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Sri Lanka experiences: Emotional politics, violence, and the future

July 18 (TC) In electoral politics, emotions have special place. They often help politicians to secure votes of economically weaken masses who have nothing to lose, but their ethnic or religious traits. Political actors understand this logic, and thus use emotional politics to win power. Sri Lanka’s experiences confirm this theoretical understanding. Emotional politics may win votes with no trouble, but political communities may need to confront instability if more..

Our Sri Lankan identity: Another case of ‘being nobody, going nowhere’?

July 18 (TC) The 2011 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture delivered by Kumar Sangakkara was indeed a very thoughtful, courageous and passionate one. Much has been written about the lecture, and it is not necessary to repeat how inspiring it was. But there is that poignant final paragraph in Sangakkara’s lecture which has contributed in numerous ways to a resurgence of an old debate concerning our Sri Lankan identity and what it ought to mean in our more..

'President Rajapaksa has kept himself totally aloof from the LLRC process'

July 18 (TC) The Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission was appointed on May 15 by the President to investigate the final years of the civil war. With doubts being raised about the credibility of the Commission, international observers remain sceptical of the LLRC in delivering true reconciliation to the country. After over a year of conducting their research all eyes will be on the LLRC report which is to be released on November 15. more..

Editorial: Of that stinking petrol

July 18 (Island) It is reported that a consignment of low quality petrol, which ruined thousands of vehicle engines recently, was imported from the Emirates National Oil Company in spite of rejection thereof both at the port of loading and in Colombo on the grounds of contamination. The blame for the scandal has been conveniently placed at the doorstep of the then Secretary to the Ministry of Petroleum Industries Titus Jayawardena, who was transferred to the Public Administration Ministry. more..

Editorial: The issue is about Sri Lankans

July 18 (DM) India, has once been referred to by the President as “our relative” while China is a friend. And though India is to some extent once again meddling in Lanka’s internal affairs and while there are certainly several issues relating to the minority communities in Sri Lanka, many political observers would readily agree that neighbouring India is much more interested in its own status, economic and defence problems than it really is about a poor Tamil in Sri Lanka. more..

'Land transactions most transparent : Govt goes for best investor, not best buyer'

July 18 (SO) The Economic Development Ministry is changed with the basic responsibility of giving effect to policies and development strategies enshrined in the Mahinda Chintana. The essence of the Mahinda Chintana economic vision is to ensure that the dividends of economic development should reach out to the lowest strata of society, the policy should concentrate on upgrading the status of the individual, family at the village, region, country and more..

Economic growth and social development

July 18 (ST) The trade-off between economic growth and social welfare has been a much debated issue. Last week’s column made reference to this in the discussion on poverty issues raised at the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) Colloquium. The pertinent issue in the context of the current higher economic growth trajectory is whether it would enable the country’s social indicators to improve. There are some concerns that the path, process and priorities of economic growth may more..

The Boom in Tourism: Great Expectations

July 18 (NS) Tourism is booming. Tourist arrivals increased by 40 percent in the first five months of the year compared to the same period of last year when arrivals rose 46 percent compared to the previous year. There has been an increase in tourist arrivals after the war ended. In the five months to May arrivals are so far up 40.2 percent to 327,902 from the five months of the earlier year. The current boom in tourism has led to high expectations of it being a more..

Lending rates heading north?

July 18 (FT) Despite efforts by monetary authorities to ensure a declining interest rates regime there seems to be upward pressure. An analysis of published Average Prime Lending Rates (AWPR) of commercial banks between last week and early January, rates of at least 12 banks have increased and only eight have reported declines whilst there was no change by two others. The increase is among top lenders such as Bank of Ceylon, Commercial, HNB and Sampath more..

Farmers make toxic mistake

July 18 (ST) Farmers continue to use suspect agrochemicals, despite public health fears relating to these materials. These fears include the suspicion that agrochemicals may be partly responsible for the high rate of kidney disease in the North Central Province. Farmers have easy access to agro chemicals and tend to ignore safe practices when using fertiliser, pesticides and weedicides. During a visit to the Anuradhapura district, the Sunday Times found that farmers were advised on more..

