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Sri Lanka: The journey home

May 21 (MAG) Seven-year-old Ahalya smiles widely as she bounces between seats, excited that the bus will finally leave Menik Farm IDP camp and take her home. Her family, and many others, fled Sinnapandivirichchan village, in Madhu Division of Mannar District in April 2007 to escape the country's civil war. Although the conflict ended in May 2009 and security was restored, people could still not go back to their village. more..

Disaster capitalism and govt's moves to resettle Colombo flood victims

May 21 (LP) Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resource Development has taken swift action to identify land to resettle the dwellers of canal banks in Colombo city. Most of these canal side dwellers are displaced now due to floods. The Secretary of the Ministry Ivan de Silva says that the land is being identified now on the instructions of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He said that the President instructed the officials to find them land close to Colombo city. more..

Top criminals flee abroad

May 21 (DM) Over 12 notorious underworld criminals wanted for crimes including extortion and murder have fled the country and in some instances have even sought political asylum overseas. According to sources among those who have managed to evade arrest are Kudu Lal, Rajabdeen, Bhaiya and Diga Faizer. Kudu Lal was well known for his connections to a Deputy Minister but has now reportedly sought asylum in London on the basis that he is under threat in Sri Lanka. more..

IIFA Awards 2010 in Sri Lanka: Performer Line up announced

May 21 (IL) The IIFA night of nights, the Micromax IIFA Awards 2010, will see a stunning performance line-up including, Salman Khan, Bipasha Basu, Riteish Deshmukh, Vivek Oberoi and Sri Lanka’s own, Jacqueline Fernandez. For the first time, the world will also get to see a preview of the Kingdom of Dreams, which will perform a piece from the to-be launched theatre production that would be staged in Gurgaon. more..

Police brutally attack agitating students

May 21 (LT) The students who commenced a continuous sit in agitation at Ministry of Higher Education protesting against the reduction of the course period of Allied Medicine course from four to three years and demanding the withdrawal of the decision immediately were brutally beaten and chased away from the site a short while ago. The students who came in a peaceful march to the Ministry of Higher Education commenced a sit in agitation more..

Q & A on accountability for violations of international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka

May 21 (HRW) Even prior to the end of Sri Lanka's armed conflict in May 2009, Human Rights Watch has called upon the United Nations to establish an independent international investigation into violations of international humanitarian law by both Sri Lankan government forces and the LTTE. This Q & A addresses various issues relating to accountability for crimes in violation of international law. more..

Floods: Army troops attached to worst affected district

May 21 (MoD) Sri Lanka Army in view of the worsening flood levels has attached 10 Army personnel to Colombo and Kalutara District Secretariats for coordination work and other practicalities. Meanwhile, nearly 2000 Army personnel now out in providing relief to flood victims in several badly hit Districts such as Colombo, Kalutara, Puttalam and Gampaha are assisting district administrators at different levels. more..

Caritas joins flood response in Sri Lanka

May 21 (UCAN) Caritas has joined with government and civil organizations in providing aid to victims of floods that have lashed the country since May 14. According to the government-run Disaster Management Center, more than 450,000 have been displaced in 11 districts, 17 persons have died and three are missing. Many roads, including highways in Colombo, have been submerged resulting in traffic chaos. more..

How Eelam War IV was won

May 21 (LG) Four watershed events spurred the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka – the Sinhala- Only act of 1956, the republican Constitution of 1972, the Parliamentary elections of 1977 and the 1983 ethnic riots.1 The killing of 13 sri Lankan army (sLa) soldiers by the LTTE on 23 July 1983 marked the initiation of armed hostilities and the beginning of eelam war I, which ended in 1987. India intervened to end the war in which the sLa had the upper hand. more..

Sri Lanka: New evidence of wartime abuses

May 21 (HRW) New evidence of wartime abuses by Sri Lankan government forces and the separatist LTTE during the armed conflict that ended one year ago demonstrates the need for an independent international investigation into violations of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said today. Recently Human Rights Watch research gathered photographic evidence and accounts by witnesses of atrocities by both sides during the final months of fighting. more..

