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'Devolution of power within a unitary state'

June 28 (NS) With the military defeat of the LTTE now the debate over devolution of power has taken a different turn. The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) though it was not literally an all party body due to the conspicuous absence of some of the main political parties in it has already come up with some proposals aimed at a political solution to the north and east. more..

Politician from Central Province bolts when link to LTTE was revealed

June 28 (LT) A politician from the Central Province has bolted the country even before his links to the tiger terrorist organization were revealed say reports. The politican who was always with a senior politicaan of the government forcefully owned Hingurana Sugar factory. The governemnt intelligence unit has received information that the relevant politician has supplied arrack produced at Hingurana factory to tiger controlled areas without more..

‘Dengue’ breeding pattern has changed

June 28 (LT) In a communique issued by the Ministry of Health it is stated that dengue mosquitoe has changed its pattern of breeding. According to this communique instead of coconut shells, plastic utensils and gutters where rain water gets collected, the new tendency is to use building sites. concrete roofs and slabs as breeding grounds. As these places cannot be conveniently inspected the campaign to eradicate dungue has been made impossible state ministry sources. more..

Jaffna products reach Colombo

June 28 (NS) In a clear sign of growing North-South commerce 28 lorry loads of northern produce, including two freezer truck loads of famed crabs and prawns were dispatched to Colombo from there early this week. Jaffna Government Agent K. Ganesh revealed last night that because of the growing demand they have now decided to keep the road open for private goods convoys every other day compared to every ten days earlier. more..

Election time is here again!

June 28 (NS) It is elections galore as the country comes to terms with the end of the Eelam war and the latest contest up for grabs is the Uva provincial council, elections which will be held on August 8, perhaps not co-incidentally the same day on which polls are being held for the local authorities in Jaffna and Vavuniya. It is perhaps fair to pose the question as to whether any purpose will be served by the Uva provincial poll, more..

NFF gets ministerial posts this week

June 28 (NS) Ending months of speculation, the National Freedom Front sources said yesterday that NFF MPs Nandana Gunathilake and Piyasiri Wijenayake will be sworn in as ministers next week. However they ruled out the possibility of their Chairman Wimal Weerawansa accepting any ministerial portfolios. “We have been offered a Cabinet and a non cabinet post and MPs Nandana Gunathilake and Piyasiri Wijenayake have been nominated by the party. more..

IDPs get a second chance

June 28 (NS) Last week I had the opportunity of visiting Kadiragamar Transitional Relief Village (KTRV) attached to the Menik Farm IDP camp. In the last few months I had read hundreds of news stories and saw thousands of pictures that gave me the notion that these relief villages were no better than concentration camps and I went there to see misery and suffering. But to my surprise I did not see starving children and miserable mothers who were totally dependant on government aid but more..

AG slams Parliament’s disregard for financial procedures

Jun 28 (Island) A mega UNDP funded project to modernize Sri Lanka’s Parliament has been severely criticized by Auditor General S. Swarnajothi, who has also commented adversely on a range of other questionable ‘transactions’ involving the House. The AG also targeted the Foreign Relations and Protocol Division of the legislature for failing to submit payment vouchers relating to contributions and other expenses of more..

Insurance Corp, BOC and NSB to take Seylan equity

Jun 28 (Island) The Insurance Corporation of Sri Lanka (ICSL), now back in government hands following a Supreme Court judgment, will join the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) and the National Savings Bank (NSB) in infusing new capital into the Seylan Bank further stabilizing that institution which successfully weathered a run on its deposits following the Golden Key collapse, authoritative official sources said yesterday. more..

Ekamath Eka Rateka: Conceived in France, Born in Lanka

Jun 28 (Island) I greatly enjoyed Sanath Gunatilake’s maiden film, Ekamath Eka Rateka, which is based on Emil Zola’s short story "Pour une nuit d’amour" For a night of love. I write this mainly to figure out for myself why I found this film aesthetically pleasing, emotionally stimulating and even intellectually challenging. I admit freely that not being a professional film critic, I don’t have the technical knowledge about the art of the film to judge its intrinsic merits, if any. more..

