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Duminda Silva: Frontline General in ruling family’s relentless campaign

Nov 28 (TC) On the day of the recent elections, Duminda Silva, ruling party politician, with his entourage of armed official and unofficial enforcers, rampaged through the streets of Kolonnawa, physically brutalising and intimidating the opposition. Although the area had been heavily policed, the compliant and neutered arm of the law chose to remain limp, permitting Silva an unfettered run of the electorate. The culmination was a firefight in which fellow stalwart Bharatha more..

LLRC report should be given a fair hearing

Nov 28 (SO) The Sunday Observer spoke to several personalities on the handing over of the much anticipated LLRC report to President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week. The report which received a great deal of publicity in the international arena, drew equal criticism before it even wrapped up its work. Those among the most vociferous critics were the pro-LTTE groups and their sympathisers giving the impression that they feared the result would cripple their anti-Lanka campaign. more..

A degraded legislature; a debased judiciar

Nov 28 (TC) President Mahinda Rajapaksa takes umbrage at the strangest things. He once vented outrage at a Sinhala song, titled, ‘The people of that country are running crazy’. Such songs, the President remarked at his sanctimonious-best, would encourage separatism. The same President remained unperturbed, as several SLFP MPs, violating every conceivable parliamentary tradition, crossed the well of the House to attack opposition legislators. more..

Editorial: Devaluation of the Rupee, a timely decision

Nov 28 (BL) The Exchange Rate has been held down by the Central Bank despite annual price inflation of 7.1% for the last year and 7.0 % for the current year. The point to point change in prices distorts the underlying inflation because of seasonal fluctuations in prices, such as rice during the harvesting season and vegetables when too much rain takes place. What the annual inflation rate shows is that in the last year and up to the present there have been over 14% increases more..

Mahinda to hear brokers’ woes today

Nov 28 (FT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to hear woes of the crisis-hit and losing-value-in-billions-by-the-hour Colombo stock market during a meeting with a group of stock brokers and high net worth investors today. Following a request last week, the President amidst his busy schedule has agreed to give a hearing to brokers at the meeting, which however has no involvement of either the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE). more..

JVP dissident female firebrand reveals it all

Nov 28 (Island) Dharma Dimuthu Attigalle is a politburo member of the JVP. She was one of the three said to be sacked by the Somawansa Faction of the party for supporting the dissident group led by Kumar Gunaratnam alias Kumar Mahattaya, the so called underground leader of the party. Better known by her alias name Krishanthi, she is one who survived the massive annihilation of JVPers by the UNP between 1987 and 90. She says she is married to the revolution and more..

Sixteen-year-old victim of abuse unable to leave hospital

Nov 28 (SL) A sixteen year old boy has been admitted to the Embilitipitiya Hospital after he and a group of his friends were allegedly abused by a disabled person who had previously served in the armed forces. “My son was taken to hospital in a very serious condition. We believed that he could not walk due to the drugs that he had been given; but later we discovered that he is suffering from grave physical harm,” said his father, a carpenter in Embilipitiya. more..

Exports to EU grow in first nine months

Nov 28 (DN) Latest statistics reveal that Sri Lanka's exports to the EU grew by 25.5 percent in the first nine months of 2011 (2635 Million $), compared to the corresponding period of 2010 (2100 Million $) Sri Lanka's ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha, said. "Meanwhile, with respect to Belgium, which is the 4th largest destination among EU countries and the 6th largest destination of Sri Lanka's exports to the world, exports grew by 41.4 percent more..

'Juvenile judicial system should apply restorative justice to children'

Nov 28 (Island) Opening the 1st juvenile court in Jaffna, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, Chief Justice recently, said that one should consider carefully the kind of punishment meted out to a young offender. As far as criminal justice system was concerned it would be necessary to apply restorative justice not a retributive one to young offenders. She said that the opening of the Jaffna Juvenile Court was a historic event for the judiciary as this was the only such more..

Oil pipeline places over 400 families under threat

Nov 28 (SL) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is to evacuate over 400 families who are living above an oil pipeline located between the Colombo port and the Kollonawa oil refinery. The move follows concerns for their safety in the eventuality of a fire breaking out within the pipeline, which was recently damaged. Secretary of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) National Workers Union, Ananda Palitha, told The Sunday Leader that there are families living within a more..

