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Modern cannabis plantation in Yala raided

May 24 (Island) A team of 25 men led by Asst. Excise Commissioner Southern Province B. A. Dayaratne last week conducted a series of raids on ganja cultivations in an area covering 25 acres in the Zone 3 of the Yala Wildlife Sanctuary and arrested 22 suspects. A total of 93,800 ganja plants 6-7ft in height ready for harvesting were destroyed. The plants had been well tended, sprayed with insecticides, manured with chemical fertiliser and mechanically watered. more..

Dhanuna hiding in Lanka

May 24 (DM) The son-in-law of General Sarath Fonseka, Dhanuna Tilakaratne is still hiding in Sri Lanka and has not fled the country as was speculated at times. The passport of Tilakaratne, who is wanted by the police and has an arrest warrant against him over some financial dealings involving General Fonseka, remains blacklisted and as such there is no way he could escape overseas. more..

22 killed, half-a- mln displaced in floods

May 24 (DM) A total of 22 people have been killed and 549157 persons from 126,111 families have been affected as a result of the floods experienced in many parts of the country. The most number of deaths - eleven - have been reported from Gampaha. 470 houses have been completely damaged due to floods islandwide. Nearly 46,386 families have been affected in the Gampaha district with the next worst affected area being Colombo district with 35,578 families. more..

JVP legal action against removal of Tissa PS Chairman

May 24 (DM) Southern Provincial Council Chief Minister has suspended the membership of former chairman of the Tissamaharama Pradeshiya Sabha H.L. Jayasiri, sources said. Earlier, Chief Minister Shan Wijayalal Silva suspended Mr. Jayasiri from his office as Chairman, and placed his local Council under the purview of a special commissioner. However, Mr. Jayasiri continued to be a member of the JVP controlled Council. more..

US to increase non-immigrant visa fees

May 24 (LBO) Application fees for US non-immigrant visas will increase on June 4, 2010, the US embassy in Colombo said in a statement. Application fees for the business (B1), tourist (B2), student (F), and exchange visitor (J) visas, those most often applied for by travelers, will have a "modest increase" to 140 US dollars (16,100 rupees), it said. more..

Sri Lanka mulls rice surplus

May 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka is likely to have a surplus of rice as paddy fields neglected owing to war in the north and east return to full production, government and private sector officials said. Eastern province governor Mohan Wijewickrema said previously neglected paddy fields in the region, which has about a quarter of the island's paddy land, are now under cultivation. more..

Sri Lanka says Iran may lend $1.5 billion to expand refinery

May 24 (BN) Sri Lanka, which imports all its oil, may get a $1.5 billion loan from Iran to fully fund a project to double capacity at the South Asian island’s only refinery, the petroleum minister said. “The earlier understanding was for us to come up with 30 percent, but Iran may come in to completely finance the expansion,” Susil Premajayantha said in an interview more..

Visit to Manik Farm: TNA MPs protest against denial of entry

May 24 (Island) The TNA appealed to the government last night to take corrective measures after its 12-member parliamentary team was reportedly denied entry to the IDP camp in Vanni. A statement signed by the 12 MPs called on the "people of Sri Lanka and the world at large, including the UN and its relevant organs, to take cognizance of this act of unbridled authoritarianism". more..

No budging from Budget – IMF

May 24 (DM) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday asserted that its focus was currently on Budget 2010, insisting that the transfer of the third tranche would depend as much on this as on the evaluation report that it would make. Reiterating on the ills of expansionary budget deficit and recurrent expenditure, IMF Mission Head Dr. Brian Aitken nonetheless noted that they were "encouraged" by the progress the Government more..

Crackdown on illegal spas

May 24 (DM) The Ayurvedic Department has informed the Mirihana police to crackdown on illegal Ayurvedic massage centers operating under the guise of spas without a valid license, Ayurvedic Commissioner Ramani Gunawardena said. She said that only 15 Ayurvedic centers are licensed to operate in the country including just five in Colombo but several illegal centers are in operation more..

