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Uva : A dress rehearsal for the bigger contests

Aug 2 (NS) Even though at the height of his popularity, the President is aware that fame and good fortune in politics is rather fickle and that, the UPFA needs his personal touch to succeed. Therefore, the hard grind of campaigning is not too much a task for the President, who remains very much the consummate local politician with the knack of winning friends and influencing people. In more ways than one then, the Uva poll is a dress rehearsal for the General elections and more..

Mul anduma: Elaborate grandeur

Aug 2 (NS) Along the walls of the long rectangular room are pictures of newlywed couples; the grooms fitted into puffed sequined, usually red, blouses with their hands resting on a swelling of clothing just above where the navel must be, inclining towards ecstatic brides, giving the impression of contemplating the bliss of a full belly. “Most of these faces should be popular and quite known to you,” says P.V.S. Jayarathna, of whose work-room we have entered, more..

End of the road for Kohona as Foreign Secretary?

Aug 2 (NS) There are fresh attempts to send off Foreign Secretary Dr Palitha Kohona by offering him a post overseas, while several previous attempts ended in failure. But, sources said this time it might succeed as the offer is coming from a place he cannot refuse. The posting being mentioned is as Permanent Representative to the UN in New York. The incumbent ambassador there H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, himself the previous Foreign Secretary is now expected back in Colombo more..

'Govt. exploiting IDPs to get money'

Aug 2 (ST) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe accused the Government of deliberately keeping the tens of thousands of IDPs inside camps in the north and said the manner in which the government was collecting money by exploiting them was scandalous. “What are you going to do with all the money if you are going to keep IDPs in the camps? You are going to tax the Sri Lankan people; you are going to exploit the IDPs to get money and who is going to pocket this money? more..

A New Trend: praise another country and you are a traitor!

Aug 2 (Island) A new trend or ethos is insidiously creeping in, in addition to others like blatant sycophancy and only politicians acknowledging praise when others have sweated their guts out to get a project completed. This newest trend must be nipped in the bud, along with the other infections caused by politicians’ hubris. However this is no easy matter; not possible the pessimist would say, since it comes down from pinnacles of political power. more..

The right to survive

Aug 2 (NS) Among the concerns that govern global relations today, environment enjoys a pivotal position. According to Environment Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, the concern for environment and the consequences of climate change constitutes the main political conflict brewing across the entire world. He also says that climate change is a worse disaster than colonialism for the developing world, because it has the capability to wipe out entire civilisations, more..

Propaganda leaflet stirs UPFA’s Uva dovecotes

Aug 2 (Island) Although the ruling SLFP-led coalition has repeatedly declared that it would take the Uva Province comprising Moneragala and Badulla districts comfortably at the August 8 PC elections, a recent six-page propaganda leaflet distributed in the area has fuelled speculation of an attempt to undermine Sashendra Rajapakse, UPFA’s chief ministerial candidate. Rajapakse (number 13) heads the UPFA Moneragala list though he hails from the neighbouring Hambantota district. more..

Traitors all?

Aug 2 (Island) No reasonable independent minded person would countenance the recent outburst of the defence ministry website branding some lawyers appearing for the Sunday Leader newspaper in a contempt of court matter as ``traitors." Very few people, if any, would endorse that newspaper’s comparison of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to the late unlamented LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran; most so at this point of time in our contemporary history when more..

Police search for Islamic preacher

Aug 2 (ST) The Government yesterday launched a manhunt for a controversial South Indian Islamic preacher amidst reports that he was responsible for sparking sectarian violence among Muslims in Sri Lanka. Immigration Controller P.A. Abeykoon told the Sunday Times yesterday he had sought Police help to locate the preacher named Kovai Ayoob. This was after a complaint from the Religious Affairs Ministry that he was fanning religious hatred among Muslims. more..

No sex please, we’re Sri Lankans

Aug 2 (ST) Censoring of movies and advertisement with sex, drug and alcohol scenes and disciplinary action on students for using mobile phones during school hours and compulsory registration of internet cafes are among some of the tough measures to be adopted as part of the plans to improve culture, an official said yesterday. Cultural Affairs Ministry Secretary G.L.W. Samarasinghe said instructions would be given to completely cut-out all sex and alcohol/drug content from films and more..

