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Downpours flood the camps of Sri Lankan refugees

Aug 16 (NYT) Downpours in northern Sri Lanka have flooded camps housing more than 250,000 people displaced by the fighting between the government and the Tamil Tigers, according to aid officials. The rain, which fell heavily for much of the afternoon on Saturday, sent rivers of muck cascading between tightly packed rows of flimsy shelters, overflowed latrines and sent hundreds of families scurrying for higher ground. more..

Accused Ponzi duo from Sarasota arrested in Sri Lanka

Aug 16 (HT) Sarasota's John and Marian Morgan -- who fled the country in July to avoid federal contempt charges in connection with a get-rich-quick banking scheme -- have been arrested by authorities in Sri Lanka. The couple were picked up on separate charges of running a fraudulent banking scheme, charges originating in the island nation off the southeast coast of India. more..

Blacks Caps dodge Malinga for first test

Aug 16 (Stuff) The absence of a long-time tormentor and the potential non-selection of a recently emerged nuisance for Sri Lanka's initial test cricket line-up has eased New Zealand's anxieties ahead of the first test in Galle on Tuesday. By deeming Lasith Malinga unready for a return to the rigours of five-day cricket, Sri Lanka's selectors removed one impediment to New Zealand at least gaining parity when the two-test series starts at the Galle more..

Srilankan Maid attempts suicide after female sponsor pours hot oil on her

Aug 16 (ATO) A Sri Lankan maid sustained injuries and fractures after a failed attempt to commit suicide in Mubarak Al-Kabeer due to cruelty inflicted on her by her Kuwaiti employer, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily. According to sources, the Kuwaiti woman poured boiling oil on the maid and made her stand on the roof of the house. The maid then tried to end her life by jumping from the roof, but failed. more..

Sri Lanka optical fibre backbone venture attracts seven parties

Aug 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka telecom regulator is evaluating expression of interest from seven investors who responded to a call to build a fibre optic backbone for Sri Lanka in partnership with state rail and power utilities, a top official said. "They have expressed their interest and very soon, before the end of this year, we will issue the documents for them to apply," director general of the TRC Priyantha Kariyapperuma said. more..

Scenes from Sri Lanka

Aug 16 (BG) Only three months after the LTTE were defeated in the decades-long civil war in Sri Lanka, signs of economic recovery and a new sense of security are emerging across the country. Government and business groups are working hard to rebuild a tourist industry once hampered by fear of terrorist attacks, and fishermen are enjoying more freedom to fish harbors long restricted by the military. more..

Flooding of Vavuniya IDP Camps-Possible outbreak of Epidemics

Aug 16 (TC) PUCL expresses concern about reports from the IDP Camps in Vavuniya area housing Sri Lankan Tamil about severe flooding of the camps following heavy rains for the last 2 days. PUCL apprehends that the IDP camps will turn into `death traps’ unless urgent measures are taken to safeguard lives of the 300,000 inmates. Zones 2 (Ramanathan Camp), 3 (Ananda Kumarasamy Camp), 4(No name) of Menik Farm Camps house 65,000, 43,000 and 41,000 inmates respectively. more..

Building Dystopia

Aug 16 (LG) The war is not over; the war continues. This claim does not emanate from desperate LTTE supporters, scurrying to salvage political and financial something from the carcass of the dead Tiger. It emanates from the Lankan government, from the man hailed as the architect of the LTTE’s downfall, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse. According to Mr. Rajapakse, notwithstanding the death of Vellupillai Pirapaharan and the capture of his chosen successor KP, the anti-LTTE war goes on: more..

String Theory unravelling the mystery of the universe

Aug 16 (LG) I got an invitation from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics( DAMTP) last week, to participate in the 50th anniversary celebrations. My thoughts went back to the days when I was a research student at DAMTP. I joined DAMTP, at the University of Cambridge in 1967. It was a relatively new department, though many distinguished scientists were involved in creating this department. more..

Sri Lankan politics without race or religion: Will it be politics?

