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Dutch prosecutor: Dutch Tamils 'directly linked' with LTTE

July 10 (RNW) The Dutch prosecutor says Dutch Tamils who were arrested last year, have direct links with the Tamil Tigers separatists’ army, the LTTE. The rebel group has been listed as a terrorist organisation by the EU since 2006. The Tamils who are currently on trial in the Netherlands, are accused of extorting money from other Dutch Tamils. At the trial in the Hague, the prosecutor said the four men were also charged for organising illegal lotteries more..

Professor Sivathambi’s demise is a great loss To the Tamil literary world

July 10 (LG) The sudden demise of Professor Karthigesu Sivathamby is a great loss to the Tamil World. I knew prof. Sivathamby as a student. He was just one year above me at Zahira College Colombo, where he headed the Tamil Association. He was much loved and respected by all students and teachers of Zahira. The principal of Zahira at that time was Janab A.M.A Azeez who later served the country as a Senator and also as a Member of the Public Service Commission. more..

Nawam Raja of the Gangarama Temple passes away

July 10 (NF) The tusk called Nawam Raja of the Gangarama temple who was reported ill during the past few days, passed away yesterday. The tusker had participated in various peraheras including the Kandy perahara. Nawam Raja was a gift from India was 55 years of age at the time of its death. The Chief Incumbent of the Gangarama temple, Dr. Kirinde Assaji thera stated that the tusker which was sick for the past few days passed away in the early hours of the morning. more..

England v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI: England seal series in thriller

July 10 (CI) Sri Lanka recovered from a top-order collapse to reach 113 for 3 after 25 overs of their chase at Old Trafford. They had lost three wickets in the first 10 overs but Dinesh Chandimal and Kumar Sangakkara sparked a recovery with an enterprising fourth-wicket stand. Sri Lanka have often been vulnerable against the new ball in the opening Powerplays in this series, slipping to 15 for 4 at The Oval, 45 for 2 at Headingley and more..

Inclusivity and pluralism retains a country’s vitality

July 10 (LG) Jawaharlal Nehru’s The Discovery of India, from which the above is taken, is an extraordinary and scholarly piece of writing of an extraordinary and visionary political figure. The Discovery of India is a sweeping view of Indian civilization and culture from the earliest times with a commentary on India’s freedom struggle. But the amazing part of it is that this over five hundred page of print were hand-written by Nehru while spending five months in prison, more..

Imposition of leadership training for university entrants is an intrusion into an autonomous sphere

July 10 (TC) This is a response to the Friday Forum’s press release (Jayantha Dhanapala et al, 9 June 2011) on compulsory leadership training for university entrants, a programme that “has been introduced by the Ministry of Higher Education in a military environment under the leadership of the Ministry of Defence” (Forum). What I write is not comprehensive. Secondly, it’s offered in the spirit of “democratic dialogue” urged by the Forum: more..

The new state of South Sudan will have tryst with destiny on July 9th

July 10 (DBS) South Sudan gains formal Independence on July 9th 2011&emerges as Africas 54th country.It will be in due course the 193rd member of the UNO. The new state is likely to be called Republic of South Sudan. The flag has a yellow star in a blue triangle on stripes of black,red & green. The President of South Sudan will be Salva Kiir Mayardit of the Dinka tribe. The Vice President will be Riek Machar of the Nuer tribe. more..

Editorial: Hosting Commonwealth Games, a worthy investment

July 10 (SO) The Southern city of Hambantota is making a strong bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games. An international team of evaluators from the Commonwealth Games Federation toured Sri Lanka last week to gather first-hand information on the initial preparations made by the Hambantota 2018 Bid Committee, jointly headed by Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal. Sri Lanka has a good chance of more..

Editorial: The Cricketer’s speech

July 10 (SL) Kumar Sangakkara gave a wide-ranging and very interesting speech on the spirit of cricket. It is notable that cricket has reached the pinnacle of awesomeness in the subcontinent, but also its nadir of shame. For every 1996 World Cup or IPL thrill, there is a story of corruption or match-fixing. The challenge for cricket is maintaining the vigor of play while still remaining a gentleman’s game, or at least a fan’s one. For Sri Lanka to be able to select a more..

'PSC -the ideal platform to solve national question'

July 10 (SO) Minister Dilan Perera said the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee is an ideal platform to bring about amendments to the constitution aimed at a political solution to the national question. The Minister in an interview said we must try to get the TNA, UNP and all other political parties involved in the Parliamentary Select Committee to evolve and fine tune a solution that will go beyond the 13th Amendment. more..

