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On road rage and Sri Lankans

Apr 9 (SL) It was late, the roads were empty, and I was cruising with my arm on the window sill. I am approaching the Dehiwala flyover when I see him. A pair of headlights, their proximity indicating that they belonged to a car of Indian make, appears behind me and to the left. I am now really close to the flyover and am reaching the barricade separating it from the rest of the road. Suddenly, the guy behind cuts through in front of me, which is an insane maneuver, and just manages to more..

Geneva Crisis

Apr 9 (DBS) It is correct for Sri Lanka to express its protest against the US sponsored UNHRC Resolution against Sri Lanka. Yet, the govt had apparently failed to mobilize the protest move in a manner conducive to safeguarding the dignity of the country. The govt’s approach has resulted in causing considerable damage to the good image of the country. The heated debate that was launched against the decision of the UNHRC was eventually brought to a climax with more..

Do not trample the grass

Apr 9 (NS) “The time to use the big stick has come,” wrote B. Raman recently, the Additional Secretary (Retd.), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre for China Studies. He was not, it seems speaking metaphorically; the ‘big stick’ here is “all means of political and economic pressure at its (India’s) disposal”. I will consider the length and width of the big stick in a moment, more..

Need to clear hurdles against good governance

Apr 9 (NS) Quite appropriately President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged public officers to ensure good governance while addressing a gathering of public servants, heads of state corporations, and provincial and local government political leaders at Temple Trees. The President emphasized that it is the public officers’ duty “to be responsible and ensure good governance for the sake of the country, for the sake of our children, for the sake of the children yet to be born more..

'Public awaking against injustice'

Apr 9 (AHRC) Nilantha Ilangamuwa is an ambitious young journalist purged by the govt for his conviction to uphold freedom of speech and independence of media in the island nation. He was taunted by the agents of the govt and its secret service for fearlessly managing the Sri Lanka Guardian that is continuing to expose several sensitive news that is causing major irritation to the govt. The very first point in the nine points mission statement of more..

Intrigues by the ministry of external affairs

Apr 9 (CT) I was delighted to have (also) been attacked in an article in ‘Ceylon Today’ that basically attempted to say that what it termed the monumental loss at Geneva was largely due to Dayan Jayatilleka (and, in parenthesis as it were, to me). It is suggested that what the writer, Ms Bastians, calls a Rottweiller approach, alienated the West, and that is why we have been persecuted by the US and other countries. But, since much of the article is a personal attack on Dr Jayatilleka, building up the case that was more..

How Tamil women in UK can help war-affected women in N&E

Apr 9 (DBS) Today we are assembled here to commemorate the International Women’s Day that falls in March, 2012. I wonder whether the women in the war affected parts of Sri Lanka today would be happy to commemorate this day or whether they would look at it in despair due to the sad plight in which they find themselves, following the conclusion of the war in 2009. It is not enough to just look at their plight with sympathy and say “Oh my God ! How sad! ” and continue to mind more..

A festival that has stood the test of time

Apr 9 (ST) The Sinhala and Tamil New Year or the “Aluth Avuruddha” has been celebrated in Sri Lankan homes for millennia. It has enriched the culture, stimulated society and illuminated the nation so much so that today the “Aluth Avuruddha” has emerged as the country’s premier National Festival. It has acquired even greater significance in the objective of achieving national harmony because the New Year is the single event in Sri Lanka that is celebrated by both the Sinhala Buddhists and the Tamil Hindus. more..

Early spring in Myanmar, heavy weather for Sri Lanka

Apr 9 (Island) Just as Myanmar is coming out of the cloud of international isolation and taking little steps towards restoring democracy, Sri Lanka appears to be heading in the opposite direction with the govt making heavy weather of maintaining its international credibility after the setback in Geneva. While it will take a long time for Myanmar to re-enter history after 50 years in a historical cul-de-sac, it will not take five months for Sri Lanka to recede into a cul-de-sac if the govt does not get its act together. more..

United and effective action essential to protect national sovereignty

Apr 9 (Island) The US Govt has been able to take its conspiracy against Sri Lanka a step forward by very cleverly engineering the passage of its resolution through the UNHRC. By getting the support of India, our powerful immediate neighbor, the US Govt not only broke the unity among the ranks of the Asian countries, but also gave its resolution greater credibility, transforming it from one seen as the mere imposition of its will unfairly on Sri Lanka into one expressing more..

