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The rot behind the grand façade; The reality beneath the patriotic cape

Apr 21 (SL) A cake worth US$ 35 million is a stupendously obscene gesture in a country where 53 percent lack enough money to buy food and 46 percent struggle to find adequate shelter. The economic statistics are from a new Gallup Poll, according to which at some point in 2011 “about one half of Sri Lankans lacked money for food and shelter…”. Last month’s warning from the Asian Development Bank that Sri Lanka’s poor “will suffer if prices of wheat and other more..

A reply to Uvindu: Reconcillation and the Gotabhaya factor

Apr 21 (CT) I am often compelled to devote a considerable portion of my writings in responding to criticisms. This I know is not a pleasant task. Yet, a person who represents a specific view cannot restrain from doing so when the view that he upholds is challenged necessitating him to defend it.Last week, Uvindu Kurukulasuriya who is in self exile had published a long report in his website quoting a discussion that took place between Minister more..

Editorial: When dadah is not death

Apr 21 (Island) The arrest of a British youth on Wednesday in Colombo following an abortive attempt to smuggle in hashish secreted in some magazines evokes one's memories of Jerry London's 1988 movie, Dadah is Death, based on the execution of two young Australians in Malaysia in 1986 for carrying heroin. But, in Sri Lanka, fortunately for drug traffickers and unfortunately for their victims, dadah (slang for illegal drugs) is not death. The latest Handbook of Drug Abuse Information more..

The national question and Dr. Adhikaram’s views on race

Apr 21 (Island) In its modern form, the origins of the so-called National Question go back to the early twentieth century. As understood by the man in the street, this intractable problem was created by the claims and counter-claims made by politicians of all races, particularly the Sinhalese and the Tamils, over several decades as to how the "national cake" should be divided. The armed conflict that eventually ensued came to a decisive conclusion in May 2009. more..

Realities of politics based web censorship

Apr 21 (DM) Wikileaks became a global phenomenon after the release of thousands of secret cables of the United States State Department, in November 2010. The 2010 release was part of the continuing efforts of Wikileaks to counter what the group perceived as corrupt governance and lack of transparency. Although the organization had made similar releases from late 2006 – the cable release gave rise to several repercussions of the US govt. more..

Crocodile Dundees in the making

Apr 21 (Island) Jeffrey’ cartoon in The Island last Tuesday depicting a hooded crocodile being led by a policeman, as it is for an identification parade and the crocodiles’ comment " Sir, you let politician killing humans go scot free" is a telling statement on today’s social, conditions. I would vote for it as one of the better cartoons in recent times. Suddenly we find that the crocodile is public enemy No. 1. True enough some humans have been killed by crocodiles in recent weeks, more..

Let’s spit out the racists with the Avuruddhu betel chew

Apr 21 (NS) With the dawning of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year is manifested a season of renewal and an occasion of joy. It is a period for permissible indulgence as well as extending hospitality and the distribution of largesse. Through the centuries, the cheerful festivities have been equated to a National New Year, celebrated by both Buddhists and Hindus. Touchingly symbiotic is the fashion in which both these ancient religions have become inextricably intertwined more..

No peace and justice without the Rule of Law

Apr 21 (Island) Basil Fernando, the indefatigable human rights activist now with the Asian Human Rights Commission, wrote the poem JustSociety, from which the above is taken, in 1983. But it could well have been today. The methods and the strategies employed in 1983 seem to be once again being used with equal or even more devastating effect. Groundviews website states that there were 29 known cases of abductions in February and March alone. more..

‘The wise give up the idea of victory and defeat’ Response to Friday Forum

Apr 21 (Island) The Forum statement says "All of us citizens should be concerned regarding the extreme intolerance for differing views that has emerged in the aftermath of the resolution" I thought expression of differing views even aggressively is that mark of a vibrant democracy? The matter concerns every body. So it is natural that even intemperate views will be aired by at least some people who would feel humiliated, in their view. "Any expressions of views that more..

