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Remembering Sri Lanka

Universities and Cycle of Truth

Feb 18 (LG) This is in response to the speech by Professor Kalinga Tudor Silva, published in yesterday’s Sri Lanka Guardian. Professor Silva raises the question ‘What should be the role of universities in post-war reconstruction and reconciliation in Sri Lanka?’ In suggesting solutions, Professor Silva says ‘In my view the post-war rebuilding in Sri Lanka should serve two related purposes. One is to rebuild infrastructure including houses, hospitals, roads, railways, more..

A Response: ‘The Geneva consensus: Setting the record straight’

Feb 18 (LG) The tale of two Sri Lankan Diplomats embroiled in a war of words – where ‘truth’ is a bystander……. Dayan Jayatilleka Shamelessly Claiming Credit for Concealing the ‘Slaughter in Sri Lanka’. While there is a row brewing in cyberspace between two Sri Lankan diplomats, past and present, career and political appointee, about who was better at their jobs in telling lies for the Rajapaksa regime, let’s not be side-tracked from the ‘truth’. more..

Chitrasena and Vajira: The patriarch and the matriarch of modern Sri Lankan dance

Feb 18 (LG) During the last twenty-five years, I have visited Sri Lanka only once. So, to quench my indescribable desire to stay in touch with my own culture, I listen to Sri Lankan music and watch Sri Lankan dance. Sri Lankan music is ubiquitous; I can listen to Jothipala or Amaradeva whether I live in Colombo or Timbuktu. But when it comes to Sri Lankan dance, unfortunately, my choices are somewhat limited. more..

The Geneva Consensus: safely intact

Feb 18 (DM) There are certain misconceptions regarding the evolution of the Sri Lankan issue at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva during the last war. There was a highly critical draft EU resolution on Sri Lanka on the HRC agenda from 2006, precisely during that tenure and a good year before I was deployed by the President to the Geneva ‘frontline’. When I assumed duties as Ambassador/Permanent Representative on June 1st 2007, the awesome nature of professional more..

Elections and Dialogue with the TNA

Feb 18 (DM) The government must or should be having some cause for concern and disquiet about the state of political play. The most significant challenge is the rapid escalation of prices of essential goods and thereby hitting the general public in their economic well being. The President himself has stated the politically obvious that with the war over, there is no whipping boy to blame economic woes on. The impending fuel price hike after the local government more..

Tribulations in the run-up to the Local Government Elections

Feb 18 (DM) The much awaited and spoken about local government elections will be held on March 17. Deputy Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Indika Bandaranaike stated that the elections should be held before March 31, leaving room for the Prime Minister who announced a date outside his authority. Finally the Elections Commissioner, the sole authority, announced that March 17 would be the day to hold the LGE. more..

The ‘thus far and no further’ of Coombism

Feb 18 (LB) Galle Literary Festival 2011, for all its faults, did have some redeeming moments but none as significant as a book launch that was located outside the official GLF programme and even beyond its so-called fringe, indeed and ironically in the manner of an in-your-face finger-giving. Marlon Ariyasinghe’s ‘Froteztology’ will hopefully give a lot of literary pretenders enough shivers to want pause and obtain humility. There was, I hear, some griping by more..

Prioritising social protection without sacrificing economic growth

Feb 18 (ST) At times of national crisis such as this, the government’s economic policies and administration must focus on ensuring that those affected have adequate food; their destroyed dwellings are repaired and restored; likely epidemics in the aftermath of the floods are minimised; the livelihoods of the people affected are restored and the damaged infrastructure is repaired. These are certainly mammoth tasks requiring large amounts of finances and more..

UNP opens local election campaign in Jaffna

Feb 18 (LG) The UNP opened its local election campaign in Jaffna today with senior members of the party taking part in the events. UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya launching the party’s election campaign in Jaffna urged voters to make use of the upcoming poll to create national Tamil leaders. Mr. Jayasuriya addressing UNP candidates and supporters in Jaffna said that the local elections was a good opportunity to create politicians who could move on more..

Editorial: Health: Tackle the root causes of the disease

Feb 18 (DM) Improving health services was one of the important topics discussed when President Mahinda Rajapaksa met trade union leaders this week for a dialogue on how to provide more relief to the people because of the soaring cost of living and other problems. Indeed if Sri Lanka is to become a wealthy and developed nation, we need healthy people because health is wealth. How Sri Lanka will be built up to be a model country is another matter because more..

