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CID to interrogate local drug kingpin caught in India

May 18 (LB) A team of officials from the Criminal Investigation Department will leave for India to interrogate notorious Sri Lankan drug kingpin, Sinniah Gunasekeran alias Kimbula-ela Guna, who was arrested by the Drugs Control Unit of the Indian Police in Chennai, South India. Guna, who is suspected to have close links with the LTTE, fled Sri Lanka when the local police were on the lookout for him over his involvement in a series of crimes including more..

North India, South India and ancient Sri Lanka

May 18 (LG) Sri Lanka had links with North India as well as South India during its ancient and medieval periods. Settlers migrated into Sri Lanka from the north west and north east of India as well as from the Indus valley region, now in Pakistan. The Sinhala language shows an affinity with both eastern and western Indo-Aryan languages. This supports the view that there were migrations from north east and north west of ancient India. more..

A critical view on the Pattini cult of Sri Lanka

May 18 (LG) Godess Pattini is a shrine for the Sri Lankans, as well as the devotees of Tamil Nadu. As Sri Lankans we are proud to state that we had worshipped Godess Pattini since the illustrious days of King Ravana, who was the villain of the Ramayanaya epic. According to "Ravana Katha" an Ola manuscript of the Poth Gula of Nilgalla Walauwa, Sabaragamuwa king Rawana went to the Maha Pattini Devalaya of Matula Janapadaya and prayed for the blessings of Paththini Amma, and more..

The Ritualistic Dances of the Veddhas

May 17 (LG) The plebeian needs of primitive man, meaning the needs for emotional experience of the super world and for emergency aid in external and internal distress, needs which arise out of the recurrent crises in life were satisfied by two types of possible soteriology; magic or that of saviour. In ancient pre Vedic Indian civilization, primitive man believed that all the dead are in the spirit world and abode in huge trees or green groves. more..

Theravada - Mahayana Buddhism

May 18 (LG) Let us discuss a question often asked by many people: What is the difference between Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism? To see things in their proper perspective, let us turn to the history of Buddhism and trace the emergence and development of Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism. The Buddha was born in the 6th Century B.C. After attaining Enlightenment at the age of 35 until his Mahaparinibbana at the age of 80, he spent his life preaching and teaching. more..

Shutdown in Kathankudy in support of Hizbullah

May 18 (MG) Muslims in Kathankudi on Saturday (17.05.2008) observed a protest shut down against the decision by the Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapaksa in appointing the chief minister for the Eastern Province. Shops were shut down and remained closed expressing support for M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, the Muslim candidate for the Chief Minister portfolio, despite requests to keep the shops open by Police. more..

Mendis joins Kolkata Knight Riders

May 18 (CI) The Kolkata Knight Riders have signed Ajantha Mendis, the Sri Lankan slow bowler, on a three-year deal. Mendis, who shot into prominence in the ODI series against West Indies with his unusual action and crafty variations, flew into Kolkata yesterday. The agency which manages Mendis' affairs was certain that their client will be able to deliver the goods. "Kolkata is a place where the pitches are generally slow and receptive to spin and more..

Restored ‘Gamperaliya’ honoured in Cannes

May 18 (LG) Dr. Lester James Peiries' masterpiece 'Gamperaliya' has been restored and will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival under section 'Restored Classics' today, Sunday May 18. In a rare opportunity, the film is the first to be restored to its full 'original magnificence' with the latest digital technology. In an unbreakable record 'Gamperaliya' is the fifth of Lester's films that is screened at the world's most prestigious Cannes Film Festival. more..

Marxism and ethnocentric nationalism

May 18 (FI) The recent split in the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-People’s Liberation Front has revealed the contradictions within the party as well as between ideologies and realpolitik. Besides the clash of personalities between Wimal Weerawansa, the party’s high profile propaganda secretary cum parliamentary group leader and Somawansa Amarasinghe the senior politburo leader, there are other reasons for the rift. more..

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Split

May 18 (FI) The radical, Sinhalese nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna has split, the real reasons for which are not yet clear. Among the various possible reasons are the mainstream jvp’s unease with a breakaway faction’s Sinhalese-Buddhist nationalist project and the collision of the Sinhalese nationalist and class struggle lines within the party. It is also a dispute about coalition strategies that has spilled on to the domain of personal relations. more..

