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All change at Sri Lanka’s State Corporations

May 16 (SL) Sri Lanka’s state owned corporations and companies which account for a large portion of the nation’s economic output and employ a large, some might say disproportionately large, share of the work force have been decapitated. Which is to say their heads have been removed. While this might sound alarming, fear not, for new heads have been grafted onto these companies from different bodies. more..

The principle of the 'Responsibility To Protect (R2P)'

May 16 (SL) There has been a fresh outburst of invective led by that master of obfuscation and pet poodle of the Rajapaksa regime, Rajiva Wijesinha, relative to the now famous (or notorious) concept of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). To try to deal with the vapid outpourings of Mr. Wijesinha in this context would be a task akin to trying to knot eels with one’s bare hands and similarly senseless to boot. I will, therefore, make no further reference to him. more..

Plans for prison reforms

May 16 (SL) Major changes in the nation’s justice system have to be introduced to alleviate the appalling situation currently prevailing in the country’s prisons according to Prison Department Officials. Imprisonment of petty offenders for minor crimes has become a serious issue leading to the overcrowding of prisons. The judicial and police department now has little choice but to introduce new laws to more..

Editorial: Frogs in a well - The Sri Lankan Psyche

May 16 (SL) There’s an old tale about a frog in a pot of water. If you turn the heat up very slowly, the frog just sits there and boils to death. In case you didn’t notice, it’s been getting awfully hot in Sri Lanka. More people are dead, more are without homes, and inflation and corruption are picking the pockets of all. Are you hopping mad, or are you sitting still? Sri Lanka is actually a perfect fit for the ‘boiled frog’ metaphor. more..

Robbing from school children?

May 16 (SL) Approximately 8.5 million rupees collected last July by school children for the Uthuru Mithuru Fund, never found its way to development projects in the North. The Fund was established by the Education Ministry ostensibly for the construction of a railway station at Elephant’s Pass. Children in schools in the south were asked to donate to help their uthuru mithuru or northern friends. more..

Hoole speaks of Tamil insecurities

May 16 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapakse appointed Dr. Ratnajeevan Hoole as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna in March 2006. However, due to pressures exerted by the pro-LTTE paramilitary group, ‘People’s Uprising Force,’ Dr. Hoole was forced to take special leave and leave the country. Currently, he is a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he teaches engineering and computer science at graduate level. more..

ICG takes Sri Lanka to task?

May 16 (SO) The International Crisis Group (ICG) will publish a report calling for an international inquiry into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. They have sought information from Sarath Fonseka, the former Commander of the Army but none of the allegations framed by the ICG curiously touches Fonseka except to state that he was informed but they have named and charged the present Commander Jagath Jayasuriya with specific allegations. more..

In the run up to historic victory: How the diplomatic offensive was won

May 16 (SO) While the battle against the LTTE was raging in the North, Government 'forces' of a different kind braced for a tougher battle in the diplomatic front. International pressure to stop the humanitarian operations was mounting at the beginning of 2009 and the Government was threatened with losing much needed financial aid among many other things. The Government was, however, determined to stand firm and more..

'Expand varsity education facilities'

May 16 (SO) While improving the quality of university education in Sri Lanka the facilities for university education which are limited to 22,000 admissions to 14 State universities annually must be expanded, said UGC chairman Prof. Gamini Samaranayake. “India is becoming the world university centre and Sri Lanka should be the regional centre. The time has come to look in to the university education system with an open mind, more..

IT drive at Royal College

May 16 (SO) Royal College is being developed to meet the challenges of the 21st century, said its Principal Upali Gunasekera. He was addressing the opening ceremony of the new IT laboratory and the relaunch of the college website, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena was the chief guest on the occasion. The Royal College principal said the College had rendered great service to the country during its 175-year history. more..

Be alert: Your child can go missing!!

