Archive | March, 2015

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Cricket World Cup final: Australia eases to seven-wicket victory over New Zealand for fifth World Cup win

Posted on 29 March 2015 by admin

Australia are cricket’s new world champions.

Captain Michael Clarke signed off from ODIs with 74 as a dominant Australia won their fifth cricket World Cup after crushing New Zealand by seven wickets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

New Zealand, playing in their first final after succumbing six times in the semis, suffered a body blow in the opening over from Mitchell Starc when captain Brendon McCullum was bowled without scoring from the third ball he faced.

A fourth wicket partnership of 111 between Ross Taylor (40) and Grant Elliott (83) appeared to restore New Zealand’s fortunes although runs came slowly against a hostile, accurate pace attack with Starc in outstanding form.

The paceman was ably supported Australia’s two other left-arm fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson and James Faulkner who picked up three wickets apiece

Australia has won the World Cup in a canter, beating New Zealand by seven wickets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the country’s fifth world title.

Scorecard:

New Zealand 183 all out in 45 overs (Elliott 83, Johnson 3-30)

Australia 186-3 in 33.1 overs (Clarke 74, Henry 2-46)

The match was wrapped up in the 34th over after a brilliant innings by retiring skipper Michael Clarke (74), ably supported by Steve Smith (56 not out), saw Australia easily chase down New Zealand’s modest total of 183.

“I’m over the moon. What a tournament!” Clarke said.

“I think firstly obviously to Brendon [McCullum] and the New Zealand team, they deserve a lot of credit. They’re always a tough team to beat.

“In any sporting event Australia v New Zealand is always an exciting contest. Tonight was no different. Congratulations to him and his team on a wonderful tournament.”

In a tournament littered with explosive scoring and monstrous totals, Australia’s match-winning effort was relatively low-key but by no means unimpressive.

And the partisan crowd had the thanks of their hero.

“To the Australian fans, to all the fans of the game of the cricket I think it’s been an amazing turn out for this tournament,” Clarke said.

“For the support we’ve had through the tournament, thanks to every Australian and every cricket supporter out there.

“Most importantly, to that amazing team including support staff that stands over there. I couldn’t have asked for anything more, the support I’ve received since coming back to the team.

“The way they’ve stood up and played. They deserve to stand here to night and hold that trophy up.”

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Lanka’s brand value to reach US$ 79 b in 2015

Posted on 26 March 2015 by admin

Courtesy: Shirajiv Sirimane – Daily News.

For the first time Sri Lanka’s brand value of US$ 79 billion would surpass the country’s GDP of US$ 79 billion in 2015, said Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Rohantha Atukorale.

Speaking at a press conference to announce Sri Lanka’s participation at the world’s largest trade show, EXPO Milano 2015 from May 1 to October 15 in Italy, he said that this is due to the fact that Sri Lanka is being aggressively promoted by SriLankan Airlines along with Sri Lanka Tea Board, Export Development Board, Gem and Jewellery Authority, Board of Investment of Sri Lanka and the National Craft Council.

Commissioner General for Expo 2015, Atukorale said the government was really keen in participating in the event on an invitation accorded by the Italian government. He said that over 20 million would participate in the event with 120 countries participating. The exhibition under the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, is a global cultural, educational and scientific event which aims to explore the global food and sustainable development challenge. He said that last year it was estimated that over 23 million foreigners have goggled and looked at

Sri Lankan hotels. “With Sri Lanka’s participation at Milano Trade fair we expect this number to pass 70 million in 2015.”

The six month event will be structured under six themes . On tourism it will be ‘eight wonderful experiences in eight wonderful days. Minister of Sport and Tourism Naveen Dissanayake said for the first time Sri Lanka is being marketed in a much planned manner. “During the last six years the CESS fund was not properly used and some times the fund was used for election propaganda and personal work. “We lacked good governance and now we have turned around this negative senario and are working hand in hand with industry stake holders.”

He also said that Sri Lanka needs the GSP plus concession especially for the fisheries and apparel sectors and said that it was the stubbornness of the previous government that deprived this to Sri Lanka.

