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Thaipongal cultural show at Jaffna Hindu College draws large crowd

Jan 17 (Cimic) Over 2000 civilians including religious and community leaders, Civil Administrative Officials, scholars and school children gathered at the Jaffna Hindu College Main Hall Sunday morning to witness a grand cultural show organized by Security Forces Headquarters – Jaffna (SF-J) to mark the Thaipongal 2011. The show began after Commander SF-(J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, the Chief Guest, and more..

Athenian democracy being enacted?

Jan 17 (LG) January 8th was the commemoration of the death of Lasantha Wickrematunga. He was brutally killed two years ago. Pradeep Eknaligoda disappeared about one year ago. Both of them paid the penalty because they vehemently denounced the oppressive war against the Tamil people, and tried to expose the cruelties involved. Not that they condoned the cruelties associated with the Tamil insurrection. But as journalists they were bold enough to challenge more..

The ‘plus’ in ’13-plus’ – That is the issue

Jan 17 (LG) What is the “plus” in the “13–plus?” This is the question to which President Mahinda Rajapaksa seeks an answer in his discussions with the TNA, he says. “That’s what I want to find out!” He had just been asked by reporters what his starting point was with regard to a political solution to the ethnic issue, to which he had responded “As I have always said, it’s 13-plus.” He was referring to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution relating to devolution of powers to the Provinces. more..

British Minister expresses his support and sympathy on flooding in Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (IL) British Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Alistair Burt has expressed his support on the flooding in Sri Lanka in a message issued on the 14 January. Minister Burt further extended his sympathy to all those who have suffered as a result of the rains. Minister made these comments in a message which he has sent to Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Professor G.L Peiris. In his report Foreign Office Minister said more..

Uthuru Vasanthaya 350 kms. in 12 hours

Jan 17 (LG) When Rahul Gandhi made a statement, on rationally justifiable ground, that he was concerned about the fact that the government of Sri Lanka had not yet done enough for Sri Lankan Tamils in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, many people for multiple reasons got angry and even began lamenting about the breach of sovereignty of Sri Lanka as a nation. They may have thought how Sri Lanka treated its Tamils was her business and not anyone else’s. more..

Vital tips for cardholders using ATMs

Jan 17 (NS) Automated Teller Machine (ATM) attacks and fraud at ATM continue to be significant concerns for the bank card industry. The recent ATM attack, detected by the Criminal Investigation Department of Sri Lanka Police and reported on weekend newspapers as well as on all local TV channels, is a typical ATM attack seen in the other parts of the world. What is ATM fraud? The primary function of ATM is to dispense cash. The intended outcome of all ATMS fraud more..

A dream comes true with the blues

Jan 17 (JT) My last great wildlife adventure of 2010 began in darkness to the sound of waves crashing on an idyllic beach. My alarm woke me at 3:30 a.m. and, eager with anticipation, I rose quickly. Outside my guesthouse room, the swishing sound of a breeze in the tall coconut palm fronds overhead reminded me of rain on calm water. The night air was pleasantly cool, though another hot, humid day was on the cards. more..

Namal Rajapaksa is innocent of wrong-doing until and unless found guilty

Jan 17 (TC) Impunity is to a country what cancer is to a body; it creeps in unnoticed and spreads with gathering-speed, inexorably annihilating everything healthy and functional in its path. Impunity never completely spares any member of the society it finds a home in. We may seem safe from its contagion for now, but someday our turn to be afflicted will come. D.M. Tushara Jayaratne, a final year student of Sri Lanka Law College (SLLC), has alleged that College authorities more..

Stronger Civil society and International response needed to deal with flood crisis

Jan 17 (TC) Recent heavy rains across Sri Lanka have caused flooding and landslides that have left tens of thousands homeless, caused several deaths and affected over a million people. The flood crisis continues to be serious. The worst affected areas are in the East of the country which was previously devastated by long years of war and by the Tsunami of 2004. In comparison to the Tsunami, even though the number of persons who lost their lives is significantly less, more..

