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The Sri Lankan who taught Gilani and worked for the poor

Apr 13 (Dawn) A 73-year-old Sri Lankan Tamil, presently living in Colombo, proudly remembers that he had taught Yousuf Raza Gilani, the prime minister of Pakistan, way back in the 1960s at the La Salle High School in Multan. Bro. Emmanuel Nicholas, who belongs to the teaching order of De La Salle Christian Brothers, was barely 27 when he was asked to go to Pakistan, a country he knew nothing about, to teach high school-level mathematics more..

I believed govt was behind this-Mangala

Apr 13 (DM) Former foreign minister and the Spokesman for the UNP Mangala Samaraweera said he believed the government was behind the spate of kidnappings, which he said were now being used to suppress any opposition or dissent, the Telegraph news agency reported. Before the end of the civil war in May 2009, there was a series of 'White Van' kidnappings and assassinations of government critics and opponents linked to the LTTE, including the murder of newspaper editor more..

Hand grenade attack injures 10 in Embilipitiya

Apr 13 (CT) Embilipitiya police are conducting investigations into a hand grenade attack at the Halmillara area which injured eight men and two woman, police said. The incident occurred at around 11.30 p.m. last night. The injured are currently receiving treatment at the Embilipitiya hospital. The two suspects in relation to this incident who were also injured are currently receiving treatment at the Embilipitiya hospital while under police protection.

MSF denies "abandoning" Sri Lankan war survivors

Apr 13 (AN) Aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has denied abandoning traumatised war survivors in Sri Lanka by closing down a mental health project in the north. Despite "massive needs", the decision was made because MSF no longer deems it an emergency, the medical charity said. MSF announced on April 5 that it was shutting down a programme counselling survivors of the Indian Ocean island's almost three-decade-long conflict, most of whom more..

UK High Commissioner’s message for the Sinhala & Tamil New Year

Apr 13 (BHC) A message from the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, H E John Rankin, to mark the Sinhala and Tamil New Year: “I extend my warmest wishes to the people of Sri Lanka for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. This is a time of goodwill and warmth; a time to celebrate family, friends and communities; a time for hope and new plans. I wish you a prosperous, peaceful and happy New Year.”

Lalith Kumar and Kugan Murugan kept in detention

Apr 13 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission, as well as other human rights organisations have kept up a constant vigil on Lalith Kumar Weeraju and Kugan Murugan who were abducted on December 10, 2011 while engaged in putting up posters for the Human Rights Day. There had been no news about them since. However, some media channels in Sri Lanka and human rights activists have brought to our notice that, in fact, both Lalith and Kugan are being held in detention at more..

President calls for unity during New Year

Apr 13 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa called for national unity as the country celebrated the traditional New Year. President Rajapaksa in a statement said that the traditional New Year becomes more meaningful through the embellishment of friendship and unity. ”It is best if every step is taken to build good relations and cooperation with each other during this season of festivity. The observance of the many important traditions associated more..

More games against India is not enough

Apr 14 (NS) Landing a series against India is a big deal in cricket because they bring huge financial rewards for all concerned. So, it’s quite common to hear the perennially financially challenged Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials blurt; “We will negotiate with India for more matches” when asked how they will overcome the financial shortcomings of SLC. It is a logical short term plan but the future of Sri Lanka Cricket cannot depend on the number of games the country more..

Whose arms will embrace you? The United States and The Beijing consensus

Apr 14 (CT) The United States is increasingly playing a game of subtle communication in the international arena. I suspect we had a passing glimpse of this at the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council, which gathereds in Geneva last month. The question is: who is the United States talking to and what is it trying to say? There has been much discussion about President Obama’s “Return to Asia” strategy, arising out of a 2009 speech during which he declared that more..

Tantalising sweetmeats and delicacies

Apr 14 (SO) The Sinhala and Hindu New Year which falls during the month of April every year is considered as the only national festival, celebrated by majority Sri Lankans at one auspicious times. According to the almanac, the New Year dawns with the sun moving from Meena (pisces) to Mesha (aries). Although the New Year is celebrated mainly by Sinhalese and Hindus, people of other communities too celebrate it to a certain extent by taking part in more..