National War Heroes commemorated in Kuwait

May 21 (MoD) The first anniversary of the liberation of motherland by the valiant forces from scourge of terrorism was commemorated at an event organized by the Sri Lankan Embassy in Kuwait on 18th May. A cross-section of the Sri Lankan community in Kuwait belonging to different ethnic and religious denominations joined the occasion in a spirit of national harmony and unity. The event commenced with the hosting of national flag in the midst of "magul bera", more..

Trying to turn the U.S. into a cricketing nation

May 21 (NYT) Sometimes life really does imitate art. In Joseph O’Neill’s novel Netherland — a bestseller given a boost when President Barack Obama said he was reading it — a character dreams of bringing the world’s best cricketers to the United States. Don Lockerbie, chief executive of the U.S.A. Cricket Association, can claim that dream as reality this weekend when two of the top eight teams in the world play international matches more..

'Army completed a gigantic humanitarian task'

May 21 (MoD) Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya states that the Sri Lanka Army has joined directly in the development drive to make Sri Lanka the Miracle of Asia as envisioned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his Mahinda Chinthana Future Vision. He made this observation in an interview with the Daily News to mark the first year remembrance of the victory of more..

Colombo Christians remember war dead

May 21 (UCAN) Christians in Colombo have organized a prayer vigil for “innocent civilians” who died in the country’s decades-long civil war between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels. Hundreds of Catholics, Methodists and Anglicans, including clergy and nuns, took part in the May 17 event organized by the Christian Solidarity Movement (CSM). The government declared the 26-year-long civil war over in May 2009, and more..

Malaysian companies in talks to invest in Sri Lanka

May 21 (Bernama) Sri Lanka, via its Board of Investment (BoI), is currently in discussions with several local companies concerning their interest to invest in diverse fields. Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia, Dr Don Dandayanda Ranasinghe, said the companies, which included Sunway, YTL, Genting and Berjaya, showed interest in sectors like tourism, infrastructure, education and financial services. more..

He was legendary Volleyball Sira of cricketing Sri Lanka

May 21 (LP) W.L. Siriwardhana of Gampaha, who was known as legendary ‘Volleyball Sira‘ bade farewell to Sri Lanka. Mr. Siriwardhana was the captain of Sri Lanka’s national volleyball team for 12 years in 1950s and 60s. He was renowned in the Asian region as a gifted dasher. He was popular among Sri Lankans as much as the brilliant cricketers were among cricket fans. more..

Lawmaker seeks investigations into alleged war crimes in Lanka

May 21 (ZN) As Sri Lanka observed the first anniversary of the end of the civil war, a US lawmaker on Thursday demanded investigations into the alleged war crimes in the last phase of the war there. "May 19 commemorates the one-year anniversary of the end of the war and the remembrance of the many lives lost during the civil war in Sri Lanka. I call on the international community to pursue independent investigations into the alleged war crimes that occurred," said Congressman Danny K Davis. more..

Was I wrong to oppose the war?

May 21 (GV) I used to think non-violence would win in the end. Even with a murderous megalomaniac for an opponent (I mean Prabhakaran, not Mahinda), I believed the offer of an open hand would prevail over the closed fist. Three bloody Eelam wars, each fought with more combatants and fiercer weaponry than the last, was proof to me that this fight could not be won on the battlefield. So when Eelam War Four began with the promise of a final victory, more..

War Crimes allegations: In defence of the govt. of Sri Lanka

May 21 (IL) The current trends in international affairs relating to Sri Lanka with the war against terrorism and how the world look at us owing to the accusations made against us by vested interests and whether we have overcome the difficulties and convinced the world that we were justified in doing what we had to do is yet to be seen. more..

Canaganayagam Sankarakumaran: A Birthday Tribute

May 21 (TC) I have known Mr. Sankarakumaran (Sanka) for several years now. Through him I came to know his sage eldest brother C. Shanmuganayagam (Shan) and his cousin, the late Sivasubramaniam Kathiravelupillai, the Federal Party/TULF Member of Parliament for Kopay(1965 – 1981). It is a pleasure to fete Sanka on the 84th anniversary of his birth which fell on 15 May, 2010. According to Shan’s orthodox Hindu reading, more..

