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Ranil should go by the 23rd: Reformists

Aug 16 (DM) UNP reformists said today that the leadership should be changed by next Wednesday if the party is to emerge victorious at the coming local govt election. Reformist camp strongman Maithri Gunaratne said that the party should be able with even all 23 remaining local bodies if the expected change is brought about on or before Wednesday. He said a sathyagraha had been organised near party head quarters Sirikotha on Wednesday at the time of more..

Sexual abuse at International School: Police look for Swimming Coach

Aug 16 (LP) Police are on the trail to apprehend a young swimming coach of an International school located North of Colombo who had allegedly abused a 17 year old female student of that school, videoed it on a camera phone and released it, top Police sources disclosed. Investigations have revealed that the young swimming coach had befriended the female student and reportedly sexually abused her in a lonely building at the school on weekends when she had come for swimming practices. more..

Govt. to develop systematic network of cities

Aug 16 (SL) Deputy Gitanjana Gunawardena says the government’s policy is to develop a systematic network of settlements and cities that are effectively linked with each other and the rest of the world. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2011 World Cities Scientific Development Forum in Chengdu, China, Gunawardena has said the govt was focused on making Colombo the metropolis with other main cities being developed to be on par with environmentally friendly modern cities in more..

Mobile service providers ordered to give details

Aug 16 (DM) The Colombo Fort Magistrate today ordered two mobile phone service providers to provide details pertaining to two telephone numbers which were alleged to have been used by the person who allegedly prevented prisons officials from carrying out their duties when former army commander General Sarath Fonseka was taken for treatment to a private hospital on July 21. The CCD sought a Court order to obtain telephone details regarding more..

Sri Lankan High Commission in UK to assist stranded Lankan students

Aug 16 (LP) Sri Lankan High Commission in London has come to the rescue of 38 Sri Lankan students stranded in London following the closure of Fullham and Chelsea College. They have secured higher education at Fullham and Chelsea College in London after paying colossal sums of money to two agents in Sri Lanka whose offices are located in Colombo and Negombo. The British High Commission in Colombo warned that those who seek higher education in the UK should more..

Forest offenses cause Rs. 65Mn losses in 2010

Aug 16 (SL) The Environment Ministry states the country had lost Rs. 65.8 million due to thousands of forest offences that had taken place in 2010. The Ministry’s performance report tabled in parliament states that 3,324 forest offences had been reported in 2010. The Ministry has recorded 1,183 offences of illicit encroachment and clearing of forests. The other offences are 726 cases of illegal felling, 179 cases of illicit transportation of timber. more..

Brisk voting for Sangakkara in India Pakistan, Bangladesh and in Britain

Aug 16 (LP) Cricket fans in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and even in the United Kingdom are now busy voting in favour of former Sri Lanka Skipper, Kumar Sangakkara nominated for the ICC's second annual People's Choice Award for his outstanding performance last year,reports from those countries indicated.Fans across the globe cast their vote to Sangakkara via, official sources said. more..

Doctors on Strike at Kinniya base hospital

Aug 16 (DM) Services at the Kinniya base hospital came to a near standstill today as the hospital staff launched a strike against alleged misconduct by the security forces personnel within the hospital premises. The Secretary of the GMOA Dr. Chandika Epitakaduwa stated that “ It isn’t a strike per se, but the Doctors are refraining from carrying out normal duties. They have decided to attend to only emergency situations due to the prevailing hostile environment” he said. more..

Carpeting Nooriya-Basnagala Road in Kegalle District commenced

Aug 16 (GDI) Carpeting of 4.9 kilometer stretch of roadway along Nooriya- Basnagala Pallebage Road, at Deraniyagala Electorate division in Kegalla district was commenced on Saturday with the participation of the Minister Basil Rjajapaksa as the Chief Guest. In Kegalle Dictrict a stretch of 331.75 Km of the provincial Roads is to be developed and carpeted under Provincial Road development Programme in year 2011. The total cost estimated is Rs. 3317.5 million approx. more..

Sri Lankans besiege govt office over "Grease Devils"

Aug 16 (Reuters) Thousands of Sri Lankans besieged a govt office in the port of Trincomalee on Monday, after an overnight clash outside a navy camp in the latest outbreak of violence related to growing panic over night prowlers dubbed "grease devils." Fear over nighttime assaults blamed on grease devils has intensified across rural Sri Lanka, leading to the deaths of at least four people last week. A political undercurrent has also accompanied the wave of panic, more..

