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Man who duped students of millions arrested

Apr 23 (SL) A suspect, who duped 250 students for millions of Rupees promising to send them overseas, has been arrested by the Colombo Police Fraud Bureau. The police media unit said that the suspect was arrested in Colpetty. Between 2003 and 2007 the suspect had duped these students promising to send them to several European countries including England. Police had received 31 complaints and the suspect had confessed to police that he had duped a total of 250 students. more..

Sri Lanka Muslims decry radical Buddhist mosque attack

Apr 23 (BBC) The main umbrella group of Sri Lankan Muslims says radical Buddhists are trying to damage peaceful co-existence between the country's main ethnic communities. The statement came three days after hardline Buddhists tried to storm a mosque, after which the government said it would be demolished and relocated. Buddhists in the central town of Dambulla have defended their actions. But the issue has provoked anger among some prominent Muslims. more..

President Rajapaksa arrives South Korea for an official visit

Apr 23 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived Seoul at 11.40 am this morning for four days official visit from 23 to 27 April, on an invitation extended by his South Korean counterpart, President Lee Myung-Bak. South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Sung Han warmly welcomed the delegation headed by the Sri Lankan President at Seoul Air Base. Two Sri Lankan children also welcomed President Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa on arrival. more..

He jumped into 48-foot well to save his 8-year-old sister

Apr 24 (NS) When your eight-year old sister falls into a 48-feet deep unprotected well what would you do, especially, if you were only thirteen years old? Most teenage children may panic, or would be so confused that he/she may not be in a state of mind to rescue a little girl in a deep well. Nevertheless, Sithum Dhananjaya’s little sister was fortunate enough to have a brother such as him. She was having a bath at the unprotected well near her home from a basin of water and more..

Global military power on our patio

Apr 24 (LB) What President Obama calls pivoting military strategy on Asia is actually a major shift that will have long term consequences, much more serious than most people, except military analysts, have taken the trouble to ponder. The background, of course, everyone is aware of, and consists of four elements; Asia has become an economic powerhouse and deserves to be treated as the principal global strategic theatre, post the Soviet and East European collapse; commitment to more..

Delivering on the LLRC Recommendations

Apr 24 (GV) Immediately after the Resolution on SL was adopted in Geneva a month ago, US Secretary of State issued a short media release that said the US believes, the resolution “encourages the Govt of Sri Lanka to continue on the path toward reconciliation” and for the second time said, “….. and I look forward to discussing future actions with Foreign Minister Peiris soon.” The first time in January this year, was ignored by Minister Peiris. more..

Destroying Confidence

Apr 24 (CT) Last week, I was told, a mysterious lady approached the President while he was at a funeral, knelt at his feet, and came out with a terrifying story. The person who told me the story evidently thought of the lady as she who must not be named, but she was nothing like the fictional character who could not be named. Young and rich and beautiful, I believe she had long raven locks and sparkling dimples. The story she had to tell was however a sad one, for it was a tale of betrayal. more..

Bigoted monks and militant mobs: Is this Buddhism in Sri Lanka today?

Apr 24 (GV) Last Friday a mob of about 2,000 Sinhalese, led by a group of Buddhist monks, stormed into a mosque in the historical city of Dambulla. They caused disturbances so severe that Friday prayers had to be cancelled. Reports suggest that the mosque had been hurled at with petrol bombs the night before, causing minor damage, and security forces were deployed to control the situation. The targeting of the Muslim community was instigated by a group of racist Sinhalese individuals, more..

'US resolution in Geneva, a David and Goliath fight'

Apr 24 (SO) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, who led the Sri Lankan delegation to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) sessions last month, speaking to the media for the first time since his return to the country, says Sri Lanka faced a David and Goliath situation against the world’s ‘superpower’ in Geneva. He says Sri Lanka would not have lost the Resolution if an objective decision and an objective assessment on the country’s progress was made. more..

Don’t follow Israel: Do what’s right

Apr 24 (CT) I refer to the editorial of The Island on 18 April titled “To implement or not to implement.” As it correctly asks, ‘if the govt believed that UNHRC resolutions are non – binding, “why on earth did it make such a song and dance?” In my opinion, the government was in fact behaving like the ‘guilty party,’ both on the streets of Colombo and in Geneva; guilty of violations and vacillation over the implementation of the LLRC report. The editorial raises the important issue of Israel as a comparable case. more..