People of Jaffna send flood relief aid to affected people of Gampaha

May 21 (TC) Several lorry loads of food and other essential items for flood relief collected by the people of North Sri Lanka arrived in Gampaha yesterday. "To people of Gampaha with Love", the banners on the lorries, which arrived, displayed. The food that began arriving since Wednesday was received by the Gampaha Additional District Secrertary W. A. D. P. Lakshman. Commenting on the receipt of food items from the North, more..

Impractical proposals suggested in the International Crisis Group Report

May 21 (TC) An international NGO known as the ‘International Crisis Group’ (ICG) put out a report on war crimes in Sri Lanka last Monday as Sri Lanka geared to commemorate the first anniversary of the ending of the three decade long civil war. I am somewhat exhausted after examining in detail the various allegations in the reports put out last year by the European Union and the US State department. more..

Did you cross border or did border cross you?

May 21 (DN) They have a thing called ‘American League’ and the ‘National League’, implying that these are not just two categories but are not coterminous. In other words, ‘America’ does not mean ‘Nation’ or vice versa, as far as those who conjured up these terms and categories and those who use them uncritically are concerned. It all hit me in Cambridge, Massachusettes in the winter of 1990/91 when I saw some people protesting a visit by the then President of El Salvador, more..

Hindi actors urged to boycott film awards in Sri Lanka

May 21 (Star) South Indian poet, lyricist and writer Thamarai has criticised Hindi actors who accepted an invitation to the International Indian Film Awards to be held in Sri Lanka next month, reported Tamil Nesan. In a press statement released on Wednesday, Thamarai urged the Tamil film fraternity to exert pressure on their Hindi counterparts to prevent the awards from taking place in Colombo. more..

106 schools closed, 60000 students deprived of education in north

May 21 (TN) At least sixty thousand children are deprived of their education after the war that concluded last year due to the closure of 106 schools in Ki'linochchi, Mullaiththeevu, Thu'nukkaai, Vavuniyaa North and Mannaar. Nearly 62,944 uprooted persons from Vanni are still detained in internment camps in Vavuniyaa, parliamentarian of the UNP Thursday claimed at a media briefing held in Colombo. more..

Editorial: The famous Tooth relic

May 21 (EB) Driving upcountry from Colombo to Kandy is like taking a trip through northern Kerala. If you don’t look too closely at the signboards and sundry advertisements, it’s easy to imagine you are in verdant Malapuram or Nilambur. Only the Sinhalese lettering gives away the country you are in. Once you get to Kandy, the setting changes, bordering on the surreal. An exquisite lake forms the centrepiece around which the city is built. more..

Editorial: Send them back to kindergarten!

May 21 (LNP) Most undergraduates in this country are notorious for their infantile behaviour. Only their torsos are fit to be in universities and their brains really belong to kindergarten. Tiny tots may take this as an affront if they know what is happening in those places called universities. In many respects, kindergarteners are far better than rowdy undergraduates. They do not kill one another! Some undergraduates are never at peace with either the world or themselves. They fight over anything. more..

The end of war: Framed reflections by Deshan Tennekoon

May 21 (GV) Deshan Tennekoon is one of Sri Lanka's best, young photographers. We are ardent fans, and requested Deshan to send photos that amongst the hundreds taken by him, resonated most with the end of war and the enduring challenges for peace in Sri Lanka. December 01, 2006. A response to the failed attempt by the LTTE to assassinate Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse. more..

BoC to set up investment banking unit

May 21 (LNP) Bank of Ceylon, the largest state bank in the country will embark on setting up a separate investment banking unit aim to diversify its portfolio. BOC is changing ways of doing business and focus on investment and equity activities to channel lending. The bank will be geared to support identified growth sectors such as tourism, fisheries, exports and SMEs, BoC Chairman Dr. Gamini Wickramasinghe said. more..