Shanties near waterways to be demolished

May 24 (Island) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, in co-ordination with the Defence Ministry, has taken action to remove all unauthorised shanties erected on river banks, near marshes and on lands owned by the Irrigation Ministry in Gampaha, Kalutara, Colombo and Nuwara-Eliya, as the root cause for the flooding has been identified as slums in water receding areas. more..

Don’t interfere in internal affairs: Lanka to UN chief

May 24 (PTI) Sri Lanka on Monday asked UN chief Ban Ki-moon not to interfere in its internal affairs and not to go ahead with the probe into alleged war crimes by its Army against the defeated LTTE, amidst an international clamour by rights groups for an independent inquiry. "...There is no justification legal or moral for this step (UN probe) to be taken at this time," more..

Sri Lanka shares end flat; IMF loan cash awaited

May 25 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares closed flat on Monday, as retailers booked profits in a bourse that has risen without any technical corrections this year, while foreign funds were net sellers despite positive comments by the IMF. The Colombo Stock Exchange's All-Share Price Index closed 2.77 points or 0.07 percent at 4,232.92. It hit a record of 4,281.97 points on Friday and the market is up 25 percent so far in 2010, more..

'Name the detainees' Govt. urged

May 25 (BBC) Many people have been disappeared in Sri Lanka since the end of the conflict with the Tamil Tigers, human rights activists say. Convenor of Committee for the CID Chamil Jayanetti told BBC that the government should reveal the names of nearly 12,000 suspected LTTE members currently detained. "We don't know what the fate of these disappeared people are. They may be detained, killed of disappeared. If the government announce the names of those detained then the relatives would have a clue," more..

Debrief News - 24. 05. 2010

Listen to what Tamils themselves have to say about their life and experience

May 25 (TC) You write to say that Sri Lanka is now free of danger, the Tamils are at peace and contented, and I should come on holiday. It is kind of you, a testimony to a friendship that has lasted half a century, despite my having left the Island many, many years ago. However, your confident assurance about the situation of the Tamils surprises me because what I hear from Tamils themselves is quite different, ranging from the mild, more..

KP's contribution to Lankan peace 'immense'

May 25 (EB) Kumaran Pathmanathan alias “KP”, the detained former chief arms procurer and smuggler for the LTTE, is currently making an immense contribution to peace by working for ethnic harmony, says the Singapore-based expert on terrorism, Prof. Rohan Gunaratna. “He is building bridges between the Tamils and other communities, both at home and overseas, and is striving for ethnic unity.He is contributing to peace immensely,” more..

Development while preserving local heritage and historical landmarks

May 25 (LG) The proposed Nallur Hotel in Jaffna by the Mercantile Bank of Sri Lanka has sparked off a debate at a public consultation meeting organized by the Mayor of Jaffna on 10 May 2010. Minister Douglas Devananda, instead of precipitating a rushed decision at a small and non-representative meeting, announced that the Mayor will make a final decision on this matter of great public interest and sensitivity only after extensive research and further public consultation. more..

Puthukkudiyiruppu school is open again

May 25 (PTI) A government school in the war battered Puthukkudiyiruppu, the scene of gruesome battle between the Sri Lankan security forces and the LTTE last year, has reopened. The school at Puthukkudiyiruppu in Mullaitivu district was retaken in the humanitarian operation one year ago. "The people who were rescued from the grip of LTTE are being continuously provided relief and the school in the Puthukkudiyiruppu Village has also been re-opened," more..

'Get involved' Tamil diaspora urged

May 25 (BBC) The foreign minister has urged the Tamil diaspora worldwide to get involved in the rehabilitation process after the end of the conflict. Speaking from UN headquarters in New York, Professor GL Peiris said that his government was stepping up its effort to rehabilitate displaced Tamil people. "Well as far as the diaspora are concerned our hope very much is that they would involve themselves constructively more..

