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Editorial: Buddhism, the panacea for all ills

May 15 (SO) Buddhists around the world celebrate the 2600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi on Tuesday. The 2600th anniversary of the Enlightenment of the Buddha is a memorable occasion for millions of Buddhists the world over. Moreover, it is of added significance to Sri Lanka; the country which has protected and preserved the noble teachings of the Buddha over the years. What is unique in Buddhism is that the Buddha never imposed restrictions on one's understanding of the Dhamma. more..

Editorial: The limits of freedom

May 15 (SL) We are free to criticise Mahinda Rajapaksa. You can call him any number of names. Tyrant, dictator, you name it. You can compare him to Hitler or Gaddafi, though the latter might be taken favorably. Read this paper, there’s any amount of criticism of the top. It is allowed. On May Day, marchers supporting Mahinda Rajapaksa were matched by JVP supporters portraying him in effigy as a greedy tyrant or (rather unrealistically) as an American capitalist stooge. more..

'Appointments are unconstitutional'

May 15 (SL) Former Ambassador, one-time friend of Ranil Wickremesinghe and life-long UNP supporter, Rosy Senanayake insisted that the recent UNP appointments were all unconstitutional and completely wrong. In an interview with Faraz Shauketaly, Senanayake however maintained that party unity was paramount and that these “matters that were overlooked” could be put right. Excerpts of the interview: more..

Editorial: Varsity issue needs saner counsel

May 15 (NS) There was a time when university unrest meant a tussle between placard waving, slogan shouting undergraduates and baton wielding policemen with tear gas canisters ready at hand. Those days it seems belong to a bygone era and it is the dons who are dissenting now and loudly at that.Matters came to a head this week when university academics resigned from all voluntary administrative posts and the government refused to budge, saying the resignations are invalid because more..

Editorial: Boomerang

May 15 (LB) If a single good thing has come out of the almost farcical breast-beating about the UN Advisory report also called the Darusman report, it is the fact that matters that were considerably clear to the naked eye have become more clarified. It was well known in the end-phase narrative of the war that there was an attempt made by certain intervening powers to affect a surrender of LTTE cadres to Government forces. Now, with Robert O. Blake the US assistant secretary of state, more..

Timeless truth of Pancha Seela

May 15 (NS) Sri Sambuddhathva Jayanthi falling on this Vesak Poya marks 2,600 years since Buddha’s enlightenment. As the world awaits this most hallowed event in the Buddhist calendar, Sri Lanka, the Dharmadveepa blessed and inspired by Buddha’s message of Dhamma had been revived along the aphorism Piliwethin Pelagesemu, denoting the ‘correct path to living’ as encapsulated in the Five Precepts - the bedrock which moulds a society-friendly human being. more..

Editorial: Raj Rajaratnam

May 15 (Island) The conviction of Sri Lanka-born Raj Rajaratnam for securities fraud and conspiracy in the biggest Wall Street insider trading case in three decades has given this country a lot of global publicity though obviously for the wrong reasons. Now a US citizen, Rajaratnam was educated in Britain and later at Ivy League colleges in the US, his father having served as a senior executive of the multinational, Singer, first in Sri Lanka and thereafter at corporate headquarters in New York. more..

Editorial: The light of Asia and the Dhammadvipa

May 15 (ST) Back in 1956, shortly after Independence from more than four centuries of colonial rule, the people of Sri Lanka were agog over religious events to mark the 2500 (Buddha Jayanthi) years of 'Parinibbana', the passing away of Gautama, the Buddha whose teachings the majority followed even through those 400 years. On Tuesday, this country and the world celebrate 2600 years of the 'Sambuddhathva Jayanthi', the event associated with the more..

Tough job ahead for Justice Balapatabendi

May 15 (SL) Former Supreme Court Justice Jagath Balapatabendi has been nominated as the new Chairman, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption. The Sunday Leader spoke with Justice Balapatabendi on Friday, and asked him what he would do to revive the Commission. Excerpts from the interview: Q: Tell us a little about your background? A: I studied at Richmond College, Galle before doing my Advanced Levels at more..

Pressure on govt to begin talks with TNA

May 15 (NS) The domestic political scene has been dormant for some time now after a hectic round electioneering for the local councils, but elections are once again on the horizon with the remainder of the local polls and the provincial council elections in the North still to be held. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has already hinted that the Northern Provincial Council poll is high on the agenda stating that the election will be held as soon as resettlement and the more..

