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Sri Lanka pushes home gardens to beat climate-linked food price hikes

Mar 19 (AN) As vegetable prices keep rising, accelerated by twin floods earlier this year, Sri Lanka’s govt is pushing a country-wide home-garden programme to encourage Sri Lankans to grow what they might otherwise struggle to afford. The government has unveiled an effort to set up a million home gardens, aimed at growing vegetables for household consumption. The selected households in the country of 21 million people will be provided more..

Demo against minister’s candidate

Mar 19 (DM) A tense situation prevailed in Dambulla yesterday after several UPFA candidates and their supporters staged a demonstration against a candidate backed by Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon, police said. The candidate came first in the UPFA’s list of preferential votes for the Dambulla Municipal Council. The protesters wearing black bands and carrying black flags had reportedly blocked the roads and thrown stones at the Minister’s house before clashing more..

President condoles with Japan

Mar 19 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday visited the Japanese Embassy in Colombo and signed a condolence book for victims of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters. The President also discussed the crisis in Japan with Ambassador Kunio Takahashi. He assured Mr. Takahashi that the relief teams sent from Sri Lanka would be self-sufficient units and would be able to assist the affected people. Ceylon Tea would also be sent there. more..

In Sri Lanka, seeking to square the circle

Mar 19 (Hindu) India made an unsuccessful effort to resolve the ‘cohabitation' crisis in Sri Lanka between President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe late in 2003 by suggesting that the Defence portfolio be split so that he could have effective control over military affairs in the north and east as he remained in charge of the stalled peace process. Indian High Commissioner Nirupam Sen's suggestion did not convince Mr. Wickremesinghe, from whose Cabinet the Defence, more..

Support for ‘Slinga' Malinga

Mar 19 (Hindu) Many young fans who turned up at the Wankhede Stadium here Friday said they came to see their IPL team Mumbai Indians pacer Lasith Malinga rather than his Sri Lanka team playing New Zealand in the World Cup. Surprisingly, the crowds were milling outside the stadium a couple of hours before the start of play. Some of them said they came to cheer their Mumbai Indians fast bowler Malinga. The 27-year old Sri Lankan has been nicknamed ‘Slinga Malinga' more..

AG’s undertaking ensures release of blind detainee

Mar 19 (DM) Sequent to the undertaking given to the Supreme Court by the Attorney-General, Sri Selvan Anton Judes, a blind detainee, was released from detention yesterday (18). The Attorney-General had on March 4 given an undertaking to the Supreme Court to release the blind man who had been in an IDP camp and then was held at the Boosa Detention Camp before being transferred to the Welikanda Rehabilitation Centre, within two weeks. more..

SMS, Facebook and Teenage School Girls

Mar 19 (SL) On Women’s Day I got the opportunity to address more than 600 senior secondary students in a government girls’ school in a suburb of Colombo. Arriving there, I felt humbled in the presence of the dedicated principal and her staff who have worked hard to provide a well-maintained and peaceful environment for 3000 plus kids who come to that school every day. The school was spotless because the 5S methods is followed to all five letters, and, more..

Thank you, says President

Mar 19 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message thanked all voters who gave the UPFA a landslide victory at the Local Government elections. The message adds: "I convey my thanks to all the people who brought a great victory to the UPFA at the recently concluded Local Government Polls. "The people's verdict has proved the fullest confidence they kept on the Government and has endorsed our program to develop this country under more..

UNP wants joint opposition

Mar 19 (DM) In the wake of defeat at Thursday’s local council elections, the United National Party (UNP) yesterday extended an open invitation to other opposition parties to work jointly whenever there was a need for such an alliance. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told a news conference that all opposition political parties should work together when the need arises for a joint opposition. more..

'We are with the Tamils and I am very concerned about Sri Lanka'

Mar 19 (TC) In an opportunity to speak with Mrs Gandhi following her Commonwealth lecture, at the reception for invited guests, senior members of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) raised issues regarding the plight of Tamil women in Sri Lanka. Mrs. Gandhi said that she is very concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka. She said that the Congress lead coalition government has asserted their serious concerns to the Govt of Sri Lanka. more..

