Daily Archives: July 6, 2006
Microsoft Sri Lanka, kicked–off its first ever security workshop enabling participants to learn how Microsoft is taking action against the growing wave of cyber criminal attacks and its deep-rooted commitment and consistency to secure IT systems worldwide.
The Microsoft Security Workshop is an Asia wide initiative and makes its way to Sri Lanka after such events in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Participants of the event, got a never-before chance to learn about key trends in the security industry, discover how best to prepare for advances in security technologies and to find out what Microsoft is doing to help its customers address risk while still taking advantage of the connected world.
The event featured security stalwarts and some of the best speakers on security like Steve Riley, Senior Program Manager Microsoft Corporation Security Unit, Mathew Hardman, ISV Developer Evangelist and Jacqueline Peterson-Jarvis, Senior Manager – Security Lead Microsoft Asia Pacific.
Commenting on this initiative Microsoft Sri Lanka EGP Lead Channa de Silva said, " At Microsoft, we are serious about helping corporates and IT professionals address their ongoing security challenges. Success with Trustworthy Computing (TWC) is not an easy task. It may take years – perhaps a decade or more before customers trust technology and software as much as they trust utilities such as the telephone. The TWC initiative is a long-term undertaking that impacts virtually every aspect of Microsoft and it is predicated on four key focus areas: Security, privacy, reliability and business integrity. The high demand and overwhelming response from the IT and corporate community in Sri Lanka is reassuring and we hope to bring many such international events to our country."
Held at the Trans Asia Hotel, Colombo, the sessions ranged from generic topics like microsoft security, to the more targeted IT professional sessions on Server and Domain security and Security Policies to sessions for developers on security best practices for managed code. The workshop saw over 400 attendees consisting of CEOs, CIOs, auditors, policy administrators, security administrators, security managers, network managers and desktop and server administrators.
The opening session on Microsoft Security: Progress and Strategy was addressed by Jacqueline Peterson Jarvis. Backed by over 10 years of industry experience working for Microsoft, Jacqueline has been working with customers and partners all over Asia, educating them on the progress Microsoft is making in the world of security.
She gave a keen insight on the complexities of Trustworthy Computing and what Microsoft has done so far in direct response to customer inputs and shared with participants the future directions and plans that Microsoft has to address the ongoing Trustworthy Computing challenge. -Island
Writing about the failure to appoint a Constitutional Council and the action of President Rajapakse appointing some Commissions based perhaps on the doctrine of necessity, some contributors to the Press have raised the question of credibility of the Sri Lanka government in the eyes of the international community. This indeed could be a valid principle to abide by and we Sri Lankans have been moulded to think on the lines of the "highfalutin" codes of conduct and principles enunciated by the British Colonial masters and the supposedly democratic Western traditions of the world which the proponents themselves have long since deviated from or conveniently forgotten for their advantage.
The question therefore is whether the President’s action can have a deleterious effect on those ‘worthies’ and their followers who are now prone to practising the codes in the breach. Sometimes, an apparent violation of the Constitution by the Sri Lankan President can be small change in comparison to the blatant violations and disregard for domestic and international laws and codes which by reason of super power status or the doctrine of necessity or the doctrine of "unitary executive" as interpreted by them which are more often than not, acceptable to the ‘civilised’ world, particularly to governments, organisations and individuals who consider that might is right. President Rajapakse takes up the position that he has taken legal advice. He enjoys the immunity prescribed in the Constitution. Various people have suggested diverse solutions but the President has stood by his decision and taken certain other measures with a view to finding a lasting solution. Yet, does this impasse mean that the credibility of the Sri Lankan government would be adversely affected? It would certainly be interesting to delve into this issue in a more objective way in order to satisfy ourselves how the international community reacts to such matters and how they themselves have shown us the way in dealing with such situations.
The Local Scenario
The CFA was signed by Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had assumed almost personal responsibility for it exercising a power he did not have, not even consulting the Executive President at the time nor his own Cabinet… We are reminded of the assurance given by Mr. W. J. M. Lokubandara, who assured from the government front benches that any such agreement would be presented to Parliament prior to signing. He himself was blissfully unaware that nothing of the sort would happen. Was that action on the part of the then Prime Minister constitutional or unconstitutional? Were certain provisions themselves legal or illegal? Eminent legal personalities have given their considered views that it is illegal. We shall leave it to those who now, perhaps rightfully, raise this question of constitutionality of President Rajapakse’s appointments and the credibility of his government to answer.
The legal system says people should not sleep over their rights. Nevertheless, there were no walks from Dondra to Colombo, no demonstrations at the Lipton Circus or the Fort Railway Station. They were made to believe that peace had dawned at last and action was taken to remove barricades, open the A9 highway, and confine the movement of the armed forces in the past.
