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Political Solution through Parliament

June 23 (DM) Reports about the Govt considering a parliamentary select committee to draft a Bill on a possible political solution cum power-devolution are wrought with possibilities. Thus far, Governments have been doing the drafting part in most cases, and Select Committees of Parliament examining the same for acceptability and viability. The full House, and at times in a subsequent case, courts would have had their say. The reported plan, if true, is aimed at more..

TNA revisiting Tamil Chauvinism’s game plan of May 14, 1976?

June 23 (DM) The 30-year old conflict, like all conflicts, was a monumental tragedy. Like all tragedies it came with costs. People died. Property was destroyed. Hundreds of thousands were displaced. Thousands were maimed. Some scars healed, some never will. No community in this island was spared. No one, however, suffered as much as the Tamils, i.e. those who lived in the primary conflict zone (those who fled these areas to Colombo and preferred destinations in more..

Never ending search for the missing

June 23 (BBC) Nearly two thousand Tamils have visited the police in the northern Sri Lankan town of Vavunia over the last ten days to find details of those missing during the war and since the military declaring it's victory over Tamil Tigers more than two years ago. Ten days ago Sri Lankan police announced they will release information about those held by the police to relatives. The information will not be made available to "any body other than the close relatives". more..

Comparisons of a different kind

June 23 (SL) I have, during the time I have written for publications in Sri Lanka, made invidious comparisons between practices in this country and those in other democratic jurisdictions. For this, I did not apologize then, nor will I now. Today, however, I am going to attempt to keep my comparisons ‘in house’ as it were, comparisons that stem from the last rites administered to a young man called Roshen Rathnasekera who was the victim of several bullets fired from more..

Sanath is back in team; what next … Chief of Cricket?

June 23 (SL) So Sanath Jayasuriya’s name will reappear on the Sri Lanka team sheet after a hiatus of eighteen months. Before his name disappeared in December 2009, Jayasuriya, of course, had been inerasably inked into the eleven for nearly two decades – four years as captain. He retreated from Test cricket in 2007, and planned to leave the playing field forever after a fifth appearance in the April concluded 2011 World Cup. That was not to be – his one unrealised ambition in more..

BOI chief to resign

June 23 (Island) The chairman of Sri Lanka’s investments facilitator, the Board of Investment (BOI), Jayamapathi Bandaranayake will step down at the end of this month on personal grounds after a short but trying stint at the top while another member of the board, Eshana De Silva is tipped to fill his shoes. Bandaranayake on Wednesday announced to the BOI staff his decision to step down from the chairmanship but said he would continue to serve as a more..

Editorial: Miliband does it again!

June 23 (Island) Another round of Sri Lanka bashing has taken place in Britain. It looks as if some British lawmakers' sole purpose of being were attacking this country. True, Sri Lanka is not a model democracy and has its share of political rogues. Its democracy is seriously flawed and good governance is conspicuous by its absence. There are more rogues than decent politicians at the levers of power. Therefore, it needs some lessons on democracy, human rights etc. more..

Editorial: Democracy defeated by 63 votes

June 23 (DM) Freedom of expression is an unalienable right enshrined in democracy. It is not a privilege that any govt can deem its right to deliver the citizens as and if they so desire. The defeat of the Private Members motion on a Right to Information Bill by 63 votes speaks volumes of the tragic laws Sri Lankan society has today forced itself in to. The decision by the govt to vote against the Bill, mocks its own pledge to introduce a Right to Information Act not so long ago. more..

Sri Lankan maid rescued after 13 years

June 23 (AN) A Sri Lankan housemaid was kept against her will by her Saudi sponsor and not paid since she came to the Kingdom in 1997, sources from the Jazan governorate said on Tuesday. The authorities rescued 45-year-old Indrani Hettiarachchi and arrested the sponsor on instructions from Jazan Gov. Prince Muhammad bin Nasser, who had been tipped off about the maid by a kind-hearted Saudi living in the neighborhood. “It was the governor who took prompt action to more..

Mail sorting houses coming up outstation

June 23 (DN) The Postal Services Ministry has decided to decentralize and accelerate the sorting of mail by setting up sorting houses in several outstations, said Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga. Mail is sorted only in Colombo at the Central Mail Exchange Centre, Colombo at present. Two mail sorting centres will be established in Kandy and at the BIA, Katunayake at the initial stage. Mail sorting centres will be established in Anuradhapura and Matara under the second stage. more..

