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Soldier held over Sri Lanka blast

Oct 4 (Hindu) Sri Lankan newspaper Daily Mirror has reported that a soldier who is believed to have been behind the bomb explosion targeting a school van in Kurunegala in the north has been arrested and is now in police custody. “The soldier had reportedly vacated his post at a nearby army camp, planted the bomb in the van and retuned undetected. A 12-year-old schoolgirl died and eleven others, including eight schoolchildren, were injured in the explosion,” more..

We have faith in New Delhi: Colombo

Oct 4 (Hindu) Sri Lanka on Saturday said it was confident that all necessary steps would be taken by the Indian government to strengthen security at its High Commission in New Delhi and that action would be taken against the group of unidentified persons who had barged into the premises of the mission on Friday. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna spoke to him over telephone on Friday night to more..

Minority parties search common ground

Oct 4 (BBC) The role of minority parties in the present political climate was the focus of a discussion on Saturday convened by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader, Rauf Hakeem. It was attended by PLOT leader, Dharmalingam Sidharthan, EPRLF leader, T.Sritharan and Western People’s Front leader, (WPF) Mano Ganeshan. WPF leader, Mano Ganeshan told Sandesaya that they discussed the formation of a common ground to take forward the issues concerning minorities. more..

Sri Lanka: From hot war to cold war

Oct 4 (AT) Attorney Gomin Dayasiri said on Thursday (Oct.1) that after winning the hot war Sri Lanka was now facing a cold war. He called for public support to deal with this crisis since the State’s intelligence services alone could not handle the problem. The lawyer made these observations when he gave a talk in Sinhala on the ‘New Shapes of Tamil Separatism’ at the National Library and Documentation Services Centre auditorium, Colombo 7. more..

LTTE murder czar, TNA MP’s son

Oct 4 (LB) Inteligence officials have revealed that the son of Vanni district TNA MP Sathasivam Kanagaratnam was a prominent LTTE member “Giri” who is said to have handled many attacks in Colombo, and attempted attacks on president Mahinda Rajapaksa and defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in close association with several high ranking army officials. ‘Giri’ was involved in the planning of the assassination of former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, and more..

Signal lights flash red when it should be green

Oct 4 (LB) Sri Lanka is — and presumably always will be — replete with ridiculous paradoxes. The transport ministry has launched an extravagant programme to revive the Yal Devi train service. It is an admirable project, an essential component of post-conflict reconstruction and an inspiring vessel for North-South unity. More than just a train, the Yal Devi will transport all Sri Lankans across the country’s heartland, more..

Bogols asked to ‘disclose’ details of staff

Oct 4 (LB) Members of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service (SLFS) are set to defy a circular sent out last week requiring them to disclose employment details of children, parents, spouses, siblings and even of spouses’ immediate family members. On Friday, a group of officers submitted a letter to Acting Foreign Secretary Chitranganee Wagiswara asking her to explain the legal basis on which such information is sought. more..

Are we going to deprive people of their livelihoods?

Oct 4 (LB) Minister of International Trade G L Peiris said last week that there was no question of withholding information from the European Commission with regards to Sri Lanka’s application for an extension of the GSP+. He also said value judgments by the European Union had injected “a certain element of hostility into the process” but that it was time to leave the unpleasantness behind. more..

Nine dagobas, and shifting sands?

Oct 4 (LB) The curious thing about the upcoming southern provincial council election this week is that the government has to garner a massive percentage of votes, or lose some face. The government is firing all cylinders for a 80 or 70 percent vote for the UPFA — - and the problem with this is that if the percentage is anything less, it would now be considered that the UPFA in fact “lost", at least in a manner of speaking. more..

Beyond the southern vote

Oct 4 (LG) The South is the barometer to test the pulse of the nation. Chandrika Kumaratunga emerged as the President-in-waiting after the Southern provincial election; and made President Wijetunga look a lame duck. That was the beginning of the end of an 18-year UNP regime. Now is the time for the litmus test. It is the margin of the victory at the election that holds the interest more than the obvious result in the South. more..

