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Four Sri Lankan nationals arrested; gold seized

June 25 (Hindu) Officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Wednesday seized 1,867.5 grams of gold biscuits and jewellery worth Rs.42.4 lakh. Four Sri Lankan nationals were arrested in this regard. C. Rajan, Additional Director General, DRI, Chennai, said the arrests followed specific information that Sri Lankan nationals arrived in Chennai with smuggled gold from Colombo to Thiruvananthapuram. From there they came to Chennai by road and checked more..

Govt to ensure sovereign control over EEZ

June 25 (DN) The government is rapidly taking steps to track and monitor fishing activities in Sri Lanka's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). A high-powered multi-disciplinary technical committee, comprising scientists and engineers from the Fisheries Ministry and officials from the Defence Ministry are studying satellite-based vessel monitoring system (VMS) packages available with two of the world's leading VMS suppliers based in Netherlands and Norway, to embark on more..

SLMC pushes for tripartite devolution talks with UPFA & TNA

June 25 (Island) The SLMC is pushing for immediate expansion of post-war bilateral talks between the SLFP-led govt and the TNA on devolution of powers. The SLMC says the Muslims should be represented at the talks and the failure on the part of the govt to accommodate the party wouldn’t help ongoing national reconciliation efforts. An aide to Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem said that the SLMC leader had discussed the issue with Japanese Ambassador in more..

Extreme meditation in Sri Lanka

June 25 (IT) The idea of meditating with no contact with the outside world for days on end on the sultry, tropical island of Sri Lanka might sound heavenly – but it proved to be the toughest thing I’d done in years. No talking, no eye contact with others, no phones, internet, reading or writing: trying to spend all your waking hours during the 10-day course committed to learning Vipassana meditation was difficult enough. more..

Sri Lanka police torture, lawlessness entrenched: rights body

June 25 (LBO) Use of torture by police in Sri Lanka is "endemic" and lawlessness has gradually superseded rule of law in the island partly due a flawed constitution, a rights body which has publicized hundreds of such cases for over a decade, has said. "The most notable finding of this report is that almost all of the victims whose cases were summarized were randomly selected by the police to more..

The Lion’s share of blame

June 25 (HT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa could have expectedly felt reassured last week after meeting friends, Presidents Hu Jintao and Dmitri Medvedev, at an economic forum in St.Petersburg, Russia. No one can blame Rajapaksa for feeling a little hot lately under the collar of his starched white shirt and custom ary red stole. The last three months have been particularly hard on Rajapaksa's reputation of being a strongman and more..

Illegal Sri Lankan residents in Bahrain urged to contact consulate

June 25 (GDN) All Sri Lankans who are illegally staying in Bahrain are being urged to contact their consulate. About 200 Sri Lankans are believed to be living and/or working in Bahrain illegally, Sri Lanka honorary consul P B Higgoda told the GDN. "We are asking for these people to come forward so that we can sort out any problem and help them leave the country," he said. more..

UK happy with returning IDPs, look for permanent housing

June 25 (Island) British High Commissioner John Rankin says the UK is looking forward to the day the war displaced in northern Sri Lanka could move in to permanent houses. On the second day of his tour, the High Commissioner visited the Mullativu Hindu Tamil Vidyalam, where he spent some time with the students and handed over to their cricket team – the reigning district champions – new cricket equipment to help them improve their game. more..

Vegetable prices tumble

June 25 (Island) Vegetable prices, which had skyrocketed in the recent past, have dropped considerably with upcountry and low country produce being freely available. The Consumer Affairs Authority on a directive of the Minister Johnston Fernando is keeping a close tab on vegetables traders. With prices of vegetables and other consumer goods dropping, the private sector establishments, including super markets, too have reduced their prices. more..

Viral strain samples being tested

June 25 (DM) The Medical Research Institute (MRI) said it was testing blood samples to identify the viral flu strain which was rapidly spreading throughout the country. The MRI, one of the chief medical institutions which determine the root cause and prevention of illnesses said so far only common influenza germs had been detected in samples checked so far. “We have a surveillance network through which we are trying to detect what the virus is. more..