Battle of the ‘Colas’

Jan 17 (ST) Coca-Cola, Pepsi and KiK from Elephant House, are most likely to be involved in a major battle of the ‘colas’ pumping in huge investments into the product and brand with demand seen rising sharply for the Cricket World Cup to be played in the Indian sub-continent starting on February 17 and ending with the final on April 2. “It’s good to have competition and yes, it will be a battle for the colas with Pepsi and KiK Cola raising the stakes. more..

Sri Lanka and the Spectre of an International Investigation

Jan 17 (TC) To rephrase the words of Marx and Engels: a spectre is haunting Sri Lanka – the spectre of an international investigation. More specifically, a demand has been made by the West, and will be made in the future too: a demand for an international investigation. The response to such a demand, without any doubt, should be: NO. Such a response should not be based purely on the issue of ‘sovereignty’ alone; i.e. that an international investigation violates Sri Lanka’s more..

Have you forgotten Asvini and Mahimsa?

Jan 17 (LB) I am writing this a couple of hours before making representations to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. I have just finished writing down my submissions. I spent a few minutes trying to figure out what I remember most about the 30-year long war. It was an integral part of our lives regardless of political affiliation and preference and the extent to which we partook of it, in opposition or otherwise, for whatever reason. more..

Hidden hands ‘stirring the pot’

Jan 17 (NS) One-time leftist firebrand Vasudeva Nanayakkara, now the Minister of National Languages and Social Integration in the current UPFA administration, suspects hidden hands in constantly dragging out totally unnecessary issues to humiliate the government, but is unable to say whether these are externally generated or entirely indigenous. Q: How much have you achieved in making Sri Lanka a trilingual nation within the short period you have more..

Editorial: A political bull in a vegetable market

Jan 17 (Island) "God save me from my friends; I can protect myself from my enemies." President Mahinda Rajapaksa must be muttering this to himself on seeing how his ministers are ruining things for him and his government––something that the faction-ridden, ineffectual UNP, which is only a simulacrum of a mainstream Opposition, is simply incapable of achieving. One of the reasons why the SLFP had to be in the political wilderness for 17 long years from 1977 to 1994 was that more..

Editorial: Seek peaceful and dignified coexistence within and not out

Jan 17 (DM) At a time when the innocent Tamil people left wounded by the cruelties of war are wrestled between a government that does not hold their discrimination in any part of its agenda and a Tamil Diaspora that needs to force it away from the State to feed its own survival, it is indeed positive that the seven Tamil parties have decided to forge an alliance. Tamil political parties including TULF, EPRLF, PLOTE, TNLA have decided to contest the upcoming Local more..

We are not separatists: TNA

Jan 17 (NS) Jaffna district parliamentarian and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesman Suresh Premachandran is steadfast in his views that it is a grand alliance of all the Tamil political parties that could convince the government to evolve a mechanism for a viable political solution. He says talks in this direction are underway and sooner or later there may be a possibility of the Tamil parties joining hands together. more..

Drug dealer dies of gunshot injuries

Jan 17 (DM) When the Kurunegala Vice Squad raided a heroin outlet at Batalagoda in the Ibbagamuwa Wewa area, a drug dealer died of gunshot injuries in an altercation that developed. On Saturday in the clash with the Police the victim was Liyanagedera Sanjeewa Priyankara (26) of Yakalla, Ibbagamuwa. The deceased was a famous distributor of drugs in the area and several cases are pending in Courts against him, When they went to search for him on a tip off they received that more..

NBF alleges Govt. ignores Maligawa’s request

Jan 17 (DM) The National Bhikkhu Front (NBF) yesterday alleged the higher authorities of the government had turned a deaf ear to a request made by the most Ven. Mahanayaka of the Asigiriya Chapter to slash import duty of a consignment of stationery sent by Ven Buthawatte Saranakara Thera to the Dalada Maligawa Kandy. This consignment had been sent to be distributed among the needy school children. National Bihikkhu Front Patron Ven. Attaggne Ratanapala more..

'Govt. is going to make use of floods to conceal its inability'

Jan 17 (LT) Earlier government used the war to conceal its impotency and now it attempts to conceal it using the floods says JVP Parliamentarian Anura Dissanayake. Speaking at a media briefing held today (16th) morning the Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP stated the government is preparing to put the whole blame on floods for the escalating prices of rice and vegetables and when farmers are confronted with various difficulties. more..