Focus now on ‘political solution’

Jun 28 (ST) The first-high level contacts between Sri Lanka and its friendly neighbour India, since the military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), took place on Wednesday. Three of the country's most powerful personalities -Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga - flew to New Delhi for this purpose. more..

Positive developments on re-paying Golden Key depositors

Jun 28 (Island) The Central Bank last week reported positive progress in the ongoing process of identifying and valuing the properties and assets of the Golden Key Credit Card Company and its directors to be auctioned to re-pay depositors of this collapsed Ceylinco subsidiary. "The first lot of assets is already being valued for disposal to meet depositors’ liabilities", a senior Central Bank official said. more..

Krishni says she was told ‘don’t make trouble’

Jun 28 (Island) Internews employee, Krishni Ifham, yesterday said that though she earlier believed her abductors took her to Kandy (town), they may have actually taken her to a spot about 40 to 45 minutes driving distance away from the town where they questioned her regarding her work. At the end of a 45 minute ‘interview’, she had been warned and told that there wouldn’t be any further warnings. more..

“Pata”, “pata”, and a bloody tragedy unfolds

Jun 28 (ST) A toddler has just woken up from his sleep and his heart-rending lisp of “Amma” rises above the hushed whispers of a crowd gathered at his home and the twitter of a large number of exotic birds. What the little one in his childish ignorance is oblivious to is that his mother is dead, as also his beloved “Apochchi” and his step-grandmother, allegedly killed by his own father who is now in remand. more..

Trouble brewing for Sri Lanka tea farmers

Jun 28 (AFP) World tea prices have rocketed but along misty tea-growing mountain slopes in Sri Lanka's central hills, farmers are facing disaster. Despite production shortfalls coupled with increased demand making the daily cuppa dearer, the men and women who toil the land have little reason to cheer, for they must uproot tea bushes desiccated by a severe drought. Tea farmer N. K. Atapattu picked a crop of nearly 2,000 kilograms of tea leaves from his small plot last year but more..

Lanka furious over Lord’s attacks

Jun 28 (ST) The Sri Lankan High Commission in Britain has formally lodged a protest with the Home Office in London over what it termed ‘lethargy’ by the local police in dealing with pro-LTTE elements who physically attacked more than two dozen Sri Lankan cricket fans , including women, after the T20 World Cup final at Lords last Sunday. Victims, including women, said they were kicked and punched in the face by these persons inside the precincts of Lord's, more..

The blackboard is blank for A/L English students

Jun 28 (ST) Many schools island wide are facing problems in providing English medium instruction for A/L classes. Nearly 400 new English medium teachers are needed to cater to the current needs of the schools which have started English medium classes. “The largest group of English medium students, over 6,000, sat the O/L exam in 2008. The schools which many of these students are attending are not in a position to provide A/L stream English medium lessonsfor them. more..

Military: no room for Tamil Tiger militancy ever again in Sri Lanka

Jun 28 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels defeated by the government troops would never be able to regroup, a local radio station quoted defense officials as saying on Sunday. Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, the military spokesman was quoted by the radio station Sri FM that the LTTE would not be left any room by the authorities to regroup in order to revert to their campaign for a separate state. more..

Sri Lanka to pardon lower level rebels

Jun 28 (Xinhua) Guidelines for a structured amnesty to former Tamil Tiger rebels and their sympathizers are being drawn up by the government's legal departments, but only lower level rebels will be included in the scheme, a local English newspaper reported on Sunday. The reprieve would apply to only lower level Tamil Tigers because the leadership and middle rung cadres have died in the war, the Sunday Times quoted government officials close to the process as saying. more..

President has not told me to stop my campaign, says minister

Jun 28 (ST) Provincial Council and Local government Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon yesterday vowed to carry on his campaign for President Mahinda Rajapaksa to continue as the President without fresh elections. Mr. Tennakoon was reacting to comments by other ministers that President Rajapaksa had no intention of remaining in power without facing a Presidential election. more..

Tamils desperate to help homeland

Jun 29 (ES) The Tamil community in Edmonton met with human rights experts yesterday for a forum to discuss the dire conditions in which nearly 300,000 displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka have been living, a spokesman said. More than 350 people gathered at a southside conference room to hear a professor, lawyer and non-profit human rights group representative, among others, speak about the unstable situation in Sri Lanka and how the international community can help. more..