Aug 16 (LG) An old yarn of the oldest watering hole in town was recalled by an old timer last week. The story goes back to the aftermath of the 1956 election victory of the SLFP led by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. Both Bandaranaike the winner and Sir John Kotelawala who led the defeated UNP were members of the club in its halcyon days. Sir John, the story goes was, in the ‘Gents’ buttoning down (zippers had not come into vogue by then) when S.W.R.D. had come in. more..

Blind Village-headman (Potta Aarachchila)

Aug 16 (LG) The tomb appearing like a small Buddhist stupa was discoloured with time. The green moss that had been encroaching on the tomb failed to hide the plaque of beautiful round Singhalese letters that said “Dissanayaka Nawarathna Mudiyanselage Mudalihami hitapu Aarachchila (retired Village-Headman). Birth 1888, Death 1948. Dissanayaka Nawarathna Mudiyanselage Mudalihamy alias Mudalihamy Dissanayaka was born in 1888 more..

Reconcile with Tamils or Risk terrorism – a reply

Aug 16 (LG) “Reconcile with Tamils or Risk Terrorism”. This is a threat; nothing else. But why drag Tamils into this threat? Tamils never made this threat. Robert Blake should rather be dreaming of a multiethnic society for everyone to live in as in his country. But he seems to be suggesting otherwise. If the government and the armed forces have this type of attitude, Tamils run the grave risk of being unfairly subjugated for alleged ‘terrorist’ links even after the end of the war, more..

'Impotency & inefficiency of govt has dragged education towards degeneration'

Aug 16 (LT) The impotency and inefficiency of the present government has dragged education in the country towards an abyss states Parliamentarian of the JVP Bimal Rathnayake. Issuing a press release regarding the incident where students of Thakshila Vidyalaya sitting the Physics paper at G.C.E. A/L examination were inconvenienced yesterday due to inadequate number of question papers received, Mr. Rathnayake states, more..

When law becomes comic – Part Nine

Aug 16 (LG) Jeevan Kumaranathunga, the member of parliament for the Angulana area, spoke to the BBC about the police murders of Dinesh Tharanga Fernando and Danushka Udayakantha. He said that he had received many reports about the drunkenness of the police at the Angulana police post and that he had made representations to the relevant authorities about this situation. He said that it was because no action has been taken that this unfortunate tragedy has happened. more..

Countering LTTE’s revival strategy

Aug 16 (LG) A singular lesson from defeating rebellions in modern times is that the death of a guerrilla movement occurs with extinction of its ideology and not merely its leadership and military organization. A second truth is that there is a very short time gap between neutralization of the armed force and successful political resolution of a conflict which can facilitate total extermination of an insurgency. more..

3 arrested over killing of SP Jamaldeen

Aug 16 (PSM) Three persons allegedly involved in the murder of SP M.L. Jamaldeen, head of Police Training School in Batticoloa were arrested yesterday. Police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekare said that based on the information received by State Intelligence, the Karaitivu STF training camp carried a search operation to find the suspects. He said that two Muslims and a Tamil were involved in the murder. more..

Fish purchasing centers in the North

Aug 16 (GDI) The Fisheries Ministry will set up 280 fish purchasing centres in the North to accomodate fish catch by northern fishermen. This project will get underway shortly with the assistance of the Presidential Task Force on Resettlement and Infrastructure Development under the 'Uthuru Wasanthaya' programme. The ministry has allocated Rs.30 million for this new project while purchasing centers would come up in Mannar,Mullaitivu and Jaffna districts. more..

Historic meeting of Board of Directors in Prison

Aug 16 (LP) Golden Key Credit Card Company re-payment plan is scheduled to be placed before the Supreme Court on 1st of September. First cash infusion of one billion rupees by Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala has not been prepared yet to commence repaying Golden Key depositors with the approval of court. Kotelawala was instructed to inject one billion rupees every fortnight for the Central Bank to commence the repayment process to victimized depositors. more..

Hunt on for all LTTE funds

Aug 16 (SO) Following the explosive revelations of Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP), the LTTE’s new leader who is now in Government custody, all LTTE assets and funds handled by him are now under the microscope. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told the Sunday Observer that the Government, while continuing its hunt for the remaining LTTEers abroad, will go after LTTE’s assets and all monetary collections handled by him. more..