Laugfs asks for price hike in domestic LP gas cylinders

Aug 16 (SL) Laugfs Gas Company has requested the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) for a Rs. 570 price hike in domestic LP gas cylinders. Laugfs has forwarded the request to the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA). The CAA however is yet to decide on the request. The other LP gas supplier, the state-owned Litro Gas had not sought a price hike yet. The government in April increased the prices of fuel and LP gas. Sri Lanka reviews and revises the LP gas prices bimonthly.

Court prevents Azath Sally leaving SL

Aug 16 (DM) The Colombo Fort Magistrate today issued an order on the Controller of Immigration and Emigration to prevent Former Deputy Mayor of the CMC Azath Sally and another woman suspect leaving the country over a criminal breach of trust amounting to Rs.600,000. A labourer attached to the Ministry Health had made a complaint with the Colombo Crime division that Former Deputy Mayor Azath Sally had taken a sum of Rs.600,000 on the promise of getting him a job promotion in the presence of more..

Cardinal warns of 'isolation'

Aug 16 (BBC) The leader of the Catholic church in Sri Lanka has warned that the country faces the risk of being isolated in the face of international criticism. In his sermon to hundreds of thousands of Catholics on their annual pilgrimage to Madhu church, Mannar, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith called upon the authorities to come up with a "learned response" to international pressure on the island. "If we are to reject everything, we as a small island can be completely isolated," more..

Lifting emergency: The talk of the House

Aug 16 (DM) Amidst pressure from some local and international quarters to scrap the state of emergency, Parliament met on Tuesday to seek the extension of the emergency regulations for a further period of one month, and it was the main business of the House for that day. The emergency regulations, imposed from time to time in the past depending on the security situation in the country, were lifted during the peace process of the 2002-2004 UNP regime. more..

“Do just that, and do it quickly…”

Aug 16 (DM) Americans are good at power-play, and their spoken word oozes power. Yet, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland’s ultimatum that “if they do not, there’s going to be growing pressure from the international community for exactly the kind of international action that Sri Lankans say they don’t want” on probing ‘war crimes’ has not found many takers inside the island-nation. Even before the Government, it is the political Opposition that has reacted – and more..

An unbelievable collapse of confidence in law enforcement

Aug 16 (LG) Alongside a picturesque stretch of coastline between Akkaraipattu and Pottuvil in Sri Lanka’s East Coast, a tire burning brightly in the centre of the road is etched starkly against crisp morning light. Given Sri Lanka’s history, when bodies burning on top of tires were once a common sight across the country, this was an unsettling reminder that the past is inclined, more often than not, to repeat itself. more..

Political Solution to ethnic discontent is essential precondition for development of the N&E

Aug 16 (TC) The Sri Lankan economy has functioned with only part of its potential capacity for the good part of its last three decades. Although some economic activities prevailed despite the war, most of the region was a battle zone rather than a thriving economy. This applied to all three sectors of the northern and eastern economy: agriculture, industry and services. Although agriculture survived, it was perhaps the worst affected. more..

The Farce of a Fake Tigress

Aug 16 (LG) The memoir penned by Niromi de Soyza calls herself a Tamil Tigress published by Allen & Unwin in Australia seems to be a fake. A critical reading of the book establishes that the author is a foreigner to the subject the Tamil Tigers and the landscape (Jaffna peninsula and the adjacent the Wanni jungles). The author writing under the pseudonym Niromi de Soyza does not reveal her true identity. She claims that she joined the LTTE in 1987 when she was barely 17 years of age and more..

‘Peace Tales from Asia’ – by Chandrani Warnasuriya

Aug 16 (TC) Peace Tales from Asia, by Chandrani Warnasuriya, a book filled with short stories that can make people change their view on violence and “Build a Culture of Peace”. For one reason, she mentions how peace can be established in more people’s lives to make not only their life better, but others as well. Her book retells short stories from throughout the countries of Asia that provide details to show how peace can bring about in a place. more..

There’s pussy-footing galore around the TNA ‘ultimatum’

Aug 16 (LG) The TNA gave the Govt a deadline to respond to three specific issues: (1) The structure of governance (2) The division of subjects and functions between the centre and the devolved units and (3) Fiscal and financial powers. The Govt refused, point blank, claiming that solutions for a decades long problem cannot be found in 10 days. I believe that the TNA was not out of order in setting a deadline. After all, these are issues that were raised long before this deadline was more..

