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Lanka the issue in Tamil Nadu

June 9 (HT) In May 1991, mid-way through a campaign for the general elections, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by an LTTE suicide squad in Tamil Nadu. Now, it’s general election time again, and for the first time since that fateful year, it looks like polls in the key southern state will be dominated by the LTTE and the plight of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka. The tragedy of Gandhi’s death radically changed the Tamil Nadu people’s attitude towards the more..

Sri Lanka resort planned by Banyan Tree, drops management deal

June 9 (LBO) Singapore-based Banyan Tree Holdings said it was ending the management of a third party property in Sri Lanka but would develop its own resort on a larger scale. Banyan Tree was managing Deer Park, a 77-room hotel in Giritalle, in north central Sri Lanka under its 'Angsana' brand. "Banyan Tree’s plans for Sri Lanka encompass either single-hotel projects in iconic, pristine areas, or an integrated resort with several hotels, more..

Vaiko welcomes resolution seeking economic sanctions on Lanka

June 9 (Hindu) MDMK leader Vaiko today welcomed the Tamil Nadu Assembly’s resolution urging the Centre to impose economic sanctions against Sri Lanka. In a statement, he said it was a welcome sign that the resolution had been passed unanimously. He said he welcomed the demand of the assembly resolution to declare the Sri Lankan Government as a war criminal for allegedly killing Tamils in the island republic. Tamil Nadu Assembly earlier on Wednesday adopted a more..

BTI use not effective

June 9 (NN) The use of BTI in Sri Lanka has so far been ineffective and has not helped contain the spread of dengue mosquitoes, the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) said today. According to the CMC chief medical officer Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam, dengue patients have been reported even from areas where the BTI was used. However the Health Ministry says the BTI bacteria will only prevent dengue mosquitoes from breeding in new paces and it cannot destroy them. more..

20 female J’pura Uni students suspended

June 9 (NN) A group of first year female students at the Sri Jayawardenapura university were suspended from the campus today. The university said that 20 students were suspended today on disciplinary grounds and related allegations. According to the university administration, the students had allegedly attempted to create instability inside the campus, violated discipline and disrupted the normal functions of the campus. more..

Mirror readers help send thousands of Tesco school uniforms to children in Sri Lanka

June 9 (Mirror) Standing in cast-off flip-flops and a faded, threadbare uniform, schoolboy Dilan Chathuranga knows he is still one of the ­fortunate ones.Though his scruffy blue shorts and white shirt may be on their last legs, they are still enough to secure him a place at school in Sri Lanka. And now, thanks to Mirror readers, 11-year-old Dilan and the other 153 pupils at the rural Galmeriyawa School have all been kitted out in smart new school gear. more..

Holidays with a warm heart

June 9 (National) The Overseas Pakistanis and Sri Lankans Society (OPSS) in Dubai is working with the Volunteer Sri Lanka project and has launched Tourism for a Good Cause. The aim of the campaign is to promote the island as a tourist destination, but also to give volunteers the chance to combine community work and sightseeing in a single trip. "Since the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka, the tourist industry is really booming," said Mobisher Rabbani, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 08.06.2011

Lankan families swap livers for transplant

June 9 (GT) In a unique life saving deal, two Sri Lankan families swapped the livers of two of their members at a hospital in Chennai for transplantation, officials said yesterday. Chairman and managing director of Global Hospitals K Ravindranath said the two families exchanged livers under the paired donation programme. It was the country’s first living donor simultaneous liver swap transplantation surgery on adults. The liver transplantation was necessary as more..

'No Grade 1 Applications For 141 Schools'

June 9 (SL) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena has said that 141 schools in the country have not received a single application for Grade 1 admissions next year. Gunawardena has added that 2,161 schools have received less than 10 applications. The Minister had made this comment in response to a question posed by JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake about the government’s proposed 1,000 schools programme. more..

'One million' petition handed over to UN

June 9 (BBC) The United Nations country office in Sri Lanka has received a huge petition, reported to have a million signatures, denouncing a recent report commissioned by the UN. The report was highly critical of the island’s government and armed forces over their conduct towards the end of the civil war two years ago. The petition said the report was against Sri Lanka’s “sovereignty and independence”. The petition was several volumes in size. more..