Pillaiyan, Hizbullah, Keerthi and The Eastern Provincial Council

May 18 (TC) The Rajapakse regime registered a remarkable achievement on Friday May 16th when Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias “Pillaiyan” took his oaths at President’s house before President Mahinda Rajapakse as chief minister of the Eastern provincial council. The Rajapakse regime deeply influenced by Sinhala hawkish elements has pursued an intergrated politico-military strategy towards the Eastern province that has an ethnically mixed population. more..

The murder of “Small Parrot” Maheswari at “Mongoose-Geko” Lane

May 18 (TC) The time was about 7.45 - 7.50 pm.on Tuesday May 13th. Four young men on two cycles were traveling along the intricate labyrinth of inter-connected “Olungaigal” (by-lanes) of Karaveddy in the Vadamaratchy division of Jaffna peninsula. It was dark as a power cut was on. Electricity is supplied on a rotational basis to different areas of the peninsula. There is a time-table according to which localities are given electricity for specific periods. more..

Inside Sri Lanka M&S supplier's 'green' factory

May 18 (LBO) Built on the naturally sloping ground inside the 180-acre Thulhiriya Fabric Park, north of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, surrounded by patches of greenery and pools of water stands a building. At first glance, the MAS group's new lingerie factory that manufactures exclusively for Marks and Spencer looks like any other. But the plant is a 'green factory' inspired by Marks and Spencer’s five year plan to make their operations more environmentally friendly. more..

Eastern Polls and Beyond

May 18 (AT) Maheswari Velayuthan was attending to her dying mother when the Tigers killed her. She was unarmed and fifty four years old, a senior leader of the EPDP and a human rights activist who tried to help the victims irrespective of their political affiliations. Her murder speaks volumes not only about the LTTE, but also about the nature of the state it is striving to create, a land in which there will be no place for men and women like Ms. Velayuthan simply because they do not adhere to the Tiger creed but more..

East Provincial Council Chief Ministership: Ranil to fish in the troubled waters

May 18 (AT) The issue of the Chief Ministership of the East is still not over, though President Mahinda Rajapakse has sworn-in Sivanesathurai Chanthirakanthan. UNP and Ranil Wickremasinghe still keep the issue alive. According to the latest report, Ranil Wickremasinghe is trying his best to fish in the troubled waters by a promise to make M.L.A.M Hisbullah the Chief Minister. more..

'Pillayan Group killed 2 police in B'caloa'

May 18 (LD) The murder of two police officers for fearlessly opposing malpractices at the East PC polls are yet to be investigated, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has alleged. Mr. Wickremesinghe said he had been told by top police officials that the Pillayan Group had shot the two dead in Batticaloa, one on the 15th and other on the 16th of May. He also said, "Yesterday (May 16th), a bomb exploded near Colombo Hilton. Police officers who had been protecting Pillayan and his councilors were targeted. more..

Basil's daughter gets helicopter to travel from airport

May 18 (LD) The daughter of Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa had been given a helicopter to travel to Colombo from the Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake, the UNP has charged. Ms. Rajapaksa was received by her parents on arrival from Singapore at the BIA at 8.05 am yesterday, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told 'Lanka Dissent.' Her baggage had been cleared without being subjected to any check, in complete violation of immigration and emigration regulations. more..

Pillayan was at Temple Trees when bomb went off

May 18 (LD) Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, along with his advisor and the interpreter, had reportedly been at the VIP's room at Temple Trees at the time of the suicide blast that targeted a police bus on May 15th. According to sources at Temple Trees, the President and M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, in a separate room, had been trying to reach agreement over the issue of East Chief Minister. more..

India has interfered in the East – Anura Kumara Dissanayake

May 18 (LD) India is attempting to set up a provincial council with police and land powers under the administration of a group who will bend to their directions, JVP politburo member, Anura Kumara Dissanayake says in an interview with Sunethra Athugalpura of the ‘Lakbima’ newspaper. Commenting on whether it was wise to vest the East with police and land powers, the JVP MP said, the Eastern PC polls were not called to defeat terrorism or to establish democracy. more..

Basil attempts to lure member of Hizbulla faction to govt.