Bird-blended tea sweepings sold here and abroad

Nov 28 (ST) The CID recently busted a racket in packing and selling tea dust (sweepings) to the local market level, as well as for export, in an illegal manner that could have a far reaching adverse effect on Sri Lanka’s tea exports. A special Police team comprising of CID officials and STF personnel had been deployed in the Wattala, Hendala, Seeduwa, Wellaboda and Ambalangoda areas where the racketeers were operating, CID sources said. In one factory in Wattala, more..

Stranded Lankan crew’s families corner ship’s agent

Nov 28 (ST) They came from near and far, seeking the National Union of Seafarers Sri Lanka (NUSS) office at Lauries Road, Bambalapitiya, on Tuesday. They were the next-of-kin of the 20-member crew, seven cadets and five marshals, all but one Sri Lankan, onboard the vessel, Lanka Mahapola, stuck in the Sudan Port since November 5. Many of them had travelled from places such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala, Badulla, Ratnapura and Bandarawela. more..

Another death in police custody

Nov 28 (Island) The police are investigating the death of a suspect taken in for questioning in connection with his alleged involvement in a series of robberies in the Jaffna peninsula. Responding to a query by The Island, sources said that they were inquiring into the circumstances, under which the suspect, Skandarajah alias Sumanan had died in police custody. Sources said that Chunnakam police had detained the suspect over his alleged involvement in robbing more..

'Post-war SL example to global community'

Nov 28 (Island) Sri Lanka would be a unique example to the whole world as it constructed a peaceful environment within a short period of time after the end of 30 years civil war, Former Vice-President, International Court of Justice, Judge C. G. Weeramantry said yesterday. Addressing the mine action awareness programme at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, he pointed out that now Sri Lanka was making progress towards banning landmines in the country through more..

Sexual harassment in public transport

Nov 28 (DM) A survey conducted by the Legal Aid Commission (LAC) has revealed that 70% of women aged between15 to 45 have been sexually harassed in public transport, the Legal Aid Commission chairman said. Chairman of the LAC S. S. Wijeratne made this revelation while addressing the White Ribbon campaign that was held at Bastian Mawatha aiming to stop sexual harassment in public transport. “According to the prevailing law, the culprits can be punished with more..

Orphanage matron arrested

Nov 28 (SL) The matron of Prem Nivasa, a children’s home in Moratuwa which is embroiled in a controversy over the alleged sale of children was arrested Friday night by a team of police officials. The matron, a missionary of Indian origin was produced before a Magistrate and was later remanded. Police on Friday night also took an under-aged pregnant girl and two other females from the home and placed them in the custody of another home in the area. “The matron of this home has been remanded till Dec 1. more..

Dengue looms with arrival of rains

Nov 28 (DN) The Health Ministry requested the public to take precautions against dengue which is rising its head once again, with heavy rains over the island. It was revealed that during the last 11 months 22,926 suspected dengue cases and 163 deaths were reported from all over the island. The unit said that 57.44 percent of dengue cases were reported from the Western Province. Last month, 2,059 dengue cases were reported while over 1,070 dengue cases were reported this month. more..

Boston Lanka News: Nov. 27, 2011

Finally at peace, Sri lanka poised to join asia's fast growing economies

Nov 28 (BP) Nearly three decades of conflict with the secessionist Tamil Tigers seriously debilitated Sri Lanka's economic development. With financial and human resources diverted to fighting a war that, though largely confined to the country's north and east, spilled over to other areas including the capital city Colombo, development was largely stultified. The terrorist attacks in Colombo and some other major cities had a deleterious effect on one of Sri Lanka's major more..

Wanted: the real Dilshan

Nov 28 (National) It was the perfect scenario for Indian cricket fans on that August night of last year: Virender Sehwag was batting on 99 and the men in blue needed one run to beat hosts Sri Lanka in Dambulla. But following a chat with Tillakaratne Dilshan, Suraj Randiv bowled a no-ball to deny the opener a century. Randiv was duly suspended and Dilshan fined. Dilshan was not even captain at the time, but many expected his abrasive nature to rub off when he eventually took over more..