Italian Ambassador for Sri Lanka, Sabrizio Pio Arpea said that a special scheme would be offered to participants applying for Visa’s.

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Australia beat India by 95 runs to set up Cricket World Cup final with New Zealand

Posted on 26 March 2015 by admin

Steve Smith hit a sublime century as Australia reached the World Cup final with an imposing 95-run victory over reigning champions India on Thursday. The 25-year-old hit 11 fours and two sixes as he made 105 as the co-hosts posted a daunting 328 for 7, despite suffering a mid-over collapse. India’s response never materialised and although MS Dhoni made a run-a-ball 65 Australia always looked in control with Mitchell Johnson (2-50) and James Faulkner (3-59) bowling India out for 233. In a sport dominated by statistics there were plenty that were pointing towards a home victory with India having beaten Australia just once in 13 previous meetings at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

With the sub-continental side having continually suffered at the hands their opponents since arriving in the Southern Hemisphere in late November, Australia looked strong favourites. But Dhoni, India’s exceptional if not a somewhat underrated leader, ensured the world champions rose to the occasion of defending their crown and the result of the semi-final was far from a foregone conclusion. Having won the toss, it came as no surprise that Michael Clarke chose to bat – opting to put runs on the board and attempt to apply pressure on India. The rejuvenated Indian pace attack began aggressively and the build-up of early pressure saw David Warner lose patience and send a leading edge off Umesh Yadav to Virat Kohli at cover. It brought Smith, India’s kryptonite over the past four months, to the crease and he provided further evidence as to why many view him as the man to lead Australia in the near future. Despite the pressure of the situation Smith never looked fazed and having weathered an early storm of short-pitched deliveries he punished one Yadav over for four fours. Meanwhile, at the other end Aaron Finch was struggling to time the ball but Smith’s ability to attack and keep the run-rate rising allowed his partner to find his feet. After becoming just the second Australian player, after David Boon, to score four successive World Cup half-centuries Smith finally made his maiden World Cup century. In the first over of the batting powerplay, the right-handed batsman hit three boundaries, the last a four pulled from outside off that saw him complete a 89-ball ton.

The match seemed to be swerving dangerously out of reach for India with their bowlers continuing to offer short-pitched balls that were being dispatched to the stands. But, Dhoni brought back Yadav (4-72) and the eerily quiet SCG erupted as Smith attempted to hook a short ball and saw a top-edge fly to Rohit Sharma at deep square leg for 105 off 93-balls.

  • Steve Smith hit a century to guide hosts Australia to the World Cup final
  • His 105 featured 11 fours and two sixes as Australia posted total of 328
  • India were unable to respond and were bowled out for 233
  • James Faulkner took 3-59, while Johnson and Starc took two each
  • Australia will play New Zealand in Sunday's final in Melbourne

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Sensational win sees New Zealand through to ICC World Cup Final at Melbourne

Posted on 24 March 2015 by admin

New Zealand 299 for 6 in 42.5 overs (Elliott 84*, McCullum 59, Anderson 58, Morkel 3-59) beat South Africa 281 for 5 in 43 overs (Du Plessis 82, De Villiers 65*, Miller 49) by 4 wickets (D/L method).

 

Incredible, just incredible. Amid scenes of rare passion, of the like New Zealand has never seen for a cricket match, Grant Elliott played the innings of his life to carry his adopted country into the World Cup final against the land of his birth. With five needed off two balls, but effectively four because a tie would have been enough for New Zealand due to them finishing higher in their group, Elliott pulled an injured Dale Steyn high over mid-on to ensure New Zealand’s adventure would stretch all the way to Melbourne.

It was a breathtaking match throughout, but the finish was something spectacular. The quarter-finals had been bemoaned for not providing a close contest. This, though, was an epic. It was also going to be historic in any case with neither side previously reaching a World Cup final, but while everything pointed to an even game it was not guaranteed. How it delivered as New Zealand, riding on a ferocious assault by Brendon McCullum, were pushed into a position of authority by a stand of 103 between Elliott and Corey Anderson, who played another vital hand in this tournament, but should have been run-out on 33.

