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An unruly Earl breaks the law

July 23 (SL) Sri Lanka’s Green Movement head, Suranjan Kodituwakku says that UNP defector to the govt, MP Earl Gunasekera has violated a Supreme Court directive to immediately remove one of his houses in the Patapilikanda area near the Minneriya reservoir belonging to the Wild Life Conservation Department. The Green Movement says that the house estimated at Rs. 40 million has been illegally built on a one acre piece of land belonging to the Wild Life Conservation more..

Listen to what the JHU says on the Northern Provincial Council election

July 23 (DM) Pragmatism is apparently being fast instilled into the JHU. Sometimes the ideas expressed by the JHUs since lately on sensitive issues such as the alleged war crimes by the security forces and the prospects of the TNA winning the Northern Provincial Council are interesting and in a way amazing. The degree of pragmatism and maturity that is being manifested in recent stance taken by the JHU leaders on some of the important national issues, more..

Films Channel 4 cannot make

July 23 (NS) Dr. Noel Nadesan, a Tamil domiciled in Australia who edited the Tamil community newspaper ‘Uthayam’ for 14 years has responded to the recently released Channel 4 film (yes, not ‘documentary’) on Sri Lanka. He says, based on long experience with the Tamil community both in Australia and Sri Lanka, he’s sad ‘about the callous way in which the media is exploiting the suffering of (his) Tamil people for self-serving ends’. He argues, cogently, that the Channel 4 film does not help the long suffering Tamil people but indeed only makes things worse. more..

Sivaji Ganesan: A doyen among actors in Tamil cinema

July 23 (DBS) Sivaji Ganesan who passed away on July 21st 2001 is widely regarded as the greatest thespian of post-independence Tamil cinema. This doyen among Tamil actors was one of my favourites. Like many of my generation I memorized the dialogue from “Veera Pandiya Kattabomman” during my childhood and repeated them with appropriate mannerisms to entertain family, relatives ,classmates and friends. Sivaji spoke Tamil on screen the way it should be spoken. more..

Arrogance that contradicts the Constitution to live “Loony”

July 23 (SL) Chapter VII, Article 38 (2, a): Any Member of Parliament may, by a writing addressed to the Speaker, give notice of a resolution alleging that the President is permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office by reason of mental or physical infirmity or that the President has been guilty of: (i) intentional violation of the Constitution (ii) treason (iii) bribery (iv) misconduct or corruption involving the abuse of the powers of his office, or more..

Family dispute ends in killings

July 23 (SO) Several men armed with knives stormed into a house at Nilwella, in the Dickwella area under the cover of darkness and chopped to death a mother (43) and her 15-year-old daughter who had gone to sleep in their home adjacent to Issabell House hotel. The gruesome incident took place on July 8. The cold-blooded killing had been carried out by hired assassins who had been promised a sum of Rs 500,000, police said. The brutal killings came as a shock to many who lived at Nilwella, more..

'Sri Lanka mulls compulsory rubber auctions'

July 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's plantations industries ministry is exploring the possibility of introducing a compulsory auction system for rubber like the tea industry, minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said. "The govt has decided to investigate the possibility of having a compulsory auction system like what we have in the tea industry also in the rubber industry," he told the annual general meeting of the Colombo Rubber Traders' Association (CTRA). more..

Editorial: What a relief!

July 23 (Island) University students eager to finish their studies, schoolchildren sitting the GCE (A/L) examination next month and their parents must have heaved a sigh of relief on hearing that university dons had suspended their trade union action at long last following a pledge by the govt to meet some of their demands. Why couldn't the govt negotiate with the Federation of University Teachers' Associations (FUTA) and sort out the salary dispute at the very inception without more..

Editorial: Ruling party faces vote of confidence in North

July 23 (DM) Amid crises, conflicts, confusion and contradictions along with unprecedented international pressure relating to war crimes charges and a delay in finding a just political solution to the grievances and aspirations of the Tamil speaking people, elections will be held today to 65 local councils. The focus will be on the elections to 19 local councils in the war ravaged districts of Jaffna, Killinochchi and Mulativu. Underscoring the importance of the polls in the North, more..

Doping inquiry on rugby players; IRB tribunal’s verdict within a month

July 23 (AT) The International Rugby Board (IRB) is due to give its verdict in a month time on the doping inquiry against the Sri Lankan rugby players. The players in dispute are Saliya Kumara, Keith Gurusinghe and Eranga Swarnathillake. They disputed the allegation against them are contrary to the regulations relating to the game and in the matter of an alleged doping offence. The players’ urine samples were taken by authorized doping control officers more..

