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Tamil village in Galle attacked over dispute

Apr 16 (SM) Several Tamil families living at a village in Elpitiya, Galle have been assaulted and their houses robbed and set on fire following a dispute involving an Army soldier. According to ‘Ada Derana’ Tamil website, the soldier in question had become angry after a youth of the Dilithura village had refused to address him as ‘sir.’ The soldier, while on vacation, had gone to the village around 10.00 am on April 14 and assaulted the youth at his home and another Tamil youth who had tried to mediate. more..

India’s Communist Party calls for expeditious rehab of Lankan Tamils

Apr 16 (SM) At a party congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has expressed concern at the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka. A CPI (M) resolution urged the Manmohan Singh-led government to make all necessary political and diplomatic efforts to see that their full rehabilitation and resettlement was undertaken expeditiously. New Delhi should ensure that the Sri Lankan govt conducted an independent and credible inquiry into reports of human rights violations and more..

Police nab suspects stealing tsunami buoy

Apr 16 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan police on Monday said they had arrested five suspects who had stolen a tsunami buoy from the Indian Ocean. Police spokesman Ajith Rohana told Xinhua that the five suspects are residents of Matara in southern Sri Lanka and they had stolen the buoy last month. The police had located the buoy earlier but were unable to arrest the suspects. The suspects are to be charged and produced in court more..

Manmohan monitoring rehabilitation

Apr 16 (CG) Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Sing is closely monitoring the rehabilitation program of war displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka, an Indian Minister said today. The PTI quoted Minister of State V Narayanasamy as saying the Indian government was “committed” to the rehabilitation of internally displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka. He recalled that India had announced a Rs 2500 crore package for various projects, including construction of houses for the displaced Tamils. more..

Kiriella to raise priviledge issue in Parliament

Apr 16 (DM) UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said today, that he would raise a privilege issue in parliament against Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakshe, who is a public servant for challenging him against a statement made by him. Kiriella said that he has no right to question a member of parliament. “The secretary of Defence is a public servant and therefore is much lower in the protocol ladder. He has no right to question or challenge a member of parliament. We as Parliamentarians air our views because it’s our duty to more..

No objections to Kudankulam nuclear power project: Lanka

Apr 16 (PTI) Sri Lanka on Monday said it had not objected to the Kudankulam nuclear power project in Tamil Nadu and underlined that India has every right to use nuclear technology in meeting the requirements of electrical energy. “Sri Lanka has not brought up the issue of the safety of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant against India’s voting at the 19th session of the UNHRC,” Lanka’s Atomic Energy Authority said dismissing more..

‘Unloading vehicles at H’tota to go ahead’

Apr 16 (DM) The decision to unload motor vehicles imported to Sri Lanka at Hambantota Port remains unchanged despite ‘disparaging remarks by some parties’, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) said in a statement. “SLPA would like to state that the ongoing process of handling ships carrying vehicles at Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port from 31st May 2012 will remain as decided,” the statement noted. According to SLPA, at present, due to non-availability of more..

SriLankan Airlines adds flight to Jeddah

Apr 16 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines is increasing its seat capacity to Saudi Arabia by adding a 314-seater Airbus A340 to cater to increased demand from special groups travelling to observe religious rites. The new service on its Colombo Jeddah route will operate every Sunday commencing from May 06 and continue until September 02, 2012. The new Sunday flight is added to the current thrice-weekly schedule, which operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. more..

Sri Lanka signes two agreements with Palestine

Apr 16 (ST) Sri Lanka and Palestine have signed two agreements today during the state visit of Palestinian President Mahmould Abbas. One of the agreements is on avoidance of Double Taxation & the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect of Taxes on Income. The second agreement is on Protocol on Political Consultations. The Agreements were signed by minister Prof G.L. Peiris, on behalf of Sri Lanka and more..

ICC increases participating teams for World Twenty20

Apr 16 (IANS) The International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided to expand the 2014 World Twenty20 in Bangladesh from 12 teams to 16 to boost the associate members. The associate members were unhappy after the ICC refused to increase the number of teams for this year's World Twenty20 (T20I) in Sri Lanka despite their good performance in the 2011 World Cup. The ICC during its executive board meeting here Sunday received a report of the strategic discussions held at more..

