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Challenges and opportunities for Sri Lanka and the UN system

May 2 (GV) Asia Pacific Forum is a pan-Asian radio show broadcast every Monday night from 9-10pm on WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City and live on the web. WBAI is part of the Pacifica Foundation, a national radio network founded in 1946 with additional affiliates in Houston, Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Washington, D.C. Pacifica is a non-commercial, listener-sponsored network founded on a strong community role in each individual station. On the day the report of more..

University of Peradeniya wins Microsoft Imagine Cup 2011

May 2 (Island) Team ‘PeraSoft’ from the University of Peradeniya emerged as the winner in the Software Design category of Imagine Cup 2011 Sri Lanka Finals. The winners, Team PeraSoft comprising of N.D.M. Samarakoon, S.A.L.D. Senadheera, H.M.P.L. Herath and J.M.M.U. Dasanayake will go down in history as this is the first time they have won in the competition making it a truly celebratory moment for the University of Peradeniya. more..

Two years after sea lashing... and still in tents

May 2 (ST) Two years ago — in 2009 — 38 families living along the Marawila-Mudukattuwa coastal stretch in Nattandiya lost their homes to the raging seas. They have continued to live in temporary shelters with the authorities turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to their plight. The Sri Lanka Red Cross donated temporary tents to some of the 27 families and to date these tents have served as their homes. However time and the elements have taken theirtoll on the tents and more..

Govt urged to end talks with TNA

May 2 (Island) The Federation of National Organisations has requested the government to terminate its talks with the TNA, as the TNA had sided with a section of the international community who are hostile to Sri Lanka. By siding with the anti Sri Lankan forces the "TNA has exposed its motives and confirmed in no uncertain terms that it is hostile to Sri Lanka," the FNO said in a statement issued to media. The statement is signed by Ven. Elle Gunawanse thero, more..

Road terror: Police say they want your support

May 2 (ST) At least seven people die every day due to fatal road accidents in Sri Lanka, statistics have revealed. Most of the accidents occur when vehicles overtake, due to excessive speeding, drunk driving, mechanical defects in vehicles, negligence of pedestrians and motorists, unfavourable road conditions and driver fatigue, related studies and police statistics have shown. Vehicle wise those involved in majority of the accidents are more..

North, South youth recognized for assistance during floods

May 2 (DN) Over 90 youth, from Kilinochchi, Matara and Vavuniya received certificates from the USAID and the National Youth Service Council in recognition of the assistance given to flood affected communities. The certificates were awarded at a ceremony in Kilinochchi. Youth from the Northern and Southern regions worked together with assistance from USAID the development agency of the US Government – to help those affected by the floods. more..

Darusman report biased - Governors

May 2 (DN) The Governors of Sri Lanka have issued a Joint Statement on the Controversial Darusman report made by the Advisory Panel appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations to advise him on the alleged atrocities said to have been committed by the security forces during the last stages of their humanitarian campaign to relieve the tamil civilians held as a human shield by the LTTE terrorists. "The Governors of the Provinces in Sri Lanka not with deep concern and more..

More crimes in Welikada than outside?!

May 2 (LB) The Welikada Prison in recent times has been riddled with vice, investigations reveal. Drugs, sex and corruption are said to be rampant within the high walls of the prison. The reason for this state of affairs is attributed to Welikada Prison being situated in Wanathamulla which is a haven for gangsters, drug addicts, racketeers, pickpockets and pimps, amongst others who engage in various nefarious activities. more..

Govt. inhales Rs. 2.6 b more from fags

May 2 (FT) The Govt has earned Rs. 2.6 billion more in revenue from the tobacco industry in the first quarter of this year as against the corresponding period of last year. Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) said yesterday that it contributed Rs. 14.02 billion revenue to the Govt coffers in the first three months of 2011. As per CTC’s interim accounts, in the first quarter of last year the figure was Rs. 11.4 billion, reflecting that there was a Rs. 2.6 billion increase in revenue this year. more..