Grassroots sprout future political heirs at LG polls

Jan 17 (ST) Three leading political parties, the SLFP, the UNP and the JVP are formulating strategies for the upcoming Local Government (LG) elections. Assistant Secretary of the SLFP, P. Gamage said his party is interviewing people with the aim of selecting the best candidates to contest the LG elections. The Sunday Times spoke to several prospective candidates from the Puttalam district who had gathered at SLFP headquarters for the selection process. more..

WPC Sports Min. in alleged tender breach

Jan 17 (ST) Western Provincial Council (WPC) Sports Minister Upali Kodikara is alleged to have violated Tender and Technical procedures for the proposed purchase of sports items valued at Rs 3.8 million, Council officials said. In a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, they alleged that the Sports Minister had opted to purchase items from an outlet not registered with the WPC, ignoring quotations already submitted by regular suppliers. more..

'IT, a foundation for lasting peace'

Jan 17 (Island) Peace is, perhaps, not the most obvious outcome of an e-government master plan. But in Sri Lanka’s case, it is one of three pillars of a strategy to modernize a country that was in the throes of Asia’s longest running civil war less than a year and a half ago stated Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga and Chairman-ICT Committee of UNESCAP, to the December 2010 issue of FutureGOV Asia Pacific magazine. more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka is wasting the peace dividend

Jan 17 (G&M) The government of Sri Lanka is squandering an important opportunity to build lasting peace. Though its treatment of Tamils has been substantially moderated since the civil war’s end 18 months ago, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is still engaging in some oppressive policies toward them. After nearly three decades of civil war, reconciliation between the country’s Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority was never going to be easy. But Mr. Rajapaksa, whose three more..

Sri Lanka flood displaced return home

Jan 17 (BBC) A large number of Sri Lankans displaced by severe floods have now returned to live again in the homes they fled a week ago. The official number listed as displaced has dropped by one-third in 24 hours, down from 340,000 to 204,000. However the number of known fatalities has continued to rise slowly and 38 people are said to have been killed. The air in the town of Batticaloa is still damp, and early this morning rain started coming down again heavily. more..

GL briefs OIC members on floods and relief measures

Jan 17 (Island) External Affairs Minister Prof G. L. Peiris briefed the heads of missions of the member states of the Organization the Islamic Conference in Colombo and requested their assistance for immediate requirements such as roofing sheets, blankets, temporary shelters, dry rations and water pumps among others. The External Affairs Ministry said in a media statement: "A meeting chaired by Prof. G.L. Peiris, more..

Lanka ‘advises’ UK on travel advisory

Jan 17 (NN) The government has categorically rejected the idea that the LTTE still poses a threat in Sri Lanka after the latest travel advice issued by the British government noted that there is a general threat from terrorism in Sri Lanka. Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratna said that if any country feels there is a threat to their nationals visiting Sri Lanka such concerns should first be discussed with the Sri Lankan government before being mentioned in a travel advice. more..

Bank lending to private sector: New loans reach Rs. 259.3bn in Nov while Rs. 130bn stays cold

Jan 17 (Island) New bank loans to the private sector in 2010 reached Rs. 259.3 billion by the end of November. But during this month, banks were recording excess liquidity positions averaging Rs. 130 billion each day, which did nothing for the economy except make gains for the banks who parked them in the Central Bank. Outstanding credit to the private sector from the domestic banking system had reached Rs. 1,044.6 billion more..

Sri Lanka prepares for flood aftermath

Recent waterlogged ruins in ancient city

Jan 17 (ST) Four days after the flooding began, this ancient “dry zone” city is a sea of muddy brown water. On every side, the scene is muddy water, muddied roads and messy fields. Polonnaruwa, city of ancient ruins, will be remembered for the brown waters that covered everything in sight for days. In places, the dirty flood waters are slowly receding. The people look anxious and depressed. While the landscape is brown, the sky is grey, carrying the threat of more rain to come. more..

LLRC Mannar sessions: Oscillation between Hope and Hopelessness

Jan 17 (LG) Over 1000 people gave evidence before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in Mannar, from January 8-9, 2011. Centre for Human Rights is convinced that this enthusiastic public participation shown by the affected, as a clear indication and desire for reconciliation, as well as their need for assistance. Around 600 submissions were presented during the session at Manthai West AGA’s Office, the highest number during any session to date. more..