A fearless bar, vital for Judiciary - CJ

Apr 14 (SO) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka had assisted not only the members of the Bar but also the judges to uphold the rule of law and for the Administration of Justice. The relationship between the Bench and the Bar had been extremely cordial lasting for several decades, the Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake said at the induction ceremony of Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, President's Counsel, as the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka for the Year 2012/2013. more..

This April New Year sales poorest in memory, say Colombo vendors

Apr 14 (LB) Sales in this year’s New Year were the worst in living memory, traders who were interviewed in Colombo’s open marketplaces said. A pointer is the slack in demand thus far, for bananas or plantains that are one of the fastest selling commodities during the Sinhala and Hindu New Year festive season. Nimal, at the Federation of Self Employees (FOSL) open marketplace was shouting out, “Rs 5 and Rs 6 for a kolikuttu plantain.” He beckoned us to wait more..

New Year in the village

Apr 14 (Island) The old year has melted into the shadows of the past. A new year vibrant with a message of hope comfort and expectation has dawned. With the close of the old year and the birth of the new one the air is filled with the din of crackers and fireworks ending with one sustained shattering outburst of multitudinous noises and specially the village folk of Sri Lankan are caught up in the fun and frolic of this all important festive occasion. more..

The university and the maintenance of academic standards

Apr 14 (Island) The University is an institution which produces and disseminates universal knowledge. According to its design various arts and sciences are studied as grouped together in its various units termed the Faculties. It is because of its diversity of intellectual concerns that it is called "university" in English and: vishvavidyalaya in Sinhala. The generally held view is that the scholar who has undergone a university education is a person with a more..

Book Review: Ghathakaya (The Butcher)

Apr 14 (Island) Senior Divaina journalist and defence correspondent Keerthi Warnakulasuriya’s Sinhala book Ghathakaya (The Butcher) is not just about Prabhakaran despite the title and the photograph of Prabhakaran on the front cover. It would perhaps have been better to call it ‘Vignettes of the War’ or something like that because that is what it is – a collection of self contained writings on various aspects of the war. One article that immediately caught my attention more..

Sri Lanka's leader keeps stirring the pot

Apr 14 (BT) D.R. Kaarthikeyan is a name renowned in India. He was the police officer who led the investigation into the assassination of the former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991 by a woman wearing a belt bomb who came up close in a chaotic election rally. Through clever detective work, Kaarthikeyan's team from the Central Bureau of Investigation identified the assassin and traced the lines of the plot back to the Tamil Tiger movement then more..

Govt must ensure ‘White van’ abductions and all forms of involuntary disappearances are stopped

Apr 14 (TC) We are deeply disturbed by the events leading to the disappearance and subesequent ‘reappearance’ of Dimutu Attygalle and Premakumar Gunaratnam two senior leaders of the newly constituted Frontline Socialist Party (FSP). At the press conference called by the FSP this morning (10), Ms. Attygalle, Women and International Affiairs Secretary and Central Committee membber of the Party, recounted being picked up by six people in a ‘white van’, gagged, more..

Buddhist spiritual guidance helps nurture noble values

Apr 14 (Examiner) In an era of the witnessing of the disintegration of of basic human values with more government corruption, brutality, wars, poverty, starvation and homelessness seen on the planet than ever before the teaching of human values by the Buddhist clergy is more valued than ever by many people. In Syracuse where a microcosm of the world's problems exists with it appearing more families struggling to survive on the fringes of existence than ever seen, more..

Co-operatives: A better option to channel relief to war victims in Sri Lanka

Apr 14 (GV) It is no secret that many members of the Tamil diaspora are actively involved in helping the victims of the war in Sri Lanka in some way or the other. There are those who send assistance direct to known or identified victims. There are others who respond to calls from various organisations for funds to help them. Such organisations are now available in abundance both in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. more..

Greening builds Sri Lankan legacy

Apr 14 (IRB) Former England international Phil Greening is tapping into Sri Lanka’s sporting fervour to help advance rugby in the cricket-mad country, writes Ian Gilbert. Sri Lanka’s push towards the higher reaches of world rugby will not be short of ambition, enthusiasm or support. The Asian nation has enlisted the help of former Wasps and England hooker Phil Greening as national coach, with the first challenge being the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Division 1 tournament more..

