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Reflections on the FUTA strike action from an Undergraduate

Aug 22 (DBS) University students have different opinions about the strike action by the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA). Some oppose it, and went to court to get lecturers back to work. Others have expressed support. However almost all are annoyed at the time lost. In writing this I do not intend to exhaustively analyse the demands of FUTA. Rather, I want to discuss the issues arising out of two of its primary demands: the salary increase and an increase in govt more..

Why the govt cannot further reduce military strength in the North

Aug 22 (DBS) The Western countries change their slogans quite often. In early 2009 their slogan was ‘declare a ceasefire!’ Thereafter, it turned to different slogans such as ‘Resettle IDPs,’ ‘Punish war criminals,’ ‘Stop abductions,’ ‘Disarm paramilitaries’ and ‘Establish Northern Provincial Council.’ The latest slogan of the Western community is ‘Speed up demilitarization of the North.’ In simple terms, they want Sri Lankan more..

No flowers bloomed in Jaffna II

Aug 22 (LB) By and large, the propagandistic energies of the Jaffna political bandwagon have been directed at either creating/ exaggerating things that don’t exist or to denying/ downgrading things that do exist. For instance, they have been pouring their energies into imagining a great Jaffna Tamil culture which doesn’t exist. Simultaneously, they have been exerting all their power to either deny or downgrade the Sinhala-Buddhist culture which exists larger than life in every more..

An open letter to Sajith Premadasa

Aug 22 (DBS) One of the unpardonable and lasting damages the LTTE perpetrated on the body politic of Sir Lanka is the killing of Liberal intellectuals and moderate Political leaders across the language divide. It is not necessary to name the victims because, every public spirited person is aware of this dastardly act. Coming down to moderate political leaders, they saw to it that leaders of the highest calibre like Neelan Tiruchelwam, Katheswaran, Amirthalingam, more..

School cricket revamped

Aug 22 (ST) In a huge and earnest effort to resuscitate the ailing junior cricket system in the island, Sri Lanka Cricket and the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association are striving to streamline the process in a joint effort.On June 15, 2012 a set of SLC officials, which included President Upali Dharmadasa, Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga, Director Cricket Operations Ashley de Silva, Manager Junior Cricket Development more..

Rising up from a dumbed down nation

Aug 22 (CT) The university academics are on strike. Somehow, in the past, that wasn’t news. Even today, it is news only to those who are almost directly affected: the students, some employers, a few organizations that may interact closely with the universities, and of course the academics. It should affect the University Grants Commission and the Ministry of Higher Education, but they seem to have their plates full with the z-score issue to be bothered too much about it. more..

Science and Politics of Mass Kidney Failure in Sri Lanka

Aug 22 (GV) Much of Sri Lanka’s Dry Zone is currently grappling with a drought caused by the delayed Monsoon. This is a double whammy for residents in several districts who have been engulfed by another ‘slow emergency’ for two decades: mass scale kidney failure affecting large numbers. Diabetes or high blood pressure can lead to kidney failure. But beginning in the 1990s, thousands of people in the North Central Province (NCP) developed the condition without more..

'Combating child abuse: Speeding up court procedure, the best'

Aug 22 (SO) The Justice Ministry is going ahead with the program of establishing new courts under the redesigned judiciary sections and the program is nearing completion to accelerate the hearing of court cases at a closer location and also to improve the quality of justice in the country, said Secretary to the Justice Ministry Kamalini de Silva. She argues that the common conception among the people to have capital punishment for those more..

Editorial: Of that travel advisory

Aug 22 (Island) The govt does not seem to be at peace with the world. It charges at anything that moves and, in the process, finds itself in situations where it tilts at windmills. This time around it is girding up its loins to take on Britain over a travel advisory, we are told. The British govt has warned its citizens planning to visit Sri Lanka of an upsurge of nationalism, sexual offences and anti-western rhetoric. In dealing with the British travel advisory, the govt should come to more..

SLPL: Kapugedera gem downs Basnahira

Aug 22 (CI) A stunning 69 from Chamara Kapugedara propelled Uthura Rudras to a compelling first victory, as they overhauled Basnahira Cricket Dundee's score of 150 with four wickets and four balls remaining. The chase seemed kaput when Dillon du Preez walked to the crease at 86 for 6 in 13.4 overs but he helped keep the Rudras' heads above the rising run rate, until Kapugedara launched the winning offensive. Rudras' win means the bottom four teams of the more..