Veteran Kavignar Murugaian passes away

Jun 29 (TN) Well-known Kavignar (Poet) E. Murugaian, veteran Tamil scholar, passed away in Colombo Saturday and his funeral is to be held Sunday evening at Borella general cemetery. He was seventy five years of age when he died. Murugaian was conferred with the honorary title of Doctor of Literature (Ilakkia Kalanithi) some years ago by Jaffna University for his immense services to Tamil Literature and Tamil Language. more..

Three expats jailed for stealing safe

Jun 29 (GT) Three Sri Lankans have been sentenced to three years imprisonment and subsequent deportation for stealing from the safe of a government department last summer. The men were caught and brought to justice with the help of the footage recorded by a camera installed in the department’s building. The CCTV photos showed them carrying the safe away. A clerk told the court that the safe in his office was found missing when he came to the office on August 3 last year. more..

A priestly wolf in Tamil Tigers’ clothing

Jun 29 (MT) We don’t think the Philippines needs lessons on diplomacy and good governance from an obvious supporter of a defeated terrorist outfit that was a ruthless killing machine and serial human rights violator. AS the post-war era dawns in Sri Lanka it appears that the first casualty of the newly secured peace is the truth. For while the Tamil Tigers’ terrorist outfit may have been dispatched to the bowels of hell and the pages of infamy, more..

Now the bloodshed is over can the Tigers’ children ever find peace?

Jun 29 (SH) Jeeva Jothy girls' home in Batticaloa, eastern Sri Lanka, 21-year old Thurka Devi is helping with the younger girls. An enthusiastic cricket player, she has also represented Batticaloa in karate tournaments and says she would like to become a social worker. The Jeeva Jothy charity offers shelter and education for orphaned and indigent girls and young women, but there are also a few ex-child soldiers, girls like Devi. more..

‘Final Warning’ issued to Jaffna Tamil daily Uthayan staffers

Jun 29 (TN) A group calling itself ‘Tamil Front Protecting the Country’ allegedly linked to a paramilitary group operating with Colombo issued Saturday a notice titled ‘Final Warning’ to Uthayan Tamil daily office in Jaffna warning that Uthayan staffers will be killed if they do not officially relinquish their posts with effect from 30 June 2009, sources in Jaffna said. Thursday, all the local newspapers of Jaffna that defied publishing an anonymous and more..

Is the war really over?

Jun 29 (AFP) The end of the conventional war in the north and the east of Sri Lanka witnessed the almost total annihilation of the LTTE including its leadership. However, the Government forces are still carrying out clearing up operations throughout the island. Tens of thousands have been slaughtered; many thousands wounded; hundreds of thousands expelled from their habitats and many hundreds of thousands interned into camps. more..

Sri Lanka clinch their fourth Asian Netball title

Jun 29 (Bernama) The Sri Lankan netball team put up a commanding display to outclass Singapore 77-48 in the final of the 7th Asian Netball Championship at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara here today. It was Sri Lanka's fourth title in eight years after last winning it in 2001. They also won the competition in 1990 and 1997 and were the runner-up in 1985 and 1993. The victory came as sweet revenge for the team who more..

US warns travellers of Sri Lanka terror attack risk

Jun 29 (AFP) The United States issued Sunday a warning for its nationals travelling to or in Sri Lanka about the risk of possible terror attacks despite the recent crushing of Tamil Tiger separatists. Sri Lanka defeated the Tamil Tigers last month but rebel remnants still posed a threat and could carry out assaults, the state department said in the latest travel advisory on its website. more..

Fitness will be key against Sri Lanka, says Alam

Jun 29 (AFP) Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam said his players' fitness will be the key on their tour of Sri Lanka as the 15-man Pakistan team set off on Saturday. Alam, who led the team to the World Twenty20 title in England last week, warned that the biggest problem for the tourists will be the hot climate. "Fitness is very important on the tough and long tour of Sri Lanka," said Alam before heading for Dubai and then Colombo. more..