It came down to 46 needed off 31 balls when Anderson top-edged high into the night sky and perilously close to the Spidercam wires which would have made it a dead ball. Luke Ronchi then picked out deep square leg to leave 29 needed off 17 balls and Daniel Vettori, in what will likely be his final international appearance, joined Elliott.

Then it became 12 off the last over after Elliott was given a life on the last ball of the penultimate over when he top-edged towards deep square leg where Farhaan Behardien and JP Duminy collided. A bye was scampered to the keeper off the first ball of the last, but then Elliott lost the strike again. Wait, though. Steyn was limping with what appeared a calf injury. He had treatment and charged in. Vettori squeezed a boundary behind square on off. Then another bye as New Zealand showed great awareness, before Elliott’s final, crowning, moment to put an inedible seal on an extraordinary home campaign for the co-hosts.

South Africa’s players slumped to their knees, emotions on full display. Some did not move from their outfield positions for a few moments. Elliott offered a consoling hand to Steyn, much as Andrew Flintoff had done to Brett Lee at Edgbaston in 2005. New Zealand’s players charged onto the outfield, led by the inspirational captain who had sparked the demanding chase of 298 with a blistering display.

Only one higher total had been successfully chased on this ground in ODIs, but six overs of McCullum, after the match had been trimmed to 43 overs by rain, completely changed the complexion. McCullum has shredded attacks before in this tournament, but given the occasion and the bowlers in front of him it almost defied belief. Fourth ball he drove Steyn on the up over cover for six then he helped fetch 18 off Vernon Philander’s first over. But it was in Steyn’s third over that McCullum’s hitting went truly berserk as he drilled him straight down the ground for six and hooked another – that one taking him to a 22-ball fifty – as the over cost 25.

It brought the required rate down from nearly seven-an-over to a run-a-ball. South Africa were rattled, but managed to halt McCullum in the nick of time when he pulled Morne Morkel to mid-on. He departed to an ovation that will linger long, yet unlike his previous barrages this was not enough to make the result certain. When Kane Williamson dragged on against Morkel, South Africa were back in the ascendency.

Amid McCullum’s display it was easy to forget the man at the other end had just scored 237. Martin Guptill had only faced 11 balls when McCullum fell, but he and Ross Taylor steadily rebuilt the innings until one of Taylor’s bad habits surfaced at the worst time. He played the ball square, there was hesitation, from both batsmen, over the single and Guptill just kept running to the dressing room. Taylor flung his head in the air.

There was no reprieve for Taylor, either, as he tickled a catch down the leg side off Duminy and at 149 for 4 the semi-final was starting to look New Zealand’s glass-ceiling for the seventh time. However, Elliott and Anderson did not panic. They picked off loose deliveries, regularly making use of the short straight boundaries.

Anderson’s let-off came, but it was still far from a comfortable ask even if the mood was changing. The first two overs of the batting Powerplay brought just 11, then Morkel went for 12, including a six over deep square by Elliott, and the same tally came off Imran Tahir who had bowled superbly to help quell the early charge. De Villiers felt he had to bowl himself and it would not have been beyond him to win the match. With each wicket, New Zealand responded. It was the counter punching of two outstanding cricket teams with their eye on the ultimate prize.

The question will be asked if South Africa came out on the wrong side of the Duckworth-Lewis calculations after their innings was interrupted with de Villiers in full flow and Faf du Plessis set for a hundred in the 38th over. On resumption they plundered 65 in five overs, mainly due to David Miller’s 18-ball 49 as de Villiers lost the strike, but the adjusted 298 in 43 did feel less daunting than the 360 in 50 that could have been on the cards. All speculation, though.

That South Africa could not cut loose until the 30th over was credit to New Zealand’s bowlers, led by the outstanding Trent Boult who took two early scalps to make himself New Zealand’s leading wicket-taker at a World Cup with 21 victims ahead of Geoff Allott’s 20 in 1999. However, for the first time in the tournament fielding let them down as four chances, albeit two tough ones, were missed.