Editorial: People in the dark in every way

July 10 (ST) If there were two serious matters that have caused much anxiety and anger among the citizenry in recent days, it is the presence of arsenic in the fertilizer that could have contaminated the rice they eat, and the contamination of petrol that has resulted in vehicles grinding to a halt with owners incurring heavy damage. In both cases, one thing has happened and another has not. What has happened is that the ordinary people have been terribly inconvenienced; more..

Editorial: Sanga and the Spirit of Cricket

July 10 (Island) Sports Minister Mahindananada Aluthgamage, quite apart from the evident lack of commonsense, seems totally out of touch with reality. If this was not the case and if he had a sense of what the vast majority of the country’s cricket fans or, for that matter most Lankans felt about Kumar Sangakkara’s Spirit of Cricket lecture at Lord’s last week, he would have kept his mouth shut and not spouted the nonsense he did about wanting a report on what the cricketer said. more..

The ‘haunted’ past of Radio Ceylon

July 10 (SO) Walking into the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) buildings at Torrington Square, one would immediately feel the historical value of the place, but most people would not know just how valuable it is. Our SLBC is Asia's first broadcasting corporation. Radio Ceylon started in Sri Lanka then Ceylon, paving the way for many other radio stations that later came to be celebrated around the world, inspiring countries such as more..

Editorial: Too big to fail?!

July 10 (LB) It is clear that the Rajapaksa administration has chosen a leapfrog strategy to grow the economy. The modus operandi seems to be one of honing in on gigantic pet projects which are then expected to yield in terms of leaving a legacy of a viable infrastructure, while providing jobs in the process and adding to people’s purchasing power, so that economic growth results. The Hambantota Commonwealth Games project, perhaps even Mihin Air at the time it began, were pet projects of this nature. more..

Maitri Gunaratne vs Ranil Wickremesinghe

July 10 (Island) The most politically significant thing that happened last week was the overruling of the preliminary objections filed in the Nugegoda District Court by Ranil Wickremesinghe et al in the case filed against them by Maithri Gunaratne, the Southern Province provincial councilor. This case could potentially effect a revolution within the UNP and should be followed very carefully. When Gunaratne took Wickremesinghe to courts, he put his entire political career on the line. more..

‘False’ Doctor Eliyantha White is a Lankan reality metaphorizing Rajapaksa rule

July 10 (TC) Imagine a man with no medical qualifications or training becoming the ‘official physician’ of the president of a country. Imagine that president proudly offering the ‘miraculous’ services this ‘personal physician’, to the rich and the famous, nationally and internationally. This tale, worthy of a Kapuściński or even a Marquez, is a Lankan reality metaphorizing Rajapaksa Rule. more..

Current imperatives in understanding the multi dimensional issues of poverty

July 10 (ST) Poverty is the most intractable problem. Despite economic growth poverty persists at an unacceptable level in many countries and has many manifestations. Overall national statistics do not capture the full range and variety of poverty conditions that are prevalent as poverty is a multifaceted and multidimensional issue. Even though income poverty is important, there are many other facets of poverty that are not captured by the levels of income alone. more..

The Indians play their shots

July 10 (LB) India’s political compulsions with regard to Tamilnadu were made clear this week by the Secretary External Affairs Ministry Nirupama Rao, when she met Sri Lankan newspaper editors and senior journalists in New Delhi. She was incredibly frank about Tamilnadu pressure and India’s sensitivity to political compulsions in that state. On the other hand, what was not said was easy to discern from the background that editors were privy to, not via Nirupama Rao but other sources. more..

Elections Commissioner Speaks Out

July 10 (SL) Elections for 65 local govt bodies out of a total of 67 will be held on July 23. Elections for the remaining local bodies – Maritime Pattu and Pudukuduirippu have been further postponed due to the ongoing de-mining process, Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya said. Deshapriya in an interview with The Sunday Leader said that holding staggered elections would exceed the 2011 budgetary allocations of the Elections Department. more..

It’s the whole truth and nothing but the truth

July 10 (ST) My dear Sanga, It was only three months ago that I wrote to you last and that was just after the World Cup final but I thought I must write to you again after hearing the stirring speech you made at Lord’s this week. Of course, Sanga, we always knew you were a cut above the rest even though there was little opportunity for you to showcase your talents as an intellectual off the cricket field. After all, what you previously did beyond the boundary ropes was confined to more..

