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Saving Sinharaja: The unfinished Story

Aug 8 (LG) Whether Sinharaja has been saved or not, is a big question. I keep on receiving e. mails these days asking me to join in a lead role in the ongoing efforts to save Sinharaja from new intrusions which threaten its existence as a unique biosphere area declared as a World Heritage Site in 1984. The most appalling news now is the reported construction of a five foot wide road along the boundary of this World Heritage Site. That could not be with any reference to more..

Putting the country in harm’s way

Aug 8 (LG) Mindless sycophancy has been the bane of every administration in this country. It has also undermined governance at every level in Sri Lanka, be it political, administrative and judicial. Let us take some illustrative examples. When the war in the North and East ended in May 2009, Sri Lanka’s official line should have been exactly what is emerging now; namely that in a conflict of such a brutal nature, civilian casualties were unavoidable. more..

The film "Gamani" ceremonially screened

Aug 8 (MoD) The film "Gamani" which depicted the self confidence and the strength of the innocent rural citizens, who safeguarded their villages from the threats of the brutal LTTE terrorists, was ceremonially screened with the patronage of Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Secretary of the Ministry of Defense at the Tharangani Cinema Hall yesterday (4). Brutal assassination of 57 innocent civilians by the barbaric LTTE terrorists in the Gonagala area in Ampara more..

‘Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ – A Reality Check

Aug 8 (TC) The air has been full with the “Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”, the Channel 4 documentary. The visuals showed naked Tamil prisoners shot in the head, dead bodies of naked women who had been raped and dumped on a truck and other atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces in the final moments of the brutal civil war. World has never seen such barbarian brutality. Anyone who saw the documentary was numb with disbelief. The authenticity of the footage has more..

7 Tamil detainees hospitalised after severe torture by the prison officials

Aug 8 (LG) Tamil detainees in Bogambara Prison were severely tortured by the prison officials on 14 June 2011. They were threatened that they would face the same difficulties as Kuttamanni and Thangathurai, two former detainees who were killed. The prison officials later admitted the seven detainees to the Prison Hospital at Bogambara Prison. Neither the police nor prison officials have initiated an independent investigation into the incident yet. more..

A dangerous delight in giddiness: Five years after ACF murders in Moothoor

Aug 8 (TC) Today’s Lanka is characterised by public cynicism, fear and institutional decay: fear among journalists of crossing invisible lines; cynicism about the country’s rulers and general disbelief in what they say; and the progressive decay of institutions that should protect human rights. People’s distrust of the Police goes back many decades. What is even worse today is the level of public distrust in all other components of the justice system, more..

Editorial: Attempts to resurrect a monster

Aug 8 (Island) The US State Department officials predicted, while the Vanni war was raging, that even if the LTTE was militarily crushed, its terrorism would not go away. That prompted us to point out in these columns that a sine qua non of the LTTE's revival was the availability of a base either in this country or in India; unless India made the mistake of allowing it to regroup and rearm in Tamil Nadu, after its military muscle was wiped out in this country, more..

Editorial: Threats to sovereignty must be defeated

Aug 8 (DM) Petty politics has always remained the biggest impediment to development and national integration in Sri Lanka. Sadly, such politics once again pose a severe threat to the future of a country finally ridding itself of war and killing and beginning to stand on its own feet. Thirty years of being dragged down by the clutches of cruel war where the people of all communities suffered immense pain should have warned opportunistic politicians against the more..

Giving licence to cradle robbers?

Aug 8 (NS) The most important unit of a society is a family. For the society to function aptly the foundation of a family has to be strong. However, with a recent news report, a debate has mounted regarding the ability of these partners who bear the burden of forming a sound foundation for the family they are going to form. The news report stated that a minster has commented about bringing the marriageable age down to 15 years. more..

Threatened suspension of talks by TNA would benefit only extremists on both sides

Aug 8 (TC) The threatened suspension of talks by the TNA benefits no one, the Tamils or the Sinhalese, the TNA or the government, the North or the South. Or if I may amend my statement immediately, it would benefit only the extremists on both sides of the ethnic fault lines, within and outside the island. Political dialogue is in and of itself desirable. It should not be conditional, still less suspended. In a situation of mounting polarisation occasioned by more..