Restoring glory to North

Aug 16 (SO) Northern Province Governor Maj. Gen. G.A. Chandrasiri outlines the post-conflict development, rehabilitation and resettlement plans for the province in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Observer. He expressed confidence that the North would return to its days of prosperity soon. Q: With the liberation of the entire Northern Province by the Security Forces, the Government is taking action to restore normal life there. more..

Enchanting Hakgala Gardens

Aug 16 (SO) August will soon be upon us and Nuwara Eliya's little season will begin. Memories take me back to Nuwara Eliya, the little country town of my birth and upbringing. The cool, crisp air that I breathed in over the years keeps tugging these old heartstrings of mine and my footsteps lead me on to one of Nuwara Eliya's most beautiful Haunts - 'Hakgala Gardens.' At an elevation of 5,600-6,000 feet above sea level, it is probably the highest situated botanical garden anywhere in the world!! more..

Gates at all railway level crossings

Aug 16 (SO) An immediate survey on all unprotected railway crossings in the country will be carried out by the Railway Department. It is said that over 300 unprotected railway crossings are in the country at present.The Ministerial decision was taken following a series of train- motor vehicle collisions as well as fatal accidents that occurred during the past few months at many railway level crossings. more..

Coal power to dazzle nation

Aug 16 (SO) Our prime objective is to provide electricity at a low cost to over four million consumers in the country and accordingly we have decided to construct more coal power plants, in addition to the major coal power plants at Norochcholai and Trincomalee, said CEB, Chairman E.A.S.K. Edirisinghe. The commissioning of Sri Lanka's first coal power plant at Norochcholai, in the Puttalam District is soothing news to electricity consumers. more..

Rehabilitation of LTTE cadres underway

Aug 16 (MoD) Measures have been taken to rehabilitate over 10,000 ex-LTTE cadres, in the North by the government, according to Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Maj. Gen. Daya Ratnayake. Maj. Gen. Daya Ratnayake, who is now saddled with preparing a well detailed program, has told the Sunday Observer during an interview that President Mahinda Rajapaksa is very keen to help these ex-cadres who were misled by the LTTE. more..

New tussle within UNP

Aug 16 (NS) With UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe not showing any public interest in contesting the forthcoming Presidential election, expected to be called any time after November 19, a clear tussle is now on between S.B. Dissanayake and Karu Jayasuriya to emerge as the party’s Presidential candidate. Dissanayake appears to be having a head start with a scheduled big public show on September 18 at the BMICH in the guise of launching 10 books by him on his 58th birthday. more..

More than 20,000 have escaped from IDP camps?

Aug 16 (NS) More than 20,000 IDPs residing in camps in Vavuniya have gone missing, and a census into the disappearances is now nearing completion. A senior official at the Vauniya Kachcheri said yesterday, “There is a significant and glaring number of missing people from all IDP camps, somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 are no longer there.” He said the findings of the census will be out by next Thursday. more..

KP tells all; more fuel for Govt.

Aug 16 (ST) Be it military or politics, President Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa, continues to be on a winning streak pushing his popularity to new heights. In May, this year, he saw the military defeat of the LTTE. Just three months later, his Government has begun solving the mysteries behind the guerrilla group's international operations. This is with the arrest and rendition to Colombo of Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP. more..

Kotelawala’s one billion rupee cash infusion awaited to start repayment process

Aug 16 (Island) With the Golden Key re-payment plan expected to be placed before the Supreme Court on September 1, the Central Bank is still awaiting the infusion of an initial one billion rupees by Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala to set in motion the vital process of settling depositors. Injecting one billion rupees by Kotelawala every fortnight for the Central Bank to expedite the repayment of aggrieved depositors was advocated when more..

Angulana shatters police reputation

Aug 16 (NS) A man who appears to be drunk swaggers unsteadily along a lane in Angulana using abusive language. For a casual passer-by, what he is trying to say may sound incoherent. But if you piece together what he utters mostly in epithets you would realise that he is expressing his sentiments about Police. There is a message in what he says: Angulana does not need police anymore. He will not trust a policeman ever again. more..