A record of my impressions of the IDP camps

Aug 2 (Island) All experiences are subjective. And so I realized when nine of us visited some of the IDP camps last week and found that each of us had different feelings and observations about the experience. Perhaps this is because every experience is viewed through the prism of our personalities, value systems, cultural and educational orientations as well as our own life experiences. more..

Public groan likely after loan

Aug 2 (ST) Folklore has it that the five blind men who touched an elephant had five different descriptions of what the animal looked like. One who felt the leg was to say that the pachyderm resembled a tree whilst another who touched the stomach thought it was like a wall. The story goes on with the rest describing it differently. The tale had some resemblance to last week's approval of a 20-month-long US $ 2.6 billion Standby Arrangement by the IMF to Sri Lanka. more..

The pain of parting

Aug 2 (ST) They are no longer the happy mothers they used to be… they are sad and dejected because their babies have been snatched away from them. They desperately want to feed and cuddle them as any mother would want to. But where have their offspring gone, wonder Shanthi and Punchi who anxiously await their little-ones’ return. This is the plight of two cow elephants at the Pinnawala Orphanage, following the sudden removal of their two under-aged calves on July 25, more..

Killinochchi Government Agent under arrest

Aug 2 (LP) Kilinochchi Government Agent Nagalingam Vedhanayagam was taken into custody and is now under detention by the orders of Terrorist Investigation Department. It is reported that several government officials who are working in the north have actively rendered their support to LTTE. They have provided intelligent information to LTTE after visiting Colombo for official meetings. more..

Sri Lanka's private banks expand to the north and east

Aug 2 (LBO) Sampath Bank is expanding to the island's north and the east helping boost an economic revival in the areas after the end of war three decade war, an official said. Sampath Bank has already set up four branches in Kattankudi, Kalmunai, Akkaraipattu and Batticaloa in the eastern province. At least seven more branches are planned for the East. "I think there is an immense potential in the East," more..

Amnesty for Sri Lanka's military deserters

Aug 2 (AFP) Sri Lanka has offered an amnesty to tens of thousands of soldiers who deserted the army, a spokesman said Sunday, under reforms following the end of the war with separatist Tamil rebels. Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said troops who were absent without leave could report back to their units and be officially discharged without penalty. "They must bring all their documents and return whatever is due to the army and then they will be granted an honourable discharge," more..

80 more Indians fly to Sri Lanka to clear landmines

Aug 2 (IANS) Over 80 former Indian soldiers have left for Sri Lanka following the defeat of the Tamil Tigers to join Indians already there in clearing thousands of buried landmines. The new group has teamed up with compatriots working since 2003, mainly in the northern districts of Mannar and Vavuniya, in defusing mines laid by both the military and the Tigers during their prolonged conflict. more..

Gota warns of efforts to free hard core Tigers from IDP camps

Aug 2 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that though the LTTE had been military crushed once and for all, attempts were being made to rescue hardcore terrorists taking refuge among civilians accommodated in welfare centres in the Vavuniya region. He warned that this could be a part of an overall strategy to explore ways and means of reviving the organization. more..

Sri Lanka port opportunities seen from recession

Aug 3 (LBO) The recession that triggered a steep slump in shipping may throw up opportunities for Sri Lanka's Colombo port, a senior official of a company that has bid for a terminal in the harbour said. Dr Parakrama Dissanayake, chairman, Aitken Spence Maritime, part of the Aitken Spence conglomerate, said the recession was causing huge losses for shipping lines and sharply reduced port cargo volumes. more..

Pakistan look to avoid meek surrender

Aug 3 (CI) Two one-sided matches later, Pakistan have been left with a tall mountain to climb if they are to salvage anything from this series. Outclassed in the previous ODIs at the same venue, Younis Khan will be keen to win his first match of the tour before the party shifts to Colombo. The batting has been the biggest worry for Pakistan and maybe it is high time that coach Intikhab Alam turns to his ICL returnees - Imran Nazir and Naved-ul-Hasan more..

