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Fall in love with Sri Lanka’s other Half

Feb 28 (LB) Suddenly it has become ‘cool’ to travel to Jaffna. Everyone you know seems to be taking the bus, car, van or helicopter to the North and the East after the end of the war, an area which has been closed to the public for nearly three decades. And with the New York Times naming Sri Lanka as the top place to visit in 2010, a large number of foreign tourists are expected to join the locals in the coming months. more..

Political supporters would teach kids

Feb 28 (LB) Around 800 political supporters have been absorbed to the Sri Lankan Education Administration Services (SLEAS) as acting subject directors violating recruiting procedure, an education ministry union charged. This has caused an outcry with the Teachers’ Associations accusing the education ministry of violating the SLEAS Constitution by making appointments on political favouritism, says Joseph Stalin, president of the Sri Lanka Teachers’ Association. more..

Bitter homecoming for Muslims

Feb 28 (LB) In the ruins of Moor town in Jaffna, there is no mood for celebration. The majority of over thousand residents are taking shelter in abandoned schools and shacks put up next to the ruins of their old homes. Twenty years after the LTTE chased the northern Muslims, including 75,000 from Jaffna, the displaced want to return. But, even for those who returned, it is an unhappy homecoming. more..

A new Sri Lanka?

Feb 28 (AT) Last week, in a village in Batticaloa, a nine year old girl was raped, allegedly by three soldiers attached to a nearby army camp. The manner in which the army, the government and the society deal with this case would be both symbolic and symptomatic of the Sri Lanka that is in making, post war. Rape is a heinous crime; child rape is infinitely more so. Child rape is the sort of crime which should make us forget, more..

The West, news media & conspiracy, useless for Sri Lanka

Feb 28 (AT) The previously inconspicuous island nation Sri Lanka has become the center of attention for all of you since December 2009. Over the past 30 years all you heard on this small country was a suicide bomber blasting its citizens to bits and smithereens. The whole problem for you is that Sri Lanka used its own laws, constitution, local strategies and grass-root-level thinking to wipe out an internationally- fed and supported brutal terrorism. more..

A real taste of paradise: My two-weeks stay in Sri Lanka

Feb 28 (AT) Despite numerous travels, I get habitually fascinated with the scene from above on board an aircraft, when the preparations for the landing at the Bandaranayake International Airport are in progress. The fact that I am about to land on my motherland instils an inexplicable joy in my soul which then animates body in the form of pins and needles; more..

Sri Lanka Village Holiday Part 1

Sri Lanka Village Holiday Part 2

N-E Tamils can be salvaged under President's leadership

Feb 28 (MoD) The three TNA dissidents who submitted nominations on the UPFA ticket to contest the April 8 General Election told the Sunday Observer that their decision was prompted by their belief in President Mahinda Rajapaksa's genuine concern for the welfare of the Tamils of the North and the East. They believed that the Tamils who were reduced to a state of destitution having lost their dear ones, properties and more..

Sri Lanka records no violence in election nomination period

Feb 28 (Xinhua) An election monitoring organization in Sri Lanka said on Saturday that the nomination period for the forthcoming parliamentary election was generally peaceful and it will continue to monitor the election process closely. Prasanna Adikari, convener of the National Polls Observation Center (NPOC) told reporters that no election-related violence was reported during the nomination period from Feb. 19 to Feb. 26. more..

Businessmen, Tamil diaspora should help rehabilitation

Feb 28 (MoD) The government, which is spending over Rs. 88 million monthly to feed nearly 11,000 youth including children who were misguided and brainwashed by the LTTE to fight for a separate country, is in need of additional funding to make the rehabilitation process more effective. Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Brigadier Sudantha Ranasinghe told the Sunday Observer that the government alone cannot provide more..

National Lists: the last refuge for the politically displaced?

