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'Worldwide op to destroy Tiger network'

May 1 (DN) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said yesterday the Government has initiated a massive intelligence operation to eliminate the international LTTE network. He said the international LTTE network was misleading the Tamil community across the world distorting the real situation in the country. Defence Secretary Rajapaksa told the media after a ceremony to open a monument at more..

Facelift for Central Bus Stand

May 1 (DN) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said he would take immediate measures to modernize and upgrade the basic facilities of the Central Bus Stand (CBS) in Pettah for the convenience of the general public, bus operators and staff of the CBS. He made these remarks after an observation tour of the CBS yesterday morning. The Minister after the inspection of the dilapidated conditions of rest rooms of drivers and conductors who more..

Editorial: HSZs - from 1951 till today

May 1 (DM) The pruning of the High Security Zones (HSZs) in the North is something that was expected ever since the wiping out of the LTTE. So when it was announced yesterday that the troops would be withdrawn from private property which formed part of the HSZs it did not come as a surprise. However what should not be forgotten is that while the zoning of the areas was done in the 1980s with the rise of the LTTE, the security mechanism, more..

Tamils’ transnational elections ‘an experiment in democracy’

May 1 (G&M) With his flyers, TV ads, Facebook page and YouTube video, Sam Sangarasivam has everything he needs for his political campaign, with one key exception: a country to represent. If elected Sunday, Mr. Sangarasivam and fellow Tamils scattered around the world will embark on a fresh and controversial bid to change that. more..

Editorial: Pavements are for pedestrians

May 1 (Island) Today is May Day. While in most countries workers make use of this day to demonstrate solidarity in a bid to further their cause, here the members of highly politicised trade unions unashamedly make it an excuse to pay obeisance to their political bosses who treat the working class like a doormat. This year we celebrate the International Workers’ Day against the backdrop of protests against a campaign to clear Colombo’s pavements of unauthorized structures. more..

Destination: Lanka

May 1 (KT) The eternally diplimatic and self-proclaimed apolitical Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan, also the brand ambassador for the International Indian Film Awards (IIFA), recently announced the controversial venue for the latest edition of the function. Ensuing was an outraged cry from Tamil activist groups such as The Canadian Tamil Congress. Some protestors even went as far as picketing outside the actor’s residence in Mumbai to express their blatant disapproval. more..

Navin won’t take No 2 slot, ready to wait for…

May 1 (Island) Newly elected UPFA MP Naveen Dissanayake has declined to accept a post of Deputy Minister in the SLFP-led coalition government. Dissanayake says there is no point in taking office, unless the new office will facilitate his efforts to help the electorate. Dissanayake had asked for a ministerial portfolio on the basis that he obtained the highest number of preferential votes in more..

Licensed liquor consumption increased under ‘Mathata Thitha’ – UNP

May 1 (Island) The government’s claim that the consumption of liquor has dropped under the ‘Mahinda Chintana’s Mathata Thitha’ programme was a "blatant lie", the UNP said. UNP MP Harsha de Silva said that the statistics indicated a consistent increase in the production of both hard liquor and beer, under the Rajapaksa regime. "Before Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected President in 2005, hard liquor production stood at 90 million litres, but by 2009 it had increased to 103 million litres. more..

Proposal scam under investigation

May 1 (DM) A suspect has been remanded and four others taken into custody after a scam conducted through marriage proposal advertisements in local papers came to light. Further investigations are being carried out. The scam had first come to light after a lady from Akurana, a government servant, who had advertised for a partner in the marriage proposal section of a paper, was scammed by the group after they befriended her. more..

The May Day message of the JVP

May 1 (LT) The JVP extends its fraternal greetings to working people all over the world and salutes all those heroes who made various sacrifices to win over rights of the working class. At the time when the International Workers’ Day of 2010 is commemorated, the working class in the world as well as in Sri Lanka is confronted with a large number of challenges. more..

Sri Lankans celebrate May Day amid unemployment and exploitation

May 1 (AN) Sri Lankans are preparing to celebrate May Day with a series of meetings, rallies and religious services. This morning, Mgr Malcom Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, blessed fishing boats and their crews, who are the country’s traditional symbol. The Anglican Church has organised a special Mass for all Sri Lankan workers at Saint Michael’s Church in Polwatte. The day comes only a few weeks after President Rajapaksa’s UPFA won parliamentary elections. more..

SL Civil Aviation sector suffers major setback

May 1 (DM) Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation sector has reflected a major setback last year suffering a sharp decline of income at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and the Sri Lanka Airlines, recording an overall loss of nearly Rs. 66 billion, the 2009 Central Bank annual report said. The passenger and cargo handling by the national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines has declined by 24.1% and 20.9% respectively in 2009 and compelled even to suspend operations to several destinations. more..