May 16 (SO) Two-and-half-year-old Senuthi Limansa Mapalagama who had come with her parents to the Kelaniya temple to worship went missing on May 9. Lucky for her and her parents, due to the publicity received from the media Senuthi Limansa was reunited with her family less than 48 hours later. But one-and-half-year-old Sithum Sathsara of Wattala is still missing without a trace. Judging by reports that have lately begun to dominate news, more..

'Time for rational economic decisions'

May 16 (SO) Deputy Minister of Finance Dr. Sarath Amunugama said with the war over and the global oil and the financial crisis coming to an end, a new era is opening for Sri Lanka where we can seriously think of a development decade. He said we can look forward to a period where rational economic decisions can be made with the support of Parliament as the President has got an unprecedented majority. more..

Dividing and Ruling – The Excesses of Ethno-Nationalist Discourses

May 16 (RW) In the long and chequered history of Radhika Coomaraswamy’s relentless interference with Sri Lanka while an official of the United Nations, the most peculiar relates to the manner in which she protected Rama Mani from all criticism during her controversial headship of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies. She had indeed to protect her even before she took office. more..

'Rana Bera' & 'Rana Gee' recall war hero memories in Anuradhapura

May 16 (MoD) Governor Karunaratne Divulgane and Chief Minister for North Central Province Berty Premalal Dissanayake in the company of Tri-service Area Commanders and Police personnel, over 800 members of fallen War Heroes, disable War Heroes, school cadets and civilians paid their respect to the memory of fallen War Heroes and their victories Friday morning during a dignified ceremony, held at Anuradhapura Salgado public esplanade, more..

It’s BYOP for filmgoers in Sri Lanka

May 16 (BG) Going to the movies in Sri Lanka is a bit like going bargain-hunting at Filene’s Basement. You never know what you’ll find — maybe a stylish pair of Diesel jeans, maybe a dowdy coat from last season — but you know it will be cheap. And, as at Filene’s, you never know how young or old the merchandise will turn out to be. Sometimes Sri Lankan theaters screen films only a week or two after they’ve premiered in the United States; more..

Private sector trade unions to agitate for pay hike

May 16 (LB) Over 500 private sector unions will gather in Colombo soon to launch a massive trade union agitation for promised pay hikes. The Inter-Company Employees’ Union (ICEU) warns the government that the initial agitation for salary increments of the private sector will be carried out in Colombo, by summoning representatives of the 500 - strong trade unions within a few weeks. more..

What comparisons? Obama and Greece!

May 16 (LB) Why is the government opening itself to a myriad of accusations particularly by the JVP and some arch detractors, when some of them could have been avoidable? The case in point is the budget. The so called mini-budget and the avoidance of a budget proper has now provided ammunition for the JVP to say that the government is basically not managing its finances, while launching many fancy development projects which are dubious because they help ‘government MPs and ministers get rich.” more..

Airlifted saline solves nothing

May 16 (LB) President of the SLAGMLT Ravi Kumudesh, says that the Treasury does not allocate sufficient funds to import medicine in the annual Health Ministry budget, which leads to regular shortcomings between orders. “These shortcomings materialize as drug shortages”, he noted. He claimed that the new saline stocks that have been urgently brought into the country have not yet reached the hospitals around the nation. more..

Editorial: the ways and means

May 16 (LB) On the positive side, there is stable government and a certain heady stirring of hope among a previously traumatized people, exactly one year after the now well known events by the Nandi Kadal lagoon on May 18, 2009. The Rajapaksa administration promises unprecedented economic resurgence, and if that can be delivered in the same way that the Rajapaksas delivered on the war, it would be truly unprecedented. more..

Details emerge on Senuthi kidnap

May 16 (LB) Due to the prompt action taken by police and the media, Senuthi Limansa who was missing from the Kelaniya Temple was found last week. After a hectic search, police found that the child had spoken to a man wearing a red banian and three-quarter trousers at the temple. Senuni’s older sister who was with her at the time gave this information. Accordingly, the police went looking for a man fitting this description. Police were able to find the ‘man.’ more..