Key to the reconnaissance was du Plessis. Worked over early on by Boult and the brisk Matt Henry, who was called-up at the last minute to replace Adam Milne, du Plessis soaked up the pressure rather than succumb to it. He had been desperate for another knockout contest against New Zealand after the heated quarter-final four years ago which ended with South Africa on the losing side. By a fluke of results he got his wish but in the end there was no redemption.

Courtesy: Andrew McGlashan is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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GOSL announces Dual Citizenship will re-commence from 23 March 2015

Posted on 23 March 2015 by admin

23 March 2015, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Dual Citizenship was temporarily suspended in 2011. With the advent of the new government, the question of re-introducing dual citizenship has been a work in progress and finally the Government of Sri Lanka announced today that Dual Citizenship applications will be entertained again as of this day. The announcement was made by the Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management and Christian Affairs John Amaratunga. The new administrative procedure for the granting of dual citizenship will be introduced from today.

The granting of Dual Citizenship has been reintroduced following a Cabinet decision to grant the Dual Citizenship which had been temporarily suspended during the end of 2011. Earlier, Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Public Peace, Disaster Management and Christian Religious Affairs, Chulananda Perera, last Wednesday (18) said that the government has decided to declare the six-point criteria required to qualify for dual citizenship.

Accordingly, among the requirements to qualify in order to obtain dual citizenship, a person should possess professional or educational qualifications and own immovable property worth Rs 2.5 million or more in Sri Lanka. In addition, an individual who has maintained a deposit of Rs 2.5 million at a bank approved by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) can also apply for dual citizenship in this country. Also, a person who has the ability to open with any Commercial Bank approved by the CBSL, a Non Resident Foreign Currency Account or a Resident Foreign Currency Account for US$ 25,000 or more for a period of three years is also eligible to apply for dual citizenship. Another criterion is being over 55 years of age. Perera further said anyone who fulfills any one of the above qualifications will be able to apply for dual citizenship in this country. The husband or wife of the person who qualifies for dual citizenship under the new criteria and unmarried children under the age of 22 years of age will also be eligible for dual citizenship.

Formerly the process was to grant a five year Permanent Residency Visa and thereafter grant the Dual Citizenship but upon request from expatriate Sri Lankans from the President, the government has decided to grant the Dual Citizenship straightaway. According to reports, the new process of granting Dual Citizenship involves two steps. At the first step the applications are received through the respective diplomatic missions with the authentication of the High Commissioner or Ambassadors of the local missions abroad while the eligibility of the applicant should be certified by the envoys.

A Cabinet approval special committee will look into the suitability of the applicants and will also check into the authenticity of the certificates or documents produced by the applicants. Based on the suitability and authenticity of the documents together with the Head of Mission’s recommendation the committee will proceed to the second stage. The second stage involves the applicants facing an interview with the committee and based upon the findings of this process the committee will recommend the applicant’s eligibility and forward it to the President for his approval. Through this process successful applicants will be granted Dual Nationality straight away.

 

Extract from Department of Immigration and Emigration Sri Lanka

Dual Citizenship

Dual Citizenship is applicable to;

A person whose citizenship of Sri Lanka has ceased under sections 19, 20 or 21 of the Citizenship Act No. 18 of 1948 or a person whose citizenship of Sri Lanka is likely to cease.

1. Resumption – Section 19(2) of the said Act makes provisions in respect of a person whose citizenship of Sri Lanka has ceased due to obtaining of citizenship in another country and who there after desires to resume the status of a citizen of Sri Lanka.

Or 2. Retention – Section 19(3) of the said Act makes provisions in respect of a person who is having a desire to obtain citizenship in another country, while intends to retain the citizenship of Sri Lanka. Click to download Application Instructions to fill the application. To be completed in “BLOCK CAPITALS” . Delete inapplicable word or words wherever * appears in the application. Please mention “ Not relevant” if a particular information is not applicable. Each member of the family has to submit a separate application along with 3 passport size colour photographs. Affix one of those photographs in the top right hand corner of the first page of the application.

