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Sri Lanka: Shangri La or Sodom and Gomorrah

May 20 (LG) In a few days, we are going to celebrate our National Heroes’ Day in Sri Lanka. So, I have been asking these questions: Who are my heroes and heroines? What have they done to deserve my reverence and admiration? Who is a hero, a person who is constantly striving for aggrandizement of his ego, or a person who has given his life to redeem our society? I sincerely invite you to ask these same questions, and I think the answers you get depend on your ethos, more..

Security forces play active role in Vesak decorations

May 20 (MoD) Security Forces personnel in their hundreds, showing their artistic and cultural talents to coincide with the 2600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi Vesak commemoration, are actively contributing to the successful conduct of Vesak zones in Colombo and its suburbs. The main spectacle, the Vesak zone covering Temple Trees and Gangaramaya with more than two hundred lanterns, pandols, different illuminations, decorated floats and sailing vessels, more..

A new Chief Justice for the dying judiciary of Sri Lanka

May 20 (LG) The appointment of the first lady Chief Justice would normally have been a day for great celebrations. However, in the context of the attack on the Sri Lankan judiciary since the adoption of the 1978 Constitution such a celebration would belie the actual situation of the judiciary as well as all the administration of justice institutions in the country. The 200-year-old tradition of judicial institutions was undermined by the constitution itself and more..

'India should perform its legitimate duty of protecting the rights of the Tamil ethnic people'

May 20 (TC) Rallies were held around the globe by Tamils on Wednesday – May 18th, which the organizers have marked is a “Time to mourn; A time to reflect; A time for resurgence and creating awareness towards seeking “Justice for Genocide Victims of Tamil Eelam.” Among the attendees at a rally near United Nations in New York were members of Tamil Nadu based Dravidar Kazhagam. They distributed a statement from the President of Dravidar Kazhagam, more..

Attempting to drag President Rajapaksa before ICC will undermine his efforts at reconciliation

May 20 (TC) Two years have passed since the Sri Lankan armed forces shot and killed Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and brought an end to their generation long conflict, yet the country is still struggling to move on. Allegations of war crimes have not gone away. Nor have calls for a ‘political solution’ – a package of measures to address the perceived grievances of the minority communities. And President Rajapaksa continues to deal with more..

India should not be part of any big power pressure tactic on Sri Lanka

May 20 (TC) The visit of the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L.Peiris to Delhi came at a juncture when the relationship between the two countries is delicately poised. Colombo faces a sudden reversal of fortunes. The war against the LTTE was decisively won and overall security situation is better than at any time in living memory. So indeed political stability, since Mahinda Rajapaksa won thrice within the past year or so — presidential, parliamentary and local body elections. more..

‘Sinhalisation’ continues, not only in Jaffna, but also in Colombo

May 20 (TC) I went to sleep last week living down Havelock Road and woke up in the brand spanking spruced up renamed SSJ Mawatha. The Sinhalese are a minority within the city limits of Colombo. Those who are Buddhists among them are even a smaller minority. No one had consulted the residents of Havelock road about the change of name of their road. They had no voice. Within the last few months we had witnessed Dickman’s Road becoming Lester James Pieris Mawatha, more..

SriLankan flying brand new after 11 years

May 20 (FT) National carrier SriLankan Airlines is now on an aggressive expansion plan to become the dominant force in the regional aviation market amidst rapidly rising tourism and the President’s vision of making Sri Lanka an aviation hub. The airline, which aims to have a fleet of 30 aircraft by 2015, added a brand new A320-200 to its inventory when it touched down at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake last morning. more..

Editorial: Needed: Talks not war of words

May 20 (Island) The govt could not have found a better person than Minister S.B. Dissanayake to tackle the JVP's violent student union in universities. Its members have met their match in him. He is to be complimented for the tough measures he has adopted to rid the universities of politically motivated disruptive elements and to put an end to the scourge of brutal ragging which has made higher education a frightening proposition for peaceful students and their parents. more..

Editorial: Words are cheap, live the Dhamma

May 20 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his Vesak message underscored the Buddha’s teachings on living a moral life. “Let an angry man be conquered by love; an evil man by goodness. Let a miser be won over by liberality; and a liar by truthfulness,” he said quoting the Dhammapada. The teachings of the Buddha provides the means of resolving disputes that arise from unbridled desire, the President said. It is easy to preach and write about these teachings and more..