Relentless international pressure compels Rajapaksas into admitting civilian deaths

Aug 8 (TC) “If you want to believe me, believe me, no civilian casualties”, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told The Australian on 23rd March, 2009. And for over two years, the Rajapaksas and their acolytes maintained that the Lankan Forces defeated the LTTE without killing a single Tamil civilian. The zero-civilian casualty claim became a Rajapaksa leitmotiv; anyone who questioned this impossibility was viciously denigrated. more..

On the vanished trails of coastal Veddahs

Aug 8 (ST) As the evening shadows fall, silhouetted against the setting sun on an unending and beautiful seascape at Vakarai in the east is a lone figure, a figure from the past. Bow and arrows slung over the shoulder, time itself seems to standstill……….as if Sri Lanka's primitive man has jumped out of the pages of the Mahavamsa and is walking along the pristine Vakarai beach. They had come in knots of men, women and children, these descendants of more..

Breaking the debt-deficit vicious cycle

Aug 8 (ST) Breaking the vicious cycle of the deficit increasing the debt and debt increasing the deficit is no easy task. Nevertheless it is a fundamental requirement for economic stabilization and economic growth. The cyclic nature of the problem discussed last week makes it imperative to put in place immediate measures for decreasing the fiscal deficit. The reduction of the fiscal deficit to 7 per cent of GDP last year was an important step in the right direction. more..

Not sure whether they’ll sink or swim!

Aug 8 (ST) `“Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “what is all this fuss about the Greens?” “Why, Bindu,” Bindu’s father Percy said, “who is making a fuss now?” “Why, thaaththa,” Bindu said, “aren’t they fighting with each other once again?” “So, what is new?” Percy wanted to know. “That is nothing new among the Greens for the past few years…” Bindu agreed. “Who is fighting with whom now?” Percy inquired. “That, thaaththa,” Bindu said, “is a bit difficult to understand…” “Why is that?” Percy wondered. more..

Sampoor coal power project finally through

Aug 8 (Island) The long drawn out negotiations to clinch the joint venture between National Thermal Power Corporation of India (NTPC) and the Ceylon Electricity Board to build Sri Lanka’s second coal power plant at Sampoor, Trincomalee has finally come to fruition with Power and Energy Ministry Secretary M.M.C. Ferdinando Friday initialing the all-important Implementation Agreement in New Delhi last Friday with his counterparts there. more..

63 Tax officers promoted as Assessors via FR case in SC

Aug 8 (FT) Sequent to a rights petition to the Supreme Court, 63 Tax Officers of the Inland Revenue Department have been promoted to Posts of Assessors. When the fundamental rights petitions filed by the aggrieved Tax Officers came up before the Supreme Court, the Attorney General informed Court that the Public Service Commission (PSC) had approved the promotion of 63 Tax Officers to the Posts of Assessors in the Inland Revenue Department. The Bench comprised Justices N.G.Amaratunga, more..

Ex-Mayor now a Chauffeur

Aug 8 (SL) Former Colombo Mayor Imthiaz Mohamed has a new job, he is the chauffeur for the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Korea. Imthiaz Mohamed, who had gone back to his old trade of driving a three-wheeler after he lost his job as Mayor, has sought employment overseas. His former coordinating secretary Mohommad Salim told The Sunday Leader that Imthiaz Mohamed had to face a serious financial crisis after losing his job. A disappointed ex-Mayor drove a three-wheeler for more..

GCE A-L's begin today

Aug 8 (DN) The A/L exam will commence today at 2,400 examination centres throughout the country. This year's exam will see the highest number of candidates ever to sit an A/L exam numbering 294,800. More than 45,000 examination staff will be engaged in exam related activities during the exam period. Exam papers have already been sent to relevant exam coordinating centres. The exam will be monitored and coordinated through 300 examination coordinating centres and more..

Martial arts champion shot dead

Aug 8 (Island) Unidentified gunmen on Saturday night have shot dead a Taekwando and Thai Boxing medalist of international repute while he was cycling to a barber salon to have a hair cut at the Katunayake junction. The deceased was Suminda Nadeeshan Liyanage (21) of Katunayake. His killers had arrived on a motorcycle and fired at his head with a T 56 assault rifle and fled. Liyanage was the winner of the gold medal in the fly weight class at the 20003 Taekwando championship more..