Repression basically given by masters in Washington and Delhi

Oct 4 (LG) Mahinda is confident that eventually the European Union will grant the GSP+, in the same manner the IMF funds were given recently. In the latter issue too. Global powers made various threats in relation to human rights violations and other setbacks. But then in the end the Mahinda regime got more than what they expected. It is clear, that the global powers have accepted that the present regime is faithfully implementing its agenda in spite of its ‘unacceptable behaviour’. more..

Obama or Osama? A critique of crude anti-Americanism

Oct 4 (TC) There is an unhealthy upsurge in anti-Americanism and what is more striking, anti-Obamaism in the Sri Lankan media, emanating from sources identified or self-identified as nationalist or patriotic. I have no problem with anti-interventionist, anti-hegemonic or anti-imperialist discourse and have been a practitioner of it in prominent international forums in defense of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and the causes of the Global South. more..

PBJ issue: Governance just a pipe dream

Oct 4 (LG) Last year, the Supreme Court in a landmark judgment, held that awarding 90% of the shares of Lanka Marine Services (LMS) to John Keels Holdings Ltd. was unlawful and restored it to the State. The Supreme Court also stated that Dr. P.B. Jayasundera (PBJ),then Chairman of the Public Enterprises Reforms Commission (PERC) had worked in collusion with Susantha Ratnayake of John Keels Ltd. to secure illegal advantage for the latter that were adverse to the public interest. more..

Ranil dons the gloves

Oct 4 (Island) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, believed by many analysts as looking for a bash at the presidency in elections expected early next year last Sunday made an aggressive speech at the open air theatre at the Vihara Maha Devi Park accusing the administration of a plethora of acts of omission and commission hurting the common people of the country. "The people should not expect any relief from this government," more..

Crisis ridden SriLankan looks at purchasing new aircraft

Oct 4 (SL) Despite suffering a massive financial loss running to nearly Rs. 10 billion, the country’s national carrier SriLankan is mulling the possibility of purchasing new aircraft in an effort to update its present outdated fleet. Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapakse told The Sunday Leader that if SriLankan Airlines followed the business plan it had drawn up for the current year, it would soon be able to recover from its losses. more..

The tough get going... as the going gets tough

Oct 4 (SL) As the issue of abuse of state resources reached a crescendo the UNP complained bitterly to all and sundry — to no avail though. There were vehicles from the CTB, from the Ports Authority, from the RDA — indeed from whatever government department there is. Some were covering their origins others were far too blasé: they went about their campaigning regardless! It is of course entirely possible that the UNP having been out of office for so long, has no idea that more..

EU Report on Gsp+ slams government

Oct 4 (SL) A damning report by the European Union (EU) on extending the Generalised System of Preference Plus (GSP+) facility to Sri Lanka, states that on the basis of the material before the panel, it has been concluded that the three conventions under scrutiny have not been effectively implemented in Sri Lanka. A copy of the full report given exclusively to The Sunday Leader had been handed over to the government last month for its observations. more..

PB and Basil lobby EU for GSP+

Oct 4 (SL) Following a damning report compiled by a panel of experts on renewing the GSP+ facility to Sri Lanka the government in its effort to lobby the EU for an extension on the GSP+ sent Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera to Brussels barely 36 hours after he reassumed office last week. Jayasundera together with Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapakse it is learnt are to lobby EU officials to consider granting an extension on the GSP+ facility to more..

Mangala runs into new obstacle

Oct 4 (Nation) SLFP-M Leader Mangala Samaraweera’s grand plan to bring former President Chandrika Kumarathunga and her son Vimukti Kumaratunga into the opposition alliance with a new symbol, has run into a major problem with the SLMC politburo deciding on contesting under the elephant symbol and not under any other symbol. SLMC General Secretary Hasen Ali contacted in this regard yesterday said he was too busy to talk and requested us to contact him today. more..

Children's Drama festival begins tomorrow

Oct 4 (GDI) The National Children's Drama Festival begins tomorrow at the John De Silva Memorial Theatre in Colombo. The festival will continue till October 12 and it is organized by the Drama Sub-Committee of the Sri Lanka Arts Council. A total of twenty four short listed children's dramas' will come up at this national festival. Last year's award winning drama "Punchi Kumari" will also be staged this year and no fee will be levied to view the festival. more..