SLPL slowly generates its own identity

Aug 22 (CI) Considering the sheer number of complications the SLPL has suffered since its inception, it may not be unfair to say that if the SLPL had been a baby, its parents would probably have put it up for adoption. If it had been a racehorse, it would already be glue. If it had been the Millenium Falcon, we may never have even discovered that that small moon was really a battle station. The tournament's biggest overseas drawcard withdrew before the more..

Prasanna spins Uva to third win

Aug 22 (CI) Seekkuge Prasanna spun a canny spell that reaped four for 19, as the Ruhuna Royals suffered their second failed chase in two nights, succumbing by 14 runs to Uva Next. Wahab Riaz injected late excitement, after the Royals' appeared to have run aground at 119 for 8 from 18.1 overs, in pursuit of 156. But despite a first-ball 6 and three wides, 30 from the final over was never likely to be hauled in, particularly with Lasith Malinga for company at the other end. Andrew McDonald also contributed a miserly spell of 2 for 16, more..

Nabbed attempting to sell ancient Buddha statue

Aug 22 (Island) A trader from Suriyagoda, in Murutalawa, off Peradeniya, was nabbed by the Terrorist Investigation Unit in Kandy, while attempting to sell for Rs. 500,000 a gold plated statute of the Buddha to shop owner at ‘Ali Mudukkuwa’ on Monday. The image, about 18.5 centimetres in height, is believe to be over 200 years old and of antique value. The suspect had failed to identify the person who sold the statue to him although he had told police that he purchased the statue. more..

Connections | August 20, 2012

Wellawatte killings: Did the killer escape with victims’ jewellery?

Aug 22 (Island) The chief suspect in the Wellawatta triple killing is alleged to have gone missing with the jewellery which his mother and sister were wearing. Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana told The Island yesterday the Colombo Crime Division, which was conducting investigations into the triple killing, had not found any jewellery on the victims. Therefore, police suspect that the suspect had fled with their jewellery. SSP Rohana said that a an order had been issued more..

Lanka Mirror, X news mudslinging websites says CID

Aug 22 (DN) The CID yesterday told court that Sri and websites cannot be considered media institutes as they have been identified as scurrilous and mudslinging websites. CID Inspector Anura de Silva doubted whether the suspects arrested by the Police were in fact professional journalists. He made this statement when the case against the and webstes was taken up before Colombo Additional Magistrate more..

Bring back Katchatheevu, DMK urges

Aug 22 (Hindu) A delegation of members of Parliament from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, led by its parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu, met Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Tuesday and urged him to bring back Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974 as a goodwill gesture by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, to the control of India. This would help in stopping the continued attack on the Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy more..

CPI(M) call to prevent attack on fishermen

Aug 22 (Hindu) The Communist Party of India (M) State secretary, G. Ramakrishnan, urged the Central and State govts to take immediate steps to prevent attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy. He was speaking to reporters here after presiding over a meeting to discuss the collection of fees by Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) for investigation and treatment. Mr. Ramakrishnan said it was unfortunate that the fishermen of Rameswaram and other areas are more..

Over 3,600 cases filed by Labour Dept. against employers

Aug 22 (FT) Several leading private and State institutions have defaulted in the payment of Rs. 1.22 billion owed to their employees. The department has filed more than 3,600 Court cases against the employers who had violated regulations that come under the Budgetary Relief Allowances Act, Employees’ Provident Fund Act, Industrial Disputes Act, Payment of Gratuities Act and the Shop and Office Employees. Among them, 2,383 cases had been filed under the Payment of Gratuities Act over defaulting more..

Tissa accuses Maithripala of conspiring against Mahinda

Aug 22 (Island) The war of words between the two main political parties continued yesterday with the UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake accusing Maithripala Sirisena, his counterpart in the SLFP, of conspiring against Mahinda Rajapaksa during the 2005 Presidential Election campaign. Sirisena, may claim that he was reluctantly forced into working against Rajapaksa who eventually won the election, but he cannot deny having been part of the failed coup, more..

