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Sri Lankan floods could leave 400,000 children without enough food

Jan 21 (Guardian) Up to 400,000 children in Sri Lanka are facing a food crisis caused by devastating floods, a children's charity warned as it launched a £1m appeal to help those in the worst-hit areas today. As the floodwaters begin to recede, many of the 350,000 displaced people driven into temporary refugee camps are returning home only to find that their homes, schools, crops and livelihoods have been wiped out by the rains. more..

Arundhati Roy joins call to boycott Lanka literary festival

Jan 21 (IE) Controversial Indian author Arundhati Roy has joined fellow writers in calling for a boycott of a literary festival in Sri Lanka to protest alleged rights abuses and suppression of dissent in the country. Roy signed up a petition initiated by the Paris-based Reporters without Borders (RSF) urging world class authors to stay away from the Galle Literary Festival which is due to open on January 26. more..

Guardian fund favors Sri Lanka banks, retail equities in postwar economy

Jan 21 (BN) Guardian Fund Management Ltd., which oversees Sri Lanka’s largest listed investment trust, is betting on bank, retail, leisure and construction stocks on optimism the end of the island’s 26-year civil war will bolster economic growth and corporate profits. The Colombo All-Share Index has more than tripled since the war ended in May 2009 as the economy’s recovery spurred a near 10-fold increase in daily trading volumes. The gauge rose 96 percent last year, more..

PM: Opposition exaggerating situation

Jan 21 (SL) Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne has told parliament today (20) that the main opposition UNP and the TNA has exaggerated incidents that have taken place in Jaffna. Speaking during an adjournment debate on the security situation in Jaffna in parliament today, Jayaratne has said that only 16 incidents of violence have been reported between November last year and this month. He has also compared the security situation in Jaffna to an elephant’s hair and more..

UN official meets Sri Lanka's war victims

Jan 21 (AFP) A top UN official travelled to Sri Lanka's former war zone Thursday, during a visit to flood-devastated regions where a million people were recently affected by heavy monsoon rains, officials said. Catherine Bragg, the UN's deputy emergency relief coordinator, spoke with civilians displaced by the Tamil separatist war and held talks with officials directing flood-relief operations. more..

Lanka sets up committee to address LTTE detainees issue

Jan 21 (PTI) Sri Lanka today said it has set up a committee to study cases against the LTTE cadres detained after the end of civil war and to expedite necessary legal action. The committee began its work by interviewing 182 detainees in the Boossa detention camp located in the southern province yesterday, the government's official website reported. The four member committee is headed by Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando and more..

TNA blames EPDP for Jaffna crime wave

Jan 21 (DM) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) today blamed the crime wave in the Jaffna peninsula on the EPDP, an alliance partner of the ruling UPFA, and urged the government to resolve the situation. TNA National List MP M.A.Sumanthiran moved an adjournment motion in Parliament in this regard and said there was a complete breakdown in the law and order situation in the North resulting in murders, kidnappings, extortion and other crimes. more..

Election Commissioner rejects 86 new political party applications

Jan 21 (Xinhua) Election officials said that some 86 applications to register new political parties were rejected as they failed to meet requirements. Among the party registrations rejected were that of the DNA led by former army chief Sarath Fonseka who is now in jail. Fonseka wanted to register a new party titled "Democratic Party ". Tiran Alles, a spokesman for the DNA, said the reason for rejection was the lack of audited accounts. more..

Sri Lankan coverup of WikiLeaks war crime revelations

Jan 21 (wsws) The Sri Lankan political and media establishment has reacted to WikiLeaks revelations, which confirm that the government was responsible for war crimes by suppressing the contents of the leaked US diplomatic cables and defending the military’s actions. Two American cables were particularly damning. The first sent by the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Patricia Butenis, last January stated that the issue of war crimes was “complicated by the fact that more..

Elections: For whose benefit or profit?

Jan 21 (LG) The people of this country are called upon once again to endure the ordeal of an election amid the confusion, crises and the misery created for hundreds of thousands of people by floods and price hikes in essential food items. Although the majority of people do not seem to welcome the event, the government is intent upon holding the Local Government elections and the opposition parties are also apparently sharpening their weapons to join in, despite their more..

