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Hoole Is Cool

Aug 20 (SL) Ratnajeevan Hoole was once forced to leave Sri Lanka because of the LTTE. Now he’s been forced to leave because of the EPDP. Shouldn’t that tell us something? Professor Hoole wrote, “Some of us did not oppose corrupt Tamil totalitarianism then, only to support corrupt Sinhalese totalitarianism now, even if fronted by a Tamil.” Indeed, this is the crux of the matter, and why we need brave and intelligent people like him in the country. What did Hoole speak out against? As he told The Hindu: more..

What Sri Lankans really think

Aug 20 (GV) It is ironic, is it not, that those Western voices and Lankan liberals who believe that there is a democracy wave sweeping the world, that democracy is dying if not dead in Sri Lanka and is in dire need of regime change, do not, for the most part, pause to review or objectively ascertain public opinion in the country? They may not believe that ‘Vox Populi, Vox Dei’ –‘the voice of the people is the voice of God’ — but surely, any adherent or advocate of democracy must know and more..

'I want to continue to highlight the activities against the humanity'

Aug 20 (GV) “It’s a miracle that I survived. I was beaten almost to death. Many attempts have been made to kill me, so that my writing will come to an end!. I did not think that, I will survive. The God has saved me to serve the people through journalism. I am slowly recovering. Today, I am blessed to be alive. I have highlighted many issues in my writing. I want to continue to highlight the activities against the humanity, but I am not sure whether I will be able more..

Corruption charges dog MILCO

Aug 20 (SL) Amidst cries of foul play Milk Industries of Lanka Co. better known as MILCO recently awarded a tender for two massive UHT plants to the highest bidder. The tender was given to an Indian bidder selling a Finnish machine for 4.3 million Euros (approx Rs 700 million). However, sources close to MILCO says that the tender was mismanaged and that much lower bids coming in at USD 2 million (approx Rs 220 million) were rejected in favour of the Indian bid. The plants were imported to expand their more..

Illegal distribution of land in the Somawathiya national park by the SLA

Aug 20 (SL) Speculation has arisen regarding the Defence Ministry’s legal authority to “give away” lands within the Somawathiya National Park to a private company for banana cultivation. The Defence Ministry and the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in particular have come under severe criticism for giving away 11,600 acres of land from the Somawathiya National Park to the local agents of USA-based Dole Food Company – Letsgrow (Pvt) Ltd for fruit and vegetable cultivation and livestock farming. more..

What went wrong with UNP?

Aug 20 (NS) There is a conflict within the grand old party. But conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. It can lead to constructive change. Particularly in Hindu thought, conflict can be a destroyer but it can also be a creator of something new. Furthermore, no single person is responsible for causing conflict. This is based on the Buddhist concept of Pratityasamutpada or codependent origination. Everything grows together in mutual causation and we all share the more..

Editorial: Promoting and aborting Springs - (A tale of Syria and Bahrain)

Aug 20 (Island) While NATO is carrying out air raids on Libya indiscriminately with impunity in blatant violation of UN resolutions on that country, the US and the EU (especially the UK, France and Germany) have called upon the beleaguered Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down forthwith. Washington has slapped bans on Syrian petroleum and US investment in Syria and frozen Syrian government's assets to ratchet up pressure on Assad to give up power. more..

Editorial: Mayor Gota?

Aug 20 (DM) With a history that runs as far back to 1866, the Colombo Municipal Council, the country’s largest local government authority is at the threshold of an election again. Speculations are rife that many a prominent personality will run for the elections; however, each of them, with little or no experience in the field or outstanding track records as their trump cards, except Municipal Commissioner Omar Kamil himself, will have a long way to go if they wish to match the efforts more..

Fr. Jim Brown: Mystery of the missing priest

Aug 20 (DBS) Five years ago on August 20th Fr. Thiruchelvam Nihal Jim Brown a Catholic Priest serving in the Jaffna Diocese and Wenceslaus Vimaladhas a Catholic layman went missing in the north. Aug 20th 2006 was a Sunday and Fr.Jim Brown assisted in the morning mass at Kayts. He left Kayts at 12.30 pm on a red coloured motor cycle NPGO 6486 with Wenceslaus Vimalathas riding on the pillion. 40 year old Vimalathas was the father of five children and a lay social worker. more..