Presidential election first, predicts political strategists

Aug 16 (Island) A presidential election will precede a parliamentary election early next year according to confidantes of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is believed likely to invoke the constitutional provision enabling him to seek re-election four years after he was sworn as president for a six-year term on Nov. 19, 2005. The president can under the constitution issue a proclamation seeking re-election any time after November 19 this year although he has two more years of his term more..

“We plan to create a broad coalition”

Aug 16 (NS) To call the JVP’s performance at the Uva Provincial Council election weak might sound like an understatement to some. Their representation at the Council dwindled to one seat from seven. The Nation met JVP Parliamentary group leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake to discuss what went wrong and how the JVP plans to face a government that seems to be unstoppable. more..

‘Mudalali mafia’ gradually strangling fruit and vegetable industry

Aug 16 (Island) President, Lanka Fruit and Vegetable Producers, Processors & Exporters Association, (LFVPP&EA) Ismeth G. Mohamed addressing the 28th annual general meeting of the Association said last week that producers at grassroot level are held to draconian and deceitful trade practices through dubious subterfuge to snare small time producers and deprive them of fair trade for their produce. more..

Cash strapped Eastern University seeks funding

Aug 16 (Island) Academic activities of the Eastern University at Vanthramoolai are on the verge of coming to a halt due to inadequacy of funds from the Central Government, official sources said yesterday. These financial bottlenecks can be overcome if funds could be made available from sources such as the World Bank or donor countries, the sources said. Minister of National Integration Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan as well as more..

Room to Read has helped Sri Lanka with 655 bi-lingual libraries

Aug 16 (Island) During last three years, Room to Read has helped Sri Lanka with 655 bi-lingual libraries, 202 pre and primary schools, 1200 long-term scholarships for children in Puttalam, Nuwara Eliya, Matale and Moneragala Districts, Education Minister Susil Premjayantha said. "This global organization has also published 47 children’s story books in our local languages and distributed more than 600,000 books to our libraries", more..

Adults only if sex is not adulterated

Aug 16 (ST) The government has revised its decision regarding a total ban on adults only movies and will only cut sex scenes that have been implanted and are irrelevant to the movie’s storyline, Cultural Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana said yesterday. He said the decision was taken at a meeting he held with film directors and the Public Performances Board chairman Ashoka Serasinghe. more..

Sri Lanka Customs moving toward digital era modernisation

Aug 16 (ST) Sri Lanka Customs -- one of Sri Lanka’s oldest government departments -- will be celebrating its bi-centenary this August by introducing technological changes to the present 200 year-old system. Director General Customs C.S.W. Jayatilake said “the present buildings including the Times of Ceylon building we are presently occupying are more than 150 - 200 years old and there is a great need to shift into a building in which modern equipment and computer systems can be set up. more..

Angulana atrocity, youth pranks vs police brutality

Aug 16 (ST) Investigations into the killing of two youth Dhanushka Aponso and Dinesh Tharanga Fernando while in the custody of the Angulana police, for a minor offence, took a bizarre turn after an eyewitness came forward to give an account of the events that unfolded on Wednesday night. Police have recorded his statement and are carrying out their investigations into the killings that have not only angered the area residents but also shocked the whole country. more..

“UNP votes declined in recent elections”

Aug 16 (NS) With another provincial council and two main elections predicted, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayaka expressed his views on Party’s preparations to contest and also about the poor show on successive elections. MP Attanayaka also spoke about the internal issues of the party. Here are the excerpts of his interview with The Nation. more..

Devotion, match-making; all rolled in one

Aug 16 (ST) At the crack of dawn, dozens of men – young and old – roll on the ground outside this famous Hindu temple in northern Sri Lanka, reciting verses or just praying to the deities. Cries of ‘Haro Hara” or “Muruga” rend the air as the womenfolk go through the ritual of bowing, kneeling, before walking a few spaces to bow/kneel again outside the temple wall. The 25-day annual Nallur festival is on and drawing crowds not only from all over Sri Lanka but more..

Sri Lanka failed firm board to meet in prison

Aug 16 (LBO) The directors of two failed property firm in Sri Lanka's troubled Ceylinco group has been given court nod to have a board meeting in prison to approve the setting up of a trust to repay investors, a media report said. Directors of F & G Property Developer (Pvt) Ltd, and F & G Real Estate Co. Ltd, have been permitted to hold a board meeting at Welikada prison, in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo by magistrate's court, more..