Govt. ready to jack up wheat flour

Aug 22 (CT) The government is ready to jack up the prices of wheat flour once again, if the need arises, Cooperatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando told Parliament today. The minister said the country’s wheat flour consumption from 2006 to 2009 stood at 139,738.13 metric tonnes and in 2009 to 2010 it was increased up to 169,347.65 metric tonnes. The per capita wheat flour consumption was 7.01 kg in 2006-2009, but increased up to 8.24 kg in 2009-2010. more..

I did not disturb A/L exam - Berty

Aug 22 (DM) Former North Central Province Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake said he rejected claims that he disturbed the GCE A/L examination during his election campaign in Anuradahapura last Saturday. He said he did not know of any such thing happening. “When I arrived at the meeting, supporters had gathered for the election rally that was to be attended by President Mahinda Rajapakse. A/L examinations were over by 3pm. I arrived at around 3.15 pm. more..

Study links Kidney Disease in Sri Lanka’s farm belt to Agrochemicals

Aug 22 (IPS) A new report links the high prevalence of chronic kidney disease in Sri Lanka’s main agricultural production regions with the presence of heavy metals in the water, caused by fertiliser and pesticide use. Over the past two decades, dozens of studies have been conducted on the large number of kidney patients in Sri Lanka’s agro-rich north-central region. However, none had conclusively identified a clear cause. more..

Fresh motion to summon Ex-SEC Chiefs before COPE

Aug 22 (FT) Former Chiefs of Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Indrani Sugathadasa and immediate past Chairman Thilak Karunaratne will soon be summoned in front of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) to testify with the proposed motion expected to be moved today at Parliament by the UNP. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake yesterday requested the opportunity from Speaker to bring in this motion, which will enable COPE to further investigate and more..

Ranil demands govt table report sent to UPR

Aug 22 (Island) The Opposition yesterday demanded the government to present in Parliament the report it had sent in response to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on human rights at the UNHRC in Geneva. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, raising a point of order, with the permission of the Speaker, said that the government should table the document in the legislature so that the House would know the content of the report. "The govt has already sent its response to the UPR, taking place in September, more..

Ship in registry dispute

Aug 22 (IOL) The saga of the troubled Sri Lankan cargo vessel detained in Durban Harbour continues, as allegations of its sale and change of flag resurface. A well-placed Sri Lankan source said that the govt-owned ship was bought by the maritime company that had chartered the vessel and has also not paid for its use. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) has said the MV Lanka Mahapola has changed flag from Sri Lanka to Tanzania, but more..

MDMK pickets camp for Sri Lankan tamils

Aug 22 (DC) MDMK general secretary Vaiko and 500 of his supporters were arrested on Tuesday when they tried to picket at the Poonamallee Special Camp for Sri Lankan Tamils demanding release of the inmates. Vaiko and the others were taken to a nearby marriage hall and were released later in the evening. An attempt by a MDMK member to immolate himself created a flutter. However, the police intervened and arrested the functionary. The MDMK leader had announced that more..

Museum theft: Arrested trio only facilitators

Aug 22 (Island) The three suspects arrested by the Piliyandala police on Monday over the theft of artefacts from the Museum were only facilitators. Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Ajith Rohana said that one of the two women had been arrested by the Piliyandala police, on a tip off, while she was trying to dispose of the artefacts. Following her arrest the police were able to arrest, her two accomplices, a man and a woman, who were alleged to have kept the stolen items. more..

Universities closed indefinitely

Aug 22 (Island) Minister S.B. Dissanayake yesterday decided to close all universities, except medical faculties, until further notice, due to the ongoing strike by university teachers. However, the universities whose dons have not taken part in the ongoing trade union action will function normally. Ministry spokesman said that the Uva Wellassa, South-Eastern, Buddhist and Pali, Buddasrawaka Bhikkhu universities and the Yakkala more..

Norochcholai 12 breakdowns since opening

Aug 22 (Island) Since its opening, the Norochcholai Power plant had faced 12 breakdowns, a document tabled in Parliament, by Minister Champika Ranawaka stated yesterday. The latest break down was reported on Aug 8, the document tabled in response to a query raised by JVP MP Sunil Handunetti, said. Since Feb 2011, the Norochcholai Power plant added 1,851,333,000 kilowatt hours to the national grid. The cost incurred to generate a single unit of electricity from more..