Feb 28 (LG) In October or November of the year 2001 I wrote a piece in the daily ‘Island’ titled ‘A refugee camp called "The National List’.It was a light and cynical look at the national lists submitted to the Elections Commissioner by the UPFA, the UNP and other parties. I called them refugee camps because both major political coalitions had unashamedly given the finger to the spirit in which the notion of ‘national lists’ came about, more..

Be UNP and have a piece of the pie

Feb 28 (LG) Some may fault me for bringing up this Sunday, a problem of a personal nature. I assure you, these days many personal issues fall under the public or even political rubric, and this one is definitely of that sort. Many who would go through this article, particularly if they live in Colombo city limits or immediate environs, would definitely identify with this “personal issue’’ of mine. more..

Double murder mystery cracked

Feb 28 (Hindu) Police here claim to have cracked the mystery behind the murder of two children and arrested three persons, including a Sri Lankan refugee, in connection with the case. The murders took place on May 17, 2007. The names of the arrested were given as Murali alias Robbery Murali of Thanthonrimalai, Pandi alias Muthupandi of Karur and Kumar alias Tharkolai Kumar. Kumar is a Lankan refugee and inmate of the Rayanur refugee camp here more..

'I could do more for my people under President’s leadership'

Feb 28 (SO) Ms. Thangeswari Kathiraman, Former Eastern Province TNA MP has now decided to contest on UPFA ticket at the forthcoming polls. She says the TNA could hardly deliver anything to the people in the North and the East. Thangeswari, an arts graduate of the Kelaniya University whose forte is archaeology says she could do more for her people by joining hands with the UPFA. more..

Bumper paddy harvest during Maha season

Feb 28 (SO) A bountiful paddy harvest has been reported during this year's Maha season. A bumper harvest is reported from all districts, the Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services Ministry stated. We would certainly attain the target of 2.3 million metric tonnes of paddy, a Ministry spokesman said. "The farmers can sell their produce to the Paddy Marketing Board which pays Rs. 28 per kilo for nadu rice and Rs. 30 per kilo for samba. more..

Badulla district: On road to prosperity

Feb 28 (SO) Transport is a vital link for development and for decades Badulla and Moneragala districts were virtually isolated from the rest of Sri Lanka due to lack of accessibility. Landslides were a common occurrence in the two districts and this led to the virtual closure of roads. Even train services too were affected due to this. Due to this, even the investors had shunned the two districts which led to the government having to more..

'UPFA confident of bigger majority'

Feb 28 (SO) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka, one of the most senior representatives in the legislature representing the SLFP, entered parliament in 1960. He was not planning to enter politics but reading for his Barristers’ at Law in Lincoln Inn in the United Kingdom at the time his brother Munidasa Wickremanayaka who was a political activist faced an untimely death and more..

Nine journalists in the fray for General Election

Feb 28 (SO) Apart from the popular sports and film figures, nine journalists will also contest the forthcoming General Election to secure seats in Sri Lanka’s seventh Parliament. The media personalities have joined in the fray under the main parties - the UPFA and UNP as well as the TNA and two Independent groups. Three of the media figures will contest from the Colombo district while two of them have handed over nominations to contest from Jaffna. more..

Towards a healthier nation

Feb 28 (SO) Various measures have been taken by the Health Ministry over the past few years to eradicate 10 major diseases including hepatitis, smallpox, measles and rubella from the country, Senior Epidemiologist of the Health Ministry, Dr. Sudath Peiris told the Sunday Observer on the National Immunisation Program (NIP). Other diseases coming under the purview of the NIP are polio, whooping cough, diphtheria and tetanus, he said. more..

Geetha, Police differ on attack on campaign office

Feb 28 (NS) Popular veteran actress Geetha Kumarasinghe, who is now contesting the General Election from the Galle District on the UPFA ticket, and Police differ considerably on the alleged attack on her campaign office at Bentota last Tuesday. Kumarasinghe told The Nation that an unidentified gang working for a UPFA candidate had attacked one of her campaign offices in Bentota in the early hours of Tuesday more..