NLAC condemns Police, CID intimidation of FTZGSEU in Katunayake

Aug 20 (Island) The National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) condemned the unwarranted action of the Police and CID in searching the offices of the trade unions that agitated against the abortive Private Sector Pensions Bill (PSPB) at Katunayake. Joint Secretary of the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZGSEU) Anton Marcus brought to the notice of the NLAC and Minister of Labour and Labour Relations Gamini Lokuge that CID officers had entered the zonal office in more..

Colombo to host Intl. Conference on Chemical Sciences

Aug 20 (Island) The Institute of Chemistry Ceylon is in the process of organizing a three-day International Conference on Chemical Sciences, to be held from June 20 to 22, 2012 in Colombo. A spokesperson for the institute told The Island that the confab would be part of the activities organized in view of the UN declaring 2011 as ‘International Year of Chemistry’ with the theme ‘Chemistry - Our Life, Our Future’. The official said the meeting would provide a much needed forum for more..

CEYPETCO gets own home

Aug 20 (DM) A CEYPETCO and a CEB with sound management and financial discipline would be a blessing to the economy and on the day the two leading semi-government ventures stand on their own feet, Sri Lanka’s economy will go from strength to strength, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday. Addressing a ceremony held to mark the opening of the ‘CEYPETCO NIVAHANA’ - the CEYPETCO new office complex - at Dematagoda, President Rajapaksa said creating a tidy and more..

Malaysia to offer minimum wages for SL workers

Aug 20 (DN) Malaysia has agreed to introduce a minimum wage structure for Sri Lankan migrant workers on their soil, from 2012. During discussions with a Sri Lankan delegation led by Minister Dilan Perera, the Malaysian authorities have also agreed to look into the possibility of eliminating outsource companies from the recruiting process by signing a government to government agreement. There are about 26 registered agents who send workers to Malaysia. more..

Govt. should take full responsibility for ‘Grease Devil’ menace –Hashim

Aug 20 (Island) The govt couldn’t pass the buck, but should take full responsibility for the ‘Grease Devil’ menace, the UNP said yesterday. Kabir Hashim, MP, said that no matter what the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime says, "Human Greased Devils" do exist and they have already harmed many people, including women. It was a serious situation, which exists in the eastern province and certain other parts of the country, which couldn’t be dismissed as a figment of someone’s imagination, he said. more..

Tamils angry at army’s influence in Sri Lanka

Young hero Sandunil honoured

Aug 20 (DM) Young hero, Sandunil Sankalpa (10) who saved many lives having prevented a possible disastrous train crash recently, was awarded with an educational scholarship by The Ministry of Women Affairs and Children's Development. Sandunil, realising that the protective gate at the Anamaduwa railway crossing had not been closed when a train was on it’s way to cross it, had volunteered to close the gate instantly and had prevented a huge accident involving the speeding train and vehicles which more..

Ajith Pathirana: Colombo’s UNP mayoral candidate?

Aug 20 (DM) Ending weeks of speculation over the nomination of UNP’s Colombo mayoral candidate at the upcoming local govt election, the UNP is expected to field Ajith Pathirana for the slot according to informed sources. Mr. Pathirana is the Secretary of the UNP-led National Lawyers Association and also a Colombo District party organizer. When contacted he said he was planning to contest the CMC elections and expressed his willingness to accept the Mayoral candidature if the party decided to field him. more..

Import tax on onion, potatoes, garlic up

Aug 20 (DN) The import tax on potatoes and big onions was raised due to farmers’ demands as it is the harvesting season for these products. A Finance and Planning Ministry spokesman said the supply of locally grown potatoes and big onions will increase in the coming months as a result of a bumper harvest being reaped in many parts of the country. The govt, considering the requests made by farmers decided to increase the import tax on potatoes from Rs.30 to Rs.35 per kilo and more..

CEB joins UN Carbon Dev. Programme

Aug 20 (Island) The Ceylon Electricity Board has earned the rare privilege of registering with the United Nations Carbon Development Mechanism (CDM) Programme following construction of the Broadland Power Project. The Island learns that the CEB got the rare honour following initiatives by Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka to promote the CDM programme in the country’s power sector. The construction work of the Broadlands Hydro Power plant, in the lower section of t more..

CEB rakes in Rs. 25 mn from Eastern power pirates

Aug 20 (Island) The Special Investigations Unit of the CEB has raked in a total of Rs. 25 million in fines following recent raids in the Eastern Province. This was a record income during the month of July. Raids were conducted in the Amparai and Kalmunai area. 341 persons had been nabbed obtaining electricity illegally. Of this, 278 cases were those where the meters had been tampered with. 63 cases were reported where hooks had been used to illegally tap electricity. more..