Fishing town to financial biggie

Jan 21 (CI) The Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota district, just off the south-eastern coast of Sri Lanka, is an anomaly among venues for the 2011 World Cup. Most other grounds for cricket's showpiece event are in big urban centres like Chennai, Colombo and Chittagong, but the closest settlement to the Hambantota stadium is Sooriyawewa, a nondescript, largely one-street village eight kilometres away. more..

Climate Change, food security and Mahinda Chintanaya

Jan 21 (LG) Agriculture is extremely vulnerable to climate change. Changes in rainfall patterns increase the likelihood of short-run crop failures and in the long-run production declines. Although there may be gains in some crops in some regions of the world due to elevated temperature, it may promote weed growth and pest attacks. The overall impacts of climate change on agriculture are expected to be negative, threatening global food security. more..

SL military, southern traders, encourage child labour in Vanni

Jan 21 (TN) Children have become scavengers of scrap metal for their livelihood in the war ravaged Vanni and this ‘economic activity’ finds the blessings of occupying military and re-cycling metal traders coming from the south. Damaged and abandoned vehicles, fittings of un-resettled houses and other buildings, and other vestiges of war are targeted for this trade that actively deploys children to collect the metal. more..

Road to Raja opens other doors

Jan 21 (ST) The initial idea for this endeavour came to me in September last year, when I was talking to my one-time colleague, and now elephant researcher in his own right, Ashoka Rajeeva, about elephants and the Uda Walawe park. Ashoka mentioned in passing, that we had not sighted ‘Walawe Raja’ that year (2010). Now, for those who yet may not be aware, “Walawe Raja” is a majestic tusker in the prime of his life, more..

SLASC soldier receives house from MOD Seva Vanitha Unit

Jan 21 (MoD) Lance Corporal P.A. Rathnayake of the 1st Sri Lanka Army Service Corps (1 SLASC), Thursday received a house under the patronage of the Ministry of Defence Seva Vanitha Unit. Keys to the house constructed at the War Hero Housing Scheme at Pelendagoda, Panagoda was ceremonially handed over to L/C Rathnayake this morning by SVU Chairperson Mrs. Ioma Rajapaksa. Construction work was made possible by the 4th Engineering Services Regiment (4 ESR). more..

Bourse reaches milestone but not without skeptics

Jan 21 (DM) Even though the Colombo Stock Exchange's benchmark index broke its previous all time high record yesterday, analysts are on a cautious note saying that investors should pay less attention on the broader index or PERs but the intrinsic values of the shares. "Investors should pay less attention to the index and PERs of questionable accuracy which are biased towards a few heavyweight companies, some of which have very low share free floats" more..

'Rising ethnic nationalism in Sri Lanka targets minorities for abuse'

Jan 21 (LG) Human rights violations in Sri Lanka continue unabated against ethnic Tamils and Muslims who fear an increasingly nationalist government, a new report by Minority Rights Group International says. Nearly two years after the end of the war, minorities face daily repression and marginalisation in politics and development policies, particularly in the country's north and east, documents the report. more..

Editorial: What an escape!

Jan 21 (Island) The Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) has, in the aftermath of a vote for independence, invited the so-called transnational government of Tamil Eelam to visit Southern Sudan, which will shortly be the newest state in the world. If the 'peace process' in Sri Lanka had progressed as the western powers and Prabhakaran planned, by now the LTTE would have had carved out Eelam and been sending invitations to other terrorist outfits the world more..

Editorial: Towards the dream of a multi-religious Lanka

Jan 21 (DM) Since we human beings have not taken care of our environment as we should have and have tinkered with Mother Earth for several years, our Global Village has faced many a natural disaster. It is in this context that we in Sri Lanka need to understand the recent floods and earth slips in our land. In the midst of this natural disaster those in the Wanni were subject to waters getting into their camps and tents. more..

52 division hands over donations to civilians on Thaipongla day

Jan 21 (Cimic) As main ceremonies were taking place to celebrate Thaipongal at Elephant Pass and Jaffna city respectively on 15th, 16th and 17th, Army troops in Varani organized a ceremony in Chavakachcheri Cultural Centre for the people in and around Chavakachcheri on 18th. All arrangements for the ceremony that comprised many cultural events were made by the 522 and 523 Brigades on instructions and more..

