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Tamils in remand prison over 15 years

Nov 14 (BBC) A group of Tamil Tiger suspects arrested more than a decade ago has written to a pro-government Tamil MP asking his help to get them released. One suspect who has been held for over a decade without being charged told BBC Sandeshaya that nearly 30 suspects are being held for years in remand prison. The group has earlier approached many other MPs but the inmate who wished to be anonymous said they said received no favourable response from authorities. more..

GL and Mouttaki discuss extended Iranian assistance

Nov 14 (Island) Professor G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, had bilateral discussions on the sidelines of the ninth Asia Co-operation Dialogue Ministerial Meeting in Tehran, with Manouchere Mouttaki, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Prof. Peiris followed up with Mouttaki some of the matters which formed the substance of the discussion between President Mehmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Sri Lanka’s Minister of External Affairs. more..

Elmore Perera tells LLRC: Fonseka’s jailing is ultra vires

Nov 14 (Island) Giving evidence last week before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, Mr. Elmore Perera, a former Surveyor General, former Additional Director of the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration urged that "it is abundantly clear that the imposition of a sentence of imprisonment in respect of the charges levelled against Sarath Fonseka in the Court Martial is ultra vires and therefore ab initio void." more..

Foreign dignitaries to attend President's swearing-in

Nov 14 (SO) Several Heads of States will arrive in Sri Lanka to attend the second swearing-in ceremony of President Mahinda Rajapaksa on November 19. Among them are the President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed, Prime Minister of Bhutan, Jigmi Y. Thinley and Chinese Presidential Envoy Sang Guowei. Sang, Cice Chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, will arrive in Sri Lanka on November 17 as a guest of President Rajapaksa. more..

Scholarships for foreign students

Nov 14 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to offer 100 scholarships to foreign students in Sri Lankan state universities next year under the program initiated by the Government to promote Sri Lanka as a knowledge hub. Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne said the Government will select foreign students from the SAARC and the European countries. scholarships will also be given to students from African and South American countries as well. more..

TNA MP Vinayagamurthi to be questioned by Vavuniya police over money scam

Nov 14 (TC) TNA MP A.Vinayagamurthi is currently been sought by the Vavuniya police for questioning regarding a money scam allegedly carried out by him in the guise of locating disappeared persons from the North. TNA MP has been summoned in this connection to the Vavuniya police, requiring him to be present by November 16, a senior policeman told this newspaper. He said that currently the scam is in operation in the North where more..

‘Ad hoc’ drug raids rapped

Nov 14 (NS) The Police Department has come under criticism by various parties for its recently-launched hunt for drug traffickers and porn stars, citing that both programmes were done in a haphazard manner. Critics charge that drug raids are done in an ad hoc manner where they only get hold of drug users/small time sellers and not the real dealers or the contraband. “Usually such raids should be conducted on intelligence and done in a proper manner as sting operations where more..

First Buddhist College opened in the UK

Nov 14 (Island) The first Buddhist College in the UK was opened on October 28, 2010 at Glasgow University, Scotland, a landmark event in the history of Buddhism in the UK. Buddhism was first introduced to the UK in 1926. This is one of the major Buddhist events for the UK and indeed for Europe in the last seventy years. The welcome speech was given by the Chaplain of Glasgow University, the Reverend Stuart Macquarie who presented seven monks with a gift each from the University. more..

Sri Lanka's 'ignored' non-Tamil Tiger militant groups

Nov 14 (BBC) Pro-government Tamil militant leaders in Sri Lanka say the plight of their supporters has been completely ignored since the war came to an end with the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009. While human rights groups are not impressed with the government's rehabilitation programme for ex-Tamil Tiger members, leaders of rival Tamil groups say their followers have also not been accommodated at all in post-war society. more..

Another train tragedy with a moral: Don’t walk on the railway tracks

Nov 14 (Island) It happened again: Man hit by train, buried this week together with the dream of his life. He just got used to it. His new, good, life in thrive. He had just set up his new fast food business in Sri Lanka after three years of living in France and four years in England working with McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and other fast food chains, that 26-year-old guy. He just settled down with his fiancee, his sister and some close friends in Boralesgamuwa outside Colombo. more..