Sri Lanka says has secured $1.2 billion tourism investment

June 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's tourism industry has secured $1.2 billion foreign investment this year due to a post-war tourism boom and has raised its investment target to $3 billion within the next five years, an official said. The end of the 25-year war in May 2009 has boosted the $50 billion economy's leisure industry, making it one of the most attractive sectorsas indicated huge nationwide support from all regions for Hambantota's bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The survey was undertaken as a part of the bidding process and was conducted among males and females aged 14 to 70-years-old earlier this year. When asked how supportive they were of Hambantota's bid, 87% of those asked were fully or somewhat supportive of the event, with 63% being fully supportive. more..

Govt. scowls at FUTA demonstration

June 27 (NS) State officials scowled upon last week’s demonstration by the university academics, saying “we are both trying to come to an agreeable solution, and these kinds of demonstrations are not helping.” The FUTA meanwhile are preparing for a second march next month. Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education, Dr. Sunil Jayantha Nawaratne said that the government was committed to resolve the salary issue of the university teachers through negotiations. more..

Miliband- Kouchner: Comcond place in the ICC ODI rankings table if it could win the upcoming five-match ODI series against England comprehensively. England, however, will remain in fifth position, irrespective of the outcome of the one-day series. Sri Lanka trail second-placed India by just one rating point and would be able to take sole position of second place if it wins the series 4-1 or better.

One way test run not successful

June 27 (DM) The one way test run which was conducted on the Galle Road from Bambalapitiya to Colpetty and from Colpetty to Dickmans Road on Saturday was not as successful as expected, the police said. During the test run vehicles coming from Colombo had to go through the Duplication Road to Dickmans road and then to the Galle Road. The test started at 12 noon and lasted till around 6pm. It was initiated by the police to curb the heavy traffic on weekdays and on Saturdays in Colombo. more..

Cash-strapped Sri Lanka slash budget for Australia’s tour

June 27 (AFP) Sri Lanka’s cash-strapped cricket administration has slashed the budget for Australia’s tour, the island’s sports minister said Sunday, stressing security would not be compromised. Australia are due to play three Tests, five one-day matches and two Twenty20 games during their August 6 to Sept 20 tour of Sri Lanka. “We are taking austerity measures because we can’t even recover the monies we are spending,” minister Aluthgamage said. more..

British authorities say they are selective on those deported to Sri Lanka

June 27 (NN) The British authorities say they are selective on those deported to Sri Lanka and carefully consider all asylum applications and human rights claims on their individual merits. Chris Dix, South Asia Regional Director of the UK Border Agency told News in an interview that people who are found not to be in need of international protection are expected to return to their home countries - including Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lankan criminal wanted by Interpol arrested in Chennai

June 27 (AD) A Sri Lankan suspect wanted by Interpol for human smuggling and drug related crimes has been arrested Chennai Airport, Indian media reports. The suspect, in the Interpol wanted list for 7 years, is a resident of Trincomalee and suspected of being the head of an illegal human smuggling ring. Interpol had informed India’s Central Intelligence Bureau (CIB) regarding the criminal, Joseph Canute Siripalan Peris, as he was a frequent visitor to the country. more..

Ex-LTTE Chief ‘KP’ opens ‘Abode of Love’ through NERDO

June 27 (DBS) Ex-LTTE Chief Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias “KP” gets home for Orphans named “Anbu Illam” (Abode of Love) opened at Muthaiyankattu through NERDO. “Anbu Illam”will be managed by staff attached to North-East Rehabilitation & Development Organization(NERDO). KP is General-Secretary of NERDO. The orphanage is situated at Muthaiyankattu village in the Oddusuddan AGA division of Mullaitheevu district in the Northern Province. more..

A pavement for a cot

Nalini Wickremasinghe - Portrait of a great and gracious lady

June 27 (LG) Nalini Wickremasinghe was a lady in the truest sense of the word. Tall, fair, and slim she carried herself with a dignified bearing. She was graceful, simple and well-mannered. It was my privilege to have been designated as her Secretary/Personal Assistant when she was appointed to the Board of Lake House as Editorial Director. Among the other aides on her personal staff was the late Khema Samaraweera another trusted and staunch associate. more..

Leadership Training - Why Not in the Universities?

June 27 (LG) Other readers besides myself must feel indebted to the members of "FRIDAY FORUM" for their clear and cogent statement on the scheme of Leadership Training for University Entrants that has been suddenly thrust on us with undue haste. They have made it clear that this arbitrary move on the part of the Ministry of Higher Education contravenes the Universities Act No.16 of 1978 and bulldozes the hitherto accepted norms of university governance. more..