How do people who call themselves Sinhalese and Tamils know they are Sinhalese and Tamils?

Apr 24 (DBS) 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..

'I felt we had won a moral victory, a battle well fought'

Apr 24 (DBS) In an e-mail interview with Ayesha Zuhair of the Daily Mirror, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam,Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, discusses the US-backed resolution against Sri Lanka which was adopted at the 19th session of the UNHRC and the challenges ahead. Q: A crucial report on Sri Lanka was presented last week to the US Congress by Stephen J. Rapp, Ambassador-at-Large in the Office of more..

Frontal assault on the Frontline Socialist Party

Apr 24 (LB) Consciously or not, the govt has hit the Frontline Socialist Party right in the middle of its head. By exposing the “double identity” of Kumar Mahattaya and by labelling him a “fraud,” an “impostor” and an “expired visa holder” the govt has managed to draw blood from the left wing movement from its infancy. Banking on the feudalistic and pre-modern instincts of our uncritical masses and the absence of political literacy the state has managed to more..

An attempt to answer some questions Tamils ask

Apr 24 (DBS) In response to my comments on the article in’ “” by S.Venkatanarayan titled, ‘Who says Sinhalese are against devolving powers to Tamils? That’s absolute rubbish! says Chandrika Kumaratunge, ‘Quaero’ asked the following questions. I think his/her questions merit an answer from my perspective and the questions and answers should be part of an independent article. – Is Sri Lanka a country of two distinct ethnic communities, or not? more..

The scales of justice are tipped upside down

Apr 24 (SL) Those who believe that the country’s justice system treats everyone equally is living in a fool’s paradise. This is true of all justice systems in the world. While some countries try to make it more fair than the others, the truth is that there will never be a system that is entirely fair. After all, a good lawyer has a better chance of keeping one out of jail than a bad one. The only problem is that good lawyers cost a tidy amount. So by that yard stick alone, the poor start with a major handicap. more..

Post Geneva politics: A battle of wits, that's all

Apr 24 (LB) Heh, heh. No, this is not a humour column, but to start with some laughter is necessary – mandatory – given the serious import of what is sought to be stated here, so, brace, BRACE... At this moment, in this country, there are a great many greybeards and pundits who volunteer a gamut of solemn opinions on what they say is important to us in these testing times. Some of these people are legalistic in what they say, some extremely sincere and convinced about more..

Editorial: Enemies of reconciliation

Apr 24 (Island) Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK Leader M. Karunanidhi may not have realised the gravity of his call for carving out Eelam in Sri Lanka through a UN-sponsored referendum. His attempt to upstage his bete noire, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has manifestly boomeranged if the negative response to his demand in India is any indication. However, Karunanidhi has come under criticism not because his detractors have any concern for this country or its territorial integrity but more..

Strikes: Man-days lost increases 56%

Apr 24 (Island) As the govt moves to clamp down on unfair labour practices in the country, the loss of man-days due to strikes in the private sector increased by 56 percent in 2011, while the number of employees resorting to trade union action increased by 116 percent, data showed. "Although the number of strikes and man-days lost increased moderately in 2011, these numbers were significantly lower than those experienced before 2009. more..

‘Country’s forest cover shall be well protected’

Apr 24 (DN) “President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed that since wild life conservation is a prioritized national responsibility the available forest cover belonging to the Wild Life Department shall be well protected," Minister S M Chandrasena said. He said, he was proud to say that during his tenure as the minister, he has never allocated an inch of wild life property to any governmental or non governmental institute or an organization though some media propagating that lands more..

17-year old boy shot dead

Apr 24 (Island) A lone gunman fatally shot, a 17 year old youth in the early hours of yesterday at Uragasmanhandiya Elpitiya. The police believes the bullets were aimed at the boy’s father. The victim was Kohilaella Arachchige Chaturanga of Yatagala, Uragashandiya who had completed his GCE Ordinary Level and had been engaged in a small job in the area. He had been living with his grandfather in one house while his father had been living in another neighbouring house. more..