New Year celebrations in ancient Lanka

Apr 21 (SO) We are amidst another Sinhala and Hindu New Year during which a majority of the inhabitants of Sri Lanka will participate in social, cultural and religious observances which have been inherited from generation to generation over the past centuries. And for a change I propose to delve into the ways in which the Sinhala and Hindu New Year was celebrated with pomp and pageantry in Sri Lanka during the ancient times about which early writers give exuberant details. more..

BOP issue: CB told public one thing and the IMF another

Apr 21 (Island) The Central Bank which had severely criticised those warning of a balance of payments crisis, denying repeatedly that there was such a problem, and sold down reserves to defend the exchange rate while keeping interest rates stable, an impossible task in practice, has told the IMF the opposite, indicating that it had known about problem. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal recently told journalists that more..

National and budget carriers sustain losses

Apr 21 (Island) National carrier SriLankan Airlines and budget airline Mihin Air sustained losses in 2011, the Central Bank 2011 Annual Report showed. "The revenue of SriLankan Airlines increased by 16.3 percent to Rs. 78.9 billion, while the operating expenditure increased by 32.2 percent to Rs. 98 billion resulting in an operating loss of Rs. 19.1 billion. High fuel prices and lower yields due to increased competition contributed to the increase in operating expenditure of the airline," the bank said. more..

UAE groups place firm orders at Sri Lanka Expo

Apr 21 (KT) Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), the apex government organisation for promotion and development of exports from Sri Lanka, has been entrusted to formulate strategies to achieve the export target of $15 billion by 2015, The EDB, in consultation with the relevant private and public sector stakeholders, has identified apparel, tea, rubber and rubber products, gems and jewellery among others as key potential products to boost exports. more..

CB data: Cabraal shoots down Harsha’s claim

Apr 21 (FT) Dismissing the claim by the UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva that the Central Bank was doing “creative accounting” to camouflage the reality and show better economic and GDP performance, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said per capita GDP was calculated according to international norms. Referring to our front page lead story yesterday titled ‘CB statistics under fire,’ quoting Dr. De Silva, more..

CEB spends billions for consumer relief

Apr 21 (DN) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) spent Rs.22.9 billion as relief to electricity consumers last year, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He said Rs.6.5 billion was spent for the relief of industries and the balance for the relief of domestic consumers who used electricity below 90 units. The number of electricity consumers has increased to over five million. About 4.6 million are domestic consumers. The balance are religious places, hotels and other industries. more..

Elements behind Geneva resolution plan to divide India - PM

Apr 21 (DN) The elements which pushed the Geneva resolution against Sri Lanka are interested in our country because of their long term plan of dividing India in a similar manner to former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Sri Lanka is the launching point of their agenda, Prime Minister D M Jayaratne told the Daily News yesterday. According to the Prime Minister, Sri Lanka is a culturally and religiously rich country and has a history over 2555 years. more..

Suresh deMel

'Act wisely and faithfully to improve and develop sports'

Apr 21 (Island) The Operational Office for the Asian Junior Athletic Championship was declared open by Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage at Sugathadasa Sports Hotel in Colombo on Thursday. The 2012 Asian Junior Athletics Championship is scheduled to be held from 09th-12th, June 2012 in Colombo with the participation of 800 athletes, coaches and trainers from 45 countries. Since Sri Lanka is hosting this event for the first time Sports Minister Aluthgamage has more..

Fired-up Sri Lanka confront Philippine ‘Volcanoes’ in decider

Apr 21 (Island) Sri Lanka’s new found enthusiasm for national duty and the remarkable journey at the Asian 5 Nations so far, will be put to the test in no uncertain terms when they clash with Philippines, in a match which will decide the winner of the Division 1 competition, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, Philippines, today. An assignment which at the beginning left the islanders with slim hopes, has now presented them with an opportunity to go all out, more..

Bus owners seek another fare hike

Apr 21 (DM) Private bus owners yesterday said they might request for an increase in bus fares later this year as the cost of repairs had doubled due to the escalating prices of items. During the last bus fare increase in February this year bus owners’ unions had agreed with the transport authorities to revise fares on February 14 next year. PBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne however said a bus fare increase would be needed sooner than that. more..

