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Menik Farm after the cyclone: The continuing misery of IDPs

Apr 10 (GV) After a punishingly hot day, the skies seemed to provide some relief to the residents of Chettikulam as they opened to release heavy showers during the early evening of Saturday, March 31st. However, what was welcomed as a break from the unending heat by those ensconced in sturdy houses simultaneously proved to be a torment for the 6,022[1] residents in the Menik Farm IDP camps a few kilometres outside of town. Reports of injuries and the destruction of homes in more..

After the gods drive them mad, what do we do with them?

Apr 10 (SL) In August of 2008, I wrote for the Island, under a pseudonym, a piece that ended with, “One is left shaking one’s head in puzzlement and wondering whether this regime is one that the gods wish to destroy and are therefore driving mad or whether it merely epitomizes the banality of evil in 21st Century Sri Lanka.” Mind you, that was a very different time in the history of this land. Most commentators, this one excepted, hadn’t even begun to predict more..

Connections | April 09, 2012

Editorial: CBK and her claims

Apr 10 (Island) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has, addressing a conference in New Delhi, called upon the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt to grab what she describes as a 'marvellous opportunity' to heal wounds of war and bring about national reconciliation, The Hindustan Times reports. "Such opportunities do not last forever," she is quoted as having told the govt while faulting President Rajapaksa for not carrying forward her devolution project. more..

Strengthen civil society to cope with Geneva resolution

Apr 10 (Island) More than a fortnight after the passage of the resolution on Sri Lanka in the UNHRC in Geneva, the Sri Lankan govt continues to give mixed messages about its implementation. Within the govt coalition itself there are polarized views. The nationalist parties have taken the position that the resolution should be rejected in full, including the LLRC report that forms the centerpiece of the Geneva resolution. The left parties within the govt more..

SLC under BCCI’s thumb – Arjuna

Apr 10 (Island) Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga lashed out at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for reducing the recent Test series against England to a two match contest in order ensure there were no interruptions at the Indian Premier League tournament. Ranatunga has been in the forefront in fighting to get multiple and regular Tests against established nations like England and Australia during his playing days and thereafter as an administrator, but more..

Over 3,000 aesthetic studies teachers appointed

Apr 10 (DN) The govt has taken a number of measures to produce more students with aesthetic skills. For the first time in history, over 3,000 teachers were appointed to teach aesthetic studies in Sri Lanka as a solution for the teacher shortage in the country, said Education Minister Bandula Gunawardana. He was participating in the ceremony to distribute digital pianos for schools which won all island and international art, dancing and music competitions. more..

Big onion export to stop by 2013

Apr 10 (DN) Export of big onion will be stopped completely by the end of 2013, said Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane. He was participating in an inspection tour of big onion cultivations in Dambull, Galewala areas. “More than 50 percent of the annual big onion requirement has already been met and it will be increased to 75 percent by the end of this year,” said the minister. He said the ministry has taken measures to encourage farmers in the Hambantota, Polonnaruwa, more..

Increasing the Vehicle Tax: middle class left in the lurch?

Apr 10 (DM) The recent increase in vehicle imports will be the main case in point for this article devoid of the economic predicament many citizens in the country are facing. For the purpose of this article the sole focus would be on the recent tax hike that left many reeling in shock and an equal number licking their fingers waiting to latch on to the future profits that would fill their bank accounts. The Ministry of Finance and Planning on the more..

'Buy local products to uplift nation'

Apr 10 (DN) Food security is one of the main features of a country’s sovereignty, said Minister Wimal Weerawansa participating in the celebrations to mark the third phase of the Divi Neguma programme and Samurdhi general convention held at the Kaduwela Division Secretariat recently. “It is important to encourage people to buy local products to uplift the nation. Developing the agriculture sector has been given pride of place by the government and most of the people have realized the value of farming.” the minister said. more..

RDA project linking North and South

Apr 10 (CT) The Road Development Authority (RDA) is working on a project to develop three roads connecting the north and the south of Sri Lanka under the leadership of the Minister Basil Rajapakse. RDA Chairman, R.W.R. Premasiri said the roads being rehabilitated are the A9 road connecting Kandy and Jaffna, the A32 road via Puttalam and Mannar to Jaffna, and a third road which passes through Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Pulmudai to Elephant Pass. more..