Maldives and Sri Lanka collaborate on terrorism crackdown

Mar 19 (HNS) Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Maldives’ National Central Bureau (NCB) are currently cooperating to crackdown on terrorist suspects, who use Sri Lanka and the Maldives as transit hubs. A senior officer from the CID, speaking to Haveeru on grounds of anonymity, said that the cooperation between the two countries is part of a bilateral agreement, signed in 2009 by both countries, more..

Project to renovate tanks in parks

Mar 19 (DN) An expedited project to renovate 200 tanks in sanctuaries and parks has been initiated aiming habitat enrichment, Wildlife Conservation Department Director General Dr Chandra Wansa Pathiraja said. He said that 50 tanks which need renovation have already been identified and estimates are being made to start the work. He said that the Department hopes to complete the renovation work of all 200 tanks within this year. more..

Imported food to be screened for radiation

Mar 19 (Island) The government has decided to have all food items, imported from countries neighbouring Japan, screened by the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Authority before being released from the Colombo Airport and Harbour. The Health Ministry said that this precautionary measure had been recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency In the wake of Fukushima Nuclear Plant explosion in Japan. more..

‘Whether Lanka goes nuclear or not, it faces threats from Indian plants’

Mar 19 (Island) Whether or not Sri Lanka goes nuclear, there would always be a threat to the country as India has set up a nuclear plants on its southern tip, Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said. He told The Island yesterday that accidents were common but there were precautions to be taken to prevent them. Ranawaka said that the ill-fated nuke plant should have been dismantled much earlier. more..

Police produced a man before court with fabricated charges after torture

Mar 20 (LG) Allen Jo (29), 195/1 Welgampola Road, Nawawlapitiya in the district of Kandy was illegally arrested and severely tortured by the police officers attached to the Nawalapitiya Police Station on 28 March 2011. He was arrested accused for possession of drugs without any reason and later when the victim denied the accusation he was severely assaulted. Then he was produced to the court with fabricated charges. The victim vehemently denied the charges. more..

The watchdog role of media and vigilance of civil society

Mar 20 (LG) When Basil Rajapaksa announced in Parliament last week that the Government had taken over the land on which the Hilton Hotel was sited, not many were surprised. The Urban Development Authority had in 1984 leased out the land to a developer with a stipulation that the lease rent should be paid annually. Apparently, the lease rent had not been paid for the last twenty-five years and the holding company itself had run up huge debts. more..

Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) deserves death sentence and not 100 acres

Mar 20 (LG) Is Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) worth more than a Dead Tamil Tiger? If the latest report to say that KP will be rewarded with 100 acres is true, there is something wrong somewhere with the Government’s attitude towards KP. The public would like to know what information the Govt has managed to extract from KP so far to reward KP with a NGO (Is the central Bank monitoring the funds this NGO gets?) and 100 acres. more..

Stray Thoughts on Sri Lanka’s Victory over New Zealand, 18 March 2011

Mar 20 (TC) Sri Lanka’s comprehensive victory over New Zealand in the last match for Group A at Mumbai was marred by a controversial third umpire decision that reprieved Mahela Jayawardene when he was in his twenties. This verdict certainly had a bearing on the game and was a moment of high drama. Cricket’s beauty emanates in part from its contingent twists of luck/fate. The abrogated Nathan McCullum catch – what a wonderful piece of fielding that! – was one such more..

Old Thomians must rally together and develop the school by the sea!

Mar 20 (TC) Nostalgia and affection for the old school is common enough but in the case of some Alma Maters the bond is rather strong; the school by the sea is one. In proof I will count the happy tales of provenance when old Thomians meet, the strong and supportive Old Boys Association, the equally supportive Centenary Club open to all who were in school in the centenary year 1951, a network for raising finances for repairs, maintenance and extensions, the packed out more..

Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam Prime Minister states his opinion

Mar 20 (TC) An E-Mail Interview with Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran by Maryam Azwer. In an email interview with The Sunday Leader, Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, ‘Prime Minister’ of the ‘Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam’ (TGTE), that was formed in May last year, shares his views on this issue, as well as other diaspora-related concerns that have arisen in recent months. Q: What is the present role of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam? more..

