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Pera Arts faculty students on token strike

Feb 14 (DM) The Students of the Arts Faculty of the Peradeniya University have launched a token strike, boycotting lectures and exams, Nuwana Chameera the President of the Arts Faculty Students Union said today. “The students are protesting for two demands. One is to reinstate the suspended studentship of the President of the AFSU and demanding the immediate release of three students who have been arrested by the Police,” he said. The studentship of more..

We’ll go for strike action if issues are not solved – Railway employees

Feb 14 (LT) Railway employees will carry out strike action from 25th March to 1st April if solutions for their issues are not provided before 15th March states All Ceylon Railway General Employees’ Union (ACRGEU). The General Secretary of ACRGEU Sumathipala Manawadu says railway workers will engage in strike action if their demands are not met. He said if the railway employees decide to strike the govt will have to take the responsibility of the inconvenience caused to more..

Man threatens suicide outside UN

Feb 14 (BP) A Sri Lankan man threatened self-immolation in front of the United Nations office on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on Tuesday afternoon as he demanded asylum in the United States. Kaevanumtam Devakumar, 37, who was with his wife and four children, a son and three daughters, went to the gate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office to demand they be allowed refuge in the US. Mr Devekumar, who looked highly tense more..

Sri Lanka policy reversals seen eroding sentiment

Feb 14 (LBO) Recent policy reversals by Sri Lanka's govt has dampened investor sentiment and could lead to lower consumer spending, slowing economic growth, a stock broker said. The government raised interest rates, moved closer to floating the rupee by stopping interventions to defend the currency and jacked up fuel prices in quick succession, TKS Securities said in a report. The rapidity of the changes also hit stock market sentiment, worsening a slide. more..

Students protest to bring down fuel price

Feb 14 (DM) Students from the Visual and Performing Arts University as well as the Ruhunu University today held protests outside the university premises calling on the govt to ease their burden by bringing down the increased fuel prices. Ruhunu Students’ Union President Nandika Gunasekara said the universities authorities had sent letters to the campus hostel students informing them that hostel chargers would be increased from Rs.50 up to Rs.800 on a monthly basis from this month. more..

Lawyers and relatives protest against court abduction

Feb 14 (BBC) A group of lawyers protested outside the court complex on Tuesday demanding an end to unresolved abductions. A silent vigil was held after a suspect was abducted on Monday from the gates of the court complex in Colombo. "Someone should take responsibility for these abductions. This is a threat to the independence of the judiciary," leading human rights lawyer, Chrishantha Waliamuna told the BBC. Lawyers holding placards demanded an more..

Sad reality of economy revealed says Harsha

Feb 14 (SM) UNP MP and Economist Dr. Harsha de Silva says that the sad reality of the country’s economy has now been revealed. Issuing a brief statement he said, “In complete contrast to the picture painted by Governor Nivard Cabraal and subsequently showcased by politicians the sad reality of the economy of Sri Lanka has been revealed.” He noted that the mismanagement of the problem; particularly ignoring the ballooning trade deficit and under-pricing energy in an artificially more..

UNP criticizes Govt.’s extravaganzas

Feb 14 (CT) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake today said that the SriLankan Airlines incurred a loss of Rs 21,800 million last year yet President Mahinda Rajapaksa opted to fly by SriLankan to Pakistan. He said the flight had been grounded until his assignment was over in Pakistan. He said the President had again made similar arrangements for his visit to Singapore. The cost of all these extravaganzas are placed on the shoulders of the poor masses who are struggling to more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 14.02.2012

Pre-trial detention system reforms sought

Feb 14 (SL) A large number of prisoners are being held in long-term remand, pending trials, a report by the Lawyers for Human Rights and Development (LHRD) said. This calls for an urgent need for policy reform in Sri Lanka’s pre-trial detention system, LHRD Executive Director, Kalyananda Tiranagama said at the report launch this afternoon (Tuesday). The report, titled “Pre-trial Detention in Sri Lanka: Reforming the System of Bail and Upholding the Right to more..

