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Undergrads’ leadership training begins today

May 23 (DN) Higher Education authorities will go ahead with their proposed programme of providing leadership training to university entrants as scheduled today. The first batch of 12,000 of the 22,000 new entrants will enroll themselves for three weeks’ training on leadership and positive thinking at 28 locations. Higher Education Minister S B Dissanayake dismissing criticisms levelled at the scheme, said that this is not military training but more..

NUW led protest to demand better wages

May 23 (DM) A protest campaign of the National Union of Workers (NUW) led by MP P. Digambaram was conducted yesterday in Kotagala. It was held to demand an increase in wages for estate workers. A large crowd participated in the protest campaign. “The meagre wage paid to an estate worker at present is not enough. Therefore we demand a daily wage of Rs. 500 be paid to them” the PM said at the protest. Discussions are being held with plantation representatives but more..

Keep politics out of police, enforce law in East – UNP

May 23 (Island) The Opposition has urged the government to keep politics out of the police service and called on the police to enforce the law in the Eastern Province. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said the govt was attempting to use the police for political gain. He said that the police should act independently and curb violence which had broken out in the East regardless of who the perpetrators were. He said a govt statement had mentioned last week that more..

Milk cows to be saved by new Central Bank programme

May 23 (DM) Around 90,000 milk cows are slaughtered annually in the country despite their capacity to produce milk, Additional Director of the Regional Development Division (RDD) of the Central Bank MSK Dharmawardene said. He said speaking at a function to declare open the seventh cattle Resources Centre in the country at Malsiripura recently. These Resource Centres come under a project that is funded by the Livestock more..

Govt mulls review of PTA - AG

May 23 (DM) The government was mulling a review of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) along with all other emergency regulations, Attorney General Mohan Peiris said. He said that the govt was yet to take any final decision in this regard. “It is under consideration. Nothing has been finalized yet. We are looking at the clauses of the emergency regulations that can be done away with or retained further,” he said. Asked about the PTA, he said, more..

'100,000 employees will be assembled in Colombo against Pension Fund Act'

May 23 (LT) President of the ICEU, Mr Wasantha Samarasinghe said the Union will take action to defeat the proposed Pension Fund Act for private sector employees assembling one hundred thousand of it’s employees in Colombo. He added that representatives of private sector and semi-Government institutions are scheduled to meet in Colombo today (23) to discuss the matter and get their co-operation for this protest. more..

Bullish Fernando vows to make most of opportunity

May 23 (CI) It's fair to say there's been a hint of underachievement in Dilhara Fernando's career, but from being just another fast bowler he's suddenly been elevated to the role of spearheading his country's bowling attack on their current tour of England following the retirements of Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga from Test cricket. Fernando's career record doesn't match the effort and determination he puts into every delivery he bowls. more..

No ceremonial sittings for new CJ

May 23 (DM) There will be no ceremonial sittings in the Supreme Court to welcome the newly appointed Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake who took oath before the President Mahinda Rajapaksa last Wednesday, due to a personal request made by her. The ceremonial sittings at the Superior Court is held to welcome the newly appointed to CJ by both the official bar, the members of the Attorney General’s Department and more..

Govt. to teach farmers value of crop insurance

May 23 (Island) The government has launched a special project to educate the farming community of the vital importance to insure their crops against natural disasters. The project got underway in the wake of the recent destruction of food crops and paddy land due to flash floods. Thousands of farmers are struggling to recover their losses and seeking govt intervention for want of agricultural insurance. more..

'Warnapura stopped me from joining the rebel tour'

May 23 (Island) In the second part of his interview, former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga reveals that he was approached to join the rebel tour to South Africa in 1982 before he had turned 19. Ranatunga reveals that he was offered Rs. 3 million at that time, but was prevented from joining the tour party by then captain Bandula Warnapura, who along with the rest of the members of that squad received a ban of 25 years. more..

Uni students reject army training on ‘sex abuse’ grounds etc.