MR’s stage crashes Iinto restaurant

Nov 14 (SL) A truck belonging to the Jaya Container Terminal of the Colombo Port met with an accident in Matara last Tuesday when it was transporting parts of the President’s stage that is to be set up in Hambantota for the opening of the Port. The JCT truck number 119 skidded off the Galle Road about a kilometer before the Matara town and crashed into a wayside restaurant causing severe damage to both the truck and the restaurant. The accident had taken place around 6.15 a.m. more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa Presidency: First term report card

Nov 14 (TC) He tried to talk peace. When it failed, he gave leadership to a military campaign that defeated one of the most organised, ruthless, thriving and criminal terrorist organisations in the world. Not everyone is happy at the manner in which the battle was conducted. Allegations of war crimes keep dogging his footsteps, and those of his military. But Mahinda Rajapaksa is today a hero to millions of Sri Lankans that will forgive him anything — even more..

Lasantha Trial: Mobile Phone Thief Sentenced

Nov 14 (SL) The man found guilty of stealing the mobile phone of slain Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge on January 8, 2009 was sentenced to six months rigorous imprisonment by Chief Magistrate Nirosha Fernando of the Mount Lavinia court on Friday, November 12. V. Prageeth Perera was found guilty of having stolen Wickrematunge’s mobile phone from the scene of the murder last year. Perera was also fined Rs. 1,500. more..

Man-made lakes to prevent Sri Lanka flooding

Nov 14 (Xinhua) Building lakes in the capital Colombo suburbs is a move considered by Sri Lankan authorities to prevent the city from flooding in thunder storms. That reaction came after Thursday's deluge which left most parts of the capital under water following its highest rain fall in 18 years. The city recorded 440 millimeters of rain which is the second highest rainfall since the 492 millimeters recorded in June 1992. more..

Mahinda at the helm

Nov 14 (NS) Having triumphantly overcome the problem of terrorism in the country and earned unprecedented kudos, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is all set to begin his second term of office on Friday. With an opposition still in disarray with many of its parliamentarians having crossed over to the government, Rajapaksa will have the distinction of being the first executive president of this country to go into a stronger position in the second term. more..

Deepa Mehta to shoot Midnight's Children in Sri Lanka

Nov 14 (IE) Oscar nominated director Deepa Mehta and multi-award-winning author Salman Rushdie's screen adaptation of his extraordinary multi award-winning international bestselling novel Midnight's Children will commence shooting in Sri Lanka in January 2011. Shabana Azmi, Irrfan Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Nandita Das, Chandan Roy Sanyal and Seema Biswas will star in the English language film. The film is being shot in Sri Lanka because Mehta has sworn off India more..

Editorial : A new season begins

Nov 14 (ST) For the superstitious-minded, the heavens opening up on Wednesday night with a deluge that flooded Colombo and its environs, inundating the Parliament complex as well (forcing the Honourable Members of Parliament to use armour protected vehicles) may have been seen as an ill omen, having something to do with the passage of the Casinos Law permitting the operation of casinos in the country. That it happened only hours after the bill saw safe passage to law had tongues wagging. more..

'SLMC move consolidates national unity'

Nov 14 (SO) The SLMC move to join the government has further consolidated the writ of the UPFA government said UPFA Secretary and Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha. The SLMC supported the 18th Amendment to the Constitution while being in the Opposition. They have taken the next logical step of joining the government under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Minister said. more..

What was Fonseka's plan if he won?

Nov 14 (ST) A special dais in front of the flight of steps to the Presidential Secretariat or the former parliament building, once walked by royalty and local leaders who won independence for then Ceylon, will be the cynosure of Sri Lankans on Friday, November 19. At the auspicious time of 10.14 a.m., Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa will stand there before Chief Justice Asoka de Silva. more..

New tax amnesty for thousands of evaders

Nov 14 (ST) Seeking short term revenue, a cash-strapped Government is to announce another tax amnesty in the 2011 budget to be presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament on November 22. The proposed amnesty allows individuals or firms to pay previously unpaid taxes without being subject to some or all of the financial and criminal penalties that the discovery of tax evasion normally entails, more..