Editorial: Time to fish or cut bait

Feb 18 (Island) All these years Tamil Nadu politicians have managed to gloss over the issue of their fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters, by raising the bogey of the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN), which they accuse of doing nothing but shoot Indians. They have craftily put an ethnic spin on the problem of illegal fishing, which they apparently promote on the sly for politico-economic reasons, by claiming that it is a dispute between Indian fishermen and the SLN. more..

Fascinating story on the evolution of temple laws from colonial days

Feb 18 (ST) On Tuesday, February 15, the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM) will be launching ‘Buddhist Ecclesiastical Law’, authored by the well known lawyer and academic Dr. Wickrema Weerasooria. The guests of honour are Ven. Professor Bellanwila Wimalaratne Thera, Chancellor, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Chief Justice Asoka de Silva and Former Attorney General Rajah Wanasundera. more..

Boxing lessons for SLC

Feb 18 (SL) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) may need to take a cue from Sri Lanka Boxing (SLB) which has its accounts audited and further stipulates that either its treasurer or assistant treasurer needs to be a qualified accountant. Dian Gomes, Group Director MAS Holdings, a US$ 750 million garments exporting enterprise who has been involved in the development of SLB for the past 12 years told a seminar in Colombo on Saturday that another “check and balance” that SLB more..

Sri Lanka Tourism UK wins prestigious CIM global marketing excellence award

Feb 18 (FT) It was a proud moment for the Sri Lanka Tourism UK office when it received the world’s premier marketing recognition award from the Chartered Institute of Marketing UK on Tuesday. The Sri Lanka Tourism UK office topped the Hotels, Leisure and Tourism category, surpassing 10 other nominees, which included some of the most recognised brands in the world. The following were the finalists in the Hotels/Leisure and Travel Sector: Best Western, Brunel’s ss Great more..

Taking note of new notes

Feb 18 (ST) The Central Bank (CBSL) issued a new set of six currency notes into circulation on February 7 which will replace the current notes in circulation that were first issued in 1991. The new set includes a new Rs 5000 note. Images of the notes had been published in the local newspapers on January 28 and online on the CBSL website. The notes have the date 2010-01-01 since the new notes were originally expected to be released at the CBSL 60th Anniversary more..

Bitter truth about sugar: Local production only 6%; forex drain Rs. 40B

Feb 18 (NF) Local sugar production is only 6 per cent of the annual demand for sugar that stands between 550,000 to 600,000 metric tons. As result, a colossal amount of foreign exchange is required for the importation of sugar and sugar related products. In the year 2010 alone, the forex drain from the country on sugar amounted to Rs. 40 billion. The ministry said that to overcome the drawback, the ministry planned, amongst other things, to set up a new state institution to more..

Unions still to finalize estate worker demands

Feb 18 (DM) As the date for the collective agreement between the estate workers’ trade unions and employers draws closer, the unions had begun working on how to get the best deal for their workers. Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) sources said they were aware that the collective agreement between the Unions and employers would have to be re-negotiated as the present one ends on March 31. Union sources however said that they were still to meet to discuss the situation and would do so soon. more..

CPC Privatisation: The untold story

Feb 18 (Island) I refer to news items appearing in your newspapers of the 15th and 16th instant and also the news item published in the "LankaeNews" dated the 7th instant. "LankaeNews" news item refers to certain comments alleged to have been made by Minister Susil Premajayantha, at a meeting held at his office, referring to a "Crude Oil Corporation" obviously meaning the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). The Minister is alleged to have expressed his intention to "eliminate" or "terminate" the CPC and more..

SC sets aside District and appeal Court judgements

Feb 18 (DN) The Supreme Court set aside the judgements of the District Court and the Court of Appeal and made order dismissing the action filed by the respondents in the District Court. Justice Saleem Marsoof PC in his judgement stated "I also award costs in a sum of Rs 25,000 payable to the Appellants jointly, by the Respondents jointly and severally. Chief Justice Asoka de Silva with Justice PA Ratnayake PC agreeing in the judgment stated "in all the circumstances of this case, more..

Natural farming catching up in Sri Lanka

Feb 18 (TOI) The zero-budget natural farming propounded by Subash Palekar has reached Sri Lanka. The natural farming technique that is fast-catching up with the farmers in South India has been taken up by farmers in the neighbouring nation. Sharath Fernando from Sri Lanka, who partook in a meet of farmers from South Asia at Bangalore, said the Sri Lankan government is supporting the initiative. According to him, farmers in his homeland are facing agri crisis owing to overuse of fertilizers and seeds. more..