Four die in dawn bus crash

July 18 (ST) Four people were killed and 36 injured when a bus carrying garment factory workers collided head on with a passenger bus at Kribathkumbura at 6.30 a.m. yesterday, police said. They said investigations indicated that the accident took place when the bus carrying garment workers was trying to overtake a lorry at a bend. The 27-year-old driver of the bus carrying the garment workers and three passengers in it were killed. The bus had left from Hemmathagama in Mawanella more..

CPC re-opens seven petrol sheds in North

July 18 (Island) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation reopened seven more petrol filling stations in the north on Friday and yesterday. The total number of filling stations in operation in the north and east had risen to 70. Prior to the hostilities the five districts in the north and east had 170 filling stations. Minister Susil Premajayantha, Deputy Minister Sarana Gunawardena and directors and senior officials of the Corporation had been associated in more..

Hedging deal: Hopes for out of court settlement

July 18 (NS) The government is still hopeful of an out of court settlement between the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Standard Chartered Bank (SCB). This latest development comes in the wake of a London high court ruling last week ordering CPC to pay US$ 166 million as compensation over the controversial oil hedging deal. “Overtures have already been made to Standard Chartered Bank for an out of court settlement, and a feed back is expected,” a top govt source said. more..

FUTA to continue trade union action

July 18 (NS) The FUTA said that they will not involve themselves in any aspects of the scheduled GCE A/L examinations until the govt shows solid commitment in solving the salary disputes of academic staff. FUTA spokesperson, Dr. Mahim Mendis said that they were awaiting the govt’s official response to their demands. Meanwhile, the Higher Education Ministry said that it had taken the necessary steps in the event the FUTA had decided to refrain from being a part of more..

Editorial: Asylum seekers deserve some compassion

July 18 (NZH) The Prime Minister was uncharacteristically blunt about a boatload of asylum seekers expressing a wish to come to New Zealand. "They are not welcome here," he said. He believes he had to be that blunt. The boatpeople may have been no closer to these shores than any have been when they were intercepted by the Indonesian Navy last Saturday - and they were heading for Australia - but John Key says he has intelligence that New Zealand was more..

Soldiers to complete building 100 houses

July 18 (DM) The Jaffna Security Forces’ Headquarters is constructing 100 houses within 10 days for the newly resettled families in the peninsula by extending humanitarian assistance to destitute families in Jaffna, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe said. Under this new project Jaffna soldiers are working round the clock to ensure the construction of these houses is completed before Tuesday. Building materials needed for construction have been provided by the government. more..

100 abandoned tanks identified for restoration

July 18 (DM) Around 100 irrigation tanks abandoned for decades due to terrorism had been identified in the Anuradhapura district to be repaired very soon, officials said yesterday. The Commissioner General of Agrarian Services, Ravindra Hewavitarane told the Daily Mirror that some of these tanks had been abandoned for over 30 years due to terrorist threats. “I ceremonially started the work on one tank in the village called ‘Ranorawa’ close to the Wilpattu National Park. more..

Age limit for jobs overseas disastrous, says ALFEA

July 18 (ST) A proposal by the government to fix a mnimum age limit of 30 for those taking employment overseas will destroy some 70 per cent of the market, the industry warned yesterday. “This is an ad hoc move that has to be examined with more seriousness before it is implemented, and the authorities must have a re-think on the matter,” Faizer Mackeen, Secretary of the Association for Licensed Foreign Employment Agencies (ALFEA) said. more..

Rains in reservoir areas

July 18 (DM) Ending the month-long drought in the central hills, the main hydro power reservoirs have been receiving heavy rains since Saturday. A Laxapana Power Station official said the long drought had reduced the water level in the Mausakelle and Castlereagh reservoirs by about 50 per cent. Fairly strong winds could be expected in the Central hills in the next 24 hours. The South West monsoon and the cyclonic conditions prevalent over the Pacific Ocean could result in strong Southwesterly winds more..

Delft visited by a minister after 20 yrs

July 18 (DN) Delft Island, the lonely and largest island in mid sea, 46 km away from Jaffna mainland, was visited by a government minister for the first time in 21 years. Minister Basil Rajapaksa visited Delft Island on Saturday. The then minister of National Security Ranjan Wijeratne had visited the island in 1990, and since then no minister had visited there. The immediate need of the people in Delft Island was to have a fast boat service between Delft Island and the nearest land point at more..

