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Prageeth missing due to 'chemical weapon probe'

Jan 29 (BBC) The main reason for the disappearance of a journalist is an investigation he carried out on the alleged use of chemical weapons by Sri Lanka forces, says his wife. Sandhya Ekneligoda, the wife of the disappeared political columnist and cartoonist Prageeth, says his husband went missing after he published a piece on his investigation and informed diplomats over the issue. “In 2008, Prageeth wrote and informed the diplomats about more..

Sri Lanka rejects law suit against the President

Jan 29 (NN) Sri Lanka says it will not be intimidated by allegations raised against the government by pro LTTE groups in the US which have also now filed a lawsuit charging President Mahinda Rajapaksa of committing war crimes. Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States, also said that foreign supporters of the LTTE which fought and lost a conflict in Sri Lanka are continuing to raise funds for violent terrorist activities. more..

Two prisoners escape from Anuradhapura prison

Jan 30 (NN) Two inmates of the Anuradhapura prison escaped early this morning, officials of the Anuradhapura prison said. Officials said that a police team as well as prison officials have been deployed to trace the two suspects and arrest them. The police said that tight security has been placed around the Anuradhapura prison which was the scene of chaos recently with at least three prisoners being killed and several others including prison guards being injured. more..

Two students from Ruhuna University stabbed

Jan 30 (SL) Two students from the Ruhuna University have been admitted to the Matara Hospital following a clash. Ruhuna University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Susirith Mendis has said that the students have been attacked by an unknown group at the bus halt, which is in close proximity to the university. One of the students is from the Faculty of Management and Finance while the other is from the Science Faculty. The students are being treated for multiple stab wounds. more..

Hunger and despair in Sri Lanka

Jan 30 (AJ) Recent flooding in eastern Sri Lanka destroyed thousands of homes, devastated the rice crop and drowned thousands of livestock. A million people, 40 per cent of them children, are at risk of serious hunger as a result. Some of the worst-affected areas were only just recovering from decades of conflict and the tsunami when the floods hit, and the people who live there are facing their third humanitarian emergency in less than 10 years. more..

Even if humans let forgive criminals, ghosts would not let them free

Jan 30 (LG) His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Executive President of Sri Lanka, with a 40-member delegation, went to Britain on November 29, 2010, to deliver a speech at the Oxford Union, but the trip was a total flop after the Tamil Diaspora came out to Britain’s streets demanding that the British government arrest them for war crimes. The disappointed President returned home with his team in fear of arrest by Britain. Yet, he did not learn a lesson. more..

Open invitation to Sri Lankan academics who left the country during the war

Jan 30 (LG) I read the news item about extending an invitation to expatriate Sri Lankan academics who left the country over the last three decades or so mainly because of the war against the LTTE. Most of these academics are not returning to the country in violation of their bonds signed with their respective universities at the time of their departure. Dr Sunil Nawaratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education has announced that a cabinet paper will be presented more..

Reborn Army Colours Night recognizes Army's sports talents

Jan 30 (MoD) The Army Colours Night - 2010 that recognizes excellent sports talents of Army personnel at both national and international levels after an interval of thirteen years, resumed at Sugathadasa Stadium Thursday (27) evening. The colourful ceremony kicked off after lighting of the traditional oil lamp and recital of the Army song. Laurels to the recipients in the Defence Services for 21 sports events were also simultaneously awarded more..

Whither reconciliation under the incompatible system and disconcerting situation?

Jan 30 (TC) The baffling moves and actions on the political front of the potent govt led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, since the war ended conclusively mid May 2009 have been considered discretely by many analysts, ignoring the many critical weaknesses in the system, which is not really democratic. Moreover, the confusing statements of the head of State on the widely anticipated political solution to the ethnic problem, which is not the problem created by more..

Editorial: SC's landmark judgement

Jan 30 (SO) The Supreme Court delivered a landmark ruling on Tuesday after the Court of Appeal sought a decision from the highest court on the Court Martial. The Court of Appeal, delivering the ruling from the Supreme Court, declared that the Court Martial, established under the Sri Lanka Army Act, is a 'Court' in terms of Article 89 (d) of the Constitution. This was a sequel to the Court of Appeal seeking a determination from the Supreme Court - "Whether the words 'any court' more..

