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Misapplying the Middle East model & mode

Mar 10 (LG) The conversation I had on Lankan trajectories and ‘declinist’ discourses in a Paris cafe on a Sunday with my friend and former colleague, Prof. Nira Wickramasingha, now holding the Chair of South Asian History at the University of Leiden, reminded me of a point she had made sharply in her slender book ‘History Writing’. Sri Lanka, she had remarked, was one of the few countries in which mainstream newspapers carried pieces on history by those more..

The issue of accountability

Mar 10 (LG) The most recent attempt to raise the issue of accountability concerning events that occurred during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka was by the United States Senate. Of the 4 issues contained in the US Senate Resolution 84, this paper intends to focus on the first two. The first resolution: "commends United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for creating the three person panel to advise the Secretary-General on the implementation of more..

Army requests local print media to be fair in publishing news

Mar 10 (Cimic) An informal meeting between Jaffna Security Forces authorities and heads of local print media was held on Monday in Jaffna. Purpose of the meeting was to negotiate some issues in publishing news in the part of media and observances made by Security Forces Headquarters – Jaffna (SF-J) as a moderate reader. At the outset, Brigadier General Staff SF-J Brig. B.C.J.A.F. Rodrigo, welcomed all journalists who were present at the conference more..

Some political dimensions of cricket stadiums in Sri Lanka

Mar 10 (LG) The old Premadasa Stadium was a monstrosity. The new one is far better on the eye though hardly a classic structure. Together with the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium at Sooriyawewa it was constructed in time for the staging of the World Cup. In this achievement both stadiums stand out sharply in contrast with the tale surrounding the renovations that were done at Eden Gardens in Calcutta. Thus both venues stand as monuments to the hard work of Suraj Dandeniya and more..

No veggies for sale in a sub-kingdom and a pronouncement that makes someone see red

Mar 10 (SL) Menika gasped and held her head in consternation when she read that the opening ceremony of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Port in Hambantota, originally meant to be very appropriately named Magampura Varaya, cost you and me and the poor woman who buys the smallest packet of milk powder to stop her infant from crying its empty guts out, 30 million of the country’s meagre money supply. No, that last is not true since Menika is haunted by the nightmare that more..

I will ensure impartiality, says SLHRC chief

Mar 10 (NS) Human Rights Commission (SLHRC) that has been dormant for several years has now been given its life back. The commission was reconstituted with the appointments of new commissioners under the leadership of an eminent lawyer and retired Supreme Court Judge Priyantha Perera. Reconstituting the SLHRC has been viewed as a positive step towards achieving a better human rights standard in Sri Lanka and the new commission is now at work first to more..

Military on cemetery: ‘Any religion, race or ethnicity has the right to have a place on earth, where they can rest in peace’

Mar 10 (TC) A cemetery of Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Koapai (north of Jaffna) has been demolished and a new military command of the 51st Division of the National Armed Forces built in its place, inaugurated on March 4 last. The local residents have called this government move "unjustifiable" and "scandalous", but nobody wanted to say more for fear of threats and retaliation. The opening was held in the presence of Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya, more..

CPA, NPC and TI are about bucks (big ones!)

Mar 10 (NS) On the sidelines of the media conference following the conclusion of talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE in February 2006, Jehan Perera of the National (sic) Peace Council, when asked how many people he could count on if all funding was withdrawn, said ‘to be honest, none’. Two years later, his erstwhile comrade-in-arms (and friendly competitor for the same donor dollars) in the peace cum federalism business, Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu more..

Pakistan’s relations with Sri Lanka serving China?

Mar 10 (ISN) One of the most commonly used metaphors to describe the complex relationships between the states of South Asia is a triangle in which India and Pakistan emerge as the two main suitors vying for the attention of a minor neighbor. The image persists vis-à-vis Afghanistan, for example, underscoring Pakistan's determination to employ any means available to use Afghanistan in a Pakistani-led front against India. more..

IMF misleading Sri Lanka’s public

Mar 10 (LB) IMF luminaries (Mission Chief for Sri Lanka - Brian Aitken, and Head of the Asia-Pacific Department - Anoop Singh) hosted high profile and well reported press conferences and seminars last month and Resident Representative Koshy Mathai has made widely reported media interventions. They all sang the same tune - ‘that’s fine’ - however, the picture they jointly painted is sanguinary; I guess harsher things were said behind closed doors. more..