An outspoken human rights lawyer and politician

Aug 16 (LG) As we commemorate Kumar Ponnambalam’s 73rd birth anniversary on August 12, it is worthwhile to ponder on this human rights lawyer and supporter of press freedom. Kumar met his untimely death in the hands of govt assassins in broad daylight in Wellawatte as he was beckoned to keep an appointment through a telephone call from a contact 10 years and seven months ago today. Not unlike the Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga’s chilling murder, more..

Ratnajeevan Hoole flees to London to save himself from Douglas Devananda

Aug 16 (TC) Professor of Electrical Engineering, Ratnajeevan Hoole, UGC coordinator for engineering, Jaffna University , fled the country last week after the EPDP leader, Douglas Devananda initiated legal proceedings against him. He granted an interview from his temporary base in London . Excerpts: Q: What were the circumstances of your leaving? Was there an immediate trigger that led to it such as threat, intimidation or fear for your life? more..

No one, in the US or Sri Lanka, should be above the law

Aug 16 (GV) In a report released last month Human Rights Watch called on the US government to launch criminal investigations into allegations of detainee abuse authorized by senior Bush administration officials. The 107-page report, “Getting Away with Torture: The Bush Administration and Mistreatment of Detainees,” presents substantial information warranting criminal investigations of former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, more..

Cutting down trees to make Colombo beautiful?

Aug 16 (GV) Trees that have stood for decades are being wantonly cut down in Colombo today. Being a Poya Day, therefs not much of people and traffic in Colombo, which make the task of those around Independence Avenue easy. We received a flurry of SMS messages mid-day from people who at first didnft believe what they were seeing. The Weeping Willows down Independence Avenue, which have been around since we are told the 1970Œs, are being cut down today. more..

Deaf and damned

Aug 16 (ST) On July 29, they flocked to Colombo. Over 1500 citizens of Sri Lanka, of every race and religion, from all parts of the country—some coming from as far as Jaffna, to lobby for the basic human rights they have been denied. The protestors; the completely deaf of Sri Lanka, who have suffered in silence for decades due to misguided perceptions about their disability. The reason they are misunderstood is simple though with dire consequences. They have been clumped together with those who are hard of hearing. more..

Editorial: Que Sera, Sera …

Aug 16 (Island) There is no other country like Sri Lanka. It was only the other day that we proved to the world that vehicles could be powered by water with a dash of petrol. Ask the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) how to do it! Petrol was adulterated, we were told, but the CPC practised what it is quite adept at––obfuscation. The issue got eclipsed by others which distracted the Opposition and the media. Those who lined their pockets at our expense have gone scot free! more..

Editorial: Paradigm shift to uplift the poor

Aug 16 (DM) Today we see most governments misusing or abusing their power to become more privileged and stronger. When that is resorted to, billions of people as a consequence get poorer, weaker and keep getting poorer. This will have dire consequences for the future. A case in point was the recent turmoil in Britain, where the pent up frustration of the deprived people exploded against the powerful establishment of the rich. Providence does provide for the needs of all humanity, more..

In the wilds among men counting elephants

Aug 16 (ST) After a long bumpy ride to the heart of the Minneriya National Park, we saw hundreds of them – adults, sub-adults, juveniles and calves – lumbering towards a water-hole. The two observers of the Department of Wildlife Conservation quickly started counting and making note of the number of elephants. The observers had spotted 187 elephants at the waterhole from 6 a.m. till noon on the second day of the islandwide elephant census conducted by more..

Life ‘slightly easy’ without Murali says Ponting

Aug 16 (Island) Two players who have been involved in some epic Sri Lankan-Australia cricket contests over the years are Muttiah Muralitharan and Ricky Ponting. Both have played against each other in two World Cup finals and have tasted both success and defeat. For Muralitharan the crowning moment came in 1996, a year after he was no-balled by controversial umpire Darrel Hair while Ponting led Australia to successive World Cup crowns when his side played the Sri Lankans in 2007. more..

Mathews doubtful for today’s game

Aug 16 (Island) All-rounder Angelo Mathews is doubtful for today’s crucial third One-Day International against Australia after the quadriceps injury that he sustained ahead of the World Cup final early this year flared up again. Selection committee sources said that Mathews’ participation is doubtful for today’s third ODI that Sri Lanka need to win to keep their chances alive in the series. The quadriceps injury ruled Mathews out of international cricket for more..

