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'Sri Lanka tuition ban will hurt poorer students'

June 18 (LBO) A state decision to 'ban' tuition classes in Sri Lanka on Sundays will hurt poor families most as richer people will still be able to bring individual private tutors to their homes, an opposition lawmaker has warned. Police have already started to 'raid' cheaper mass tuition classes in rural areas like in the Sabaragamuwa and Southern provinces, opposition UNP lawmaker Mohan Lal Grero said. more..

BBC HARDtalk: Part 3

US gives more aid to Sri Lanka refugees

June 18 (IANS) The US will contribute an additional $2.25 million to support people displaced by the Sri Lanka conflict as they return to their homes and villages in the country's north. The money will enable some 9,000 families to receive the shelter cash grant provided to returning families by the Sri Lanka office of the UNHCR, a US embassy statement said. The shelter cash grant of 25,000 rupees ($220) "is a modest but integral part of returnees' return packages", more..

'Indian aid to Sri Lanka benefiting Chinese'

June 18 (IANS) AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa said the huge Indian financial assistance to Sri Lanka was benefiting the Chinese, who had won all the reconstruction contracts in the country. Noting that India has sanctioned Rs.1,000 crore towards reconstruction of the war-ravaged Tamil areas in Sri Lanka, she said that the reconstruction contracts have now been awarded by the Sri Lankan Government to China. more..

Sri Lanka post 312/4 against Bangladesh

June 18 (CI) If the rules of boxing were applied to cricket, umpires Billy Bowden and Bruce Oxenford would have been justified in awarding Sri Lanka a technical knockout during the first ten overs in Dambulla, for Bangladesh's bowlers were unable to defend themselves against Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga. Sri Lanka's openers scored at will, finding the boundary at least once in each of the first 12 overs,Live Video (US only) more..

'Sri Lanka has lesson to world on defeating terror'

June 18 (GDI) We are aware that some countries being battered by terrorism have taken strength from the victories won by Sri Lanka over terrorism. It is time for the countries facing attacks from terrorism to look back and see where they had gone wrong, whereas Sri Lanka has succeeded, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his address to the Nation on the Victory Day celebrations at Galle Face, Colombo today. more..

Sri Lanka marks Tiger defeat as war crimes pressure mounts

June 18 (AFP) Sri Lanka staged a delayed victory parade Friday to mark the first anniversary of the end of its 37-year civil war as pressure mounted for a probe into alleged crimes committed during the fighting. President Mahinda Rajapakse took the salute at the ceremony attended by thousands of troops drawn from units that led the final assault against the Tamil Tiger rebels, whose leadership was wiped out on May 18 last year. more..

Sri Lankan worker admits to biting off man's ear

June 19 (GN) A worker admitted in court Thursday that he bit and then cut a chunk from his roommate's ear after they quarrelled over watching television. Prosecutors had accused the 28-year-old Sri Lankan worker of biting the ear of his 45-year-old compatriot roommate and then cutting a chunk of it; leaving him with a permanent disability. The worker had also been charged with consuming alcohol. more..

Sri Lanka needs high gear government to drive economic engine: official

June 19 (LBO) Sri Lankan private sector is the engine of growth and the government should embrace the Japanese example and formulate policies that would help people run their economic lives smoothly, a senior official said. "Private sector is the engine of growth and the public sector is the gear box," Sunil Jayantha Navaratne, secretary of Sri Lanka's higher education ministry said. "The level of economic growth would depend on which gear the government is running on." more..

Debrief News - 18. 06. 2010

Sri Lanka president condemns critics in victory pageant

June 19 (BBC) President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka has denounced critics of the army at a military pageant to commemorate last year's victory over Tamil Tiger rebels. In a speech he condemned those who he said were trying to bring the country's armed forces into disrepute. The military victory in May 2009 ended a decades-long war. Both the government and Tamil Tiger rebels were accused of committing human rights abuses on civilians in the final stages of the conflict. more..