Dual citizenship put on hold

May 20 (SL) The current review of the system of dual citizenship could deprive thousands of expatriate Sri Lankans the right to a Sri Lankan identity. With many choosing to live abroad due to work commitments or family reasons, dual citizenship is seen as the ideal way to integrate into a new community while still keeping an allegiance to your country of birth. With dual citizenship currently suspended, the new system is expected to be a lot tighter more..

Secretary Defence participates in Vesak celebrations

May 20 (MoD) Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa participated in a series of activities organized in view of the 2600th "Sambuddha Jayanthiya" in the eve of the first day of Vesak celebrations, (17 May). Accordingly, the Secretary Defence opened Vesak Zones, "Dansal" and " Bakthi -Gee" presentations. The "Bhakthi Gee' programme which was organized by the Department of Civil Security at "Bauddaloka Mawatha" was opened by the Secretary Defence. He offered a basket of more..

Emerging concerns of rising inflation

May 20 (NS) Once again there are concerns that the country may be gripped by inflation. The rate of inflation jumped to 9.8 percent at the end of April raising concerns that the country may be moving towards a period of high inflation. For some months the rate of inflation was on an uptrend with several price revisions affecting the cost of living. Sri Lanka was not alone in the trend of increasing inflation. Several Asian countries exhibited increases in more..

Two years after the end of war: drawbacks and developments

May 20 (DM) MP P. Ariyanethiran (TNA): The Govt has no political solution for the ethnic grievances. The worst thing is that two years after the end of the war there has not been a progress in terms of a political solution for the conflict. One and half lakhs of people have not been resettled and their livelihoods have not been restored. The Tamil people in Batticaloa and Mannar are constantly rounded up and arrested. We have met with the Govt more..

Probe on reptiles sold

May 20 (NN) The Department of Wildlife Conservation has begun an investigation into reports that several species of local reptiles are being sold via the internet to overseas clients. Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation Dr. Chandrawansa Pathiraja told News that he was informed about the illegal operation and had launched an investigation. Environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunawardena had told News earlier this week that information has come to more..

Unauthorized says UDA; question doesn’t arise retorts kovil trustee

May 20 (DM) Devotees who attend religious observances at the historic Shiva temple at Kaluwella in Galle expressed concern about the UDA’s order to demolish a part of the temple, claiming that it is an unauthorized erection. The trustee of the Shiva temple, Muttuthambu Shanmugarajah said no section of the Shiva temple that is more than one-hundred years old is unauthorized. He said the UDA had ordered to demolish a part of the main entrance of the temple claimed to have more..

'Govt. uses emergency to silence dissent'

May 20 (DM) Whenever there is a proper foreign policy coupled with professional diplomats, all these problems can be handled without any harm to the country. Unfortunately, we lack it today. Q : In the event of the release of the UN report and Sri Lanka involved in a diplomatic crisis, how will the JVP formulate its political strategies? A: Of course, there is a different environment in the post war period. The armed struggle for separatism ended. more..

'ADB assistance will be used to improve quality of secondary education'

May 20 (Island) Deputy Minister and Alternate Governor of the Asian Development Bank Geethanjala Gunawardane thanked the ADB mission in Sri Lanka for the contribution it had made during the past years towards achieving the country’s development goals and for its high level of cooperation and cordiality. Speaking at the 44th Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors in Hanoi, Vietnam, he said the ADB’s support for Sri Lanka’s development efforts more..

Mews Street residents’ rights plea to be taken up on July 28

May 20 (Island) The Urban Development Authority has taken a decision to allocate houses that are being constructed at the Dematagoda Housing Scheme, Shavindra Fernando, the Deputy Solicitor General told the Supreme Court, when he appeared for the UDA, the first respondent in the fundamental rights case. When the rights violation application, filed by a group of residents in Mews Street, Slave Island, whose houses had been demolished on May 8, 2010 was taken up, more..

Leadership training for university entrants begins on Monday

May 20 (DN) "The three week leadership training and positive thinking development programme for University entrants will start next Monday," said Higher Education Minister S B Dissanayake. Addressing a press conference at the University Grants Commission (UGC) yesterday, he said that about 10,000 students will take part in the programme as the first group. The residential training will be held in 28 islandwide training camps under the Defence Ministry. more..

