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Govt. shaken by ‘Lankatruth’ article – removes ‘tattooed woman’ from online copy of ‘Daily News’

Mar 28 (LT) The government shaken by the article published by ‘Lankatruth’ regarding the souvenir with the tattooed picture of Lord Buddha on the bare back of a woman made available to tourists by the Ministry of Tourism has removed the relevant picture from the online copy of the ‘Daily News.’ The article of the online copy of the ‘Daily News’ of 26th June, 2009 carries only the other 3 pictures that were with the picture of the tattooed woman. more..

Popular Singer Abeywardena Balasuriya passes away

Mar 28 (LeN) Popular singer Abeywardena Balasuriya passed away this noon (27). He was for sometime hospitalized, and he was 63 years old at the time of his death. As a singer at the SLBC, he had a large number of fans. He won the acclaim of the critics as a singer of exceptional standard. His songs ‘ganga oba ennako ganga’; ‘piayneni ma newatha upannoth‘ earned him a special popularity. more..

Longevity risk: Death of retirement?

Mar 28 (LG) Face it, retirement is not a great idea, especially at 55. Retirement is one of those words in English that will soon be delegated to history. Retirement as we know it today is a relic from a time and a world that has long since passed. The concept of retirement was a short-sighted political tool, employed in nineteenth century Germany, which grappled with widespread unemployment. more..

An acid test of right and wrong

Mar 28 (LG) Skeptics cannot truly be blamed for not taking this government seriously when it talks of improving its human rights record. Even with the most commendable of efforts, one is hard put to feel any discernible happiness when we hear, for example, that the government plans to roll back some of the emergency regulations and amend the country's criminal procedure laws, as announced in Brussels recently upon the conclusion of talks with more..

How to choose your MP

Mar 28 (NS) Three principal issues arise when voters ponder upon what action they should take regarding the forthcoming Parliamentary Elections. The first issue is whether to vote or not. The second is to decide on the party to support. The third is to identify the three preferred candidates. In early January, the Citizens’ Movement for Good Governance (CIMOGG) appealed to the public not to waste their valuable franchise more..

Pirates cut ambassador’s vacation short

Mar 28 (NS) Sri Lankan Ambassador to Kenya, Jayantha Dissanayake who was back in Sri Lanka on leave, returned to Nairobi last night cutting short his vacation following a directive by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President advised Dissanayake to immediately report back to Nairobi in order to deal with the latest crisis that has arisen with the Somali pirates hijacking a ship which had 23 Sri Lankan sailors on board last week. more..

Jaffna Uni students hold balance of power

Mar 28 (NS) Hinting a possible shift in Tamil opinion, the influential Jaffna University Students’ Union (JSUSU), which normally aligns with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), has so far shied away from backing any party or candidates at the April 8 general election, over allegations that the TNA has become a tool of India. more..

Ranil double talks

Mar 28 (NS) The UNP has not taken any action against the party’s Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya and General Secretary Tissa Attanayake for allegedly participating in a propaganda rally in Moneragala organised by the party’s former district leader Ranjith Madduma Bandara, who is now facing disciplinary action by the party over the ‘tippexing affair,’ UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told media more..

AG okays US$ 106.8m loan agreement with Iran

Mar 28 (NS) The Attorney General’s Department has finally given the go ahead to sign a US$ 106.8 million loan agreement with the Export Development Bank of Iran to launch an ambitious scheme to provide electricity to 1,000 remote villages. Power and Energy Ministry Secretary M.M.C. Ferdinando said yesterday that with the AG’s approval given on Wednesday they can immediately sign the agreement with EDBI and begin work. more..

Let not attacks of Sirasa type scar the govt.

Mar 28 (NS) In the midst of the political heat generated by the upcoming general election, a different issue hit the headlines last week: protests against a planned concert by pop star Akon that took an ugly turn when the Colombo offices of the ‘Sirasa’ media organisation were attacked. This is not the first such instance and in that sense, should hardly be surprising. But regrettably we would dare to say that this would not be the last incident of this nature and more..