India’s help for Lanka’s LTTE-freed areas

Aug 16 (PTI) With de-mining of north Sri Lanka gaining momentum, India is sending a team of agriculture experts there to assist in activation of farming in the areas that have been freed from the LTTE control. The team, to be led by a crop scientist of Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), is expected to travel to Sri Lanka by the end of this month. The agriculture experts will assess the soil condition, irrigation facilities and weather conditions more..

Heavy rains flood camps for displaced Sri Lankans

Aug 16 (AP) Heavy rains have caused havoc in camps housing nearly 300,000 people displaced by war in Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north, an official said Sunday. The flooding has raised fears for the welfare of the ethnic Tamils living in tents and makeshift shelters. Downpours in the last two days have forced authorities to move hundreds in the Manik Farm camp to safer areas. "Around 200 persons there have been shifted to locations on higher grounds within the camp premises," more..

Deal key to relief package: India

Aug 16 (Hindu) India on Saturday conveyed to Sri Lanka that a “broad-based political settlement” of the ethnic conflict would enable the Rs.500-crore relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation package for the nearly three lakh war displaced to be utilised in a more effective and efficient manner. High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Alok Prasad said New Delhi looked forward to working with Colombo for quick and effective disbursement of the package. more..

The Journey of a Journalist (Part 5A)

Aug 17 (LG) In Therigatha, bhikkuni Vajira is said to have responded to Mara: It's only suffering that comes to be, Suffering that stands and falls away. Nothing but suffering comes to be, Nothing but suffering ceases. In retrospect, I find my quest for a PhD in journalism and mass communication and the subsequent travel across oceans in quest of jobs that set up competing human beings against one another more..

Implement the 13 Amendment

Aug 17 (GV) Now that the war is over the question that comes to mind is in what way we can rebuild this country which has been affected by an ethnic cum terrorist conflict for over three decades. From a political perspective, the Government should fully implement the 13 Amendment to the Constitution. For this to take place problematic areas with regard to the implementation of the 13 Amendment need to be looked into. more..

Legitimacy of peace and reconciliation depends greatly on democratic accountability

Aug 17 (TC) In recent weeks there has been some talk about a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) as something that will allow Sri Lanka to come to terms with its troubled past and move forward into the promise of its ‘post-war’ future. I have been informally invited into a few of these conversations because I have worked with the International Center for Transitional Justice on TRC initiatives and more..

The Geneva Convention, Kadirgamar and postwar Sri Lanka

Aug 17 (LG) The killing of Lakshman Kadirgamar illustrates why warfare is sometimes necessary. There are totalitarian forces so evil (in the sense that Hannah Arendt wrote of fascism), that they have to be contested, combated and prevailed over by the use of violence. Yet, how does one wield that violence in the struggle against political evil? How does one prevail over the external evil one combats while constraining the evil potentially within oneself? more..

'President began path of defying law & order'

Aug 17 (LT) The pursuits of the Mahinda Rajapakse government is responsible for the incidents which occurred in the past few days which challenged the supremacy of the law and order in the country says JVP MP Anura Dissanayake. He said, “The incident of abducting a student of SLIIT and assaulting him and the other that occurred at Angulana are not isolated incidents. They are the final outcome of the government acting without any concern for the law and order in the country. more..

The Downing Of ‘KP’, The Short-Lived Tiger Chief

Aug 17 (AT) Intelligence and regional media circles in Bangkok are looking for answers to at least a couple of questions that intrigue them. How did Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias “KP” fall into the hands of one of the governments that had been after him for years so shortly after picking up the mantle of his fallen leader Prabhakaran? Did he over-expose himself, egged on by an international media trying to keep the LTTE story alive or more..

Dilshan ready to take up opening role

Aug 17 (CI) Sri Lanka are likely to go in with a new opening combination for the first Test against New Zealand beginning on Tuesday in Galle. Having sat out the limited-overs leg of the recently concluded home series against Pakistan due to injuries, Tillakaratne Dilshan is likely to feature at the top of the order on his return. Dilshan, 32, had fractured his right index finger and more..