MR receives report on FTZ clash

June 9 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has today been handed over the internal report on the clash that took place in the Katunayake free trade zone (FTZ) last week resulting in the death of one FTZ worker. A clash occurred between FTZ workers and the police on May 30 when the workers protested against the govt’s proposed private sector pension scheme. The President appointed a one member committee comprising former High Court Judge Mahanama Thilekaratne to inquire into the incident and prepare a report. more..

Tharanga to miss England series

June 9 (CI) Upul Tharanga, the Sri Lanka opener, has been ruled out of the limited-overs leg of the England tour as he prepares to face a disciplinary committee for failing a drugs test during the World Cup. Tharanga, 26, tested positive after the semi-final against New Zealand, in Colombo, and Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed he won't be selected for any representative cricket in the short term. "Since there is an ongoing inquiry to verify this charge, Upul Tharanga will not be more..

500 days since Prageeth missing

June 9 (BBC) It is exactly 500 days since a website journalist and cartoonist in Sri Lanka, Prageeth Ekneligoda, disappeared after apparently being abducted. He is just one among many Sri Lankans who have vanished and whose fate remains unclear. The UN’s working group on disappearances says it has been waiting more than four years for the govt to respond to its request to visit Sri Lanka. Most of Sri Lanka’s 5,653 unsolved cases which the group has looked into, more..

GL: Everyone should unite against hostile forces

June 9 (SL) Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has said political affiliations and sectarian loyalties have to be put aside to stand against hostile forces who are attempting to launch an onslaught against the country. Peiris has reportedly told parliament that the govt has spent time and effort to inform the international community about the efforts and actions taken since the end of the war. According to him, there is widespread understanding and support for more..

Sri Lankan maid locked up with no wage for 16 years

June 9 (E24/7) A Saudi employer locked up his Sri Lankan housemaid at his house without a salary for nearly 16 years, during which she had never visited her home country, a newspaper in the oil-rich Gulf Kingdom reported on Wednesday. The unnamed employer has also refused to renew her residence visa and prevented her from leaving his house in the southern province of Jazan. “We have just discovered this serious act of human rights abuse,” more..

Sri Lanka scraps colonial-era telegram service

June 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka is to finally scrap its telegraphic service, which has been overtaken by mobile phones and the Internet and handles just 50 telegrams a day, an official said Wednesday. Transmitting telegrams using a network of postal messengers across the country was too expensive, postal ministry secretary Hemasiri Fernando said, adding that they could not compete with phones and text messages for speed. more..

Ranil: Govt. paying debts with EPF and ETF funds

June 9 (SL) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has said the government was trying to legalize the pilfering monies from the EPF and ETF accounts through the propose private sector pension scheme. He has accused the government of using monies in the EPF and ETF accounts to pay government debt. Wickremesinghe has observed that the government would be unable to pay the EPF and ETF of the workers if they requested for the monies in their account. more..

Jayasuriya: Cricket is not over for me

June 9 (ES) Sri Lankan all-rounder Sanath Jayasuriya said that he is fit enough to play international cricket and is waiting to play in the ODI series against England. With opener Upul Tharanga unlikely to be considered for selection after being embroiled in an alleged doping scandal, Jayasuriya looks to be the most likely option to open the innings. "Definitely I want to play for my country. That is why I have not announced retirement from One-day cricket till date”, more..

Sri Lanka's General on the Cricket Green

June 9 (NYT) What, if anything, the French World War I commander Ferdinand Foch would have made of the game of cricket is not known. But it is known that Foch, a general with a knack for sound bites, was open to new sporting experiences. Taken to the Army-Navy football match on a visit to the United States, he said: “This game has everything. It is war.” So it is a fair bet that he would have seen Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sri Lanka’s rookie captain, more..

'LTTE intact abroad'

June 9 (NN) Prime Minister D.M Jayaratne says the LTTE network is still intact overseas and there are reports they may attempt to regroup as an organisation. Speaking during the emergency debate in Parliament today, the Prime Minister also said that investigations into LTTE activities in Sri Lanka will continue despite the end of the war. He said that while several LTTE members had been arrested after the war ended in 2009 there are more who are believed to have fled to the south. more..