Economic crisis looming: UNP

May 1 (DM) Gampaha district UNP MP Ruwan Wijewardene said yesterday Sri Lanka was facing an economic crisis because of fiscal mismanagement by the government. He told a news conference that the looming crisis was clear when one considered the government’s inability to present even the annual budget. “It has obtained loans from private sector banks. Millions of dollars have been lost on the controversial more..

Karunanidhi may raise Sri Lankan Tamil's issue with PM, Sonia

May 1 (IANS) DMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi is likely to discuss the Sri Lankan Tamils' political settlement issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi when he arrives here Sunday, DMK sources said. The chief minister is arriving here Sunday to attend a Planning Commission meeting slated for Monday. more..

Limitation of the period of employment of Consultants/Advisors

May 1 (GDI) Services of the Consultants/Advisers presently serving in Ministries will not be required beyond 30th April 2010 unless the newly appointed Ministers make an assessment over the appointments of Consultants/Advisors for the subjects and functions assigned to the new Ministries, Secretary to the Cabinet of Ministers S. Abeysinghe said issuing a circular today. more..

President's May Day message

May 1 (MoD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a May Day message said after a struggle of more than three decades we have now overcome the biggest challenge of terrorism and praised the great role played by the working people in this task. The President's message adds. "I extend my warmest greetings to the working people of Sri Lanka who proudly join their brethren abroad to mark this International Workers' Day. more..

JJ to take up Fonseka issue with IPU, HRC

May 1 (Island) UNP MP and Assistant Secretary of the party in charge of Relief and Human Rights, Dr. Jayalath Jayawardene has been instructed by the UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, to complain to the Human Rights Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva regarding the detention, harassment and human rights violations of the DNA leader General (Rtd.) Sarath Fonseka, MP. more..

Now MPs push for duty free vehicles

May 1 (Island) Government and Opposition MPs are expected to push for duty free vehicles, though they may not agree on many other issues of national importance. Parliament comprises of UPFA (144), UNF (60), TNA (14) and DNA (7) members. Among them are several dozen newcomers to Parliament, the majority of them representing the SLFP-led ruling coalition. Authoritative sources say almost all MPs will take advantage of the facility. more..

Summit diplomacy in Thimpu over constitutional changes in Sri Lanka

May 2 (TC) What a difference 25 years have made between the Thimpu of 1985 and the Thimpu of 2010. In 1985, the Thimpu discussions between the Sri Lankan government and half a dozen or so Tamil political groups sponsored by the Indian government ended in acrimonious grandstanding and dramatic manifestations of Indian Foreign Secretary Romesh Bhandari’s impatience with Tamil political individuals and organizations. more..

Relatives call for disappearance probe

May 2 (BBC) A group of residents from Pesalai, Mannar urge the government to provide information about their loved ones who disappeared during the war. The relatives of those disappeared made this appeal at a media conference summoned by the Inter University Student Union. The relatives spoke to the media on the condition of anonymity. A mother said her son disappeared when he came to Colombo in 2008. more..

LTTE turns pseudo-democratic in order to dupe Tamils of Sri Lanka again

May 2 (SLW) Within the next days, Tamils all over the world will be casting votes for a Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam. It's called "transnational" because there is no Tamil Nation - maybe with the exception of the Indian Province of Tamil Nadu. Yet this transnational Government does not want to split this province away from India. But rather from tiny Sri Lanka. more..

‘There is no justice, no press freedom’

May 2 (EB) Oh, call whenever you like. I am like A R Rahman. I work thr­ough the night and don’t sleep till morning,” he chuckles over the phone from Paris. Having just read his new novel Traitor (written in Tamil in 2004, translated into English this year), the levity in Shoba­sakthi's voice is like nothing his writing leads you to expect of him. But that’s the man. Part of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, a former LTTE child soldier, now Parisien and refugee, more..

An Elephant’s Eye: Minneriya National Park, Sri Lanka

May 2 (SDR) I’d been in Sri Lanka for a week, and now a couple of friends and I are driving through the interior of the island nation. The road’s edge is lined with a string-wire fence standing roughly ten feet high – this marks the Minneriya National Park. Then we spot it: a monstrosity of a mammal standing on the other side of the electric fence. As I get out and inch over to the beast in aims to get the best photo possible, more..

'Mahela and Dilshan will be the best combination to open'

May 2 (IC) Last week we invited you to send in your questions for a fan based interview with Kumar Sangakkara. The Sri Lankan captain was kind enough to take on several of those questions before departing for the ICC World Twenty20. As expected, the response from you was overwhelming and we received a large number of questions. Sangakkara was kind enough to answer as many as he possibly could more..

Sri Lankan parliamentary election and what is in it for the future of Tamils?

May 2 (LG) The much-awaited parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka, which was announced soon after President Mahinda Rajapaksa won the presidential election in January 2010, has just come to an end with a thumping victory to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s alliance. The general election, held on April 8, 2010, was to elect 196 members in addition to 29 members who would be appointed from National List to make 225 members in total more..