Pyramid scheme hunt continues

May 20 (NN) The police are looking for more suspects involved in a massive pyramid scheme following the arrest of a couple in Puttalam earlier this month. According to the police, investigations have revealed that there are some accomplices in Colombo and moves are now underway to arrest them as well. The police had earlier this month arrested a couple who carried out the pyramid scheme in Puttalam and collected money from several unsuspecting clients. more..

Galadari Hotel to convert debt into equity

May 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's heavily indebted Galadari Hotel plans to convert debt into equity in an effort to take advantage of the tourism boom after the end of the island's ethnic war. A stock exchange filing said the hotel will convert into shares 5.75 billion rupees (52 million US dollars) owed to the parent firm Galadari Brothers Company and 583 million rupees owed to the government's National Insurance Trust Fund. more..

Fee for special number plates up tenfold

May 20 (DM) The Registrar of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is likely to raise the fee for providing special number plates for vehicles from the present Rs.7,500 to between Rs. 70,000 and Rs.75,000 shortly, informed sources said. The fee for issuing special number plates is levied in addition to the normal registration fee -- which is also to be increased by Rs. 300 Rs. 400 shortly. The present registration fee is Rs. 14,000. more..

Church points teens in right direction

May 20 (UCAN) A Tamil Catholic association has held a special retreat to expose teenagers to religious life and to explore ways of dealing with day to day problems caused from common distractions or through abuse. Some 220 teenagers took part in the two day retreat last weekend organized by the Joseph Vaz Mantram Association on a rubber estate at the National Basilica on the outskirts of Colombo. It was held to mark the World Day of Prayer for Vocations and included more..

England Lions v Sri Lankans: Morgan, Patel post tons

May 20 (CI) Eoin Morgan is expected to pay the price for his IPL stint by missing out on a place in England's squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka, but he took his chance against the tourists with a destructive 156 for the Lions at Derby. Morgan added 232 for the fifth wicket with Samit Patel, who made a fine return to England colours with a classy 101, as the Lions closed on an imposing 394 for 4. However, anything that happens in this match is unlikely to more..

Saudi trade delegation to study Lanka investment opportunities

May 20 (AN) Dawn of peace in Sri Lanka has encouraged the Kingdom to open a new chapter in Saudi-Sri Lanka trade relations, Commerce and Industry Minister Abdullah Zainal Alireza said in Jeddah on Thursday. Alireza made this statement during his talks with Rishad Bathiudeen, Sri Lankan minister of industry and commerce, in Jeddah on Thursday. Sri Lankan Ambassador Ahmed A. Jawad and Lankan Consul General in Jeddah Sabarullah Khan also attended more..

US congressman briefed on SL situation

May 20 (Island) Recent House Resolution 177 (HR 177) sponsored by the US Representative from 13th District of New York, Michael Grimm (R-NY) advocated an outside investigation to the Sri Lankan conflict related to government’s conduct during the final stages of the terrorist war. Congressman Grimm’s initiative is widely recognized as due to misinformation and lack of facts presented to him. On May 9th, Dr. Milroy Codipilly and Dayananda Peiris met with their Congressman, more..

Debate on Pension Bill postponed

May 20 (DM) Labour Minister Gamini Lokuge said yesterday the controversial private sector pension scheme Bill would not be taken up for debate in parliament on Tuesday because of amendments being drafted by the Finance Ministry. He said the amended draft bill would be sent to the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) for its approval next week. The Employees Benefit Pension Fund (EPBF) Bill came under fire by trade unions, employees and employers over sustainability issues. more..

Boston Lanka News: May 18, 2011

French Ambassador on East tour: Hopes to strengthen relations with SL

May 20 (DN) The French Ambassador in Sri Lanka Christine Robichon who was on tour in Ampara district last week visited South Eastern University of Sri Lanka in Oluvil to participate in the inauguration ceremony of two new courses which are Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) administered by the Post Graduate Unit of the Faculty of Management and Commerce. The Ambassador accompanied by the Embassy's Attache more..