Hidden arms found

June 9 (NN) Two large caches of LTTE arms and ammunition, micro pistols and other paraphernalia, kept buried under concrete pits in Kovilkulam and Samanalankulam in Vavuniya by the LTTE were found by the military. The LTTE weapons and ammunition were neatly concealed and kept packed in three plastic barrels covered with a layer of coconut husks inside a five-feet deep concrete pit. Among the items recovered were 13 T56 weapons, 47 T56 magazines, 5336 rounds of T56 ammunition, a 9mm Pistol, more..

Jayalalithaa writes to Manmohan on fishermen issue

June 9 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting his intervention in the release of four fishermen from the State, held in Sri Lanka, saying they had inadvertently entered the Sri Lankan territory. “On Jun 2, when the four fishermen were out at sea, sudden inclement weather and heavy winds resulted in the destruction of their boat. “They swam for about eight hours and landed on the coast of Nainatheevu in Sri Lanka,” more..

Patent double standards in Christof Heyns report on Channel 4 Video

June 9 (TC) The double standards that are patent in the report of Christof Heyns on the Channel 4 video almost defy belief. I have already pointed out how he falsified what his predecessor said about Siri Hewa, while himself using experts who had previously acted as advisers on this same issue, all from the same country which, at least if the public pronouncements of some of its leading diplomats are anything to go by, seems to have prejudged several issues. more..

Peace time governance requires more power sharing

June 9 (LG) Two years after the elimination of the LTTE on the military battlefield the government has continued to derive its strength from that victory that has now become a topic of study in military academies internationally. This was reflected in the second anniversary celebrations that took place with thousands in attendance and millions watching it on their televisions screens. There were military parades and sea and air shows on display for which more..

GA Jaffna Pacifies Hunger Strikers

June 9 (Cimic) The hunger strike staged by the members of People Association For Conflict Affected Areas in the Jaffna town came to an end after the Govt Agent Jaffna Mrs. Emelda Sukumar visited them and promised to forward their demands to officials responsible with intervention of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the earliest possible. Mrs. Sukumar appreciated the bold step of Mr. G.V. Sahadevan and the followers who risked their lives for the sake of more..

Thesawalamai & Sovereignty of Tamil Community

June 9 (LG) I have just returned to Australia, from Sri Lanka – where I spent most of the time with ordinary folks living everyday life as per their current reality. The UN Report never came up in our discussions. Everyday Public Administration did. There is a big gap between the two. Ms Pearl Thevanayagam says in her article ‘The fine line between LTTE terrorism and state terrorism’ (published in Sri Lanka Guardian) ‘Public servants functioning in the North and East during more..

Sri Lanka's latest Leadership Training Programme

June 9 (LG) You have to hand it to the Sri Lankan govt; it is always on the lookout for different ways and means to make the young people of the country more versatile and competitive in the world around them. In this latest scheme young Sri Lankan girls at a govt sponsored training camp were made to watch nude and semi nude cabaret artists in order to overcome their own fear and embarrassment of nudity. What was not mentioned in the article was what more..

Protests in Katunayake Free Trade Zone: No police in sight

June 9 (GV) Vikalpa captured these images and video at the protest held yesterday in the Katunayake Free Trade Zone. Tens of thousands of workers have been involved in violent demonstrations this week against a proposed pension bill seen as grossly unfair. Over 200 were injured on Monday alone, by Tuesday, the demonstrations forced the closure of 70% of the factories in the zone, forcing the government to withdraw the bill. more..

How Sri Lanka defeated terrorism, defence seminar: Observations from a participant

June 9 (GV) From the 31st of April to the 2nd of May I attended the Defense Seminar organized by the Sri Lankan Army. I wish to draw on what I saw as some of the positive and negative points of the conference. I will also comment on some of the many ‘highlights’ that occurred during the conference and perhaps give a different narrative of these from the ones I have read so far. What can be said from the outset is not the fact that the seminar was not the resounding more..

