pressure was placed on the then DWC Chief Chandrasiri Bandara and the recently resigned WLCD Chief Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya  to remove me from this post. But, Minister Premadasa had never  spoken to me directly regarding these issues. However by coordinating work with Dr. Pilapitiya I was able to solve a lot of issues in the Yala Park. After this recent raid we carried out, Minister Jayawickrama asked me to come to Parliament on Tuesday (June 7). In front of many government officials he verbally abused me for carrying out the raid and producing the suspect before court and not before the police.
"He also asked me to apologise to Minister Sajith Premadasa, but he (Minister Premadasa) was not present in Parliament at that time. I phoned DG Pilapitiya and told him what happened. He told me that as the WLCD Director General, if he could not defend his officers he was not suitable to hold the post any longer and that he would resign from the post. The DG told me that it was a time I should have been commended for catching the poachers. I later submitted my request for a transfer to the ministry, “Suranga said.
 
“These allegations are absolute rubbish": Minister Sajith Premadasa
Responding to the claims, Minister Sajith Premadasa said that he refuted all these haphazard allegations, because he was an animal lover from childhood and that he frequently was to Yala sanctuary for the purpose of wild life photography.
“These allegations are absolute rubbish. As an animal lover and I stand against anti-animal activities. I was the one who advised on controlling poaching activities in the Yala National Park. I only want to encourage Wild Life officials in order to protect wild life in our country,” Minister Premadasa said.
He went on to say that he had never violated or intervened in any established rules and regulations of the Wild Life Department of Sri Lanka.
Speaking about the apologising incident, he said he was not even aware of such a thing. 
There was no pressure exerted by me or any minister; Wildlife Minister 
While refuting all the claims levelled by the Yala Park warden and the WLCD official who spoke to the Daily Mirror, the Minister had a different story to tell.
“There was no pressure exerted by me or any minister on the Wild Life officials. Dr. Pilapitiya was an honest and straight forward officer capable of working as the head of the WLCD. I refused to accept his resignation also. I informed the Prime Minister about this. He assured me that he would have a word with Dr. Pilapitiya,”
“Allegations are baseless. I should categorically say that an involvement of Minister Sajith Premadasa as alleged did not happen. As a Cabinet Minister and Hambantota being his electorate he has a right to visit the Yala Park. One reason for that is because he is a wild life lover. I don’t think it is fair to point fingers at him based on that. That is not wrong,”

 Poaching Mafia operational in wildlife parks 

Commenting on the racket of animal poaching, the Minister Jayawickrama also said such a mafia is in operation in forests belonging to the WLCD and that he was concerned about the issue. He also said he spoke to the Acting IGP S. M. Wickremesinghe and requested him to carry out an investigation into the June 05 incident through the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to apprehend those behind the racket.
Secretary, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife R.M.D.B. Meegasmulla said the ministry is to discuss with Dr. Pilapitiya and a decision to re-appoint him to the post is yet in abyance.
A protest urging the authorities to re-appoint Dr. Pilapitiya to the post was launched yesterday by the WLCD staff in Battaramulla. A meeting with the Prime Minister and Dr. Pilapitiya also took place yesterday at the Prime Minister’s residence. Attempts to hear the outcome of the meeting Dr. Pilapitiya’s views failed because he had switched off his mobile phone and was not willing to speak to the media regarding the issue. (Piyumi Fonseka)