Helping Sri Lanka's Displaced People

Aug 3 (NYT) Robert Templer, in his opinion article “War without end” (Views, July 22), disregards the fact that Sri Lanka’s counter-insurgency operation ended only eight weeks ago. He fails to acknowledge that 4,000 internally displaced people have already been resettled and that a 180-day plan is in place to resettle nearly 80 percent of those people who remain in camps. more..

TN fishermen injured in 'assault' by Lankan Navy

Aug 3 (PTI) Two fishermen were injured when Sri Lankan Navy personnel allegedly assaulted a group of around 40 fishermen from this island while they were fishing near Katchatheevu. On their return here on Sunday, the fishermen told fisheries department officials that the Sri Lankan Navalmen also took away Rs 30 lakh worth fish catch, fishing nets, communication equipment and currency. more..

Masses rally to protect EDCS

Aug 3 (LT) An organization has been formed to protect the Education Department Cooperative Society (EDCS) from conspiracies that have been launched by ministers and trade unions of the Rajapakse government said Organizing Secretary of Lanka Teacher Services Union Dhammika Alahapperuma. This organization calling itself ‘Organization to Protect EDCS’ held a massive agitation campaign opposite more..

Handunneththi accepts Siyambalapitiya’s challenge

Aug 3 (LT) In spite of the government stating that the US$2.6 billion loan was obtained from the IMF without any conditions the opposition claimed it was obtained after giving into several conditions. Specially Mr. Sunil Handunneththi of the JVP in a media meeting held recently said the loan was obtained giving into conditions laid down by the IMF and most of these conditions were harmful to the county. more..

'Ruling party supporters confiscate voting cards in Jaffna'

Aug 3 (TN) Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Jaffna district parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran alleged that the ruling party contestants in Jaffna Municipal Council (JMC) election had forcibly confiscated more than 1500 voting cards from residents in Kozhumpuththu’rai, Ariyaalai and Eachchamoaddai area in Jaffna, in a press meet held in his Jaffna office Saturday. more..

Freedom fighters betrayed then and now – President

Aug 3 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing a mammoth gathering in Uva- Wellassa, said today (02) that the time has come to pay tribute to the nation's ancient forefathers who sacrificed their lives and limbs to build a self-sufficient nation while fighting the scourge of imperialism. President Rajapaksa, speaking in support of candidates contesting the Uva Provincial Council election, more..

Jaffna voters 'ready' for poll

Aug 3 (BBC) Voters in the northern Sri Lankan town of Jaffna are prepared to cast their ballots in the local polls though they feel it is not the right time for the elections, according to a recent survey. It said over 80 percent of those surveyed were prepared to cast their vote at the JMC polls. It was carried out in Jaffna Municipal Council (JMC) Wards from 22 to 24 July by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and Home for Human Rights (HHR). more..

Pact signed to rebuild infrastructure in Sri Lanka

Aug 3 (Hindu) Construction Industry Development Council (CIDC), an autonomous body established by the Planning Commission of India and the construction industry, has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the ICTAD, Sri Lanka, for reconstruction of infrastructure in the island nation. The pact is expected to revive the construction industry by injection of the latest technological inputs for construction in Sri Lanka. more..

Head of Narayani Peedam distributes aid in Sri Lanka

Aug 3 (Hindu) Sri Sakthi Amma, head of the Sri Narayani Peedam, Thirumalaikkodi near Vellore, visited one of the camps for the Tamils affected in the recent war in Sri Lanka, known as IDPs, in Cheddikulam in Vavuniya on Thursday and distributed medicines supplied by Direct Relief International (DRI), U.S.-based voluntary organisation, on his request, and clothes taken from India, as a humanitarian gesture on the part of the Peedam. more..

Indian doctors tenure in Lanka extended

Aug 3 (HT) The tenure of a group of Indian doctors working among the displaced Tamils in refugee camps has been extended by two months. Indian doctors, mostly from the army’s medical corp, have been working among refugees since the beginning of March, more than two months the war between the LTTE and the Lankan army was over. Currently, the doctors run a field hospital in a camp in Vauniya where the largest almost 2.5 lakh of the 2.83 lakh refugees were housed. more..