CBK ventures into leadership training for the next generation

Jan 30 (DM) Sri Lanka continues to lag behind in many a sphere from politics to business due to the lack of people with leadership skills. In many corners, efforts are being made to produce persons with leadership skills. Without good leaders at every level of society, socio-economic development in the country is unimaginable. Under these circumstances, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has embarked on a project to give more..

Editorial: Galle literary festival hijacked by politics

Jan 30 (SL) The Fifth Galle Literary Festival may not result in any developments in the field of literature to attract international attention of scholars and writers but it certainly has resulted in the generation of much political polemics to draw in world renowned writers and commentators such as Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali. Reporters Sans Frontiers which has been closely monitoring the observance of fundamental rights in Sri Lanka more..

Editorial: Presidency: One year after re-election

Jan 30 (NS) Almost unnoticed, this week saw the first ‘anniversary’ of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s re-election for a second term of office. It went largely unremarked perhaps because the second term began only some ten months after election day; nevertheless, we believe this is an opportune moment to make some observations on the Rajapaksa Presidency. Although now into his second tenure of office, it is no secret that the President is still enormously popular. more..

Women motorists ‘miles ahead in road manners’

Jan 30 (NS) “What’s causing this traffic jam, is there a lady driver in front?” This is the response we hear from a majority of male drivers when they are stuck in a traffic block. Despite these responses, year by year, we see a gradual increase of lady drivers in Sri Lanka and there is also an increase of lady-owned vehicles. Are the lady drivers really inefficient and incapable as claimed by the majority of male drivers? more..

Editorial: Corruption and Economy

Jan 30 (LB) Recent article on India in a foreign newspaper stated that the Indian people are turning on the Indian elite which had been flagrantly caught up in various corruption scandals in recent times. If the Indian political system is further threatened by such scandals, there could be a cathartic Tiananmen Square like uprising in the country, the article writer mused. The situation is no better south of the Palk Strait. Corruption has caused entire institutions to atrophy in this country. more..

Editorial: A question of representation

Jan 30 (Island) Some of the reasons reportedly given by the authorities for the rejection by them of a marked number of nominations for the upcoming local government election go to the heart of what should count as the democratic process. Some political parties are on record that they would be legally challenging these rulings by the polls authorities and it is, of course, left to the courts to decide on the rights and wrongs of these rejections, but more..

How safe is bottled water?

Jan 30 (SO) Is 'bottled water' safer for consumption than pipe borne water? We need answers to this question, especially since our daily routines force us, the town-dwellers, to quench our thirst with gallons of water which come in plastic bottles. Available in most boutiques and supermarkets, plastic water bottles come in various forms, shapes and brand names. They are described as 'bottled drinking water', 'mineral water' or 'spring water'. more..

Editorial: The situation in Jaffna - and beyond

Jan 30 (ST) The situation in Jaffna and its environs warrants some comment as events unfolding in the newly liberated areas are spilling over to neighbouring southern India as well muddying the waters separating the two countries. The TNA, successor to the TULF, the proponents of the infamous 1976 Vaddukodai Resolution which called for a separate state, last week introduced a different kind of resolution in Parliament. more..

Threat to rural household food security

Jan 30 (ST) The problem of escalating food prices is the central concern today. The lower income groups are particularly vulnerable as the prices of most basic food items have soared to astonishingly high levels. Unlike in most situations of rising food prices that threaten mainly urban poor households, the current crisis is a serious threat to food security of rural farm households owing to the destruction of crops and the consequent loss of farm household incomes. more..

IIFA issues continue with audit report

Jan 30 (ST) Issues relating to the controversial International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA) – Bollywood’s version of the Oscars – held in Colombo in June 2010 continue to haunt Sri Lanka with unpaid bills to hotels, the agent and suppliers amidst an overdue audit report. The Ministry of Economic Development, which oversees tourism, has scheduled a meeting next week with senior officials from all sections involved in this event to discuss the audit report more..

Fonseka’s future in balance as polls campaign heats up

Jan 30 (NS) The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, held that the court martial is a court of law in terms of Article 89(d) of the constitution. The five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, presided over by Chief Justice Asoka de Silva, had apparently relied upon the contention of Attorney-General Mohan Peiris. The attorney-general argued that only a competent court could impose a death sentence and a sentence of imprisonment, and the court martial being empowered to more..

