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Training of Lankan soldiers cancelled following protest

July 23 (PTI) Following protests from Tamil outfits, a proposed programme to train 25 Sri Lankan soldiers at the Defence Service Staff College at Wellington in nearby Nilgiris district has been cancelled, officials said on Saturday. The Lankan soldiers, who reached the college on Friday for the month-long training, were sent back following the protests, they said. The soldiers were sent in a bus to Chennai from where they would return to Sri Lanka, more..

'Clinton, Jayalalitha discuss current situation in Sri Lanka'

July 23 (IE) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha had a long conversation over the current situation in Sri Lanka and felt the need for greater progress towards reconciliation there, a State Department official has said. Last week, Clinton met Jayalalitha during her visit to Chennai. "They actually had quite a long conversation about Sri Lanka, and I think they both agreed that more..

Clearance of ships sunk by LTTE to cost India Rs. 2.18 bn

July 23 (Island) Planned removal and disposal of six vessels sunk by Sea Tigers off Kankesanthurai during the war will cost a staggering Rs. 2.18 bn. The operation expected to be completed before end of this year is funded by a grant from India under an agreement aimed at restoring Sri Lanka’s main northern harbour at KKS. A military official placed the total number of ship wrecks in and outside the KKS harbour at seven, more..

Sri Lanka A set tough run chase

July 24 (CI) Sri Lanka A face a huge final-day run chase after being set 463 by Leicestershire although started briskly to reach 71 for 1 despite losing a wicket to the first ball of their second innings. Leicestershire built their lead at a steady pace with useful contributions throughout the order. Greg Smith hit 67 and took his second-wicket stand with James Taylor to 102 before Sri Lanka staged a mini fightback. Four wickets fell for 37, including two to offspinner Sachithra Senanayake, more..

Sri Lanka extends condolences to Norway

July 24 (AT) The Govt of Sri Lanka condoles with the Govt of Norway, the people of Norway, and the families of the victims of the dastard bombing and shooting incidents that took place in the centre of Oslo and at the youth camp near Oslo on Friday, and assures that Sri Lanka stands with the people of Norway and offers its deepest sympathies. The Acting Minister of External Affairs Neomal Perera states that it is sad to see the Norwegian people experiencing this kind of terrorism, more..

Sri Lanka Vietnam links soar after embassy starts

July 24 (LBO) Economic and people-to-people exchanges between Sri Lanka and Vietnam have soared after the establishment of an embassy barely two months ago, Hanoi's envoy to Colombo Ton Sinh Thanh said. A delegation from Sri Lanka's Chamber of Small and Medium industries is visiting Vietnam. They will meet trade chambers in the capital Hanoi, Da Nang in the centre and Ho Chi Minh in the south. "We find that the interactions between the two countries are rising," more..

Black July: Remembering the 1983 Riots in Sri Lanka

July 24 (HP) Shoot! I am telling you, shoot! Shoot and run!" Seelan bellowed. Seelan was demanding that his childhood friend Aruna kill him and escape. Aruna saw tears in Seelan's eyes as Aruna pointed the gun and fired. Seelan collapsed dead. A sudden death in the small village of Messalai in northern Sri Lanka would be the catalyst for what was to become one of the most damaging periods in Sri Lankan history. Seelan and Aruna were both Tamil Tiger cadres, and more..

'Not only election regulations but other laws of the country too are violated'

July 24 (LT) Not only election regulations but all laws in the country have been violated at the local govt elections being held at present said the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. He said this to the media after casting his vote at the polling center at Mayurapada Pirivena at Pelawatta today at about 11.00 a.m. “When nomination papers of a political party are rejected elections should be held with nomination papers accepted from other political parties. more..

Sri Lanka should not fear CEPA with India, says IMF

July 24 (PTI) Sri Lanka must not feel insecure about the prospect of entering the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with India, a senior IMF official said. Addressing the Chartered Accountants here in a seminar, IMF's representative in Sri Lanka, Koshy Mathai dismissed the main fear on the Sri Lankan side over entering the CEPA that local market would get flooded with Indian goods. He said the chances of this happening were minimal. more..

Sri Lanka Mini poll ended peacefully

July 24 (AT) Voting in the second round of Local Govt Elections in 65 local bodies has ended peacefully at 4pm today (23) with more than 55 to 60 percent voter turnout was recorded said several independent election monitoring bodies. The first official result of the local govt election will be released to the public at around 10.00 p.m. today (23). The voter turnout in the war torn Northern Province was low as 26% at the Morning session but the end of the day it was rises to 46percent. more..

