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7 nabbed with gold plated Buddha statues to be sold for Rs.16M

Apr 29 (AD) A suspect who was attempting to sell two gold plated Buddha statues and six individuals who had arrived to purchase the statues were arrested by police today morning in the 10th Mile Post area in Sooriyawewa. The suspects were preparing to purchase a statue 17 inches tall and weighing 20kg and a smaller 8 inch tall Buddha statue for Rs. 1,580,000 when police, acting on a tip-off, raided the location and apprehended them. Upon being interrogated the man who was more..

'No Indian pressure to sack Arjuna'

Apr 29 (BBC) The cricket authorities in India had no hand in the sacking of Arjuna Ranatunga from Sri Lanka’s cricket board, the country’s former sports minister has said. The Island newspaper on Saturday said it had obtained documentary evidence which suggested Mr Ranatunga paid the price for being a strong critic of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). more..

Govt. to export surplus rice, vegetables

Apr 29 (DM) Minister Basil Rajapaksa said there was a surplus of rice and vegetables in the country now and steps would be taken to export them to gross an additional income. He said this came as a result of agricultural development programmes implemented by the government. He said the government took several measures to use these excess food items for food processing programmes and also to foreign markets. He also pointed out that the reason for excess food production was due more..

Govt. officials forcefully delete TV visuals

Apr 29 (SL) Officials from the Urban Development Authority (UDA) forcefully detained a TV cameraman and a producer on Friday and deleted the visuals they had taken of some stalls being removed at the Pettah fish market. The television cameraman from Sihatha TV was covering an incident where stalls were being removed together with his producer when UDA officials verbally abused them and took them to a corner. Sihatha TV news manager Nayana Kaluarachi told more..

Tamils in limbo after Canadian crackdown on smugglers

Apr 29 (Cp24) All wars cause collateral damage. Vashni is collateral damage in Canada's war on human smugglers. The soft-spoken Tamil woman in her 30s lives one step ahead of the law in Thailand and longs to be reunited with her elderly parents in Toronto. But she would never consider resorting to using one of the notorious smugglers who operate out of Bangkok to make that happen. "I don't want to take that risk to myself," she explains. more..

Self-sufficiency in big onion seeds by 2014

Apr 30 (NS) The Ministry of Agriculture last week announced that it would take steps to halt the importation of big onion seeds with immediate effect. Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana revealing the government’s decision said that it would safeguard the local farmer, and the country would benefit in many ways. However, the decision has made a new issue whether Sri Lanka has produced enough seeds for the big onion production. Sources from Agriculture Ministry said the more..

Ideas for restoring dignity of judiciary

Apr 30 (NS) It was after the delivery of his dissenting judgment in the famous White Flag case that former High Court Judge W.T.M.P.B. Warawewa’s name and fame gained public attention. This, however, is not a comment on the pros and cons of that judgment - which, of course, requires in-depth analysis – Nor is this a comment on the unhappy ending of his tenure in office. This piece deals with comments he has made at media interviews on his experiences as an officer of more..

'Third party interference complicates issues further'

Apr 30 (SO) Deputy Minister Faiszer Musthapha who was among the Sri Lankan delegation to the UNHRC sessions in Geneva says there are issues in any country, when majorities and minorities live together. Such issues can only be solved through dialogue. Any third party intervention makes the issues more complicated and totally destroys countries. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc have been destroyed due to third party interference. more..

The Groundviews use of cluster bombs

Apr 30 (CT) I have just been sent a typical distortion by Groundviews of what I said three years ago with regard to an Amnesty claim about cluster bombs. GroundViews declares that - ‘Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, in February 2009, called those in Amnesty International “lunatics” and their concern over the use of cluster bombs by the Sri Lankan army “rank idiocy”. ……What new levels of spin, deception, counter-claims, propaganda and hate speech through spokesmen, Ambassadors, advisors and other assorted apologists will more..

Rule of law as anidote to religious intolerance

Apr 30 (TC) The dispute over the presence of a Muslim mosque on Buddhist temple land in Dambulla points to an underlying tension in Sri Lanka’s multi religious society that is being exploited by extremist forces. The latest incident is a violent mob attack led by some Buddhist monks on the mosque in the presence of state security forces. The National Peace Council condemns this act of violence and damage done to the mosque that has caused a deep sense of hurt and more..