Navy rescues “Chanka Putha”

May 21 (LP) Sri Lanka Navy rescued a multi-day fishing trawler which was drifting in the Eastern deep seas due to an engine defect yesterday. The fishing trawler named “Chanaka Putha”, which had departed from Tangalle fishing harbour, found itself in distress while at deep sea on 18th May and it requested Naval assistance through the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. In response to the request, Sri Lanka Naval Ship Samudura along with SLNS Ranarisi, more..

Video: Aerial survey gives a glimpse into the havoc caused

May 21 (NF) An aerial survey was done by Newsfirst today on some areas, especially in the Gampaha district that had been severely affected by the inclement weather. Homes, paddy fields, plantations and highways were completely inundated and in many areas boats could be seen deployed to rescue marooned persons. more..

Vesak devotees get additional train service

May 21 (LP) Special Train services will be operating to facilitate the Buddhist devotees visiting Anuradhapura and Kalutara during the Vesak Season. The Railways Department said that y the special train services will commence from the Fort and Maradana Railway Stations on the 26th and 27th of May. The train bound to Anuradhapura will leave the Fort Railway station at 01.25 and it is due in Anuradhapura at 06.20 pm. more..

“The Sri Lanka option”

May 21 (Economist) Little Sri Lanka is rarely a model of anything. But since it crushed the LTTE its government has found itself in an unfamiliar position. Some of the world’s less savoury regimes are beating a path to its door to study “the Sri Lanka option”. Last November, Myanmar’s military dictator, Than Shwe, who rarely travels abroad, visited the island “so that his regime can apply any lessons learned to its efforts against the ethnic groups in Burma,” more..

CPJ protests against the repression of media

May 21 (BBC) In yet another international criticism of the Sri Lankan government, a year after its war victory, the Committee to Protect Journalists has come out with a new report saying there is a "toxic climate for free expression" on the island. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has released a special report on the fears faced by the outspoken journalists in Sri Lanka. more..

Grade I admissions: Cabinet sub-committee appointed

May 21 (LNP) A Cabinet Sub-Committee has been appointed to prepare a National Policy Framework on Admission of Students to Grade 1 from 2011 on the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Due to the urgency of the matter, the report is to be submitted within one week for discussion at the next Cabinet meeting. Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the Cabinet had granted approval to a memorandum submitted by Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena in this regard. more..

'People cannot be allowed to commemorate those who died in the war in the North as a campaign'

May 21 (LeN) Media and information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella addressing a Media discussion yesterday, said, the Tamil people have a right to light a candle and commemorate their, children and kith and kin who died in the war and perform religious rites, but they cannot be allowed to make a public campaign of it. 18th of May marks the completion of one year since the war was won and the LTTE was defeated. more..

Putting the raj in Rajapaksa

May 21 (Economist) There is no stopping the remorseless ascent of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s president. A year ago this week his government routed the rebel LTTE after a 26-year civil war. This January, after a campaign featuring songs lauding him as a “king”, his grateful citizens re-elected him in a landslide. His party then cantered to victory in a parliamentary poll in April. more..

Combined mechanism to help flood victims

May 21 (DN) A combined mechanism is in place to provide immediate relief to over 500,000 flood victims, on a directive of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Disaster Management Minister A.H.M. Fowzie said yesterday. He said that disaster management officials, local government authorities, security forces, NGOs and civil society volunteers had combined forces to lend immediate help to the affected. more..

Visitors Board for Angoda Hospital reenacted after 10yrs

May 21 (AD) The Health Ministry has decided to reenact the Visitors Board after a lapse of 10 years to report on mentally ill persons sent to the Angoda Hospitalon Court orders. The Ministry claims that due to the absence of the Board patients have met with many hardships. The Ministry claimed that there were many patients who were still at Angoda Hospital even after recovering from their mental ailment. more..

U.S. Embassy announces disaster assistance to flooding in Sri Lanka

May 21 (USE) In response to a request for assistance by the Sri Lankan Red Cross and Disaster Management Center due to the destruction caused by torrential rains in Sri Lanka, United States Ambassador Patricia Butenis issued a disaster declaration on May 21. The declaration provides nearly 6 million rupees (US$50,000) from the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of more..

