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Sri Lanka power output up 8.9-pct in first half

Aug 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's power output rose 8.9 percent in the first half of 2010 from a year earlier, in a more active economy, official data showed, with larger volumes of cheaper hydro energy being generated. State run Ceylon Electricity Board had generated 5,215 GigaWatt hours of energy in the six months to June. Hydro generation was up 47.6 percent to 1,897 GWh, and thermal energy was donw 26 percent to 870GWh. more..

Devil in a blue dress

Aug 29 (SL) I am addressing this communication to the Editor of The Sunday Leader newspaper and wish to offer my comments for approval or rejection by you. It’s nothing but an absolutely shameful article under the heading “The Exodus.” You obviously belong to the new modern trend of our society. I am a mother (to be a grandmother soon) with four children, all of whom are graduates of the Sri Lanka premier universities – Kelaniya, Colombo and Sri Jayewardenapura – more..

Surging Yen to undermine motor tax cut

Aug 29 (BL) While motor industry analysts anticipate another tariff revision, vehicle importers are sceptical as to whether prices of Japanese vehicles will really come down, because of the surging yen. “We are unable to ascertain the real impact of the June tariff cut, until prices stabilise, hopefully by around October. What has happened is that vehicles ordered in June are expected only by mid September,” more..

E-mails that steal: Beware of fraudsters on the Net!

Aug 29 (SO) Gone are the days when people received chain letters by post, saying that they should 'copy the letters by hand and post them to seven friends or the gods would punish them' such letters spelt out the benefits one would receive if the letters were posted and the frightful things that had happened to people who had ignored the letter. With the development of IT and e-mails being a common means of communication, these letters have now taken an 'e' form. more..

The english speaking elite

Aug 29 (SL) I am part of a dwindling and slightly pathetic race called the English Speaking Elite, or the ESé. Despite filling out ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ on every police report (they ask), I cannot really speak Sinhala. If I’m under arrest it somehow comes back to me, but for casual inquiries I can’t. The Esé were once the dominant group in Sri Lanka (or Ceylon) or, more properly, the head niggers in charge. more..

'Until a political solution is found for the Tamils’ issue, the Diaspora will not give a cent for development in the North'

Aug 29 (LeN) UNP M.P. Swaminathan said, although the Govt. boasts that the families who were displaced due the war in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu have been re settled, there are still 20,970 families who are suffering without re settlement. Before 2006, there were 26,423 families registered in Mullaitivu, but of them only 15,607 families have been re settled. more..

Are women the only contributors to the Sri Lankan media with cojones?

Aug 29 (SL) I expect the title of this column will result in accusations of sexism, misogyny etc. being hurled at me, particularly by the Rajapaksa Sycophancy (RS) who will probably add in an accusation of obscenity. This is a particular risk given the fact that every English-language Sunday paper, bar two, are either owned by the Rajapaksas, their political followers or a government which they treat as their personal fiefdom. more..

The urgent relevance of arts and humanities

Aug 29 (SO) Some months before his death, Prof. Ediriweera Sarchchandra delivered a university convocation address in which he made a passionate plea for the cultivation of arts and humanities as a vital discipline in the contemporary world, and not to jettison them as a relic of the past. A similar plea has been made by Martha Nussbaum, in her latest book, 'Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities.' more..

GTZ Student Teachers

'Surveillance on surrendered combatants vital'

Aug 29 (SO) The Advisor to the Sri Lankan Government delegation for peace talks with the LTTE from 2002-2006, Shanaka Jayasekara said Eric Solheim, who crafted the Ceasefire Agreement, got LTTE approval prior to presenting it to the Government. This had made the Government uneasy on negotiating. The only option left for the Government was to 'take it or leave it'. "Eric Solheim was very sympathetic to the LTTE and influenced Norwegian foreign policy in favour of the LTTE. more..