Indian Consul General’s confused territory

Mar 10 (NS) According to a media report appeared in a local daily a few weeks ago, the Indian Counsel General in Jaffna V. Mahalingam had interfered in the judicial process following the seizure of 112 Indian fishermen along with 18 trawlers in the general area north of Point Pedro by raising the issue with the Point Pedro Magistrate Mrs. Sirinidhi Nandasekeran and sought an early release of the fishermen and their boats. The arrested fishermen were ordered by the more..

World’s oldest beverage helps shape both body and national revenue

Mar 10 (NS) Sri Lanka has always been associated with the romance of tea, the plantation’s history dating back to the colonial times. More than an exotic beverage, that found its way to typical English tea tables, the saga of ‘Ceylon tea’ claims its share of socio-political and economic significance, extending beyond the shores of the island. Black tea playing the pivotal role in the diet of the Sri Lankans, as well as the economic fabric of the nation, more..

Reviving the JVP, the ‘Federal’ Way - II

Mar 10 (DM) It is here that the JVP’ bold and positive reference to the ‘federal’ word assumes added significance. The Sri Lankan democracy provided for on-course political corrections and changes that were/are not available to and in countries such as Egypt and Libya, Tunisia and Bahrain. For an emerging/re-emerging section in the democratic polity to stay relevant and grow with it, it should be able to access power and use that power to deliver on the poll promises more..

Embassy deceived me - Niyaz, Lankan eye-witness of Libya unrest

Mar 10 (LB) M.M. Niyaz, who is a resident of Pallimulla, Matara left to work at the Marriott Hotel in Tripoli, Libya on November 25 last year but had to return last week with so much of problems due to internal riots against the Libyan Government. He explained to us the troubles he underwent to come back to Sri Lanka last week. Another 30-odd Sri Lankans were already working at his hotel with Niyaz while 300-odd workers from several other countries were also known to be serving at this hotel. more..

Paba to MPs: Unite against domestic violence

Mar 10 (DM) Actress turned MP Upeksha Swarnamali, making her first speech in Parliament after she sustained injuries in a domestic dispute, called on all 225 MPs to unite against domestic violence. Ms. Swaranamali, popularly known as Paba, said 60 percent of Sri Lankan women were subject to domestic violence, including 44 percent of expectant mothers. Despite this situation, she said, the culture associated with Sri Lankan women was highly regarded by more..

Editorial: Obama vs Obama

Mar 10 (Island) One cannot bring oneself to dislike President Barack Obama. He is such a loveable personality. The US could not have got a more humane leader. But, today, he is in the same predicament as a clean fish dumped into a dirty pond. He has had to shun his ideals and come to terms with the sickening political reality. Before his election as president, an ebullient Obama promised to change America. 'Change' became his slogan, which went down well with most Americans more..

Editorial: Male domination in Lankan labour force?

Mar 10 (DM) The United Nations had an interesting perspective on the role of the women in Sri Lanka’s labour force. In a Women’s Day message released on Tuesday the organization places the country 20th on the gap between the sexes in the labour force. The UN claims that ‘the positive gender indicators in health and education had not always translated into equal opportunities for women.’ It quotes the recent progress report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in more..

G H Buddhadasa

Rs. 450 mn for power to N&E

Mar 10 (MoD) In keeping with Government's policy to provide electricity to all, the Power and Energy Ministry on Monday allocated Rs. 450 million to provide better electricity facilities to the once war torn Northern and Eastern province. "Our aim is to give the best service to all electricity consumers. People in the Northern Province certainly need such comforts after suffering for three decades," Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka said. more..

WC 2011: India beat Netherland by 5 wickets

Mar 10 (CI) India defeated Netherlands on a sluggish track at the Feroz Shah Kotla with nearly 14 overs to spare though the margin of victory couldn't mask a lacklustre performance from the home side. The Indian bowling was just about tidy against some dour Netherlands batting, and their bunch of big hitters came unstuck for a while against the left-arm spin of Pieter Seelaar in a low-intensity match. Chasing 190, India raced out of the blocks with more..