Rehab camps for liquor addicts in each district

Apr 24 (DN) Arrangements are in place to establish rehabilitation camps for persons addicted to alcohol and smoking islandwide. Each district will have one rehabilitation camp, Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. The Health Ministry is drawing up plans to identify persons addicted to alcohol and tobacco smoking and rehabilitate these persons to cure them of such addictions, he added. Around 350 persons die daily from Non Communicable Diseases more..

More post graduate training opportunities for docs to correct shortage of specialists

Apr 24 (Island) The Post-Graduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM) will soon introduce additional training programmes to train doctors in diploma courses in cardiology, nephrology, obstestrics, gastroenteritis, psychology and oncology as there is a shortage of trained medical professionals in these fields. The GMOA which held a discussion with the Minister Maithripala Sirisena and the PGIM Director yesterday in this regard expressed its satisfaction over the talks. more..

Monk, 9 other organizations intervene to save hotel

Apr 24 (Island) A Buddhist Monk and nine voluntary organizations yesterday submitted intervention papers, claiming that the construction of a tourist hotel in the Soragune Forest is a development project. They intervened in the petition filed by the Centre for Environmental Justice, which said that the project would destroy the natural vegetation in the forest. The Buddhist Monk, who intervened is the Venerable Malagoda Pragnaloka Thera of more..

Now Rs.10 Mn. Vehicle Import Licence Fee

Apr 24 (Island) An annual Import Licence Fee of Rs.10 million on luxury vehicles and Rs.5 million on the cheaper variety was to be imposed, UNP MP Harin Fernando said. He said that some big vehicle importers had met President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently and urged him to introduce an Import Licence Fee and the President had agreed. There were 750 vehicle importers in Sri Lanka and it was not fair to cater only to the "big timers," the MP said more..

Tornado strikes Kurunegala

Apr 24 (CT) An atmospheric disturbance in the Kurunegala area has damaged 79 houses in three villages, Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said. “Three villages in Galgamuwa, Kurunegala were affected due to these adverse weather conditions, these included Buduruwakande, Kurundankulama and Kelegama,” Kumara said. “A tornado which struck the area caused complete damage to six houses while 73 houses were partially damaged. The roofs of most of these houses were damaged. more..

Economic analyst debunks Harsha’s claims

Apr 24 (DN) The Central Bank and the World Bank follow a similar procedure to calculate the per capita income, said Senior Economic Analyst Vincent Mervyn Fernando. He made this observation responding to doubts raised by UNP MP Dr Harsha de Silva over the calculation of per capita income in the Central Bank report 2011. MP de Silva had stated there had been a miscalculation of per capita income in the report, and to prove his point he even referred to a part of the article written by Central Bank former Deputy Governor more..

Army will be withdrawn, Rajapaksa assures MPs

Apr 24 (Hindu) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had given an assurance of withdrawing the army from civilian areas at the earliest to the Indian joint parliamentary delegation, which visited the country. Virudhunagar MP Manicka Tagore, who was among the four Congress MPs from Tamil Nadu in the delegation, told reporters here on Sunday that in the North, where the army had been camped in strength, even small events required military approval. more..

Commonwealth regional symposium kicks off in Colombo today

Apr 24 (Island) Commonwealth Local Govt Forum, Secretary General, Carl Wright yesterday said that the regional symposium which starts today in Colombo would lead to regional programmes, economic development in the respective countries and help to cut down red tape. He said the symposium would be the first major commonwealth event in Sri Lanka in the run up to 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Govt Meeting. "It will provide a visible opportunity to review more..

Will inter-confessional peace come to Sri Lanka?

Apr 24 (RUVR) A new inter-ethnic and inter-confessional conflict has broken out In Sri Lanka - a country where a bloody civil war had ended only three years ago. On Friday, a crowd led by Buddhist monks gathered near a mosque building in the town of Dambulla, thus interfering with the Muslims’ Friday prayer. Muslims were forced to hide inside the building for a long time. And in the night from Friday to Saturday the mosque building was bombarded with Molotov cocktail bottles. more..

‘Sorry, it’s Houseful’ says Mervyn

Apr 24 (DM) Minister Mervyn Silva today said that Kelaniya meant Mervyn Silva, and Mervyn Silva meant Kelaniya. He said though he remained silent in the recent past he had resumed his activities in the Kelaniya area. “During the past few days I was watching the goings on. I left the doors open and some left through the doors while a large number of people entered through it. Now I can’t accommodate anymore. It’s houseful. more..