Police arrest man who brought suicide jacket

Feb 14 (SM) Police have arrested a Tamil man whom they believe is the person who had brought a suicide jacket to Kataragama. The suicide jacket was found inside a washing machine at a rest hall two weeks ago. The suspect, a 26-year-old, was arrested at a car sale centre at Unawatuna, Galle. At the time of the arrest, he had a fake identity card, giving his details as 37-year-old Muslim named Sadif. A former LTTE member, he was born in Mannar, worked at an estate at more..

SLTB earns double on strike day

Feb 14 (DM) The Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) had earned a staggering revenue of more than Rs.78 million, almost twice as much as the usual revenue, owing to the countrywide private bus strike on Monday. Ministry sources said the SLTB runs about 4,500 buses on a regular basis but on the day of the private bus strike the fleet was increased to 5,000. “The SLTB usually earns a revenue of Rs.42 million which had risen by Rs.36 million to well over Rs.78 million. more..

On the inclusivity -clause of historiography

Feb 15 (NS) Udaya Meddegama once wrote a poem about the Mahawamsa, clearly the most comprehensive account of what happened in this island. Those who vilify it cannot counter it with any other account written with scholarly rigour that can match it and flounder in a sad process of myth modelling, extensive cross-quoting and other cheap propaganda devices wrapped as historical account. They claim it was written by ‘racist Buddhist monks’. The breadth and depth of the tract is such that more..

Physician’s bid to poison another foiled

Feb 15 (NS) The profession of a medical doctor is by and large the noblest profession respected by all whether they are healthy or ill. Among all countries, we have a record of a practicing physician and surgeon who ruled the country during the Anuradhapura period. Though Buddhadasa was king, he continued to serve his subjects as a physician. Still the converse of that tradition is now heard from remote Sevanagala hospital of an attempt to kill the family of the district more..

Plant nursery owners commend relocation: Facelift for horticulturalists

Feb 15 (SO) When a group of British tourists who wanted to visit Nuwara Eliya to see varieties of Sri Lankan flowers and foliage, they were taken by surprise when the local tour guide took them to a newly opened flower plant nursery in Battaramulla. A member of the tour group who had earlier visited Nuwara Eliya on more than three occasions, realised that the guide had taken them to a flower nursery similar to the one which was at the more..

The unfathomable

Feb 15 (LB) Sri Lanka is very much the curious case for the Western powers that generally operate under the name and style of ‘the international community.’ You would bet that even Hillary Clinton does not know what to do with a country that does things according to the IMF recipe book, is almost neo-liberal in the way economic issues are approached, but is also a great irritant when it comes to issues of human rights and governance matters that can be set apart from economic aspects in general. more..

How bad are external financial prospects?

Feb 15 (LB) There is good reason to believe that year 2012 will not be good for external finances and the govt (Treasury) and the Central Bank (CB) are concealing the full picture from the public. It is not news that the two are at loggerheads about the rupee exchange rate; the CB is determined to prevent devaluation below Rs114 to the $, is selling dollars and buying rupees, while the Trea- sury won’t mind the rupee floating down another 5% to avoid depleting reserves. more..

Colombo 07: Cinnamon Garden but no cinnamon tree

Feb 15 (CT) Colombo 07 was part of a vast cinnamon cultivation that began during the Dutch colonial era and was referred to as the ‘cinnamon garden’ which so many years later, retains reference to this fact. For the purpose of postal services the present Cinnamon gardens of Colombo has been assigned as Colombo 07 and is surrounded by the suburbs of Kollupitiya, Union Place, Borella and Havelock Town. It all began with the cultivation of cinnamon in the area, more..

Hero figures and Hitler in young Pirapâharan’s thinking

Feb 15 (CT) In line with my long-standing interest in currents of nationalist thought, the origins of Sri Lankan Tamil nationalism has always been a topic of interest and has led to a number of interventions on my part, invariably written within the shortcomings of a person who cannot speak or read Tamil. An overview can be found in “The Tamil Movement for Eelam” which appeared first by invitation in the online journal of the International Sociological Association, but more..

Monthly Review: A year of substantial political uncertainty opens

Feb 15 (CT) After triumph in the war and resounding victory in the electoral cycle of 2010 it appeared that the govt would be popular and stable for all if not the greater part of its term of office. However things are turning sour sooner than expected. Pressure is building on all fronts; angry students-parents-teachers and university staff, restless trade unions, Tamils who have lost confidence in the regime, a breakdown of law and order for which the ruling more..