Fiscal targets to be met despite public sector spending rise

Nov 28 (Island) The Central Bank says the govt is likely to meet its fiscal targets for this year despite a rise in spending on the public sector workforce. "Despite the increase in the salaries of public sector employees and pensioners in 2011, the govt was able to contain current expenditure within the budgetary estimates," the Central Bank said in its report Recent Economic Developments. "As a percentage of estimated GDP, current expenditure declined to 10.6 more..

‘We consider Lankan workers as our brothers and sisters’

Nov 28 (DN) Rooted in mythical origins, shrouded by natural beauty and rich traditions Korea derives its name from the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo, the first Korean dynasty visited by Persian merchants in 2333 BC. Since then the nation had come a long way, gaining recognition for its captivating art forms to its exotic cuisine. The nation celebrated its National Foundation Day on October 3 annually to celebrate its foundation myth of Tan'gun, the Sandalwood King, who became more..

Dematagoda businessman says trader rivalry behind his abduction

Nov 28 (ST) Dematagoda Traders Association President Lalith Kumara left home with his friend Manoj around 5.30 a.m. on Monday to buy fish at the Peliyagoda fish market—a daily chore, for this wholesale businessman. But that day, while driving down Baseline Road in his van, Lalith Kumara was signalled down by a passing vehicle near Urugodawatte. When he stopped the vehicle, four men clad in military type uniforms got off a white van, dragged him out of his vehicle, more..

University teachers join fight against private universities

Nov 28 (Island) University teachers have joined the on-going campaign against establishing private universities in the country, claiming that they do not want education to be turned into a commodity. President of the FUTA Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that establishing or facilitating private universities here was not a task for the govt. "The govt’s task is to develop and expand the public university system," he said. more..

Lecturer, parents convicted for hiding they are Sri Lankans

Nov 28 (PTI) A city court has sentenced to nine years imprisonment a temporary lecturer of the Madurai Kamaraj University College and his parents for hiding the fact that they were Sri Lankan citizens, purchasing properties in India and claiming to be Indians. The direction was given yesterday by Judicial Magistrate Uma Mahesari, who sentenced Jacob Savarimuthu (66), his wife Mary Agnes (65) and their son Rohan Savarimuthu under the Passports Act, sections 120 B more..

Probe into Met Dept. lapses

Nov 28 (DN) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said, information has been received that the Meteorological Department was unable to provide early reporting regarding Friday's cyclonic conditions which caused havoc in the South. Therefore the Ministry Secretary has informed the Meteorological Department to conduct an investigation regarding this lapse with immediate effect. Further Minister Amaraweera said that if the report is not to his satisfaction a committee will be appointed to more..

SriLankan Airlines seeks commercial borrowing to stay afloat

Nov 28 (DM) The cash strapped SriLankan Airlines is to go in for a commercial borrowing of US$175 million from external sources to meet its funding requirements. The Civil Aviation Ministry sought an allocation of US$500 million from the budget over a period of three years for the airline which recorded a loss of Rs.2.6 billion last year. The Ministry also asked for US$20 million each over a period of three years to meet the financial requirements of more..

JVP CC meeting tomorrow

Nov 28 (Island) The much awaited meeting of the JVP’s 23-member Central Committee (CC) is scheduled to be held tomorrow (29) at the Party head office in Pelawatte. Letters notifying the event have been couriered to all 23 CC members by the party General Secretary Tilvin Silva. Some members of the dissident group led by Kumar Gunaratnam alias Kumar Mahattaya have accepted the letters while some others including S. K. Subasinghe of Polonnaruwa turned down the invitations, more..

Rajapaksa wants Colombo–Jaffna expressway

Nov 28 (Hindu) Soon after opening the first expressway in the country, connecting the capital Colombo with the southern port city of Galle on Sunday, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has begun spadework on the next infrastructure project: An expressway linking the capital with the Tamil-dominated Jaffna. “I will work on the Jaffna expressway so that the distance can be covered in three hours,” Mr. Rajapaksa said. Jaffna is about 400 km from Colombo. more..

Navy deploys five vessels for relief operations

Nov 28 (Island) The Navy has deployed three big ships and two Fast Attack Crafts (FACs) in relief operations to assist flood victims and fishermen in trouble in the seas due to heavy rains and stormy weather now being experienced in the country. Navy spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya told The Island that since yesterday (27) morning three big ships, namely Shakthi, Sagara and Ranawickreme were deployed to scour the coastal area from Beruwala to Matara for missing fishermen. more..