The middle finger to the middle-path in Sri Lanka

Apr 30 (GV) A week ago, we disgraced ourselves. Racist louts, some in the garb of Buddhist monks, engaged openly in speech and behaviour so violent, even those who led it were forced to suggest later the footage broadcast on TV and now globally viewed on YouTube was doctored. Sri Lanka’s tryst with militant Buddhism is not new. It is the fundamental basis of the JHU, which is today deeply embedded in govt. As much as the telegenics of last week’s more..

Editorial: Devolution - More questions than answers

Apr 30 (Island) Those who try to find a remedy for Sri Lanka's ethnic ills make the mistake of concentrating solely on devolution as a panacea without considering it part of a solution to a vexed problem that requires a multi-pronged approach. If devolution is the great ethnic leveller that it is being made out to be in some quarters, then how would one explain the prevalence of ethnic tensions which often find expression in communal bloodletting, several secessionist movements more..

The Geneva Debacle of March 2012: The lessons not learnt

Apr 30 (GV) The outcome in Geneva last year (March 2011) of the voting on Sri Lanka’s conduct of the war and related human rights record was very clearly in favour of the Sri Lankan govt. The line up in the voting and the scale of the majority were such that is appeared that this year too the outcome would be similar, despite some recent wavering by India. But the conduct of the Sri Lankan govt in the mean time was so counter- productive that it precipitated the debacle more..

Dambulla Mosque controversy: Conflicting versions prevail

Apr 30 (DBS) Muslims in Dambulla are still reeling from last week’s events, which could mean the demolition and relocation of a 65 year old mosque. We were there until the last minute… people were throwing rocks and stones, so we had to leave at around 1:30 pm,” said Hariff M Yasir, a trustee to the mosque, describing the chaotic scene. ‘We left without our slippers, like beggars. We were afraid they would do something to hurt us,’ he said. more..

Angela Seneviratne not accountable, say police

Apr 30 (SO) It was a busy day at the Parcel Post Section at the Central Mail Exchange at D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha, Colombo 10 when people were calling over to clear parcels addressed to them. Among them were two young British nationals in their twenties nervously awaiting their turn to collect their parcels. However, the Custom officials who spotted them were a bit suspicious of their demeanour. The foreigners had come there to collect three parcels addressed to a more..

The uphill task: Sustaining economic growth

Apr 30 (ST) The sustainability of economic growth is a serious challenge. The high growth of 8 per cent achieved in the past two years is unachievable this year. Unless appropriate policy measures and a growth strategy that ensures a lower trade deficit are in place, balance of payments constraints could jeopardise long-term economic growth. Equally important are reforms that ensure a climate conducive for private investment, both foreign and domestic; reduction of more..

Front foot batsman, backdoor statesman

Apr 30 (ST) My Dear Sanath, I thought I must write to you when I heard that you had written to Mahinda maama asking that you be appointed a minister. I heard that three others had also signed the same letter and ‘Muthu’ of Galle was among them. I am told that you were making this request on the basis that both you and Muthu topped the preference votes in your respective districts of Matara and Galle and that everyone else who topped their districts more..

The Morning after the FUTA Strike:The politics of a broader agenda in 2012

Apr 30 (Island) The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) re-launched its trade union action on Thursday the 26th of April with a token strike and rally. In the context of the renewed attention in tertiary education and the threat of further trade union action by FUTA, this article seeks to draw out some questions that FUTA will have to deal with if it is to avoid the debacle of its last trade union action. The FUTA strike of 2011 was a high watermark in more..

‘This May Day embrace change in world of work’

Apr 30 (FT) In recognising International Workers’ Day on 1 May, the Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Director General Ravi Peiris has urged all stakeholders to embrace the change in the world of work. He also emphasised the need for progressive labour legislation if Sri Lanka is to successfully manage the inevitable changes in the world of work. Here are excerpts from EFC Director General’s message for the Worker’s Day: We are commemorating May Day which is more..

'We have to tell the people what we’ll do... not India'

Apr 30 (LB) Minister Basil Rajapaksa who is once again playing a central role in directing India-Sri Lanka relations, last week refused to clarify whether President Rajapaksa had promised a visiting Indian delegation to implement the 13th Amendment in full. Excerpts from the interview. Q: How healthy are India-Sri Lanka relations? A: I think very healthy. India’s vote in Geneva on the US-led resolution is only one incident. more..

