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Strange bedfellows, still bedfellows

Apr 28 (LB) On 20 April 2008 I said in this column “I participated at the Avurudu festival at Mangalagama, Yatinuwara. It was well attended. I felt that all those present were well-dressed and reasonably happy. Piyadasa, the chairman of the village cooperative store, explained to me that the wages of electricians, masons, carpenters etc, had all risen beyond Rs.700 per day, and that there was work. In addition, several youth had joined the security forces and more..

Rugby: In Sri Lanka, an unexpected passion for a colonial game

Apr 28 (DBS) When you think of Sri Lanka, rugby is not generally something that springs readily to mind. The island nation is certainly better known for cricket, tea exports and its recently ended civil war. But Sri Lanka’s British colonial forefathers left behind more than cricket as a sporting staple. Rugby was introduced to Sri Lanka in the late 1800s, and today it boasts a large playing population and a television audience of millions. more..

Editorial: Jaffna readying for May Day

Apr 28 (Island) Grand preparations are being made for a joint show of strength by the UNP and the TNA on May Day in Jaffna in spite of protests from the UNP rebels who have decided to hold instead a commemorative rally in Colombo to mark the 19th death anniversary of President Ranasinghe Premadasa on that day. This is an interesting turn of events; the UNP leadership has opted for a public display of solidarity with the former supporters of the LTTE which assassinated President Premadasa, a leader who held the UNP together and more..

The language of harmony

Apr 28 (DM) In multi ethnic societies, language rights take on special significance, the case of Sri Lanka being no exception. Language has played a major role in the ethnic conflict and the resultant violence that besieged the island for 30 odd years and so, a solution to this discord should also contain language at the core. In the post war period, its importance continues to be emphasized by the highlighting of language rights in such policy documents as the APRC 2009 and more..

'No one can tell me to stop my politics'

Apr 28 (LB) Central Committee member of the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) Kumar Gunaratnam spoke to LAKBIMAnEWS about the allegations levelled against him, his many aliases and the future plans of the FSP in an interview with Rathindra Kuruwita. Q: Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa told the media last week that you will never be allowed to return to Sri Lanka. What implications would this have on your political activities? more..

A reply to Victor Ivan: Give him a mask, he will tell you the truth

Apr 28 (CT) As a reply to a short report I wrote to the Colombo Telegraph, Victor Ivan, the Editor of Ravaya has written a long reply titled “Reconcillation (sic) and the Gotabhaya Factor”. In the first part of his letter he questions my reporting, gives instructions as to how I should have written it and avers that that report is untrue. In the second part he analyses a background he has identified in a “crisis”. Thirdly, he analyses the good, the bad but not the ugly more..

Not in our name: Against religious extremism in Sri Lanka

Apr 28 (GV) A week ago, a violent a mob of about 2,000 Sinhalese, including a group of Buddhist monks led by the Mahanayaka of the Rangiri Dambulu chapter Inamaluwe Sumangala thero, stormed and vandalised a mosque in Dambulla. The mosque was declared an illegal structure, but it is unclear how this far this is accurate. The shameful behaviour and expression employed by the Mahanayaka of the Rangiri Dambulu chapter Inamaluwe Sumangala thero, along with more..

It’s official – top govt. man refutes all ‘govt. abductions’

Apr 28 (LB) Lakshman Hulugalle, the director general of the Media Centre for National Security says abductions have been happening throughout the past, but they have now been highlighted by the media. He says 95 per cent of vans in Sri Lanka are white – and that the government does not abduct people in ‘white vans.’ Excerpts. Q: Do you admit there is a phenomenon of abductions in this country? There had been a spree of more..

Cluster bombs in Sri Lanka: From denial to discovery

Apr 28 (GV) Ravi Nessman from Associated Press has broken what’s perhaps the most important story on the war, since it ended three years ago. In a story published by AP a few hours ago, he notes, "The Associated Press obtained a copy Thursday of an email written by a U.N. land mine expert that said unexploded cluster bomblets were discovered in the Puthukudiyiruppu area of northern Sri Lanka, where a boy was killed last month and his sister injured as they tried to more..

Where were they when innocents got butchered?

Apr 28 (SO) Many people and a section of the international community seem to have forgotten how the LTTE carried out massive bomb explosions, targeting innocent civilians and brutally killing them. The human rights organisations and international bodies such as the UN did little or nothing to save these innocent civilians. Most of them were even reluctant to issue a statement condemning these indiscriminate killings. But those who project themselves as the champions of more..