Central bank says no need for FX intervention

Apr 21 (Reuters) Central bank said on Friday that despite heavy depreciation pressure on the rupee , there was no need to intervene in the market as the country would see $574 million of inflows within a month. On Friday, the currency was trading near its record low of 131.60 per dollar, hit on March 19 due to importer demand and the market has been expecting further depreciation when the central bank stops its dollar supply to meet oil bills from the next month. more..

Moves to build water chalets around tanks

Apr 21 (DN) The Irrigation and Water Resources Management Ministry has drawn up plans to build water chalets around tanks and reservoirs countrywide. This is to provide a novel experience to local and foreign tourists, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. Under the proposed project, 75 picturesque locations have already been identified for this purpose. Minister instructed officials to implement the project in collaboration with the security forces, wildlife institutions, farmer societies, groups dedicated to more..

Sri Lanka and Israel conduct Bilateral Consultations

Apr 21 (MEA) The first ever bilateral consultations between the Ministry of External Affairs of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel were held at the Ministry of External Affairs in Colombo on 20th April. Secretary/External Affairs of Sri Lanka Karunatilaka Amunugama and the Deputy Director General & Head of Asia and the Pacific Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel Ruth Kahanoff headed the respective more..

Blow for Mumbai: Injured Lasith Malinga returns home

Apr 21 (HT) Mumbai Indians star bowler Lasith Malinga’s recurring back problem has ruled him out of the Indian Premier League at least for a “couple of weeks” and the bowler has returned to Sri Lanka, a top Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) official confirmed on Friday. Malinga has struggled with a troublesome back throughout his career and was forced to retire from Test cricket in 2010 to prolong his career, focussing instead on the shorter version. more..

SLFEB gears to train professionals for foreign jobs

Apr 21 (Island) The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) aims to send more trained professionals abroad for employment instead of housemaids in future through its newly set up ‘Rata Viru National Organisation (RVNO). The spokesman for the SLFEB said that the organisation comprising migrant workers and their family members would promote sending professionally trained workers to foreign countries. The spokesman said the SLFEB had established the more..

Sushma asserts India is for united Sri Lanka

Apr 21 (Hindu) Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an unscheduled breakfast meeting on Friday. This comes soon after the one-on-one meeting she had with the Sri Lankan Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickramasinghe. Ms. Swaraj has had meetings with all Sri Lankan Tamil leaders, and has informally met many Ministers and politicians in the past four days. The invitation was extended to Ms. Swaraj, more..

Lankan officials to receive fishermen

Apr 21 (CT) Two officials of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Nairobi have been requested to go across to Tanzania to receive rescued Sri Lankan fishermen who had been abducted by Somali pirates. The Assistant Director of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Lal Silva said that the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources had discussions with the External Affairs Ministry to arrange for the rescued fishermen to return to Sri Lanka. The six Lankan fishermen were captured about six months ago by Somali pirates when more..

Ranatunga’s take on IPL his own, says Mahela

Apr 21 (IANS) Delhi Daredevils vice-captain Mahela Jayawardene brushed off former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga’s take on the Indian Premier League (IPL) as being his own opinion. Ranatunga has blamed the Indian cricket board for “harming the game” through the IPL and said it would produce butchers instead of better Test players. Ranatunga, who led the Sri Lankan team to a historic World Cup triumph in 1996, blamed the BCCI for India’s slide in Test arena. more..

Milinda leaving CMC to join WB

Apr 21 (Island) Former UNP, UPFA MP and Cabinet Minister Milinda Moragoda, who is the UPFA Group Leader in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), will resign as a Councillor on Wednesday. Moragoda would announce his resignation from the CMC at Wednesday’s group meeting to take up an appointment with the World Bank. M.H. Maharoof who crossed over to the UPFA from the UNP in September last year, just before the LG elections after disagreements with UNP more..

‘Delegation to Sri Lanka was an attempt to mollify sentiments'

Apr 21 (Hindu) The Indian delegation to Sri Lanka was in essence an attempt to mollify the hurt sentiments of Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the Geneva resolution, said D.Raja, Rajya Sabha member, Communist Party of India. He said that there was no space for independent inquiry by the delegation led by the leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj. The scope of the visit was regimented by Sri Lankan authorities, and displaced Tamils in refugee camps were tutored not to to utter uncomfortable truths, more..