Home grown solution or a solution to elude

Jan 17 (LG) President Mahinda Percy Rajapakse is reluctantly advocating a home grown solution to the national question of devolution of powers to the minorities. As though the concept is something unprecedented and creative and no one had advocated in the past, the President is promoting the theme without spelling out what is special about his mission. At this week’s informal meeting with the Foreign Correspondents, more..

Thai firms eyeing Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (BP) The Thailand Trade Representative (TTR) will support small and medium-sized Thai construction companies seeking business opportunities in Sri Lanka, which requires investments of US$23.52 billion from now until 2017. TTR officials will join 10 to 15 Thai construction companies in Sri Lanka from Jan 19-22 as part of its effort to encourage Thai companies to become more active abroad. Kiat Sittheeamorn, the TTR president, said Thai construction companies more..

Callous bipeds pose threat to zoo animals

Jan 17 (Island) In spite of a sizeable work force on duty at the National Zoological Gardens (NZG) at Dehiwela to look after the safety and security of animals in captivity, visitors continue to secretly feed animals with ice cream, biscuits, chocolate and even ‘murukku.’ During a recent visit to the NZG, The Island observed visitors, particularly children accompanied by their parents offering food. When this was brought to the attention of a NZG employee, more..

A dream comes true: Sangupiddy Bridge declares open by President Rajapaksa

Jan 17 (IL) A much waited Sangupiddy dream bridge which links the Northern peninsula to the rest of the country via Pooneryn declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday on 16 January. The Sangupiddy Bridge across the Jaffna lagoon connects Pooneryn from the mainland and Karaitivu in the Northern Province. The Tamil Tiger terrorists who controlled the area blasted the bridge before their defeat decades ago. more..

Elections Comm. discusses extending nomination period

Jan 17 (DM) A special meeting is to be held between Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake and District Assistant Elections Commissioners to decide whether the nomination period for the Local Government elections should be extended. The acceptance of nominations for the election of 301 local government bodies has been scheduled for January 20 to 27. A senior officer said that a decision had to be taken about extending the nomination period, more..

Over Rs 142 m disbursed as relief

Jan 17 (DN) The number of deaths caused by floods and heavy rain has risen to 38 while four persons were missing and 52 persons were injured, said the Disaster Management Center (DMC). Batticaloa recorded the highest number of deaths, numbering 18. Ten persons in Ampara, eight persons in Kandy, one in Badulla and one in Vauniya have also died. The government has disbursed about Rs 142 million to flood affected areas, DMC spokesman Pradeep Kodippili said. more..

Causes of killer kidney disease identified by Rajarata Uni dons

Jan 17 (Island) Main cause for the kidney diseases prevalent in the North Central Province is the contamination of water resources by extensive and continuous use of agro-chemicals, a research reveals. A research conducted by two Medicine and Allied Science Faculty dons of the Rajarata University has found that high percentages of arsenic and mercury in agro chemicals used by farmers for decades cause kidney diseases. more..

Sri Lanka to set up domestic ATM switch

Jan 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka will set up a common automated teller machine and payment card switch that will process transactions locally, eliminating the need for international routing of transactions between different banks, an official said. LankaClear, Sri Lanka's national clearing house, has called for expressions of interests from vendors to supply 'Common ATM & Payment Card Switch'. more..

'Lanka lacks leaders; including political leaders'

Jan 17 (DM) Sri Lanka has a shortage of leaders including political leaders, Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said, addressing an event in Embilipitiya yesterday. He further said some became leaders by forcing others to vote or by joining politics. “Some join politics and become leaders while others are leaders before joining politics,” Minister Alahapperuma said. more..

Troubled waters in need of bridges

Jan 17 (Economist) In the spate of catastrophic floods wreaking havoc from Australia to Brazil, the biblical disaster afflicting Sri Lanka has not received the global attention it merits. The death toll is still below 40. But in terms of the numbers of people displaced and farmland inundated, the floods have been even more devastating than the tsunami of December 2004. According to the government’s figures, more than 1m people have been affected, more..