Celebrating war victory amidst ‘war crime’ anixieties

May 16 (LB) Intense pressure from lobby groups is stymieing the government’s best efforts to stave off an international war crimes probe by proposing a local commission. Two of these influential groups will convene in London on Monday to “demand justice for survivors” one year after the end of the conflict. Even as Sri Lanka prepares to pull out all the stops for an elaborate ceremony to mark Victory Day on Thursday, more..

Former caretaker of Uduppiddi LTTE Heroes Resting Home found dead in Jaffna

May 16 (TN) Former caretaker of Uduppiddi E’l’langku’lam Heroes Resting Home of LTTE was found dead Saturday evening near the cremation grounds in Veampadi area in Thunnaalay South, Karaveddi, Vadamaraadchi, sources in Jaffna said. His body was naked and hands bound with many assault injuries. The victim was identified as Nallaiah Baskaran, 44, the father of four children. Baskaran had gone Saturday morning to more..

Appointing Harry to post of Chairman violates Petroleum Corp. regulations

May 16 (LeN) Harry Jayawardena has been appointed to the post of Chairman of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) in violation of the CPC regulations. According to Section 8 of the Corporation Act, an individual who has entered into a contract or any agreement with the CPC, or who receives any benefit whatsoever from the Corporation, cannot accept a post in the Board of directors of the CPC. more..

Playing on a 'Political wicket?'

May 16 (BBC) As England and Australia prepare to meet in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 cricket tournament, there is festering discontent in Sri Lanka whose team was one of the losing semi-finalists. The unhappiness is over the continued inclusion in their squad of Sanath Jayasuriya, a former captain who attained legendary status in earlier times but is now widely accused of being past his best – and of using political influence to continue playing. more..

Will UNP go the way of the old left?

May 16 (NS) It is quite common for political parties to plummet into turmoil, after an election defeat. Just as much as Britain’s Labour party goes through a cathartic experience, after its recent defeat at the general elections, so has our own UNP, which has been ‘reforming’ itself over the past few weeks, in the aftermath of its crushing defeat at the April polls. The argument is that this defeat was the UNP’s worst, in terms of votes polled. more..

Hajj delegation runs into storm

May 16 (NS) The Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs, which has been shrouded in corruption has allegedly defied instructions by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to revise the five-member official delegation to be sent to Saudi Arabia to make arrangements for the forthcoming Hajj Pilgrimage. The initial five-member delegation, comprising Minister A.H.M. Fowzie (head of delegation), S. Alavi Moulana (Governor of the Western Province), more..

Ranil to contest for leadership

May 16 (NS) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who returned to the country on Thursday after a four-day visit to India appears to have managed to keep opponents wanting his ouster at bay with a third reform group in the party coming up with a proposal to make Karu Jayasuriya the party leader, while retaining Wickremesinghe as the Leader of the Opposition. Sources said under this scheme Wickremesinghe would contest for the leadership as more..

Editorial: Now it’s time to win the peace

May 16 (NS) The country this week celebrates the first anniversary of the defeat of the LTTE, and this would be an opportune moment to reflect on what has transpired since then, in the social and political landscapes of this country. It is only fitting to recall at this point in time that the triumph over the Tigers was a hard fought victory. That is because it was achieved against tremendous odds - not only militarily, but diplomatically also, because more..

Bribery Commmissioner Blows the Whistle

May 16 (NS) Retired Supreme Court Judge P. Edussuriya, who was a member of the Independent Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption, which wound up in March, breaks his silence on the grave shortcomings they had to work with, which resulted in the Commission failing to live up to its expectations. The other members of the Commission were retired Supreme Court Judge Ameer Ismail (Chairman) and retired Inspector General of Police Indra de Silva. more..

Living with floods

May 16 (NS) Many got more than what they wished for when rain flooded Colombo ending the hot climate that was prevalent for the past few months. The heavy downpour began on Friday morning and continued till the evening deadlocking Colombo’s traffic. A large number of streets were completely flooded with rainwater while some were blocked as heavy trees fell on to the road. The rain continued as Sri Lanka’s busiest city struggled through the day. more..