Indian investors deterred by high stamp duty on land transactions

Apr 30 (Island) With many foreigners eyeing Sri Lanka for investment opportunities and the govt beckoning investors for accelerated growth, the massive stamp duty imposed on land purchases by outsiders however was holding back many international businesses who wish to enter the country. Indian Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Rajiv Mundra said the stamp duty which was imposed on land purchasing by foreign buyers were too high and was holding back many more..

Karunanidhi floats Eelam balloon again

Apr 30 (TI) DMK chief M. Karunanidhi has revived his pet theme — establishing a separate Eelam (homeland) for the Tamils of Sri Lanka. His critics, however, see the move as yet another desperate bid to remain in the political limelight and also as a tactic to divert attention from the succession war between his sons Stalin and Alagiri. On Monday, Karunanidhi will chair a meeting of the Tamil Eelam Supporters’ Organisation (TESO), an outfit he had founded in more..

Moratuwa University rides victory cloud at Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012

Apr 30 (FT) Team V360 from the Moratuwa University emerged victorious at the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012 competition. Held at the Sri Lanka Institute for Information Technology (SLIIT) Malabe on 27th April, Microsoft Imagine Cup is the premier global student technology competition, where student innovators around the world use their creativity and the power of technology, to build ground-breaking solutions that transform more..

Molecular Biology and Genetics Unit opened at Nawaloka

Apr 30 (DN) The Molecular Biology and Genetics Diagnostics unit is a newly conceived unit of the Nawaloka Metropolis Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. The Molecular Biology and Genetics Research unit was formed a year ago with the aim of diagnosing difficult bacterial and viral pathogens using technologies like PCR, FISH, and Flow Cytometry, Chairman of Metropolis Health Services, Mumbai, India Dr Sushil Shah said. He was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the Nawaloka Metropolis more..

Mohan Pieris, new Seylan Bank chairman

Apr 30 (DN) The former Attorney General, President’s Counsel Mohan Pieris assumed duties as the new chairman of Seylan Bank on April 25. Mohan Pieris is an old boy of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo and Royal College, Colombo. He was called to the Bar in June 1975 and practised in the Chambers of senior Attorney at Law D.R.P. Gunatilleke and President’s Counsel Daya Perera. He successfully completed the final examination for Solicitors in Uk and Wales. At present Mohan is the Senior more..

Irked by UN chief’s comments, SL to take it up at UN

Apr 30 (Island) A statement attributed to UNSG Ban Ki-moon regarding the final phase of the conflict and post-war reconciliation efforts will be taken up by the Sri Lankan govt once the former South Korean diplomat returns to New York from Myanmar. Authoritative sources told The Island that Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris had instructed Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative at the UN, Dr. Palitha Kohona to take up the issue as the comments attributed to more..

Dulakshi regains steeplechase national record

Apr 30 (Island) Sri Lanka Air Force athlete Eranga Dulakshi regained her Sri Lanka record in the women’s 3000 metres steeplechase, as she eased to victory, with a time of 10:29.47 seconds, on the final day of the first leg of the Athletics League, which ended here at Diyagama, on Sunday. It was one of two national records to be shattered during the two-day meet, where some of the top athletes warmed up for the forthcoming Asian Grand Prix, which will be held held next week, in Thailand. more..

Discovering Sri Lanka ... late

Apr 30 (AN) We tend to discover late in life that we have been captives of misconceptions that have piled up as a result of wrong information. This information might be a mixture of rumors, half truths or complete lies. The mental picture I had about Sri Lanka was far from the truth concerning this beautiful country despite the fact that during the past years I have known a number of Sri Lankans from simple housemaids to people holding other professions such as doctors, more..

US to focus on Ekneligoda

Apr 30 (CT) The US State Department will focus on missing cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda during the run up to the 2012 World Press Freedom Day, sources from the US Embassy in Colombo said. “We are focusing on Ekneligoda as part of our look at the continued problems for journalists in Sri Lanka,” a spokesperson for the US Embassy said, adding that the island’s continued abductions, assaults and attacks on the media industry will also be highlighted. more..

Karunanidhi slams demolition of mosque in Sri Lanka

Apr 30 (Hindu) DMK president and former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has deplored the reported demolition of a mosque at Dambulla in Matale district of Sri Lanka recently. Responding to a reporter's question on Sunday, he said there were different versions of the incident. While one had it that the mosque was demolished by 2,000 Buddhist monks; another claimed that the demolition was ordered by the Sri Lankan govt for converting the area into a Buddhist shrine. more..