Thousands in detention - Amnesty

Mar 10 (BBC) The human rights group Amnesty International has called on the President of Sri Lanka to release those it describes as “forgotten prisoners” people it says have been detained without trial for years and who it says are numbered in the thousands, 1,900 of them officially confirmed. It says sweeping emergency and anti-terror laws are still used to arrest people and should be scrapped. In a reaction a government MP has said that efforts are more..

Universities increasing registration and hostel fees

Mar 10 (DM) Universities Islandwide are charging the students higher registration and hostel fees since the Government is not allocating sufficient funds for them, Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) convener Sanjeewa Bandara said yesterday. Meanwhile the Students at the University of Ruhuna were boycotting their classes in protest of this, Mr. Bandara said. “The University of Ruhuna is charging 10 times more as hostel fees from the Medical Faculty students,” more..

EU concerned about pre-election violence

Mar 10 (NN) The EU Heads of Mission based in Sri Lanka are deeply concerned by the pre-electoral violence in Sri Lanka which has already caused two deaths and numerous injured. A statement by the EU office in Colombo said that the EU believes a peaceful environment is an essential pre-requisite for free and fair elections. The EU Heads of Mission call on all Parties in Sri Lanka to support a peaceful environment where the people of Sri Lanka can chose their more..

'Opposition made country dependent'

Mar 10 (DN) The Government considers uplifting the local economy and village development as key components in its future development thrust, President Mahinda Rajapaksa asserted yesterday. On the same note he said that the Opposition when in power had caused immense damage to the local economy because of their short-sighted policies. He observed that the Opposition when in power had neglected agriculture, local industries and economy and more..

Sri J'pura Uni in Asia Pacific’s top six in global investment research challenge

Mar 10 (FT) Representing Sri Lanka, the University of Sri Jayewardenepura advanced to the Asia-Pacific regional final of the 2011 Global Investment Research Challenge (Global IRC), hosted by CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals. The university was one of six that made it into the final out of 16 teams that competed from across Asia-Pacific region. University of Jayewardenepura was the winner of the CFA Sri Lanka Challenge 2010 more..

Brit interest in Lanka grows: UK govt ups credit guarantee exposure

Mar 10 (Island) The UK government has stepped up assistance to improve trade ties with Sri Lanka on heightened interest showen by British businesses in the post-conflict economy, officials said. Two officials of the Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) of the UK are in Sri Lanka on a fact finding mission and to better understand the prospects offered by Sri Lanka’s growing economy. UK Deputy High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Mark Gooding said the more..

Is Prime Minister suffering from fear psychosis?

Mar 10 (LG) The Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne is said to be suffering from Tamil Tiger haunt syndrome even after the LTTE has been militarily vanquished outright by the government. He is the only member of the government who expresses fear of LTTE activities despite the President and the entire government machinery claiming absolute victory in the war. Whilst other members of the government vivify over the outright victory, more..

Student injured in friendly fire

Mar 10 (DM) A schoolboy was injured at Velvettiturai in Jaffna after a soldier who was taken unawares fired his rifle accidentally when the boy had crept up from behind and tapped the soldier’s weapon, the Jaffna security forces said yesterday. “The boy is out of danger and he is being treated at the Jaffna General Hospital. The boy is known to the army as we have a security post there,” JSF Commander Mahinda Hathurusinghe said. He said the post was loacted on the second floor of an old building. more..

Why are soldiers selling vegies if LTTE re-grouping, asks Ranil

Mar 10 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, in Parliament, lashed out at the govt for ‘deploying’ soldiers at every junction to sell vegetables if there were growing threats to the country due to LTTE re-grouping as claimed by the Prime Minister. MP Wickremesinghe chided the government for turning the army into vegetable vendors at a time the government extended State of emergency claiming the LTTE rump was posing a threat to national security. more..

'Dilhara Fernando could play'

Mar 10 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene has revealed Sri Lanka have not decided on their combination for Thursday's match against Zimbabwe in Pallekele, but said having several options is proving to be a 'healthy headache' for the team. "We have a lot of options in the spin and pace departments. We will employ them based on the opposition and the conditions," vice-captain Jayawardene said. "Lasith [Malinga] coming back to the team has given us more..