President Mahinda Rajapaksa to undertake state visit to South Korea

Apr 21 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will undertake a state visit to South Korea from April 23 to 27 at the invitation of the President of South Korea, Lee Myung-Bak. During his visit to South Korea, President Rajapaksa will hold talks with the South Korean President. President Rajapaksa will be accompanied by First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa. Several bilateral agreements will also be signed during the visit. President Mahinda Rajapaksa will address a business luncheon co-hosted by more..

Angela goes to Kollupitiya police station "to clear her name", but directed to PNB

Apr 21 (Island) Ex-actress and one time beauty queen Angela Seneviratne, whose name has been mentioned in a hashish detection at the Central Mail Exchange early this week, yesterday visited the Kollupitiya police station with two lawyers to make a statement and clear her name, but she said that officers there had turned her away saying that they were not handling the case. Angela said that she, accompanied by two juniors of leading more..

Five storey hospital has lifts only up to 2nd floor

Apr 21 (Island) The GMOA accused the Health Ministry of failing to install a proper elevator system at the five storeyed Jaffna Teaching Hospital, where the lifts currently in operation function only up to the 2nd floor. GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that in-patients, especially surgical patients, admitted to the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors, had to be carried by labourers. Some labourers who were tasked with carrying the patients to upper floors had developed back trouble more..

Killings at Kotte Rajamahaviharaya: five witnesses identify suspects

Apr 21 (FT) At an identification parade held yesterday before Nugegoda Acting Magistrate five eye witnesses identified two suspects as those who killed the two theras at the Rajamaha Viharaya of Kotte on the night of 20 March. The parade was held before Nugegoda Acting Magistrate Tissa Wijeratne and the two suspects Pathirage Harsha Manjusri Manikeerthi Perera and Nammuni Arachchge Suresh Chanaka were identified by a monk, a woman and two males who were said to be more..

Govt. to get Russian, Chinese flights to Mattala

Apr 21 (DM) Sri Lankan aviation authorities will meet Chinese and Russian aviation officials to negotiate for an increase in flights to Sri Lanka and to request that these flights land at the Hambantota Mattala Airport to be opened in November. A Civil Aviation Ministry source said European markets had cut down on flights to Sri Lanka as many tourists considered it to be an expensive destination. more..

Ministry rejects another salary hike for CEB non-exec. staff

Apr 21 (Island) The Power and Energy Ministry yesterday flatly rejected another pay hike for non-executives of the CEB, despite a threat by the latter to stage a walk out on May 29. Officials said that they were not disturbed by the demands of the non-executives who cater to the whims and fancies of certain political parties. The CEB Trade Union Front yesterday decided to walk out from their workplaces after more..

How Moon panel gathered ‘war crimes’ info revealed

Apr 21 (Island) Those willing to petition the UN calling for an international war crimes inquiry targeting Sri Lanka had the chance to choose from over two dozen sample letters prepared by the anti-Sri Lanka lobby, to be sent online to UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts (PoE). Twenty five samples were made available on line to the Diaspora as the Dec 31, 2010 deadline for the closure of submissions neared. more..

Will Lanka face Solheim in New York?

Apr 21 (Island) In the wake of Erik Solheim losing his ministerial portfolio at the recent cabinet shake-up, the former chief of Norwegian peace efforts in Sri Lanka, is widely believed to be considering giving up active politics for the time being, to take up a key diplomatic posting. Norway based sources told The Island that the 57-year-old politician had been campaigning for the post of Oslo’s UN Ambassador, a vital diplomatic posting in view of more..

Former Maldivian President Gayoom meets with President

Apr 21 (Haveeru) Former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday. A statement released by the Secretariat of the former President read that during the courtesy call both leaders discussed further methods to strengthen bilateral relations between both countries following the change in govt. Gayoom thanked the President on behalf of President Dr Mohamed Manik more..

Gemunu says NTC and Private Transport Ministry corrupt

Apr 21 (Island) The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne on Thursday named the National Transport Commission (NTC) and the Private Transport Ministry as the most corrupt State institutions and urged the government to do away with them as they had become white elephants. Wijeratne warned that the LPBOA would institute legal action against those two institutions. The NTC had issued more..