Fisheries Minister lashes out at Sri Lankan poachers

June 23 (Island) The Fisheries Ministry says India will release 16 Sri Lankan fishermen and three fishing craft today (24) at the Indo-Lanka maritime boundary. A senior spokesperson told The Island that the Indian Coast Guard would escort the Sri Lankans and hand them over to the SLN. The three boats, which left Devundara, had been detained by the Indian Coast Guard on May 11. Those scheduled to be released were among 78 fishermen held in India along with 15 fishing craft. more..

Sri Lanka Cricket run out

June 23 (SL) Sri Lanka Cricket also known formerly as the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka is in a financial melt down due to political interference, large scale corruption and short-sighted management policies. Cricket has become a passion for almost every Sri Lankan. Sadly the gentlemen’s game has been swamped by high finance, leading to persons without the requisite mental and moral make up wanting to be a part of it for upward social mobility and / or financial gain. more..

Legal action against depot head for failing to detect fraud

June 23 (Island) Minister Kumara Welgama will take legal action against the Matara SLTB Depot Superintendent for failing to detect a Rs.1.7 million season ticket fraud committed by two ex-SLTB employees. Between 2007 and 2010 the ex-SLTB employees had defrauded the SLTB and had admitted that they were responsible. Those ex-employees, after investigation conducted by the Ministry, had returned Rs. 1.4 million to the SLTB and promised to pay the balance from their bonuses. more..

251 detainees have escaped from various prisons in the country

June 23 (DM) As many as 251 detainees had escaped from various prisons in the country during the past years, and investigations to arrest them were enforced, Parliament was informed yesterday. According to the 2010 Performance Report of the Department of Prisons, the highest number of prisoners that escaped from the Welikada prison were 43. Besides, 14 inmates had escaped from Bogambara, 21 from Mahara, 13 from Watarekka and 26 from Pallekele. more..

Jayasuriya helps Sri Lanka to warm-up win

June 23 (CI) Sanath Jayasuriya warmed up for the upcoming series against England by making 78 from 60 balls to help Sri Lanka to a 57-run win over Worcestershire. Jayasuriya has not played an ODI since December 2009 but had been recalled to the side on the direction of the Sri Lanka government for the Twenty20 at Bristol and subsequent first ODI at The Oval before he retires. It's a move that has been criticised in many quarters and it's understood that more..

Bangladesh gifts Rs 8 mn in medicines to Sri Lanka

June 23 (Island) A consignment of medicines valued at eight million rupees was handed over to the Health Ministry by the High Commissioner of Bangladesh, Mahbub Uz Zaman. The six metric tons of drugs included vials and ointments. The consignment had been handed over to Health Minister Maithripla Sirisena as gift of goodwill to Sri Lanka. The needs for drugs had been discussed during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Bangladesh in April, he said. more..

Interview with top government official on IDP camps, returns

June 23 (IRIN) One of the more contentious issues in Sri Lanka this year has been the plight of hundreds of thousands of IDPs in the north. More than 280,000 were in closed camps after hostilities between the military and the LTTE ended, and in recent months senior UN humanitarian and human rights officials have repeatedly voiced strong concern about conditions there. In an interview with IRIN, Government Agent and District Secretary for Vavuniya PSM Charles - more..

Fit-again Mathews overlooked for vice-captaincy

June 23 (Island) The approach of the new five-man selection panel, headed by Duleep Mendis, has been needlessly confrontational and highly confusing, to say the least. If not appointing a vice-captain for the Test tour of England was strange, their handling of Lasith Malinga was catastrophic for Sri Lanka. Now, the appointment of Thilina Kandamby over Angelo Mathews as vice-captain, in the ODI and T20 squad, is baffling. more..

Pakistan awards Jinanah Scholarships to 107 Sri Lankan students

June 23 (Island) The government of Pakistan, through its High Commission in Colombo, recently awarded scholarships to the value of SL Rs.2.6 million to 107 Sri Lankan students who had passed the GCE Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations. The scholarships were awarded under the Jinnah Educational Scholarship Programme. The award ceremony was held at Ananda College Colombo. The Chief Guest was Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem. The High Commissioner of Pakistan more..