Any applicant who belongs to one of the categories mentioned in section 1 of the application (A to G) can apply for dual citizenship. Please mark (√ ) in the relevant cage. The statement in the application should be supported by an affidavit (page 6) made by the applicant before a justice of the peace or a Commissioner of Oaths. Documents required for the Dual Citizenship. Applicant’s original Birth Certificate or a certified copy of it. (If the applicant is a citizen of Sri Lanka by registration, the relevant certificate or a copy of it) If the applicant is married, the marriage certificate or a certified copy of it.

An applicant submitting application for Resumption under section 19(2) (A person whose Sri Lankan Citizenship ceased due to obtaining of citizenship in another country) should submit following documents, (a) Certified copy of Foreign Citizenship Certificate. (b) Certified copy of Bio data page and the observation page of the Foreign Passport. (c) A recent Police clearance report from the country of foreign citizenship not older than 3 months in English or an English Translation of the original. (d) Certified copy of Bio data page and the observation page of the previous Sri Lankan passport (if available) Or An applicant submitting application for Retention under section 19(3) (A person who is having desire to obtain citizenship in another country, while intends to retain the citizenship of Sri Lanka.) should submit following documents, (a) Certified copy of Bio data page and the observation page of the current Sri Lankan passport. (b) Certified copy of permanent residence visa. (c) A recent Police clearance report from the country of permanent residence not older than 3 months in English or an English Translation of the original.

If applying under age category (1.A) original birth certificate or certified copy of it. If applying under Professional category (1.B) applicant’s original Educational / Professional certificates or a certified copy of it. (minimum one year diploma or higher, or any other professional qualification) If applying under Assets / Properties category (1.C) original of the documentary proof of applicant’s assets such as; lands or other immovable properties in Sri Lanka worth of Rs. 2.5 million or above and or a certified copy. Deed, valuation report & title reports for the same should be also submitted, along with above supporting documents. If applying under Fixed deposit of Rs. 2.5 million or above – category (1.D) a confirmation letter from the bank mentioning deposit will not be withdrawn within a period of 3 year. If applying under Fixed deposit of USD 25,000 or above – category (1.E) a confirmation letter from the bank mentioning deposit will not be withdrawn within a period of 3 year.

If applying under Treasury Bond (TB) or Security Investment Account (SIA) valued of USD 25,000 for minimum 3 years period – category (1.F) a certificate from the relevant Authority conforming the investment will not be withdrawn prior to maturity. If applying under the spouse of the applicant or an unmarried child under the age of 22 of the applicant – category (1.G) a certified copy of marriage certificate (For Spouse) or a certified copy of birth certificate (For unmarried child – born in Sri Lanka) or a copy of Citizenship certificate issued under section 5(2) of the Citizenship Act No. 18 of 1948 (For unmarried child – born outside the Sri Lanka). A spouse or children eligible under this category shall be limited to a person whose citizenship of Sri Lanka has ceased under section 19, 20 or 21 of the Citizenship Act No. 18 of 1948 or a person whose Sri Lankan citizenship is likely to cease.

Submission of applications

The duly perfected application should be sent directly to the Controller General of Immigration & Emigration or to the Sri Lanka Overseas Mission. The application submitted through Sri Lanka Overseas Mission should be sent together with the certificates specified in paragraph (03) above which should be authenticated by the Head of the Sri Lanka Diplomatic mission or a Senior officer in the rank of Third Secretary or above in the country in which the applicant has acquired citizenship / Permanent residence. The application can also be handed over to the Head Office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

The application and the documents so submitted should be authenticated by Deputy or Assistant Controller of the Citizenship Division. Department Address: The Controller General, Department of Immigration and Emigration, Citizenship Division, 41, Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka.

Email : accit@immigration.gov.lk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Dual Citizenship

  • Fee Main applicant Rs. 250,000.00
  • Spouse of applicant Rs. 50,000 .00
  • Unmarried child below 22 years Rs. 50,000 .00

The relevant fee will be charged from the applicant after obtaining the approval of the Minister. The Department will notify the applicant to make the payment.