Tamils fearful about re-appearance of disappearances

Apr 14 (DBS) The Long – suffering Tamil ethnicity in Sri Lanka is once again getting apprehensive and fearful! The war between the Security forces of Sri Lanka and the LTTE ended three years ago. This resulted in one set of problems faced by ordinary Tamils becoming non – existent. Some problems continued while a new set of problems also emerged. Now another problem that had seemingly ended is showing signs of re-emerging in a big way. This is the spectre of enforced more..

Golf: Sri Lanka win Int’l Team Trophy

Apr 14 (PT) In this four rounds Royal Palm National Golf Championship in progress at the exquisite Royal Palm Golf Course, the contender in command of the situation is N. Thangaraja of Sri Lanka who occupies the top slot on the leader board, taking over from Ali Hai, with a stunning second round of four under par 68. Add to this his first round score of 74 and his aggregate of two rounds is 142, two under par which certainly makes him look like more..

Bid to smuggle gold foiled at airport

Apr 14 (Hindu) An attempt by a 45-year-old Sri Lankan woman to smuggle 800 grams of gold into Chennai was foiled by Customs officials in the Chennai Airport on Friday. Airport sources said, the woman, hailing from Trincomalee in Sri Lanka, arrived here in the evening along with her son and daughter-in-law. Customs officials on suspicion intercepted her and asked whether she was carrying any dutiable items. The woman replied that her son and daughter-in-law were more..

Mahela Jayawardene: The silent assassin

Apr 14 (GN) Mahela Jayawardene is cricket's silent assassin. He never looks like one of those fearsome batsmen ready for the kill. Even when he plays his strokes, he creates no fear in the bowler but by the end of the day he would have inflicted enormous damage on the opposition. He not only destroys the analysis of all the bowlers but also guides his team to an impressive total. The England team realised it the hard way during the recent Tests at Galle and Colombo. more..

Costs hit New Year celebrations

Chinese Tourist flow to Sri Lanka doubles from 2009 to 16,000 in 2011

Apr 14 (TC) China is most likely to turn into the world No. 1 international tourism source market within the year 2012. Destinations all over the world are increasing their efforts to welcome Chinese visitors. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt, director of COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, has recently given keynote speeches at China outbound tourism workshops in Wuppertal/Germany and Colombo/Sri Lanka and will give further advice during more..

US presses Sri Lanka over human rights

Apr 14 (AFP) US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on Friday urged Sri Lanka to build a "democratic nation" with full respect for human rights as it emerges from decades of ethnic war. Clinton's message, coinciding with the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year, came weeks after the UNHRC adopted a US-tabled resolution urging Colombo to probe war crimes charges related to its 2009 defeat of Tamil rebels. Sri Lanka condemned the resolution as wanton interference in its internal affairs. more..

Sri Lanka power utility loses Rs25.5bn, debts balloon

Apr 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run power utility, the Ceylon Electricity Board has lost 25.5 billion rupees in 2011 and run up debts of 121 billion rupees with a petroleum distributor and independent power producers. Data in the Central Bank's annual report said power generation rose 7.5 percent to 11,521 GigaWatt hours (millions of units), and sales rose 8.2 percent to 10,024 with system losses coming down from 13.5 percent to 13.0 percent. more..

Tamil activists urge Abbas to raise war crimes on visit

Apr 14 (Maan) Tamil activists on Friday urged President Mahmoud Abbas to address alleged war crimes by Sri Lankan authorities on his upcoming visit to the country. Abbas is due to arrive in Sri Lanka on Sunday as part of an international tour including Japan and the Maldives. Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa is a vocal supporter of Palestinians, and Palestine's envoy to the country said earlier the leaders would sign a number of agreements during the trip to improve more..

No proof of abduction yet; Police

Apr 14 (DM) Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said today that the Police is yet to establish proof into the alleged abduction of Frontline Socialist Party activists Kumar Gunarathnam and Dimuthu Artigala. Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said that investigations are currently underway into the alleged abduction “ According to our investigations carried out regarding the incident so far, it has not been proved that there was in fact an abduction” he said. more..

Sri Lanka Army warns Tamils to be wary

Apr 14 (PTI) A top Sri Lankan Army commander has warned the Tamil people in the country's north to be wary of elements attempting to undermine the hard-earned peace. Speaking to the local people after distributing grants to former LTTE combatants for their rehabilitation, Jaffna Commander Maj Gen Mahinda Hathurusinghe invited the Tamil Diaspora to help the needy rather than undermining normalcy. more..