'Govt. strangely silent on Kachchathivu Island ownership'

Feb 18 (Island) Amidst the controversy over 136 Indian fisherman being detained in Jaffna, the UNP yesterday questioned the Rajapaksa government’s ‘stoic silence’ on the disputed Kachathivu Island. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake, addressing a news conference, said that certain Indian politicians kept claiming that the Kachathivu Island belonged to them, but the Rajapaksa regime maintains a deafening silence on the issue. more..

Plan to Sinhalacise Eastern University discussed

Feb 18 (TN) A plan to appoint Sinhalese academicians as the Vice Chancellor, Registrar and Dean of Faculties to the Eastern University (EUSL) was seriously considered at a meeting held to discuss the development of EUSL presided by Minister of Higher Education Mr.S.Dissanayake. The meeting was held amid protests made by the Batticaloa district Tamil parliamentarians against the appointment of Sinhalese as the Competent Authority to the EUSL. more..

Wayamba sets up tourist information and leisure centres

Feb 18 (Island) The Wayamba Development Authority has set up a tourist information centre and a leisure centre, at Badagamuwa on the Kurunegala-Dambulla Road, to promote tourism in the North Western Province. The two centres are located 4 kilometres away from the Kurunegala town, bordering the Kurunegala-Dambulla highway, adjoining the Badagamuwa forest reserve. The Tourist information centre provides all information on tourist attractions as well as more..

Navam Poya Day observed at Temple Trees

Feb 18 (IL) The Dhamma desana (Buddhist sermon) organized at Temple Trees on every Poya Day was held to mark the Navam Full Moon Poya day today on 17 February 2011. The sermon was delivered by the Venerable Meegaswewe Somarathana Thera, Chief Incumbent of the Gangula Siri Parama Visuddharama Viharaya in Panadura. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa and family members as well as a large gathering were present. more..

Ex-Foreign Secy on ‘intra-conflict’ diplomatic issues

Feb 18 (Island) Former Foreign Secretary H.M.G.S. Palihakkara on Monday discussed what he called intra-conflict diplomatic issues, which confronted Sri Lanka during the final phase of the offensive action against the LTTE. "This is a perspective necessary to facilitate a better appreciation of the post conflict diplomatic challenges facing Sri Lanka," he said delivering the Prof. J. E. Jayasuriya Memorial Lecture titled, ‘Post-conflict foreign policy more..

HC Levy wants SL to accommodate Canadian Tamil Diaspora

Feb 18 (Island) Canadian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Bruce Levy, during a meeting with Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem on Wednesday, emphasized the importance of giving the Canada-based Tamil Diaspora an opportunity to be a part of the re-building and reconciliation process. A spokesperson for the Canadian High Commission said that Levy and Hakeem had discussed long-term political reconciliation and ongoing deliberations between the Sri Lankan government and the TNA, more..

'Seizure of Indian trawlers, a token action'

Feb 18 (TN) Around 500 Eezham Tamil fishing society representatives who gathered at Point Pedro in Vadamarradchi refused Thursday to hand over the poaching Indian trawlers, which they had seized from the intruding Indian fishermen on Tuesday. Declaring that their action against Indian poaching was a token one, the representatives urged immediate action from the Indian authorities. The fishermen representatives also refused to hand over the vessels to more..

Stronger action needed by India against Sri Lanka: Jayalalithaa

Feb 18 (HT) AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa on Thursday demanded stronger action from the Indian government against Sri Lanka to prevent the island nation's navy from attacking Indian fishermen. In a statement issued here she said: "As a first step, sending India's Sukhoi aircraft for display at the 16t h anniversary of the Sri Lankan Air Fair should be stopped. The Kachatheevu agreement has to be abrogated and the island brought back into the Indian map to more..

Sorcery of spinners makes India and Sri Lanka my World Cup favourites

Feb 18 (Guardian) I have been out in India for 10 days now and in that time it has struck me that this is going to be a very difficult World Cup for the captains, coaches and selectors. And that means that it is also going to be an unpredictable and entertaining one for the fans. I was in Chennai last December working with New Zealand. They played India on a pitch that was a spinners' paradise. South Africa played Zimbabwe at that same ground last week and the ball did not spin at all. more..