President’s dire warning unheeded

Mar 28 (NS) The battle for the ‘Manape’ - the preference vote - being waged by candidates of all political parties is turning fiercer with the countdown to the parliamentary general election drawing near the zero hour. Clashes over the ‘Manape’ has already claimed two lives - one each from Digamadulla and Kalutara districts. Efforts by both, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and UNP leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe to banish the scourge of intra-party and more..

The Samurdhi fiddle: Deserving cases shut out

Mar 28 (Island) Close on the heels of a mother throwing a child to Kalu ganga as she was not able to look after her four children due to poverty, the government has acknowledged that many deserving families, running in lakhs, did not receive Samurdhi benefits. But it is also well known that large numbers of undeserving families, whose income threshold is above the floor qualifying for Samurdhi benefits, more..

Moderation must be the name of the game

Mar 28 (Island) The newspapers have been full of stories in recent weeks, especially after the war ended last year that Sri Lanka is headed for a tourism boom. Millions of dollars are being poured into the industry by hard headed businessmen who do not flush their money down drains. They invest in areas where they see real potential and the perception is clearly evident that the industry, which can create not tens but hundreds of thousands of desperately needed jobs, more..

Govt. eyes 2/3; UNF, DNA clash on General

Mar 28 (ST) Though not surprising, the campaign for the April 8 parliamentary elections has been lacklustre. The only political heat it has generated is from the internecine rivalry within contending factions of all parties over preference votes or manape, the term familiar to most voters. The reason for the relative lack of public interest is most obvious. It stems from the outcome of the January 26 presidential election where Mahinda Rajapaksa won with a majority of more..

'Govt. preparing groundwork to introduce a new Education Act'

Mar 28 (Island) The Government would take the necessary steps to introduce a new Act of Education encompassing a new set of revolutionary educational policies, after the parliamentary poll, Minister G. L. Peiris said last week. "The objective of this proposed piece of legislation would be to mould a child who would be required to face the challenges of the 21st Century while gearing to understand the fast-changing tendencies in the international arena", he noted. more..

State institutions look for ‘good names’ on blue chip boards

Mar 28 (Island) Strong buying of blue chip equity by state sector entities including the Employees Provident Fund, National Savings Bank, the Employees Trust Fund, and the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation and, to a smaller extent, the Bank of Ceylon Pension Fund has driven upward movement on the Colombo Stock Exchange recently, analysts and brokers said yesterday. "Although investment by state entities in the banking sector caused ripples in the market, more..

The Debt Problem

Mar 28 (Island) The UNP says that every citizen will have to pay Rs 830,000, or so to repay the debt incurred by the government. It is not clear whether they refer to domestic rupee denominated debt or the total which consists of both rupee debt and foreign currency debts. The underlying rationale for this line of thinking is that the debt repayments are to be repaid by taxes paid by the people. This of course is the desirable course of action. more..

Preference battle hots up as D-day approaches

Mar 28 (Island) With the general election over a week away, the battle among UPFA heavyweights for preference votes is hotting up though President Mahinda Rajapaksa warned them not to fight each other. Political sources say growing hostilities among leading UPFA candidates have left UNP-led United National Front and the JVP-led Democratic National Front to campaign without hindrance. more..

Warped economy won’t solve poverty

Mar 28 (ST) As the dust rises with the upcoming parliamentary elections, there is a tendency for the real issues that burden the people to get blurred by those in the campaign trail. On the eve of the Presidential election, we wrote in this space how a boatman in Weerawila in the deep south probably embodied what many ordinary voters in this country felt about elections. The candidates come begging for their vote at election time, more..

Poll card postmen deliver strike note

Mar 28 (ST) Postmen have threatened to stop distribution of poll cards in protest over a cut in their special duty allowances. The protest came after the postal department in a cost-cutting exercise reduced the allowance paid to postmen put on duty to deliver poll cards. Pro-JVP Lanka Postal Services Union spokesman Jayantha Wijesinghe said around 60% of the postmen throughout the country have expressed their opposition to the allowance cut and more..