Visually impaired yet an achiever

Apr 28 (CT) When Ridmi Handapangoda was born, her parents were worried. The infant sported a tiny eye that was almost completely shut. At three months, she was taken to an eye specialist who declared that the condition could not be cured. He also said that her other eye (which functioned weakly) too would lose its vision in the coming years. “We were devastated” says Ajith Premakumara Handapangoda, Ridmi’s father. more..

Cry, my Beloved Country!

Apr 28 (Island) Alan Paton, the South African anti-apartheid activist wrote his first and most celebrated novel Cry, The Beloved Country in 1948. Apartheid laws came into force in South Africa a few months later and were to remain in force for the next four decades. Paton’s novel is about racial tolerance and justice. Paton, a devout Anglican, weaves into his story his religious values, and his heroes in the novel, white and black, despite huge personal tragedies they have had to face, more..

When nuts can tilt the scales of justice

Apr 28 (Island) Pol. Pol… po pol, pol…pol, pol, pol Lankave vathu vala vevena pol When MS Fernando sang these memorable lyrics at the time he was very much the King of Baila, he had so much to say of our favourite nut - from its taste and many uses, to the skin tone of the woman who sells Thambili or King Coconuts. But he missed out on the spiritual power of the coconut. That ‘pol’ and spirits often go together is known by it being the preferred choice of many against ‘gal’ more..

DMK Chief Karunanidhi revives Tamil Eelam demand

Apr 28 (DBS) Muthuvel Karunanidhi the Octogenarian leader of India’s Dravida Munnetra Kazgagham (DMK) has a flair for creating controversy through provocative pronouncements. Karunanidhi known widely as “Kalainjer” or Artiste has been the chief minister of Tamil Nadu state for nearly 19 years serving five terms in office. The latest controversy triggered off by the Tamil Nadu ex-chief minister is of direct relevance and significance to Sri Lanka. more..

Maid suspected of bludgeoning her employee to death arrested

Apr 28 (Island) The Police, investigating the killing of an 86-year-old retired teacher, who had been bludgeoned to death with a hammer inside her home, at Kolonnawa early this week, have arrested the maid who served the victim. After the arrest she had allegedly admitted to killing her employee and decamping with more than 500,000 rupees worth of jewellery from the house. The woman suspect had visited a jewellery shop in Matale to sell the gold jewellery but the shop keeper, more..

Differently-abled get houses in Kurunegala

Apr 28 (DN) The first phase of the 100 houses project for differently-abled persons commenced in Kurunegala under the Social Services Ministry. As an initial step, Minister Felix Perera laid foundation stones to construct two houses in Govakotuwa, Maspotha and Thibbotupitiya in the Kurunegala district recently. Under this programme, action has been taken to construct 80 houses for each Divisional Secretariat Division at a cost of Rs 250,000 each while 20 houses more..

3D ත්žරිමාණ: ගබ්සාව සහ ලිංගික අධ්žයාපනය

17 out of 22 choose Mohamed Maharoof

Apr 28 (CT) Out of the 22 UPFA councillors in the Colombo Municipal Council, 17 members have requested that Mohamed Maharoof be elected as the Leader of the Opposition in the CMC, sources said. A letter that has been reportedly sent by the UPFA councillors to President Mahinda Rajapaksa asking that Maharoof be appointed the Leader of the Opposition, does not bear the signatures of MMCs M.H. Manzil, Ajantha Liyanage, Mahindaratne Kahadagamage, Sanjeewa Chandrasena and Madhu Madawa Aravinda. more..

Fined for urinating in public

Apr 28 (DM) A man who was produced in court on charges of having urinated in public was today fined Rs.50 after he pleaded guilty to the charge. The police arrested P. Wickramasinghe when he was found urinating near a restaurant located at the Old Dutch Hospital complex in Fort. The police told Colombo Fort Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne that by urinating in public the man had become a nuisance and a cause of displeasure to the people who were visiting the building complex. more..

BOC bond snapped up; rupee firmer

Apr 28 (FT) The Bank of Ceylon’s (BOC) historic $ 500 million five year Bond was snapped up on Thursday with 7.7 times oversubscription drawing bids worth $ 3.86 billion. The bond was concluded at a rate of 6.875%, more or less within the range anticipated by the issuer and its joint book runners. Prior to the issuance BOC and book runners marketed the Bond in select global financial markets. BOC Chairman Gamini Wickramasinghe described the success as more..