Time to abandon devolutionist lunacy

May 25 (DM) I read recently that India is pressurizing the Government of Sri Lanka to ‘implement fully the 13th Amendment’. Around the same time, I read Dayan Jayatilleka echoing this position, not as ‘pressure’ but as fervent plea as appropriate to his love for India and of course the more guarded and less black-cheque affection for the Rajapaksa regime. A few preliminary observations are in order here. more..

Infant rescued from toilet pit in Eheliyagoda

May 25 (NF) An infant was rescued from a toilet pit at Mahingoda, Eheliyagoda today. According to police, neighbours had heard an infant crying and on inquiry, had found the infant in the toilet pit. The child was admitted to Eheliyagoda hospital. The child had been transferred to the Ratnapura hospital. The woman, said to have given birth to the child, has been taken into custody and is being questioned. more..

'EU might not revoke Sri Lanka trade boon'

May 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka could still avoid the withdrawal of European Union trade concessions over its human rights record following two rounds of talks with Brussels, the Asian country's foreign minister said on Monday. The EU is due to cancel in August a trade preference amounting to $150 million annually that helps Sri Lanka's top export, garments, after finding the country failed to adhere to more..

Sri Lanka and its journalists: A country going wrong

May 25 (HP) CPJ has launched a new report, In Sri Lanka, No Peace Dividend for Press. It takes a close look at the media in Sri Lanka, one year after the government declared a decisive victory over Tamil secessionists that ended 30 years of bitter, often genuinely suicidal ethnic conflict. In the years running up to that victory, Sri Lankan journalists who had dared to criticize the government found themselves under serious attack more..

Kokilai nature reserve 'bulldozed'

May 25 (BBC) A nature reserve in north eastern Sri Lanka is being bulldozed for development and for resettlement after the war, environmentalists say. Sri Lanka Nature Forum (SLNF), said that over 40 acres of Kokilai nature reserve has been bulldozed during April-May this year. "It is sad that authorities keep quiet and many environmental problems will emerge as a result of this destruction in an area which is home to herd of 35 elephants," it said. more..

Interview III - Dr. Harsha de Silva

A pale shadow of democracy

May 25 (LG) Are we destined to endlessly repeat history, each time losing a little of what it means to be Sri Lankan along the way? Now we hear talk of homegrown constitutional solutions and yet another Commission, this time most piquantly termed on ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation’ prompting this columnist to question whether there are separate teams employed by the government working on imaginative titles for these most useless bodies. more..

Heroes stand on their feet; not beg on their knees

May 25 (LG) These are times when heroes of this land keep falling off their pedestals with increasing regularity. Sanath Jayasuriya, one time hero to millions of cricket fans in Sri Lanka and the cricketing world is now swaying on his podium with many Sri Lankan critics baying for his blood while there are many defenders, most of whom are doing so, not for Jayasuriya’s benefit or cricket, but for bumming their political masters. more..

One year after: Fonseka jailed but not jolted

May 25 (ST) One year ago, General Sarath Fonseka was the country's Army Commander and was being feted as the leading hero of the war victory against the LTTE. But today he has gone from hero to enemy number one of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration. He spends much of his days, after his dramatic arrest on February 8 this year, in near solitary confinement, facing two courts martial inquiries for alleged malpractice while more..

Teen runaway Rifqa Bary now fighting cancer

May 25 (OS) Fathima Rifqa Bary, the Muslim teenager from Columbus, Ohio, who converted to Christianity and ran away to Orlando, is being treated for uterine cancer. Rifqa, now 17, has already undergone two operations and will have a third one on Thursday, according to a close friend and her former Orlando lawyer. "The only reason she wants this to be known is she wants people to pray for her," more..

Walking down memory lane

May 25 (LG) I remember the day we finally ended the battle against terrorism. It was May 19th mid afternoon when my father got the call saying that the war is finally over and they have found the body of the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, near the lagoons. I remember my father first calling the Defense Secretary and letting him know. Then he called the President to convey the good news. He then left for office to give the good news to all Sri Lankans. more..