Wonder plant Maduruthala to eradicate dengue menace

Aug 29 (SO) 'Prevention is better than cure' must be the most appropriate saying in controlling the deadly dengue disease which had engulfed almost the entire country within the first eight months of the year claiming more than 200 lives. The entire nation is lined up to fight against the deadly dengue disease during the past few weeks but with plus and minus points on the methodology they use in controlling the dengue disease. more..

Sanga’s choice of openers upsets Jayasuriya

Aug 29 (DH) "You can have your opinions as an individual, but when you are in a position of responsibility, you must be careful of what you say in public,” the most capped one-day player in the history of the game said. Sangakkara’s preferred line-up does not include Jayasuriya, the current captain plumping instead for younger guys like Dinesh Chandimal and Jeevan Mendis who are not in the squad for the tri-series under way. more..

Hinduism opposes animal sacrifice

Aug 29 (SO) The road that leads to the Bathrakali Amman Temple Muneshwaram had a festive, carnival air about it on Wednesday, August 25. Stalls selling everything from pots and pans to footwear, clothes, pictures and idols of various deities as well as ice-cream vans are to be found dotting both sides of the road. The side lane leading to the temple is filled with stalls selling various snacks as well as pictures of deities. more..

After the war: The answer begins in art

Aug 29 (ST) For four days only – August 28 till 31 – the Lionel Wendt Gallery and the Harold Pieris Gallery are hosting an exhibition that aims to distil the artistic response to 26 years of civil war from across Sri Lanka’s social spectrum. The plainly titled ‘Visual Responses During the War: Selected Works of Artists’ features painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, photography and video from 22 artists who together represent the island in miniature. more..

Maid torture report arrives in Kingdom

Aug 29 (AN) The Sri Lankan Embassy received on Saturday the medical report regarding the Sri Lankan housemaid who was found with 24 nails and needles embedded in her legs, arms, hands and forehead, allegedly pushed into her body by the Saudi couple she worked for as a method of punishment. A video statement from the victim translated into Arabic language was also handed over to the Saudi Embassy in Colombo for necessary action. more..

Supporting Govt, the need of the hour -SLMC

Aug 29 (SO) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) unanimously decided at its high command meeting to support the proposed Constitutional amendments considering the changing concepts of national unity and communal amity under the administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, party Chairman Basheer Segu Dawood MP told the Sunday Observer. From its inception the SLMC's relations with the UNP remained unstable and more..

Navy probes major human smuggling racket

Aug 29 (SO) Sri Lanka Navy intelligence operatives along with the police are conducting further investigations to bust a major human smuggling racket after they found that the five men arrested in the Marawila area in mid-August were involved in a part of a major racket which had been going on for many years. Of the five men arrested in the Marawila area in mid August one of them had been involved with the human smuggling racket. more..

Rienzie Algama – On candid camera

Aug 29 (SL) On July 26, he received a phone call at 5:30 am from an unknown source. “I am going to town today. We’ll see what happens,” was all he said. He left his home in Weligama for Colombo, never to return again. The story of Rienzie Algama has been widely reported in the media. The 60 year old, a staunch UNP supporter, set fire to himself on July 26. It was said he had taken this drastic action in despair at the leadership crisis the UNP was undergoing. more..

Lack of partnerships costs India on best pitch

Aug 29 (CI) India were faced with the largest target of the tournament on its easiest batting track, and yet their biggest partnership during the chase was worth only 50, between Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli for the third wicket. MS Dhoni, the India captain, said the batsmen needed to have had much larger stands if they were to overhaul Sri Lanka's 299 in the final. The early run-out of Virender Sehwag was a huge blow to India's victory prospects but more..

Sri Lanka's seniors pull their weight

Aug 29 (CI) Sri Lanka's three senior batsmen stepped up their game in front of a clamorous full house in Dambulla to end their four-tournament losing streak at home to India. Tillakaratne Dilshan will grab the headlines for his maiden century in Sri Lanka, which he celebrated by running halfway to the dressing room and pointing to his shirt number, but his opening partner Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara also played vital roles in a game they desperately wanted to win. more..