Muzammil hammers Hakeem’s volte face

Nov 14 (Island) The UNP alleges the SLMC decision to join the Rajapaksa administration will strengthen a dictatorial government which is pushing for a one-party State. UNP says the government will continue to exploit those MPs willing to forgo interests of their communities for personal gain. The SLMC’s latest move, the UNP says, again highlighted the Rajapaksa strategy of engineering crossovers on the basis of perks and privileges offered to political turncoats. more..

'Don't risk Malinga in Tests before World Cup'

Nov 14 (CI) Fast bowler Lasith Malinga has become such a precious commodity that Sri Lanka are considering not risking him in any of the upcoming three Tests against West Indies. The spearhead of the Sri Lankan bowling attack in one-dayers along with Muttiah Muralitharan, Malinga was left out of the first Test in Galle starting Monday. He may not play in the rest of the series because Sri Lanka intends keeping him injury-free, more..

Presidential advisor slams CMC for Colombo floods

Nov 14 (ST) Presidential advisor Dr. Sunimal Fernando and angry residents in Horton Place alleged the hasty 100-day road construction programme undertaken by the Colombo Municipality was responsible for aggravating the flood situation in Colombo city. They claimed the municipal authorities had made changes to the British-built road system and introduced solutions of their own without consulting residents who more..

Saudi King responds to plea for Rizana

Nov 14 (ST) Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has directed officials to hold talks with the household in which a Sri Lankan female domestic is alleged to have murdered a toddler in her charge as discreet diplomatic efforts were underway to secure her release, a senior official said yesterday. The maid-Rizana Razeek has been placed on death row after Saudi Arabia’s highest court found her guilty of smothering the child to death. more..

President Rajapaksa to address Oxford Union in early December - HC

Nov 14 (Island) Sri Lanka High Commissioner in London Justice Nihal Jayasinghe said that despite some adverse reporting by certain sections of the media, President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be visiting England to address the Oxford Union in early December. He said that it is true that the British Government is talking about war crimes in Sri Lanka but they have to be more specific about it rather than just making allegations without any proof. more..

Cash in your chips

Nov 14 (NS) The tourism sector in Sri Lanka, which was continuously on the decline, saw a change early last year when the 30-year-old war came to an end. Several countries had banned their tourists from travelling to Sri Lanka due to the unstable security situation. However, the end of the war resulted in these travel restrictions being lifted and allowed to travel to the country. Nearly one and a half years later, Sri Lanka is looking for avenues to increase the tourist arrival by including new options. more..

Sri Lanka 'porn' video victims flee in fear

Nov 14 (LBO) Helpless women whose picture were posted on the internet by third parties have been further victimized and in at least one case forced to flee her home after police published their pictures in the media, a report said. Lakbimanews said some of the pictures published in the media by police to catch 'porn' actresses were private videos released by estranged lovers, while some appeared to be of an 'amature' nature secretly shot with hidden cameras. more..

Sammy ready for Sri Lanka challenge

Nov 15 (CI) West Indies captain Darren Sammy has said his team is prepared to face the challenges posed by Sri Lanka ahead of the first Test at Galle starting on Monday. "Sri Lanka is a place where lots of runs have been scored. If you look at the last few series played here, the batsmen have scored the runs. It looks like a very good wicket. In Sri Lanka the ball also spins so we have to take that into account and plan accordingly," more..

Sri Lanka fishery sector needs new techniques, better resource data

Nov 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's fishery sector needs more data on resource stocks, especially in war-torn Northern areas, new techniques and improvements in post harvest handling, a think tank has said. "The fishery sector industry needs more information on resource stocks and the potential in both marine and inland water resources, especially in the Northern Province," Sri Lanka's Institute of Policy Studies, a think tank said in its annual 'State of the Economy' report. more..

Sri Lanka boxer fails second doping test

Nov 15 (AFP) Sri Lankan boxer Manju Wanniarachchi failed the second doping test for a banned steroid after winning gold at last month's Commonwealth Games, the boxing governing body on the island said on Sunday. The Amateur Boxing Association of Sri Lanka said the "B" sample of 30-year-old Wanniarachchi's urine tested positive for nandrolone, a performance enhancing substance, but the authorities in Colombo will appeal. more..