Hot air over increased taxes on tea exports

Mar 10 (Island) The government believes that the imposition of a special levy under EDB (Export Development Board) tax scheme will discourage bulk tea exports. H.D. Hemaratne, Director General, Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB), says a 6-rupee levy per kilo on bulk tea exports (packing of tea exceeding 10 kg) will gradually increase the export of value-added products. Hemaratne was responding to a query by The Island on Wednesday whether an increase in levy would not more..

Foreign Universities to enter Sri Lanka’s Academic Field

Mar 10 (AT) The Minister of Higher Education informs that Sri Lanka would soon be opening of faculties by a large number of prestigious foreign Universities. He said that Universities in India, Australia, Malaysia, the U.K, United States, and Japan are seriously considering the possibility of opening faculties in Sri Lanka. They are also considering the possibility of bringing down students from their countries to follow degree courses in Sri Lanka, he said. more..

School hours: Extension not mandatory

Mar 10 (DN) The Govt has not taken any mandatory decision to extend school hours till 3 pm, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said yesterday. There is also no unanimity in this matter on the part of the Govt to extend school hours till 3 pm. Even though schools which come under the ongoing project to set up 1,000 schools throughout the country can continue till 3 pm, the President has very clearly stated that the school time extension more..

On Sri Lanka, UN claims inaccuracies in Press Freedom Groups' Petition, passes buck

Mar 10 (ICP) The UN of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, so tongue tied about Sri Lanka and whether its Panel on Accountability will as claimed travel there, on March 9 confirmed receiving a petition from press freedom groups about disappeared Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth Eknelygoda, a day after Inner City Press asked about the letter. But UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said that the groups' letter contains “inaccuracies.” ICP asked Nesirky to explain. more..

Security for MPs being trimmed – Govt

Mar 10 (Island) Minister Dinesh Guanwardena told Parliament that the govt was in the process of gradually reducing security contingents provided to members of parliament. He said that since the conclusion of the war in May 2009, those additional security contingents, made available to lawmakers, were being re-deployed. The Colombo District MP said that eradication of the LTTE threat had given the government an opportunity to review security provided to lawmakers and re-deploy personnel. more..

White Flag’ Trial-at-Bar: List of defence witnesses submitted

Mar 10 (Island) A list of ten defence witnesses was submitted to the Trial-at-Bar hearing the White Flag Case yesterday. The witnesses are: Gen. Gardihewa Sarath Chandralal Fonseka (the former Army Commander, who is the accused in the White Flag case and currently serving a jail term handed down by a military court), Deputy leader of the UNP Karu Jayasuriya, Mangala Samaraweera MP, Anura Kumara Dissanayake MP, Prof. Ashley Halpe, more..

Vegetable prices tumble

Mar 10 (Island) Prices of low country vegetables have dropped by at least 30 percent this week compared to the previous week at the Dambulla Economic Centre. The DEC receives about 500,000 kilos of vegetables including red onions, green chillies, beetroot, potatoes, pumpkin and capsicum from Jaffna alone. Sources said that the prices of those items too had dropped considerably. Among the varieties of vegetables whose prices have decreased since last week are cucumber, snake gourd, more..

Sri Lanka to order minting of over Rs. One bn of new coins

Mar 10 (AT) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has called for Expressions of Interest (EoIs) for the minting and supply of 200 million coins worth over Rs. 1,070 mn. By its notice dated March 10, 2011, CBSL called EoIs for the minting and supplying of Sri Lankan coins for four denominations- Rs. 10, 5, 2 and 1. The successful bidder will have to mint 65 million coins of Rs. 10, 60 million of Rs. 5, 45 million of Rs. 2 and 30 million of Rs. 1 coins. more..

SPMC asked to make more Paracetamol

Mar 10 (DM) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday instructed the State Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC) to take immediate measures to produce 564 million tablets of Paracetamol as there was a severe shortage of the widely used pain killer in the country. The instructions follow a slew of complaints from them public and hospital authorities about the severe short5age of Paracetamol after the rejection of a large stock of Paracetamol imported from more..

'KP should be handed over to India'

Mar 10 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s successor ‘KP’, now accommodated by the Sri Lankan government should be handed over to India. He told Parliament that the UNP supported KP’s extradition to India to face charges in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. MP Wickremesinghe asked whether the government would extradite ‘KP’ to India if such a request was made. more..