Fuel surcharge irks travellers, agents

May 2 (NS) Travellers are in for higher air fares with the escalating jet fuel prices that stands at US$ 138 per barrel. In Sri Lanka most carriers have already added a fuel surcharge to their fares and others are likely to follow suit very soon. According to travel industry sources, for the current year alone, some carriers have added the fuel surcharges to ticket prices on three occasions and the latest amounts to about 2 to 3 per cent. “The latest hike was introduced on April 1, more..

May Day marked on a grand scale; UPFA stages massive show of strength

May 2 (Island) May Day was marked yesterday on a grand scale with the participation of hundreds of thousands of people in Colombo and in other parts of the country. There were 11 rallies organized by the main stream political parties, trade unions and civil society organisations. However, the majority of them were political events. United May Day rally of the government and its allies commenced from several points in the city. more..

Hashan should work with ACSU to unearth the truth: Sangakkara

May 2 (PTI) Reacting to former Sri Lanka captain Hashan Tillakaratne's comments that match fixing has existed in Sri Lankan cricket since 1992, Kumar Sangakkara said the former should work with the ACSU unit of the ICC and the home authorities in Sri Lanka if he has "anything more than allegations, as it's dangerous to throw names around." He said, "Hashan made those comments in a TV show. It was then taken up by the press. Hashan has played the game for years and more..

YCMOU courses for Lankan varsity students

May 2 (TOI) The Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU) plans to offer online courses in conventional arts, commerce as well as agriculture streams to students at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka as part of an exchange agreement between the two institutions. R Krishnakumar, vice-chancellor, YCMOU, said that the university had for the first time got into such exchange agreement, which was signed between the two institutions in August 2010. more..

Yehali, the woman by Sangakkara’s side

May 2 (DC) We are all familiar with the cricketing super-star, Kumar Sangakkara — currently, captain of the Deccan Chargers team and former captain of the Sri Lankan team; but not much is known about the woman behind the man — his wife, Yehali Sangakkara! Though Kumar has always been destined for great things in life; none of that would have been possible without this woman by his side! And yes, there is more to Yehali than being “Mrs Sangakkara” and more..

Life insurance, pension scheme for fishermen mooted

May 2 (DN) The National Fisheries Federation (NFF) to mark the 125 th International Workers' Day that was celebrated yesterday has taken measures to introduce a life insurance and pension scheme for fishermen and their families,Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. There are 165,000 fishermen and over 600,000 fisher families who will benefit by this life insurance scheme and those fishermen will be paid Rs.10,000 as their pension, more..

COYLE rejects UN panel report

May 2 (FT) The Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE), being a national chamber of the entrepreneur community of Sri Lanka, rejects the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts Report on Accountability in Sri Lanka as its conclusions are based merely on information available to the panel members. A communiqué from COYLE states that the conclusions are not based on facts or factual information gathered through any logical process of investigations. more..

Development Diaries

Lay committees want justice for church

May 2 (UCAN) Lay committees of parishes in Jaffna, and Tamil politicians, have denounced delays in arresting culprits who harassed priests. At a series of parish council meetings including St James Church, St Mary’s Cathedral, and St Johns during April, people have complained that no actions were taken to identify or arrest a group which continues to insult, harass and threaten Catholic priests and anyone who tries to defend them. more..

Three persons arrested for downloading porn

May 2 (DM) Three persons including a man who was running a communication centre where youth from the Akkaraipattu and Oluvil areas frequented, had been arrested by the Akkaraipattu Police. Police said these youth had used internet facilities at the centre to download pornographic videos to their mobile phones for a fee. Police had found five computers at the communication centre which also doubled as a place where computer classes were being conducted. more..

Tamil Nadu pressure over UN report

May 2 (BBC) Political parties in Tamil Nadu are seeking to mount pressure on the federal government on the issue of the alleged war crimes committed by Sri Lanka in the closing stages of the war against separatist Tamil Tiger rebels. The parties in the southern Indian state want India to mobilise international opinion for setting up a tribunal to prosecute those responsible for thousands of civilian deaths then. more..