May 23 (LB) The decision taken by the Ministry of Higher Education to provide army training to those who have qualified for university education has been severely condemned by the Inter-University Student Federation (IUSF). However, a defiant Minister S. B. Dissanayaka vowed to go ahead with providing such training to those who have qualified to enter universities, casting aside all dissent and protests mounted by the IUSF in this connection. more..

License to sell water

May 24 (NN) New regulations are to be introduced soon to make it compulsory for companies to obtain a license from the Water Supply and Drainage Board to sell mineral water. According to the Water Supply and Drainage Board laws regarding this have already been formulated and handed over to the relevant Ministry. The Board said that the need to introduce a license to sell mineral water in Sri Lanka came after several complaints were received of poor standards in mineral water sold in the country. more..

Power failed when General commenced ‘statement of defense’

May 24 (LT) The power supply in the court premises failed as soon as former Commander of the Army Gen. Sarath Fonseka commenced his ‘statement of defense’ during proceedings of the ‘white flag’ case today. Power failed in the Court when Gen. Fonseka got ready to make his ‘statement of defense’ with the help of a mike. The three panel judges informed Gen. Fonseka to move to an area in the court where there was enough light for him to read the text. more..

CEB chief speaks of power sector corruption

May 24 (ST) The Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Vidya Amarapala today said the fraud and discrepancies in the power sector have been revealed following disclosures in deals related with the Agrico. “The Power sector Mafia is powerful to the extent of distroying anyone who go against their plans”, the Chiarman said in a statement to the press. He set out the background explaining as to why the CEB had to depend on power supplies from Agrico. more..

Hundreds join prison protest

May 24 (BBC) Hundreds of prisoners on death row or serving life in jail in Sri Lanka are staging a hunger strike to try to persuade the government to set them free or commute their sentences. The number of those refusing food has grown as other prisoners join them in solidarity. The head of the prisons service, Maj-Gen V.R. de Silva, told the BBC that more than 600 of the 4,000 prisoners at the high-security Welikada prison in the capital, had refused food on Monday morning. more..

JVP members arrested

May 24 (NN) Three JVP members including a former Jaffna district JVP candidate were arrested in Mannar this afternoon, the JVP said. According to the JVP the three members were arrested while they were in the process of pasting posters against the government. The JVP members taken into custody included Lalith Kumar who contested the general election for the Jaffna district last year. A JVP spokesman said that the JVP members were arrested on the basis that were pasting anti-government posters.

Chinthana Vidanage took drugs

May 24 (NN) Commonwealth weightlifting silver medalist Chinthana Vidanage has been accused of taking a banned substance at the Asian Weightlifting Championships held in China last month. The weightlifter had failed to win a medal at the games but was tested for drugs as part of the routine procedure on all the participants. Dr. Geethanjana Mendis of the sports medical unit at the Sports Ministry in Sri Lanka said that his urine sample tests more..

Ministry says leadership programme a success

May 24 (SL) The Higher Education Ministry has said the leadership training programme was a success with a majority of the students called to participate in the leadership training programme in military camps have reported to the respective bases by yesterday afternoon. Higher Education Minister Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne has told the local media that the programme was a success with a large number of students reporting to the bases. more..

Sri Lanka inflation to fall in May

May 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's inflation is expected to come down in May following spike to 9.8 percent in the 12-month to April and the central bank is comfortable with the current interest rates. "This month it (inflation) will come down," Cabraal said. "As is it I am comfortable with the rates." In April, though the 12-month price gap widened to 9.8 percent from 8.6 percent the absolute index number rose modestly to 233.4 points from 233.2 points a month earlier, more..

Tamil Tigers sneak through Schagen (part 1)

May 24 (RNW) The LTTE waged a bloody war for a quarter of a century in Sri Lanka, but on May 17th, 2009, it admitted defeat to the country’s majority Sinhalese regime. Tamil Tiger founder and chairman Velupillai Prabhakaran died the following day, killed while he attempted a desperate escape from the battlefield in an ambulance. Meanwhile, some 8,300 km north of that battleground, Tamil Tiger representatives in places like Schagen, more..