Kohona notes Gaza abuses

June 19 (DM) The UN Special Committee on Israeli Practices in the Occupied Territories, led by Ambassador Palitha Kohona, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in New York, expressed serious concerns about the human rights situation in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank -including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan. “Victims of the systematic and often arbitrary restrictions on human rights and basic freedoms have the right to see justice prevail,” more..

Dilshan stars in Sri Lanka's bonus-point win

June 19 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan all but scuttled Bangladesh's hopes of staying competitive in the Asia Cup and helped earn Sri Lanka a bonus point in the process. He blazed to a half-century, providing thrust for the first-ever total in excess of 300 in Dambulla, and then exercised control over Bangladesh's escalating run-rate, while ripping out three wickets to end the visitors' chances of an improbable victory. more..

Sri Lanka seeks to raise rubber output with rain guards

June 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to encourage small farmers tapping rubber to use rain guards to reduce production disruption by rain and provide more supplies for industry helped by high prices, an official said. Plantations industries minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that in some parts of the island lashed by heavy rains recently tappers were able to tap trees for only five days a month, sharply reducing output. more..

Dilshan targets 1000 calendar runs

June 19 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan has said the tri-series in Zimbabwe, in which he led Sri Lanka to victory as stand-in captain, helped him recover his lost form and carry it into the Asia Cup, where he sunk Bangladesh with an aggressive half-century followed by a canny spell in Dambulla. Dilshan made 71 off 51 balls, helping Sri Lanka achieve the first-ever 300-plus total in Dambulla, and set his sights on scoring 1000 runs before 2010 ends. He presently has 603. more..

The pathetic plight of the re-settled IDPs

June 19 (LG) Please permit me to bring to your notice the pathetic plight of the re-settled IDPs. I am sure this letter will not dis-please you, if you have the patience to read it with the sympathy these people deserve. Both you and I entered Parliament in 1970, representing the electorate of Belliatta and Kilinochchi respectively. You were the youngest of the lot and I was senior to you by 14 years and also senior to you in Politics. more..

Celebrating war victory and banning commemoration of dead civilians: this is “home grown & indigenous” reconciliation and freedom in Sri Lanka?

June 19 (GV) Today, 18th June 2010, has been declared a public holiday by the government. Many Sri Lankans, especially Sinhalese from the South are expected to respond enthusiastically to the government’s elaborate plans to celebrating the war victory over the LTTE. For several days, citizens in Colombo had to put up with closed roads in preparation. more..

Women's views on prevention of torture -- Interview 09

June 19 (LG) Nimalka Fernando is a lawyer and presently serving as President of IMADR and Convenor of Mothers and Daughters of Lanka. MDL is a network pioneered in 1989 to develop a campaign against disappearances by women’s groups and feminist activists. She made following comments on the problem of policing in Sri Lanka. Q: What do you think if the Sri Lankan Police? A: The Task of the Police is to maintain law and order and further to assist the judicial process more..

Govt. not rattled by UN Committee appointment

June 19 (DM) The government yesterday said it was not worried about the announcement by visiting UN Under Secretary General Lynn Pascoe that UN Secretary General Ban Kee Moon would appoint a Panel to advise him on the alleged war crimes committed in Sri Lanka during the last stages of the war. “The government of Sri Lanka took the initiative and the President appointed the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission with a mandate to more..

No one will be on our side if we don’t want to be on our side

June 19 (DM) I am writing this even as the official celebrations commemorating the first anniversary of the defeat of the LTTE are taking place. I am not against celebration and I believe that a lot of the objections to celebration came from people who just could not stomach that victory and therefore were bidding for some kind of consolation prize, trying to make it out that it was not celebration but crass triumphalism. more..

What victory are we celebrating in Sri Lanka?

June 19 (LP) Sri Lanka celebrates the war victory marked by killing of Tamil rebel leader Velupillai Prabakaran on May 18, 2009 a year and a month later. The victory celebrations were postponed a month ago since the floods displaced around half a million people, a large number from Colombo itself. Yesterday an ethnic Sinhala man was arrested by police for enlarging a photo of Velupillai Prabakaran. Police intelligence officials are now interrogating him to identify may be his mindset. more..