Wimal, Tissa demand speedy action to locate missing JVP rebels

Apr 10 (Island) The NFF yesterday warned that the alleged disappearance of Premkumar Gunaratnam, leader of the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) and activist, Ms. Dimuthu Attygalle would strengthen the ongoing campaign targeting Sri Lanka over accountability issues. Another constituent of the UPFA, the LSSP, too, condemned the alleged abductions. LSSP’s Deputy General Secretary, Anil de Soysa on behalf of General Secretary more..

Budget deficit target: Slight miss as revenues suffer setback, expenditure rationalized

Apr 10 (Island) The govt’s 6.8 percent of GDP budget deficit target for 2011 was slightly missed, reaching 6.9 percent on a improved expenditure performance despite revenues falling, the Central Bank said yesterday. With the Central Bank tightening credit growth in a bid to contain a balance of payments crisis, its Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said that he would like to see the govt borrow less from domestic sources, while remaining optimistic that more..

‘Humans become victims as they underestimate crocs’ intelligence’

Apr 10 (Island) Underestimating the crocodiles’ intelligence was the major cause of attacks on humans and resultant deaths in the crocodile infested rivers, like the Nilwala River, said leading herpetologist, Anslem de Silva. He said that despite warnings and awareness campaigns, people took the crocodiles’ intelligence lightly. "In all the cases, people do the same thing," he added. The latest attack, too, served as an example, he said, referring to the attack on a 16 year-old-girl at Akuressa in the Nilwala River. more..

Central Bank launches Annual Report 2011

Apr 10 (Island) Section 35 of the Monetary Law Act requires the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) to submit a report giving details of the state of the economy, the condition of the Central Bank and the policies and measures adopted by the Monetary Board during the year to the Minister in charge of the subject of Finance within four months of the commencement of the following year. The 62nd annual report of more..

A simple dana please, says minister

Apr 9 (DN) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has ordered health officials to educate the public on dana offered to bhikkhus as it has been found that over 90 percent of bhikkhus have Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Most of them pass away due to heart attacks, Minister Sirisena said. He said most dayakayas offer dana to bhikkhus with excessive sugar, oil, salt and flour. “Such ingredients make the bhikkhus sick. more..

Alliance moves Jaffna court seeking release of fishermen

Apr 10 (Hindu) The Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen has filed a case in a Jaffna court seeking the release of five fishermen from Tamil Nadu, who have been jailed in Sri Lanka on the charges of smuggling narcotic substances. State coordinator of the Alliance U. Arulanandam, who is pursuing the release of the fishermen on a request by the State government, said here on Monday that the case would come up for hearing on April 19. Accusing the Sri Lankan Navy of more..

National Museum to house all important artifacts

Apr 10 (DN) Valuable artifacts and national treasures stored in museums countrywide will henceforth be housed in the National Museum which is to undergo an upgrading of security following the recent theft at the country’s premier museum. Minister Jagath Balasuriya said important artifacts in countrywide museums coming under the purview of the National Museum and the Archaeological Department will be shifted to more..

Govt. involved in ‘Gunaratnam’s abduction’ – Harin

Apr 10 (Island) The UNP yesterday alleged that Premakumar Gunaratnam, the leader designate of the newly formed Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), had been abducted in Colombo last week and the trouble a public official such as the Defence Secretary, Gothabaya Rajapaksa had taken to deny it, indicated that there was govt involvement. He said that Gothabaya was a public official and it was not his duty to be denying charges levelled against the government. more..

Lanka hits back at India’s UN vote

Apr 10 (TOI) In what is seen as an apparent retaliation for India's vote against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, Sri Lanka's energy minister has said they were threatened by the Kudankulam nuclear plant, in case of a Fukushima-like disaster. Minister Champika Ranawaka reportedly told journalists that Sri Lanka would refer the matter to the IAEA at a meeting in September. The Lankan statement comes as the Kudankulam nuclear plant is finally ready after being bedeviled by protests for the better part of a year. more..