The point that has to be made is that the international community is not unaware (they are not stupid) that the CFA was, in fact, unconstitutional. There are no signs of Sri Lanka losing its credibility on account of the unconstitutional and illegal CFA.
Norway has used its diplomatic privilege to supply communication equipment and other items to the LTTE (with perhaps subtle agreement with the then government). Thirty one countries, including the USA have banned the LTTE, but Norway openly continues to pamper the LTTE. The whole world is concerned about Al Qaeda and Hamas is not given a ghost of a chance to prove their intentions despite coming into the political mainstream, while the international community has great confidence in the LTTE for a political solution. Neither Norway nor the USA nor Israel has lost its credibility. The USA and Britain invaded Iraq on palpably false basis of WMDs and have wreaked chaos on that country. They did this without the sanctions of the UN. Have they lost their credibility? On the contrary, the USA continues to threaten North Korea and Iran and oil prices have shot up bringing many an economy to near ruin. The international community watches with impotent disbelief but would neither break ranks with these violators of decency and international law or constitutions of their own. So, what seems to be the great desire on the part of some to nail one and not the other in the local political scenario and talk of a potential question of credibility in the context of breaches they and the international community have long since condoned elsewhere and in Sri Lanka? Why has Tony Blair lost his credibility among his own people? Aren’t his abuse of power and arbitrary decisions etc some of the reasons?
The George Bush Saga
Those who speak of the government losing credibility should read and re-read an Article which appeared in The Island of 21st June 2006 under the caption "America’s problem is again a usurping king called George" Yes, indeed the emphasis is on the word " and the name George refers to George Bush. The Article quotes journalist Charlie Savage of the Boston Globe who had reported that over the past five years: "President George Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws that have been enacted by the United States Congress since he took office. At the heart of Bush’s strategy is the claim that the president has the power to set aside any statute that conflicts with his own interpretation of the constitution. Remarkably, this systematic reach for power has occurred not in secret but in public." He challenges anyone to visit the White House website to satisfy himself. Any takers in Sri Lanka? He adds, "Bush asserts that his power as the nation’s commander in chief entitles him to overrule or ignore bills sent to him by Congress for his signature. Behind this claim is a doctrine of the "unitary executive" which argues that the president’s oath of office endows him with an independent authority to decide what a law means." President Rajapakse’s action in appointing some Commissions under the doctrine of necessity pales into insignificance in this little isle considering the goings on in this cradle (shared by UK) of democracy. President Rajapakse is also an Executive President of a unitary State.
The Article elaborates how the overwhelmingly supported congressional bill last year outlawing the torture of detainees was undermined by Bush in his signing statement of December 30th by asserting that "the executive branch shall construe (the law) in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the president `85 as commander in chief." The Article adds for good measure, "To their credit, even some Bush supporters are alarmed. If Bill Clinton had done what Bush is doing," the Republican senator Chuck Hagel has pointed out, "Congress would be up in arms if Bush were to bequeath the powers he claims to Hilary Clinton, the right would soon go berserk with indignation at the threat to American values." Substitute the names of Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapakse where appropriate and think of Sri Lankan values instead of American and you will get an identical scenario here. As the writer has been consistently asserting, the doctrine of necessity has to be justified and be made justiciable. If not, the warning reportedly given by Grover Norquist would be equally applicable to Ranil W, President Rajapakse and successors: "If you interpret the constitution’s (sic) saying that the president is commander in chief to mean that the president can do anything he wants and can ignore the laws, you don’t have a constitution: you have a king." Reminiscences of the J.R. Jayewardene era, when he thought he could do anything except making a man a woman and vice versa. The country is limping and staggering with his ‘Magna Carta’ (the 1978 Constitution)!
The CFA was signed by Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had assumed almost personal responsibility for it exercising a power he did not have, not even consulting the Executive President at the time nor his own Cabinet… We are reminded of the assurance given by Mr. W. J. M. Lokubandara, who assured from the government front benches that any such agreement would be presented to Parliament prior to signing. He himself was blissfully unaware that nothing of the sort would happen. Was that action on the part of the then Prime Minister constitutional or unconstitutional? -Island
The UNP yesterday said it would extend its support to the 18th Amendment only after President Mahinda Rajapakse appoints the Constitutional Council.
Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera, in a statement, said that as a matter of policy the UNP was in agreement on the 18th Amendment. However, the party wanted some amendments to the draft.
"Under the 18th Amendment, the President could appoint several judges to the Court of Appeal. But the 17th Amendment states that such appointments could be made only on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council. The President has so far failed to appoint the Constitutional Council but has made appointments to certain commissions according to his wish thus violating the Constitution and against all democratic practices.