The Mystery Behind the Siva Lingam

July 24 (LG) A friend of mine asked me why the Hindus worship the Sivalingam enshrined in Hindu Siva Temples. I couldn’t give her a satisfying answer although the phallic symbol represents Lord Siva. I merely told her this as a response to her poser. Reading on the subject I gathered from the Internet some information which I shall share with you. While some say "the Sivalingam symbol is not a sex symbol and it is an image of Pineal gland in human head", others say: more..

Forging a National Identity sans a Nationalist Ideology

July 24 (LG) "To represent history as mainly the story of war and conflict, or even as a series of political events, not merely makes history a divisive force but may be a gross distortion. It becomes fateful when unscientific racial groupings - e.g. ‘Aryans and Dravidians, - are imported into the story. For example, to elevate the spells of fighting between military adventurers and their small armies in the early days of pioneering and colonization in Ceylon into more..

Embassy of Sri Lanka coordinates student Washington visit for project 'Common Bond'

July 24 (SLE) A group of six Sri Lankan students have traveled to the Washington, D.C. area this week to participate in Project Common Bond, a program devised by Tuesday's Children, a U.S.-based initiative for children whose families have been affected by terrorism. The Sri Lankan students come from a variety of Sri Lankan communities, including Mallaitivu in the north, Gampaha, Colombo, Anuradhapura and Polgahawela. more..

Editorial: View developments in the North positively

July 24 (SO) The Govt has not only restored law and order in the North, but also restored democracy in the region after many years. People in the North too have been given an opportunity to elect people of their choice to run their regional administration at local govt level. Having liberated the Northern and Eastern Provinces from the clutches of LTTE terror, the Govt launched an ambitious program to usher in a new era for the people in those provinces. more..

Editorial: Deeds not words

July 24 (SL) The recent defeat of the Right to Information (draft) Bill presented to parliament by the Deputy Leader of the UNP, Karu Jayasuriya, needs deep thought and address by the people of this country. The govt using the two thirds they possess within their ranks to defeat this bill without even a by your leave, raised many an eyebrow. It does not take an Einstein to delve into the thought process of those within the ruling group, to comprehend the reasons for shooting down more..

Pitfalls in the President’s Alliance with the EPDP

July 24 (LG) The EPDP, supposedly a former armed group which continues to be represented by gun-toting cadres led by Minister Douglas Devananda, is the main Tamil ally of President Rajapakse. The violent EPDP seemed the only way in which the President can show Tamil support and therefore it has become his most crucial ally in warding off calls for war crimes inquiries on the grounds that Tamils support him. more..

Editorial: Time to nip Eastern terror in the bud

July 24 (NS) The news that a state bank in Puttur in the Batticaloa district was robbed a fortnight ago should have raised the collective eyebrows of the defence establishment. If it didn’t, what followed this week surely must. The person arrested by Police was none other than a senior cadre of the TMVP, a political party led by Eastern Province Chief Minister Chandrakanthan. Ever since the end of the Eelam war in May 2009, the fact that armed cadres roam the North and East has been an open secret. more..

Editorial: The end of aid

July 24 (LB) Whoever said that the US led persecution of Sri Lanka for that final blistering effort to eliminate the LTTE would be relentless was so right that he was in the nature of an oracle. This week a congressional committee of the US house of Congress decided that all forms of aid to Sri Lanka, except humanitarian aid and assistance for other specific purposes such as clearing of landmines should be suspended. Such a suspension is to be in force until Sri Lanka institutes an more..

Ena’s kaleidoscope of colour

July 24 (ST) “I am really mad,” says Ena de Silva. It is the kind of timeless mad that enchants you. That you obsess over during a four-hour drive back home from Matale to Colombo. At 88, she is one of the youngest people you could ever meet, seeming to have the heart and soul of a twenty- year-old. Adorned with hair ornaments, an ivory coloured comb, gold hoops bunched in red beads, three cocktail rings and a large flowery brooch she looks radiant and full of life. more..