Sri Lanka rupee weakens on importer dollar demand

Apr 16 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee edged down on Monday as importers bought dollars, while the stockmarket closed virtually flat in thin trade after financial markets reopened following the new year holiday. The rupee closed at 128.00/20, compared with Wednesday's close of 127.50 a dollar. Stock and money markets were closed on Thursday and Friday. The rupee has been supported by the central bank's decision to raise interest rates this month more..

Case against London monk begins in crown court

Apr 16 (BBC) Case against Chief monk of Selsdon Buddhist temple had started proceedings at Isleworth Crown Court on Monday. Court sources told the BBC, that the members for the jury were selected before the case began. Highly respected Buddhist monk has been charged with raping an underage girl in the 1970s and sexually abusing another during the same period, the Metropolitan police has said. Both cases will be proceeding together court sources told more..

Amid the joy, danger of skating on thin ice

Apr 17 (SL) Nothing quite as cheery as this has happened to Sri Lanka tennis in a long time: It triumphed over Hong Kong, 3/2, and so extended life in Group Two of the Davis Cup competition for a second year – an achievement that had remained elusive since the ITF formulated nearly two decades ago the now-operative grouping system. The archaic system of having two groups per continent was dispensed with in the aftermath of the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and more..

Interest rates have increased, now what?

Apr 17 (SL) The govt didn’t surprise anyone when they increased interest rates last week. Policy rates went up by as much as 75 basis points. This was a part of the IMF’s demands in return for giving Sri Lanka the next tranche of the credit line they opened up for us a long time ago. It was a situation where the Central bank had to increase the rates or be denied the much needed foreign exchange. Sri Lankan is somewhat caught up in a situation where its experiencing its more..

Orphaned at Avurudhu

Apr 17 (CT) Located in a grim corner bordering the Wellawatte Canal, walking into Cooray Park, we are met by the sight of a bunch of children. The energetic ones out of the lot play hide and seek. Some run helter skelter. Others sit on a cement column cheering on, while the rest sit obediently watching the goings on, cross legged on a withered straw mat laid out in the sun. This here is the makeshift Avurudu celebrations of the Sri Jinanada Boys Home in Wellawatte. more..

Broad mobilization against dictators

Apr 17 (LB) The mobilization of international opinion in Geneva in the shape of 32 governments (24 ayes and 8 abstentions) to decry human rights violations in Sri Lanka was a significant step forward. However, govts are less important than internationalism in the broader sense of the term, or rather govts are but the mouthpieces of the intensity of pressure that their citizenry exert on them. The capitulation of Delhi to Tamil Nadu, forcing it to vote in favour of the resolution, more..

The crisis in diplomacy

Apr 17 (CT) 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..

'Govt should groom Tamil leaders for reconciliation'

Apr 17 (SO) An international terrorism expert who had served as an expert witness in many court cases heard against LTTE in the West, Prof. Rohan Gunaratna says [what remains of the] LTTE is the single biggest beneficiary of the outcome at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva last month. He said, ”Some LTTE remnants celebrate that the US resolution is the beginning of regime change in Sri Lanka. Others believe that the US has created a certain path more..

Reviving the political process

Apr 17 (DM) The political negotiations stalled during the long run-up to the Geneva process. The TNA said not much progress had been made when they were talking. The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) could mark a new beginning to the political process. The Govt proposed it, the Govt wants it. The TNA wanted the PSC and/or Parliament to be an endorser of decisions taken elsewhere at bilateral negotiations – between the Govt and the Alliance. It is not just about the Govt’s majority in Parliament. more..

The failure of the Ministry of External Affairs to think or write or discuss

Apr 17 (TC) One of the most preposterous charges laid against Dayan Jayatilleka in the Ceylon Today diatribe is that he writes too much. It is of course understandable that this comes from the Mandarins of the Ministry of External Affairs – I am assuming that Ms Bastians who wrote the article was fed by that Ministry, given that her husband Gehan Indragupta is a member of the fraternity – since their distinguishing feature is that they cannot or do not write at all. more..