Slow progress at Jaffna Teaching Hospital

June 23 (Island) The Health Ministry has received several complaints about the slow construction work at the Jaffna Teaching hospital. In response to these complaints, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena sent a team of officials to Jaffna last week. The Jaffna Teaching hospital was one of the best in the country but during the war it had been neglected. Japanese International Cooperaton Agency (JICA) had provided Rs. 3 billion to construct additional clinics, operating theatres more..

Virus flu raging among children

June 23 (DM) Doctors yesterday advised parents to take children suffering from the rapidly spreading viral fever to the nearest qualified medical practitioner and to treat them with only medicnes prescribed by the doctor. Lady Ridgeway Children Hospital Director Dr. Ratnasiri Hewage said that the virus fever was spreading specially among children throughout the country and parents must seek hospital treatment if the child does not get better after more..

Cancel pacts with Sri Lanka, says Vaiko

June 23 (Hindu) Even before taking measures to impose economic sanctions on the Mahinda Rajapaksa government, the Centre ought to annul all existing economic agreements with Sri Lanka, said MDMK leader Vaiko here on Wednesday. He was speaking at the marriage function of MDMK district secretary N. Ramalingam's son. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had taken the welcome step of moving a resolution in the Assembly calling for economic sanctions on the Sri Lankan govt. more..

Weight lifter Ransilu Jayathilake tests positive

June 23 (DM) Air Force Sports Club weight lifter Ransilu Jayathilake has been tested positive for a banned substance during the recently held national weight lifting championships. The former national weight lifting champion had taken the banned substance identified as Methylhexanamine which can be found in certain nutrition supplements. According to the Sri Lanka Weight Lifting Federation vice president Poorna Kahingala who has informed Air Force officials of the detection and more..

'INGO attempt to mislead UN gathering foiled'

June 23 (DN) Sri Lankan diplomats foiled an attempt by International NGOs to mislead a gathering at UN Church Centre by screening the documentary titled ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’. They convinced the gathering of the inconsistencies and the biased narration of the documentary. The screening of this documentary at UN Church Centre was sponsored by AI, HRW and the ICG who claimed that the documentary reinforces the findings of the Controversial Darusman Report. more..

Protest seeking release of fishermen from Sri Lanka

June 23 (Hindu) Fishermen of Kottaipattinam village, about 70 km from here, resorted to a one-day strike on Wednesday, in protest against the arrest of 23 fishermen of Rameswaram by the Sri Lankan navy. They said that the frequent incidents of arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan naval personnel has been causing panic in the state. They sought immediate intervention by the Central and state government for the release of these fishermen. A cross section of fishermen said that more..

Sri Lanka partners with Russia, China

June 23 (Hindu) Sri Lanka has invited Russia and China to partner in a slew of new development projects, as it seeks to transform itself into an economic powerhouse over the next decade. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has invited one of the largest energy companies in the world, the Russia-based Gazprom, to partner in achieving self-sufficiency in petroleum products. Gazprom was very positive. They will be here soon for discussions, said Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga. more..

Sri Lanka 'war crime' images fuel Tamil resentment

June 23 (AFP) A TV documentary with gruesome footage that appears to back up war crimes charges against Sri Lankan troops has aggravated ethnic wounds two years after the end of the island's civil war. The decision by Britain's Channel 4 to provide free Internet access to the documentary after its broadcast last week, means that members of Sri Lanka's Tamil minority, as well as majority Sinhalese, have been able to view and share the content. more..

PMU defends size of MR’s entourage to St. Petersburg

June 23 (Island) Head of the Presidential Media Division Bandula Jayasekara says President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s entourage to St. Petersburg comprised 44 persons, including the President. He says President Rajapaksa chartered a flight as he couldn’t depend on normal service due to threats on his life. Jayasekera was responding to UNP MP Tissa Attanayake. He accused the President of squandering taxpayers’ money on a chartered aircraft and spending on his friends, associates and henchmen. more..

Ch-4 film: No soldiers identified

June 23 (DM) The Sri Lanka Army yesterday denied media reports that soldiers seen in the controversial Channel 4 film had been identified. Major General Ubaya Madawela, who is also the army spokesman, said none of those appearing in the film had been identified but the army was awaiting the original copy aired by the British Channel 4 television for proceeding further. According to some media reports 12 individuals shown in the film are alleged to be troops attached to more..

FUTA to continue agitation until it recieves firm assurance from govt.