Election outcome of North keenly watched

July 24 (NS) When these pages are being read, the results of the local govt elections held yesterday will be trickling in. In the South of the country, the ruling UPFA is likely to have emerged winners but it is the outcome in the North that will be watched more keenly. In the South, the elections will do little to alter the balance of power as the ruling party is securely ensconced in power with a still immensely popular President, a two-thirds majority in more..

Rule by ballot after years of rule by bullet begins in North

July 24 (NS) At the elections held yesterday to 65 local government bodies which had to be postponed due to election petitions, the government had thrown its full weight behind its propaganda campaign in the North. A large number of UPFA Ministers and MPs had been vigorously campaigning in the province for several weeks in support of the party candidates in the running for 16 local bodies in Jaffna district and three bodies in Kilinochchi district. more..

Nishantha says 'no conflict' in CSN job

July 24 (BBC) A former senior official at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has rejected accusations of conflict of interest for taking up a senior media job while working at the SLC. Nishantha Ranathunga, the CEO of Carlton Sports Network (CSN), said that the SLC was officially informed about his taking up the job with the CSN while being the secretary of the SLC. The CSN was offered media rights by Singapore-based Somerset Entertainment Ventures (SEV) for more..

Editorial: The hedging disaster

July 24 (Island) If the oil hedging arrangements between the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and some foreign banks represented here worked to Sri Lanka’s advantage, however risky they may have been and whatever the sweeteners on offer, nobody would have quarreled about them. But given that the deal ended in disaster, everybody is screaming blue murder. That, of course, is perfectly normal human behaviour. Victory, it is said, has many fathers but defeat is an orphan. more..

Editorial: Govt. ignoring epidemic of corruption

July 24 (ST) The US Secretary of State stopping by in the neighbourhood seems to have run out of ideas. One must look out for some innovative thinking to tackle the problem of Sri Lanka's IDPs, she said, but it seems the US Congress, or at least one of its influential committees, has gone back to their time-tested ways of arm-twisting nations by simply voting to cut off aid to Sri Lanka. Similarly, it seems that the Govt of Sri Lanka has run out of ideas and more..

Constructors lament dearth of skilled workers

July 24 (BL) The construction industry in Sri Lanka sees the shortage of skilled persons as the biggest constraint for the sector, said Priyantha Perera, Chairman of the National Construction Association of Sri Lanka (NCASL). Addressing a media briefing on ‘Construct 2011’ exhibition held at the Galle Face Hotel on Tuesday, he said that the Association was looking for remedial measures, especially in training workers along with other stakeholders in the industry. more..

'Stock market could get affected'

July 24 (BL) The stock market could be badly crippled if investors developed a fear psychosis and fought shy of insider trading if stringent measures were introduced, TKS Securities, CEO Asanga Seneviratne warned last week. This timely warning came from Sri Lanka’s whiz kid in the business, who has fast built a name for himself, following the snowballing crisis facing the stock market expressing concern that there was an insider trading ring bordering on ulterior profit making. more..

Cheerleading for the TNA

July 24 (Island) By the time this column is read, the results of the LG elections would be out for the most part. But even before the election was held, the leader of the opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe had given a clear indication of the result expected. Last Thursday, he made a special statement in parliament not on the elections in the south but on the north. In his statement, the leader of the opposition made the following assertions. a) The polls in the north will have an impact on more..

Paramilitaries take polling cards by force

July 24 (LB) Around 4500 polling cards were taken from voters in Kilinochchi District on Friday night and Saturday morning just prior to local government polls in certain areas, and residents said that this was carried out by some armed men. The areas most affected are Mayawanur, Ramanathan Puram, Purimandanaru, Selva Puram, Mundupirappu, Barathi Puram and Malayala Puram. Many houses in these areas were visited within a few hours to the election and more..

Looking Northwards

July 24 (LB) The opposition alleged the same litany of election related malpractice that is usually aimed at the government at this one as well. At the party leaders’ meeting with the Commissioner of Elections, it was said by opposition parties for instance that ministers are in force particularly in the north doling out state largesse — and campaigning after the deadline had lapsed. The allegations, for the most part, as usual, seemed to be true. more..

Loose tea is unhealthy, says Unilevers director

July 24 (BL) What most tea lovers, especially in the rural market don’t realise is that the loose tea which they consume is unhealthy and unhygienic. A tea nation such as ours deserves nothing but the perfect cup of tea and we are committed towards delivering it, says Asanga Ranasinghe, Marketing Director of Home Care and Foods of Unilevers Sri Lanka. Operating in a market where 68% is dominated by the loose tea market, leaving only 32% for the branded category, more..