NCPA to open second centre in Kilinochchi

Aug 8 (Island) The National Child Protection Authority will open its second Child Focus Group Centre in Kilinochchi next week. Chairman of the NCPA, Anoma Dissanayake said yesterday that this would be a discussion point for Govt and International NGO’s for children based development programmes. She said the Kilinochchi CFGC building was constructed as a part of the NCPA office in the Kilinochchi district. UNICEF has provided funds for the construction of the remaining centres more..

Rizana Nafeek likely to be freed and repatriated

Aug 8 (DM) Rizana Nafeek, the Sri Lankan maid who was on death row in Saudi Arabia is likely to be pardoned and brought to Sri Lanka very soon, Daily Mirror learns. A ministerial delegation from Sri Lanka is already in that country to attend to the formalities. The death sentence on Rizana was confirmed on June 16, 2007. She was charged with the strangling of a four-month old baby whom she was bottle-feeding. Since then, local parties and human rights groups more..

More buses, trains for Madhu pilgrims

Aug 8 (NS) The Ministry of Transport has taken steps to launch special bus and train services between August 6 and 15 for the convenience of pilgrims attending the Madhu Church festival. Three additional trains will be deployed between Colombo and Medawachiya during these days and additional compartments would be attached to the daily train service between Matara and Medawachiya, the Government Information Department said in a press release. more..

Police on alert: Tuition going Girls and boys jump classes

Aug 8 (LP) Police are on the alert following reports that young school going girls and boys who attend private tuition group classes in the Colombo city escape from classes on arrival through rear exits,visit abandoned houses and return through the same point when parents call at the venue to collect them, police disclosed to Lankapuvath. Police have found out that this trend was fast growing at two private tuition locations at Nugegoda (names withheld for security more..

Karu’s proposals to Ranil today

Aug 8 (DM) The crisis within the UNP is likely to take a crucial stage today with Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya due to handover some proposals with regard to party reforms, to party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Analysts see it as a crucial move as the party’s parliamentary group meeting is scheduled for tomorrow. The details of Mr. Jayasuriya’s proposals were not known but he had already stressed that the party should come out strongly to face the govt at more..

Fish at a price despite ‘normalcy’

Aug 8 (ST) Nearly two years after the conflict with expectations running high that more stocks of fish will be available to consumers at low prices, the public continue to pay high prices for fish, a Sunday Times investigation revealed. A range of reasons has been attributed by those in the trade, fisheries officials and the Minister Rajitha Senaratne. This week, the Peliyagoda fish market wholesale stalls were selling a kilo of seer at Rs. 1,300, with its retail price more..

Massive protest against opening of liquor shop

Aug 8 (DN) A major protest was launched in the Panadura town against the opening of a new liquor bar in very close proximity to a Buddha statue, a Buddhist Girls' School and four Dhamma schools in the Wadduwa town. The Chief Incumbent of Vajrakoth Vihara (Korosduwa Temple), Wadduwa Ven Gonaduwe Gunananda Thera with the co-operation of all the branch heads and chief incumbents of 35 Dhamma schools in the Wadduwa-Moronthuduwa Police area, organized this protest campaign. more..

Development Diaries August 03, 2011

Tourism industry welcomes moves for unified branding

Aug 8 (FT) The Govt’s plan to formulate a combined publicity programme to build a unified brand for Sri Lanka tourism has been well received by industry stakeholders who claim that the plan is well timed and a necessary one. The project is to be known as Tourism Promotion Programme. Chairman of Tourist Hotels Association Anura Lokuhetty stated that the industry was happy with the Cabinet paper giving approval to formulate a combined programme for promotion of tourism. more..

University teachers’ exam. duty allowance up

Aug 8 (DM) The examinations duty allowance of university teachers has been increased fivefold by the government, officials said yesterday. Treasury approval has already been obtained for the change. This increase in the allowance has been granted following a demand made by the Federation of University Teachers Associations, said a senior Treasury official. A university teacher is paid Rs 20 for each answer script marked and Rs.200 for a three hour supervision of any exam. more..

Importers claim the move a Trojan Horse

Aug 8 (BL) The Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA) expressed their anger to a plan mooted by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman, Dr Priyath Bandu Wickrama to move the clearance facilities of all car imports from Colombo to the Hambantota Harbour claiming that logistically it was not practical. Their stance is that since the majority of buyers are from the Western Province, such a move would only make the vehicles more expensive more..