No EPF, ETF benefits for Samurdhi officers from next year

Nov 28 (Island) When Samurdhi Authority is re-established as a department next year, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and the Employees Trust Fund (ETF) benefits of the Samurdhi officers would have to be stopped in keeping up with the current legal provisions, a top official of the authority said. "Discussions are currently underway with the Ministry of Finance regarding the pension scheme of Samurdhi officers," Director General of the authority R.B.M Thilakasiri said. more..

JVP unemployment figures higher than those given by govt.

Nov 28 (Island) Around 1.5 million youth in the country are jobless according to official statistics but the actual figure could be around 2.5 million, the JVP’s youth wing, Socialist Youth Union (SYU) yesterday claimed. SYU National Organiser Bimal Ratnayake said that the percentage of unemployed youth had increased annually but the govt totally forgot them by the 2012 budget more..

'The military is taking over large chunks of land in North'

Nov 28 (TC) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga last week delivered a scathing attack on the govt’s handling of the former IDPs at a discussion held in the South Asia Policy Research Institute in Colombo. “You may be satisfied with it (reconciliation process), but I am not,” she said responding to Professor Rohan Gunaratna, who was the guest speaker. Prof. Gunaratna earlier in his address outlined the govt’s achievements in more..

A baby shop in Rawatawatte

Nov 28 (SL) The couple from America who were waiting for their turn at the Children’s Home in Rawatawatte were not at fault. They wanted a baby with all their heart and they had gone through the correct process to get a child by contacting a ‘licenced adoption agency.’ They also had a receipt with them from an adoption agency called the New Horizon Adoption Agency which stated that they had paid U.S. dollars ten thousand. more..

IPs tell IGP how to save police

Nov 28 (Island) The govt could no longer ignore the urgent need to renew the outdated traffic spot fines system, which the Sri Lanka Inspectors’ Association believes is one of the primary causes for the entire department being despised by the vast majority of Sri Lankans. Responding to a query, the official said that successive govts had turned a blind eye to difficulties experienced by those fined by the traffic police. more..

Crocodile enclosures to protect people

Nov 28 (Island) Two top Sri Lankan scientists are joining hands to promote traditional Crocodile excluding enclosures, which they believe is the answer to reduce the Human-Crocodile conflict and save humans and conserve crocodiles in Sri Lanka. Annually dozens of people in Sri Lanka die due to crocodile attacks and another dozen or so are left with serious injuries. Plans are afoot to give Crocodile excluding more..

Sri Lanka woos Chinese tourists

Nov 28 (IANS) Sri Lanka has opened a page on Chinese social networking site - - to attract more Chinese tourists to the country, an official said Monday. In an ambitious plan to accelerate tourism in the country after the rout of the Tamil Tigers, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has launched a drive to woo more Chinese tourists. For the first time ever, Sri Lanka welcomed 750,000 tourists so far this year, more..

Over 6,000 vehicles on southern expressway in 18 hours

Nov 28 (ST) The first accident on the Southern Expressway was reported today morning when a van skidded and toppled on the road causing injuries to two persons as more than 6,000 vehilces made use of the road in the first 18 hours. The accident was reported from the Kahathuduwa area and the two injured persons were taken to the Horana hospital where they were treated and discharged, police said. more..

Differently able persons want national body to look into their needs

Nov 28 (Island) There is a dire need to rehabilitate differently abled persons with the setting-up of a national institute to regulate such activities, Sri Lanka National Federation of Visually Handicapped Senior President W. M. D. Ratnasekera says. Addressing a media briefing, he said people with disability were also human beings and had the same fundamental rights as other citizens of the country to enjoy a decent life. more..

Guards accused of assaulting Tiger detainees

Nov 28 (Island) A search operation launched yesterday in the ward accommodating LTTE suspects in the Anuradhapura prison found 19 mobile phones which had been used even to call overseas. Commissioner General of Prisons, P. W. Kodippili said that the prison officials launched the search operation as it had received information that some of the Tiger suspects were planning to celebrate the LTTE Maveerar(Heroes’) Day. more..