'Academic work not affected by FUTA action'

May 20 (DM) The Higher Education Ministry claimed that currently only 147 department heads out of a total of 461 in universities countrywide had abstained from their duties while adding that the trade union action of academics had not had much impact on the university system. “Apart from a few faculties in a few universities including Peradeniya and Ruhuna, the majority of academics are carrying out their duties in voluntary administrative positions. more..

Welikada prison inmates launch hunger strike

May 20 (Hindu) A section of inmates at the Welikada prison here have launched a hunger strike since Thursday morning, complaining about the arbitrary release of some fellow prisoners under a common amnesty to coincide with the 2600th anniversary of Buddha's enlightenment. They wanted the government to release them too. “The prison officers are currently negotiating with them and trying to ease the situation as soon as possible,” the Daily Mirror Online said, more..

Sri Lanka gets US aid for flood victims

May 20 (LBO) The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is giving a 1.5 million grant under its Food for Peace (FFP) programme to help more than 22,000 flood victims in eastern Sri Lanka. Under the programme the US development agency will assist flood victims by paying them to repair small-scale infrastructure, such as irrigation canals, water tanks and roads, a statement said. "The cash-for-work activities will not only increase beneficiaries’ purchasing power, more..

Sri Lanka strengthen its ties with the only Buddhist State in Europe

May 20 (AT) The former President of the Kalmykia Republic of the Russian Federation and the Chairman of the World Chess Association Mr. Kirsan Ilumzhinov met President Mahinda Rajapakse at Temple Trees yesterday. He is visiting Sri Lanka with a Buddhist delegation in connection with the 2600th Sri Sambuddhthwa Jayanthia. Kalmykia Republic is the only Buddhist State in Europe. Mr. Ilumzhinov during his discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa explained in detail more..

Sri Lanka oil drilling likely to drag

May 20 (DM) Drilling of oil in the Mannar basin of Sri Lanka, which has been dragging from 2008, is likely to delay further due to certain issues unfolding at the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS), established for the sole purpose of developing energy resources in the country. The contract of the Director General at PRDS, Dr. Neil De Silva which will end in May 31, has not yet been extended by the Govt of Sri Lanka and a Cabinet paper on more..

Kuwait funds to strengthen civil administration in North

May 20 (Island) Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs W. D. J. Seneviratne speaking from Jaffna said that the main purpose of his three-day visit to Jaffna was to ensure that the public of Jaffna were provided with an efficient public service. Additional District Secretary of Jaffna Mrs. Rubini Varathalingam said that the government had taken steps to ensure that the Jaffna district was provided with Rs. 44.97 million from the Kuwaiti Fund (SCAP) to more..

A Veddah cricket tournament

May 20 (DM) For the first time in Sri Lankan history the Veddah Community will play the ‘gentlemen’s game’-of cricket' and take part in a tournament on May 22 this year at the Welagedara Stadium in Kurunegala. The tournament has been organised by the Scouts’ Association of Kurunegala in aid of thalassaemia patients. The Veddahs will play against a team of rural based actors of the mini and large screen. These days, the Veddahs are practicing cricket at Dambana and more..

'Stalls given only to genuine fish traders'

May 20 (Island) Stalls at the new fish market complex in Peliyagoda had been allocated to those who were genuine fish traders, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He was countering allegations made by a group of traders that though they had run stalls at St. John’s fish market in the Pettah, they had been deprived of stalls at the Peliyagoda complex as the ministry had favoured outsiders who had not been in the business earlier. more..

People in North remember war victims

May 20 (DM) A function was held at the Vavuniya Town Council Hall to commemorate the war victims and confer merit to the many civilians who died during the final phase of the war two years ago; in Vellamuliwaikkal in the Mullaitivu District. This function had been organized jointly by the TNA and MPs of the Wanni District, Selvam Adaikkalanadan, Sivasakthi Anandan, Noharadhalingam while PC members of the district also participated. more..

'Granting Dons’ salary demands possible within next two years'

May 20 (DN) Higher Education Minister S B Dissanayake revealed that the ministry is working towards a proper programme to uplift the income status of university lecturers with the collaboration of the private sector. He said his aim is to grant Rs 200,000 for a junior lecturer and Rs 500,000 for a senior professor in a local university within the next two years. The minister pointed out that the lecturers’ demand is impossible at this hour since more..