Passport No. N 1016123 Arrival at BIA on Sept. 4, 2011 Visa overstayed

Apr 10 (Island) It has now been revealed that the missing Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) leader, Premkumar Gunaratnam, used an Australian passport (N 1016123) bearing the name, Noel Mudalige, to return to Sri Lanka last September. Authoritative sources said that the Australian High Commission had furnished the required details to the External Affairs Ministry yesterday following a discussion Australian High Commissioner, more..

Four women stabbed while watching TV

Apr 10 (Island) Four women were attacked by a neighbour with a sharp weapon on Friday night at Dambaramulla in Galewala while they were watching television. Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said that a neighbour had attacked the four women who were watching TV inside the house of one of the victims around 9.30 p.m. Three of the victims had told police that they were not aware why they were attacked by their neighbour. The motive for the attack has not yet been established. more..

Nearly 15,000 CEB workers to fall sick tomorrow

Apr 10 (Island) Nearly 15,000 non-executive employees belonging to United Trade Union Front of the CEB yesterday decided to report sick tomorrow demanding a 25-per-cent pay hike. More than 25 trade unions, including the JVP backed Lanka Viduli Sevaka Sangamaya would participate in the campaign. United Trade Union Front General Secretary, Ranjan Jayalal of the JVP said: "It is not our intention to make more than four million consumers suffer during the festive season. more..

Premkumar Gunarathnam safe

Apr 10 (CS) An Australian man reportedly abducted in Sri Lanka by security forces is safe, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Premakumar Gunaratnam, a 42-year-old socialist politician who moved to Australia in 2006, was reported missing on April 7. "We can confirm the safety of the 42-year-old man from New South Wales reported missing in the region of Kiribathigoda, Sri Lanka," the department said in a statement issued this morning. more..

Peradeniya Children’s hospital construction a big racket – GMOA

Apr 10 (Island) GMOA Branch Union Secretary, of the Peradeniya Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Children’s Hospital, Dr. T.G.P.T. Gamage yesterday accused the Health Ministry of making the entire hospital a white Elephant. The country’s proposed largest children’s hospital was supposed to be opened in 2009, but lack of vision of the Health Ministry and officialdom had resulted in the govt so far spending Rs. 700 million instead of the Rs.426 million estimated more..

Azath Salley wants govt. to speak in one voice on LLRC

Apr 10 (Island) Maverick politician Azath Salley wants the UPFA Govt to take a firm stand regarding the LLRC report and to speak with one voice. The former UNP Deputy Mayor of Colombo, who crossed over to the UPFA ranks just before the Local Government elections in November last year, Salley now sits as an independent in the Colombo Municipal Council. Thoroughly digusted with the UPFA Group in the CMC and threatening to resign as an UPFA Councillor, Salley, more..

A temple chief running amok

Apr 10 (SL) Questions are been raised as to whether the necessary approvals have been obtained for new constructions taking place at the Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa) premises which is an archaeological reserve as well as a world heritage site. According to the Antiquities Ordinance No: 9 of 1940 (revised in 1956 and 1998) no one is allowed to commence or carry out any work of restoration, repair alternation or addition in connection with any more..

It's so bad: Paddy farmers can’t buy betel for New Year

Apr 10 (LB) Farmers air grievances on the non payment of a guaranteed price for paddy. They also allege that intermediaries, conniving with officials are engaging in fraudulent acts, and in the process making profits. The veiws of three key players in the sector were sought in this regard. The govt has said that they are purchasing only 14 per cent less paddy from the farmers. When we take paddy stocks to the respective centres, more..

Increase of Buddhist monks giving up their robes

Apr 10 (ST) The number of Buddhist monks who are giving up their robes has increased rapidly during the past five years with nearly 2,500 leaving the Orders between 2007 and 2011. The census which began in 2007, of monks who have left the priesthood, has shown that in 2007, 73 had left but the number has increased steadily going up to 516 in 2008, 728 in 2009 and 940 in 2010. Within the first three months of 2011, 230 had given up their robes. more..

Karunanidhi slams Lanka for raking up Kudankulam project issue

Apr 10 (PTI) DMK President M Karunanidhi today slammed Sri Lanka for raking up the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project issue, saying India "will do what is required." The Kudankulam project was not something new and had been started many years ago and work on it is currently in progress, he said, adding it cannot be "accepted if they rake up the issue now."Indian govt will do what is required," he told reporters at his residence more..

