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International Buddhist Film Festival

May 28 (MoD) An unprecedented Film Festival on Buddhist themes will take place in association with the Vesak Festival 2010. The Vesak Festival this year takes on a tremendous significance. 2011 makes the 2600th anniversary of the attainment of Supreme Enlightenment by Ascetic Siddhartha. The whole world (Buddhist and non-Buddhist) will celebrate this event as a high spiritual achievement of the whole mankind. more..

'I have no authority to look into the oil exploration done by my own ministry'

May 28 (NM) Yet another disappointed minister had reportedly told a group of Trade Unionists of his own party, although he was the minister in charge of petroleum, he didn’t have the authority to look into the matters related to his own ministry. The subject minister, Susil Premjayanth had also mentioned, he didn’t have the mandate to monitor the oil exploration program more..

101 East - A new Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan government exploits flood disaster to evict slum dwellers

May 28 (wsws) More than half a million people have been affected by this month’s floods in Sri Lanka. Officially, 700 houses have been destroyed, and another 3,833 partially damaged. Around 14,000 people are still living in temporary displacement camps without basic facilities. President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government has failed to provide adequate relief for the victims, including food and drinking water. more..

UNP: In the National interest adopt a wholesale, big-bang approach

May 28 (LG) The UNP has been in the dark era for so long and it appears that the party leadership is utterly out of touch and hanging around in a different planet. It is unfortunate that the party has failed to identify the fundamental reasons for the repeated rejection by the people. However, if the UNP is seriously concerned of it’s plight, there is a lot to learn from the other leading democracies, that had faced a similar fate, but more..

The political predilections of UN special rapporteurs and their informants

May 28 (RW) On August 12th last year an appalling incident took place in Angulana, when two young men were arrested, and subsequently killed. Even if one refrained from drawing any conclusions about who was responsible, one could say definitely that this was a clear case of extra-judicial or summary or arbitrary execution. more..

Sri Lanka Railways to boost fuel transportation

May 28 (N360) Starting from the 1st of July Sri Lanka Railways is planning to boost its fuel transportation levels. The General Manager of the Sri Lanka Railways P. P. Wijesekera said as of now they only use 35% of the SLR capacity to transport fuel to outstation areas from Colombo. He said the Sri Lanka Railways has the necessary infrastructure to increase this figure to around 70%. more..

Lanka donates 10,000$ for Bhutan Buddha statue

May 28 (LP) Sri Lanka has donated USD 10,000 for construction of a Buddha Statue in Bhutan, the Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi said. During the 16 SAARC Summit in Thimphu, Bhutan in April 2010, President Mahinda Rajapksa toured the construction site of Buddha Dordenma Statue at Kuenselphdrang in Thimphu. Pleased with the ongoing progress of the construction of the statue, and as a manifestation of Sri Lanka's support for more..

Sri Lanka High Commission celebrates Vesak in London

May 28 (LP) A Vesak Commemoration Lecture titled “Buddhism as a Resource for Peace and Progress: Who is Prepared to Use it” was delivered by Prof. Richard F. Gombrich of the Oxford University at the High Commission of Sri Lanka in London today. Prof. Gombrich highlighted the importance of Buddhism in today’s context as a philosophy of peace and tolerance. Buddhism should be utilized progressively in today’s political and social life rather more..

President completes 40 years in politics

May 28 (LP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa completed 40 years in politics yesterday. He entered the then National State Assembly as the youngest member by winning his ancestral Beliatta constituency for the United Front coalition at the May 27,1970 election. Since then, it had been a long and chequered political journey for the politician from Ruhuna culminating in his being elected to the highest office of the land. more..

The drivers and scenarios in post-war Sri Lanka

May 28 (GV) My focus in this essay is not what happened in the past but what can be envisioned in the near future particularly with regard to the national question in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan security forces comprehensively defeated the LTTE one year ago. However, the transformation of peace writ small that was achieved in May 2009 to peace writ large has yet to be achieved and more..

Dearth of a drug jeopardizes lives of thalassaemia patients – 4 already dead

May 28 (LT) Lives of children being treated at the Thalassaemia centre at Kurunegala are in jeopardy due to non availability of‘Desferal’, the injection used in the treatment of thalassaemia in children since March this year. Despite the Ministry of Health supplying ‘Talifer’ injection as an alternative to ‘Desferal’, parents of children suffering from thalassaemia as well as the children have rejected the drug as it had developed various other infections. more..