Representations to the LLRC II: Citizenship Anomalies

Jan 30 (Island) Let me interject here the caveat that citizenship anomalies are not the preserve of any particular community. Who after all talks of the grave injustices done to the Kandyan Peasantry and the related dispossessions? Who talks of regional disparities and class-related anomalies? I have no doubt in my mind that there have been numerous instances where minorities, particularly Tamils have suffered injustice and been at the wrong end of citizenship anomalies more..

Local artist’s painting fetches Rs. 400,000 at Kala Pola auction

Jan 30 (SL) Raja Segar’s oil on canvas painting titled “Woman And Horses” was swept away for the sum of Rs. 400,000 last week at the annual Kala Pola where unknown artists alongside well established ones exhibited their work on the streets of Ananda Commaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7. For the first time in 18 years since the Kala Pola began, the trustees of the George Keyt Foundation introduced an Art Auction. more..

The great Jaffna debacle

Jan 30 (Island) The rejection of nomination lists for a record number of local government institutions was the talk of the town as the week came to a close. For the government, the biggest blow was the rejection of the nomination lists in the north and they must be chewing their own rear ends in anguish over this turn of events. In the south both the UNP and the UPFA have had nomination lists rejected but there are a certain number of rejections at more..

World Cup contest to upstage local government elections

Jan 30 (NS) The political headlines were made this week by nominations being received for local government elections for which polls would be held on March 17. The three major parties - the ruling UPFA, the UNP and the JVP - are all in the fray but the hallmark of nominations was the rejection of nomination lists suffered by these parties. The ruling UPFA was probably the hardest hit with all its nomination papers in the North district being rejected. more..

'We did not want to beg TNA for more seats'

Jan 30 (LB) Though mainstream Tamil political parties decided to contest the upcoming LG elections as the Tamil Party Coalition (TPC), by the time of handing over the nominations each of the parties had all decided to contest on their own. The Tamil parties which earlier attempted to contest as a coalition then nixed that idea as talks held in this connection broke down with majority of the parties being unable to come to an agreement. more..

Call to probe donation demands of principals

Jan 30 (NS) An opposition politician has called for an inquiry into payments being charged by schools in the Galle district. During the recent sessions of the Southern Provincial Council meeting, the JVP member for Galle district Nalin Hewage complained about the payments. Deputy Chairman Cholmondly Withanachchi presided over the Southern Provincial Council meeting. The JVP councilor told the meeting that all schools in the district charged Rs 3,000/- from every new entrant more..

‘Only 12-hour water cut’ residents are warned!

Jan 30 (NS) Residents in and around Colombo are warned of a 12-hour water cut, which is to come into affect this weekend, according to the Water Supply and Drainage Board. The maintenance work is the cause of the water cuts expected to start from today (30). “The 12-hour cut is due to a power interruption for the main treatment plant at Ambatale, which is expected to start from 8:00 a.m. on Sunday and end at 8:00 p.m. the same day,” more..

World Cup venue blunder: SLC chief stripping in public

Jan 30 (ST) It was just a few days ago that the Chairman of the Interim Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket – D.S. de Silva – during an interview with the BBC launched a tirade against local newspapers on reports that have appeared about the preparations of the three 2011 World Cup venues. The BBC report said: “Sri Lanka Cricket chairman D.S. de Silva has accused the Sri Lankan media of publishing false reports over the delay in constructing World Cup venues. more..

EPDP area organizer recovered dead in Vadamaraadchi East

Jan 30 (TN) 36-year-old Rasarathninam Sathees, Maruthangkea'ni area organiser of EPDP paramilitary-cum-political party was found dead Saturday morning near Aanaivizhunththaan cemetery near Vallipuram temple. The last news about Mr. Sathees was that he was on his way in a motorbike to organise an event to which EPDP leader and SL Minister Douglas Devananda was scheduled to attend an event at Ampankudaththanai. more..