Sri Lanka's conflicting responses to war crimes allegations

June 9 (GV) This symbolic screen grab is from a short video on Channel 4's website, on the occasion of screening in Geneva a one-hour documentary into the denouement of the war in Sri Lanka. As Channel 4's website notes, Disturbing footage in the film includes the apparent extra-judicial massacre of prisoners by govt forces, the aftermath of targeted shelling of civilian hospitals and the bodies of female Tamil fighters who appear to have been sexually assaulted. more..

'Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution is devoid of substance'

June 9 (TC) Remarks by High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam on the Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution: “It is very unfortunate. Sri Lankan state and Sri Lankan people only have very goodwill towards Tamil Nadu people and government. We feel that tthis resolution is based on rather ill informed information; they are ill informed. And we would like them to come and visit our country and then start talking about or pass judgement on us. more..

‘White Flag’ and All…

June 9 (DM) The recently-concluded Defence conference on ‘Fighting Terrorism, the Sri Lankan Experience’ in Colombo will be remembered not for what the Sri Lankans, ministers, officials and serving army commanders had to say. Nor will it be remembered for the Chinese interest in funding it, and using the venue to exhibit its weaponry, as indicated in advance media reports. Instead, the conference, in which representatives from 40-odd countries, ‘friends and foes’ of Sri Lanka participated, more..

Regime blues and the political realities pertaining to the Chelvanayakam Option

June 9 (DM) Coalition politics took centre stage the moment Proportional Representation became operational (with the 1989 General Election). From that moment, both major parties, the UNP and the SLFP could think of going it alone. Since then scrambling to put together a coalition has preoccupied leaders of both parties. Winning was difficult. Maintaining parliamentary majority was tough. Horse-dealing, consequently, is not a one-off thing. It is part of the political daily-grind. more..

Minister to seek explanation from CPC

June 9 (SL) Growing unease that the latest purchase contract for Gas Oil by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has gone against the grain of the approval granted by the Cabinet of Ministers, has prompted Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha to seek clarification from CPC officials – after The Sunday Leader pointed out some glaring deficiencies and deviations to the original requirement. The unease started when Ministry Secretary Titus Jayawardena more..

Crash of a Sinhala nationalist “King” on an IMF agenda

June 9 (SL) Military deployment that may stay on, came after a merciless suppression and a cold blooded murder in the Katunayake FTZ, under this patriotic regime. That indicates the fear this regime has, when the political equation changes with a new denominator, the organised urban workforce. This regime that insists it can not be bullied by the West, that it is anti imperialist and is pro (Sinhala) people with its own ‘Mahinda Chintanaya’ does not seem to be in control of more..

Jackals loose among journalists

June 9 (SL) Let me, at the inception, say that the title of this column refers specifically to those claiming to be members of the “reading public” who spend their time denigrating journalists and columnists who are in any way seen as critical of the Rajapaksa Regime. My choice of yet another animal analogy is because it is most apparent that the individuals performing this service for our current regime completely fill the role of those canines that, on several continents, more..

Rubbing it in EH?

June 9 (LB) Omanthai, the former entry point to the then Tiger controlled areas of the Wanni has now been given new Sinhala terminology. The name board of the newly opened railway station there identifies the town as Omantha. Overwhelmingly Tamil residents in the area are not impressed. In the heart of Kilinochchi town, a name board identifies a street as the Mahinda Rajapaksa Mawatha. Another street is named Aluth Mawatha (The new road). more..

UNP membership hopeful of settling differences

June 9 (SO) The UNP membership heaved a sigh of relief with the party's much awaited Annual Convention on December 12, 2010 and election of new office bearers; Ranil Wickremesinghe remained as the Party Leader while Sajith Premadasa accepted the co-Deputy Leadership of the party. It was considered as a historic convention of the party as an unprecedented number of supporters from all corners of the country attended the event and a number of new clauses were added to more..

We passed the test of character

June 9 (CI) It was a bit of a quiet ending, but it was a decent Test match - a good, tough five days of Test cricket. We didn't lose too many overs to the weather, and more importantly, we put up a good performance after what happened in Cardiff. We showed a lot of determination and skill, and we stayed very positive by going in with the balance of six batsmen and five bowlers, who made some good inroads into the English line-up. We're still in the series which is great, more..