'US timed aid cut announcement for local elections'

July 24 (Island) Former External Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama says US threat to withhold aid to Sri Lanka over unsubstantiated war crime allegations revealed ignorance on its part regarding the ground reality here. He pointed out that the US timed the announcement for Saturday’s local government polls for 65 bodies, including those in the Jaffna peninsula and Kilinochchi. Accusing US of playing politics at the expense of Sri Lanka, Bogollagama said that more..

Tell me what to say………

July 24 (ST) Hillary was meeting Jayalalithaa in Chennai. A fly on the wall reports on their conversation. “Hillary, do you know why everyone is interested in what you would say during your visit here?” “Is it because they want to hear a former First Lady?” “No, Hillary, around these parts they do not know of any ‘first ladies’ other than me…” “Why are they interested about me, then?” “They are all waiting to hear what you have to say about Sri Lanka…” “Ah, Sri Lanka. Yes, it was on my agenda too…” more..

Opposition quest for whodunit meets with more hedging

July 24 (ST) Members of Parliament (MP) being the privileged class that they are, usually encounter a few stumbling blocks to their almost unfettered right to freedom of expression within the chambers of the Legislature, along with the cloak of Parliamentary privilege to protect them against anyone from the outside who may want to challenge their utterances. The sub judice rule which prohibits an MP from referring to any matter on which a judicial decision is pending or more..

Unwanted post-war babies abandoned or killed in North

July 24 (ST) Cases of abandoned or murdered infants are alarmingly on the increase in the North, especially in areas that were once under LTTE control. In the past two months, four infants have been found abandoned and two were found dead in Vavuniya and Chettikulam respectively, according to Police and hospital sources. In all six cases the parents could not be traced, said a spokesperson for the Women’s and Children's Bureau attached to the Vavuniya Police. more..

Polls marred by violence and malicious tactics by candidates to deter free vote

July 24 (TC) The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) notes the conclusion of the second phase of the 2011 local government elections held today. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) of which CPA is a constituent member, did not deploy monitors in the field in the present phase of the local government elections. Therefore, the information received is from reports filed from actors present in the areas where elections were conducted, as well as from the media. more..

Tigers slam Norway attack

July 24 (NN) The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam which consists of former members and supporters of the LTTE have condemned the attack in Norway. Norway played a critical role as peace facilitator between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan govt during the war. "We are saddened by these brutal attacks in Norway, a country which contributed enormously to world peace. We remember Norway's tireless efforts in bringing cease fire in the island of Sri Lanka and more..

'All corrupt politicians and officials to be prosecuted under UNP govt'

July 24 (Island) All corrupt politicians and officials will be prosecuted by a future UNP government, the party’s Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya said in a statement issued on Friday. "We solemnly pledge to the people of this country, those who been robbed and wronged by this government, that any individual that gambled with public funds will be prosecuted and held personally liable under a future UNP government, he said. more..

Strict checks on funds allocated to LG bodies

July 24 (LB) The government is closely monitoring the work of Local Government (LG) bodies before allocating monies so that optimum use could be made of public funds. According to a spokesman of the National Financial Commission (NFC) the finances for the LG bodies are to be set apart in keeping with the benefits provided to the public by each of the LG bodies, and in proportion to the population in those districts as well. According to a NFC source, before finalizing projects in more..

Jaffna peaceful, Kilinochchi marred by violence

July 24 (BBC) The former Tamil Tiger stronghold Kilinochchi has been marred with violence and intimidation but Jaffna has been peaceful during the elections for the local bodies on Saturday, journalists say. A youth organizer of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has been transferred to Jaffna hospital after an assault using a pistol allegedly by a pro-government ex-militant group. Sunderalingam Yogeswaran is the chief youth wing organiser of the TNA and a local school teacher. more..

Dirty petrol supplier’s stocks continue to be distributed

July 24 (ST) Contaminated fuel stocks that ruined more than 5,000 vehicles were only part of a major three-month long consignment that will be brought to Colombo until the end of this month, and will continue to be distributed to vehicle users, ongoing investigations have revealed. A probe on whether these controversial stocks were imported after the Petroleum Ministry’s then Secretary, Titus Jayawardena, allegedly misled the Cabinet is now under way, more..