NAM drops opposition to UN advisory panel

Mar 28 (ST) The 118-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which accused Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of trying to interfere in the domestic affairs of Sri Lanka, is now taking a more conciliatory stand over the proposed appointment of a panel of UN experts to assess the human rights situation in the country. In a letter to NAM members Friday, Egypt in its capacity as chair, says the secretary-general has clarified that the panel of experts more..

No foreign monitors: UNP blames polls chief

Mar 28 (ST) Foreign monitors including members from the European Union (EU) have been left out of the election monitoring process amidst allegations by the main opposition UNP that the Commissioner of Elections has failed to forward the invitations in time. The Elections Department yesterday confirmed that no foreign monitors had been invited for the monitoring process. more..

No US military training for Lanka

Mar 28 (ST) The United States has turned down a request by the Defence Ministry to provide advanced training for Sri Lankan military officers, citing human rights concerns. Three lists containing names of senior officers were submitted to the US State Department for training at US military academies. U.S. Embassy spokesperson said facilities for such training programmes required certain assurances including the safeguarding of human rights. more..

Religious Police

Mar 28 (SL) Sri Lankan authorities have detained Sarah Malani Perera, a Sri Lankan-born resident of Bahrain, at the Katunayake Airport for publishing two books allegedly offensive to Buddhism. She was leaving after a three-month holiday in Sri Lanka. Perera, who was born to Buddhist parents, converted to Islam in 1999. The books, titled Darkness To Light and Questions And Answers, were seized at the airport. more..

No truth in Fonseka’s deteriorating health claim – Army

Mar 28 (LB) The recent assertion of Anoma Fonseka regarding her husband’s deteriorating health had triggered claims of inadequate medical facilities and bad ventilation, but, the army spokesman says that a special Navy doctor has been appointed for 24 hour consultation. Major General Prasad Samarasingha said that Mrs. Fonseka’s claim is not correct. more..

'Two thirds majority not necessary'

Mar 28 (NS) It is not necessary to get a two thirds majority to change the current electoral system, according to UPFA Ratnapura District candidate Vasudeva Nanayakkara. He explained, “Two thirds will make it convenient and indisputable. Otherwise, we would have to rely on the voting majority, which exceeds that of J.R. Jayewardene who formed the Constituent Assembly in 1978. more..

All female flying crew makes history at SriLankan Airlines

Mar 28 (Island) SriLankan Airlines’ lady pilots have quietly revolutionized aviation in Sri Lanka, with several international flights being carried out by all-female crews. Captain Anusha Siriratne and Junior First Officer Madini Chandradasa were the first all-female crew, operating a flight from Colombo to Trichy and back on 1st November 2009. Each leg on an Airbus A320 aircraft took one hour. more..

Lanka police announce Rs one million reward for info on Fonseka kin

Mar 28 (PTI) Sri Lankan police has announced a Rs one million reward for information on Danuna Tillekaratne, the son-in-law of detained ex-army chief Sarath Fonseka, over alleged profits made by his firm from illegal defence deals. The reward was announced weeks after Sri Lankan authorities asked Interpol to help them unearth details of Tillekaratne's foreign bank accounts. more..

'Advisory panel on Lanka unwarranted'

Mar 28 (GDI) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said the dialogue with the UN was continuing to assert Sri Lanka’s position that an advisory panel to focus on Sri Lanka’s accountability issues, was unwarranted. The Minister said UN Resident Representative Niel Buhne who returned from a consultation stint at UN headquarters in New York reiterated that the proposed panel will advise the more..

Second court martial named

Mar 28 (ST) A new General Court Martial (GCM) to hear charges of fraudulent military deals against retired General Sarath Fonseka is to comprise Major General Milinda Peiris (President), Major General Lalith Daulagala and Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe. Their formal appointment, the Sunday Times learns, now awaits the signing of a Convening Order by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, more..

Troubled beginning for the released Tamil refugees

Mar 29 (HT) The Sri Lankan government claims to have resettled more than 1.9 lakh displaced Tamils. But for thousands of the resettled the problems are far from over; a release from military-guarded camps hasn’t exactly translated into a new, bright beginning. For one, the UNHCR in Sri Lanka has suspended the distribution of shelter cash grants to displaced returnees due to shortfalls in funding, latest UN report said last week. more..