Sathosa in imported chicken scam

July 18 (Island) The imported chicken scandal that The Island exposed has finally been solved with the discovery of 498 kgs of frozen chicken that had been sold by Lanka Sathosa Limited at Rs. 265 a kilo to a businessman at Sea Street on July 8, from the stores of the Ceylon Fisheries Corporation (CFC) at Modera. The Ministry of Co-operatives and Internal Trade stored 500 tonnes of chicken in two warehouses to be released to the local market in more..

'Tamils in North rallying round President'

July 18 (DN) “I trust President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government and he will surely solve all the problems of the Tamil people soon,” Hartley College, Jaffna, Principal N. Devendrarajah said. He further appreciated the service rendered by Minister Basil Rajapaksa, the originator of the Uthuru Vasanthaya rapid development programme, who visits the region frequently and initiates important development programmes. “During a three-year period the Jaffna district has witnessed more..

Seven days of physiotherapy for DNA leader

July 18 (DM) Specialists have recommended physiotherapy on seven consecutive days for DNA leader, former army commander Sarath Fonseka, after a shoulder problem he had had got worse. DNA MP Jayantha Ketagoda said that the problem had worsened as he had missed his treatment on one day. Doctors had initially advised a seven day course according to Mr. Ketagoda. The doctors have prescribed another seven day course of treatment as their earlier recommendations had been ignored. more..

'Unions, NGOs on foreign pay malign Sri Lanka'

July 18 (Island) Minister of Labour Gamini Lokuge is no stranger to the subject he is handling in this government having earlier headed the UNP trade union activities and that is possibly why he openly says that most trade unions do not have the welfare of workers as their prime goal, but political interests. He also charges that many unions and NGOs funded by the West were doing their bidding by maligning the country abroad. more..

Mother and daughter murdered at the behest of new wife

July 18 (LB) Though the mother and the daughter were beset with financial difficulties, Damayanthi’s daughter, being a bright student, was interested in pursuing her studies and was due to sit for GCE O/L exams this year. The property on which the hotel where Damayanthi worked stood, was bought by an Italian national. Subsequently, Damayanthi was being discussed in many quarters as the Italian owner of the property began to show some affinity towards her. more..

Serving in difficult areas a must for public servants in future

July 18 (Island) Serving in difficult areas for public servants will be a must in the future according to a transfer scheme contemplated by the govt. Secretary Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Development Dr. P.B. Jayasundara said in Kandy that a public servant would be transferred within the district after three years and outside the district after five years. This, he said would be fair by public servants who worked for six or seven years in difficult areas while more..

Chinese economic hitmen and The Rajapaksas

July 18 (SL) In an unprecedented move China has given President Mahinda Rajapaksa 9 million USD as a grant in March this year to use at his discretion. According to highly placed sources at the External Resources Department of the Treasury these monies were part of a grant amounting to a total USD 12 million for “enhancing friendly relations and bilateral economic and technical cooperation.” Of which USD 2.0 million was set aside for the flood affected and more..

Foreign funds induce hotbed of extremism

July 18 (LB) Funds received by Muslim religious organizations from foreign donors should be monitored, said Reyyaz Salley of the Islamic Solidarity Front of North America. He added that this should be done to address a growing number of extremist organizations that threaten to disrupt the peaceful co-existence between Muslim and Sinhalese communities. “There are men who receive large amounts of money from these foreign groups. Some of these men serve state institutions. more..

Ranil says four times the estimated cost spent on Sooriyawewa stadium

July 18 (Island) UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe called upon the government to tell people the reasons it had spent four times more money than architect’s estimate to construct Sooriyawewa Cricket Stadium in Hambantota. Addressing a party rally at Akurana on Saturday (16), Wickremesinghe said that architects had estimated the construction cost at Rs 1200 million yet the government has spent Rs 4300 million to build the stadium. more..

British Sri Lankans take to streets accusing Channel 4 TV of inciting race-hate

July 18 (IL) Over 2000 British Sri Lankans of different ethnicities and political hues met in London in Sunday evening to stage a massive demonstration against the Channel 4 TV, which at present is going around the world with a “documentary”, named “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields”. The protesters condemned the controversial documentary as malicious and accused the Channel 4 TV of inciting racial hatred between Sri Lankan communities in the UK, including more..