Perfecting family rule technique in democracy

May 2 (LG) The latest news from Sri Lanka is that President Rajapaksa would amend the constitution to remove the clause that a person should stay as President only for two terms. It is not clear whether he would have any upper limit at all for the number of terms that a person can hold the office of the President. This amendment would ensure that President Rajapaksa can remain as the President for long time to come, more..

Meet the real Mervyn Silva

May 2 (SL) Mervyn Silva is the quintessential coward. Your typical classroom bully. A thug, patronising with ease members of the underworld, drug dealers and gold smugglers. Of average intellect, the thuggish Silva — a product of Mahinda Rajapaksa — was quick to assess that his inbred qualities of crass, crude displays of verbose abuse was in fact a step on the ladder to political notoriety, more..

Editorial: Towards a new constitution or an election manifesto?

May 2 (SL) The irony of our times is that citizens ranging from constitutional authorities to the ordinary citizens expend much of their time debating the need for a new constitution or amendments that should be made to the existing constitution while the law of the land is violated with impunity and people whatever their position in society, don’t seem to give a damn. more..

General Election 2010 – Another “Take”

May 2 (SL) An aspect of the recent general election that none of the analysts appear to have addressed appropriately is that of the culture and atmosphere, political and otherwise, that prevailed throughout the campaign and, in fact, before and since that event. This neglect was of a piece with that accorded to the election that preceded it, the presidential election. The vilification to which the state-controlled media subjected more..

Ranil – Enough is enough

May 2 (SL) A glaring headline a fortnight ago in The Sunday Leader said “Ranil Must Go”. That was what some leading UNP members thought, after the general election was over. A daily online site broke news on Thursday to say “Ranil draws more flak” referring to a meeting of some Central Province opposition councillors. There was also an e-mail doing the rounds, improvising a Wickremesinghe slogan more..

Sri Lanka National Congress Lives On

May 2 (SL) Many of us were not only disappointed, but also disheartened when Milinda Moragoda was not elected to parliament, for he stood for value based politics. His initiative to set up a new political party, inspired by the principles and values that were associated with the Ceylon National Congress of yesteryear, was considered most timely. Unfortunately, party politics being what it is in this country, more..

‘They wanted to get to know us better’

May 2 (SL) It was worth the wait, I thought, when I entered the Orientation Programme for the freshmen. The programme was amazing: great speakers, performances and so much hospitality. The university looked amazing; spacious and well-maintained (comparatively, of course). It was definitely worth the wait. Met up with some people, who I thought I’d fit in with easily. Hung out with them the entire day. Met some seniors who were welcoming. My fears had melted away. more..

President extends invitation to Opposition to join hands

May 2 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday addressing the biggest ever May Day Rally organised by the UPFA, after the elimination of the three decade-old terrorism, appealed to the Opposition to join hands with the Government to rebuild the country, forgetting political differences. Addressing a rally held at the Town Hall grounds, Colombo under the theme, “Power to the workplace, Dynamism to the factory, Peace to the motherland”, more..

Alavi Moulana recalls May Days of yesteryear

May 2 (SO) The name of veteran trade unionist, Alavi Moulana will never be erased from the hearts and minds of the people, considering the tireless service he has rendered for over six decades for the well-being of the working masses in the country. Moulana had his education at Zahira College, Maradana and at St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya. His only intention was to serve humanity and therefore he devoted his life for trade union activities. more..

‘Silent Killer’ at work in South

May 2 (SO) The coconut tree or the “Tree of Life” is known to have many uses, from its roots to tips, from culinary to non-culinary. They are grown in more than 80 countries with a total production of 61 million tonnes per year. Coconut is widely grown in Sri Lanka and occupies about 450,000 hectares and is an important component in the daily diet of average Sri Lankan with an estimated per capita consumption of 110 nuts per year. more..

'No room for hardliners'

May 2 (SO) Tamil political parties have strongly condemned the moves by LTTE proxies to form a `Transnational’ Government abroad. Plans are under way even to hold an election for this so-called `Transnational Government’. Minister and EPDP leader Douglas Devananda commenting on the so-called `Transnational’ Government told the Sunday Observer that the move was a farce and nothing else. more..

Identifying needs of women and children: Ministry to commission grassroots level study

May 2 (SO) The Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment can play a vital role in the economic development of the country, said Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa. He said the majority of Sri Lanka’s population comprise women. Their contribution to the agriculture and industrial sectors is remarkable. The much needed foreign exchange is earned largely by women, he said. more..