Sri Lanka rebounds after rebel defeat, but scars linger

May 21 (CNN) Though tourism is bouncing back in Sri Lanka and authorities are busy building roads and bridges in former war-torn areas, troops are still finding weapons in old battlefields and the nation remains under a state of emergency one year after a decades-long civil conflict ended. The war, which pitted government forces against the LTTE ended last May. more..

From victory to normalisation in Sri Lanka

May 21 (GV) No war is fought sans atrocity. It destroys everything. Even when a war is fought with the best adherence to internationally accepted laws of warfare; it still breeds hatred, enmity and many a horrific sentiment that violates human decency. This may be why Union General of the American Civil War, William T. Sherman, said “I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of more..

Sri Lankan diplomat dismisses war-crimes claim

May 21 (G&M) Sri Lanka’s top diplomat in Canada has dismissed claims her government committed war crimes as it crushed the Tamil Tigers’ separatist insurgency last year, and says the world has no business investigating such “unsubstantiated” allegations in a sovereign country. “We say that there were no war crimes,” Chitranganee Wagiswara, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Ottawa, told The Globe and Mail. more..

Locally produced saline soon

May 21 (DN) France will help Sri Lanka produce Saline locally. Production will commence before year's end, a Health Ministry spokesman said. Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena revealed this when he called on Asgiriya Mahanayaka Thera Most Ven Udugama Sri Buddharakkhitha Thera and Malwatte Mahanayaka Thera Most Ven Thibbotowawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayaka Thera in Kandy yesterday. more..

Fuji Films patent Kotala Himbutu

May 21 (DN) The Japanese Fuji Films Company has recently procured the patent for a valuable medicinal compound in Salacia (Kotala Himbutu) plant, which is in use in the traditional ayurveda medicine in Sri Lanka, Environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunawardena told the Daily News. Salacia Reticulada is the variety that contains this specific medicinal value. more..

Rs. 1,780 B for Govt’s expenditure for 2010

May 21 (DM) The government yesterday put the full government expenditure for 2010 at Rs. 1,780 billion which will be presented in Parliament for approval in the form of a mini-budget on June 08. Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday said the Appropriation Bill of the mini-budget would be presented in Parliament on June 8 and the budget speech is scheduled for June 29. more..

We are rebuilding Sri Lanka

May 21 (Guardian) As Archbishop Desmond Tutu and veteran UN adviser and envoy Lakhdar Brahimi rightly point out, there have been many achievements in northern and eastern Sri Lanka in a very short period of time since the end of the conflict. The government has implemented a multifaceted rehabilitation, reconstruction and reconciliation programme with dedication. As of today, more than 70% of the IDP (210,672 out of 280,000) have been resettled to their home locales. more..

'Scientific response will be given to Channel Four'

May 21 (Island) The government will at the appropriate time provide a scientific response to Britian's Channel Four television, which alleged that Sri Lankan security forces tortured Tamil prisoners after the LTTE was defeated in May last year, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said. He said that the government did not see the need to reply Channel Four immediately, because it was conducting its own investigations into the allegation and more..

Govt declared war victory before Prabhakaran’s death – SF

May 21 (Island) Former Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka said yesterday that the offensive against the LTTE concluded on May 19, 2009, though the government celebrated the first anniversary of Sri Lanka’s triumph over the LTTE on May 18. The DNA leader said the fighting was raging on the Vanni front when some were kissing the tarmac of the BIA. The Army killed LTTE leader Prabhakaran on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon and recovered the body, he said. more..

Editorial: Education Budget: India 4%, Nepal 3.4% and SL 2.1% of GDP

May 21 (DM) On Tuesday the Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE) demanded from the Pakistan government that the budgetary allocation for education should be increased from the present 2% to 7% percent. On Wednesday the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) cried foul over the Sri Lankan government decision to bringing down the education budget to 2.1% a 42% drop in funds over last three years. more..