Sri Lanka private sector urged to hire former combatants

May 24 (LBO) An international terrorism expert has suggested Sri Lanka's private sector should employ former Tamil Tiger separatist fighters who have been rehabilitated to help ensure they don't return to violence. Rohan Gunaratna of Singapore's Nanyang Technological University said private sector employment opportunities would provide viable alternative futures for former Tamil Tiger fighters who surrendered or were captured with the end of the island's ethnic war. more..

President against ragging

May 24 (NN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa says new students who are admitted to universities should in no way be sullied by the practice of ragging that prevails today. The President said that it is the responsibility of the government to rid the fear and doubts that exist among students and parents at the time of university admission. This should not be achieved through to the suppression of another group or the use of oppressive laws, but rather by building the self-confidence of the new students, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 23.05.2011

Sir, Please Treat us Kindly

May 24 (LG) The theme song of a popular Sri Lankan film, Kalu Diya Dahara, in the 1970s is about colonial Sri Lanka. It has depicted the tragedy of socially and ethnically marginalized, economically exploited and politically suppressed workers in rural/estate Sri Lanka. Although workers pleaded with employers not only for a living wage but also for a reasonable level of dignity and recognition, authorities with the help of the suppressive state machine did more..

Dilemma of university teachers

May 24 (LG) For many years, most university academics have been criticised for teaching less in universities and more outside. They have also been blamed for blocking changes in curricula to keep abreast with modern standards and making graduates employable, out of concern that they would be lumped with more work. The latest action however by the Federation of University Teachers (FUTA) to step down from their administrative positions because of the govt’s failure to more..

Tamil & Muslim undergrads help Sinhalese students to organize Vesak celebration

May 24 (Cimic) Students of University of Jaffna setting example to others collectively organized a Vesak festival on the 17th May. They decorated the Ramanathan road close to the University with Vesak lanterns and put up a Dansala. It was impressive to witness the students belonging to Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities together waving flags to stop all vehicles and pedestrians passing the University premises and more..

Military training to university students is a violation of their freedom conscience

May 24 (LG) University student is essentially a person who is expected to question authority and to look at things rationally and critically. Therefore Centre for Human rights (CHR) believes that the decision taken by the govt to give 'leadership training' to university entrants in military installations and by predominantly military personnel is a violation of accepted norms. CHR Director Ranjith Keerthi Tennakoon states that the Sri Lankan higher education system was more..

Bridging the Trust-Deficit

May 24 (DM) Two events in two days, and between them the 2600th Sri Sambuddathva Jayanthi of Lord Buddha and second anniversary of the conclusion of the ‘ethnic war’ brought out the inherent contradictions in contemporary Sri Lanka as none else could have. Lord Buddha stood for peace and harmony, and here we have a nation celebrating war’s victory almost alongside. The contradiction does not stop there. It stands out even more. In a way, it is a part of the personality of more..

To save who from whom, the govt wants Army camps all over the country?

May 24 (LG) The news that the Defence Secretary ordered the setting up of army camps all over the country to strengthen the security of the country has created fear and tension among the people. This step of the Government is considered as its first step for its plot to establish a dictatorial Government. It is beyond ones imagination as to how our people suffered under the dictatorship of the armed groups working under the garb of freedom fighters. more..

Political leaders need training in sacrificial leadership

May 24 (DM) My dear Mahinda aiyah, Ayubowan, vanakkam, assalamu allaikum and best wishes as the country concludes celebrations and ceremonies to commemorate the thrice blessed day of Vesak, and the 2600th anniversary of the Lord Buddha’s enlightenment. The pandals may have come down, the dansal and Vesak zones closed but the message of Vesak, the precepts and principles of the Buddha dhamma need to be practised in daily life at our homes, workplaces and wherever we go. more..

Is Sri Lanka revolving or devolving?