President's move to levy tax from MP's vehicle import permit is a sham

May 28 (LP) Sri Lanka President has proposed to levy a tax of 18% to 20% from the parliamentarians privileged so far to import vehicles once in five years. This proposal appears outwardly as a progressive move although it actually increases the amount of taxes the politicians can evade. On the other hand, it will also provide an argument for the rulers to rationalize increase of taxes. more..

Pandals, Vesak zones, illuminate Colombo and suburbs

May 28 (NF) With the dawn of peace throughout the country after almost 30 years, the Vesak this year is celebrated in a much larger scale. Pandals and alms givings (dansals) are in abundance not only in the city but in all provinces of the island. In Colombo, massive pandals could be seen in Borella, Dematagoda, Grandpass, Kosgashandiya, Mulleriyawa, Pettah, Peliyagoda. more..

Post war census in 2011

May 28 (MoD) The first post war census on Sri Lanka population will be held next year after three decades. According to Census and Statistics Department sources the department procedure for carrying out the census had already prepared and the survey will cover all Grama Niladari Divisions of the country. Some GN divisions will be divided to 150 census blocks depending on the population more..

Editorial: Miracles galore!

May 28 (LNP) Who says miracles are not possible on this blessed isle? We have seen quite a few of them happen of late, haven`t we? A new bridge has been built at Raththanapitiya within days. Some roads in Colombo`s suburbs are being given a veneer of tar. CMC freeloaders are seen attending to clogged drains neglected for years. A section of Colombo is being spruced up rapidly. Whoever imagined such things in this part of the country? more..

A new canal to Nagadeepa water reservoir

May 28 (ND) The Irrigation and Water Resource Development Ministry will construct a canal to supply water to the Nagadeepa Water reservoir which is situated in Mahiyanganaya. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has said that the Nagadeepa Water reservoir was constructed 40 years ago with the hope of providing water to the people of Nagadeepa for their agricultural activities is inadequate to meet the requirements of people which has been increased by almost three fold. more..

JAAF slashes 5-year export targets by $1 bn

May 28 (F2F) The poor export climate this year, has forced the apparel industry representative body of the country, The Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) to trim down its export targets by around US $1 billion for the next five years. In this regard, Secretary General of JAAF, Rohan Masakorala said that, the association had set the revenue target this year as $5 billion. more..

Almost home

Let’s be a weird nation

May 28 (DN) We all have favourite columns and columnists. There was a time when access to columnists such as Art Buchwald was limited and so, when I saw what was as close to a ‘complete works’ of the man at a used-books fair in Ithaca, New York, I was thrilled to bits. This was 15 years ago. I devoured those collections. They contained some pieces which were time and place specific but then again someone who was not aware of something like, say, more..

Teachers union opposes Cabinet decision

May 28 (DM) The Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) yesterday said that they were against a decision taken by the Cabinet to allow Grade one admissions for the following year (2011) to be done the same way it was carried out last year (2009) to choose schools for this years Grade one applicants as it involved using the same Principals in the selection panel as last year. CTU president Joseph Stalin said that the circular issued last year was not suitable as more..

Attack on UNP MP: Tissa rejects Bandara’s charge

May 28 (UNP) Our attention has been drawn to the news items in some of the media which have published that our party has no taken any action against the assault launched on UNP Puttalam District MP Palitha Range Bandara. As soon as we received information about this attack , we contacted Puttalam District Additional Manageress Pervin Herath and requested to forward us a detailed report on the incident. more..

Lanka tops US in Happy Planet Index

May 28 (DN) Sri Lanka is ahead of the United States and the whole world when considered as one unit, according to the ‘Happy Planet Index’ (HPI) introduced by the New Economic Foundation, Energy Forum Executive Director Asoka Abeygunawardana said. He was addressing a media awareness program organized by the Green Movement and the Environment Ministry at the ICTAD auditorium Tuesday. HPI is an index of human well-being and environmental impact. more..

Self employment projects for women

May 28 (DN) The Child Development and Women's Empowerment Ministry will take speedy measures to uplift the economic standards of women who are living in areas which were badly affected by LTTE terrorism. This will be done through the various self employment programs, Minister Tissa Karaliyadda said. Ministry will take these initiatives in line with the economic development program introduced for families below the poverty line. more..

Suicide rate drops in Sri Lanka

May 28 (Island) The suicide rate in Sri Lanka has decreased during the last decade, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Health. Dr. Neil Fernando, Consultant Psychiatrist of the Angoda National Mental Health Institute, told the media at a conference organised by the Basic Needs (an NGO), that around 9,000 suicide incidents had been reported in 1996, which was the highest ever reported and it had prompted health authorities to pay more attention to the issue. more..