CTB buses to bring people to swell President's rally!

Oct 4 (LT) People from villages are being collected using CTB buses for the rally presided by the President to be held today (4th) at Sanath Jayasuriya Esplanade at Matara. CTB buses from depots from various areas have been deployed for the operation and our reporter at Matara says more than 300 buses from various districts are operating in the town. Arrangements have been made to transport people from Devinuwara to Matara from buses that more..

UPFA predicts historic victory at SPC polls

Oct 4 (GDI) Just five days more for the important Southern Provincial Council (SPC) election, the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) predicts a historic victory in the South to written in the annals of southern politics. All ministers who tour the province to strengthen the UPFA campaign have predicted that the UPFA would obtain a near ninety per cent vote from the number polled on that day. more..

Tragic end for young Sports Woman Madusha

Oct 4 (LP) Speaking to Lankapuvath, Director General of Sports Development Department, Bandula Dahanayake confirmed the death of L. Mayuri Madusha (21), Sports woman from Debarawewa, Tissa. The 35th National Sports Festival started on a grand note on the 2nd at Polonnaruwa where participants from many parts of the Island were present. Mayuri Madusha was a schoolgirl from Debarawewa MV, Tissa in the deep South now representing the Railway Department more..

'Political solution a long process'

Oct 4 (Nation) The mandate of the APRC was not to recommend the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, but to realise a final solution to the ethnic issue, the Committee’s Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitarana said last Friday. He explained that during the latter part of the ethnic war, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was under tremendous pressure as certain quarters were raising concerns that the government has pushed aside the political solution while the military operation escalated its intensity. more..

Hikka type promotion festival in Negombo

Oct 4 (Nation) The government has been placed in a terrible predicament with December 31 this year falling on a Poya Day, and already hotel trade is lobbying to have the liquor ban lifted on this day, as they have to cater to an extra large number of New Year revellers with the ending of the brutal war. On top of this clamour to get the liquor ban lifted on this final Poya Day of the year, indications are that Tourism sector in Negombo too is now demanding a tourism promotional festival there more..

'I am now mainly a religious traveller'

Oct 4 (Island) I am honoured by the kind invitation extended to me to address this inaugural session of the 103rd Annual Sessions of the Institute of Engineers, Sri Lanka. Your’s is probably one of the oldest scientific and professional bodies in this country. The former Engineering Association of Ceylon being founded in 1906, fittingly at Anuradhapura being the capital city and the cradle of our magnificent ancient civilization. more..

13th Amendment: For whose benefit?

Oct 4 (Nation) Even after 22 years, since its inclusion into the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the 13th Amendment is still making news. Although part of the country’s supreme law, the Amendment has still not been fully implemented and political, legal and social authorities are yet to come to an agreement on the implications of implementation of this amendment. At a recent panel discussion on the implementation of the 13th Amendment more..

New explanation on compulsory Rs. 1,800 levy on soldiers

Oct 4 (Island) Controversy over a decision to deduct Rs 1,800 from soldiers in support of Army Day celebrations has taken a new turn with the army now claiming the money was for a special 1,000 rupee coin, T-shirt and cap. JVP frontliner Anura Kumara Dissanayake recently attacked the ruling coalition in Parliament for making a compulsory levy on soldiers. Although Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardene strongly defended the government, more..

Anatomy of a tragedy

Oct 4 (SL) Appi ude paandara nagittaa — we woke up early — we washed, we did our homework, then we got dressed and had breakfast. After breakfast, we got into the van. My father started the engine, but the van didn’t move. He tried the engine again, and then BOOM — everything shook and then went blank. I woke up in the hospital.” Nethmi Kulasena’s day began like that of any other school child in the island — with homework, breakfast, and a freshly-ironed uniform — but, more..

Election fever reaches new high

Oct 4 (Nation) Now that the Southern PC poll is only five days away, the election fever gripping the South has reached a new high. This election, being a precursor to the Presidential and General Parliamentary elections round the corner, is considered decisive for both the government and the main opposition UNP. The government coalition is working hard to register a landslide victory to create the necessary momentum for a cake walk at the two upcoming elections. more..