The Secretary Defence visits the house construction sites

Apr 9 (MoD) Secretary of Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa made an inspection tour recently to see the progress of the housing complexes which are being built in Colombo metropolitan area. At present the Ministry is highly involved with these housing projects and under the first phase, nearly 10 000 housing units are been built for slum dwellers and those carrying on lives in woefully inadequate living spaces in Colombo. more..

Adventures of the undead-Tiger and other (Rajapaksa) fairy tales

Apr 9 (TC) Whenever the Rajapaksa administration is in need, the Tiger emerges from the underworld into a brief but useful life. According to the latest episode of this serial-reincarnation drama, more than 150 LTTE cadres, trained in three secret camps in Tamil Nadu, have entered Sri Lanka, in the guise of fishermen. They plan to destabilise the country by launching clandestine attacks. The tale of the undead-Tiger is crafted to fulfil multiple needs. more..

Editorial: An intriguing disappearance

Apr 9 (Island) The JVP rebels told the media on Saturday that their elusive leader Premakumar Gunaratnam had disappeared two days ahead of the inauguration of their new party. They have blamed his disappearance on the security forces. The government has denied the allegation as baseless. Gunaratnam never made any appearance in this country after the JVP's second uprising during which he fled the country. So, his disappearance is rather intriguing. His wife who was detained at the BIA a more..

සබැඳියාව | Connections – April 03, 2012

Boo for Colombo Port over bunker

Apr 9 (FT) Users are fuming over the suspension of 24-hour service of oil bank and bunker jetty at the Colombo port, blemishing its status as South Asia’s hub. Sources said that bunker operators have been informed of the inability to load any bunker fuel from Jaya Container Terminal Ltd., after 2400 hours daily. This is due to the JCT Ltd., employees complaining to the Labour Commissioner for them being continuously engaged in services for more than 24 hours. Bunker operators are fuming over the move because the simple solution for more..

Places of religious worship get free CFL bulbs

Apr 9 (DN) The Power and Energy Ministry has commenced a programme to grant CFL bulbs free of charge to places of religious worship throughout the country in the drive to conserve energy. The programme commenced on Friday with the distribution of CFL bulbs to Hunupitiya Gangaramaya Temple, Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya and Sri Wajiragnana Dharmayathanaya, Maharagama by Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. He said the contribution of all is necessary to achieve the goal to supply more..

Employers engaged in anti-union activities, unfair labour practices

Apr 9 (Island) While there is a need to reform archaic labour laws, enforcement must be strengthened as a matter of priority as workers are increasingly being discouraged from forming trade unions with employers resorting to anti-union activities and unfair labour practices, especially in the export processing zones, while threats to employment surface in the economy, a draft policy document spearheaded by the Senior Ministers’ Secretariat says. more..

Houses for persons with disabilities

Apr 9 (DN) The Social Services Ministry will construct 100 houses for persons with disabilities. As an initial step, Minister Felix Perera will lay foundation stones to construct two houses in Govakotuwa, Maspotha and Thibbotupitiya, Kurunegala district today. Under this programme, action has been taken to construct 80 houses for each Divisional Secretariat Division at a cost of Rs 250,000 each. Houses will be constructed at a cost of Rs 150,000 each. The housing project is expected to more..

Pinnawala oil anointing ceremony: About 100 elephants to participate

Apr 9 (DN) The traditional oil anointing ceremony at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage will be held on a grand scale on April 15, said Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister Mahipala Herath. He said that about 100 elephants in the orphanage would take part in this event. He added that a special avurudu table would be arranged for all the elephants in the orphanage during this New Year. The National Zoological Gardens Department and Tourism Board have sponsored this event more..

'Our unique Blue whales can boost tourism, but regulation needed'

Apr 9 (Island) As marine biologists begin to learn more about the Blue whales resident in Sri Lanka’s waters, there is a need to regulate the whale watching industry that has spawned over the last few years as it is shaping up to be a considerable threat to the gentle giants. However, the biggest threat to the Blue whale population is ship strikes. A public lecture on "Protecting the Giants of Our Ocean" was delivered by accomplished young marine biologist more..