Sri Lankans spend six months in a leaky boat

Mar 29 (AAP) Around 240 asylum seekers will pass a sad milestone this week: six months in a leaky boat. It was late September or early October when the Tamils boarded the rickety Jaya Lestari 5 bound for Christmas Island and, they hoped at the time, new lives in Australia. But then fate - and Kevin Rudd - intervened. Learning the boat was on the way, Mr Rudd phoned Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and more..

Brigadier 'involved' in Lasantha murder

Mar 29 (BBC) The Attorney General has informed the Supreme Court that a senior military officer was involved in the assassination of Sunday Leader Editor, Lasantha Wickramathunga. In a written submission to the court, the AG has told the courts that Brig Duminda Keppetiwalana who was arrested on suspicion on conspiring to overthrow the government, was involved in the murder and more..

On racists, ‘non-racists’, stone-throwing and humility

Mar 29 (LG) There was a time when anyone who said that the LTTE should be taken on militarily would be called an ‘extremist’ or a ‘war-monger’. If the person happened to be a Sinhalese, he/she would be called ‘chauvinist’ and ‘racist’. The name-callers would salivate in the Sinhalese who argued in this vein happened to be Buddhists as well. Now I believe that all communities have more or less the same percentage of bigots and that among the adherents to religious faiths, more..

What a scramble for power

Mar 29 (LG) The leader of the JVP claimed that they are willing to form a government with all the willing partners of the opposition after the election. Of course, it has to be under the leadership of General Sarath Fonseka. If he is really serious, the JVP must be prepared to accept some sort of a common programme. The UNP today is in a coalition with the Muslim congress of Rauf Hakeem and Mano Ganesan’s Peoples Front. more..

An atypical lesson in governance

Mar 29 (LG) Would it make a difference if Lakshman Kadirgarmar was not dead, and was running our country today —- as president, or as the numero uno, in whatever capacity, perhaps under terms of a new constitution, as Commander-in-chief? I think it is a question that’s not too adulatory of the late foreign minister. It’s also not merely a rhetorical or abstract question. more..

‘Deiyo sake’ and ‘Hallo machang diplomacy’

Mar 29 (LG) Seeking solitude from the hurly burly politics of the day, we were at the Water Hole sipping the Waters of Nuwara Eliya and reflecting on universal declarations by men of substance and those of straw. We were contemplating the particular declaration that ‘a perfect man can never be created’ when we picked up the election manifestos of aspirants to parliament and realised how outdated these time worn truisms of the so called ‘greats’ are. more..

SLBC’s savage attack on media freedom

Mar 29 (LG) In a program entitled ‘Rata Yana Atha – with Hudsan Samasinghe’ which aired on Saturday (27th of March) was a long and direct attack on media freedom. Under the pretext of the Akon affair, the theme of the program was that rata – country - is more important than media freedom. However, rata without media freedom can be a paradise for an authoritarian ruler and slavedom for the people. more..

Remaking Sri Lanka, The Rajapaksa way

Mar 29 (LG) Mahinda Rajapaksa is arguably the most successful leader in post-1948 Sri Lanka, just as Velupillai Pirapaharan was the most successful Tamil leader of modern times, until, intoxicated by hubris, he overreached and brought upon himself and his people a devastating defeat. When Rajapaksa won the presidency less than five years ago, the existence of the ethnic problem and more..

Suresh Premachandran accuses EPDP men for abduction, killing of student in Chaavakachcheari

Mar 29 (TN) Suresh Premachandran, former TNA Jaffna district parliamentarian, accused EPDP men, an ally of the ruling UPFA, for the abduction and killing of Thiruchelvam Kapilthev, a 17-year-old student of Chaavakachcheari Hindu College in a report released Sunday in Jaffna. Suresh Premachandran accused the police to have willfully ignored the statements of the three students arrested and more..