Cats and dogs, her life

May 25 (ST) Dogs, they say, are a man’s best friend. In the case of Udayanagani Jayawardena, it goes far beyond that. This petite yet headstrong woman brings new meaning to the term ‘animal lover’. At her humble abode in Angoda, barely bigger than a motel room, Udayangani cares for and provides shelter to a staggering 159 homeless, ailing cats and dogs, all by herself with the enthusiastic yet fragile support of her aging father. more..

Demise of LTTE commanders and its implications

May 25 (LG) It’s been a year since the Eelam War IV ended. During the last days of the war, the LTTE leadership warned Tamils to not fall prey to the false propaganda of the Sri Lankan government. Now, the LTTE has confirmed that they lost precious and fearless commanders, like Brigadier Theepan and Brigadier Sornam. Tamils have yet to recover from the wounds caused in the last phase of the war, in which nearly 50,000 Tamils were mass murdered. more..

Suicide bombers of LTTE and posttraumatic phenomenon

May 25 (LG) Suicide attack is an ancient practice with a modern history. The Mahabharata an ancient epic describes suicide warfare. Islamic Order of Assassins (hashashin) during the early Crusader times was well-known examples. The concept of “terror” as systematic use of violence to attain political ends was first codified by Maximilien Robespierre during the French Revolution. Vladimir Illich Ulyanove (Lenin) used terror against classes, more..

Boston Lanka news edition

Sri Lanka private universities; do not rush and spoil the soup

May 25 (LBO) The announcement by the new Minister of Higher Education, Hon S.B Disssanayake, on assuming office and in subsequent interviews, that the top priority of his Ministry will be to make available more opportunities for the youth to pursue university education in Sri Lanka has echoed a long standing wish of the community. To attain this goal, he has revealed that the ‘government will invite foreign universities more..

Living with the Other in post-war Sri Lanka

May 25 (GV) I often have to remind myself that I live with a Tamil. My housemate, Vanessa is a Tamil, married to a Sinhalese and I have been living with her and her husband for almost a year and working with her for over two. She is also one of my closest friends. She is Tamil; I am Sinhalese. But even as I write, it’s hard to think of the two of us along those lines, because I can’t figure out what defines our identities. more..

Editorial: Head off the phantom Tigers’ Canadian base

May 25 (G&M) A secessionist Tamil government-in-exile, with the largest bloc made up of Canadian Tamils, will not improve the life of their brethren in Sri Lanka, and will only succeed in impeding that country’s ability to rebuild after its recent bloody history. Rather than relive old battles, Canada’s Tamil diaspora should support peace and reconciliation in their homeland. more..

Tamil Question and the Global Crisis of Capitalism

May 25 (GV) One whole year has elapsed since Sri Lanka’s military victory over the Tamil Tiger forces that were fighting for a separate state. Many had high hopes that the triumphant Mahinda-regime would now magnanimously bring out a political solution to settle the long-running ethnic conflict that has been bugging the Sinhala-dominated state in various forms since colonial times. more..

Rain exposed Sri Lanka’s political follies

May 25 (LG) In the agricultural nation of Sri Lanka rain has always remained one of its great blessings. In the ancient civilisation the ordinary farmer who did not have the educational qualifications and the sophistication that modern Sri Lankan have knew how to manage rain. Pride in the management of the rain belonged to this civilisation, both for those who lived in the south as well as in the north. more..

Is the U.N. complicit in Sri Lankan war crimes?

May 25 (FP) Louise Arbour, the head of the International Crisis Group, called for an internal review of the U.N.'s conduct during Sri Lanka's bloody 2009 civil war, telling Turtle Bay that the organization's abandonment of national staff in a conflict zone and its failure to speak up more forcefully about abuses made it "close to complicit" in government atrocities. more..