Differing perceptions across the bay

Feb 18 (Hindu) Only hours after PM Manmohan Singh had said he was taking a “serious view” of the arrest of fishermen from Tamil Nadu who were at work close to the Sri Lankan shores, another batch of 24 fishermen was taken into custody in the same area. Dr. Singh said at his meeting with television channel editors in New Delhi on Wednesday: “Yes, fishermen have been taken into custody. We're taking up the matter with the Sri Lankan government. more..

India’s attitude unfair-diplomats

Feb 18 (DM) Diplomatic sources said yesterday it was unfair for India to demand the release of some 130 Indian fishermen who were arrested while poaching in Sri Lankan waters earlier this week when there were more than 85 Sri Lankan fishermen still under detention in Southern India. They said some of the Sri Lankan fishermen who were detained in Southern India including Andhra Pradesh had been arrested on January 7, 2010. more..

CMC winning battle against rats

Feb 18 (Island) The mice population in Colombo city and its suburbs had decreased due to ongoing pest eradication programmes carried out by the Colombo Municipal Council, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasamm the Council’s Chief Medical Officer, said. He told The Island yesterday that the CMC would have to continue the programmes to keep the situation under control. The official admitted that mice remained a problem in the area close to the Colombo harbour. more..

Annual Navam Perahara of Gangarama Temple parades the streets

Feb 18 (IL) The city of Colombo was transformed under the weight of 100 colourful elephants with vibrant colours, sounds and sights last night when the Navam Perahara of the Gangarama Temple paraded the streets the day before the Navam Full Moon Day on 16 February 2011. The Navam Perahara, which started in 1979, attracted more than a million spectators this year to the Gangaramaya Temple, at Hunupitiya, Colombo-02 more..

40 SLFPers fail to start campaign

Feb 18 (DM) Forty SLFP organizers had failed to begin campaign for the forthcoming local government elections, SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena had informed President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He had informed President that these organizers had not met the candidates for meetings. Mr. Sirisena had made this complaint during a meeting of party organizers and the provincial council members held recently at the Temple Trees. It had been revealed at the meeting that action would be more..

'UNP using disasters for its own gain'

Feb 18 (Island) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva accused the UNP of attempting to gain political mileage by highlighting the plight of recent flood and landslide victims in the country. He said the opposition was shedding crocodile tears at a time when the government has taken all possible steps to provide relief and assistance to the affected people. "The government has immediate and long term programmes to help the affected people to rebuild their lives. more..

Passionate Bangladesh provides perfect opening

Feb 18 (CI) Those who were not at the Bangabandhu National Stadium will never know just how successful and moving the opening ceremony of the 2011 World Cup was. Those who saw it on TV would have cringed at Sonu Nigam crooning an English inspirational song, Bryan Adams of all people being the top draw, recordings of Shankar-Ehsan-Loy's unremarkable theme song playing on loop, and the politicians inducing yawns with their speeches. more..

Chamara Silva to miss World Cup opener due to sister's death

Feb 18 (AP) Sri Lanka batsman Chamara Silva has opted out of the co-host's World Cup opener against Canada on Sunday after the death of his sister, a team official said Friday. Silva, a key middle-order batsman, left the rest of the squad on Thursday after he received news of the death of his elder sister Nelum Anusha Silva. Sri Lanka media manager Brian Thomas said the batsman will not be available for its Group A match against Canada in Hambantota more..

Basil sells Kuchchaweli beach – Fisher folk at sea

Feb 18 (LT) The Ministry of Economic Development has launched a plan to sell 577 acres of land in Kuchchiweli Divisional Secretariat’s area in Trincomalee District on the pretext of developing tourism. Minister Basil Rajapakse, by the gazette on 17th Dec, 2010, took measures to declare a 10 km coastal strip on East Kuddakulam, Kumpumara, Periyakarichchi as a development zone for tourism. Earlier the Ministry of Tourism had stated that 150 acres from this area will be allocated for a golf course, more..

No specific terror threat to Cricket World Cup: US

Feb 18 (PTI) Noting that there is no specific terrorist threat to the ICC World Cup being held in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the US has urged its citizens to be alert while travelling to these countries during the tournament as such big events are always a soft targets for the militants. "The Department of State alerts US citizens traveling to or residing in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka to safety and more..