Pension Chief wants retirement age increased

Aug 20 (Island) Director General of Pensions K. A. Thilakaratne believes that the retirement age should be increased to 65 years from the present 60. He said that it had been made compulsary for public servants to retire at 60. But, that was stipulated in 1949 taking in to consideration the life expectancy at the time which was 57 years. Now with life expectancy having increased to 74 years he asked whether it would not be wise to increase the retirement age to 65. more..

Govt. encouraging businessmen to destroy forests – Environmentalists

Aug 20 (Island) Environmentalists accuse the government of encouraging big time businessmen to destroy forests. A group of environmental activists, including Piyal Parakrama of the Environmental Foundation (EF), disclosed, at a press briefing held at the Library Services and Documentation Board in Colombo on Thursday (18), that over 60,000 acres of virgin forest land in various parts of the country would be given to to Dole Food Company, a US based multi-national company. more..

Sri Lanka Laugfs' education arm to start vocational training on customs

Aug 20 (LBR) Sri Lanka’s Laugfs Holdings which set up a regional higher educational institute in a joint venture with the University of Canberra will commence its first vocational and academic programs next week with participation of both local and regional students, said a company official. Vindhya Wijetunge, director of Laugfs Higher Education (LAHES) said the first five day vocational program on ‘Valuation of Internationally Traded Merchandise’ is scheduled to kick off on 22nd August. more..

BJP mobilising funds for displaced Sri Lankan Tamils

Aug 20 (Hindu) The Bharatiya Janata Party is mobilising funds from the public in Chennai for providing relief to the displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka, according to L. Ganesan, member of the national executive committee of the party. Mr. Ganesan said the fund-raising campaign in Chennai would go on till August 25 on which date functionaries of the Tamil Nadu State BJP committee would make street campaigns to collect funds from the public. more..

Grease Yakas enter ‘facebook’

Aug 20 (DM) Reports are emerging of ‘Grease Yakas’ invading the most famous social networking site ‘facebook’, which has over 700 million users. Several fake accounts by the name ‘Grease Yaka’ have cropped up on facebook, complete with comments and posts authenticating the myth of the grease devil. However, no complaints regarding these fake accounts have been reported to the Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Response Team (SLCERT) Senior Engineer, Rohana Palliyaguruge said. more..

More drama at Sri Lanka Cricket

Aug 20 (IC) Austerity measures in the wake of Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC’s) royal bungling of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, which saw the island's cricket board in more than $60 million in debt due to budget overruns, now includes junior level district coaches being used to man ticket counters during the ongoing ODI series against Australia. With sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage slashing the tour budget from Rs. 50 million to Rs. 9 million, SLC was forced to depend on volunteers, more..

Sri Lanka v Australia, 4th ODI: Revitalised Sri Lanka look to even series

Aug 20 (CI) A lot has changed in Australian cricket over the past 24 hours but one thing remains the same: the team is in Sri Lanka trying to win a one-day series. The players have been briefed on the Argus report, which has resulted in Andrew Hilditch and Greg Chappell being removed from the selection panel, and the captain and coach being made selectors. Chappell remains in Sri Lanka with the side, and will pick the team for Saturday's match. more..

Domestic gas prices go up

Aug 20 (DM) The price of a 12.5 kg domestic gas cylinder of Litro and Laugfs Gas was increased by Rs.156 from midnight yesterday, The Internal Trade and Cooperatives Ministry said yesterday. They attributed the increase to rising world market prices and also said the increase was made despite the companies seeking an increase of Rs. 570. Accordingly the new price of a 12.5 kg Litro Gas cylinder will cost Rs. 2046 while a cylinder of a Laugfs Gas cylinder will be Rs. 1890, the Ministry said.

Kokavil transmission tower available to private media networks?

Aug 20 (Island) Ministry of Mass Media and Information says that discussions are being held on the possibility of making available the facilities of the newly built Kokavil transmission tower to private media networks in the near future. "Currently the discussions are underway with the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Media and the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC)," a Media Ministry official said. Once the approval of the Ministry of Media was granted the TRC could provide more..

'Politicos made by media like Papadams'

Aug 20 (DM) Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said one cannot sky rocket into the leadership of a political party but he or she should rise up step by step and stressed that leadership qualities could only be developed by backing the leader whenever he or she faced a challenge. “A politician should have a lot of patience not only to head a govt but also to be an opposition leader. Although social service is good, you cannot win only by doing social service. Some others think they can win by doing politics through the media. more..

