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‘Shed your differences for a better tomorrow’

Jun 14 (SO) Geetha Kumarasinghe, well-known in the film industry for her forthright and outspoken views, in an interview with Panorama, said that she is all for helping the Security Forces, but will never give her consent to any venture which uses the brave and noble soldiers’ name, to fatten personal wallets. She said that having come to know of one such project recently, the veteran actress had almost been taken for a ride, but more..

What next with the Tigers’ extinct?

Jun 14 (NS) The dust is slowly, but surely, settling on the victory celebrations that erupted throughout the nation, in the aftermath of the defeat of the LTTE. However, it is almost a certainty now, that this will be followed by the hustings- the only question being what type of major election will come first. For now, though, the election-hungry masses will have to be satiated with two appetisers-the Provincial Council (PC) poll in the Uva Province and the Local Government elections in Jaffna. more..

Down to earth artist, literally

Jun 14 (NS) Sometimes, as a journalist, meeting artists is almost an everyday occurrence, but it’s not often that one encounters an artist who makes his own paint out of clods of soil. Pradeep Indika is one dedicated person who does it, and indeed paints with such colours. The shy 28-year-old artist from Bulathkohuwita in Kegalle, travels around the country regularly, in search of various soil samples to obtain colours for his paintings. more..

TNA dilemma, Thondaman’s mission & UNP’s Grand Alliance plan

Jun 14 (NS) TNA displacement within the Sri Lankan political landscape since the defeat of the LTTE, was noted in these columns last week. Their political bankruptcy has now been proven by the fact that several TNA MPs stand to lose their seats, following a discussion that ensued in Parliament last Wednesday. TNA Parliamentarian Shivasakthi Anandan presented a motion in Parliament on Wednesday (10) to request leave of absence for MPs more..

'UPFA nominations list will be finalized this week'

Jun 14 (Island) UPFA General Secretary, Minister Susil Premajayanth said yesterday the list of candidates for the forthcoming Jaffna MC and Vavuniya UC local elections will be finalized by this week after talks with Tamil and Muslim political parties in the Government are concluded. Political sources said that the Government is attempting to persuade these Tamil and Muslim parties to contest the poll under the UPFA banner. more..

'All must be grateful to Govt.'

Jun 14 (NS) The UNP stalwart and former Interior Minister John Amaratunga has said that the UNP will support any form of a political package if that was aimed at resolving the long standing problems of the Tamils of the North and East and also helped rebuild the country. While paying a glowing tribute to the government and especially the armed forces for eliminating the LTTE, Amaratunga said it is high time the government placed before the nation a suitable proposal to meet the aspirations of all citizens. more..

'Revival of national economy emerging as priority'

Jun 14 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said now that the LTTE had been militarily crushed, there couldn’t be any further delay in reviving the national economy. The armed forces’ triumph over LTTE terrorism, he said, had given the country a tremendous opportunity to revive all sectors ranging from tourism and fisheries to education. He said that the country could now exploit its full potential as the main impediment to Sri Lanka’s progress had been removed. more..

UPFA and UNP members propose extension of President’s term to 8 years

Jun 14 (Island) Both the ruling faction and Opposition members of Dambulla and Galewela Pradeshiiya Sabhas have unanimously passed a resolution last week proposing that if the term of office of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who commands the support of the overwhelming majority of the people in the country be extended by 8 years the country could save Billions of rupees spent for such elections, more..

Dengue reaches alarming proportions: 128 deaths, 9,100 affected so far

Jun 14 (Island) There have been around 500 confirmed dengue cases reported from the Colombo Municipal Council area since the beginning of this year, CMC’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said. As the public health department battled to bring the situation under control, the number of cases for the month of June has so far reached 95. Among the victims were five foreigners working at the Havelock City building complex, which is still under construction. more..

Lanka’s dual track foreign relations

Jun 14 (ST) It was less than an hour to midnight signalling the dawn of Thursday. Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL 196 had touched down at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) from New Delhi. Moments after the cabin door connected to the air bridge, weary passengers emerged to walk past equally weary security officials. One of them in a trouser and jacket was greeted by consular officials of the Canadian High Commission in Colombo. more..