TNA seeks proper plan to work with govt

Aug 29 (NS) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has expressed its willingness to work with the government, provided a proper mechanism was implemented with its participation. The TNA had discussed the immediate issues facing the people in the Wanni and on the need for a political solution for the ethnic issue when a party delegation met President Mahinda Rajapaksa in June. more..

Editorial: Our workers in Gulf need more protection

Aug 29 (NS) The torture that L P Ariyawathi, a 49-year-old Sri Lankan housewife, suffered at the hands of her employers in Saudi Arabia shocked the nation this week. The lady from Kamburupitiya recounted her nightmare of having more than twenty nails inserted into her body as ‘punishment’ by her persecutors. Ariyawathi’s story - though exceptional in its degree of cruelty - is not the first horror story emanating from the Middle East. more..

An ex-serviceman continues to terrorize residents of Galawilawatte

Aug 29 (Island) A fugitive who uses a spray to immobilize his victims and steal cash and gold jewellery worth millions of rupees in the Galawilawatte area have baffled the Homagama police. After dozens of houses have been broken into, police suspect the elusive cat burglar is spraying a liquid similar to mace gas. The victims suspect the mysterious burglar had got hold of some gas device that was in the possession of the LTTE, more..

BTI bacteria use against mosquitoes from Wednesday

Aug 29 (NS) Deputy Health Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said the Health Ministry would start using the locally-manufactured BTI bacteria from Wednesday. Amaraweera said the Health Ministry was likely to receive the final evaluation report on the BTI from the Industrial Technological Institute (ITI) by Monday. “Once these final formalities are completed, we will begin purchasing the BTI on a per week basis,” more..

Govt tightens power grip

Aug 29 (NS) e strange twists of Sri Lankan politics took yet another turn this week with the ruling UPFA changing its stance on constitutional amendments and opting to continue with the executive presidential system. A few weeks ago, it will be recalled, there was much ado about reverting to an executive prime ministerial system with President Mahinda Rajapaksa having discussions first with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and then with a delegation of the UNP on the issue. more..

SLMC decision forced by four ‘rebel MPs’?

Aug 29 (NS) SLMC supporters in the East are criticising the party’s decision to support the government at this juncture. Top party officials were not keen on supporting the government but the leader and the high command caved in as four of SLMC MPs were threatening to quit the party and join the government, according to news leaking out from the SLMC. The decision averted the possibility of the party splitting into different factions, more..

Paddy purchasing by Govt. at a standstill

Aug 29 (SL) Due to a large reserve of imported rice stocks still piled high in government stores, the much talked about government’s paddy purchase mechanism has come to a complete standstill, former JVP MP Samantha Vidyaratne alleged. Despite the government’s claim to have initiated a mechanism to purchase the Yala paddy harvest, paddy farmers in Ampara, Pothuvil, Kalmunai, Vakarei, Polonnaruwa, Girandurukotte, Dimbulagala, more..

Editorial: Appointments to our missions

Aug 29 (Island) From the dawn of Independence, Sri Lanka’s ruling political Establishments have to varying degrees used Sri Lanka’s representation abroad as an instrument of patronage and reward. Diplomatic appointments were sometimes made to get rid of an influential personality who was making a nuisance of himself to the rulers of the day. Whether it was Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake or any of his successors as prime minister or president, more..

Editorial: Slaughter of animals and the Constitution

Aug 29 (ST) Some terrible things continue to happen unabated in this Paradise island-nation, one of them being the annual animal sacrifice at the Sri Badrakali Kovil at Munneswaram in Chilaw. This week more than 400 goats and hundreds of chicken were put to the sword in a gory event that seemingly had the backing of the police and local politicians, as is the case year in and year out. This is an annual ritual that began in pre-Buddhist India and more..

TMVP to stage protest in Batti over abduction

Aug 29 (Island) The TMVP said yesterday it is planning a public protest in Batticalloa to seek the release of one of the party’s municipal councilors who had gone missing. He is believed to have been abducted. The whereabouts of Pragasam Sahayamany are still unknown, the party said. He may have been abducted by some group though there are no armed political outfits operating in the East anymore. more..