Temerity of EPDP leader before LLRC was due to armour of immunity given by years of impunity

Feb 15 (DBS) The role and conduct of the EPDP described once as “half democrats” by its leader Douglas Devananda came in for intense scrutiny by the LLRC. The LLRC report strongly recommended action by the Govt against the EPDP and other groups of a similiar nature operating in Sri Lanka. No action however has been taken by the Govt so far against the EPDP or any other organization of its ilk so far. EPDP supremo and cabinet minister Devananda more..

Sri Lanka engaged in high stakes game of “heads -up”poker with their largest trading partners

Feb 15 (TC) Sri Lanka is defined as a small open economy; it does not have the ability to alter world prices, interest rates or incomes. It is a price taker. Any attempt to change this reality by policy makers will manifest itself in economic imbalances which shall prove costly. However, whether they have reconciled themselves to this is a moot point. The imminent concern for Sri Lanka’s policy makers is; how to deal with the threat to its economy posed by the proposed bill for more..

Meeting challenge of anticipated human right resolution in Geneva

Feb 15 (TC) There are indications that the US Government will support a resolution at the forthcoming March session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that, among other things, will call on the Sri Lankan govt to implement the recommendations of its LLRC. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is reported to have sent a letter to the govt that acknowledged that the final report of the LLRC had made a number of important and positive recommendations for promoting more..

Rupee falls further against dollar

Feb 15 (Island) The rupee continued to slide against the greenback on Tuesday (14) closing at Rs. 120.10/30 against the dollar but not before reaching a low of Rs. 120.40 at one point during the day, dealers said. The rupee has now fallen by nearly 5.7 percent since the Central Bank let go of the Rs. 113.90/US$ exchange rate on February 02. The Central Bank has said it would no longer intervene to stabilise the exchange rate after it came under fire for more..

Crisis Colombo!

Feb 15 (FT) Crisis could be an understatement to describe the worst-ever twin shocks capital and forex markets faced yesterday, ringing fresh alarm bells in many circles, whilst some found the developments a relief since they are part of long-due correction. The country’s former showpiece to the world, the Colombo stock market, suffered a near 5% crash yesterday before institutional investors, both local including EPF and foreign investors, stepped up their buying. The former was on a buying spree, more..

Woman arrested for offering bribe

Feb 15 (DM) The police arrested a 58-year-old woman who offered a bribe of Rs.100,000 to the OIC of the Uragaha Police SI Greshan Silva to release her son-in-law on a police bail. The youth was arrested for robbing her gold chain yesterday in Wellangoda in Uragaha, the police said. The suspect wanted the OIC to take the bribe to take steps not to produce her son-in-law before the Galle Magistrate. She had come to the police station last evening after she was inform that he will be produced before the courts. more..

Unemployed Graduates

Editorial: Needed: Parliamentary debate on fuel prices

Feb 15 (Island) The executive president is widely believed to be all powerful in this country. (The late President J.R. Jayewardene used to brag that the only feat he could not achieve as Head of State was to make a man a woman and vice versa.) But, we are convinced otherwise. The most powerful person, in our book, is the bus mudalali who is not only above the law but also capable of railroading a govt that boasts of its two-thirds majority in Parliament into granting all more..

Malwathu Oya reservoir project to begin

Feb 15 (DN) Initial arrangements are being made to begin the Malwathu Oya Reservoir Project close to Thantirimale area on the Anuradhapura Manner district boundry. The Malwathu Oya Reservoir Project once completed will fulfill the irrigational and drinking water requirements in the Mannar district, now being developed under the govt’s Mannar Reawakening project launched by the Economic Development Ministry. Senior Irrigation Engineer in charge of institutional more..

'Govt. mismanaged balance of payments crisis, now remedies more painful'

Feb 15 (Island) Reiterating what has been said in these pages over the past few days, Dr. Harsha De Silva MP, economic spokesman for the UNP, said mismanagement of the balance of payments crisis has resulted in the prescribed remedies being more costlier to the economy. "In complete contrast to the picture painted by Governor Nivard Cabraal and subsequently showcased by politicians, the sad reality of the economy of Sri Lanka has more..