'I want you all to become sports stars'

June 27 (Cimic) Commander Security Forces - Jaffna (SF-J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe extended his heartiest wishes to young students from three schools in Jaffna leaving for Colombo to take part in a national level football tournament. Thirty three students and six teachers from Jaffna College Vaddukkoddai, St. Henry’s College Illavalai and St. Patrick’s College Jaffna met Commander SF-J at the Civil Affairs and Public Relations Office more..

'Sri Lankan security forces have nothing to hide'

June 27 (DM) International terrorism expert and Head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Nanyang Technological University Prof. Rohan Gunaratne speaks to Hard Talk about the recent allegations against the government and security forces. Stressing that terrorists are the worst human rights violators he emphasizes that the LTTE assigned a significant portion of their budget to lobby more..

Another wave of Indian pressure; another Parliamentary Select Committee

June 27 (DM) After he was elected in 2005 President Mahinda Rajapaksa convened an All Party Conference (APC) in 2006 to find a political solution to the ethnic problem in the country. Five years later, his government is to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) for the same purpose. What happened to the APC? One may ask. The APC appointed a committee called APRC which met more than hundred times for more than two years before it prepared its report. more..

Sole concern of the Rajapaksas is survival of their own rule

June 27 (TC) Why would a supposedly democratic govt reject a freedom of information bill? Why do the Rajapaksas want to prevent the Lankan people from discovering the real state of the nation? Last week the ruling UPFA rejected, outright, the Freedom of Information Bill presented by UNP’s Karu Jayasuriya as a private member’s motion. That rejection was an extremely revealing act. Coming hard on the heels of a slew of other measures, from the 18th Amendment more..

An inquisition into Sri Lankan armed forces will wreck rather than assist reconciliation

June 27 (TC) The matter is rather simple really. What do you do, or more correctly, what does a state do, and what does a leader at the helm of state affairs do, when faced with a situation of a heavily armed movement dedicated to dismembering the country through secession; a movement which has repeatedly resorted to terrorism; has repeatedly returned to war after episodes of ceasefires and negotiations with successive governments of two countries, has more..

Attack on TNA meeting in Jaffna signifies Govt not ready for post-war changes

June 27 (TC) Both print and electronic media in Sri Lanka and abroad have reported that the TNA party meeting held in Jaffna was attacked by an armed group in uniforms on 16 June. It was also reported that a number of TNA MPs were present at the meeting when the attack took place. As Dr. Vickramabahu Karunarathna informed us, ‘this attack was made by a fully armed contingent’ and ‘over forty participated’. If his information is true, there is no doubt ‘it is a planned attack’. more..

Anuradha bids adieu: A tragedy of elephantine proportions

June 27 (SO) She was a mother of three and a grandmother too. Her eldest daughter has one baby. She was a calm and quiet beauty of the elephant orphanage at Pinnawala. This giant beauty - Anuruardian. The article is largely about monies collected by the LTTE, which according to the author is about $300 million a yeent to print, the post-mortem was in progress at Pinnawala. Led by Senior Lecturer at the Veterinary Faculty of the Peradeniya University more..

Editorial: Commonwealth sans commonsense

June 27 (Island) The London-based Commonwealth Secretariat (CS) has, to all intents and purposes, lent its voice to the Channel 4 campaign against a Commonwealth member state, Sri Lanka. It has raised concerns over the contents of a controversial C-4 video on this country. "There is understandable widespread abhorrence at what the programme purports to show. These concerns have been conveyed to the Sri Lankan government," the CS has said in a statement. more..

Editorial: Learning the lessons of statesmanship

June 27 (DM) For a country that has suffered terrorism for three decades, Sri Lanka is yet to fine tune its agenda to better meet international compulsions. The pressures on the govt to stop the war, allow ruthless terror leaders free reign, and face humiliation could have been avoided if we had learnt the art of diplomacy the right way. There was much to be learnt of the quite strength that the late Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar lent his office and the subject entrusted with. more..