Sri Lanka credit growth accelerates to 34.4-pct in June

Aug 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's credit to business from commercial banks rose 34.4 percent to 1,793.4 billion rupees in June with banks disbursing 39 billion rupees of loans during the month, while credit to the state also spiked sharply. Banks have given 23.1 billion rupees of loans denominated in rupees and 6.0 billion rupee equivalent from their foreign currency units. Over the past 12 months banks have loaned 434.5 billion rupees to the private sector and 209.2 billion during the past six months. more..

UPFA meets constituent party leaders today, tomorrow

Aug 8 (Island) The UPFA has called for applications by Wednesday (10) from those in the alliance wanting to contest on its tickets for the remaining Local Government elections for 23 bodies and the candidates will be finalized by August 18. The Secretary of the UPFA, Minister Susil Premajayantha told The Island yesterday that the leaders of all parties which are constituents of the UPFA will be meeting today and tomorrow to discuss the forthcoming LG elections. more..

Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd Twenty20: Preview

Aug 8 (CI) There is no substitute for match conditioning. This much was clear after the first Twenty20 between Sri Lanka and Australia in Kandy, as the hosts showed the benefits of a testing tour of England, as opposed to the training camps in Brisbane and net sessions in Colombo that served as the visitors' preparation for the tour opener. The Sri Lankans also showed far better knowledge of the conditions, more..

Leading SUV makers to invest in H’tota

Aug 8 (DN) Two of the worlds leading Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) manufactures are planning to establish two SUV assembling plants in the Hambantota district. The two companies from Korea and Europe have already sought the Board of Investments approval to acquire lands near the Ruhunu Magampura Port for this project. National Insurance Trust Fund, (NITF) Chairman Senaka D Abeygoonasekera said these companies are planning to assemble SUV’s in Hambantota and then more..

Vehicles bearing State insignia used to move cannabis

Aug 8 (Island) The police now have an opportunity to arrest a gang, which allegedly used vehicles bearing state insignia to regularly move large stocks of cannabis from ‘ganja’ producing areas to Colombo and other major towns. A detection made by the STF has paved the way for an investigation, perhaps by the Police Narcotics Bureau to identify the gang. The STF on Aug. 4 apprehended a 26-year-old person driving a vehicle bearing State insignia at a snap road block on the road more..

Chennai police to hotels: Ban Lankans

Aug 8 (DC) The Chennai city police has in a shocking move instructed hotels in the city not to accommodate pilgrims from Sri Lanka after two attacks on visitors from the island nation. The knee-jerk reaction by the police has led to pilgrims cancelling their plans to visit the Maha Bodhi Society in Chennai. “A few hotels and lodges in North Chennai are denying rooms to the pilgrims from the Maha Bodhi Society, citing orders from the police,” said officials more..

BJP mission Eelam sinks

Aug 8 (AA) The Eelam war might have ended on the northern beaches of Sri Lanka but across the Palk Strait, the island’s Tamil conflict continues to gather heat across Tamil Nadu amid scores of concerned politicians, human rights activists and youth. Not a day passes without at least one demonstration in some part of the state and the protestors demanding a war crimes trial against the rulers in Colombo and speedy resettlement for war survivors. The BJP is a recent player in the Eelam theatre. more..

'Kadir would have been alive if Mahinda had been President in August 2005'

Aug 8 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who attended a religious ceremony in memory of the late Laksham Kadirgamar on Saturday was visibly moved when he was told by Mrs. Sugandhi Kadirgamar that her husband would still have been alive if Rajapaksa had been the President in August 2005, when the LTTE assassinated him. Chandrika Kumartunga was the President at that time. Mrs. Kadirgamar was speaking with the President after he paid a surprise visit to more..

Three French tourists saved

Aug 8 (Island) The Sri Lanka Coast Guard has earned the gratitude of three foreigners after SLCG personnel deployed on the Mirissa beach saved their lives in two separate incidents on Friday and Saturday. SLCG said that on Friday life guards rescued 54-year-old Paolo Dettori, a Frenchman and his 14-year-old son, Christopher who were dragged by a strong current. The rescued had been among foreigners and locals enjoying a swim in more..

'TNA threatened govt. negotiations not only way to solve the problem'

Aug 8 (Island) UPFA MP Sajin Vas Gunawardena said that TNA leader R. Sampanthan had threatened the govt that negotiations weren’t the only way the national issue could be solved. He said that the TNA Chief’s threat should be viewed against the backdrop of the LTTE losing its conventional military capability in May 2009 and a section of the international community threatening the country with more..