Fisheries Minister to streamline Fisheries Corporation

May 28 (DM) Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday the Fisheries Corporation was financially bankrupt to such an extent that Rs.200 million had been obtained recently on a bank overdraft to pay salaries of employees. Dr. Senaratne said he would work out a method of improving the finances of the Corporation, and turn it into profit making venture soon. more..

'Change Act to ease crossovers'

May 28 (DM) The government is considering an amendment to the Local Government Act in order to maintain the present status of a municipal council, urban council or pradeshiya sabha member if they leave the party from which they contested the selection. This proposal had been mooted at the SLFP central committee meeting held at Temple Trees on Wednesday and presided over by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Minister orders removal of 5 factories

May 28 (Island) The Irrigation and Water Resource Management Ministry has ordered the removal of six factories along the banks of the Dandugam Oya in Ja-Ela. The factories release their waste to Dandugam Oya, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, who visited Ja-Ela on an inspection tour was told by the water resources authorities. Due to the release of toxic waste, several varieties of fish in the Oya had died recently, more..

SLFP Gen. Secy discusses past plots in the party

May 28 (Island) SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena says his predecessor, S.B. Dissanayake had won the post of the General Secretary by trickery, only to switch his allegiance to the UNP less than a year later. Minister Sirisena says Dissanayake deceived him and conspired with a section of the SLFP Central Committee to secure the post. more..

De-mining efforts face funding shortfall

May 28 (IRIN) The recent death of a French de-miner in northern Sri Lanka highlights the ongoing threat of landmines in preventing the safe return of tens of thousands of conflict-displaced. Dominique Morin, who worked for the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action, was killed on 10 May when a device he was handling exploded in the village of Kakkayankulam West, in eastern Mannar District. more..

Saving the island’s remaining coral reefs

May 28 (IPS) It is Saturday morning and the Pollhena beach, 160 kilometres south of the capital Colombo, is jampacked as usual with local and foreign tourists alike, who are either playing in the sand or bathing in its calm, shallow water, which is gleaming under the sunlight. On the horizon, a couple of shadows appear to be walking on water, bending every now and then to pick up something that is not quite visible from afar. more..

Govt commences electrification project in the North

May 28 (DM) Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, who was present at a ceremony marking the commencement of the restoration work on the Jaffna–Vavuniya main power transmission line yesterday, said national integration would be strengthened with the restoration of the power line destroyed by the LTTE in 1983. Visiting ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda was the chief guest at the ceremony held in Killinochchi more..

Sri Lanka: New panel doesn’t satisfy US concerns

May 28 (HRW) Sri Lanka's new Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, to look into the armed conflict that ended last year, falls far short of minimum standards sought by the United States, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. On May 28, 2010, the Sri Lankan external affairs minister, G.L. Peiris, is scheduled to meet with Clinton. more..

Recollections 40 years down: Light that never extinguishes

May 28 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa marks the 40th anniversary of his victorious political journey on May 27. It was at the General Election held on May 27, 1970 that the people of Beliatta first elected him to represent them as the youngest member of Parliament. Even before he was appointed SLFP organiser for Beliatta following the demise of his father in 1967 he had been a youth organiser and activist devoid of party politics. more..

'Credibility is a thing that comes back'

May 28 (Island) The Island met besieged UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in his Cambridge Place office to get his side of the story in the very public drama being played out in the party. Our political correspondent C.A. Chandraprema found Mr Wickremasinghe in a confident mood despite the media blitz against him and seemingly very much in control of things. Among the matters discussed in this wide ranging two part interview are more..

Sri Lanka president rejects war crimes probe

May 28 (AFP) Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse has rejected international calls for a war crimes probe into the final offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels last year. In an interview with the Al-Jazeera television news network on Thursday, Rajapakse said he would not tolerate any outside review of a campaign that he insisted was solely aimed at "defeating terrorism". more..

Flood IDPs returning home

May 29 (IRIN) Residents in southern and western Sri Lanka displaced by heavy flooding last week are returning to their homes, authorities say. "Living in a tent outside a temple with hundreds of other people is not a positive experience," Prasad Dammika, 36, from the town of Gampaha, told IRIN. "Tonight I can sleep peacefully." As of 28 May, more than 13,000 IDPs in Colombo and Gampaha - two of the worst affected districts - had returned to their homes. more..

Sri Lanka to Hold Elections in Former Rebel Held North

May 29 (Xinhua) A year after the crushing of Tamil Tiger rebels, the Sri Lankan government is contemplating to hold local elections in the Northern Province which had been controlled by the rebels for decades. Basil Rajapaksa, the minister of Economic Development, told a gathering Friday at the former rebel administrative headquarters of Kilinochchi that the government intends to hold elections soon. more..