Mano Ganesan tells Tamils not to leave illegally

Aug 22 (Island) Leader of the DPF Mano Ganesan says that the Tamil community should not illegally try to migrate to Australia and other countries; instead they should stay back and fight to win their rights. "Currently, we have some democratic space to fight back, unlike before, in order to win our rights," he said. Still, there were security threats and issues regarding human rights violations concerning the Tamil community, but staying back and demanding rights within a democratic framework more..

Museum theft: JHU leader accuses police of trying to protect powerful politician

Aug 22 (Island) Jathika Hela Urumaya Leader Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera yesterday scoffed at police claims that the robbery of artifacts from the Colombo Museum had been carried out by a drug addict. He said Monday’s arrests were only a red herring drawn across the trail of the real culprit. He told The Island the police were not free to conduct investigations into the robbery as a powerful politician was behind the theft. more..

Plea to release woman held for aiding illegal migration

Aug 22 (TOI) The sister of Bhamini, who was arrested by Tamil Nadu 'Q' branch police for aiding Sri Lankan refugees to go to Australia, has urged the rehabilitation officer to release Bhamini on humanitarian grounds. Esa alias Kamalambigai, Bhamini's sister, told police that they have to take care of their five children as they don't know the whereabouts of their husbands who had left for Australia. Bhamini has three children and Esa has two. more..

EU funds a new migrant accommodation centre

Aug 22 (Island) Ambassador of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Bernard Savage has opened an accommodation centre, for foreign nationals awaiting deportation, at the Mirihana Regional Police Office, Nugegoda. The accommodation centre, renovated at a cost of Rs. 11.6 million will be managed by the Department of Immigration and Emigration, a spokesperson for EU mission in Colombo says. The following is the EU statement: "The 40-bed centre has more..

Building in nature reserve

Aug 22 (SL) Minister Jeewan Kumaratunga is denying allegations that he had constructed a small tourist hotel within the Minneriya National Park buffer zone violating environmental laws of the country. The minister says he has not built a hotel but a house for him to spend his leisure time away from his busy schedule. “This is my own land and is not within the park or the buffer zone. I have received all the necessary approvals and more..

Mahinda on UPR on Sri Lanka being rigged...

Aug 22 (LB) A senior minister has rejected any inference that Navi Pillay, the UN human rights chief, had deliberately assigned three countries that voted for a resolution against Sri Lanka to oversee a review of our rights situation due later this year. In fact, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has no influence over the choice of countries selected to be members of the troika. more..

Trinco UPFA leaders accused of attacking NFF offices

Aug 22 (Island) UPFA constituent, the National Freedom Front (NFF) is on a collision course with Trincomalee-based UPFA leaders over a spate of attacks on NFF offices. A senior NFF spokesman said that their campaign was on track in spite of ongoing efforts to discourage those contesting on the NFF ticket. Asked whether the NFF move could undermine the UPFA bid to regain the Eastern Provincial Council, more..

JVP lambasts govt. for destroying credibility of A/L exam

Aug 22 (Island) The government had fully destroyed the credibility and secrecy of the GCE Advanced Level examination, the JVP said in Parliament yesterday. JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, making a special statement, said the Examinations Department now sent the amendments to question papers via faxes. "Only the schools with fax machines had received those amendments. more..

SAITM demands GMOA stop attacking MPMC

Aug 22 (Island) While the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) demanded that the GMOA stop its malicious mud slinging campaign against the Malabe PMC. The latter claimed that it was not slinging mud, but castigating the many shortcomings found at the college. SAITM Director Dr. Sameera Senaratne, while demanding that the GMOA stop its malicious campaign against the Malabe PMC, said that more..

From bad diesel to usable diesel

Aug 22 (ST) In a convoluted way out of the contaminated diesel saga, the Govt will now try to adjust the composition (the mix of components) of the fuel to make it compatible with the engines. State owned vehicles will undergo “special tests” to find the right mix for their engines, Minister Susil Premajayantha said. The CPC will adjust the composition of the fuel to suit buses, trains, cranes and ambulances instead of rejecting more..