Price increases due to flooding not a major worry, expected to be temporary

Jan 21 (Island) Domestic food prices are expected to increase due to the floods affecting the north and east but dealers said inflation driven by domestic factors was the least of their concerns. Domestic financial market analysts are more worried about rising commodity prices in global markets. Dealers said their biggest worry was the weakening US dollar caused by excessive money printing was driving international commodity prices up. more..

A Realistic approach to the three Language enterprise

Jan 21 (Island) Languages are most easily and efficiently learned when a vital need is established for learning them. So, in a context where apparently a genuine attempt is being made as a matter of serious official policy to promote a trilingual system, I consider it relevant to offer those entrusted with the task, for what it’s worth, a modest proposal to be considered at their discretion in drawing up a suitable curriculum for teaching the three languages successfully. more..

'Stoppage of vital tests at night endangers NH surgery patients'

Jan 21 (Island) The tests are important to confirm the clotting time of each patient admitted to an operating theatre and also when anesthetising and identifying heart patients and treating them. The Professions Supplementary to Medicine urged the Health Ministry to examine the reasons for stopping three types of tests at the National Hospital before operating on patients. The tests they referred to are more..

Sri Lanka to merge loss making state entities with profitable ones

Jan 21 (N360) The Government is planning to merge several loss making state entities with profit making state enterprises. The Director General of the Department of Public Enterprises S.R. Attygalle speaking to us said “We are planning to merge some of the loss making state entities with the ones which are making profits” Accordingly plans are underway to merge the Agriculture and Agrarian Insurance Board with the National Insurance Trust Fund as announced in more..

Repairs to flood damaged roads would cost Rs. 6 bn

Jan 21 (Island) Total renovation of roads damaged by the recent floods and earth slips would cost the tax payer about Rs. 6 billion, according to Roads Development Authority chairman R. W. R. Premasiri. He said that the RDA had approached the Treasury to obtain funds needed for the project. The government has allocated funds to be set aside for maintenance of ongoing projects. The renovation of Dambulla and Ambepussa roads have been completed, he said. more..

Self immolation bid in Borella against demolition of houses by UDA

Jan 21 (NF) A resident in Wanathamulla in Colombo attempted to set himself on fire in protest over a bid to demolish their homes by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) today. According to residents, they had been given notice about the demolition attempt of 54 Watta and 66 Watta in Wanathamulla, Borella in Colombo only yesterday by the UDA and this morning officials and staff of UDA had arrived to demolish the houses along with security personnel. more..

Chaos in House over high cost

Jan 21 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday took the government to task in Parliament over the cost involved in the construction of the Maha Oya-Chenkaladi road which had been as high as Rs. 100 million a kilometre. UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said the government the road could have been made with gold instead of tar at such a high cost. However, Economic Development Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane responded saying the cost was high because of the more..

Ruhunu students urge action against assault

Jan 21 (DM) The students of Ruhunu University yesterday staged a protest in front of the Administration Building of the university compelling the authorities to take action against the individual responsible for the on-going attacks on university students. More than 500 members of the General Student Union participated. They pointed out that six members of the union were seriously injured in a recent assault last Friday (14) followed by another on Tuesday (19). more..

Aftermath of the Batticaloa floods

Jan 21 (DM) The sun beams over the floodwaters of Batticaloa, but Meula Gunratnam, a mother of two, is not in a sunny mood. The floods blamed on heavy rain triggered by the El Nino weather pattern, took her belongings from kitchen utensils to cooking pots away. Her husband, a mason, has not found work for the last ten days. She has little food left with her and if not for dry rations from the government and well wishers, more..

'Pay compensation for the distressed'

Jan 21 (LT) The Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim masses in the Eastern Province are confronted with severe difficulties as a result of unpreparedness of the central government as well as the Eastern PC to confront disasters says the JVP Member for Eastern PC Wimal Piyatissa. He says those communities that depend on farming and fisheries industries as well as those engaged in self employment and labourers who earn daily wages have been affected disastrously due to more..

UGC accepts late appeals

Jan 21 (DN) Minister S B Dissanayake had given orders to the University Grants Commission (UGC) to accept all appeals sent by students who were unable to apply for University admission for the Academic Year 2010/2011. The Minister was responding to a special statement made by DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake in Parliament yesterday. He said that even though the closing date to send the duly filled applications was January 14, more..