President confident of coming through

May 15 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa was confident on Monday that nothing serious would befall Sri Lanka as a result of the UN expert panel report. “No dangerous situation would arise for Sri Lanka,” the President told the media heads and Editors when they met him for the routine monthly breakfast encounter at Temple Trees. The President was having a frank discussion with the media heads that fired various questions on the Expert Panel Report. more..

Lanka’s first private refinery deal awarded to Global Energy

May 15 (BL) US-based Global Energy & Industrial Operations, Inc. has secured the first private oil refinery deal in Sri Lanka, under which a plant twice the size of the current state-run Sapugaskanda Refinery will be built in Trincomalee. Although the project was earlier earmarked for Hambanthota and anticipated to process 150,000 bpd (barrels per day), it had been shifted to Trincomalee due to environmental concerns while production capacity had more..

The Pension Fund Imbroglio

May 15 (Island) The most important matter of public interest on the radar at the present moment is undoubtedly the proposed pension funds for private sector employees and for expatriate workers. Government servants get lifetime pensions while private sector employees have to fend for themselves. The Employees Provident Fund act No: 15 of 1958 was introduced to provide private sector employees with a means of livelihood after retirement. The basic format of the EPF is familiar to everybody more..

Sajith group commences campaign ‘To protect UNP’

May 15 (SL) The pro-reforms group in the UNP has set out on its campaign against the current dictatorial governing system of the party leadership with the launch of a series of seminars under the theme of protecting the UNP and taking it to victory. The campaign headed by MP Sajith Premadasa commenced in Colombo last week and the next seminar is scheduled to be held in Kandy during the last week of May. UNP members from many districts have requested the organisers of more..

Army’s new civilian role - is this a good signal?

May 15 (LB) The government has assigned the army to supervise garbage collection in the city of Colombo. The collection of garbage would continue to be the responsibility of the private companies contracted by the Colombo Municipal Council. Soldiers will however supervise the process; army bikers will travel in the city in the early morning to monitor whether private contractors have done their job. That is part of a wider programme by the UDA, more..

Families of missing Trinco youth protest

May 15 (LT) Families of youth who disappeared from Trincomalee protested at the Trincomalee Junction pleading with the Government to release information about their whereabouts, ‘We are Sri Lankans’ Convener Udul Premaratne said. “More than 100 youth from Trincomalee disappeared during the last phase of the war and up to now their whereabout are unknown,” Mr. Premaratne said. According to him most of the youth who disappeared were forcefully taken away from home in white vans and army trucks. more..

Middlesex v Sri Lanka: Strauss shows form on return to action

May 15 (CI) Andrew Strauss's last innings was the World Cup quarter-final against Sri Lanka and seven weeks on from that poor display in Colombo he returned to the middle with a breezy 151 against the same opposition as the visitors began their tour. It was a tough introduction for a team lacking five players still at the IPL and the early evidence proved that the bowling attack will struggle as Middlesex closed on 321 for 5. more..

Tiger Woods to visit Sri Lanka

May 15 (SL) Golfing legend Tiger Woods is expected in Sri Lanka on Tuesday, May 17 at the Royal Colombo Golf Club. The club will be hosting him with the event being open only to a select few. Tickets to the black tie event have been priced at Rs. 112,000 each (US $1,000). The Royal Colombo Golf Club said Woods is expected to remain in the country for just one day and would attend a black tie event at the club on the evening of May 17. more..

State growing at expense of individual liberty says Eran Wickremaratne

May 15 (Island) The Sri Lankan state has grown at the expense of individual liberty and community responsibility with the increasing size of government neither reducing social solidarity nor poverty and injustice, UNP MP Eran Wickremaratne told a meeting of Rotarians last week. He was speaking on `Big Govt and Shrinking Civil Society’ at a joint meeting of the Rotary Clubs of Colombo South, Colombo East and Fort. "Today our dependency on the state has increased, so we are told what to do more..

Now, drugs to snatch and tame elephants

May 15 (LB) Wildlife officers say that certain persons involved in the trafficking of wild elephants are allegedly using illegal drugs in their effort to capture the pachyderms. They say that by using these illegal drugs elephants could be made unconscious. It is alleged that some officers of the Wildlife department are also involved in snatching and spriting away baby elephants as one of its officers has charged Rs 100,000 to Rs 200,000 to facilitate such capture of a baby elephant. more..