Sri Lanka's war-torn east gets software developer with US support

May 29 (LBO) An information technology firm has set up a software development centre in Sri Lanka's former war-torn eastern region with support from the United States, its embassy in Colombo said. Kingslake Engineering Systems had set up development centre in Akkaraipatti in the Ampara district with financial support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). more..

Sri Lanka needs to contain deficit for long term growth: ADB chief

May 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka has to contain its fiscal deficit to sustain growth and maintain stability as the country emerges from a 30-year conflict and rebuilds war damaged infrastructure, Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda said. "With the end of the conflict and ensuing peace Sri Lanka can look forward to prosperous times ahead," Kuroda told reporters in Colombo more..

Sri Lanka reconciliation panel 'holds promise:' Hillary Clinton

May 29 (AFP) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday the Sri Lankan post-war reconciliation panel "holds promise," hoping it will have a broad mandate and resources to pursue claims of wartime atrocities. "I think this commission holds promise and we hope and expect that it will fulfill that promise," Clinton said during a press briefing with new Sri Lankan foreign minister G L Peiris. more..

ADB asks Sri Lanka to reduce size of budget

May 29 (AFP) The Asian Development Bank on Friday asked Sri Lanka to prune the size of its budget to sustain economic stability as the island emerges from decades of ethnic conflict. The Manila-based bank's President Haruhiko Kuroda said Sri Lanka's top priority now is to rebuild infrastructure in the island's war-ravaged north and east; and ensure economic stability reaches everyone in the country. more..

Will ‘Peace’ arrive before death?

May 29 (GV) It was, unfortunately, a necessary war, for terrorism had to be defeated, eliminated. After some thirty long years, on or around the 19th of May 2009, Sri Lanka gained liberation; liberation from the clutches of the LTTE, from the clutches of terrorism (May, 2010: The Prime Minister states in Parliament that a new military wing of the LTTE is being formed, is getting ready to raise its ugly head). ‘Terrorism’, however, was only one facet of the problem. more..

Politics of transnational Tamil Eelam Govt

May 29 (DBS) A significant event in Tamil transnational politics occurred a fortnight ago in historic Philadelphia city in the US state of Pennsylvania. About 70 -75 persons gathered on Monday May 17th for a three-day conclave. The venue was the National Convention Center situated on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall at 525 Arch Street. Both the dates and location were symbolically significant. more..

Sinhalese Buddhists celebrate Vesak grandly in the North

May 29 (TN) Sinhalese Buddhists from South and the government armed forces in the North celebrated Thursday and Friday the annual Buddhist Vesak festival in Jaffna, Ki’linochchi and Vanni in a grand scale in comparison with last year. Sri Lanka government provided full support for the celebrations while security measures were strengthened in Jaffna with 700 additional policemen deployed along with Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers, more..

Caste origins of Sri Lankan authoritarianism – Part 5

May 29 (LG) In caste-based societies, one of the methods used to discourage attempts to seek justice is the mockery of tragedies and ridiculing of victims. A caste-based society is a heartless society at all times. It cannot deal with people who complain against the wrongs that have taken place within the society. Instead of dealing with their complaints, the caste system has devised a number of methods to deter victims from complaining, more..

Nepotism, Cronyism and why not

May 29 (Indi) Sri Lanka is like Facebook gone amuck. It’s all about the hook-ups. To get anything from a decent meal to your kid into school, it’s best to know a friend of a friend. Someone printed a Yellow Pages long ago. I’ve never used it. To find a plumber you call your family, to find a job you ask your friends, to find a lover you get introduced. Really, it’s all about the references. This has the effect of making things either absurdly easy or absurdly hard. more..

‘Monsters’ still remain untamed

May 29 (DM) Like the proverbial new broom sweeping clean, some ministers and deputy ministers who have begun their work seem to be engaged in a vigorous sprucing up and pepping up of the institutions under their ministries. They are visiting these institutions and departments - invariably with TV cameras focused on them and officials in attendance and after such visits they make various observations about the manner in which these institutions had operated in the past. more..

Who wants to unplug ‘Hub Lanka’?

May 29 (DM) The notion of positioning Sri Lanka as a hub in modern political history is slowly becoming the national ideology that will power the development plans in post war Sri Lanka. Transforming into a hub is a challenge in itself for any state and for many critics an utopia or a myopic political plan. Sri Lanka’s position as a strategic location based on its geographical position has been a recurring point of reference for a multitude of analysts and scholars. more..

Secretary Clinton meets with G.L. Peiris