England opposed move to shift Galle stadium after tsunami – Naseby

Apr 9 (Island) Visiting British lawmaker Lord Naseby, PC, said that there had been an attempt to shift the Galle Cricket grounds following the tsunami in 2004. Naseby revealed that the then Galle Govt Agent had revealed the decision to relocate the stadium when he met him to hand over a cheque for 50,000 Sterling Pounds. A great lover of the game, Naseby said that the British felt that the money wouldn’t be made available for restoration of the grounds if Sri Lanka Cricket wanted to shift the Galle venue. more..

India has dealt a killer blow to ties with Sri Lanka: Champika

Apr 9 (Hindu) After India's recent ‘unexpected' vote against Colombo at the UNHRC in Geneva, newspaper columns in Sri Lanka have contended that the relations between the two countries have touched the lowest point. And now, a Sri Lankan Minister has joined the ranks of these columnists. “By voting against Sri Lanka, India has not only dealt a killer blow to India-Sri Lanka relations, but also to reconciliation efforts between Sinhalese and Tamils. This in turn is akin to committing more..

Wheels move to minimise accidents

Apr 9 (DN) The Motor Traffic Department is set to unveil several new measures to minimise road accidents in the country. These include the removal of vehicles from roads which are unsuitable for use, a point system to evaluate traffic offences, improved quality control tests on vehicles, awareness programmes for drivers and pedestrians and better training at driving schools. Commissioner General SH Harischandra said these measures will be implemented with more..

Ombudsman recommends the closure of primary classes in leading schools

Apr 9 (CT) Ombudsman Tissa Ekanayake has recommended to close the primary classes in leading Colombo schools. A competitive examination should be held at Grade Five to enrol students to these schools, which will have classes from Grade Six upwards, his annual report has proposed. The ombudsman has noted that admission of only children who live in close proximity to schools is a violation of the constitution. That makes it difficult for children in more..

Now, plastic crates a must to transport tea leaves

Apr 9 (DN) The govt has decided to make plastic crates mandatory to transport tea leaves, Plantation Industries Deputy Minister Earl Gunasekara said. This decision was taken to ensure the quality of tea, he said. The deputy minister said certain regulations have already been implemented in this regard. “It will be made mandatory to use plastic crates or any other variety of crates approved by the Sri Lanka Tea Board to transport tea leaves in the coming months,” he said. more..

‘Lanka may miss chance to heal its war wounds’

Apr 9 (HT) Sri Lanka has a “marvellous opportunity” to heal and reconcile its twin populations after 25 years of civil war, says Chandrika Kumaratunga, Sri Lanka’s former president. Which is why she is more than a little baffled at the slowness with which the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt is building post-civil war “bridges.” “Such opportunities do not last forever,” she warned. “That is why they are called windows and not something larger.” more..

Campaign to protect children from seasonal games

Apr 9 (CT) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) along with the Police has launched a campaign to educate parents and children to be cautious while engage in fun games during the festive season. Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana, said the highest number of accidents occurs during Avurudu season due to firecrackers and seasonal games especially cycling events. He said the supporters who follow cyclists do not abide by any road rules and end up causing accidents. more..

Security beefed up at National Museum; burglars still at large

Apr 9 (ST) Setting up of a permanent police post and deployment of police patrols are among a series of measures the authorities are taking to beef up security at the National Museum where three weeks ago burglars got away with priceless rings, swords, coins and other artefacts. Other security measures include registration of visitors and specially-trained officials to detect suspicious activities in and outside the museum premises. The name, address and other identification details of the visitors will be recorded more..

'Army presence needed in North to thwart possible LTTE threat'

Apr 9 (Island) The need for the Sri Lankan Army to continue its presence in the Northern and Eastern Provinces couldn’t be disputed, though the LTTE no longer posed a conventional military threat, Lord Naseby, PC, a member of the House of Lord’s of the UK parliament and Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sri Lanka said. High Security Zones (HSZs) in the former war zone, too, were part of the existing security measures in place, he said, more..

'Education system being revamped'

Apr 9 (DN) Plans are underway to make Sri Lanka a knowledge hub. Teachers and other human resources need to be developed to meet global requirements to achieve this target, Minister Bandula Gunawardana said. The minister was speaking at the 21st All Ceylon School Drama Competition -2011 and awards ceremony at Tower Hall Foundation on April 3. “The education system is also being revamped to suit present day needs. Around 2,000,000 Sri Lankans are working abroad. more..