Sri Lanka-India free trade deal helped consumers, producers: economist

May 25 (LBO) A free trade deal between India and Sri Lankan has been partially successful in giving a better deal for the island's consumers and industrialists with access to cheaper imported products and supplies, an economist said. Some of the cheapest and good quality products were available from India such as pharmaceuticals, scooters, motorcycles, jeeps, lorries, railway and office equipment and machinery, more..

Getting Sri Lanka's economy back on track

May 25 (GV) On the first anniversary of the end of the war, with the presidential and parliamentary elections behind us, now is the time to start thinking seriously about addressing some of the problems dogging the economy of Sri Lanka, including a massive debt and unsustainable budget deficits. Failure to do this will mean falling living standards and eventual crisis. What does demilitarisation have to do with the economy? Everything. more..

Camouflaged ban on Tamil Eelam by New Delhi, Chennai

May 25 (TN) The Government of Tamil Nadu has gazetted a notification by the Indian Central Government's Ministry of Home Affairs, dated 14 May, banning the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as an 'unlawful association'. The announcement falsely linked 'Tamil Eelam' as threatening the 'sovereignty and territorial integrity of a part of the territory of India'. more..

SLA plundered vehicle spare parts in Vanni sold in Anuradhapura

May 25 (TN) Anuradhapura has turned into the main ‘spare parts sales town’ in Sri Lanka as the spare parts of vehicles abandoned in Mu’l’livaaikkaal in Vanni, plundered by Sri Lanka Army (SLA), are being taken to Anuradahapura along A9 road in trucks and vehicles which bring goods to North, according to Suresh Premachandran, TNA Jaffna parliamentarian. He further alleged that the spare parts of the vehicles of Vanni civilians systematically plundered by SLA soldiers more..

A Saadambara Sri Lankaava

May 25 (DN) Sahan Ranwala, livewire of the Ranwala Foundation which was the life-product and life of that inimitable artiste, conservationist of things national and teacher, told me on Sunday that the end of the war provided an opportunity to extend the concept api wenuwen api (we, for us) to all aspects of Sri Lankan life. He made two points. First, he stressed the importance of figuring out ‘api’ (us/ourselves) and ‘apekama’ (that which defines us, our ‘ourness’ so to speak). more..

'Save by cents and not Rupees'

May 25 (LP) A timely study by Minister Patalee Champika Ranawaka leads to the revelation that by the year 2007. 700000 street lights had been installed in the country of which number 340000 had been through the Ceylon Electricity Board, 60000 by LECO and the rest not accounted for falling to an unnamed category amounting to about 50% of the lights. The Minister's attention had been drawn to the amount of money spent on more..

Temporary bridge over Katuela at Rattanapitiya opens by Monday

May 25 (LP) Boralesgamuwa junction to Pepiliyana junction on the Colombo - Horana road was closed to public transportation today too as the construction of the temporary bridge over the Katuela at Rattanapitiya have been delayed due to the weather conditions. The Road Development Authority (RDA) was hopeful that they would be able to open bridge for vehicle movement by last evening but failed due to adverse weather condition in the area. more..

Rajapakse family – the new owners of Insurance Corporation

May 25 (LT) It is reported that Insurance Corporation of Sri Lanka is to be bought by Gotabhaya Rajapakse. The deal is to be carried out through Harry Jayawardene, who had bought 49% of the shares of the Corporation that belonged to ‘Lanka Hospitals (Apollo Hospital). Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapakse would be handed over these shares by Mr. Harry Jayawardene. It is due to this deal that Harry Jayaswardene has been appointed as the Chairman of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. more..

Massive Anti-dengue campaign

May 25 (LP) Minister of Health Care and Nutrition Maithreepala Sirisena has launched a massive Anti-Dengue campaign in order to prevent and confront the spread of the deadly dengue. The special Task Force appointed by the Ministry meets today with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. A programme compromising committees involving those from ground level to top more..