Foolproof security cover for Pak team during Sri Lanka tour

Jun 29 (ANI) The Sri Lanka cricket authority has made foolproof security arrangements for the visiting Pakistan cricket team, as it does not a repeat of the Lahore terror attack in which six Sri Lankan players were injured. Spokesman of the Sri Lanka team, Charith Senanayake said military security have been hired by the board to safeguard the visitors. "As many as 100 security men will be deployed for the Pakistan team security. more..

'March for peace' in London

Jun 29 (BBC) Thousands of Sri Lankans representing all major nationalities and religions took part in a peace march in London, say organisers. The organisers handed over a petition to British PM Gordon Brown at Downing Street after marching in London on Saturday. “We wanted to express our gratitude to British people for their support in defeating terrorism and urge UK to take concrete steps to prevent terrorism re-emerging in Sri Lanka,” more..

NIC 'impediment' for elections

Jun 29 (BBC) Election monitors in Sri Lanka say that there is a danger of people being prevented of voting as a result of the need for an identity card to qualify for voting. Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) media spokesman Keerthi Tennakoon told BBC Sandeshaya that over 25 percent of voters in Uva province do not possess any alternative identity cards recommended by the authorities. more..

Sri Lanka's expanding peacetime army

Jun 29 (BBC) It is just over a month since Asia's longest civil war in modern times came to an end, with the government's declaration that it had finally defeated the LTTE on the battlefield and killed nearly all their leaders. Yet the army chief says he wants the army, already 200,000, to increase in size by 50%. To see what the military means to many Sri Lankans, I visited the peaceful bungalow home of Leelawathi Mahagamaralalage, more..

Shock over journalist’s abduction

Jun 29 (Hindu) The abduction and subsequent release by unidentified persons of a senior woman Internews journalist in Sri Lanka last Wednesday, after several hours of detention and a 45-minute “interview” on her work, has sent shockwaves among the media community here. The California-based Internews describes itself as an international NGO that fosters independent media and disseminates information worldwide and the abducted staffer based in Colombo, Krishni Ifham, is a journalist for 13 years. more..

Whistle-blowing: Will it work?

Jun 29 (LG) Lawyers, accountants and auditors met this week at a seminar to discuss the merits of whistle-blowing as a means of ending corruption in Sri Lanka. Speaker after speaker on the panel extolled the virtues of whistle-blowing and the need for such a mechanism but it was also pointed out that Sri Lanka is yet to have a whistle-blowing culture. What is whistle-blowing? It’s ‘blowing the whistle (like a sports referee does in halting play when an infringement has been spotted)’ when more..

Resettlement: Stagnation defeats credibility

Jun 29 (LG) The internal displacement from Jaffna after Riviresa was roughly equal in number to the current displacement from the Vanni. The displaced Jaffna population returned to the peninsula on foot, despite obstruction by the LTTE, over a period of two weeks. They were about 250,000 in number. The returnees were first led to Vembady where a round the clock kitchen was in operation. more..

Referendum or Re-election?

Jun 29 (LG) The ruling party has done itself and the Sri Lankan nation a service by nipping in the bud, early initiatives for having President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s term extended through a referendum, and not re-election. It is another matter if the President should advance re-election by full two years when the going is still good, and when there is no real competition in the foreseeable future. more..

PRISL launch journal on “Plastics and Rubber Sri Lanka”

Jun 29 (AT) Plastic and Rubber Institute Sri Lanka (PRISL) in a bid to link with industries in Sri Lanka and to serve the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) launched its journal “Plastic and Rubber in Sri Lanka”. The President of PRISL Sunil Liyanage together with other officials presented thr first copy to Minister of Industrial Development Kumara Welgama. At the ceremony, Minister Welgama said that this is a timely move, more..

Dengue-carrying mosquito killer from Cuba this week

Jun 29 (CT) Sri Lanka will bring down mosquito-killing bacteria from Cuba this week to curb the dengue epidemic, the Health Ministry announced. According to director general of health services Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage, two Cuban specialist doctors will also be arriving in the island to provide necessary advice. Discovered in 1982, BTI bacteria has proven to be a successful deterrent against the mosquito that carries dengue.