'Not being named vice-captain doesn’t bother all'

June 27 (Island) When the postmortem of Sri Lanka’s defeat in the World Cup final was done, the absence of Angelo Mathews was felt as a key point to Sri Lanka’s defeat. Not only did his quadriceps injury upset the balance of the team, Kumar Sangakkara’s side also lost a level headed player, who had shown remarkable composure during the World Cup semi-final when he walked in with Sri Lanka down to the last recognised batting pair at 185 for five chasing a target of 218. more..

Sri Lanka tourism needs to attract high-spenders

June 27 (Island) A top official said Sri Lanka had achieved substantial growth in tourism since the end of the thirty-year conflict but noted that the industry cannot be happy with the numbers and that it was necessary to develop the sector further, with a stronger focus on attracting high-end tourists. Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godehewa said the country needs to attract more tourists, however, this would not be enough and the industry would have to more..

War Crimes and Democracy in Sri Lanka

June 27 (GV) Lieutenant William Calley of the Charlie Company was a confused man. It was just two months ago that his company and others took a heavy toll when the Viet Cong attacked during the Tet festival and television screens around the world showed the carnage they wrought. So when Calley’s CO Colonel Oran K. Henderson advised his officers to “”go in there aggressively, close with the enemy and wipe them out for good.” Calley must be thinking whether or not he should more..

Lunch in a packet: What’s in that mouthful?

June 27 (ST) It is a business not only all over Colombo but in the suburbs as well. As noon approaches, tightly-wrapped parcels or colourful boxes are stacked high on makeshift tables by the roadside. For many schoolchildren, university students and office workers who have hardly had anything to eat for breakfast, the buth mula in these parcels or boxes will be the only sustenance for a long day. What does the buth mula or packet of rice contain? more..

FTZ unions urge new IGP to probe Katunayake incidents

June 27 (Island) The Joint Trade Union Alliance (JTUA) and the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZGSEU) have requested the new IGP N. K. K. Illangakoon to conduct an independent inquiry into the violent incidents that took place at the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (FTZ) on May 24 and 30. The Secretary of the FTZGSEU Anton Markus told The Island that police brutality on May 30 against a group of Katunayake FTZ employees engaged in a protest against the more..

Language Commission gets tough

June 27 (DM) Firm action would be taken against Govt departments, commonly patronised locations and other public places in the event it receives a complaint from the public on language discrimination as it was a violation of a person’s fundamental rights, Official Languages Commission (OLC) said. “According to Chapter Four of the Constitution any individual or organization could make a complaint to the Official Languages Commission as it was a violation of language rights,” more..

Hotel boom spells doom say islanders

June 27 (ST) These days there is a lot of activity on a remote island off the coast in Kalpitiya in the Puttalam district, with heavyweight businessmen being involved in an alleged land grab that has concerned local residents who fear they would lose livelihood and land. The island of Mutwal or Mottuwarama, wedged between a lagoon and the Indian Ocean with a land space of some 800 acres and one kilometre away from the Kalpitiya mainland, is today at the centre of a more..

Lankan smuggler wanted by Interpol nabbed at Chennai airport

June 27 (TOI) A 50-year-old criminal wanted by the international police for illegal trafficking and smuggling of chemical substances was arrested at the Chennai international airport. He has been staying in the city for the past three years, the police said. Accused Joseph Sri Balan alias Peris Joseph from Sri Lanka was caught by immigration officials on Sunday. The officials nabbed him during a surprise check on an Indian Airlines flight that he had boarded to fly to Colombo. more..

Tamils protest UK deportations

June 27 (BBC) Campaigners have been protesting in front of British Prime Minister's office urging UK to stop deporting Tamils to Sri Lanka fearing torture. Action Group of Tamil Asylum Seekers (AGTAS) accuse the British government of double standards in treating Tamil asylum seekers. Suthan, a member of AGTAS told BBC Sinhala service that it is important that the plight of those deported are properly documented before western governments send Tamil migrants back to Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka's Kandamby glad of Jayasuriya input

June 27 (AFP) Sri Lanka stand-in skipper Thilina Kandamby insisted he had no problems with Sanath Jayasuriya's brief return to international cricket after the veteran took two wickets in the Twenty20 victory against England. Although best known as a dynamic batsman, - Jayasuriya is widely credited with revolutionising the opener's role during Sri Lanka's march to the 50-over World Cup title in 1996 - it was as a bowler he caused more..