E-postal service in offing

July 18 (DN) The Postal Department in a ground-breaking modernization drive will introduce electronic and online postal services. “The Department will soon launch what will be Sri Lanka’s first E-postal service,” Deputy Post Master General R D P Gamini said. “New services will be introduced with the help of Moratuwa University,” he said. “Necessary hardware and software for implementing the new postal services, have been developed by University of Moratuwa" more..

Sri Lanka ‘A’ off to England

July 18 (Island) The Sri Lanka ‘A’ team left the island for England last morning for a tour which will get underway on Wednesday. The team is to play three four-day matches and five limited overs matches in England. Wicket-keeping batsman Kaushal Silva has been named captain and Dimuth Karunaratne, who made his debut during the recently concluded England tour, will act as his deputy. The first part of the tour will comprise four-day matches which will be followed by more..

More cricket amidst LTTE sabotage efforts

July 18 (Island) Amidst attempts by the UK-based LTTE operatives to isolate Sri Lanka, four English cricket teams are here to participate in the inaugural Murali Cup tournament featuring eight teams, including St. Patrick’s College, Jaffna. The tour was important due to ongoing attempts by the LTTE to undermine the country. Sources pointed out that English school authorities have gone ahead with the tour in spite of more..

Delft Island to become eco-tourist resort

July 18 (DN) Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa told the people in Delft Island, to get ready to receive tourists under their care as he has plans to put up cabana like tourist cottages to be maintained by residents of the island. The beautification of the island as a tourist attraction will be undertaken by the government. The deepening of the Dutch period Jetty was officially commissioned by the minister. more..

'Natha Deyyo light years ahead of Kelaniya Uni numbskulls'

July 18 (LB) Kelaniya University dons are at loggerhead over a much publicized research effort that purportedly found a high concentration of arsenic in pesticides and was said to be causing chronic kidney disease in Rajarata. The ground breaking research was however ‘guided by divine intervention’ — the leader of the research team, famously said, when announcing research findings. more..

Sri Lanka rating outlook raised to Positive by Moody's

July 18 (BN) Sri Lanka's sovereign rating outlook was raised to positive from stable by Moody's Investors Service, which cited a "peace dividend" of greater economic and financial stability. Sri Lanka's improved credit assessment comes as the island plans to raise $1 billion from the sale of dollar-denominated bonds in its fourth international offering. The nation's foreign-currency rating remains at B1, four levels below investment grade. more..

Post-war cooperation: US, Australia at Colombo security meet

July 18 (Island) Having boycotted Sri Lanka’s Defence Symposium (Defeating Terrorism: the Sri Lanka Experience) late last May citing alleged accountability issues, the US and Australia last week participated in a five-day maritime security conference in Colombo. Several countries, including the UK boycotted the three-day defence symposium over allegations of excesses by the Sri Lankan military during eelam war IV, more..

Free trade zone attack: FR petitions tomorrow

July 18 (DM) The Supreme Court will take up for inquiry tomorrow the 10 fundamental rights petitions filed by Katunayake Free Trade Zone workers alleging that the police had brutally attacked them during a peaceful demonstration to urge the government to withdraw the Private Sector Pension Bill. The Katunayake OIC, Seeduwa OIC, Negombo DIG, former Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya, present Police Chief N.K. Illangakoon, more..

'Clinton, Jayalalithaa will discuss Sri Lanka'

July 18 (Rediff) Senior Indian officials have claimed that United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's first ever trip to Chennai will be a strictly non-governmental visit with no discussion on Sri Lanka. But a senior official in the Barack Obama administration, who will accompany Clinton, has said that Sri Lanka would definitely figure in the discussions between the secretary of state and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa when they meet for the first time. more..

Armed groups told to hand over weapons

July 18 (DM) The military will make public announcements at village level in the Eastern province from today onwards asking armed groups operating in the area to hand over their weapons as soon as possible, sources from the area said yesterday. Some of these gangsters are supporters of a certain political party having its base in the province. A few weeks ago, there was a series of killings of politicians in the area, more..