Colombo dockyard builds its largest vessel

Apr 24 (GDI) Colombo Dockyard has laid the keel, to commence the construction of the largest vessel in its history of Shipbuilding, a 400 Passenger cum 250 Ton Cargo Vessel for the Administration of Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. Once completed, these vessels will be deployed to cater to the increased traffic en-route from the Cochin to Lakshadweep islands as well as in the inter island routes. The addition of these vessels will ease the movement of passengers more..

JICA resumes volunteer dispatch towards East after decades

Apr 24 (AT) Four Japanese volunteers arrived in Sri Lanka recently, with the aim of providing their expertise to improve and add value to activities carried out by various public institutions in the country. The four volunteers are in Sri Lanka as a part of JICA’s ongoing Volunteer Dispatch Programme. What is unique about this group of volunteers is that, unlike in the case of volunteers dispatched in the recent past, two of the volunteers are to be assigned to more..

Engage Tamil Nadu not Delhi: DEW

Apr 24 (DM) Sri Lanka should foster diplomatic relations with Tamil Nadu than with New Delhi given its importance to country’s national interests, a senior Minister said yesterday. Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera, who delivered the Memorial Lecture for late Minister Lalith Athulathmudali in Colombo yesterday, said that no government either past or present had understood the importance of developing a sound relationship with Tamil Nadu. more..

Hirunika complaints of death threat

Apr 24 (DM) Hirunika Premachandra, the daughter of slain former MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra lodged a complaint at the Police headquarters late last night alleging that she had received credible information that a contract has been given to kill her. “I have received credible information that a contract has been given to kill me. This was first revealed by the media and upon further investigation, I found out that the information was in fact credible and reliable,” she said. more..

Stamp shortage rectified

Apr 24 (Island) Though there were shortages of five-rupee stamps, particularly in the outstations during the festive season, sufficient stocks had been sent to the relevant post offices, officials said. Postmaster General Rohana Abeyratna told The Island that the department is service oriented and would do everything possible to ease any inconvenience caused to the customers. He also said that income generated or not none of the sub post offices would be closed down. more..

'Relocation of Mosque: Decision taken after consulting Muslim leaders'

Apr 24 (Island) Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne had decided to relocate a Mosque at Dambulla after discussions with Muslim leaders and other stake holders, including Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana, the PM’s Media Secretary Sisira Wijesinghe said. He told The Island that the District Secretary had recommended three locations to construct the Mosque and that the Buddha Sasana and Religions Affairs Ministry would meet the expenses. more..

Polls chief to cancel multiple registrations

Apr 24 (DN) The Elections Department will take legal action against persons who have multiple registrations in the electoral list. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said some persons seem to have taken multiple registrations and deliberately avoided single registration. He said as an initial move, the Elections Department has decided to take legal action against 500 such persons for having multiple registrations in the electoral list. According to the electoral list of 2011, over 165,000 persons have obtained multiple registrations. more..

Angela forced to quit Saudi Embassy job

Apr 24 (Island) Former beauty queen and actress Angela Seneviratne, who repeatedly pleaded her innocence in a case where three parcels of magazines containing hashish had been sent in her name from England, was yesterday forced to resign her job at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Colombo. Angela said: "Despite my repeated pleadings of innocence some media outlets made out that I was guilty. What is sad is that I was never involved in any drug dealing and I did no wrong. She said that though the commotion over the detection of more..

MR’s 13A plus assurance: Govt. disputes Indian claim

Apr 24 (Island) The Sri Lankan Govt yesterday strongly denied a statement attributed to Indian Opposition Leader, Sushma Swaraj that her delegation had received an assurance from President Mahinda Rajapaksa of his commitment to the 13th Amendment and his readiness to go even beyond it. GoSL sources said that President Rajapaksa had met the Indian Opposition Leader twice on Friday and Saturday, but such an assurance was never given or asked for. more..

Karaliyadda opposes amnesty for child abusers

Apr 24 (Island) Abusers of children and women should be punished severely and they must not be given amnesties, Child Development and Women’s Affairs Minister Tissa Karaliyadda says. Addressing a ceremony to felicitate Rashmi Vidyani, a student elected as a committee member to represent South Asia at the South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC) Organisation on Friday at the Sovereign Hotel, Rajagiriya, more..