Unidentified gang attacks JVP MP, 4 members in Jaffna

Nov 15 (TN) A gang of ten men arriving on five motor cycles at the residence of former TNA MP, Ms. Pathmini Sithamparanathan Sunday around 6:30 p.m, assaulted the JVP party members including a MP who were engaged in talks with Ms. Pathmini Sithamparanathan, causing serious injuries. The injured are admitted to Jaffna Teaching Hospital. The JVP group had come to Jaffna to launch a demonstration Monday to highlight the plight of the disappeared persons more..

OPD services at Govt hospitals extended till 8 pm

Nov 15 (GDI) The government has decided to extend the clinical time at Out Patient Department of all main hospitals in the country till 8.00pm from Monday (15). Accordingly, OPD services at the Colombo National Hospital and other main hospitals in the provinces will be be kept open till 8.00. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had directed the health minister to provide round the clock service at the OPDs of government hospitals in order to facilitate the poor patients. more..

Sri Lankan maid alleges nail torture in Jordan

Nov 15 (AFP) Sri Lanka is probing allegations that one of its nationals employed in Jordan was forced to swallow nails, in the third case involving alleged torture in three months, an official said Sunday. A housemaid identified as D. M. Chandima has told the Sri Lankan diplomatic mission in Amman that her employer forced her to swallow six nails, an official at the Foreign Employment Bureau of Sri Lanka said. "We are awaiting a full report from doctors," more..

Suu Kyi’s release a lesson to Sri Lanka’s leaders - Ranil

Nov 15 (AD) Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe says that the release of Myanmar activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest is a victory for the democracy loving public of the world. This can be considered as another victory of democracy as the anti-democratic journey of the military government, which took away her (Aung San Suu Kyi) freedom for 15 years was brought to an end, he pointed out. more..

Third term tests postponed

Nov 15 (SL) The Education Ministry has requested the Provincial education authorities to take the necessary steps to hold the final term examinations in schools on dates that would not clash with the Presidential celebrations. The final term school exams were initially scheduled to be held on November 15th, 16th, 18th and 19th. However, the Education Ministry has requested that these dates be postponed. The decision had been made in order to allowhe school children to participate more..

'JVP that could not be stopped by assassinating thousands'

Nov 15 (LT) The JVP that could not be stopped by assassinating its leadership including Rohana Wijeweera and Upatissa Gamanayake would never be stopped by tearing down its posters says the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. Delivering the keynote address at the 21st Commemoration of the ‘November Heroes’ held by the JVP at Viharamahadevi indoor stadium yesterday (13th) he said, “It is 21 years since Comrade Rohana Wijeweera was assassinated. more..

Should we repeal the Anti-torture Act?

Nov 15 (LG) When a teenager is accused of stealing a bunch of plantains to cram into his mouth, should we be surprised when he claims that he is tortured thereafter by the police who ask him to confess to the crime, to the extent that he temporarily loses the use of his left arm? This month, Sri Lanka’s High Courts handed down yet another acquittal in a prosecution against police officers of torture of a minor in precisely the above factual circumstances. more..

Capital is free to sweep into any country while labour is restricted

Nov 15 (LG) Slavoj Zizek while analyzing the views of Chakrabaty who says “as many observers have noted, post modernity is not the overcoming of modernity but its fulfillment. In the post modern universe, pre modern ‘leftovers’ are no longer experienced as obstacles to be overcome by progress towards a fully secularized modernization, but as something to be unproblematically incorporated into the multicultural global universe”. more..

Politicians are most directly responsible for lack of discipline in society

Nov 15 (TC) The lack of discipline shown by certain groups of students in universities has been a cause of great distress to many—quite naturally. The manner in which certain students behaved recently causing damage to persons and property deserves condemnation. Students who have violated the law have to be held accountable. Politicians, too, are deeply worried by this lack of discipline shown by the students. more..

Can government increase salaries by Rs. 2,500 a month?

Nov 15 (LG) Trade union and political party leaders are demanding that the salaries of Government servants be increased at least by Rs 2500 per month. Yet a trade union leader like Mr Lal Kantha is demanding an increase of Rs. 8000 per month. All are claiming the above amounts in view of the rise in the cost of living. Only the price of rice is within reach. Everything else has gone up in price. more..