June 23 (Island) The Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA) will continue its ongoing trade union action until it received a genuine assurance from the government with regard to FUTA proposals aimed at resolving the salary issue. FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that they wouldn’t suspend trade union action on the basis of promises, but needed tangible action on the part of the government. more..

Govt., TNA talks go ahead

June 23 (Island) The seventh round of talks between the government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will be held as scheduled today despite fears that the talks would collapse following an alleged attack on TNA MPs, by the Army during a meeting in Jaffna last Thursday, TNA sources said yesterday. The talks are scheduled to take place at the Presidential Secretariat at 4.00 p.m. When asked whether the TNA would carry out its threat to boycott the talks, more..

Shangri La hotel development gets off the ground in Sri Lanka

June 23 (Island) The Hong Kong based hotel chain Shangri-La is planning to open 17 more new hotels in the region while its Hambantota project located in the south of Sri Lanka is off the ground as it hopes the island nation would be the next key tourism destination. Shangri-La International Hotel Management, Hong Kong, Director for CSR and Sustainability, Ms. Patricia Gallardo, addressing the CIMA Business Leaders Summit said more..

10 intelligence officers on SF’s security detail

June 23 (DM) Parliament was told yesterday that 10 intelligence and security unit officers had been engaged in escorting former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka last year. This matter was mentioned with regard to the performance of intelligence units in the 2010 Prisons Department Performance Report. However retired General Fonseka’s name was not mentioned but instead he was referred to as a special inmate and more..

TRC denies blocking of websites

June 23 (DM) The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) yesterday ruled out any involvements concerning the alleged blocking of certain independent news sites that had occurred on June 20. “We have not taken measures to block any news sites during the past year except for the LankaeNews website, which was following a court order. But now even the block on the LankaeNews site has been lifted by the Courts and it is once again accessible,” more..

'Won't allow Modi to run our event'

June 23 (TOI) Such is the clout of the Indian cricket board (BCCI) in the cricketing world that Sri Lanka is ready to bend over backwards to accommodate its concerns over the upcoming Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL). The BCCI has stopped Indian players from participating in the T20 event and it has been learnt that the involvement of Lalit Modi in the tournament was one of the reasons. The Sri Lankan sports minister, Mahindanda Aluthgamage said that more..

Indian fishermen to be freed soon: Sri Lanka

June 23 (IANS) Sri Lanka has said it will soon release the 23 Indian fishermen taking into custody for fishing in Sri Lankan waters. "Following the due process of the law, they are expected to be released at an early date," a Sri Lankan High Commission statement here said. "The fishermen are being treated in a humane manner, respecting their dignity. "The relevant authorities in Sri Lanka expect to repatriate the fishermen and more..

Crippling blow to freedom of expression

June 23 (CI) Civil society groups and media organizations said yesterday the defeat of the Right to Information Bill in parliament had dealt a crippling blow to the freedom of expression, turning it into an empty shell. Citizens Right and Collective of Media Organizations (CRCMO) said it was only Sri Lanka that failed to recognize the right to information and there was no rationale behind the government’s decision to prevent Sri Lankans the legal right to information. more..

SF misrepresented facts - Counsel

June 23 (Island) General Fonseka had misrepresented facts in the Writ Application against the decision of the Court Martial II, Counsel S. L. Gunesekera told the Court of Appeal yesterday. Counsel Gunasekera, was representing Majors General Pieris, Dawulugala and Hathurusinghe, all members of the Court Martial II, which convicted General Sarath Fonseka of misconduct and sentenced him to 30 months rigorous imprisonment. more..

'Possible revision of growth rates'

June 23 (FT) The Central Bank may revise growth rates for Sri Lanka after the first quarter figures are finalised, which may see the projected statistics increasing from 8% to 8.5%. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal told reporters during a visit to Vavuniya that they were awaiting preliminary first quarter results and hope to see an 8% growth in its activities. The Central Bank is anticipating an annual growth between 8% and 8.5%, more..

The island nation has a split personality

June 24 (Tehelka) The Sri Lankan govt’s decision to delay offering political package to Tamil-dominated north and eastern provinces has caused much heartburn in India. Apprehending its repercussions in Tamil Nadu, where the state Assembly, on two consecutive days, passed separate resolutions on the issue, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao and defence secretary Pradeep Kumar to impress upon Colombo more..