Ambassador, an honest man sent to lie for Sri Lanka, responds Fein

Jan 30 (TN) Noting Sri Lanka's Ambassador's response to the law suit filed in US by three Tamil plaintiffs as initiated by LTTE-front organizations involved in "publicity stunts like this baseless law suits," Bruce Fein, the attorney for the plaintiffs said that the Ambassador Wickramasuriya was an honest man but was apparently instructed that if both the facts and the law demonstrated President Rajapaksa’s criminal culpability, then he should bugle “Tamil Tigers” to confuse the issue. more..

Army helps Govt save over Rs. 3 billion

Jan 30 (SO) The Sri Lanka Army has helped the Government to save over Rs. 3 billion by undertaking various development projects by contributing its expertise to develop the country in the post conflict era. Army Commander Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya said the well-trained soldiers were engaged in different development activities and the main objective of the peacetime Army is to be a part of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s vision - to make more..

Sri Lanka literary festival discusses journalist's plight

Jan 30 (BBC) During a lunchtime session at the Galle Literary Festival, one isolated-looking teenager sat among the audience. He watched for a while before getting up and joining his mother standing at the back. They were the 16-year-old son and the wife of Prageeth Eknaligoda, a journalist-come-cartoonist missing since 24 January 2010. They visited the annual festival to lobby its participants on his plight - a plight which has inspired some to call for a festival boycott and more..

If you’re very desperate you won’t win: Murali

Jan 30 (MM) Many of Muttiah Muralitharan’s illustrious contemporaries will envy a trophy he has in his cabinet: The World Cup. Muralitharan knows what it means as he walks down the memory lane. Excerpts from a brief interview: Q: In 1996 World Cup Sri Lanka batted deep. Roshan Mahanama would come in at number seven. What do we expect this time? A: I think we’ve a more balanced unit in this World Cup, with all-rounders for specific roles. more..

Independence celebrations shift to Kataragama this year

Jan 30 (Island) Sri Lanka’s 63rd Independence Day celebrations will be held on a grand scale at Kataragama on February 4. Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne said yesterday that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was scheduled to address the nation at 9.15am . He said the garlanding of the statue of the first Prime Minister of Independent Ceylon Mahamanya D. S. Senanayake was scheduled to take place by the members of late D S. Memorial Committee. more..

Amateurish handling of a professional game

Jan 30 (NS) Not a day passes by without the current cricket administrators hogging the headlines in the sports pages of the local newspapers for all the wrong reasons. Ever since the government appointed former Sri Lanka leg-spinner DS de Silva to succeed another former Sri Lanka cricketer Arjuna Ranatunga to the post of interim committee chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket the administrators of the game in this country have come under the microscope of the media where more..

Skyrocketing food prices leaves public in quandary

Jan 30 (LB) However, this tactic of the government of trying to sell coconuts at reduced prices has currently failed, market sources revealed. The government also recently introduced a controlling price for rice to prevent it from also being hiked by traders countrywide. The price of Kekulu rice currently stands at Rs 60 rupees and Samba at Rs 70. Minister Johnston Fernando stated December last year that the government will not allow gas companies to carry out any hikes in the new year. more..

Military to sell weapons made in Lanka

Jan 30 (ST) The Sri Lanka Army is to offer for sale to foreign countries some of the military hardware which it has developed based on its experience gained in fighting the Tiger guerrillas, Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya said. He said items for offer included a mini-UAV developed by the Army. This could be used for monitoring of security at public events or meetings. He said the army had also developed bullet-proof jackets, additional security features in bullet-proof vehicles and weapons which had been modified. more..

No fear of an earthquake in Trinco

Jan 30 (LB) The geologists from the Peradeniya University noticed several water holes near the lagoon several over an area which was 200 meters long. “This has not occurred due to the effect of a quake. During the month of December and even early this month there were severe thunder showers which lashed this area. The area concerned is usually filled with sand and clay. The surface underneath the lagoon is made up of this content. However, the area where houses have been built is filled with a sand content,” more..

Govt blasts ‘court stunt’ by diaspora

Jan 30 (NS) A top Lankan diplomat serving in New York last night dismissed the reported lawsuit filed in the US against President Mahinda Rajapaksa as publicity stunt. Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr Palitha Kohona said that this was nothing but a publicity stunt as Bruce Fein, a former associate deputy attorney general of the US, knew that all heads of state enjoyed diplomatic immunity from prosecution. Incidentally, all of Kohona’s more..