Another Sri Lankan held by Somali pirates

Apr 14 (LT) Relatives of a Sri Lankan sailor seized by Somali pirates have appealed to authorities for assistance to rescue him. Sarath Soorasena, the Sri Lankan sailor, has been seized by Somali pirates 14 months ago. Mr. Soorasena and 19 other sailors were seized when their ship MV Orna was seized by Somali pirates while sailing from Africa to China. His’s relatives say Sri Lankan authorities have not taken any measures to get their relative released from Somali pirates. more..

Police intimidating us: FSP

Apr 14 (DM) Propaganda secretary of the Frontline Socialist Party Pubudu Jayagoda said today that the Police had visited certain party members residences in Gampaha and intimidated them. “The Police had visited some houses of our party members in the Gampaha district and questioned them about Kumar Gunarathnam and asked them if he resided in these houses. During the questioning they had intimidated these people about doing politics with the party" he said. Jayagoda said that more..

Senior rugby players avoid national team

Apr 14 (BBC) A group of Sri Lanka’s most senior national rugby players are staying away from the national team after being overlooked for the captaincy. The unprecedented decision was taken after the President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son, Yoshitha, was appointed captain in February for the HSBC Five Nation rugby Asiad in the Philippines. Two of the senior players, Fazil Marija and Roshan Weerarathne of Kandy Sports Club more..

Editorial: Lord Naseby’s revelations, food for thought

Apr 15 (SO) In days gone by, it was the TULF which was in mainstream politics in the North and the East, along with the two major national parties - the SLFP and the UNP. The emergence of Veluppillai Prabhakaran’s terrorist outfit, the LTTE, eroded the chances for democracy in these two provinces. Former TULF leader T. Amirthalingam and many Tamil leaders, scholars and moderate Tamil personalities were brutally killed by Prabhakaran and his blood-thirsty Tigers in broad daylight. more..

Editorial: $ 2 billion for defence but no freedom from abduction in white vans

Apr 15 (SL) The pall of abductions that threatened this sunny isle on the eve of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year receded somewhat with the missing political activist Kumar Gunaratnam being fortunately ‘found’ and being immediately put on a plane bound for Australia where he is resident but the ugly crime of abduction appears to have taken root in this country. We will not comment on this alleged abduction of Gunaratnam immediately because the story has the trappings of an more..

Fox Hill will burn the tracks again

Apr 15 (ST) The most anticipated motor racing event of the year, the Fox Hill Super Cross 2012, will hit the track at the Diyathalawa Military Academy on April 21. With more than 200 drivers and riders in action and a massive target audience of over 50,000, the organisers of this mega event, Sri Lanka Military Academy (SLMA) and Sri Lanka Association of Racing Drivers and Riders (SLARDAR), will come out with additional features on the occasion more..

Editorial: The crisis in diplomacy

Apr 15 (NS) Diplomacy is supposed to be a profession, an activity or skill of managing international relations, usually by a country’s representatives abroad. ‘Manage’ is a tricky word, though, pregnant with diplo-speak if you will. It is essentially about securing advantage, and safeguarding and furthering interests without rupturing relations. Some countries, if they have guns and bucks, have the inside edge in these matters and can get away with anything, murder included. more..

Editorial: An abduction or a quasi-arrest..?

Apr 15 (LB) The Gunaratnam/ Mudalige/Dayalal abduction/ disappearance/deportation case has a plot and a narrative that reads as if it is a cross between a John Le Carre and a Kopi Kade script -- replete with twists, turns and an unhealthy dose of absurd theatre. As things are, the govt flatly denies anything to do with the entire bizarre incident, but Gunaratnam, and his fellow party colleague Dimuthu Attygalle have made detailed and pointed public statements more..

Significance of New Year in April

Apr 15 (SO) When the Sun moves from the Meena Rashi (House of Pisces) to the Mesha Rashi (House of Aries) in the celestial sphere, Sri Lankans celebrate the New Year or Aluth Avurudu (in Sinhala) and Puththandu (in Tamil). It marks the end of the harvest season and also coincides with one of two instances when the Sun is directly above the country. Avurudu has become an important national holiday in the cultures of the Sinhalese Buddhists and more..