May 18 (LD) ‘Lanka Dissent’ learns that President’s Advisor Basil Rajapaksa has commenced a round of talks with a member of the Hizbulla faction, requesting the PC member to join the government with promises of a ministerial portfolio. The UPFA government has been facing a dilemma of how to maintain the majority power in the East PC after three of its members, including M.L.A.M. Hizbullah announced their decision to function as an independent entity. more..

Parliamentarians try pay hike parallel to judges

May 18 (LD) Parliamentarians, led by the Prime Minister, are moving to get their salaries increased in parallel to a pay hike for judges, according to reports. Clause 68 (1) of the constitution brought the salaries of judges and parliamentarians to the same levels in 2005. Accordingly, the PM and the Chief Justice draw the same salary (Rs. 71,500), while the Speaker gets paid a remuneration (Rs. 68,500) similar to that of the Attorney General. more..

National Vesak festival at Anuradhapura

May 18 (GDI) National vesak festival will be held at the historical Anuradhapura Shravastipura Temple under the patronage of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Department of Buddhist Affairs and the Anuradhapura District Secretariat. Over 500 people will observe sil on that day. Sil Redi (white clothes) will be donated. A Vesak Lanterns Competition will be held in dhamma schools in Nachchaduwa Divisional Secretariat and prizes will be presented for the best three lanterns. more..

Visiting Sri Lankan Minister not to raise Rizana Case

May 18 (AN) Sri Lanka’s minister for foreign employment, who arrived in Riyadh yesterday, said he would not take up the issue of Rizana Nafeek, the Lankan maid who is on trial accused of murdering a four-month baby in her care, as the case is being heard by the Supreme Judicial Council. “Sri Lanka respects the laws of the host country and it is not proper for us to take up this issue when Nafeek’s case is before the supreme court of the Kingdom,” more..

Muslims to revolt against Pillaiyan

May 18 (SAMN) The crisis over the appointment of TMVP leader Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan deepened Saturday with an angry-rejected aspirant M.L.A. M. Hisbullah accusing President Mahinda Rajapaksa of ‘betraying the Muslim community, while government Muslim ministers were reportedly threatening to move out as an independent group. The Ministers said they were having consultations among themselves and would meet senior Muslim religious leaders today to decide on their course of protest action. more..

“Stay out,” defiant PM tells West

May 18 (SAMN) A defiant Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake Saturday insisted that the Western World should stay out of Sri Lanka’s internal issues. Addressing a seminar organised by the Pakistani High Commission at the BMICH, Wickremanayake said that Sri Lanka had more trusted friends like Pakistan and therefore did not need to bow down to the West, which he said wanted the island to dance like a puppet. more..

Fishing restrictions back in Muttur

May 18 (SAMN) Fishing restrictions in Muttur that were relaxed just before the provincial council elections have been re-imposed soon after the results were announced. Fishermen in the area said they had not gone fishing since May 11. They said naval authorities at the jetty had informed them that they could not allow them to fish due to ‘orders from above.’ The fishermen said that they were not even allowed to step into the beach. more..

Colombo backs China against Tibet

May 18 (SAMN) Colombo is backing Beijing against China’s ongoing attempt to quell violence in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa and other parts of the world by Tibetan autonomy seekers, a Sri Lanka foreign ministry spokesman said adding that Sri Lanka valued traditional, cultural and economic ties with China, while China’s Ambassador in Sri Lanka Ye Dabo made use of a seminar on the unrest in Tibet, to echo Beijing’s stance on the enduring Tibetan issue. more..

Govt. rocked by Muslim revolt as UPFA loses majority

May 18 (SL) While the Eastern Provincial Council election came to be identified as one of the most fraudulent in Sri Lanka’s political history with ballot stuffing, violence, intimidation and impersonation the order of the day, fruits of the government’s labour in securing victory is fast turning into a disaster which could well have a devastating impact on its overall stability. more..

How the BoC Chairman helped himself

May 18 (SL) Internal documents of the Bank of Ceylon prove that the bank's politically appointed Chairman, Gamini Wickremasinghe, who is in the eye of the Mihin storm, has broken the law by personally borrowing money from BoC for himself and one of his private companies. The Banking Act allows directors and parties in which they have an interest to borrow from a bank, but is very strict on the conditions under which this can be done. To begin with the Banking Act refers to loans as "accommodations." more..