Battle of Titans in Colombo

Feb 28 (NS) Closing of nominations for the upcoming Parliamentary General Election saw a total of 7,680 candidates from 366 registered political parties and 301 independent groups entering the fray to vie for 196 Parliamentary seats at stake. Of the 370 nomination papers submitted by the independent groups, 69 were rejected and of the 366 nominations filed by recognised parties 30 were rejected. An unprecedented 17 political parties and 49 independent groups entering the fray in the Digamadulla District more..

Ranil infuriated over Madduma Bandara's tipp ex politics

Feb 28 (LeN) Tissa Kathriarachchi whose name was fraudulently removed from the UNF nomination list of the Moneragala District said, he is filing legal action in connection with the obliteration of his name from the nomination list by Tipp ex, and interpolation of another which bore the forged signature of the UNP Secretary Tissa Attanayake in confirmation. He is already in consultation with Lawyers and is seeking legal advice, he added. more..

'We dropped the ‘bell’ for the common interest'

Feb 28 (NS) Even though they were not able to contest the general election as the common alliance under the swan symbol, JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva is hopeful that the JVP and the UNP could work together in future endeavours. Q. With the UNP deciding to contest alone you were compelled to contest the forthcoming general election as the Democratic National Alliance? Do you believe it is a strong alliance? more..

Testing elephant’s strength and preparing for hard road

Feb 28 (NS) Campaigning has gathered momentum for the April general elections with nominations closing on Friday, but it was the joint opposition that was mostly in the news this past week, as it struggled to put together a united front to contend with the formidable clout of the ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA). Negotiations continued until almost the eleventh hour - till Tuesday night - as more..

‘Development’ endangers Wilpattu

Feb 28 (NS) Located in the northwest coast dry zone of Sri Lanka, Wilpattu National Park (WNP), which is 131,694 hectares in extent, is the largest national park in the island, pronounced as a conservation area for more than a century. Subsequent to the cessation of war and the dawn of peace, many detrimental forces against the environment has been on the rise. Illegal construction and road development within the periphery of the WNP is yet another tragic example. more..

'Joining mainstream SLFP will help address Muslim issues better'

Feb 28 (TC) Minister of Development and Construction of the East & Rural Housing, Ferial Ashraff made headlines when she crossed over to the SLFP recently. A move some viewed as a controversy in the backdrop of the legacy her husband, the Late Ashraff left behind. Here, the minister talks about the rationale behind her move and her views on participating in mainstream politics to The Nation. more..

Don’t elect wrong men and blame the system

Feb 28 (NS) The next general election, for all the din it makes, has also generated a healthy debate about Sri Lanka’s electoral process. There are arguments ranging from the desirability of obtaining a two-thirds majority to the sensibility of nominating sports stars and film celebrities to Parliament, an issue on which we commented editorially last week. Yet another issue that is gaining attention among the voter is the quality and the credibility of the average candidate. more..

Security: UNP alleges unequal treatment

Feb 28 (Island) The UNP yesterday urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa restore police security afforded to Opposition MPs to ensure their safety and security during the ongoing campaign for the forthcoming parliamentary polls. Former Gampaha District MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena told The Sunday Island that Opposition candidates had been deprived of even the basic security, though UPFA Ministers and MPs retained their security contingents. more..

Vote out the corrupt says NFF leader

Feb 28 (Island) NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa has earned the wrath of the majority of UPFA candidates for calling on the electorate to reject corrupt politicians at the forthcoming parliamentary polls. The former JVP heavyweight, who is eyeing the top slot in Colombo preference vote tally, last week urged voters to keep politicians accused of waste, corruption and irregularities out of Parliament. more..