President taps ex-Secy. to PM as head of CPC

Aug 16 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa had asked former Secretary to the Ministry of Highways and also to the Prime Minister, S. Amarasekera, to assume duties as the new Chairman of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation prior to his recent State visit to China. Amarasekera, who confirmed the President's request, however said he had yet not received the official letter of appointment. Controversial incumbent Chairman of CPC Harry Jayawardena, more..

Kandalama Heritance Hotel wins Vidulka gold award

Aug 16 (Island) The Kandalama Heritance and Seychelles Hotel Pvt. Ltd clinched the Gold Award in the Hotel’s category at the Vidulka awards ceremony held in Colombo. Vidulka, an annual event organised by the Power and Energy Ministry is considered as the top award ceremony given by the energy sector in appreciating energy efficient services adopted by companies and establishments. While Sri Lankan Catering won the award in the construction sector. more..

New legislation for religious properties

Aug 16 (AT) Maha Nayaka Thero of the Asgiri Chapter Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha thero handed over The Draft Legislation with regard to Vihara Dewalagam for the benefit of the Sambuddha Sasana to the President at the President’s house in Kandy. This draft has been created with the consent of Ubhaya Maha Viharasthana as well. Meanwhile, Maha Nayaka Thero stated that the President in view of the Sri Sambuddhathva Jayanthi carried out an immense National, Religious and Social service. more..

‘N&E is not the exclusive preserve of the Tamil or Tamil speaking people’

Aug 16 (TC) The TNA did not stoke hatred in Jaffna during the recent election campaign, insisted TNA leader R. Sampanthan last week. They merely told people the truth about what the govt was doing. Excerpts: Q: Is the outcome of the recent local government election in Jaffna more an endorsement of the TNA or a rejection of the UPFA? A: Both. The people rejected the UPFA. They were not prepared to be deceived by temporary benefits and temporary attractions. more..

Church wants regular program time

Aug 16 (UCAN) A Church body has appealed to a government-owned television channel to reserve airtime for a Christian program after receiving a number of complaints from the Catholic audience. Father Benedict Joseph, national director of social communication, said that after receiving many complaints from disgruntled viewers he had written to the director of the board of Independent Television Network (ITN) and urged them to take immediate action. more..

Navy brings in Sinhala fishermen to Pungkudutheevu

Aug 16 (TN) Sri Lanka’s Navy occupying the islands off Jaffna brought in hundreds of Sinhala fishermen Sunday to settle in Pugkudutheevu island and to engage in fishing. Leaders of the protesting local Tamil fishermen association were taken to the SL Navy camp in the island and were served with death threats. The Sinhala fishermen came with all preparations to make settlements in the island and to engage in the lucrative business of catching sea cucumbers that are of export value. more..

Development Diaries August 10, 2011

Editorial: A brother out of control

Aug 16 (Hindu) Two years after defeating the LTTE and eliminating it as a military entity, Sri Lanka is still struggling to emerge from the woods on some important fronts. Two issues are predominant. One is the nature of the peace, and the efforts by the Sri Lankan govt towards a political reconciliation between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority. The military victory over the LTTE, and President Mahinda Rajapaksa's strength in parliament, gave the govt an unprecedented opportunity to more..

Six arrested in Seetha Maligaya fire

Aug 16 (DM) Six people have been arrested in connection with the incident of setting fire to Seetha Maligaya, an archaeological site in Polonnaruwa and the police are conducting investigations into the incident. The ‘Seetha Maligaya’- ‘Cool Palace’ in Polonnaruwa, which was constructed in the middle of Parakrama Samudraya is considered as the place where King Parakramabahu had lived during the hot season. No serious harm had been caused to the architectural site except for the more..

Sri Lankan activist Ariyaratne presented Basavashree Award

Aug 16 (Hindu) Shivamurthy Murughaswamy of Murugharajendra Math conferred the prestigious Basavashree Award on A.T. Ariyaratne, social activist and Gandhian from Sri Lanka, here on Monday. The award instituted by the math was presented to Dr. Ariyaratne in recognition of his contribution to eradicate poverty in Sri Lanka though a foundation called the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement. In his acceptance speech, Dr. Ariyaratne said that more..