In the event of the 18th amendment being established without the Constitutional Council, the appointment of Judges to the Court of Appeal, too, would be made in a similar manner as done earlier and the UNP is opposed to such political appointments that would corrupt democratic organizations," the statement said. -Island
94.7 WAVE artist and # 1 contemporary pianist Freddie Ravel, Eric Marienthal on sax and Hussain Jiffry (bassist from Yanni) will fuse contemporary Jazz with tunes such as the Bee Gees’ Emotion, Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind and Freddie Ravel #1 smash hit Sunny Side Up.
Sitar vituoso Pradeep Ratnayake will be performing at the home of the L.A. Philarmonic, Walt Disney Hall. Pradeep performed to the thrill of audiences in Montreal, New York, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles in 2005. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Sri Lanka Foundation tsunami victim housing project.
Pradeep has been hailed as a logical successor to Ravi Shankar. His performance last September at the Kennedy Center was a tremendous success.
The concert is a fundraiser that will allow the foundation to build another set of houses. In 2005 under the supervision of director Palitha Pelpola the foundation built 20 houses in Siribopura.
Walt Disney Concert Hall – Downtown Los Angeles
Please pass this all your friends in the U.S. and elsewhere.
If you need tickets please contact Rashantha at 213.747.1385 for groups of 6 or more.
TICKETS START AT $20.00
DON’T MISS THIS CONCERT!
e-Sri Lanka Development Project
The Cabinet has granted approval to a Memorandum submitted by H.E. the President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the Engineering Government Program of e-Sri Lanka Development Project. The Government has mandated the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) to implement the e-Sri Lanka Development Project. It is a donor assisted multi-faceted project for the promotion of the use of Information and Communication Technology in the public and private sectors and civil society in Sri Lanka.
The Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) of the Export-Import Bank of the Republic of Korea has agreed to provide a loan equivalent to US $ 15 million to fund the establishment. The Lanka Government Network will link up all Government establishment island-wide, as well as overseas, in a phased manner.
Water Treatment Facilities for Tsunami Resettlements
T he Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by H.E. the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the Minister of Finance and Planning, on the Spanish Government’s assistance for construction of water treatment facilities for Tsunami resettlements. The Spanish Government has extended a concessionary Credit Facility of Euro 50 million to finance reconstruction and rehabilitation needs of the Tsunami affected countries.
Japanese assistance to build Sigiriya Museum
The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by Cultural Affairs and National Heritage Minister Hon. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana to construct a museum at Sigiriya. Japan has accepted the plan and granted an aid of Rs.220.5 million. Mr.P.A.S. Pathiraja will be the Project Manager of the museum. He is a retired SLAS officer who had held various posts including the Additional Secretary of Finance Ministry.
Construction of bridges in the East
The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by H.E. the President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the Spanish assistance for construction of bridges in the Eastern Province damaged by Tsunami. Accordingly, Irrakakandi, Puduvakattu, Yan Oya and Oddamavadi bridges will be constructed. The Road Development Authority will undertake the construction work.
Establishment of a Textile Training Institute
The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by Textile Industry Development Minister Hon. Jayatissa Ranaweera on the establishment of a National Level Training Institute by merging the present Textile Training and Services Centre and the Clothing Industry Training Institute. This Institute will provide training, technical services, consultancy to assist the development and sustainability of the Textile and Apparel Industry in Sri Lanka. It will also offer internationally recognised Degree, Diploma and Certificate courses.
Sil Matha Educational Institute in the South
The Cabinet has granted its approval to establish the Dakshina Lanka Sil Matha Educational Institute at Mulatiyana in Matara District. H.E. the President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his Memorandum submitted to the Cabinet sought the approval to appoint an Advisory Committee with ten members under the Chairmanship of the Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs for the development of the institution, its administration and educational activities.
Ordination of Children
The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by H.E. the President on the initiating a program to foster an implement the project with regard to the ordination of children for the future well being of the Samma Sambuddha Sasana during the Sambuddha Jayanthi year 2550. The President said that the Most. Ven. Mahanyake Theros of the three Chapters have stressed the importance of establishing a Sangha Order with high discipline and education during the year.
Ayurvedic Centres at Govt. institutions
T he Cabinet has granted approval to a Memorandum submitted by Indigenous Medicine Minister Hon. Tissa Karalliyedda to establish new Ayurvedic Medical Centres in all State Corporations, Statutory Boards and Authorities and also in the Medical Centres where Alopathic Medicine is already being practiced.
Subsidiary Company to manage rest houses.
The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by Urban Development and Water Supply Minister Hon. Dinesh Gunawardene on the incorporation of a subsidiary company by the name of UDA Rest Houses Pvt. Ltd. to manage, operate and control rest houses, circuit bungalows, parks and other recreational facilities presently managed by the Urban Development Authority. The Cabinet also granted approval to prepare an attractive compensation package to existing staff who are not willing to join in the company.
-Department of Government Information