On the poverty of art-appraisal

May 2 (SO) Last week I wrote a comment on Liyanage Amarakeerthi's take on the Sinhala novel and especially his gripe about the relationship between this and what he calls Sinhala Buddhist Nationalist Ideology. I objected to his assertion that a critical distance from dominant ideologies was a prerequisite for becoming a great writer and argued that he was as guilty of what he implies are exclusionary tactics more..

Influential politicos clash over Karaoke and night club crackdown

May 2 (LB) Clashes have broken out between powerful persons in government and those who are urging the police to stop raiding Karaoke clubs and night clubs. But another equally powerful section has asked the police to continue with the raids and bring to a halt the mushrooming night life in the city. Many of the Karaoke clubs and night clubs are owned by persons who have close links to those in power. more..

Old promises in new packages

May 2 (LB) Sri Lanka is, at long last, in good hands. A cabinet has been sworn in and many ministers delivered visionary speeches last week saying they will put the country right. But feel a bit sad, also. I mean, why put the country right now? We were having such fun not having medicines in hospitals, not getting letters on time, not having enough buses, not having trains that ran on time, not having enough teachers and not getting admission to schools, not having an economic policy, more..

Editorial: Cowed opposition supports government for survival

May 2 (LB) There is credible news that newly elected MPs from both sides of the aisle are currently having one priority which is to import duty free vehicles for themselves. This is not a revelation but more in the nature of what’s now expected in this country with a collective shrug of the shoulders. The duty free vehicles have to be imported with the government picking the duty tab. This is bad enough, but how the government hopes to do this, with the support the opposition mind you, more..

That old UNP circus in town again

May 2 (LB) The UNP’s internal squabbles are going in the usual direction and already it’s a full blown crisis with a great many UNPers favouring party reforms perhaps with Sajith Premadasa as the UNP leader, but heavyweights such as Ravi Karunanayake objecting to this scenario. The UNP internal dust-up has assumed melodrama proportions, but Ranil Wickremesinghe carries on - even though this is according to more..

Govt. depts. suffer staggering losses of Rs 45 billion

May 2 (LB) Seven major government institutions have recorded huge losses during the last year amounting to a staggering Rs.45 billion. It has been observed that the losses have been incurred mainly due to mismanagement and lack of financial discipline. According to the Central Bank report of 2009, the Ceylon Petroleum Cooperation has been found to be the worse offender. It faced a loss of 12.3 billion rupees in 2009. more..

Obviously our voters don’t deserve the right to vote

May 2 (LB) Sri Lankans have voted! Here are a few names of those whose impressive showing at the election took the breath away from their competitors. Mahindananda Aluthgamage is accused of rigging the polls, intimidating voters through hired thugs, skinhead style. His antics compelled the election commissioner to go for re-polling in the Nawalapitiya electoral division. Alas, Aluthgamage tops the preferential vote from the Kandy District. more..

Point of view: Dr. Palitha Kohona

Ayurveda, anyone? A healing trip to Sri Lanka

May 2 (JT) When one mentions “ayurveda,” many people look at the horizon and try to change the subject. Treatments such as shiatsu, acupuncture, homeopathy, even reiki healing have been accepted into the lexicon of alternative therapies, but ayurveda has mostly stayed near its southern Indian origins. Historians have not pinpointed the exact time frame of this science but agree that classical ayurvedic texts were written in India between 3,500 and 5,000 years ago. more..

Setting up of 'Sri Lanka Sea Police'; a far-sighted decision

May 2 (LP) Sri Lanka Coast Guard Department has decided to set up coast guard units in each fisheries harbor of the island, said the Director of Department Rear Admiral Daya Dharmapriya. Sri Lanka is an island that has a large sea area in its control. The country's sea is now seven times bigger than the land area and after 2027 Sri Lanka will own a sea area of 25 times of the landmass. more..

The Tamil question in Sri Lanka: Part 1

May 2 (TA) I have just returned home after celebrating the 86th birthday of possibly the nicest man in Sri Lanka (or anywhere else). All the time we were at his home, the phone rang endlessly as people rang to give their birthday wishes. Calls came from all over Sri Lanka and also USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, Philippines and Morocco. He is now retired, but during his working life he was a senior manager in more..

Protection of the basic rights of individual human beings irrespective of nationality

May 2 (TC) The elaborate regime of international human rights law that now exists seeks to protect the individual against the acts or omissions of his or her own government. The philosophical concepts from the West and the religious traditions of the East have been replaced by legal rules incorporated in a series of human rights treaties. These are not multilateral treaties of the traditional type concluded to accomplish the reciprocal exchange of rights for more..

Protest march in Jaffna given up

May 2 (TN) The protest march against the deterioration of law and order in Jaffna peninsula that was to begin Sunday morning from Muniappar temple precincts by a newly formed organization called ‘Makka’l Sakthi’ was given up as police at the location did not permit the march to begin, sources in Jaffna said. Though it had been announced in local media about the protest march no other than the sole organizer turned up to march in protest. more..