'I am trying to take the UNP in a new direction'

June 19 (Island) Sajith Premadasa is seen by many as the next leader of the UNP. In the first part of this wide ranging, two part interview, he speaks to C.A.Chandraprema about the various accusations that have been levelled against him and his father with regard to the present sorry state of the party. In the second part of this interview, Sajith Premadasa, widely seen as the potential successor to Ranil Wickremesinghe more..

Under-pegged education system: Will two B’s drive Sri Lanka home?

June 19 (NS) Sumanaweera Banda Dissanayake assumed duties as Higher education minister and Bandula Gunawardena assumed duties as Education minster. This is the first time in Sri Lankan history that two products of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura took control of education at a very critical juncture. After winning the war an important strategic window has been opened to Sri Lanka in the economic and social perspective. more..

Nature reserve raped: hotels, roads, sand-pits

June 19 (LB) Right at the heart of the Somawathiya national park there are two hotels owned by a major state concern, Project Manager of the Sri Lanka Nature Forum Sajeewa Chamikara revealed. The four-storey hotels have been supervised by a company named Genesis Design Pvt Ltd., while the construction has come under the supervision of a company called Kemyo Pvt Ltd. The threat to the national park with the erection of these two hotels is due to the huge wastage that is being discharged as effluence, more..

Emission test scams galore; monitor sleeping

June 19 (NS) While most Sri Lankan vehicle owners now religiously follow mandatory emission testing annually and maintain their vehicle engines properly to minimise pollutants discharged by them, hundreds if not thousands of unscrupulous motorists often in connivance with corrupt employees at some testing centres get their belching contraptions passed with ease. more..

Cometh the BBC Hit Man

June 19 (LB) So who invited the Sucker to Sri Lanka? We walked into an ambush. He came well armed, prepared, having done his home, clandestine, snoopy and other dirty work. He hit us for six. We (except one) were caught with our pants down. This is the second time some big SL names were made to eat ‘kos ata’ (tastier than humble pie) by the BBC. The first was CBK and she made us squirm. This time we were taken for proper nanas world wide. One thing is certain. more..

'Operation primates' launched to save Yapamma village from marauding monkeys

June 19 (NF) Adapting to the environment for mere survival is a common trait shared by both man and animal. The two species are key elements in the sustenance and beauty of mother earth. Humans are held responsible for the extinction of many species of fauna. But at the same time, instances are many where man has come to the rescue of certain species, although they are known to be a constant nuisance to humans, especially to those in village areas. more..

Is it ethical to celebrate victory without Gen. Fonseka, asks Rosy

June 19 (NF) All parliamentarians received invitations for the heroes day celebration, but not General Sarath Fonseka, the person responsible for the victory. Is it ethical, asks UNP MP Rosy Senanayake. She expressed this view at a meeting held in the Kosgama area. “We are all very happy that our brave soldiers, who risked life and limb, were able to militarily defeat the LTTE and emerge victorious. more..

The softening of the military state

June 19 (SL) Today I rented an Army paddle boat and puttered around the Beira Lake. Last weekend I saw them officiating a wedding. It’s weird, but honestly heartwarming. I was looking at some photos someone took of a Navy cruise ship. There was a small child in the captain’s chair, Navy crewmen grinning behind. It made me laugh. A year ago that ship was ferrying troops and evading LTTE suicide boats. Now a five year old is sitting in the captain’s chair. more..

Rebuilding hope

June 19 (SL) Do not hold tight to political power among you. This power belongs to the people. Earn their trust by serving them and not treating them as minions. They must hold the power and not the politicians. Politicians in this country must be placed in a position where they are accountable to the people at the grass roots and if necessary even tribunals should be set up for such purposes. Parish power prevailed in ancient times and they were so responsible, more..

Offshore drilling next year

June 19 (SL) ‘Offshore drilling in the Mannar basin will commence from late January 2011 to May 2011’ said Petroleum minister Susil Premajayantha speaking to the Sunday Leader. The drilling in question is proposed to be carried out by companies subcontracted by Cairn, who are calling for tenders from drilling companies for the same right now. This follows 3D seismic surveys carried out by more..