IDP refugee education lacking in Sri Lanka

Jan 21 (BO) An island amid a sea of globalization: Puttalam, Sri Lanka is the largest center for IDPs of Muslim background in Sri Lanka. During the initial years of the civil war, in 1990, Muslims living in the Northern province of Sri Lanka—considered by Tamil nationalists to be their cultural homeland—were evicted by LTTE soldiers in an attempt at ethnic purification and unification. These refugees were resettled in the Puttalam area, more..

Medical negligence case: Parties agree to 3m amicable settlement

Jan 21 (DM) The two parties in a civil suit filed before the Colombo District Court agreed to settle their dispute by agreeing to a settlement of Rs 3 million to the claimant as damages for medical negligence on the part of the doctors. The plaintiff Welivitage Don Ajith of Pelenwatte Pannipitiya and the defendants, Eye Surgeon Dr. M. Wijetunge and Anesthetist Dr. Anoma P. Perera, agreed to settle the matter amicably. more..

SC orders LRC to show cause why should not be charged with contempt

Jan 21 (Island) The Court of Appeal, on January 13, 2010, directed the Land Reforms Commission, its Chairman Nimal Punchihewa, Executive Director Hariguptha, Rohanadeera and members S.D.A.D. Boralessa, P. W. Senaratne, H.A.N.S. Kumara Ravi Hewapathirana, P.L. Dissanayake and Dr. Mrs. J. Soysa to show cause as to why they should not be punished for contempt of Court for failing to comply with a Court of Appeal order, dated August 28, 2008, issued in respect of more..

Nine stupas as war memorials

Jan 21 (DM) The IGP Mahinda Balasuriya said the government’s victory in the North- East war should go down in the annals of history and that it was the duty of the people not to forget the terrorist threat faced by the people for more than 30 years and the efforts of the police and the security forces in bringing peace to the country. He was addressing the inaugural ceremony at the Panadura Rankoth Vihara to raise funds for the nine stupas more..

Govt 2011 bonanza for State employees

Jan 21 (SO) State employees from the minor categories to the executive grades will receive a substantial salary increase from the January 2011 remuneration packages, which will also be a good sign for the public sector workers who have been expecting a salary increase for the past several months. Co-Chairman, National Salaries and Cadres Commission, M.N. Junaid said that the five percent salary hike was approved by the Government to all public sector employees more..

Driver to stand trial over death of Sri Lankan paper deliverer

Jan 21 (HO) A motorist is to stand trial accused of causing the death by dangerous driving of a Sri Lankan paper deliverer in Hatch End. Aleksander Preslavski, 22, of Linklea Close, Colindale, north-west London, appeared at Harrow Magistrates' Court on Monday last week over the death of 34-year-old Rajendra Ramakrishnan. The victim, who had a wife and two children in Sri Lanka, was found by paramedics lying injured besides his bicycle and more..

'Civilians not allowed to address LLRC'

Jan 21 (DM) DNA MP Vijitha Herath in Parliament charged that civilians who were keen on coming forward to testify before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission were being threatened and turned away. Mr. Herath made this point while speaking during the adjournment debate on the situation in Jaffna in the House yesterday. The DNA MP said that this makes one wonder whether the motives of the members of the LLRC were genuine or not. more..

Elephant fences: Nearly Rs 300 m allocated

Jan 21 (DN) The Government has allocated nearly Rs 300 million to put up elephant fences in areas where the human-elephant conflict is deemed severe, Minister S M Chandrasena said yesterday. The number of elephants in National parks have doubled over the last five years. Over time the forest lands have decreased due to various agriculture and construction activities, Minister Chandrasena said. Between 100 to 150 people die every year because of elephant attacks. more..

‘Provincial schools adopt bad practice of popular counterparts’

Jan 21 (Island) Southern Province Sports and Youth Affairs Minister U. G. D. Ariyatillake recently said that as a result of the practice of collecting money from children attending national schools for various projects, the children of low income families are reluctant to go to school. That practice, he said was now being adopted by the Provincial schools as well. In one of the popular schools in Galle Rs. 1,300 had been collected from each student and children of more..