Torturing Ariyawathie:In addition to compensation govt. will demand punitive action against Saudi perpetrators

Aug 29 (Island) With top level diplomatic initiatives continuing on the shocking brutal torture of a Sri Lankan housemaid, the government will push for punitive action against the Saudi couple responsible for driving 24 nails and needles into the body of L. P. Ariyawathie. "We are taking this up with the Saudi government as a very serious issue as a Sri Lankan citizen has been abused and treated inhumanly", he said. more..

'Foreign educated Sri Lankans welcome to return to serve their motherland'

Aug 29 (Island) At a time when the country is at the threshold of a golden era, after the successful elimination of the factors that for three decades, negatively affected the economic and social development of Sri Lanka, Prof. G. L. Peiris publicly invited those innovative Sri Lankan students who had attended foreign universities for their higher education, to return and serve their motherland. more..

Northern ministries to Kilinochchi from Sept.

Aug 29 (NS) With Provincial Council elections due in the North later this year, authorities have decided to move all its ministries from Trincomalee to Kilinochchi from September 1. Northern Governor retired Maj-Gen G A Chandrasiri yesterday confirmed that he gave directives to the Northern Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Animal Husbandry to move from the beginning of next month. more..

Probe on Lankans acting in porn films

Aug 29 (ST) The Police Women and Children’s Bureau has launched a fresh investigation into Sri Lankans who have been featured in pornographic films and play a role in promoting Sri Lankan porn. A senior Bureau officer told the Sunday Times that the Bureau has gathered information on Sri Lankan youths who have been promoting pornography in the country. The Bureau is currently ascertaining further details and more..

President to visit UN despite probe

Aug 29 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will lead the Sri Lanka delegation to the United Nations next month. Some of Sri Lanka’s leaders in the business and industry sector will accompany him. They are to hold talks with their counterparts in the United States to promote trade and investment in Sri Lanka. Mr. Rajapaksa will also make private visits to Mexico and Germany during this tour. more..

Mr President- Serve only two terms:BT poll

Aug 29 (ST) A large majority of respondents to a Business Times poll this week sent out a clear 'NO’ message on the government’s latest attempt to change the constitution to allow a President to serve more than two terms. In one of the most widely-responded polls in the BT popular email surveys, 90 % responded with a NO to the question as to whether the Constitution should be changed to permit an individual to serve three terms as President. more..

SLMC deserts opposition to back third term for MR

Aug 29 (Island) An attempt to garner all opposition political forces against what UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya famously called ‘a common and ruthless enemy’ suffered a severe setback last week with the SLMC reaching an agreement with President Mahinda Rajapaksa to facilitate constitutional reforms aimed at giving Rajapaksa an unprecedented third term. more..

Google’s free calls ring alarm bells for SLT, Dialog

Aug 29 (ST) The global search engine Google’s free calls to mobile and fixed lines in the United States and Canada might reduce revenues for local operators like Sri Lankan Telecom (SLT) and Dialog, officials said yesterday. They said they feared revenues from calls to the US and Canada might drop by 10-15% a year while the fall at Dialog was estimated to be around 5 %. more..

Major constitutional changes next week

Aug 29 (ST) There were two persons in Sri Lanka who could not contest presidential elections, declared President Mahinda Rajapaksa to a UNP delegation which met him at 'Temple Trees' last Monday. One was himself and the other was former President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, he said. Both are debarred from going for a third term under existing provisions of the Constitution. more..

Mannar - Tamil misery continues

Aug 30 (BBC) Broken, torn buildings tower over the tiny UNHCR tents on the gardens and court yards. Hanging clothes, pots and pans and carry bags scattered around the land show signs of civilian life. Thirty years of war has taken a lot from the lives of the Mannar farmers and they still await a sense of security. “Be careful and watch your mouth. The government security forces are vigilant and they do not like us talking to outsiders," my hosts warned. more..