The Travel Guru announces Sri Lanka Days to Arabian Nights

July 23 (PR) The Travel Guru, a Palm Springs based travel consultancy, today announced "Sri Lanka Days to Arabian Nights". What is travel consultant Kelly Daoud most looking forward to on his four-week, three-continent, 36,000-mile "journey of a lifetime" beginning Sep. 1? Is it six idyllic days on the paradise island of Malé? Is it exploring the ruins of ancient Greece? Is it staying at the breathtaking Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest city in the world? more..

Egypt and Sri Lanka share similar approach on Key global issues

July 23 (DM) Message from His Excellency Mr. Fawzi Mohammed El Said Gohar, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Republic of Maldives. On the occasion of the 59th Anniversary of the peaceful revolution of the Arab Republic of Egypt, I extend my greetings and best wishes to my fellow citizens of Egypt and to the friendly people, the President and Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. more..

Enjoining Order on ITAK leader, General Secretary

July 23 (DN) Colombo Chief District Judge Ranjith N. Wathupola yesterday issued an Enjoining Order Preventing ITAK leader R. Sampanthan and General Secretary S. Senadhiraja from expelling MP Perumpuli Hewage Piyasena from the party (ITAK) or taking any disciplinary action against him. The district judge issued this Order after considering a case filed by MP Perumpuli Hewage Piyasena against his expulsion from the ITAK stating that more..

Was another Tamil ship really headed for Canada? Don’t ask Jason Kenney

July 23 (G&M) Immigration Minister Jason Kenney made national headlines last week when he claimed that authorities in Southeast Asia intercepted yet another vessel of Sri Lankan Tamil migrants bound for Canada. But many of the nearly 90 migrants – who remain aboard the docked ship – now claim that they’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand, not Canada. This, at least, is what the migrants told a correspondent for the Sunday Star-Times who earlier this week went more..

FG sends 50 Niger Delta youths to Sri Lanka for skill acquisition programmes

July 23 (WS) As part of efforts to further build capacity in the Niger Delta area, the Federal Government on Friday sent a batch of 50 delegates, who are former ex- militants for various skill acquisition programmes in Sri Lanka for boat building, underwater operations, deep sea welding, underwater diving. The training, part of the post amnesty re-integration programme will last for six months at the Topher Zhang Vocational Institute in Sri Lanka. more..

SC judgment reserved on alleged attack by police on Kelaniya Uni. students

July 23 (AT) The judgment by the Supreme Court on the alleged attack by the police on the undergraduates of University of Kelaniya was reserved on Friday. The fundamental rights violation petition was filed by two undergraduate students Inoka Nadishani and Anuja Kahandawaarachchi of Kelaniya University. They claimed that they had been manhandled by the police officer and were arrested in the melee of clash between two groups of students on February 5, 2009. more..

What you should know about one-way traffic systems

July 23 (ST) So we have heard of yet another experiment (extending the one-way flow from Vajira Road-Visaka) junction on Duplication Road to Dickmans Road (Lester James Peiris Mawatha) in traffic re-arrangement in Colombo? We have learnt to accept such ‘experiments’ to be successful since they are always implemented without debate or discussion. What we may not know is that there is no ‘before and after’ study, no survey on public perception, no consultation with other more..

Vice captain dropped and Mathews ignored again

July 23 (IC) The current group of selectors have to be the daftest lot we've ever had (Ashantha de Mel's panel was pretty awful too). After the Kandamby experiment ended in disaster (Kandamby made just 36 in the four ODIs he played in England), Duleep Mendis' selection panel were forced to drop him but have they forgotten to name his replacement? Mendis has been truly pathetic as chief selector. He took over after Aravinda de Silva stepped down at the end of the World Cup. more..

HMS Hermes wreck shipshape for plunder

July 23 (ST) Lying in its watery grave, at a depth of a little over 50 meters off the East coast, the world's first aircraft carrier, HMS Hermes is Sri Lanka's star shipwreck. Sunk by Japanese bombers during World War II, it is now attracting serious attention of both local and foreign divers. But there came disturbing news, where a recent investigation by the National Aquatic Resources Agency (NARA) has found attempts to remove one of the cannons off this wreck. more..

Three language policy – How practical?

July 23 (Sinhale) It was last year the Sri Lanka Govt announced that it was relying on Indian expertise to introduce a three language policy – teaching school children Sinhala Tamil and English (serving as a link language among the different communities). This idea having come up after 30 years of the so-called ethnic conflict is apparently aimed at building communal harmony and learn about each other’s culture and traditions. But do people really learn languages of more..