Batti tense after twin killings

May 15 (NS) A tensed situation prevailed in Batticaloa after back to back shooting incidents during the week. Sources in Batticaloa said that security had been tightened following Friday’s killing of M. Ilangkumaran (34). Ilangkumaran was reportedly a staunch supporter and a close aide of the Eastern Province Chief Minister and leader of the TMVP, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan. Ilangkannan was also a bar owner in Batticaloa. more..

Lanka fires off protest note over Amos statement

May 15 (ST) Sri Lanka has lodged a strong protest against a statement by the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Baroness Valerie Amos, who last week cited the "unverified figure" of 40,000 civilians killed during the last stages of the conflict with the LTTE. The fact that the figure of 40,000 was repeated in Amos' statement to the Security Council last Tuesday has enraged the govt, a govt source said. She made the statement during a more..

Does Sri Lanka need a Premier T20 league?

May 15 (NS) Has Sri Lanka also been sucked into the whirlpool of Twenty20 cricket that they also have got this crazy idea of hosting a Premier T20 league on similar lines as the IPL. One wonders before committing themselves into such an ambitious venture whether Sri Lanka cricket has studied the pros and cons of staging a tournament of such magnitude. Have they fallen hook, line and sinker into the riches they could make out of the tournament and overlooked the fact that more..

Premadasa threatened to commit suicide, says former Indian envoy in new book

May 15 (ST) President R. Premadasa threatened to commit suicide if his demand for the IPKF to cease their operation against the LTTE was not met before July 29, 1989, according to a former Indian high commissioner. The threat was made to Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s special envoy B.D. Deshmukh. The envoy who had come to Sri Lanka to deliver a special message from the Indian premier was startled by President Premadasa’s threat which more..

‘Changes done may not be seen even in a down town eating place’

May 15 (Island) The Organization of Professional Associations (OPA) has run into a controversy following queries raised by the trustees of this apex body on 7.5 million rupees spent on refurbishment "without calling for open tender quotations". "The fundamental requirement to call for tenders had been completely ignored by the OPA president and his team", the trustees have complained. OPA’s president, U. H. Palihakkara declined to comment. more..

Govt. to contact ‘Try Lanka’ countries

May 15 (NS) The government will contact the relevant foreign governments or its representatives in Sri Lanka on the Wikileaks revelations early this week quoting the Darusman Report where names of certain countries have been mentioned as having wanted to try Sri Lanka. “Wikileaks is only a website and we cannot make any comments on what it said without contacting the relevant governments,” said Minister Keheliya Rambukwella at the weekly post Cabinet press briefing. more..

TNA sticks to its demands

May 15 (NS) The TNA and the EPDP, both with ideological differences have expressed two different opinions on the government’s latest move to establish a Senate. The government last week placed before both parties the proposal for the establishment of a Senate as a part of a power devolution arrangement. While the TNA categorically rejected government’s offer saying the party has been clamouring for a decent and a proper devolution of powers to the provinces, more..

LTTE surrender controversy

May 15 (BBC) Permanent representative to the United Nations, Dr.Palitha Kohona rejects Australian media report that he had given instructions to LTTE political leader, S.Pulidevan and the group, the procedure to follow in surrendering to the army. According to media report, Dr Kohona had sent a text message to a third-party intermediary, which was passed on to Pulidevan at 8.46am on Sunday, May 17.2009. He said that he had no last minute contacts with Tamil tigers because more..

Kohona-Moon OK internal probe

May 15 (LB) The government of Sri Lanka and the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have already held joint discussions enabling war crimes charges leveled against the security forces by the Marzuki Darusman Advisory report to be examined by a special investigative body affiliated to the LLRC, diplomatic sources said. These sources said that if any alleged war crimes are proved to have been committed during the last stages of the govt’s war against the LTTE, more..

Panel report: Be realistic and have dialogue with UN

May 15 (ST) On Thursday, Sri Lanka completes two years after the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas. In that span, the govt has taken several measures to ensure the memories of a victory against the scourge of terrorism remained live in the minds of the public. In this backdrop, the annual Victory Day parade will take place at the Galle Face green on this day. A three-day international seminar on "Sri Lankan experiences in defeating terrorism" more..