India-thrusted amendment no solution for Sri Lanka

Apr 28 (Hindu) In her article “Lessons to learn from Geneva” (April 7) Nirupama Subramanian's recollection that “Sri Lanka managed to snatch victory from the jaws of diplomatic defeat” in the voting at the 2009 UNHRC resolution raises questions of judgment, when it was passed with a majority of 11 votes, with 29 voting for, 12 against and six abstentions. She also recalls the line in the preamble to the 2009 resolution which referred to Sri Lanka's “commitment to a political more..

Nirupama Subramanian responds

Apr 28 (Hindu) Lucien Rajakarunanayake is right to point out the difficulties that attended the 1987 India-Sri Lanka agreement. No doubt space constraints prevented him, as they do me, from recounting here the tragic events that led to the Indian intervention. The initial opposition to the 13th amendment notwithstanding, all parties that opposed it then, including the SLFP, the main constituent of the ruling UPFA today, and the JVP, another constituent, have been enthusiastic participants in the provincial council elections more..

Sri Lanka's vegetable supply exceeds demand

Apr 28 (ST) Sri Lanka's vegetable production has been increased considerably in the past few months enhancing its supply to major markets and economic centres in the island resulting in a surplus and drop in prices, farmers and trader associations said. Officials of the Joint Farmers' Association pointed out that the low country vegetables are available in plenty and farmers have received a bountiful harvest as a result of favourable more..

PHIs threaten withdrawal from essential services

Apr 28 (Island) The Public Health Inspectors Union of Sri Lanka (PHIUSL) warned they would withdraw from essential services at the Blood Bank, Air Port and Port if the government did not give into their monetary demands. PHIUSL Secretary, Senarath Bandara said on Wednesday that they wanted an increase in petrol, uniform and office allowances. A countrywide strike was launched by the PHIUSL on Wednesday morning making four demands, which include an increase in more..

Samurdhi animators to boycott May Day

Apr 28 (Island) The Samurdhi animators’ union has decided not to attend the UPFA May Day rally this year in protest against the govt’s delay in resolving their grievances. The Samurdhi animators, who usually attend the govt May Day rally, had taken this decision to bring to the notice of top officials their displeasure over authorities ignoring the problems faced by them for years, General Secretary of the All Ceylon United Samurdhi Development Officials’ Union, Lalith Priyantha said. more..

Mosque issue: TNA slams govt

Apr 28 (Island) TNA leader R. Sampanthan yesterday strongly condemned the govt for its handling of the mosque dispute at Dambulla. The Trincomalee District MP issued the follwoing statment: "The TNA is deeply concerned over the recent incidents in Dambulla. We unequivocally condemn all acts of mob violence, particularly those directed against places of religious worship in Dambulla on Friday, 20 April. The timing of the attack reflects the more..

Periya Dorais paid over Rs 100 mn to non-existing workers

Apr 28 (Island) The Parliamentary watchdog committee COPE has found that some estate superintendents have siphoned off over Rs 100 million on the pretext of paying estate workers. Chairman of COPE Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera, addressing a workshop for the Divisional Secretaries in the Western Province on Thursday, said that there were non-existing names of estate workers on the pay rolls of some estates and the superintendents had drawn their salaries. more..

President returns after successful South Korean visit

Apr 28 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to the island yesterday after completing a successful four-day state visit to South Korea. President Rajapaksa held a very productive discussion with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak where he appreciated the assistance rendered by Korea for development activities in Sri Lanka. The President invited Korean investors to make use of the investment opportunities available in the country and also pointed out the more..

'HR complaints to LLRC under probe'

Apr 28 (DN) All complaints on Human Rights violations made to the LLRC are being investigated for action. Former Attorney General and a member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the UNHRC Mohan Peiris said the allegations on Human Rights violations placed before the LLRC are under investigation in accordance with Sri Lanka’s legal code. Peiris said so when asked about accusations levelled against Sri Lanka by various NGOs and the UNHRC regarding more..

Sri Lanka Women win thriller to level ODI series

Apr 28 (CW) Sri Lanka Women held their nerve to defeat the West Indies Women by one wicket and level their three-match One-Day International series in Barbados. The second game was mostly dominated by the bowlers, although Yashodha Mendis and Shemaine Campbelle both scored half-centuries before Sri Lanka clinched victory with two balls to spare. Batting first, Juliana Nero made 45 and Shanel Daley 24 before Campbelle struck more..