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11 more Cabinet Ministers appointed trending towards a UNP/SLFP coalition

Posted on 23 March 2015 by admin

22 March 2015, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Eleven more Cabinet Ministers, five State Ministers and ten Deputy Ministers were sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat. Following an unprecedented turn of events , for the first time in the history of Sri Lanka (SL) the two main political parties , the UNP and SLFP formed a national government yesterday with ministerial portfolios shared between them. The SLFP secured 11 new ministers , 10 deputy ministers and 5 State ministers (total of 26) , and these ministers were sworn in before the president Maithripala Sirisena :

Cabinet Ministers

1. A.H.M.Fousie Minister of Disaster Management

2. S.B.Nawinna Minister of Labour

3. Piyasena Gamage Minister of Skill Development and Vocational Training

4. Dr. Sarath Amunugama Minister of Higher Education and Research

5. S.B.Dissanayake Minister of Rural Economic Affairs

6. Janaka Bandara Thennakoon Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Development

7. Felix Perera Minister of Special Projects

8. Mahainda Yapa Abewardene Minister of Parliamentary Affairs

9. Reginald Cooray Minister of Aviation Services

10. Vijith Wijeyamuni Soysa Minister of Irrigation

11. Mahinda Amaraweera Minister of Fisheries

State Ministers

1.Pavitradevi Wanniarachchi State Minister of Environment

2.Jeewan Kumaratunga State Minister of Labour

3.Mahinda Samarasinghe State Minister of Finance

4.C.B.Ratanayake State Minister of Public Administration and Democratic Rule

5.Dilan Perera State Minister of Housing and Samurdhi .

Deputy Ministers

1. Tissa Karaliyedda Deputy Minister of Buddha Sasana and Democratic Rule

2. DayashrithaTissera Deputy Minister of Fisheries

3. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya Deputy Minister of Home Affairs

4. Laxman Seneviratne Deputy Minister of Disaster Management

5. Laxman Yapa Abewardene Deputy Minister of Aviation Services

6. Lalith Dissayanake Deputy Minister of Irrigation

7. Jagath Pushpakumara Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries

8. Lasantha Alagiyawanna Deputy Minister of Rural Economic Affairs

9. Sudarshani Fernandopulle Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Research

10. Shantha Bandara Deputy Minister of Media.

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Veterans appointed to charter tourism

Posted on 23 March 2015 by admin

The board of directors appointed by Tourism and Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake as per Tourism Act consists of the President of SLITO Mahen Kariyawasam who is Consul General for Belgium, industry stalwart Vasantha Leelananda the Executive Vice President John Keells Holdings – Destination Management sector, respected hotelier and former PATA chairperson Amal Goonetilleke the Regional Director Marketing and Sales Taj Hotels- Sri Lanka and Maldives, renowned businessman Asoka Hettigoda the Managing Director of Siddhalepa Group, business personality Angeline Ondaatjie joint MD of Tangerine Hotel Group Ltd, renowned businessman Devendra Senaratne-SLAITO Vice President, Kapila Jayasekera the Additional Secretary Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Milanka Gajanayake the Managing Director of SLTPB and Malraj Kiriella the Director General SLTDA.

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Freedom to speak and hold to account is basis of good governance – JEHAN PERERA

Posted on 23 March 2015 by admin

Public criticism of the government has been growing. The opposition’s criticism is to be expected. With general elections around the corner it is in the opposition’s interests to look for opportunities to find fault with the government. However, it is not only the opposition that is criticizing the government. There is public criticism even by those who supported the government to win the election that brought it to power. One of the major issues at the presidential election was that of corruption and abuse of power. This was the issue on which the unity of the former government split when the presidential elections were called.