Lodging facility for Buddhist pilgrims

May 15 (Hindu) Mahabodhi Nikethanaya, a lodging facility for Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka, was inaugurated here on Saturday at the Sri Lanka Mahabodhi Centre in Egmore. The event was part of the celebrations of the 2,600th Sri Sambuddhatva Jayanthi by the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission. Sri Sambuddhatva Jayanthi commemorates Buddha's enlightenment. Speaking at the inauguration of the facility, Banagala Upathissa Thero, president, Society of Sri Lanka Mahabodhi, more..

Heads of political parties hail President’s announcement

May 15 (SO) Leaders of political parties representing the Tamil-speaking people of the North and the East welcomed President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent announcement that the talks on power devolution to the North and the East will not be confined to the TNA but will also be extended to other political parties which represent the people of the two provinces. President Rajapaksa told a meeting on Tuesday with newspaper editors, that the TNA is not the sole representative of the Tamil-speaking people and, more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

May 15 (ST) Sixty-seven-year-old Hewa Koparage Mervyn Silva, Cabinet Minister in charge of Public Co-ordination and Public Affairs, dropped a bombshell whilst on camera a few days ago. He warned UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Marzuki Darusman, chairman of his Advisory Panel that probed alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, that they should be careful. Silva said he had a trained team of 25 suicide killers. That is not all. more..

Switzerland, Canada reject protest

May 15 (ST) Canada and Switzerland have countered complaints by Sri Lanka that their governments summoned meetings in Geneva to discuss matters relating to the UN Advisory Panel’s report on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. Among those invited for such meetings, the External Affairs Ministry has learnt, were Sri Lankan human rights activists. Canada’s High Commissioner Bruce Levy and Swiss Ambassador Tomas Litscher were called to more..

Sampoor residents agitate demanding their lands given to India

May 15 (LT) The people in Sampoor in Trincomalee carried out an agitation yesterday demanding their traditional lands that have been handed over by the government to India. The Member of Eastern Provincial Council Wimal Jayatissa too participated in the agitation organized by the JVP. Mr. Piyatissa speaking to ‘Lankatruth’ said, “Five years have passed since the people in Sampoor were chased out from their traditional lands. more..

President Rajapaksa attends the Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi sil programmes in schools

May 15 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa participated in the sil campaigns organized in connection with the 2600th Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi celebrations at the Ananda and Nalanda Colleges and Visakha Vidyalaya in Colombo on Friday 13 May. Many special religious programmes of Dhana, Seela and Bhavana including sil campaigns have been organised at all schools in the island to commemorate the 2600th Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi. more..

UNP goes public with its dirty linen as influential group within renews power struggle

May 15 (ST) The struggles within the main opposition UNP took a public appearance once again last week when an influential group of party members extended their support to the commencement of an islandwide campaign to “Safeguard and Secure victory for the UNP”. The campaign, led by the likes of former UNP Chairman Rukman Senanayaka, former MPs Imtiaz Bakeer Markar and Western Provincial member Shiral Lakthilake, more..

President Rajapaksa officially inaugurates the 2600th Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi Year

May 15 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa officially inaugurated the 2600th Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi Year and the Vesak week in Anuradhapura this evening on 14 May 2011. The state ceremony took place on a grand scale in the sacred area premises of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura. President Mahinda Rajapaksa officially inaugurated the state ceremony. Accordingly, the year starting from the coming Vesak full Moon Poya day more..

Rt. Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey consecrated as 15th Bishop of Colombo

May 15 (IL) The Episcopal Ordination and Installation of Rt. Rev. Dhiloraj Ranjit Canagasabey as the 15th Bishop of Colombo at the Church of Sri Lanka took place this morning on 14 May at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour in Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo. President Mahinda Rajapaksa accompanied by First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa participated at the consecration ceremony. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe and Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris were also present. more..

Did Norwegian diplomats help some Lankans to leave the country?

May 15 (Island) The Sri Lankan government will raise the alleged involvement of Norwegian embassy in helping LTTE operatives to leave the country legitimately through the Bandaranaike International Airport. Authoritative officials told The Sunday Island that the Sri Lankan embassy in Oslo would take it up with the Norwegian government, while the Norwegian Ambassador in Colombo, Ms Hilde Haraldstad was expected to be more..