Police offer Rs one million reward for information on museum theft

Apr 10 (GDI) Sri Lanka Police have offered a cash reward of Rs one million for information on last month's theft at the National Museum. Inspector General of Police, N.K. Ilangakoon has said that the cash reward will be paid to the informant while protecting the identities of those who provide the information. Burglars had stolen invaluable goods from the Sri Lanka National Museum. more..

Drop in vehicle market transactions

Apr 10 (CT) Transactions in the vehicle market have decreased by 50% following the recent tax hike that has brought the market to a standstill, vehicle importers said. One high-ranking official at a leading vehicle trading company said that sales had dropped from 15 vehicles to 3 in the past week, marking an 80% drop in demand. Ideal Motors CEO, Chaminda Perera said “it is quite possible for such a drop to occur, given the sudden nature of the tax hike. more..

'Sri Lanka aims at forex reserves of 4.5 months of imports'

Apr 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka would aim to maintain foreign reserves equal to 4.5 months of imports with balance of payments surplus of 1.2 billion US dollars projected for 2012, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. "A level of 4.5 months (of imports) is comfortable," Cabraal told reporters. "If it goes down a little it is also fine. "It is not a sacrosanct number. Give or take a little bit from either side." more..

Palestinian President to arrive on a State Visit to Sri Lanka

Apr 10 (GDI) President of Palestine Dr. Mahmoud Abbas will arrive in Sri Lanka on a three-day state visit on April 15th. This is the first time a Palestinian President is visiting Sri Lanka. Bilateral talks will be held during the visit to further strengthen relations and cooperation between the two countries. The Palestinian President is also scheduled to hold talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Minister G.L. Peiris. more..

Sri Lanka’s first ever Crocodile Park in Matara

Apr 10 (GDI) Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said the main objective of this measure is to prevent deaths being caused by crocodiles in the surrounding areas of Nilwala Ganga. Every year several persons become victims of these crocodiles as many people in the rural areas on the banks of the Nilwala Ganga are using the river for bathing and to get their water requirements. A special discussion in this regard was held at the more..

‘Abducted’ Dimuthu Attygala returns; describes her ordeal

Apr 10 (AD) Former JVP active member and central committee member of the newly formed Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) Dimuthu Attygalle, who was allegedly abducted on April 6, was dropped off today morning by an unknown gang in a van, a spokesman to the party said. He said that Attygalle had subsequently arrived at the party’s office today. Ada Derana reporter stated that Dimuthu Attygalle is currently attending the press conference of the FSP. more..

Editorial: Forget the war and bring in the essence of all religions

Apr 10 (DM) Due to the war, Sri Lankans are hurt and wounded in several ways and some of them are still in camps. There are others who are hurt and wounded because of injustice and economic factors. We Sri Lankans are an ancient people and we have our traditions, heritage and values. Moreover we have in our land four of the world’s living religions and all our religions have values. Therefore this year at our New Year time we need to leave the war behind and more..

Unemployed down to 4.2-pct: data

Apr 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka's unemployment fell to 4.2 percent in 2011 from 4.9 percent a year earlier with more people being employed in agriculture and industry. The Central Bank quoting a survey by the statistics office said total unemployed fell to 342,000 from 401,000 a year earlier. People working in industry rose to 1.915 million from 1.867 million with its share going up to 24.3 percent from 24.2 percent. Agriculture workers rose to 2,602 million from 2,502 million with more..

Sri Lanka battles human rights campaigners

Apr 10 (IDN) In May 2009 when the Sri Lankan army decisively defeated the LTTE in the battlefields of Wanni in northern Sri Lanka, the entire population of the island felt a great sign of relief. There was a strong feeling of reconciliation among all sectors of the society after 30 years of a bloody civil war. Simply the people had had enough and they wanted peace. But today, though the country is largely at peace, with the rebuilding process more..

Local farmers sent to India on study tours

Apr 10 (Island) To enhance the cultivation of onion in Sri Lanka a group of ten cultivators had been sent to India early this month on a study tour. It had been organized with the assistance of the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Agriculture said. The farmers were expected to go on a field visit of big onion cultivation zones in order to have a first hand experience of the usage of modern technology that could be employed in Sri Lanka to enhance both quality and more..