Most of the criticism has been on account of the government’s failure to take action against those from the former government who stand accused of corruption and abuse of power during their term in office. Those alleged to be amongst the worst offenders continue to be free, along with all others, even though some of them have been taken in for police questioning. But now a new factor has entered to make the criticism more serious. The issue of insider trading in the sale of government bonds by the Central Bank at huge profit to the beneficiaries and at an equivalent loss to the government has damaged the government’s credibility. Ironically, it has also led to opposition politicians who are accused of corruption and abuse of power leading public protests against those implicated in the deal.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe made a long statement in Parliament defending his choice of Governor of the Central Bank, and pointing out the greater misdeeds of the previous government. However, he has also ensured that the Governor goes on leave of absence while an investigation into the bonds issue takes place. The contrast with the way in which issues of corruption and abuse of power were dealt with under the former government is instructive. During the ten year period of the former government, and especially in its latter phase, the corruption scandals that were hinted and whispered about were legion. But there was no public outcry.

The Central Bank under the former Governor was widely criticized for adjusting figures and for making unusual payments to foreign advertising companies. But nothing happened and the previous Governor continued as if the dogs were barking but the caravan moved on. The lack of public outcry was because critics of the government were fearful of their safety. The officials and ministers of the previous government could continue doing what they did because there was impunity. This situation has changed dramatically since the presidential election.

FEAR GONE

The public outcry over the government bond issue and its repercussion on the government are indications of how much has changed since the government changed. The thrall of fear that silenced the public outcry against corruption and abuse of power in the former government no longer exists. People are no longer in fear of the government and the white vans that could make opponents of the government go missing. Although the new government may be unable to implement all the promises in its 100 days plan it has succeeded in changing the threat perception in society. It was not so long ago that even in Rotary Club meetings attended by high level business persons, participants made critical comments about what was transpiring in the economy and also said that they were concerned about being quoted.

The lifting of the thrall of fear is most evident in the North and East of the country where the return to normalcy is most pronounced. Participants at a workshop in Batticaloa over the weekend that brought together religious clergy from all faiths along with lay persons who formed inter-religious committees in the Batticaloa and Ampara districts and local level media persons who came to publicise their work, said that they felt no fear of attending as they had in the past. The organizers noted that they had a record participation at the workshop. They had invited 25 persons and all 25 attended. This was unlike in the past when it was difficult to obtain such participation.

When I asked the participants at the workshop what had brought them there, the response was that they wished to know more of what was happening in the country. There is a feeling among civil society in Batticaloa, and quite possibly elsewhere in the country, that they do not get all the news and information about developments in the centres of power that determine their lives. This indicates that the government has to try harder to fill in the lacuna and make it a point to keep the people informed about what it is planning to do and what it has done. It is not enough for the government to pass new laws and to make macro level policy decisions, and to expect civil society or the media to do educational work.

The government has pledged to set up effective systems to deal with the rot of corruption. Key to this would be to set up an independent public service, police and judiciary. They would underpin the workings of other institutions such as the Bribery Commission to take those who are accused of corruption to task. This new system will become a reality along with the passage of the 19th Amendment. Until then it is going to be difficult for the new government to take action against those who are accused of wrongdoings. Government members themselves have to constantly educate and create awareness amongst the people, including the people of the North and East, about what their government is doing. The government must take the people along with it on the journey to development and national reconciliation.

FOUNDATIONAL RIGHTS

Prior to the change of government, an event such as the one in Batticaloa would have been subjected to multi-pronged security operations on the rationale that national security was more important than everything else. In the past there would have been plainclothes intelligence personnel sitting in uninvited, there would be others who would ask for the participants list and there might even be armed security personnel in full uniform coming in repeatedly to check on what was happening.

At the workshop in Batticaloa, the opinion expressed was that the government was no longer seen as an oppressive force, but rather in its traditional role as a problem solver that needed to do more to solve the people’s problems. It appears to be still the case that most people in Sri Lanka, whether in the North and East or rest of the country, still continue to see the government as the agency to develop the country and to ease the burdens of their lives. As the government cannot possibly do this by itself, there needs to be a greater devolution of power and strengthening of the provincial tier of government.