Girl assaulted while in custody

Feb 15 (CT) The Colombo Magistrate Court was informed yesterday that an 18 year old girl was assaulted by four police officers when she was in the custody of Wellawatta Police. The Counsel Rajitha Kodituwakku who appeared on behalf of the victim, submitted that the incident occurred in December 2011. The Colombo Additional Magistrate Mahee Wijeweera ordered to file a Judicial Medical Officer’s report of the victim before the next hearing. The girl had been employed as a housemaid, more..

'More wards with trained personnel needed for stoma patients'

Feb 15 (Island) The state of stoma care in the country’s hospitals was in need of constant attention of the health authorities. Stoma nursing and pouch clinics and training nurses to care for stoma patients were urgent requirements, Maharagama Cancer Institute Director Dr. Kanishka Karunaratne insisted at a media conference on the State of Stoma care. He said he wished to request the Health authorities to open more wards with trained personnel for stoma patients more..

'Must be ruthless in finishing games off'

Feb 15 (CI) It was a bittersweet night for Sri Lanka. They were set for a big total at 3 for 168 after 35 overs with the batting Powerplay at hand, but they contrived to end up with only 236. Angelo Mathews, the man who brought Sri Lanka heartbreakingly close in Perth against Australia, let the game slip with two full tosses in the 49th over of the chase, and then pulled it back with two direct-hits. Lasith Malinga bowled these four overs towards the end more..

23-year-old arrested for molesting 82-year-old woman

Feb 15 (Island) A 23 year old suspect has been arrested for molesting a 82 year old woman at Rantotuwila, Moragoda. The victim had been living with her elderly husband. She had come out of the house at a time of the incident to take the clothes left for drying. At that moment her husband too had gone away to Miriswatte to purchase medicine. Then the attacker had come and asked her for a glass of water. When she went in to fetch the glass of water the young man too got inside the house. more..

Disagreeable conduct - Dinesh

Feb 15 (DN) It is disagreeable to see the US trying to force the Sri Lankan govt to implement the recommendations of the LLRC report, when the govt has already taken the necessary steps to do exactly that step by step, Chief Govt Whip Dinesh Gunawardana said. The country is now free of terrorism. ‘The people in the North are being turned into a democratic society. However, without knowing the facts, US is pressurising Sri Lanka. It is the duty of the US to support Sri Lanka if it truly considers more..

Next Deyata Kirula in Eastern Province

Feb 15 (DN) “President Mahinda Rajapaksa is determined to assure that dividends of development projects are directed without discrimination throughout the country. Under this concept, the President decided to hold the 7th Deyata Kirula National Exhibition and the overall development programme in the Eastern province, expanding the process to Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Polonnaruwa districts,” said Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, more..

The litmus test in Sri Lanka

Feb 15 (Hindu) Soon after meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa last month, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna disclosed to the media, “The President assured me that he stands by his commitment to pursuing the 13th Amendment plus approach.” He also claimed that the “govt of Sri Lanka has, on many occasions, conveyed to us its commitment to move towards a political settlement based on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, more..

JICA help for health sector

Feb 15 (DN) The Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) will provide Rs 4 billion to the Health Ministry to upgrade Sri Lanka's health sector. The development project will be implemented from 2012 to 2014. The ministry will spend Rs one billion from this fund to strengthen the drug production capacity of the State Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC). The ministry will give priority to increase local drug production as a remedy to drug shortages in state hospitals. more..

Coal power plant to resume operations tomorrow

Feb 15 (DM) The Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant (LCPP) in Puttalam will resume power generation tomorrow after completion of the repairs in the wake of the January 18 breakdown. However, he said he could not give an assurance of uninterrupted power generation as the Chinese machinery was not up to international standard. CEB Deputy General Manager Saliya Panditharatne, who is in charge of the LCPP, said the boilers were likely to be fired today. more..

Ravi K calls for UPFA’s ouster over unprecedented fuel hike

Feb 15 (Island) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake yesterday said that the UNP was ready to give leadership for what he called a people’s campaign for the ouster of the corrupt Rajapaksa regime. Alleging the country was on a fast track towards economic oblivion, the Colombo District MP urged the people to rally around the main Opposition UNP to compel the govt to provide immediate relief to those struggling to make ends meet, or leave those competent to govern the country. more..