May 24 (DM) In a significant Vesak declaration the Minister G.L. Peiris changed attire to play Santa Claus to the 13th Amendment by agreeing with the Indian govt for “ A devolution package building upon the 13th Amendment, would contribute towards creating conditions for such reconciliation”. No doubt, words he would have carefully chosen because he is not known, notwithstanding any other possible shortcomings, for a shortfall in his knowledge of the English vocabulary. more..

'Devananda is running Jaffna exactly the way the LTTE ran Jaffna'

May 24 (TC) On a personal assurance from President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole, a former vice chancellor of the University of Jaffna, returned to Sri Lanka with his family to serve the country he so loved. His experience since coming back has been “horrible” and has left him sorely disappointed. Q. How far back does your relationship with the University of Jaffna go? A. The university was established in 1974 by taking over more..

Editorial : Tell them where to get off!

May 24 (Island) A fast by the so-called death row prisoners to have their jail terms reduced entered the sixth day yesterday. Some of them have been hospitalised due to dehydration and there are no signs of their demand being granted. Prisoners are also human beings and the State is duty bound to treat them humanely in spite of the heinous crimes they have committed. Our prisons are hellholes, as is common knowledge. They must be developed and turned into modern more..

Editorial : Cricket election or Skandakumar report?

May 24 (DM) The speed at which cricket administration’s behind-the-scene big hitters Thilanga Sumathipala and Jayantha Dharmadasa raced for a toss-up at a possible Sri Lanka Cricket election would have taken no one by surprise. Such a race had been written between the lines in the scorebook for the past four years after both men had been dismissed hit-wicket by the head-umpire who had not taken to the field but made his decisions after watching the game on his giant more..

'Private sector pension scheme, boon to working class'

May 24 (NS) There is a raging controversy over the proposed Pension Scheme for the private sector employees with trade unions up in arms against it. The Nation had occasion to discuss this issue with Official Languages and National Integration Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara who himself is a veteran trade union leader in the country. Q: You are a veteran trade union leader with long years of experience in this field behind you. more..

Post-War People

May 24 (SL) It’s been two years since the war ended. It’s actually kinda weird seeing the conflict referred to in the past tense. Growing up it seemed like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, doomed to drag out until the parties died and/or Armageddon. But then it ended. In a bloody, absolute way, it ended. So, the end. Or not. People keep talking about it, ad nauseum. I don’t mean talking about it in the sense of working reconciliation. That would be nice, not nauseating. more..

The reckoning: Press freedom in Sri Lanka

May 24 (GV) We are living in the world, in which committed journalists writes the news not only with ink, but also with their blood. This is the very reason that their souls still exists with us even after their tragic deaths. Sri Lanka is the very recent example for such context. Thirty-four journalists and media workers have been killed with no recourse to justice since the UPFA govt came into power in April 2004 with the present President Mahinda Rajapaksa as its prime minister. more..

'I will support call for an independent enquiry'

May 24 (SL) The Co-Deputy Leader of the UNP Hambantota MP, Sajith Premadasa spoke to Faraz Shauketaly on a matter that continues to astound international observers of Sri Lanka and continues to irk those wishing for justice, fair play and good governance: the investigation into the murder of the founder Editor of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunge. Excerpts: Q: As the Deputy Leader of the UNP why is it that the UNP has been so silent, more..

Friday Forum wants transparency process for city planning and urban development

May 24 (TC) The Friday Forum has demanded that the govt ensure that city planning and urban development activities are carried out within a transparent process which takes into account the concerns of people in regard to their homes and property. “We are particularly disturbed at the use of uniformed services personnel to deliver communications of the UDA to citizens in matters which are not of a military nature,” the Friday Forum said in a release issued to media. more..

Reflecting on the end of the Sri Lankan civil war

May 24 (GV) Although military hostilities in Sri Lanka ended two years ago, the dynamics of the conversation in the global Sri Lankan community continues to be influenced by the nations’ past conflicts. Decades of communal grievances and misunderstandings have seemingly scarred our grandparents’ and parents’ generations to voice visions of a brighter future. Much of the current dialogue in the leadership of our communities attempts to justify past military actions and policy decisions. more..