Violence that altered the face of a poll

May 18 (SL) The old saying that the voters have spoken, oft times, is not true. Not because they have not, but in banana republics like ours, there generally is a huge disparity in the express public will and the end electoral result. This holds true for the recently concluded Eastern Provincial Council poll as well. This election, with the Northern and Eastern Provinces de-merged, altered the status quo that prevailed since the temporary merger - the result of the Indo Lanka Peace Accord. more..

Lanka’s staple food becomes unstable

May 18 (SL) The incapacity of the government to deal with the impending food crisis with the island’s staple food, rice, becoming scarce due to multiple reasons was best demonstrated when Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services Minister Maithripala Sirisena recently claimed that the government would introduce firmer laws if the prevailing regulations on the current price control prove insufficient to break the rice monopoly in the market. more..

Powers of the EPC must be used judiciously - PM

May 18 (SO) While calling for the global support to crush terrorism, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake was emphatic that India’s interest was not to create a separate Tamil homeland in the North of our country. “India had too many problems of their own in their hands and they simply cannot bear the extra burden”, he said. Premier Wickremanayake told the ‘Sunday Observer’ that Mahinda Rajapaksa government, more..

Tamil political parties pledge support to EPC

May 18 (SO) The Tamil political parties which contested the Eastern Provincial polls have hailed President Mahinda Rajapaksa for appointing a Chief Minister for the Eastern Province and called upon the new Chief Minister, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan to work for the unity and integrity of all communities in the East and work hard towards expediting development in the region. more..

'Millionaires are the biggest loan defaulters'

May 18 (SO) The biggest loan defaulters in Sri Lanka are the rich millionaires in Colombo and not the poor peasants in rural areas. The Bank of Ceylon (BoC) does not ask farmers to mortgage their land as collateral to obtain agricultural loans and there are other ways we ensure the security of loans, said BoC Chairman Dr. Gamini Wickramasinghe. Dr. Wickramasinghe was addressing an international seminar on micro finance on “Bank linkages in enhancing access to rural finance more..

Mechanised equipment and technology for farmers

May 18 (SO) A project to provide mechanised agricultural equipment and introduce technology to farmers was launched at the Agriculture Ministry, Battaramulla last week. "Agricultural mechanisation units will be set up at 540 Govijana Kendras- the agrarian services centres islandwide, said Agriculture Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara. He said labour shortage is one of the major problems faced by farmers. more..

Tilvin, Wimal pooh-pooh each other

May 18 (NS) The JVP yesterday declared that Wimal Weerawansa’s new party, the National Freedom Party (NFP), would have absolutely no impact on the JVP in any manner. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told The Nation that the new party formed by 11 former JVP MPs along with former JVP strongman Wimal Weerawansa would have no impact on the JVP at all. “We have nothing to comment about their party. They can form whatever party they want, but our party will continue to go forward, as before. more..

EPC elections a contentious contest

May 18 (NS) Many interpretations could be given to last week’s Eastern Provincial Council election results. While the conduct of the poll itself has been called into question and the opposition UNP-SLMC alliance has protested at the outcome, the bottom-line appears to be that there are neither clear winners nor losers. The ruling UPFA, has won a contentious contest. In so doing, their credibility as a regime committed to free and fair polls, has been eroded. more..

AsiaSat falls victim to LTTE’s airwave piracy

May 18 (NS) The latest global satellite company to be affected by airwave piracy of the LTTE is the Hong Kong based AsiaSat, which has unilaterally terminated the contract it has with NTT, the television channel of the LTTE, the Sri Lankan Embassy in Paris said. AsiaSat’s termination of the contract was effective from April 1, 2008. Although AsiaSat terminated the contract NTT continues to blatantly violating the international satellite transmission regulations. more..

Pillaiyan deserves the CM post -Basil

May 18 (NS) Chief Presidential Advisor and Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa justified the appointment of Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, alias Pillaiyan, as the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province. Countering allegations that Hisbullah was promised the CM post first and that it was bestowed upon Pillaiyan at the 11th hour, Rajapaksa said there was no truth in it. more..

Smear campaign to overcome security failure, says UNP

May 18 (Island) The UNP has dismissed a government bid to blame Friday’s LTTE suicide bomb attack near the Presidential Secretariat (old Parliament) on their party and the SLMC as a silly attempt to deceive the masses. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake accused the state media of turning the latest breach of security and negligence on the part of the government into a political issue thereby making an already bad situation worse. more..