President arrives at Nay Pyi Taw airport in Myanmar

Jun 14 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Sri Lanka delegation arrived at the Nay Pyi Taw airport this morning. President Rajapaksa and Madam Shiranthi Rajapaksa were welcomed by the Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council of the Union of Myanmar, Senior General Than Shwe. President Rajapaksa was accorded a guard of honour on his arrival at the Nay Pyi Taw airport. more..

President urged to hold World Buddhist Council in 2011

Jun 14 (AM) Thanks to the eradication of terrorism, people in the country celebrated Poson in an atmosphere of peace and harmony after a long tome, observed Ports and Civil Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa in Hambantota last week. Rajapaksa said that Poson was an ideal occasion to remember King Asoka`s message of Dhammavijaya and renew our commitment to peace, harmony and national unity. more..

Harry: ‘I was re-offered SLIC’

Jun 14 (ST) Business tycoon Harry Jayawardena, smarting from the stinging Supreme Court (SC) judgment on Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC), has told directors at SLIC’s former parent company Distilleries Company (DCSL), of which he is the chairman, that the insurance company was offered to him for a second time. At the DCSL board meeting on Wednesday specially called to inform the board about the SC decision, Mr. Jayawardena had said that SLIC was ‘offered’ to him again. more..

They make the world a better place

Jun 14 (ST) “When you save a life of a person the contentment is everlasting and you truly feel like a hero. Words are not enough to explain how I feel when I see the four youngsters now enjoying their youth to the fullest,” says Thambirajah Vinayagamoorthy. Vinayagamoorthy from Karaithivu was awarded the Budal Na Gold Award, the highest award bestowed on a civilian at the National Civilian Bravery Awards 2009 for saving four youngsters struggling more..

Lanka seeks international help to capture Padmanathan

Jun 14 (Hindu) Having wiped out the LTTE leadership from northern Sri Lanka, the government is now seeking international help to nab its fugitive leader K Padmanathan, believed to be active in carrying out the Tigers' operations overseas. The Sri Lankan government has forwarded details to other countries seeking arrest of Padmanathan, Foreign Minister, Mr Rohitha Bogollagama said. more..

Lanka will keep its Tamil welfare promise: Chidambaram

Jun 14 (ANI) Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has said Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be told by New Delhi to fulfill his promise to rehabilitate displaced Tamils and grant equal rights to the minority community in the island-nation. "New Delhi believes that President Rajapaksa will fulfill his promises and that India will have to wait and see," Chidamabram said here. more..

EPF, ETF billions to the rescue

Jun 14 (ST) The authorities are set to take billions of rupees from unclaimed EPF and ETF funds to compensate some 100,000 apparel workers who have been laid off owing to the current world financial crisis, government and union officials said yesterday. They said a tri-partite committee made up of representatives from trade unions, employers and the Government is set to hammer out a final draft later this month to work out the modalities of payments to these workers. more..

Prabhakaran waited for Indian election results

Jun 14 (PTI) Velupillai Prabakaran was waiting for the results of Indian elections to plan his next strategy in the civil war in Sri Lanka and was apparently hoping that either the NDA or the Third Front would come to power in New Delhi, but the Army there had different plans. It has now emerged that the slain guerrilla leader was waiting till May 16, the day results of Lok Sabha elections were known, more..

Future of privatisation

Jun 15 (LG) With the euphoria over recent judgments in the Sri Lanka Insurance (SLIC) and Lanka Marine Services (LMS), public interest activists are now setting their sights on challenging other cases where state companies were privatised. Among them are plantation companies. Politician Vasudeva Nanayakkara, petitioner in both the SLIC and LMS cases in which both companies reverted back to the state, is calling for a commission of inquiry to go into these past privatisations and more..

John Murphy and Sri Lanka bashing

Jun 15 (LG) John Murphy , the Australian Labour Party Parliamentarian now a Dy Minister had been in the forefront of the supporters of Tamil separatist /LTTE campaign in Australia. During the last 11 years, in fact John Murphy represented the LTTE agenda in the Australian Parliament whenever Sri Lanka came up for discussion. While JM made the LTTE supporters proud and elated in his contributions to the Parliament debates and discussions on Sri Lanka by his constant Sri Lanka bashing, more..