Mystery behind the sudden emergence and exit of Gunaratnam

Apr 17 (DM) Mr. Rajapaksa queries, “How could anyone say that he went missing on Saturday? He has been missing since 1990! So this is indeed a very mysterious case – a missing person claimed missing.” “It is wrong to term this man’s disappearance as ‘abduction’ or ‘enforced disappearance’ for the simple reason that he has been in hiding for a very long time. It was a voluntary disappearance. His very party – the so-called JVP dissident group more..

Free of war, but are Sri Lankans truly free?

Apr 17 (CT) This article was written before information was out that a person by the name of Noel Mudalige (apparently an alias for Gunaratnam) was said to have emplaned for Australia, and before Dimuthu Attygalle appeared at a FSP press conference to say she was abducted and released. The abduction of political activists and leaders of the Frontline Socialist Party, Premakumar Gunaratnam and Dimuthu Attygalle has been taken seriously by all who are concerned about more..

Age of ‘Sereppuu Soup’

Apr 17 (SL) Age of ‘Sereppu Soup’ not of Enlightenment. There is a pithy Sinhala saying about pundits: Pundits can’t cross an ‘Eh- danda’. To those not acquainted with rural life or the Sinhala language ‘Eh –danda’ is a tree or log placed across a stream which has no railing or a form of support for those who walk on it to cross the stream. The pundit on coming to an ‘eh-danda’ will find many reasons why it shouldn’t or couldn’t be crossed lest he falls into the stream. But sturdy farmers of even little children go across it quite effortlessly. more..

How Gotabhaya ‘helped’ Karuna go to UK on a diplomatic passport under a false name

Apr 17 (DBS) There is a raging controversy on about the abduction and release of Frontline Socialist Party leaders Kumar Gunaratnam and Dimuthu Attygalle. Much of the spotlight is on Gunaratnam alias Noel Mudalige and his alleged offences of travelling under a false passport and overstaying his visa. The Australian Govt is also being blamed in this. The focus on Gunaratnam alias Mudalige and his alleged misdemeanors deflect attention more..

Editorial: The mad vs the great

Apr 17 (Island) The famous Mahatma Gandhi statue in Batticaloa, damaged in a recent attack, is reported to have been restored. It is heartening that three other statues which suffered damage in a similar manner are also being repaired. Whenever monuments of great men and women are attacked, we must make it a point to rebuild them bigger and better so as to disappoint the attackers whatever their motive may be. Those responsible for the senseless acts of vandalism/desecration more..

Improving support next time in Geneva

Apr 17 (Island) There appears to be turmoil within the govt in the aftermath of the 19th UNHRC meeting in Geneva. There have been many media reports about internal conflict on the issue within leading govt members despite some of them having been on the same team. In the immediate aftermath of the vote in Geneva, the govt tried hard to portray the outcome as a virtual victory and minimize the political damage to itself. But the wide disparity between the outcome of the 13th session more..

Connections | April 16, 2012

Govt. institutions slow in website updating

Apr 17 (FT) ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) says that updating of web-sites by Govt Institutions takes place at a very slow pace. ICTA says that while updating of web-sites at least once a month takes place only in 40 per cent of Govt institutions, Institution Heads and Chief Innovation Officers have a responsibility to ensure timely updating of their institution web-sites. While more than 400 web-sites have been created for Govt institutions, relevant Govt officers more..

Divi Neguma- A Closer Look

Apr 17 (Island) This month marks the one year anniversary since the launch of the government’s latest grassroots economic development initiative, Divi Neguma. The Divi Neguma programme was introduced by the Ministry of Economic Development following announcements in Mahinda Chinthana - Vision for the Future and Budget 2011 and aims to support household units to be self-sufficient, financially secure, and rely less on the market for their daily food requirements. The programme will more..

Sri Lanka Tourism licensing system goes online

Apr 17 (Island) In order to cater to the growing need for new establishments in the tourism sector, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority says it would soon implement a fully automated licensing system. All registered establishments in the tourism sector will be able to renew their licenses and obtain necessary documentation in a few hours while new registrations can be lodged online for processing, the authority announced recently. more..

Japanese government scholarship 2013 : Applications called

Apr 17 (DN) The Japanese government will award scholarships to Sri Lankan students under the Monbukagakusho (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology: MEXT) Scholarship scheme 2013, in the categories of postgraduate research, undergraduate and College of Technology. The closing date for applications is May 4. Selection of candidates will be done through an examination conducted jointly by the Japanese Embassy and the Higher Education Ministry. more..