From June 18 to 20 at BMICH: Jaffna-made products at Hands Lanka

May 16 (MoD) For the first time a special pavilion will be allocated to showcase 'Made in Jaffna' products at the third Small and Medium Enterprise Development Exhibition (Hands Lanka) which will be held from June 10 to 20 at the BMICH, Colombo. President of the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kosala Wickramanayake who will be hosting the event said that they got a very positive response form the Jaffna entrepreneurs and more..

Commander's concept for dependant war heroes turns a reality

May 16 (MoD) The auspicious foundation-stone laying cum ground breaking ceremony for the Seva Vanitha Army Branch's (SVAB) brainchild, 'Abhimansala', the wellness resort for totally dependent War Heroes following a concept proposed by Commander of the Army took place at Anuradhapura Saturday (15) morning before Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya and a host of guests including donors, well-wishers, supporters and artists. more..

UNP crisis: The fish rots from the head

May 16 (LG) By defeating a world class enemy, reunifying a long-sundered national territorial space and reasserting national sovereignty, Mahinda Rajapkse has proved himself a great leader. Having supported him as Opp leader, PM, Presidential candidate (when many were enamoured of the Ranil-Chandrika tugging of the federalist forelock before an arrogant and aggressive Prabhakaran), as wartime president, and then again at his re-election, I am content. more..

Victory Day, a Sad Day for Tamils

May 16 (LG) Why do religious laws and national laws differ? That’s because the former follows what is naturally good and the latter follows what is nationally right. Sri Lanka can legitimately hold a victory day parade and other celebrations but it is inevitable North-East Tamils are going to get hurt. Those who feel hurt cannot be labelled as Tigers since all sections of the North-East Tamil community went through a very bad patch in March-May 2009. more..

Political solution: People are ready now but are politicians?

May 16 (TC) The Sri Lankan intelligentsia, ‘patriotic’ and ‘cosmopolitan’ seems to have overlooked one of the most important studies to have entered the public domain in recent times. The study I refer to has been conducted by the University of Liverpool under the direction of Dr Colin Irwin, entitled ‘War and Peace’ and the APRC Proposals1 - May 2010 ( more..

The Jewel of Muscat leaves Galle for S'pore

May 16 (GDI) The Jewel of Muscat, a replica of a 9th century Arab trading vessel, on an historic voyage sailing from Oman to Singapore, left Galle harbour yesterday on its last leg. The 18-metre-long vessel left the Kerala Port of Cochin in India on April 10th and sailed through a tropical storm to arrive in Galle on April 19th. The sailing through the storm had damaged one of the vessel’s masts. more..

Rs. 450 mn. invested in luxury hotel Keoneer star cells pilass tourism in Trinco with Chaaya Blu

May 16 (LNP) Chaaya Blu, a John Keells Hotel that opened in Trincomalee earlier this month, has pioneered star class tourism on Sri Lanka s awakening East Coast with an 80-room luxury resort entailing a Rs. 450 million investment. The previous Club Oceanic s 56 rooms have been expanded into 80 and given a new look and theme with an extensive refurbishment, with the property offering guests four-star comfort and more..

'Team player approach essential for UNP'

May 16 (Island) ‘We need a UNP which is driven by the team player approach. If you have persons who do not want to play as a team, then, they shouldn’t play on the team. Politics is an art of the possible. On that basis, you have got to have team players. If there are members who are not team players, then they must drop out. Sometimes it is difficult to reconcile certain impossible characters. more..

Editorial: A Victory Day for all

May 16 (LNP) May 18 is a red letter day in the annals of Sri Lanka`s history when the nation celebrates the first anniversary of the eradication of terrorism. Exactly one year ago, President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared with justifiable pride that the country had been liberated from the scourge of terrorism and hoisted the national flag at the Victory Day celebrations at the Galle Face Green in May last year. more..

Ananda College student wins top awards at INTEL fair

May 16 (GDI) A Sri Lankan student from Ananda College in Colombo won several top awards at the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held in San Jose, California. Ganindu Nanayakkara won the First Award of $3,000 for his project “Novel Computer Controlling Wireless Device for Handicapped People” in the Computer Science category at the Intel ISEF 2010 Grand Awards Ceremony. more..