Lankans mourn death of envoy

Jun 29 (AN) A large number of Sri Lankan expatriates gathered on their embassy’s premises on Friday to mourn the death of Ambassador Abdul Ageed Mohamed Marleen. Marleen, 73, was found dead on Tuesday in his hotel room in the Yemeni capital Sanaa where he was attending a regional conference. His body was flown to Colombo where he was buried on Friday. Yemeni authorities said Marleen died in his sleep of natural causes. more..

Sri Lankan military maintains fishing restrictions in the north

Jun 29 (wsws) The Colombo media bogusly reported on June 20 that the Sri Lankan government had removed the decades-long, wartime fishing restrictions imposed on northern fisherman. The reports followed announcements by Basil Rajapakse, at a meeting with northern fishermen. Rajapakse, who is the chairman of the Presidential Task Force for resettlement, development and security in the Northern Province, told the fishermen that all restrictions would be lifted. more..

79 Muslim families resettled in Musali

Jun 29 (PSM) 79 Muslim families are resettled out of 521 total number of families who are resettled in the 2nd stage of Rehabiliation and Reconstruction program in Mannar district recently. The Tamil families were displaced from Mannar in 2004 and the Muslis were expelled in 1990. Muslim civil societies made joint appeal to the govt. to resttle both Tamils and Muslims together and the govt. seems to be having in heeding to this request. more..

“We took some Tea as a symbol”

Jun 29 (LG) Monday, October 22, 1984, 05:04am. Most of Colombo, the capitol of Sri Lanka, was dark. Birds announced the dawn, and a few vehicles, headlights lit, began puttering through the streets. In an ear-tearing roar the city woke up to a nightmare. A corner of a church was lifted from the ground and sagged back onto the street, instantly burying a Tamil man underneath the rubble. Cement shards and pieces of glass rained down for almost a full minute afterward. more..

Stop forcing Sinhalese and Tamils to learnt each other’s language

Jun 29 (LG) It is very popular in Sri Lanka to say Sinhalese should Tamil and Tamils should learn Sinhalese. Those pundits promoting this unthoughtful “solution” are incapable of appreciating what it entails although they may find it easier to understand 1956. In short they are trying multiple 1956s. Sinhala is a national language and the fluency of it should be sufficient for all individuals who use it. more..

13th amendment — remedy, or problem?

Jun 29 (LG) What’s militating against the implementation of the 13th amendment, is that it’s a direct import from India, and that it was moreover conceived in a shotgun arrangement. However what is left unsaid largely is that after decades of Prabhakaran driven separatism, the 13th amendment to a vast swathe of the Sri Lankan polity, seems too closely tied to the events of our separatist era. more..

Jaffna campaign in full swing in a 'new born' freedom

Jun 29 (GDI) After three decades or more of trauma,agony,fear and death threats,the people of Jaffna seem to experience a new life at this election time, with candidates and supporters of political parties engaged in a free move of campaign for the forthcoming municipal poll to the Jaffna Municipal Council. Election related activities have begun quite early and its' a hive of campaign with political party supporters running around to more..

President appoints Competent Authority for Laksala

Jun 29 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed the Commissioner of Public Utilities, Prasad Galhena as the Competent Authority of Laksala in a move to restructure the loss making institution into a more viable and profit making venture. The Laksala, in the recent past had been experiencing financial losses, and the President has made this move to ensure stability of this indigenous venture of local production that market handicraft and more..

Tourism to gain momentum in North and East

Jun 29 (GDI) The scenic tourist attractions and the picturesque hotel locations in the North and East will be brought back to life again by the Tourism Ministry to attract thousands of tourists before the end of the year, Ministry sources revealed. New hotels too are earmarked in locations pleasing tourists, in addition to the existing locations that were rendered redundant due to a three decade old terrorist war. more..

'A nation free from terrorism needs inner-self development'

Jun 29 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa firmly believed that a nation free from terrorism,needed not only physical development but also inner-self development of human beings and it was his aim to create a drug free just society where children respected elders. He made these observations on Saturday (27) while addressing a gathering after the re-opening of the Handugala Tea Factory. more..