Sri Lankan NGO head visits to study green progress

Apr 30 (JP) In the semi-arid Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim populations, who have been rivals throughout their history, struggle over their shared but meager water resources, an issue that one man hopes to help mitigate in part by learning from initiatives taken here in Israel. “Environment can be an entry point to have a dialogue on shared resources to promote coexistence,” Dr.Vinya Shanthidas Ariyaratne told more..

Govt. left parties rally separately

Apr 30 (Island) The Socialist People’s Front, the collective organisation of the leftist parties comprising the LSSP, the Communist Party, Democratic Left Movement, Sri Lanka Mahajana Party, Deshavimukthi Janatha Party and others will conduct a series of vociferous protests on May Day, calling upon the govt to make a series of critical decisions in the current political context. Protestes will leave Narahenpita Shalika Hall grounds more..

Docs give notice of a strike within ten days

Apr 30 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya warned the govt that the GMOA General Committee which met yesterday had taken a unanimous decision to launch a token strike within the next 10 days in protest at the non-payment of the Disturbance, Availability and Transport Allowance (DAT). Dr. Padeniya said that though President Mahinda Rajapaksa had agreed to increase the DAT Allowance to Rs. 29,000 from Rs.15,000, more..

'MPs visit to Lanka has helped in Tamils gaining hope'

Apr 30 (PTI) The recent visit of an Indian Parliamentary delegation to Sri Lanka to assess the post-war conditions had resulted in the ethnic Tamils in the island gaining confidence and faith that the Indian Govt was keen about their rehabilitation, Minister V Narayanasamy said. A 'firm hope and confidence' had emerged among the Tamils in the island republic that the UPA Government in India was keen about their rehabilitation and welfare, he told reporters here. more..

9 UNP MPs to attend rebels’ Colombo rally

Apr 30 (Island) Seven UNP MPs identified as reformists will defy the party and take part in the 19th commemorative procession and rally in memory of former President and party leader R Premadasa on Tuesday (May 1) at Hulftsdrop. They are Karu Jayasuriya (Chairman of the R. Premadasa Commemmorative Committee), Ranjith Maddumabandara, Dinesh Gankanda, Dayasiri Jayasekera, Buddhika Pathirana, Rosie Senanayake and Thalatha Athukorale. more..

Shooter Samarakoon gets green light

Apr 30 (Island) Sri Lanka Army shooter Mangala Samarakoon has received a quota place to represent Sri Lanka at the London Olympics, according to Rear Admiral Shemal Fernando, president, National Shooting Federation, of Sri Lanka. Fernando said on Sunday that the World Sports Shooting Federation had informed them about Samarakoon’s selection on Saturday and he was hoping that Beijing Olympics participant E. M. Senanayake too would get a quota place. more..

Payphones for prisoners

Apr 30 (CT) Prison authorities are currently exploring the possibility of installing payphones within the prison premises in a move to curtail unauthorized phone usage by the inmates. Assistant Commissioner of Prisons Ashoka Hapuarachchi said the prisoners will have to pay the prison for the service, and the prison officials will monitor the telephone conversations. “However, we are still in the discussion stage with regard to this move and by next week we will know for sure if more..

SF might need prolonged hospital stay

Apr 30 (DM) Doctors have recommended that former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka receive indoor hospital treatment for an indefinite period since he was suffering from a severe lung ailment. His wife Anoma Fonseka said doctors had recommended that he be nebulized every four hours for his lung ailment and had said they could not determine as to when he could leave hospital. The purpose of a nebulizer is to turn the medicine into a breathable mist, more..

Mahipala suggest new venues for UNP rally

Apr 30 (DM) Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister Mahipala Herath said the UNP should hold its May Day rally in Jaffna but in the Donkey Island in close proximity. “If they had taken such a decision they could have found a bigger ordinance and solved the problem of transporting supporters. I would like to propose Puttalam as the alternative venue for the UNP’s May Day rally,” he said. He also said the leader of one faction of the UNP Ranil Wickeremasighe announced that the UNP’s more..

Govt. and TNA to resume talks

Apr 30 (CT) The TNA is keen to recommence talks with the govt, TNA Leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan said today. He said recommencing talks with the government would pave the way for the TNA to partake in the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) as well, as the agreement was for the consensus of talks to be then taken to the PSC. “Out of no mistake of ours, and out of faults and lapses on the side of the government, the talks have broken down,” Sampanthan said. more..