Mervyn extends Vesak liquor ban in Kelaniya by two days

May 18 (Island) Labour Minister Mervyn Silva has requested an additional two-day ban on the sale of liquor for Vesak in his Kelaniya stronghold. The Excise Department on Friday announced a three-day countrywide ban beginning Sunday (18). A senior official said bars, restaurants, taverns and wine stores would be closed for this period. The minister said he felt a five-day ban would be necessary as his electorate was a Buddhist sacred area. more..

Jackals hounding elephants

May 18 (Island) One of Sri Lanka’s national treasures, the majestic tusker who roams the forests of Kaudulla and Somawathie is ailing after being shot at by poachers, and according to some, trigger happy home guards. The Kaudulla National Park was quiet last Friday (9th May) evening. Elections in the East and the heavy rains seem to be keeping most of the guests to the park and the hotels in Habarana away. We were told that we were the first guests to the park this month. more..

EP Council should be viewed as model of devolution – Collure

May 18 (Island) The General Secretary of the Socialist Alliance Raja Collure said that moving towards the resolution of the national question depends on two factors. Firstly, the Eastern Provincial Council should be seen as a model of devolution which meets the aspirations of particularly the Tamil and Muslim communities. Secondly, to meet the aspirations of these communities, it is essential that whilst safeguarding national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the country, more..

Grounded Mihin gropes to take off

May 18 (ST) The grounding of the hastily launched budget airline Mihin Lanka last month, with more than Rs. 3000 million in debt is apparently not the end of the road, as the carrier is now actively attempting to resume flights with a fresh infusion of cash from the Treasury. The Sunday Times reliably learns that the Treasury has now called for a fresh business plan from the carrier to infuse more cash to it. more..

Rumbling over eastern jumbling

May 18 (ST) THEN: The Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement of 1987 notwithstanding, then President, the late Ranasinghe Premadasa, declared war on the LTTE. Eelam War II was in swing. One of the darkest chapters in the history of Sri Lanka during this phase was the killing of 600 Policemen near Batticaloa. In September 1990, then LTTE 'Eastern Commander' Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan better known as 'Colonel Karuna' is reported to have ordered the massacre. more..

Military solution: Nandana explains NFF policy

May 18 (ST) General Secretary of the newly formed National Freedom Front (NFF), former JVP MP Nandana Gunatilleke in an interview with The Sunday Times said the new party would work to take state power in ten years. He said no amount of pressure from the JVP or other forces will stop them from achieving their political objectives. Excerpts of the interview: Q. What are the objectives of your new party the National Freedom Front (NFF) and how do you propose to take forward your polices? more..

Beneath the lanterns

May 18 (ST) Over 2,500 years ago on a full moon day during the month of Vesak under a Bo tree, Siddhartha Gautama became the Enlightened One."The birth and enlightenment of Lord Buddha are the two most remarkable events," says Prof. Dhammavihari Thero, who believes that celebrating the birth of a great leader, be it Lord Buddha or Jesus Christ means the celebration of the message they gave to society and reflecting on its importance to mankind. more..

Sri Lankan air force bombs rebel center

May 18 (AP) Sri Lankan air force helicopters bombed a Tamil Tiger rebel operations center in the contested north, while separate ground battles killed 12 insurgents, the military said Sunday. Air force pilots bombed the rebel center in northern Mannar district on Saturday. It did not give details of any casualties or damage caused in the attack. Twelve Tamil guerrillas were killed in separate fighting Saturday across the island's embattled north, more..

'India too burdened with problems to back Tamil state'

May 18 (PTI) India has "too many problems" of its own and cannot bear the "extra burden" from backing a separate Tamil State to be carved out from Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has said. "India does not want to have this problem on their hands because they have so many provinces and they have to look after their problems in those provinces. They (India) do not want a separate state in the North because that will create more problems for them," he said. more..

Reports of LTTE aircraft destruction unverified

May 19 (SLW) There have been several news stories in both printed and electronic media regarding the alleged shootdown of an LTTE aircraft by the army. According to our sources, no confirmation has yet been received regarding the destruction of any LTTE aircraft. However it is true that two LTTE aircraft were airborne for a brief period of time yesterday (16th) night, for an unknown purpose. more..