CWC and UNP Trade unions have betrayed plantation workers

July 10 (TC) Truth is relative; it depends on who is talking and about whom. This is the reality of a class society. I was bitterly reminded of this reality, when I read in an article that Lanka’s trade union success in June this year, of a 25 percent wage increase for 600,000 plantation workers, was an attack on the economy. The writer says sadly, “The island’s economically vital tea, rubber and other plantations are pawns in the hands of trade unions backed by more..

Standing tall and calling a spade a spade

July 10 (ST) It was one of the most erudite expressions made about contemporary cricket in Sri Lanka. It was articulate, eloquent and very Sri Lankan. In short, after going through the content, I can understand how the former Sri Lankan cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara managed to keep an audience of over 1,500 people spellbound for more than an hour with his own experiences in the game and other matters which affect the game. more..

Carson’s thrust into palm oil based manufacture in Malaysia & India

July 10 (Island) Carson Cumberbatch PLC, a major player in the global palm oil industry, last week announced the acquisition of a Malaysian oils and fats group with a strong presence in India in a Rs. 4.27 billion deal which gives it presence in value added products manufactured from palm oil. Island last week reported that this deal was in the pipeline and awaiting regulatory clearance. A senior director of the Carsons Group said that this was the biggest recent acquisition more..

Dilshan buoyed by youngsters' performance

July 10 (CI) This tour of England has been a case of so near yet so far for Sri Lanka. A Test series lost in one manic at session at Cardiff has been followed by a one-day series defeat after they had two chances to clinch the trophy. Sri Lanka understood before arriving that it would be tough to compete in the Tests, but the limited-overs matches offered a serious chance of silverware as had been the case in 2006 when they won the one-day series 5-0. more..

BOI confusion continues despite 30 investment project approvals

July 10 (ST) Despite approving 30 foreign and local investment projects out of 57 applications in the first five months of this year, an element of chaos continues at Sri Lanka’s premier investment promotion agency the Board of Investment (BOI) owing to the restructuring of the whole foreign investment process in the country. A re-structuring plan worked out by a British consultant at a heavy cost to the Sri Lankan taxpayer to reorganize more..

Bid to cash in on crocodile products, snake venom

July 10 (LB) The Sri Lanka Wildlife Department (SLWD) sources said that in the guise of starting a crocodile garden in Muthurajawela, the SLWD is out to set up a crocodile farm in the future. There are many countries in Asia that run crocodile farms with the intention of obtaining its meat and skin. Those within the SLWD say that similarly plans have been drawn up to maintain a crocodile farm on the pretext of opening up a garden with the creatures. more..

The Europa Philharmonic in Sri Lanka

July 10 (Island) Goethe-Institut and Mount Lavinia Hotel will present one of the classical music highlights in 2011: The renowned Europa Philharmonie, conducted by Reinhard Seehafer, which will visit Sri Lanka and perform three concerts at the Mount Lavinia Hotel. The Europa Philharmonie is a European symphony orchestra made up of musicians from European Union countries as well as musicians from all over the world who have made Europe their home. more..

'TNA should relax its rigid stance'

July 10 (SO) PLOTE leader Dharmalingam Sitharthan welcomed EPDP leader Minister Douglas Devananda’s call to the TNA to unite with the other Tamil parties to put forward a common proposal to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He also endorsed Devananda’s statement, made in Parliament recently that the President would certainly consider such a proposal since he has repeatedly called for it. Devananda told Parliament that considering the decades-long suffering and more..

Taxation Commission report on ice

July 10 (Island) Mystery surrounds the non-publication of the report of the Presidential Commission on Taxation even though its report was handed over to the govt more than nine months ago. The high-powered Commission chaired by Prof. W.D. Laxman sat for more than a year before they finalized their recommendations in September 2010. There was no clear indication why the report has not been published. Prof. Laxman contacted in this regard said he did not know the reason, but more..

Kelawalla near threatened by over-fishing

July 10 (ST) The popular edible fish Kelawalla (Yellow-fin Tuna) is a “near threatened” species, according to the IUCN. The world’s commercially targeted fish are in decline mainly because of unsustainable fishing practices. The IUCN’s recent Red List shows that five of the eight tuna species are either threatened or near threatened because of over-fishing. “The latest Red List update underlines concerns expressed when Indian Ocean coastal countries met in Colombo early this year,” more..