Instant historians and their history

Jun 15 (LG) In recent weeks we have been confused about reportage of ‘historic events’ from Colombo and abroad. Not being professional historians and being only mere journalists we have tended to regard newspapers, radio and TV reports as contemporary history. And we are told daily that we are living in ‘historic times.’ Naturally historic figures keep jumping out from these contemporary records of Sri Lankan history. more..

Lady GA at the helm

Jun 15 (AT) Coordinating humanitarian assistance to the people in the Wanni, the Government Agent and District Secretary for Vavuniya, Piencia S.M. Charles set to work almost from day one to clear jungle areas on the instructions of the government to resettle the hundreds of thousands of IDPs who the government had correctly envisaged would need accommodation in the aftermath of the conflict that raged in the northern part of Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka And India : Both Watch Out?

Jun 15 (AT) When the Ministry of Youth Development was created in Sri Lanka and the pen that created it was given to the daughter of the minister, it caused me amusement but when I saw in the media that Mr. Yasushi Akashi has created peace courses in Japan for youth for which a few LTTE cadres may be eligible it sent a shock wave down my spine because we have I understand about 400 hard core LTTE cadres in rehabilitation camps. more..

Galleon fund founder Raj Rajaratnam invests in Sri Lanka broking firm

Jun 15 (LBO) New York based Galleon group founder Raj Rajaratnam; Rusi Captain, a top local investor and Priyani Ratnagopal, former head of Asia Securities, are buying into Lanka Orix Securities. Lanka Orix Leasing Company which held a 30 percent in the stock broking firm and Ishara Traders which had 40 percent, are selling out. Chief Executive Tushan Wickramasinghe said he is increasing his stake to 50 percent from the current 30 percent. more..

Jayawardene saves Sri Lanka's blushes

Jun 15 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene saved his team's blushes with 78 from 53 balls, as Sri Lanka moved a step closer to the semi-finals with an awkward but ultimately comfortable nine-run victory over the unfancied Irish at Lord's. After winning the toss and batting first, Sri Lanka were restricted to a modest total of 144 for 9 by a disciplined Ireland bowling performance in which the medium-pacer Alex Cusack excelled with 4 for 18 in three overs. more..

Lanka Army grills LTTE cemetery-keeper

Jun 15 (PTI) A LTTE cemetery keeper in Wanni who was recently attacked by fellow inmates of a Tamil relief camp, is being interrogated by the Sri Lankan Army to dig out information about dead Tamil Tigers, whose records he used to maintain.Pon Thiyagam, was once the caretaker of the well-known "Martyrs cemetery" of the LTTE was attacked by some fellow occupants of IDP’s relief camp at Vayunia in northern Sri Lanka. more..

New LTTE crooner wears petticoats

Jun 15 (SLW) For reasons which can only be subject to educated guesses, fingers have been pointed at the country from the west; not the east, north or south; just the west by certain characters associated with that hemisphere. And the government has had their hands full in dealing with such types of intruders, who after whirlwind tours of the ‘war affected areas’ refugee camps and ‘no fire zones’ carry back half baked views which they splash about in gay abandon all over the world. more..

Decoding media’s war against a Military

Jun 15 (SLW) Fourth Generation warfare (4GW) in the 21st century in simplest of terms is warfare between a legitimate armed force and a non-state violent actor. The essence of 4GW is its protracted nature of violence, use of asymmetry attempting to attain parity politically as well as psychologically. Since the first bullets fired in 1981 in Jaffna the Tigers fought a protracted 4GW campaign against the Sri Lankan Government Military morally, more..

Lies and a Tiger: How a diaspora is killing its own

Jun 15 (SLW) As the war against the LTTE grinds inexorably towards certain defeat for the self-proclaimed representatives of the Tamil nation, there seems to be no great fanfare, no glorious last stands. This revolution dies not with a bang, but with whimpers and cowardice. And lies. For a year the Tamil Diaspora, spread from Tamil Nadu to Toronto, watched open-mouthed with disbelief as the iron fist of the Sri Lankan infantry divisions cut the Tiger formations to pieces, more..