Cader claims he was lobbied by Tory MP

May 16 (Island) Dissident UNP MP Abdul Cader yesterday said that a recently elected member of the Conservative Party had tried to dissuade him from supporting President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government. The Kandy District MP told The Sunday Island that he had been in politics for several decades but never heard of a member of British or any other parliament interfering in purely an internal party matter. more..

World qualifying surfing series at Arugam Bay

May 16 (LP) The Association of Surfing Professionals have chosen Arugam Bay, one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful locations to conduct this year's World Qualifying Series competition under the banner ‘Sri Lankan Airlines Pro 2010’, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau revealed. According to the Tourism Promotion Bureau sources, the participation of 128 world class competitors representing Australia, more..

Prices of several food items going up

May 16 (LT) A food commodities tax removed ahead of the April new year and Parliamentary elections has been reimposed from this week, pushing up prices of sprats, dhal, onions, salmon, potatoes and other items. The taxes have been imposed through a Gazette notification issued by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as Finance Minister. Accordingly, the tax on a kilogram of sprats will be Rs. 30, on a kilo of salmon and more..

Delhi beats devolution drums again for Lanka

May 16 (ST) It is a week of ecstasy and agony for the two national heroes who defeated the Tiger guerrillas just this month last year. For President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who gave political leadership, it is the third most ecstatic moment, perhaps the most important one. On Thursday, he will stand before the valiant troops to salute them for defeating terrorism and restoring normalcy. more..

Business leaders sought to head state enterprises

May 16 (Island) In an obvious move to court the private sector and encourage a public and private sector partnership, the government has accommodated several experienced private sector executives in key posts. Close on the heels of the appointment of Aitken Spence and Distilleries Chairman Harry Jayawardene as Chairman of the loss making Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), John Keells Chief Susantha Ratnayake is mentioned as Chairman of the Tea Board and more..

SL Cricketer Sana, walk away now and be remembered fondly

May 16 (LNP) The dismal failures of Sanath Jayasuriya didn t deprive Sri Lanka of its share of fortunes in the concluding World Cup Twenty20. The country had after all advanced to the semi final quite handsomely, and though the inability to overcome England indomitable, really, on the day and secure a place in the final is cause for grief to finish among the top four isn t bad at all. more..

ICG Report: Sri Lanka guilty of war crimes?

May 16 (MoD) International Crisis Group (ICG) is preparing an exparte report calling for an international inquiry into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. To give credibility to itself, there will also be a vague finding against the LTTE. With the LTTE ceasing to exist - such an adverse finding would cause no impact on a defunct LTTE. ICG naming them too as a guilty party- will be a mere eyewash. more..

Vehicles invade pavements forcing pedestrians to walk on the road

May 16 (Island) The demolition of unauthorized structures has brought relief to harried pedestrians, but the callous parking of motor vehicles on pavements – a common sight in Colombo and the suburbs – continue to impede their right of way. "We are forced to veer away from the pavement and walk on the road at the risk of our lives", pedestrians complained. "The traffic police, more often than not, opt to turn a blind eye". more..

Editorial: V-Day

May 16 (Island) Differing views on this week’s V-Day celebration are inevitable and this newspaper today publishes a viewpoint that in the context of the Truth and Reconciliation effort that has been launched by the president, such celebrations are best avoided. While ours was a civil war which dragged on for nearly thirty years with the armed forces of the state fighting a brutal terrorist outfit, there is no escaping the fact that the war was fought against a section of our own people. more..

Editorial: V- Day reflections

May 16 (ST) For 65 years Sri Lankans have been commemorating V-Day, when World War II ended with the capture of Berlin by advancing Russian troops and the death of Adolf Hitler. Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) had its moments of anxiety during that war, however distant the actual fighting may have been, but none like the anguish modern-day Sri Lankans felt in a three decade-long separatist insurgency right here at home. more..