CBK speaking ‘metaphorically’ on ‘official tour’

Oct 4 (ST) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga says the Government “should look to making use of her international image instead of indulging in petty smear campaigns against her”. Her unsolicited offer, on the basis that she “enjoys immense popularity among the International Community” came in a three-page press release on Friday. To date, she says, she is the “only Asian leader to have been appointed to more..

Poya Day booze rules may be New Year damper this year

Oct 4 (Island) Duruthu Poya day falling on December 31 this year has placed the hospitality industry as well as New Year revellers planning to have their usual celebration on the horns of a dilemma because the law prohibits liquor being served in hotels, bars, etc. on Poya days. Hotels however plan to have their traditional New Year dances with alcohol served only after midnight on payment of the prescribed excise fees for "after hours" sales. more..

The race of the political tortoise and hare

Oct 4 (ST) A parallel is perhaps Aesop's fable of the race between the hare and the tortoise. The speedy hare boasted about how fast he could run. The tortoise challenged it to a race. Half way when the hare fell asleep, the slow and steady tortoise won the race, goes the story. Like all fables, history has shown that there is a good moral underlining them. Even in this era of advanced technology, the slow and steady win against the tardy and the tarnished. Politics in Sri Lanka, perhaps, reflects closely this parallel. more..

Lanka: Come for KP later

Oct 4 (ST) Sri Lanka will not heed any requests by foreign governments for their security agencies to interview Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP), head of the Tiger guerrilla procurement wing, until the legal process against him is completed locally. Such a process, the Sunday Times learns, is to be initiated only after ongoing investigations are concluded. At present, CID detectives are conducting a detailed interrogation on a wide-range of matters. more..

Attempt to stifle media

Oct 4 (ST) Eight most prominent media organisation in Sri Lanka this week reiterated their united opposition to the re-activation of the Press Council saying that it was aimed at stifling media freedom in the country by threatening to throw journalists in jail. A meeting was held on Tuesday at the J.R.Jayewardene Centre in Colombo to launch a signature campaign for a letter addressed to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the issue. more..

LTTE marksman downed UAV from Tiger aircraft

Oct 4 (Island) An authoritative security official yesterday revealed that the so-called Thamileelam Airforce had shot down an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in 2005 over the Vanni before the eruption of the Eelam War IV in July 2006 over the Mavilaru issue. The shooting of this aircraft by an LTTE marksman on board a Tiger aircraft was a closely guarded secret as the government did not want to publicly admit the then unprecedented LTTE success. more..

Hi-tech teacher at their little fingertips

Oct 4 (ST) White and green, they are toy-like and handy, slightly thicker than the school-slates of old. At the touch of a button, attractive lessons with colourful pictures or other educational activity in the form of games, either in Sinhala or Tamil, light up the laptop screen, accompanied by lilting music. A cyber revolution in the making, not in the high-powered centres of learning in Colombo but in schools in the remotest corners of the country, among less-privileged children, more..

How do we care for them?

Oct 4 (ST) Some of the more vivid and haunting images that came from the video footage during the last days of the LTTE earlier this year were of the streams of 'walking sticks' - almost the 'walking dead', painfully inching their way out of LTTE-held areas into the safety of Government territory. Malnourished to skin and bone, they brought horrific memories of the pictorials during World War II which showed civilians in Europe, more..

Maddinson ton in vain as Sri Lanka triumph

Oct 4 (CI) Nic Maddinson's maiden century was overshadowed by a rollicking partnership between centurion Banuka Rajapaksha and Rumesh Buddika as Sri Lanka Under-19 lapped their way to a seven-wicket win over Australia Under-19. Maddinson's unbeaten run-a-ball 133 stood out in an otherwise shoddy performance by the Australians, who failed to support him adequately when setting a target. more..

Light at the end of the tunnel for Jaffna - Mayoress

Oct 4 (SO) Yogeswari Patkunaraja was elected as the 25th Mayor of Jaffna, at the Local Government polls to the Jaffna Municipal Council (JMC) held recently. The second woman to be elected to this position. she will be sworn in as the UPFA Mayoress for Jaffna before President Mahinda Rajapaksa on October 12. In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Observer, Yogeswari Patkunaraja outlines her vision for Jaffna. more..