Editorial: Another feather in UPFA’s cap

Mar 20 (SO) The UPFA, led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, scored yet another convincing election victory, at the Local Govt polls on Thursday. From the time President Rajapaksa took office on November 18, 2005, he has demonstrated his faith in democracy in no uncertain terms by conducting elections prior to the scheduled dates or even earlier. He even called for a Presidential election two years prior to the due date, thereby foregoing a part of his first six-year term in office. more..

Editorial: Display of faith in MR

Mar 20 (NS) The local govt elections, the third countrywide poll within fifteen months have just been concluded. The ruling UPFA has emerged victorious, capturing over fifty five per cent of the vote and control of 205 local bodies from the 234 that were on offer. Two major opposition parties, the UNP and the JVP performed poorly. The UNP won only in nine councils with 33 per cent of the vote while the JVP, with a mere three per cent of the vote lost Tissamaharama, the only body it controlled. more..

Sri Lankans vote for rebuilding: president

Mar 20 (AFP) President said Saturday his party's landslide victory in local elections was an endorsement of the government's focus on rebuilding rural areas after decades of civil war. Results showed that Rajapakse's UPFA swept 205 of the 234 councils that went to the polls Thursday, the first local election since the island's 37-year-long ethnic war ended in May 2009. "The people's verdict has proved the fullest confidence they kept in the government," more..

Editorial: UNPers gear to bring Sajith to the helm

Mar 20 (SL) Following the end of the local govt elections, the heat is back on the UNP’s leadership battle. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa are now preparing to fight for the party leadership. According to amendments introduced to the party constitution at the UNP’s Convention in December, appointments to senior party posts have to be made before April 12. Wickremesinghe and Premadasa agreed to keep aside the fight for the party more..

Editorial: Boring polling

Mar 20 (LB) The voter turnout was below half of the voter strength, the UPFA won convincingly, and the opposition complained that there was election violence and malpractice. So what’s new? It was a Sri Lankan election – yawn — and get ready for some platitudes by the winners and the vanquished. As a footnote, it needs to be said that the opposition, for the record, could not muster a surge of a protest vote that it said was there in the country. The proffered explanation more..

Migrants stage protest over detained compatriot

Mar 20 (CM) Around forty Sri Lankans and members of the Union of Anarchists protested outside the Interior Ministry yesterday demanding the release of a man who has been detained for 15 months without charge, despite a Supreme Court ruling ordering his immediate release. According to a statement by the anarchists, the detained Shanmukan Uthajenthiran is a Tamil whose family was forced to leave Sri Lanka at risk of life, under the persecution of a more..

Editorial: Syrup after the pill

Mar 20 (Island) There has been some fulsome praise heaped on President Mahinda Rajapaksa by those who loudly condemned his government for what a respected former diplomat called a ``brutal attack’’ on the Sri Lanka Foreign Service. Nobody who saw the names of those who were to be smuggled into the permanent cadre of the service, including those who praised the president for his intervention, would ever believe that the president did not in the more..

Editorial: Be with Japan, be prepared

Mar 20 (ST) After the experience of the tsunami of December 2004, it is easy for the people of this island-nation to understand the anguish the people of another island-nation, Japan, are currently undergoing. The March 11 earthquake, which was followed by a massive tsunami and as if that was not enough, compounded still further by a frightening leak in its nuclear reactors, sent shock waves throughout the world. The word 'tsunami' has its origins in Japan, an island more..

Local Polls: Reactions

Mar 20 (NS) The UPFA led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa recorded a landslide victory at the recently concluded LG elections held on March 17. The UPFA swept through 205 local bodies of the total 235 councils. The UPFA had gained 55 per cent of the vote as against the UNP’s 34 per cent. The UNP has managed to bag only nine councils while the TNA has overtaken the main opposition party by winning 12 local bodies, of the 15 the party contested in the northeast. more..

Lankans politically conscious World Cup notwithstanding!

Mar 20 (NS) It is all over bar the shouting. Even though several dozen local government bodies did not go to the polls on Thursday, among those which did, the ruling UPFA swept the board, winning a comfortable 55 per cent of the popular vote in the process. The major opposition party, the UNP came a distant second, managing one third of the popular vote while being able to win only nine local bodies whereas it controlled as many as thirty one councils prior to the poll. more..