Uni Lecturers Postpone Union Action

Aug 30 (SL) University lecturers who were planning on resorting trade union action tomorrow (30) if the government failed to address their salary issue by then, have postponed the trade union action till September 7. However, the university lecturers are to launch an island wide protest on September 2 to impress upon the government the urgency to address the university lecturers’ wage issue. more..

India denied me visa: KP’s cousin

Aug 30 (EB) India had denied a visa to Sinnaiah Thavaratnam, detained LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan’s (KP) first cousin, when he applied for it after being chosen to be part of a Sri Lankan fishermen team which toured Tamil Nadu to discuss bilateral fishing issues recently. Thavaratnam, who is the chairman of the Federation of Jaffna District Fishermens’ Associations, told Express on Saturday, that he was given no reason for the rejection. more..

If the UNP is to preserve itself and survive it has to change

Aug 30 (TC) Was Opposition firebrand, lawyer, karateka and pop vocalist Dayasiri Jayasekara right when he warned several weeks back that the UNP stood in danger of electoral extinction, like the Old Left in general and the LSSP in particular? The answer probably resides in yet another question: what would be the Wickremesinghe led UNP’s strength in parliament today, if Sri Lanka had the first-past-the-post system? more..

At last, a rudimentary roadmap?

Aug 30 (TC) The Lessons Learnt process is turning into quite an exercise in public pedagogy and performance, though it could be better. I rather liked Prof Rajiva Wijesinha’s ‘all round the wicket’ batting -- interspersed with episodes of whistle blowing (if one may mix one’s sporting metaphors) -- but then again I would, wouldn’t I? The mini-debate between LLRC chairman and former Attorney General CR de Silva and Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala was rather a superfluity. more..

Divided Community Batticaloa 1

The Scope of Canadian Conscience

Aug 30 (LG) As my flight descended into Charleston, South Carolina, I could see Fort Sumpter in the horizon through my sunny window of the aged United Airlines CRJ aircraft. Fort Sumter is best known as the site upon which the first shots initiated the American Civil War — subsequently bringing on unimaginable suffering of the people during and after that gruesome period in American history. This inspired me to write about the people I left behind almost 22 years ago and more..

Soft targets for asylum seekers

Aug 30 (LG) Ship Sun See was initially sailing towards Australia with 490 Sri Lankans allegedly seeking Asylum in some country with resources and a comfortable life. Anybody fleeing the birthplace in fear of persecution will be prepared to go to the closest safe haven, if they are genuine refugees defined in the refugee convention of 1951 and the protocol still in force though thoroughly outdated as the United Nations itself more..

Visual reponses during the war: Selected works of artists

Aug 30 (HA) Selected Works of Artists Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Installation and Photography is currently being held at Lionel Wendt Gallery&Harold Pieris Gallery in Colombo. The exhibition will remain open from 28th of August 2010 till 31st of August 2010.The gallery hours are from 10am to 7pm. 22 artists are participating in the Visual Responses During the War. more..

Fonseka's perils of playing politics and its implications

Aug 30 (TC) For General Sarath Fonseka who revamped a demoralised Sri Lanka army and led it to final victory in the nearly three-decade long campaign against the LTTE in May 2009, its aftermath had not been peaceful. His woes appear to be mounting after an army court martial found him guilty of dabbling in politics while in uniform and recommended his cashiering. And President Mahinda Rajapaksa promptly confirmed the harsh sentence, stripping his rank and more..

Minister Bandula bogs down attempting to deceive Bhikkus

Aug 30 (LT) The Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardene, in his letter of 02.07.2009, has approved names of 8 Bhikkus for the post of Asst. Director of the Piriven Education Branch of the Ministry of Education. The minister has made these recommendations when already there were 8 ‘Piriven’ teachers who had got through the Educational Administrative Service Examination. What is particular in this matter is that by 02.07.2009 Mr. Bandula Gunawardene was not more..