Canadian firm to tie up with Nanesala

Oct 4 (SO) One of the top US Canada based Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KBO) provider companies, Adventity Inc, will be providing technical expertise to the Government initiated Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) program. The New York Headquartered Company has also held talks with Secretary to the President, Lalith Weratunga, to promote a job placed education program through the Nanesala network. more..

IDPs resettled and North developed despite criticism

Oct 4 (SO) Even amidst the strident criticism by some mischievous elements and the Opposition carrying out propaganda aiming at personal political advantage, the Government is successfully carrying out the resettlement of IDPs and the infrastructure development in the North under the "Uthuru Wasanthaya" accelerated Northern development drive. The Government is committed to promote the living standards of the community affected due to the LTTE more..

'Military victory not handed over on a platter'

Oct 4 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa asserted yesterday that some internal forces were trying to charge Sri Lanka for war crimes to cover up their shortcomings and to degrade the hard earned military victory, but as long as there are patriotic people, these forces would not achieve their ignoble ‘missions’. President Rajapaksa was addressing the opening of the exhibition at the BMICH to mark the 60th anniversary of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). more..

'Winds destroy shelters for Sri Lanka war-displaced'

Oct 4 (AFP) More than 2,000 temporary shelters for civilians displaced in Sri Lanka's recently-ended ethnic war were destroyed by gale force winds, a press report said Sunday. The damaged shelters were part of camps where 250,000 people remain detained after government troops defeated the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in May, the Sunday Times here said. The storm damage increased concern for the welfare of the Tamil civilians who more..

Celestial Fervour: “Not forgetting the suffering of the other”

Oct 5 (HA) “Violence begins at home. If we are talking about peace, reconciliation and understanding the other culture –these need to begin at home” says Jagath Weerasinghe. Celestial Fervour Art of Jagath Weerasighe is currently being held at the Theertha Red Dot Gallery in Pitakotte. The exhibition began on September 8th 2009, and will end on October 5th 2009. Red Dot Gallery is contemporary-artist- run gallery, and first of its kind in Sri Lanka. more..

A real sense of actuality in Rajani Thiranagama commemoration

Oct 5 (TC) Dayan Jayatilleke’s article titled" An absence of actuality at Rajini memorial meeting at BMICH" published on 27th September in "Transcurrents" deserves some clarification and response in order to put the record straight. I believe this would benefit readers and will provide justice to Rajani’s life and her heroism in taking on the neo-fascistic LTTE so boldly in “a meaningful defiance”. In so doing Rajani and her colleagues in the UTHR never hesitated. more..

My life in Menik farm IDP camp from March to July 2009

Oct 5 (TC) A quarter million people, who have been on the run from artillery fire for more than a year, are now restricted by barbed wire inside an area less than one kilometre square. A comparison with the size of some heavily populated cities (Table) gives some idea of the congestion that is made even more acute by restricting the freedom of movement of the inmates. The scenario has drawn the attention of United Nations, Amnesty International, more..

Duplicitous Canadians

Oct 5 (LG) I have refrained from writing much about Sri Lanka since the end of the war on terrorism – although there have been a number of topics on which I could have commented. I am convinced that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has things pretty much under control, and that he is moving the country and its diverse populations forward toward the unity and harmony he has promised. One incident, however, just came to my attention that I feel I must address – because more..

Strategy of shooting targets on a revolving platform

Oct 5 (LG) The view of the Sri Lankan political scene in the post ‘terrorist war’ period could be described as marksmen of the Rajapakse regime — media and political — having pot shots at figures on a revolving stage. The figures on this revolving stage or this merry-go-round are those such as former US Ambassador Robert Blake (now Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia), GSP Plus, Erik Solheim and the Norwegian government, Hilary Clinton, more..

5 journalists & several UNPrs injured in attack by thugs at Deniyaya

Oct 5 (LT) A group of UNP supporters including its Secretary General Tissa Attanayake and Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake and a group of journalists who had visited the ‘palace’ being built using government funds at Deniyaya have been assaulted by a group of supporters of the UPFA. Mr. Ravi Karunanayake has received an injury on his head and about 20 vehicles have been damaged in the attack. more..