Prachanda slams India, Lanka for fight against rebels

Aug 3 (IE) The Communist Party of Maoists-Nepal (CPN-M) on Sunday criticised the governments of India and Sri Lanka for their “oppressive” campaigns against rebels in the two countries. The CPN-M said its central committee opposed such “repressions” and felt such methods used by the state against armed groups will be counter productive. CPN-M chief Prachanda said the party would maintain close contacts with COMPOSA more..

How does music bring people together?

Visiting the I.D.P. camps: A subjective experience

Aug 3 (DBS) It was on July 22nd that I posted an article by Lilani Jayatilaka on this blog with my heading “A Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Sri Lanka”?. As I stated in my introduction the article in question had appeared in the “Sunday Island” of July 12th 2009 under the heading “Healing Memories:Lessons to be learnt from the South African Experience”. Here is what I wrote then-”There was an excellent article offering much food for thought more..

Govt launches “war on the underworld”

Aug 3 (wsws) The increasingly militaristic character of the Sri Lankan government has been underscored by its declaration of a “war on the underworld”. As stated by President Mahinda Rajapakse, the aim is to build a morally clean, disciplined and law-abiding society. The real purpose is to divert growing popular discontent and to justify the further strengthening of the state apparatus in preparation for social unrest. more..

'Jaffna Fish Stalls' in Colombo soon

Aug 3 (GDI) The city of Colombo will soon witness 'Jaffna Fish Stalls' with hoarding reading same where the Jaffna sea catch is sold to the consumers in the city. Fisheries Minister,Felix Perera has mooted this concept to link the North and South closer while giving the Colombo consumer the opportunity to taste the northern sea fish catch. Following the lifting of restrictions in the northern seas, the fish production in the north has increased considerably. more..

Air travel facilities for Nallur festival pilgrims

Aug 3 (GDI) The Ministry of Tourism has made arrangements for air travel facilities for pilgrims paying homage to the annual Nallur Kandasamy Kovil festival, Tourism Ministry sources said. The festival that began on July 27 will continue till 19 August with thousands of devotees flocking daily to the venue. The ministry has joined hands with 'Heli Tours' of the Sri Lanka Air Force (Commercial Division) to provide the air facility. more..

All set for GCE A/L on August 11

Aug 3 (GDI) The General Certificate of Education (Advanced Level) examination will get underway from August 11. All arrangements are now in place for the smooth functioning of the examination. Admission cards and time tables have been already posted,according to the Commissioner General of Examinations, Anura Edirisinghe. Private candidates who have not received their admission cards are requested to report to more..

Third Randoli Perahera tonight

Aug 3 (GDI) The third 'Randoli' Perahera of the Kandy Esala Perahera will parade the streets of Kandy today (03). The perahera will start from the Sri Dalada Maligawa facing the East at 7.26 pm, Sri Dalada Maligawa sources told The procession, proceeding along the Dalada Veediya ,Kotugodalla veediya and D.S. Senanayakae Veediya move along Raja Veediya before it enters the Maligawa. more..

PM commends Army Chief’s role in ‘liberation’

Aug 3 (GDI) While highly commending the dedication and commitment of the heroic security forces in their effort to successfully eradicate the menace of terrorism and liberate the nation from the tyranny of LTTE terrorists, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake applauded the role played by newly elected Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya. He made these comments when he met with the Army Commander Lt. Gen. Jayasuritya at the Prime Minister’s office more..

Tourism Ministry on Colombo hotels room levy

Aug 3 (GDI) The Ministry of Tourism has determined the room only rates in star hotels in Colombo and identified the hotel bands. Accordingly the room only rate will range from US dollars 40 to 120. There are one to six bands categorized including a segment called apartments in the analysis of the ministry on room only rates. The reactivation of the minimum room only levy is done in terms of the Tourism Act No.38 of 2005. more..