Northern paddy lands produce record harvest

Apr 17 (DN) A record harvest has been reaped from paddy lands in the North during the Maha season, for the first time since the end to the war. Around 110,000 acres had been cultivated in the North with a harvest of 80,000 metric tonnes of paddy expected. “The farmers have commenced gathering their harvest and the govt is planning to purchase 10,000 metric tonnes of paddy from the North. “Already 4,400 metric tonnes have been purchased from the North which is the biggest quantity since more..

Farmers complain of drastic drop in vegetable prices

Apr 17 (DN) "The main livelihood of the peasants of this colony is vegetable cultivation. Nearly 30 lorry loads of vegetables are sent to the Dambulla Economic Centre from this area daily. But the prices of vegetables have gone down drastically. The expenditure for vegetable cultivation is very high but the income obtained is very low. If this situation prevails any longer, we will have to give up vegetable cultivation and start cultivating tobacco" more..

Billion rupee increase in gem exports in March

Apr 17 (Island) The Manager Exports (Gems) of the Gem and Jewellry Authority Rohan Pitigala yesterday said that 2012 would be a successful year for the gem export Industry as export earnings in March had shown a billion rupee increase over the preceding month. In the value addition sector too the export earnings in March had exceeded by two million rupees, the exports of February. He said that Director General of the Gem and Jewellry Authority Nimal Bandara had more..

Three more Bentota schools on verge of closure

Apr 17 (Island) Three more schools are to be closed down in the Bentota Educational Division, which had 25 schools initially. 25 years ago there were 23 schools in the division. Induruwa, Athuruwella Junior School was closed down since there wasn’t a sufficient number of students and few years after its closure, buildings decayed. Fortunately the place was converted into the Ahturuwella Cultural Centre and the children and adults in the area are making more..

Indian MPs for Sri Lanka, to interact with IDPs

Apr 17 (Hindu) A multi-party delegation of parliamentarians left on Monday for a six-day visit to Sri Lanka for extensive interaction with IDPs, some of whom will be beneficiaries of an India-supported rehabilitation programme. Contrary to the impression created by some parties that pulled out of the delegation that there will be little interaction with the Tamils affected during the closing stages of the war against the LTTE in 2009, the MPs will visit more..

Qatar, Sri Lanka justice ministers meet

Apr 17 (GT) The Minister of Justice Hassan bin Abdullah al-Ghanem held talks here yesterday with Sri Lankan Minister of Justice and legal Reform Raouf Hakeem and his accompanying delegation. During the meeting, they discussed aspects of co-operation in the legal and judicial domains. Minister al-Ghanem asserted Qatar’s readiness to enhance co-operation with Sri Lanka in the legal sector noting that they had agreed on forming a joint committee which will more..

Two ministerial security guards among five remanded

Apr 17 (Island) Two security officers of Deputy Minister Wijithamuni De Zoysa, two employees of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority and a Buttala businessman were remanded by Tissamaharama Magistrate for allegedly stealing earth from a gem bearing plot at Thammanna, Kataragama. The remanded suspects are: Wijekoon Bandara Dissanayake and Mudiyanselage Karunaratne, both of the Deputy Minister’s security staff and Kankanam more..

Indian prisoners pin their hopes on MPs' visit

Apr 17 (Hindu) Thirty four Indian convicts in a Sri Lankan jail are hoping that the joint delegation of Members of Parliament will make a difference to their lives. Despite the Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners between India and Sri Lanka signed in 2010, and efforts by the Indian High Commission in Colombo, the prisoners see no hope of their getting out at an early date. This is because their fate is caught up in procedure in New Delhi. more..

Weather gods cause 10 more mishaps on Expressway

Apr 17 (Island) Heavy rain and mist caused ten accidents on the Southern Expressway during the 24 hour period beginning 6.00 a.m. on Sunday and ending at 6.00 p.m. yesterday (16), police said. Seven persons were injured. The injured were admitted to Elpitiya, Karapitiya, Nagoda and Panadura hospitals and the National Hospital. A total of 139 accidents, including two fatal, have been reported so far this year on the country’s first expressway. more..