Kandasamy, Sri Lanka’s forgotten trade union martyr

Jun 15 (SLW) Sixty two years ago June 5 a young Velupillai Kandasamy a Clerical Officer of the Department of Health and Sanitary Services was killed by police firing ordered by the British Police Superintendent Robins on an orderly march of the members of the Government Clerical Services Union (GCSU). The main contention of the marchers totaling 50,000 public servants was that the proposed Soulbury Constitution for an independent Sri Lanka failed to guarantee workers’ rights. more..

Lanka women 'will qualify for next round'

Jun 15 (BBC) Sri Lanka women's cricket team skipper Chamari Polgampola says that her team will progress through to the semi finals at the women's World Twenty20 held in England. Polgampola says she is confident of defeating the hosts who currently holds the top ranking among women teams. “We are not worried about the home advantage for England. My team is confident. We just arrived at the ground. My first thought was that we will win,” she said. more..

President holds bilateral talks with Prime Minister of Myanmar

Jun 15 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa while appreciating the warm welcome and hospitality afforded to him by the Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, Myanmar, Senior General Than Shwe and the Government of Myanmar during courtesy call on the latter, recalled with pleasure his previous visit to Myanmar as the then Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in 2004 to participate at the World Buddhist Conference in Yangon. more..

Assessing the analysis of the University Teachers for Human Rights

Jun 15 (PISL) The University Teachers for Human Rights has issued yet another report on the situation in Sri Lanka which, as with its previous reports, merits serious attention. I have always admired their commitment and efforts at objectivity and, even when I disagree with what they say, I have noted their sincerity. It should also be noted that they are amongst the few such organisations to admit it when they have been mistaken, more..

UN responsible for 'IDP toilets'

Jun 15 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government says that the United Nations should take responsibility for not providing enough toilet facilities for the IDPs in Vavuniya camps. The UN has said that only half of the toilets and minimum facilities for bathing are available for IDPs in the camps. However, Resettlement Minister Risath Bathiuddeen told BBC Sandeshaya that the UN was offered government land and UN received international funding to provide adequate facilities. more..

Group calls for trade boycott of Colombo

Jun 15 (TS) The Malaysian Indian Business Association has called for a trade boycott of Sri Lanka in an effort to pressure its government to address humanitarian concerns in the war-torn state, Malaysian Nanban reported. Association president P. Siva­kumar expressed hope that all Indian-owned businesses in Malaysia would support the call. He said all businesses should make the stand on humanitarian grounds, more..

Temple launches fund for Sri Lankan orphans

Jun 15 (TS) Some 400 orphans displaced in the Vavuniya district, 254km north of Colombo as a result of the recently concluded war between the Sri Lanka army and the Tamil Tigers are living in misery without basic necessities. To help them, the Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, is organising a project to raise money to educate and provide assistance to these children. An initial RM30,000 has been collected to kick-start the programme. more..

Sri Lanka water utility still cannot cover costs

Jun 15 (LBO) National water supply and drainage board (NWS&DB) has given 34 percent of the population pipe-borne water, but it still cannot recover costs, a finance ministry report said. The unit cost of water increased to35.37 rupees a unit in 2008 from31.32 rupees a unit in 2007. The water board recovers only 22.82 rupee per unit of water. The finance ministry report said the utility, should reconsider continuing with free water supply to tenements in Colombo. more..

Time to embrace the Sinhalas

Jun 15 (Organiser) The war is over in Sri Lanka. Peace has just begun. How should India react? Sri Lanka is the only neighbour that India can rely upon. Our links with Tamils and Sinhalas are historical. But the past is still a drag on both. Unless we overcome the unpleasant memories of the past, we cannot work out a new destiny. But, first, how do we dispel the fears of the Sinhalas? Do they still fear that we may work in favour of the Tamils? more..

Clash of cultures

Jun 15 (Organiser) It used to be said of Henry the 8th, the corpulent Tudor king of England, that he was singularly unfortunate in his relations with his wives. He had their heads, chopped off, one after another without saying “excuse me.” The same can be said about the relations between big and small powers, for some reason, they rarely get on with one another, particularly if they happen to be neighbours. more..

Jaffna residents speak out over increasing military repression

Jun 15 (wsws) Jaffna residents in Sri Lanka’s north spoke with the WSWS last week over continuing military repression and the ongoing detention of more than 300,000 Tamils in the Vavuniya internment camps. Many had relatives or friends who were either killed or injured in the fighting between the Sri Lankan army and the separatist LTTE or who are now being held in detention camps. more..