Call to nab overstaying Indians and other illegal visitors

Apr 9 (ST) A call has been sent out for public assistance to track down a large number of foreign nationals, mainly Indians, who are in the country illegally and have infiltrated local trade and business. Senior Immigration and Emigration officials say thousands of overstayers and illegal visitors are in the country, the majority concentrated in the North and the East, and they are doing business with locals. While the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) is the more..

Sri Lanka revenue crunch continues in 2012

Apr 9 (LBO) High state spending is continuing to put pressure on the economy with billions of rupees being printed in April to meet expenses on top of earlier bank borrowings, official data shows. The Central Bank's Treasury bill stock which fell to a low of 214 billion rupees from a high of 259 billion rupees on May 09 amid collection of foreign reserves, surged again to 256 billion rupees. On Thursday excess liquidity in the banking system which had more..

Ranil alleges 56 abductions so far this year

Apr 9 (Island) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has lashed out at the Rajapaksa administration for its failure to take tangible action to prevent abductions. In a statement issued yesterday, he said that the Opposition was deeply concerned about the recent disappearance of Premakumar Gunaratnam and Dimuthu Attygalle of the Frontline Socialist Party, formed by JVP dissidents. He alleged that continuing disappearances in spite of the conclusion of the conflict in may 2009 proved deterioration of law and order more..

Dengue cases increase despite eradication efforts

Apr 9 (ST) Despite claims of the success of dengue eradication programmes, the first three months of this year recorded a three fold increase of cases compared to last year while 38 deaths have been reported. During the last three months 9317 dengue cases were reported island wide, while last year there were 3,103 cases. The highest number of cases in the three months was reported in January with 3892 dengue cases followed by 3004 cases in February and 2421 cases in March. more..

Australia asked to prove Gunaratnam’s return to Colombo

Apr 9 (Island) The Sri Lankan govt has asked the Australian govt to furnish details of the leader of rebel JVP faction, Premakumar Gunaratnam’s arrival in Sri Lanka. It made this request when Australian High Commissioner in Colombo, Robyn Mudie, took up the issue of his disappearance with the govt over the weekend. She called Gunaratnam an Australian citizen. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told Mudie that since she had declared more..

Johnston assures consumer protection, says 40,000 business houses raided

Apr 9 (Island) Minister Johnston Fernando, opening the 256th Mahapola Education and Trade Exhibition at Katugastota, said that his ministry had taken several measures to safeguard the consumer community from unscrupulous traders. The exhibition is held at St. Anthony’s College premises, Katugastota and ends on tomorrow. He said that the Consumer Protection Authority had been directed to continue raiding business premises to ascertain whether the consumer community was duped. more..

Sri Lanka's Citrus Leisure beach property ownership disputed

Apr 9 (LBO) The ownership of a prime beach front property the listed Citrus Leisure bought on the east coast for 169 million rupees is now being disputed in court. A stock exchange filing said the 12-acre land was bought in November 2011 by Passikudah Beach Resorts, a fully-owned subsidiary of Citrus Leisure. "Passikudah Beach Resorts Limited purchased the property, which is now owned and possessed by the said company, based on professional advice it has clear legal title," more..

Two cases a day: Treasure-hunters on the rampage

Apr 9 (ST) Police in a pre-dawn raid on Tuesday arrested three people at Wilgamuwa in the Matale District while they were on a treasure-hunting mission. In their possession were dynamite, a detonator, drills and books of ‘manthras’. The suspects were produced before the Naula Magistrate and remanded. The raid came a day after four more suspects were nabbed while they were digging for treasure at Wavulgala in Deraniyagala, more..

Small vehicle importers curse new tax

Apr 9 (LB) "Me anduwa podi minihatamai gahanne,” Sarath, who has been informed that he has to pay an additional Rs 700 000 for the Maruti Alto he ordered last year because of the recent increase in vehicle taxes, laments. However, he is not alone. During the past week there were thousands like Sarath in front and inside car dealerships talking, arguing and exchanging heated words with equally despondent car salesmen. It is those individuals like Sarath who have ordered vehicles which more..

The private medical school duped everyone

Apr 9 (SL) Following the release of the Five Member Health Ministry Committee report on the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM), it has now come to light as to how SAITM from the start misrepresented information and deceived not only the parents of its students but also the BOI and the Health Ministry. The report that was presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on March 22, 2012 by the committee appointed by the Health Ministry has clearly stated as more..