'Sri Lanka needs truth, not a national forgetting'

May 2 (ABC) Like most children of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora I have almost no experience of the Sinhalese as human beings. The breadth of my experience has been confined to a friend here, an acquaintance there, but no widespread human contact with a range of people in Sinhalese society. I suspect that many Sinhalese people, particularly here in Australia, are in a similar situation regarding the Tamils. The situation in Sri Lanka itself seems much the same from some accounts. more..

Questioning and bridging

May 2 (DH) After the shows presenting work by artists associated with the Indo-Sri Lanka Sethusamudram project, the latest event at 1Shanthi Road Studio/Gallery took a more interesting turn. "Identity", with its contributions from two local and two Sri Lankan participants, set out to probe and critique as well as link issues of personal, social, political and above all cultural belonging to an ethos that along with its many past and present strata and more..

Appoint multi party committee – JVP

May 2 (DM) The JVP yesterday called on the govt to appoint a multi party task force to resettle the displaced persons, bring about national reconciliation and see the country through the situation arisen in the aftermath of UN advisory panel report. JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe told the party’s May Day rally at BRC grounds in Colombo yesterday that implementing his party’s proposal was the simple solution to the present crisis. more..

UN war crimes report on Sri Lanka foreign policy challenge for Maldives

May 2 (MN) The Sri Lankan govt is grappling with the political fallout of a leaked UN report accusing it – and the LTTE rebels – of potential crimes against humanity in the closing days of the civil war. The report on the final stage of the war between LTTE and the Sri Lankan authorities was leaked to the media, containing allegations, among others, that the army shelled hospitals, UN facilities and aid workers with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). more..

Sri Lanka soldiers' plight 'ignored' in Iraq

May 2 (BBC) A group of former Sri Lanka soldiers serving in Iraq without pay for months says their plight is ignored by the authorities despite repeated requests. Sudath Rohana Kumara, the mission commander of the Talat Eddin Hussam Younis Group in Baghdad, said the company owes him nearly $67,000 as wages for over 17 months. At least 41 Sri Lankan workers, in the capital and Al-Amara, are stranded for months as the company has failed to pay their monthly salaries. more..

'External forces trying to destabilize SL'

May 2 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday charged that external forces were trying to destabilize Sri Lanka by throwing allegations of Human Rights violations and war crimes. Addressing the UPFA May Day rally at the Colombo Town Hall Grounds, President Rajapaksa alleged that those who wrote reports against Sri Lanka had not paid a single visit to the North. “They are playing with the lives of the people of this country. more..

EPF ETF not paid for a decade

May 2 (DM) The JEDB, Elkaduwa Plantation and SLSPC had not paid its workers their EPF and ETF payments for the last ten years, President of the Ceylon Estate Staffs' Union’ Dhammika Jayawardene said. He said that action would be taken against companies that fail to pay their dues before the end of June. Talking about the proposed Private Sector Pensions Bill, he said that their union was totally against the idea and promised to fight tooth and nail to stop it from being passed into law. more..

New truck designed to transport jumbos

May 2 (Island) Sri Lanka’s largest tusker, Siyabalangamuwe Etha’, had died in accident, the committee appoin-ted to probe the matter revealed. The committee comprised Director (Operations) and Director (Administration) of Wildlife Department and Director General of Wildlife Conservation. Wildlife Director General Dr. Chandrawansa Pathiraja said the department had been compelled to stop the transportation of elephants after that tragedy. more..

More ex-Lankans substantiate match-fixing charges

May 2 (DM) Sri Lanka's another former captain, Arjuna Ranatunga may come forward to substantiate the match-fixing allegations made by his former team mate, Hashan Tilakratne. "I am planning to hold the press conference in Sri Lanka next week and will reveal more details on this...", he said exclusively from Colombo on Sunday. But then, the former skipper has failed to keep his promise in the past. more..