Nuclear Disaster: A shocking and harsh message

Mar 20 (NS) The unprecedented catastrophe unfolded in Japan last week has sent a shocking but a harsh message to the rest of the world that the nature’s fury is something that is uncontrollable and unabated. In spite of many technological advances and innovations by the world since the 16th century, the grim reality is that the nature has supernatural powers to beat them all or destroy them at its whims and fancies. It has now been proven beyond doubt that though Japan was in more..

'Vegetable prices won’t bring down govt.'

Mar 20 (Island) UPFA General Secretary Minister Susil Premjayantha says the Opposition should know that high price of vegetables wouldn’t bring down President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government. Commenting on the UPFA triumph over the Opposition at the Mar. 17 LG polls, Premjayantha asserted the Opposition seemed to be unrealistic and foolish in its assumption that people would vote against the government over high cost of living. more..

Victory in defeat for UNP

Mar 20 (Island) The result of the local government election was not hard to predict. As we pointed out on an earlier occasion, whether the government was to hold steady or lose ground would be decided by the performance of the UNP. The prediction made in this column was that the UNP would lose about half the 31 LG institutions they had won in 2006. We named certain Pradesheeya Sabhas that the UNP was going to lose this time around and the UNP did lose almost all of them. more..

Academics protest: Demand better salaries

Mar 20 (SL) Academics islandwide took to protesting last Tuesday against what they called ‘unfulfilled government promises.’ Speaking to The Sunday Leader, President, Open University Teachers Association, Dr. Mahim Mendis explained that the token protest was to draw attention to the extremely serious and ‘gentlemanly grievances’ faced by academics islandwide. “The highest qualified in the country are paid like beggars. At most, senior professors get Rs. 57,000 as a basic salary. more..

Lankan scientists oppose N-plant

Mar 20 (NS) As Japan continues to struggle to control fires and radiation at its crippled nuclear power reactors, Sri Lankan scientists are now backing away from an effort to promote nuclear power in the country while nuclear critics are stepping up their opposition. As the government has already planned to build the first ever nuclear plant in Sri Lanka with assistance possibly from Iran, local experts and scientists have expressed serious more..

Buhary Hotel in biriyani of a mess

Mar 20 (LB) The well known Buhary Hotel in Maradana housed in a building believed to belong to the JSS, is to be handed over to its Secretary, Srinal De Mel’s son. The union charges that the management of the hotel is to be handed over to De Mel’s son. A trade unionist now in the Sajith Premadasa camp alleged that Buhary Hotel had been set up for ‘financial purposes’ during the Ranasinha Premadasa administration and that the hotel had been purchased with the help of JSS financing. more..

Farmer at Polonnaruwa commits suicide unable to settle cultivation debts

Mar 20 (LT) A farmer at Polonnaruwa has committed suicide due to inability to settle his debts taken for cultivation purposes. Our reporter at Polonnaruwa says Ariyadasa, a father of three and a farmer at Kumburu Mawatha, Rail Road Junction at Palugasdamana in Polonnaruwa District committed suicide by consuming poison today (19th) afternoon. The reason for his committing suicide is the inability to settle a loan of Rs.30,000 he had obtained from a more..

Boston Lanka News: March 18, 2001

WC 2011: South Africa beat Bangladesh by 206 runs

Mar 20 (CI) Bangladesh were not favourites to win their virtual pre-quarterfinal against the might of South Africa, especially after the visitors breezed away to 284, but it was the meek manner of their abject batting surrender that would have jarred even their most faithful fans. Eight overs in to the tall chase, and the heart of their batting line-up had been ripped out by Lonwabo Tsotsobe, causing the substantial crowd at the Shere Bangla Stadium to quickly start dwindling. more..

WC 2011: Pakistan beat Australia by 4 wickets

Mar 20 (CI) Pakistan were the last team to overcome Australia at a World Cup and it was they who brought Ricky Ponting's 34-match unbeaten run to an end with a four-wicket victory in Colombo to secure top spot in Group A. An impressive display in the field laid the foundations as the reigning champions were bundled out for 176 on a difficult surface, their lowest total in a World Cup since 1992, and despite a mighty effort from Brett Lee Pakistan were guided home more..