Will someone take the rap or will the buck be passed?

July 10 (LB) Q: A three-member panel has been appointed to look into importing low-quality petrol to the country. How are they conducting their inquiries? A: I cannot intervene into the activities of this panel. They are currently looking into as to what yardstick was followed when importing the sub-standard petrol in question and whether the pre-requisite tests had been conducted before importing the stocks. They in fact met last week and more..

Petition Against Ex-IGP

July 10 (SL) A petition has been filed against the appointment of former IGP Mahinda Balasuriya as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Brazil. Balasuriya has been nominated for the post after he prematurely retired as IGP following the recent clash in Katunayake between the police and employees of the Katunayake Free Trade Zone. The petition signed by businessman Dr. M.G.M.S Zurfick and sent to the parliament committee on high posts alleges that Balasuriya is not suitable for the post of an Ambassador. more..

No prizes for head boy and senior prefects at S. Thomas’ College

July 10 (SL) The star prize, the Victoria Gold Medal usually awarded to the Head Boy of S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia has been withdrawn on the orders of Warden Rev. John Puddefoot following the Head Boy and 16 other senior prefects being ordered to leave earlier this year. The prize giving is scheduled to be held on Wednesday July 13, where President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to grace the occasion as Chief Guest. Highly places sources at S. Thomas’ College confided to more..

Ex CJ says govt cannot sue channel 4

July 10 (SL) Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva says the govt cannot file legal action against Britain’s Channel 4 television over the recent controversial video it aired on Sri Lanka. He said that while an individual who appears in the video can go to court in the UK and file defamation charges, a govt legal action cannot be filed overseas. The govt said last week that it is looking at avenues to file legal action against Channel 4 over the video more..

Woman and daughter found brutally killed

July 10 (Island) A mother and her 15-year-old daughter were found brutally hacked to death inside their house at Nilwella, Duwagahawella in Dickwella yesterday. Police said the two victims, P. K. Renuka Damayanthi (43) and Sanduni Sasanthika Ratnayake, a GCE Ordinary Level student had been killed on Friday night. The motive behind the slayings is still not known. The bodies were found in two separate places in the house — the mother lying on the floor of a room and more..

The Shangri-La in Yala too?

July 10 (SL) Ten acres bordering the Yala National Park is being touted as a viable site for another hotel by the Shangri-La hotel chain, officials say. Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, confirmed that the Ministry was looking at two sites for the Hong-Kong based hotel. “Our suggestion is, since we are having one in Colombo… to have one in Hambantota or Yala as well,” Abeywardena said. He added that the Ministry had asked for roughly 10 acres to build the hotel on. more..

Probe the Minister, Not Sanga

July 10 (Island) For all its charm, tradition and history, Lord’s can be a funny place. If your skin is dark, stewards tend to tell you, ‘Oi! Where do you think you are going?’ But the spellbinding speech of Kumar Sangakkara the other day at Lord’s is sure to turn things around completely. That Monday evening itself, after Sangakkara delivered the Lord Cowdrey Lecture on the Spirit of Cricket, there was a remarkable change in stewards’ attitude. more..

Sharp decline in registered voters In Jaffna

July 10 (SL) The number of registered voters in Jaffna and Killinochchi districts had drastically declined in 2010 from the 2009 voter register statistics, according to the Elections Department figures. According to the statistics, there had been 696,587 registered voters in Jaffna and Killinochchi districts (excluding the Jaffna Municipal Council voters) in 2009 but it had declined to 435,557 in 2010. “Since 1988 up to 1998 no enumerations have been done due to the civil war. more..

Petrol bombshell: Lab test ignored, bad stock released

July 10 (ST) Despite laboratory tests proving that the recently imported 20,000 tons of refined fuel was sub-standard, a senior official ordered that it be released to the market. The startling disclosure was made as a probe continued into the fuel scam that led to the breakdown of hundreds of vehicles. An official who did not wish to be identified said that soon after the stocks were brought here, laboratory tests had revealed that the petrol failed to meet more..

Crisis after crisis here and abroad

July 10 (ST) It seems a case of literally falling from the frying pan to the fire for the UPFA govt this week. For months now, it has been plagued by the fallout from the report of the UN Advisory Panel of Experts on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. In its wake came Britain's Channel 4 video titled Sri Lanka's Killing Fields. The multi-pronged official responses to the issues raised by them, though contradictory, have dominated the local media much more than more..