July 1983 – blunder that shamed Sri Lanka

July 23 (AT) July 23, 1983 was without question a water-shed in Sri Lanka’s post-colonial history. Bungling politicians, rabble rousers, jingoes, the LTTE and their mentors all had an equal share in the calamity that pushed the island into 27 years of bloodshed and destruction. It brought shame on people who had nothing to do with the mob violence of ’83. They, especially Sinhala Buddhists as a whole, were made to look racists of the worst kind. more..

A month on, Lanka ferry service has not many takers

July 23 (TOI) The well-publicized Tuticorin-Colombo passenger ferry service is reportedly floundering. Since beginning operations on June 13, the 1,044-capacity vessel, Scotia Prince, is carrying hardly 150 passengers during each of its twice-a- week trips. A better response was expected as the service was envisaged as more than just a commercial venture. It was the result of several rounds of diplomatic discussions between India and the island nation. more..

Father, two sons arrested in connection with Putur bank heist

July 23 (Island) A person and his two sons have been arrested by the CID after grilling the mastermind of the Rs. 175 million robbery in Putur on June 30. The loot included Rs. 160 million in cash and Rs. 15 million in jewellery. The mother and daughter of the same family too were being questioned, the police said. The key suspect was arrested by a team of officers from the CID and Batticaloa police from a safe house in Wennappuwa on Wednesday (July 20). more..

Two carraiges of train wrecked by fire

July 23 (Island) Two third class passenger carriages at the Kandy Railway Station caught fire yesterday (22) afternoon. The empty carriages were those of a train scheduled to leave for Polgahawela at about 6.00 in the evening. The spread of the fire to other carriages was prevented by the Kandy Fire Brigade. The carriages were those of class three compartments. The cause of the fire was not known at the time of going to press. The two carriages were severely damaged and another partially. more..

Serious concerns remain as residents of the North go to vote

July 23 (LG) The people of the North will go for local govt elections today. All stakeholders including CaFFE have stated that this is an important moment of the democratic process in the North because this is a golden opportunity to convince the Northerners the benefits of representative democracy. From the beginning the main battle has been between the TNA and the UPFA Govt. A strong showing at the elections is a matter of pride for the govt more..

UNP protest against Govt.’s billion-rupee loss making decisions

July 23 (Island) A public protest will be held at Panduwasnuwara, in Hettipola, on August 6, to educate the public about the irrational decisions taken by the govt, which has resulted in the country losing millions of dollars in foreign exchange, the UNP said yesterday. MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said that the ill conceived oil hedging deal has resulted in the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime having to pay two private banks Rs.18 billion and the figure could rise to Rs.50 billion if more..

Dinesh blames Mariya Kade ‘Whites’

July 23 (Island) Minister, Dinesh Gunwardena told Parliament that some national level players go for medical treatment and advice to Mariya Kade in Deans Road, Colombo and this had resulted in their being found guilty of using banned substances. "There are not only Eliyantha Whites but also other ‘Whites’ who treat these sportsmen. Therefore it’s difficult now to ascertain from where some of the players had obtained performance enhancing drugs," more..

Elections to 65 LG bodies today: Polls Chief wants people to vote early

July 23 (Island) The Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday advised voters to exercise their franchise as early as possible at today elections to 65 local govt institutions. The Commissioner asked party secretaries to a caution their candidates, party activists and supporters not to resort to any violence, rigging or malpractices. In case of such incidents, he would not hesitate to nullify the polling and call for fresh elections which more..

Protest against training of Sri Lankan soldiers at Madras Regimental Centre

July 23 (PTI) Over 200 activists of various pro-Sri Lankan Tamils outfits today staged a demonstration in front of the Madras Regimental Centre (MRC) at Wellington in neighbouring Nilgiris District protesting against training of 25 Sri Lankan soldiers at the Army establishment. The protesters included members of Periyar Dravida Kazhagam (PDK), Naam Tamizhar Party and Viduthualai Chiruthaigal Katchi, police said. PDK General Secretary K Ramakrishnan said more..

Voting begins for 65 local govt bodies

July 23 (DN) The Elections Department yesterday said that all arrangements are in place to ensure a free and fair Local Govt election today to elect 875 members to 65 local govt bodies, including one Municipal Council and nine Urban Councils. Voters will cast their vote at 2226 polling stations in areas where the Local Govt election was put off. Voters in the Jaffna peninsula will elect members to man 23 local govt bodies after a lapse of three decades. The govt won 205 out of 234 Local Govt bodies in April. more..