Why share power 0nly with Tamils and not Sinhalas, Muslims, Malays, Chetties, Veddhas & Burgers?

Jun 15 (LG) The Indian Home Affairs Minister and many others have advised Sri Lanka to share power with Tamils. Why share power only with Tamils in a country of many other communities? What's good for the goose is good for the gander! Why discriminate? This is a puzzle that will never be solved if the simple requirement of equal rights to every individual is not implemented as it is. more..

IC-ing on Sri Lanka’s cake

Jun 15 (LG) There is a saying in Tamil, which when translated means, “Even if it had stopped raining, the drizzles continue.” The human rights violations of the kind alleged to have been committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces in the end-game of the ethnic war could not be dismissed as mere drizzles, but then a uni-focussed international attention on those concerns weeks after the war had concluded could only impede an early return to normalcy. more..

First ever LTTE operational submarine taken out from Vellamullivaikkal sea

Jun 15 (GDI) The first ever fully-geared LTTE submarine that had been submerged in the sea waters, a few metres off the coast of Vellamullivaikkal was found by the Task Forces 8 troops Sunday (14) afternoon following information given by a terrorist in custody. The complete submarine with one seat is about 24 ft in length and 4 ft in width. It had reportedly been used by the LTTE, most probably their senior cadres, more..

Trade and Health Ministers to Visit IDPs in Vavuniya today

Jun 15 (GDI) Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Bandula Gunawardena and Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva are scheduled to visit the Welfare Camps in Vavuniya today (15) where the displaced from the Vanni are temporarily housed. They will look into the welfare of the displaced and provide immediate solutions with the assistance of the Security Forces top brass and State officials, more..

Residential quarters for medical staff will opened today in Chettikulam

Jun 15 (GDI) Two Residential quarters for 48 doctors and 50 nurses will be inaugurated today at Chettikulam under the patronage of the Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. The Residential quarters facilities have been provided by the government with the assistance of the World Health Organization. The cost of the project is Rs.3.5 million. The provision of accommodation for doctors & nurses was a demanding issue in the Vavuniya district. more..

Electricity for the Ratnapura district

Jun 15 (GDI) Six hundred and fifty families who had no access to electricity have benefited from “Lighting Ratnapura” project. With the implementation of this project, 65% of the population in the Ratnapura district now has electricity and all villages in the Ratnapura district will have access to electricity after the completion of the “Lighting Ratnapura” project which began last year, more..

Indian Medical Team begin services in Manik Farm Zone-1

Jun 15 (GDI) The Indian Medical Team, based till recently in Pulmoddai, had relocated its Emergency Medical Unit and Field Hospital to Zone-1 of the IDP settlement in the Manik Farm area and has started services, a press release issued by the Indian embassy stated. The team, comprising eight doctors and 54 nursing, para-medical and technical staff, have already treated over 2000 patients in Zone-1, which houses over 45,000 IDPs. more..

Continental Asian Junior Chess Championships 2009 in Sri Lanka

Jun 15 (GDI) Over 30 foreign players from 10 countries are expected to participate in the Asian Junior Chess Championship 2009, scheduled to be held at the Continental Hotel, Sri Lanka from July 1-8, President of the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. Current women's national champion Sachini Ranasingha of Museaus College will lead the Sri Lankan girls contingent at the Asian Junior Boys and Girls Chess Championship 2009 conducted by Sri Lanka Chess Federation. more..

Secretary General responds to Lakbima News

Jun 15 (PISL) Prof Rajiva Wijesinha has written today to the editor of Lakbima News regarding an article in the 14th June 2009 issue. His letter can be found below. The Editor, Lakbima News: I write with reference to a news item you published last week entitled 'Diplomatic corps in huff over Rajiva's statement', which claims that a report in the Guardian in Britain led to diplomats in the west having 'to face mounting pressure by western countries'. more..

Politiocal parties to face axe or name change

Jun 15 (PSM) Recognised Political parties will soon be directed to amend their names if the names of the parties are based on ethnic identity or based against the unitary character of the country, according to reliable sources. Further, past performance and activities of the parties also will be assessed periodically and the non-active or little active political parties will be de-recognized according to a memorandum submitted by more..