Hashan to talk about match fixing

May 2 (DM) Former Sri Lanka Test captain Hashan Tillekaratne will be making a special statement tomorrow at the Western Province Provincial Council regarding the match fixing allegations made by him. The former Sri Lanka cricket captain Hashan Tillekaratne made a sensational revelation that match fixing has been common in Sri Lanka's cricket and promised that he would come out with the names of the responsible persons in the near future. more..

'Govt uses Moon Panel report to deny people relief'

May 2 (Island) Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said that the government had shirked its duties of providing relief to the working class by distracting their attention with a report by an advisory panel to UN Secretary General. Addressing the party’s May Day rally in Bandarawela Wickremesinghe said the government had increased prices of gas and petrol taking cover behind the World Cup, more..

US Embassy security high

May 2 (Island) Security at the US Embassy in Colombo has been heightened following the US military attack on Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan which subsequently killed him, a US official said. A top Embassy official told News that security has been heightened at US Embassies around the World but did not wish to elaborate further on the security arrangements at the Embassy in Colombo. more..

'Party had lost enough; it’s time to change'

May 2 (DM) UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya yesterday said his party would protect the Sri Lankan security forces which ended terrorism in this country. Mr. Jayasuriya who was speaking at a special ceremony held to mark the 18th death anniversary of late President R. Preamdasa, said UNP as the party which brought independence to this country would protect all security forces including the jailed former army commander Sarath Fonseka today. more..

Rs. 3 bn from treasury for pension fund

May 2 (DM) A Treasury allocation of Rs. 3 billion and a contribution of 2% each of the consolidated monthly salary from the employee and the employer would raise the three pension funds proposed to be established to pay pensions to private and non-formal sector employees, Minister Gamini Lokuge said. Accordingly, three separate funds - The Employees’ Pensions Benefit Fund, The Expatriate Employees’ Pensions Fund and more..

No new regulations for news websites

May 2 (DM) The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) said today that it would not impose any new regulations on news websites despite recent reports which stated otherwise. Recent reports suggested that the TRC will be introducing new regulations for news websites following a court directive to the TRC to temporarily suspend the Lanka e News website until the ongoing court proceedings with regard to the news website are completed. more..

May Day: Time for Introspection

May 2 (NS) Workers all over the world will be celebrating May Day today. Sri Lanka will be no exception. Is it another May Day and the question on most perceptive observers’ lips is to what extent would the day be relevant and of any significance for the workers of this country and to what degree would issues essentially pertaining to labour be taken up and championed on May Day platforms by political parties is another. more..

Now, LTTE rump targets Sri Lankan cricketers on UK tour

May 2 (Island) The UK-based LTTE rump is planning to disrupt the Sri Lankan cricket team’s forthcoming tour of England, The Island learns. A senior government official told ‘The Island’ that the LTTE activists had organised a series of protests, targeting the Sri Lankan team and in a bid to pressure the England Cricket Board to call off the tour. more..

Bin Laden killed in shootout with U.S. forces in Pakistan

May 2 (Reuters) Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S.-led operation involving helicopters and ground forces in Pakistan on Sunday, ending a nearly 10-year worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the September 11 attacks. U.S. officials said bin Laden was found in a million-dollar compound in the upscale town of Abbottabad, 60 km north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad. A source familiar with the operation said bin Laden was shot in the head. more..

President 'ignoring' Pirivena leaders

May 3 (BBC) The Sri Lanka president is accused by the Pirivena leaders of ignoring their repeated requests for a meeting to discuss issues related to Buddhist education. The president of the All Island Bhikku Organisation (AIBO) told BBC Sinhala service, Sandeshaya that they have been requesting a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa for over two years. “We have often received a response saying the President is busy and we will soon be informed of a suitable time for the meeting,” more..

War long over, media still muzzled

May 3 (IPS) It has been two years since the end of Sri Lanka’s decades long war, and life in general has begun to slowly edge back towards normalcy here. Not so for the country’s besieged media community, according to observers and journalists alike - reporting still feels hemmed in and muzzled, they say. "Don’t forget that this is a nation that is wounded at its heart, the media reflects that psyche. The healing has not even begun," Sunil Jayasekara, more..