The freedom to live without fear, to meet without restrictions, and to speak without being subject to retaliation are the most basic of human rights and the foundations of good governance. If these foundational rights exist in society, good governance is bound to come sooner rather than later. The criticism of the government that came to power on a platform of good governance, but now is itself being found fault with for permitting corruption and abuse of power so early in its term is a sign that civil society is empowered. Corruption and abuse of power is deep rooted in society and in governmental structures. It will take time to root out. But the freedom for citizens to agitate without fear against those social and political ills now exists and the credit goes to the new government.

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Raonic Upsets Nadal In Indian Wells

Posted on 20 March 2015 by admin

Milos Raonic scored an upset of epic proportions with his first win over Rafael Nadal Friday at the BNP Paribas Open. The Canadian beat the third seed 4-6, 7-6(10), 7-5 to advance to a semi-final meeting with Roger Federer.

The Spaniard had entered the match with a perfect record against Canadians, including a 5-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Raonic.

World No. 6 Raonic was broken for the first time this tournament as the three-time champion took a 2-1 lead in the first set. Nadal went on to win the first set in 36 minutes. The Canadian saved three match points in the second-set tie-break to force a third set.

Raonic finally earned a crucial break in the third set to go up 6-5 and a chance to serve out the match.He went on to clinch the victory in just under three hours.

The Swiss leads his record against Raonic 8-1.

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Police remind citizens not to fall victim to the ‘Emergency’ Scam

Posted on 19 March 2015 by admin

Be wary of, “Grandma, it’s me…I need help…please don’t tell anyone”.

ORILLIA, ON, March 19, 2015 /CNW/ – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding citizens that emergency scams target vulnerable persons and seniors by playing upon their emotions and rob them of their money.

Each year, emergency scam artists contact thousands of citizens and many people get scammed in their rush to help. Many victims are hesitant to say ‘no’ or to hang up on someone on the phone, which makes them easy targets for criminals to access substantial sums of money.

In 2014, five (5) per cent of all complaints received by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre were victims of the “Emergency Scam” — sometimes referred to as the “Grandparent Scam”. Of those 1,977 complaints, 737 people were identified as victims who reported a total loss of more than $2.4 million.

In the typical emergency scam, the victim will receive a frantic phone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild or loved one. The caller will explain that they are involved in some sort of mishap or are having trouble returning from a foreign country and need money right away.

Scammers know how to gather your personal information for criminal means. They use phony social media accounts to find real names, real interests, real phone numbers and when you are going to be home or away. They’ll even call in the middle of the night to take advantage of the confusion caused by awaking suddenly with the expectation its bad news at that hour. Most of all, they rely upon the victim’s desire to help their loved ones, whatever the cost.

Be aware of some warning signs:

Urgency– The scammer always makes the request sound very urgent, which may cause the victim to not verify the story.

Fear– The scammer plays on the victim’s emotions by generating a sense of fear. For instance they may say, “I am scared and I need help from you.”

Secrecy– The scammer pleads with the victim not to tell anyone about the situation, such as, “Please don’t tell Dad, he would be so mad.”

Request for Money Transfer– Money is usually requested to be sent by a money transfer company such as Money Gram, Western Union or even through your own bank institution.
To avoid becoming a victim, police advise you to first check with another family member or trusted friend to verify the information BEFORE sending money or providing credit card information by phone or e-mail. It is vitally important that the incident be reported every time it occurs, to allow police to investigate and prevent others from becoming victims.

If you or someone you know may have been the victim of an ’emergency’ scam, contact your local police service or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

FRAUD…Recognize it…Report it…Stop it.

QUOTES

“All consumers, regardless of age and gender, can take basic steps to protect themselves from becoming victims of fraud, such as never giving out personal information over the phone, the internet or social media. Remember, if it is too good to be true…it probably is.”

– Deputy Commissioner Scott TOD, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime Command.

“Knowledge is power. The key to prevent becoming a victim of fraud is to know the warning signs and share your knowledge with the people you care about. We encourage you to join the conversation on social media using #stopfraud #fraudprevention and #dontbeavictim .”

Detective Inspector Mike BICKERTON, OPP Anti-Rackets Branch

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