Navy brings released Sri Lankan Fishermen safely home

Mar 29 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy brought twenty-five Sri Lankan fishermen safely home after their release from Indian custody on 27th March 2010. The fishermen and five fishing trawlers were handed over to SLN officials by the Indian Coast Guard Ship "Kittur Chenamma" at the Indo-Sri Lanka International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the seas north of Kankasanthurei. They were brought to the KKS Harbour and provided with food and required assistance by Naval authorities. more..

Arrest of Muslim author 'illegal'

Mar 29 (BBC) Lawyers for the Muslim author arrested on charges of anti-state activities accuse Sri Lankan authorities of illegal arrest and detention. Alex Fernando, counsel for Sarah Malani Perera, said that he is yet to be informed of the reasons for the arrest. "She too has not been informed of any reasons for the arrest," he said. Mrs. Perera, who converted from Buddhism to Islam, was forced to remove the face veil by the officers at Mirihana police station, more..

Lankan navy attacks Tamil Nadu fishermen in Palk Strait

Mar 29 (PTI) Fishermen, who went into the sea from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, were attacked allegedly by Sri Lankan Navy near Katchathivu in the Palk Strait last night. Fishermen Association sources said 670 mechanished boats set out for fishing yesterday. While fishermen in 17 boats were fishing near Katchathivu, they were surrounded by five Lankan Naval vessels whose personnel attacked them, more..

Is TNA born again-LTTE?

Mar 29 (LG) Like many Sri Lankans, I am thoroughly disappointed with the current election Manifesto published by the TNA. This Manifesto, in my view seeks to perpetuate the irrational policies of the defeated LTTE. A thirty-year armed confrontation to win their demands, did only take the LTTE to decimation on the shores of Nandikadal lagoon and the Tamil people to abject destitution and IDP camps. more..

Remembering Philip Gunawardena

Mar 29 (LG) The 38th death anniversary of a veteran politician, intellectual, parliamentarian of foresight, great socialist, dynamo of activity, humanitarian, father of socialism in Sri Lanka, statesman, trade unionist and above all a gentleman ‘par excellance’, Don Philip Rupasinghe Gunawardena, fell on March 26. He was born on January 11, 1901 to the family of Don Jakolis Rupasinghe, more..

Jackson who stooped most rewarded best with a 'kuttiya' of Rs. 56 lakhs

Mar 29 (LeN) There are reports that Actor Jackson Anthony has tried to collect a sum of rupees 200 million on the propaganda deal to popularize the SL image internationally. According to information reaching Lanka e news, Jackson Anthony has presented his image popularizing program to the President. Jackson Anthony has asked for a sum of Rs. Six million as an initial payment for this program. more..

Akon and Buddhism in Sri Lanka

Mar 29 (GV) The Government on Tuesday (March 23rd) announced its decision to deny an entry visa to singer Akon who was scheduled to perform next month in Colombo with co-singers, J-Sean and Kelly. The basis for the denial of Akon’s visa was a music video of the singer, containing a clip of scantily clad models dancing against the back drop of a Buddhist statue. The Government’s decision has been ratified by the Cabinet. more..

'Govt. attempting to let General die a natural death in prison cell'

Mar 29 (LT) The government, without making available necessary medical facilities to Gen. Sarath Fonseka as has been directed by the Judiciary, is attempting to let him die a natural death inside the cell he is imprisoned says JVP MP Anura Dissanayake. He said Gen. Sarath Fonseka was suffering from difficulty in breathing and his speech was not clear so that his daughters could not understand what he was saying. more..

'When votes are counted, results will prove that requests not to vote for us on preferential votes are futile'

Mar 29 (LeN) Moneragala District UNP group leader Ranjith Madduma Bandara said, even though the UNP is requesting the Moneragala District voters not to vote for him, when the count on the preferential votes are concluded, it will become clear to those who worked against him how the people have rejected their request. Madduma Bandara told Lanka e news that he regretted that more..

Hambantota & Pallekelle included in 2011 World Cup venues

Mar 29 (GDI) Hambantota and Pallekelle will construct brand new stadiums right on time for next year's Cricket World Cup. These two new venues will host world cup fixtures in Sri Lanka along with the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. The 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup will take place from 12 February (start of warm-up matches) to 2 April (final). Sri Lanka Cricket, The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and more..