'Parliamentary Select Committee will work on political solution'

July 23 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa's roadmap for finding a 13th Amendment-plus political solution will take the Tamil question in Sri Lanka to a Parliamentary Select Committee, which will look into it and propose suitable constitutional amendments, and then on to Parliament. Meanwhile, local elections in the Northern Province, which are being held on Saturday, would be followed by a Provincial Council election. more..

SLTDA to train Human resources for Kalpitiya

July 23 (Island) With mass scale development projects booming in the new tourist paradise of Kalpitiya, plans are under way to train more quality Tour Operator Assistants and Boat Operators with the guidance of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). The Kalpitiya tourism project involves the construction of a huge resort: 17 hotels with 5,000 rooms and 10,000 beds. Turtle Conservation Programme (TCP) Secretary, Marine Turtle Specialist, Lalith Ekanayake told The Island more..

Army distributes flour & noodles to get votes for UPFA

July 23 (LT) Several incidents have been reported today from many areas that prevent a fair and free election being held at the local government elections states the media unit of the JVP. It states most of such incidents have been reported from the Northern Province. A communiqué issued by the media unit of the JVP sates: A group of Army soldiers at the Army check point at Ranganpudiiruppu area at Kalmadhu today (23) have distributed wheat flour and noodles and pressurized people to vote for the UPFA. more..

Speeding vehicles on roads driving wildlife to their early graves

July 23 (ST) A fully grown sloth bear was killed by a speeding vehicle near the 11th kilometre post on the Panama-Pottuvil road late last month raising concerns over the prudence of having public roads across biodiversity rich National Parks, while vehicles speeding along roads in rural areas also drive wildlife to their graves before their time. The ill-fated bear was found lying on the side of the road with apparent head injuries. more..

President warns Galle Tarzan, but in vain

July 23 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday warned controversial Galle District UPFA MP Nishantha Mutuhettigama against what the govt sources described as Tarzan type antics after the latter had an iron railing at the newly built Galle bus terminal cut off on Thursday. On Wednesday Hikkaduwa bus operators launched a strike claiming that some iron bars were obstructing passengers. Subsequently, all bus operators using the Galle Central Bus Terminal joined the strike. more..

Former Tamil Tigers conduct Hindu ritual of self-pain

July 23 (BBC) While visiting the Tamil Tigers' former headquarters of Kilinochchi in northern Sri Lanka, the BBC's Charles Haviland witnessed three men taking part in a ritual of self-pain. He was told the men used to be associated with the Tiger militants but were performing the holy act of devotion as thanks for release from past sufferings. The practice of self-pain is often performed by Hindus of of Tamil descent around the world more..

'Govt. deprived of over Rs. 6 bn due to illegal vehicle registration'

July 23 (Island) The government has lost over Rs 6,000 million due to Illegal vehicle registration, Minister Kumar Welgama said. He said that the issue had been handed over to the CID to probe. The issue of illegal vehicle registration was not new but this had been widely prevalent following the tsunami disaster, the minister said, adding that he had been personally involved to get rid of the menace which deprives the govt coffers of a large sum of money. more..

British Lankans protest against BBC Sinhala service black out of SLcricket tour

July 23 (Island) United Lankans, comprising Sri Lankans based in the UK, are up in arms over the failure on the part of the BBC Sinhala website to report the recently concluded Sri Lanka tour of the UK. The following is the text of a letter dated July 13, sent by James de Alwis on behalf of the United Lankans to BBC: "I believe one of the primary purposes of the BBC Sinhala website is to Inform, Educate and Entertain Sinhala speaking people world over, more..

Chinese contractor threatens to pull out of Norochcholai unless CEB takes over project

July 23 (Island) The Chinese contractor of the 300MW Lak Wijaya Coal plant at Norochcholai has requested the CEB to take over the plant immediately while CEB engineers are insisting that certain crucial tests specified in the contract need to be completed before they can officially take over the plant. The Lak Wijaya Coal plant at Norochcholai has been back in operation after its main bearing was replaced by Chinese engineers. more..

Tamils sceptical of development, voting in Sri Lanka's war-weary north

July 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's minority Tamils say President Mahinda Rajapaksa's post-war development and infrastructure projects in the former war zone in the island's north have yet to address their real concerns and have not excluded their participation. Sri Lanka's northern cities hold local polls for the first time in many years on Saturday amid opposition and poll monitor complaints of intimidation. more..