Airport gallery re- opens to public

Aug 3 (GDI) Public observation terminal of the Katunayake International Airport will be opened to public again from today. It was closed for several years due to security reasons. General Manager of the Airport H.S. Hettiarachchi said the terminal was modernized at a cost of two million rupees. A number of additional facilities for viewers are constructed. A children park has also been set up in the premises. An aircraft is also kept for display. more..

Kaathankudy Mosque massacre: 19th Shuhada's Day observed

Aug 3 (PISL) The Shuhada’s Day observance will be taking place in Kaathankudy today in remembrance of the brutal killings of 103 Muslims in two Mosques in Kaathankudy by the LTTE 19 years ago. Commemorative events will be taking place in the two Mosques - Meera Jumma Masjid and Hussainiya Masjid under the patronage of the Mosques Federation. Shops and public places remain closed in Kaathankudy today to mark this event. more..

Aid and access in Sri Lanka

Aug 3 (LG) Since the beginning of the decade, Sri Lanka has undergone a number of traumatic events that make the country a particularly challenging environment for humanitarian workers. As the long civil war nears its end, what type of political environment are aid workers likely to encounter in their attempts to help affected civilian populations? What are the legacies of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and three decades of war on civilian administrative structures? more..

Sen Sri Lanka and sense

Aug 3 (LG) Armartya Sen was a much respected man in my worldview, but he went down more than a notch in my estimation after I read his rather long essay in book-form titled “Identity and violence: the illusion of destiny." Sen according to columnist David Arranovich writing recently in a British newspaper, is classed by some institution or another as the 8th ranked intellectual of the world, a fact which Sen himself is said to have modesty dismissed saying “we were among the first ten." more..

'Central Govt. cannot intervene in Provincial Councils'

Aug 3 (LT) He had no authority to intervene in matters of the Provincial Councils says Minister of Education Susil Premajayanthe. Speaking to ‘Lakbima’ newspaper Minister Premajayanthe has said, “The affairs of different regions are decided on the individual present in the region. The central government reviews matters of the provincial councils and instructs them. more..

Ousted NFF member present in sessions of Pradeshiya Sabha

Aug 3 (LT) NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa’s elder brother Sarth Weerawansa has been present at Pradeshiya Sabha to cast his vote on behalf of the governing party to get minutes passed even when he has been ousted from the Pradeshiaya Sabha. When the members of the JVP presented the gazette notification ousting Mr. Sarath Weerawansa from the Pradeshiya Sabaha there was commotion in the session and the Chairman had to suspend the session. more..

'I will not betray UNP despite crossing over to government'

Aug 3 (LT) “I had to take a political decision with much grief. At the moment I am a member of the opposition. I would never betray the UNP. However, I would cross over to the government soon. I am confident that the President would consider my learning and experience. I would join his political path,” said Leader of the Opposition of the Southern Provincial Council Justin Galappaththy. more..

Protest against opening liquor shop near Hindu temple

Aug 3 (LT) A large number of estate employees and residents in the area carried out a protest campaign against the opening of a liquor shop near a Hindu temple at Brown Lo tea estate at Maskeliya. The estate workers and residents protested against opening the liquor shop near Sri Sivasubramanium Kovil in the tea estate which is about one kilometer from Maskeliya town on the Maskeliya – Norton Bridge road. more..

Van from Ministry of Buddha Sasana caught transporting venison

Aug 3 (LT) Five people transporting venison in a van belonging to Buddha Sasana Ministry were taken into custody by officials of the Udawalawa National Park yesterday (2nd). The officials who had been disguised seized the van transporting venison on the Thanamalwila road on the border of Udawalawa National Park. It was revealed that the van was transporting venison of deer hunted in Udawalawa National Park. more..

Police constables interdicted for failure to prevent writing slogan mocking President

Aug 3 (LT) Two police constables in Kurunegala Police have been interdicted for not arresting a group of people who had scrawled a slogan on a wall near the clock tower in the middle of Kurunegala town. An unknown group of people had written a sentence regarding the issues of school term tests. So far no one has been arrested for writing the sentence when translated means “Oh king, you have ruined the examination, haven’t you?” more..