Charmed by Sri Lanka

June 19 (TS) Sri Lanka’s endless stretch of sea and sand is legendary and it’s easy to visit the country and never leave its palm tree-lined coast. But those who do, never regret it for just a few kilometres inland, beaches give way to plains dotted with impressive ruins and ancient Buddhist temples, verdant hill country, game parks and tropical wilderness. Over an eight-day trip with a hired car, guide and driver, the wife and I absorbed the culture and history of this gem of an island, more..

The Indianisation of a Chinese Rajapaksa

June 19 (SL) They call it “summer” in Delhi now. It’s no fun to land in Delhi during summer with the temperature blowing over 40 plus 3, 4 or 5 Celsius. When the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa touched ground in Delhi with First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa and retinue on Tuesday last, Delhi was surprisingly cool at around 35 degrees Celsius. Yet, Rajapaksa would not have felt so “cool” when State Minister of External Affairs, Preneet Kaur greeted him on the tarmac on behalf of the Indian government. more..

The Ashok Ferrey Show, to be launched this month

June 19 (ST) Ashok Ferrey may not be his real name, but he is a very real presence in at least half a dozen demographics – among them those who read books (he has written short stories and a novel); those who attend the annual Galle Literary Festival (where he is a prominent figure as emcee, chairing panel discussions and interviewing writers); those who study art and architecture (a qualified architect, more..

Wrong conclusions from Bloody Sunday

June 19 (Economist) A collegue in London reports a disturbing dinner conversation with a visiting Sri Lankan MP and sometime spokesman for the government. His visit coincided with the publication of the Saville Report, a long-awaited and costly investigation into "Bloody Sunday", the British army's massacre of 13 people in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in 1972. The report is of obvious interest to Sri Lanka, which faces calls for an international inquiry into alleged war crimes by both sides more..

Indian delegation arrives for religious dialogue

June 19 (NF) A delegation including several Hindu priests from India arrived in the island today to attend a dialogue aimed at improving mutual trust and confidence between religious leaders. The dialogue has been organised by the Mahabodhi Society. Distinguished Hindu priest, Swami Dayananda Sarasvathi Swami Ji, acts as the head of the Indian delegation. The dialogue, aimed at improving mutual trust and confidence between religious leaders, more..

Sri Lankan union bureaucrats prevent SEP member speaking

June 19 (wsws) At a delegates meeting of the Trade Union Confederation (TUC) in Colombo on June 10, union bureaucrats physically prevented a Socialist Equality Party (SEP) representative from speaking. The assault was aimed at preventing any discussion of the critical political issues facing the working class. The TUC comprises 10 trade unions and fronts, including the Health Services Trade Union Alliance (HSTUA), the Postal and Telegraphic Officers Union (PTOU), more..

UN food agency reopens office destroyed at height of Sri Lankan civil war

June 19 (UN) The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today officially reopened an office in the key northern Sri Lankan town of Kilinochchi, two years after it was destroyed during heavy fighting in the country’s protracted civil war. “Much of the 7.5-acre office site had been destroyed following heavy aerial and ground bombardment,” WFP spokesperson Emilia Casella told journalists in Geneva, more..

Akashi visits Ki’linochchi for the first time after war

June 19 (TN) Yasushi Akashi, the special envoy appointed by Japan during the Norwegian facilitated negotiations between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, accompanied by Basil Rajapaksa, handed over agricultural implements to some of the resettled Vanni civilians Friday in an event held in Ki’linochchi town. Yasushi Akashi who had held talks with the LTTE in Ki’linochchi was visiting the town for the first time after more..

Seed farms for Northern Farmers

June 19 (LP) The foundation stone was laid for seed farms in Paranthan and Murukkan in Kilinochchi yesterday. Japanese Special Envoy Yasushi Akashi and Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa inaugurated setting up of farms and two research centres to produce the necessary seeds for farmers in the north. Both projects funded by the International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are scheduled to be completed within three years and will cost around Rs. 168 million more..