Intoxicated journalism of Pearl Thevasagayam must end

Nov 15 (LG) In the write up ‘Kassipu and personality disorder: two vital ingredients of a gutter journalist’ in the Sri Lanka Guardian, the writer Pearl Thevasagayam without responding to her scurrilous charges against me in her previous writing, has gone on the spree to attack the wider Tamil Diaspora community. Having claimed asylum in the United Kingdom recently on the grounds of persecution of journalists in Sri Lanka, the writer had gone on to castigate more..

Daya master says ex Tiger members unable to secure jobs

Nov 15 (TN) “All the former LTTE combatants detained should be released under general amnesty and steps should be taken to reunite them with their families enabling them to lead a normal life,” V. Dayanithy, who was once an employed media coordinator of the movement, said while 'witnessing' at a session before LLRC in Oorkaavattu’rai St. Henry’s Church, in the islets of Jaffna on Sunday. more..

SLN, EPDP intimidate LLRC witnesses in Jaffna islets

Nov 15 (TN) Members of the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) Intelligence Unit and of the Eealam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) Sunday intimidated many potential witnesses who were planning to appear before the Lesson Learnt & Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) during its sessions in the SLN controlled islets of Jaffna, persons present at the sessions said. Some government officials too are alleged to have assisted the intimidators. more..

Kassipu and personality disorder: two vital ingredients of a gutter journalist

Nov 15 (LG) One must be a hell of a journalist to function with personality disorder and imbibing kasippu (a cheap lethal cocktail of toddy, cockroaches and ripe fruits usually the preferred choice of alcohol for the dirt poor) and to regularly keep up her writings which never fails to evoke responses supportive, defensive and like that of Mr Jayadevan’s downright risible. I wonder if Mr Jayadevan could enlighten me as to where in London I could get this more..

Exam-oriented seminar organized for O/L candidates

Nov 15 (Cimic) Auditorium of Vembady Girls’ High School and the Weerasingham Hall in Jaffna inundated with enthusiastic students on Saturday when the 51 Division of Security Forces Jaffna (SF-J) organized education seminars aiming the G.C.E. O/L examination 2010. The participation of students witnessed today was the highest in the Jaffna education history since it was the first time that such a programme was organized for O/L candidates in Jaffna. more..

Will the real porn-star stand up?

Nov 15 (LG) On a order obtained by police, certain publications publicized some photographs of women who are supposed to have acted and/or act in pornographic films. The authorities/police apparently wants the support of the public to trace these persons. I am told that some of these women have informed the police that they are not guilty of undressing or engaging in any sexual acts for commercial purposes. The onus then is on the relevant authorities to prove that more..

American, Norway Embassy officials observe LLRC proceedings in Jaffna

Nov 15 (TN) In the context of international media agencies being not permitted to enter Jaffna, officials of the Embassies of America and Norway in Sri Lanka are in Jaffna observing the proceedings of the LLRC in Jaffna peninsula at various places. The complaints made to LLRC by many parents about the disappearance of their daughters after arrest by Sri Lanka Army in Vanni and Oamanthai during the last days of the war are directly observed with interest and more..

Northerners are no less Sri Lankan

Nov 15 (ST) The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) on Thursday and Friday heard from several prominent persons from the Jaffna district, including wives of prominent LTTE leaders reported missing. Jayavathi, wife of one time LTTE politburo member Yogaratnam Yogi, claimed that, her husband had surrendered to the military, along with several senior LTTE cadres, but they have not been heard of since then. more..

Let There Be Light!

Nov 15 (SL) October 30, 2010 was to be a red-letter day in the lives of those in our part of rural Sri Lanka. It was the day that, by the grace of God (and our current Minister of Power who sometimes appears to have difficulty in differentiating between himself and the deity) we were to be hooked up to the national power grid. As I write this, better than a week later, we are still “connected” but I am typing thanks to electricity generated by a Lister lighting plant, the history of which more..

Optimism over budget

Nov 15 (NS) Never in the recent economic history of the country has there been such optimism as on the eve of the budget for 2011. There is considerable optimism and expectation of rapid economic growth in the post war years. That optimism is considerably more in the government than in business community. The recent impressive increases in the All Share Price Index and other indices were signs of that optimism in the investor community. more..