Back and never to leave again

Feb 28 (ST) Fifty-six-year-old Mohamed Basheer’s eyes still well up with tears when he recollects the day in 1990 when the LTTE issued an eviction order on all Muslims living in the Jaffna peninsula, giving them a few hours to quit a city that had been their home for as many generations as he could recollect. With his wife and six young children, they left with all they could take with them, leaving behind their hometown to live for nearly 20 years as more..

Enthusiastic youth setting up model United Nations

Feb 28 (Island) A group of enthusiastic young students from Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan are finalizing preparations for what they call the "Colombo Operated Model UN" (COMUN), an academic simulation of the United Nations aiming to educate participants about civics, current events, effective communication, globalization and multilateral diplomacy. In the COMUN model, students take on roles as diplomats and participate in a simulated session of the UN. more..

‘Electoral system reform to be based on German model’

Feb 28 (Island) ‘A resounding victory for the UPFA with a two-thirds majority in Parliament would clear the decks for economic growth and constitutional reform, with reforms to the electoral system, based on the German model, featuring prominently under the latter head’, Public Administration and Home Affairs and Deputy Minister of Finance Dr. Sarath Amunugama said. more..

Rajiva quits, question mark over Eran

Feb 28 (Island) Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary to the Ministry of Human Rights and Disaster Management, who is on the UPFA National List, has resigned from that position, he confirmed yesterday. "I have lost two jobs," he said. "I was Ministry Secretary and was also on leave from my University job. I’ve resigned from both," he said. Business circles were uncertain of whether Mr. Eran Wickremaratne, CEO of the NDB, who is on the UNP National List, will quit his job. more..

UPFA candidates participated in religious observances before taking their pledge

Feb 28 (LP) All UPFA candidates contesting the forth coming general election of 2010, 8th April, met yesterday under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Anuradhapura to participate in the scheduled religious observances. They met under the shade of the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi in the evening to take their pledge in unison for a peaceful, free and fair, disciplined election. more..

Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner meets Andrew Patrick on Global Tamil Forum

Feb 28 (GDI) Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Justice Nihal Jayasinghe has said it is unfortunate that a friendly country such as Britain was supporting the Global Tamil Forum. He described that the Forum clearly manifests its ambition to continue the separatist agenda of the LTTE, which Sri Lanka believes is against her sovereignty and integrity. He made these observations during a meeting with Andrew Patrick, Additional Director for South Asia. more..

Proud Sri Lankan flies national flag at Winter Games

Feb 28 (GDI) A group of Sri Lankans living in Canada claim that for the first time ever in Olympic Winter Games history the Sri Lankan national flag was shown live on Canadian and international television. When Prathap carried the Sri Lankan flag to the Olympic Winter Games this time, many tourists and onlookers had been quite curious on the origin of the beautiful flag. Some locals and foreigners had been quick to recognize the Sri Lankan flag but more..

More blows to Fonseka's image

Feb 28 (ST) In the sweltering noon heat last Thursday, supporters of Mangala Samaraweera escorted him in a procession along the streets of Matara. He handed nomination papers at the District Secretariat a day ahead of Friday's deadline. Along the route, crowds had gathered around a small table at the main bus station. They were signing a JVP backed petition demanding the release of retired General Sarath Fonseka from Army custody. more..

Oh! Parliament, rise to the grandeur of the past

Feb 28 (ST) And so, the political parties have filed their nomination papers for the next Parliament; but alas, we are unlikely to see the Independent MP anymore in our Legislature. Posters and banners of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his main challenger, the retired General Sarath Fonseka have given way to a host of old, not-so-old and new faces. The cities, the towns and the countryside have been bombarded with their mug shots - 7620 candidates vying for 196 seats more..

General Fonseka faces court martial

Feb 28 (ST) A former UNP MP has officially confirmed that General Sarath Fonseka made contact with the opposition when he was serving as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). He had then been critical of his superiors including President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, the former MP has claimed. The revelations by Lakshman Seneviratne (former UNP MP), came when he testified before the Chief of Staff of the Army, Major General Daya Ratnayake. more..