Ranil to visit Delft

Apr 28 (CT) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will be travelling to Delft, the `island of ponies’ during his visit to Jaffna to take part in the UNP May Day rally informed sources said. Ranil Wickremesinghe would be the second UNP leader after Sir John Kotelawala to pay a visit to Delft which is the largest island in the Northern waters sources said. Ponies, which were groomed during the Dutch period to carry goods and for transportation still live in the hundreds and more..

'No evacuation of city dwellers'

Apr 28 (DN) No one living within Colombo city limits would be sent out but arrangements are being made for them to live in similar environments in the same areas, while the country is propelled forward on the path of development, Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said. He made this observation at an awareness programme held for members of 456 families in Slave Island on the Slave Island Development Project more..

Malabe Private Medical College (SAITM) illegal: MEP

Apr 28 (Island) The Central Committee of Mahajana Eksath Peramuna in a statement declared that as a matter of policy it did not approve the handing over of medical education to private institutions. "The Committee, appointed by the Minister of Health, to probe into the activities of SAITM has in their report pointed out that SAITM which is now involved in medical education, initially had obtained govt approval to award technical and management degrees. more..

Magampura Port vehicle unloading from May 31

Apr 28 (DN) Motor vehicle unloading will be carried out from the Magampura Port from May 31, said Deputy Minister Rohita Abeygunawardena. The motor vehicle unloading is now conducted at the Colombo harbour. According to the deputy minister, five ships, which carry motor vehicles from Japan are at the outharbour in Colombo awaiting entery for unloading. Ships which carry vehicles have to wait for days due to congestion for vehicle unloading at the Colombo harbour. more..

Parliament has failed, says DEW

Apr 28 (Island) Minister DEW Gunasekera said that the Sri Lankan parliament had pathetically failed in its duty to uphold financial integrity and transparency in the public sector. The outspoken Chairman of the parliamentary watchdog committee on public enterprises admitted that the national economy was in a mess due to failure on the part of parliament. "Parliament has failed the country. In fact, the Opposition should raise the issue in parliament at least now. more..

Lankan school pupils display talents at fair

Apr 28 (GT) The Stafford Sri Lankan School Doha yesterday organised an exhibition and fair under the theme, ‘Learning and Life in Fusion’ in conclusion of their academic week and in a bid to raise funds to boost modern learning at the school. The school is expected to raise more than QR10,000 at the event, which was attended by special guests including Sri Lankan ambassador Jayantha Palipane and a senior Qatari official from the Capital Police department Nasser al-Naimi. more..

Dogs live up to their reputation, save owners from robbers

Apr 28 (Island) Timely intervention by a canine friend named Lucky saved businessman K.S.S. Kodisinghe and his wife from two armed robbers, though it died after being shot at point blank range by one of the still unidentified intruders. If Lucky and dog called Diki had not promptly responded to the threat, the robbers would have harmed them, Kodisinghe said, when The Island visited his residence at Kithanawalana, Mirigama more..

Thusha, 5, is still smiling

Apr 28 (DM) The beaming smile on little Thusha Kamaleswaran's face gives no sign of the heartache and pain she and her family have been through after their lives were devastated by gun-toting thugs. Thusha was just five years old and happily dancing in the aisles in her uncle's shop when gang violence saw her gunned down in a brutal crime which left her confined to a wheelchair. She became Britain's youngest victim of gun crime more..

Sri Lankan nuts go global

Apr 28 (DN) The Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development Ministry will improve the quality of coconut products to compete in the global market and enhance foreign exchange earnings, Minister Jagath Pushpakumara said. He said the ministry plans to increase national and international market demand by 30 percent by 2016 by creating awareness on the health preserving qualities of coconut products as a food intake. more..

BIA a big transit hub for global drug syndicates

Apr 28 (ST) The headline-hitting drug detection at the Central Mail Exchange on Thursday has added to the worries of the Police Narcotics Bureau where detectives believe that Sri Lanka is fast becoming a preferred transit hub of international drug syndicates, especially cocaine smugglers. Alarmed by the high incidence of detection of drugs at the Bandaranaike International Airport, PNB detectives said the rise in tourist arrivals had created a huge demand more..