RRDI develops new paddy strains

Aug 20 (DN) The Bathalagoda Rice Research and Development Institute (RRDI) has developed new paddy varieties and technologies to meet the country's fast changing weather and climatic conditions, RRDI Director Nimal Dissanayake said. "Sri Lanka is experiencing fast changing weather conditions. We cannot expect rain at the correct time. Sometimes our farmers have to do their cultivation with less water. Though there are two main cultivation seasons, farmers now cannot follow them due to the bad weather conditions. more..

Nuclear weapons threaten nation

Aug 20 (UCAN) Christian activists have voiced growing fears over the nuclear arsenals of South Asian neighbors India and Pakistan, calling them a direct threat to Sri Lanka. At a nuclear disarmament seminar held in the Caritas Sri Lanka auditorium yesterday, the Christian Alliance for Social Action (CASA) urged the govt to do more on the international stage to help achieve nuclear disarmament. “If one country used a nuclear weapon, it could damage half the world,” said Jayantha Dhanapala, more..

Joint air exercises with US and others

Aug 20 (DM) Just two weeks after allegations that United States fighter jets intruded into Sri Lanka’s airspace Sri Lanka Air Force said yesterday it would be conducting a joint air exercise over Sri Lanka with the US Air Force and several other regional Air Forces. Air Force Commander Harsha Abeywickrema said the joint exercise was mooted by the US Air Force Pacific Air Command. “These combined multinational exercises are conducted world over with a view to more..

Sri Lanka land sales should be transparent: lawmaker

Aug 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state land sales to private developers must be transparent and all available land must be listed online to boost investor confidence, instead being sold through unsolicited deals, a lawmaker has said. Sri Lanka main opposition UNP member Harsha de Silva says such deals will harm overall investor confidence. "While the UNP welcomes foreign investments in to Sri Lanka we are completely opposed to this rapidly spreading procedure of handing out more..

Sri Lanka state carrier may acquire six Boeing-777s

Aug 20 (LBO) State-run Sri Lankan Airlines will boost its fleet to 28 aircraft over the next four years, which may also include up to six Boeing 777 long haul jets, officials said, as tourist arrivals soar after the end of a civil war.Sri Lankan Airlines now operates a fleet of 19 aircraft made up of 6 Airbus A320s, 5 A330s, 6 A340s and 2 De Havilland Twin Otter floatplanes. Two more A320s have been ordered on operating leases which would be delivered this year, more..

Main parties to finalise nominations today

Aug 20 (DM) The three main political parties, the UPFA, the UNP and the JVP are finalizing their nomination lists for the forthcoming local council elections. UPFA General Secretary and Minister Susil Premajayantha said his party had decided on the number of candidates to be allocated to each of the constituent parties and the nomination lists would be signed today. “We expect to hand them over over next week,” the minister said. more..

Gomin faults government for failing to expose UK double standards

Aug 20 (Island) Senior lawyer Gomin Dayasri accuses the govt of failing to exploit international developments in the human rights field to expose Western double standards and the on-going attempts to isolate Sri Lanka on the basis of the controversial ‘Darusman report’ and a video titled Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields produced by the pro-LTTE Channel Four. Had there been a cohesive strategy on the part of the govt, more..

MR chides Pet. Ministry, CPC over ‘bad’ petrol

Aug 20 (Island) In the wake of the UNP moving the Bribery Commission against the Petroleum Ministry and the CPC for import and distribution of ‘bad’ petrol, President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday advised the CPC to not to do it again. Addressing a gathering after the opening of new Ceypetco headquarters at No 609 at Dr Danister de Silva Mawatha, Dematagoda, President Rajapaksa told the ministry and CPC bosses not to sell petrol mixed with water. more..

Elections to 23 LG bodies - Parties unable to find youth candidates

Aug 20 (Island) Political parties find it difficult to field enough young persons at the 23 LG elections in keeping with the legal requirement that at least 40 per cent of slots be reserved for the youth. That had led to the delay on the part of some parties to finalise their nomination lists. When contacted the UPFA General Secretary Minister Susil Premajayath said that the UPFA would find enough youth to contest LG polls before more..

Canada assists war affected women

Aug 20 (Island) Canada has provided financial support to local NGO, War Affected Women (WAW) to conduct a series of workshops and exhibitions in the Northern and Eastern Provinces for the benefit of women in the post-war period. The Canadian contribution of over Rs 2.5 million would facilitate the WAW to hold two-day exhibitions in Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Jaffna, an Embassy spokesperson told The Island. more..