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WikiLeaks: “looked like” EPDP and SL Navy burnt the Uthayan – Basil to US

Feb 3 (CT) “He added that it ‘looked like’ EPDP cadres, along with the SLN, had perpetrated the mid-August burning of the pro-LTTE Uthayan newspaper office in Jaffna.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and recounts details of a meeting US Ambassador to Colombo has had with President’s advisor and his brother Basil Rajapaksa on Oct 04, 2006. The cable was written by the US Ambassador more..

No ban on Pakistani medicines, says Sri Lanka

Feb 3 (ET) The Sri Lankan Director General Health Services Dr UA Mendis clarified on Thursday that “so far, there is no ban on import of medicines from Pakistan.” “An alert warning, however, has been issued to doctors and hospitals not to administer or prescribe isosorbide-5-monoritrate 20 mg imported from Pakistan,” he added. “Presently we are carrying out a through investigation and checking the supply and stock position from the importers and stockists,” more..

J'pura student abducted

Feb 3 (CT) Sri Jayewardenepura University Management Faculty student union Vice President was abducted by an unidentified group late Wednesday night. The abducted student was second year undergraduate, named Sajith. According to the University Bhikku Union president, Kimbullawe Chandrananda Thera, a group of students had come to the University hostel a few days earlier, looking for the vice-president. Thereafter, Sajith was abducted around 11.30 pm on Wednesday night, assaulted, more..

'Will not stop till Katchchatheevu is retrieved'

Feb 3 (PTI) Maintaining that she was working towards protecting the livelihood of fishermen, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday said she would not "stop" till Katchchatheevu, an islet in the Palk straits now under the control of Sri Lanka is retrieved. "The attacks on Tamil fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy can be stopped only by retrieving Kachchatheevu," she said in the state assembly. Replying to CPI member Arumugam, Jayalalithaa said more..

Sri Lanka's Inland Fish Harvest to be Doubled by 2013

Feb 3 (FS) Steps will be taken to double the inland water fish harvest by 2013, said Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne. He said so participating in an inspection tour of the aquaculture centre in Dambulla which is under the purview of the National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA), reports DailyNews. "All arrangements are in place to develop the inland water fish industry and aquaculture farming this year. more..

UAE envoy discusses co-operation with Sri Lanka

Feb 3 (GT) UAE Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mahmoud Mohamed Al Mahmoud held a meeting with Wimal Weerawansa, Minister for Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities of Sri Lanka and discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and ways of boosting them. The two sides reviewed UAE humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka, especially after the tsunami, including the construction of thousands of homes for affected families in addition to establishing more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 03.02.2012

Virus that killed chickens have no affect on humans: VRI

Feb 3 (DM) The Veterinary Research Institute (VRI) said today that although the low pathogenic virus that killed a large number of chickens this week had no risk to human health, steps had been taken by the authorities to keep a three kilometre radius surrounding the farm under strict surveillance. After a virus which was suspected to be bird flu spread in the Bingiriya chicken farm earlier this week the Health Ministry had ordered to cull some 5,300 chickens in the farm. more..

19 children taken ill in Hasalaka

Feb 3 (DM) Several students of Kolongoda Maha Vidyalaya in Hasalaka were taken ill this afternoon at school and admitted to hospital. Teachers said 19 students in the Grade Seven class in the top floor of the building, developed an itch all over their bodies and were rushed to hospital. Meanwhile Hasalaka police investigating the incident suspect that the intense heat in the building with a damaged ceiling and the asbestos sheeted roof might have affected their skin. more..

Minister, IGP summoned to court

Feb 3 (BBC) The Appeal Court in Sri Lanka has issued notice to media minister, police chief and Jaffna military commander to appear before the court in connection with the disappearance of two human rights activists. The court issued the order after granting leave to proceed to a petition seeking an order to present Lalith Kumara Weeraraju and Kugan Murugananthan who disappeared in Jaffna on 09 December. Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, IGP NK Ilangakoon and more..

Sri Lanka A level series against Lions

Feb 3 (CI) Sri Lanka A won the fourth match of their series with England Lions to draw level at 2-2 and set up a decider in Colombo on Monday. Despite a brisk opening partnership between Samit Patel, promoted up the order in place of Joe Root, and Alex Hales, the Lions limped to 204 all out in 42.1 overs after being asked to bat. Sri Lanka's batsmen also struggled to score freely but solid contributions from the top order eventually saw them to their target. more..

'It’s the govt that drove employees towards sudden strikes'

Feb 3 (LT) All those who are inconvenienced due to sudden strike actions should blame the government which drove trade unions towards strike action by wrenching trade union rights instead of expressing their opposition to strikers says the General Secretary of All Ceylon Railway Employees General Union (ACREGU) Sumathipala Manawadu. In an announcement issued by ACREGU apprising the public regarding the strike action carried out by Railway employees recently more..

'US to pressure Sri Lanka on reconciliation process'

Feb 3 (RNW) The United States is set to table a resolution against Sri Lanka at the next sitting of the UNHRC in Geneva later this month. The Americans have voiced their concerns over human rights violations in Sri Lanka before, but so far had not taken the step of bringing it forward at the HRC. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has mentioned the option of a resolution in a letter to Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister G.L. Pieris, more..

Detention order on underworld kingpin

Feb 3 (CT) The Colombo Additional Magistrate issued a detention order to a suspected underworld kingpin known as ‘Madush’ who is alleged to have conducted underworld activities while he was in prison. Additional Magistrate Yvonne Fernando handed down her decision when the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) produced the suspect in Court on Thursday (2). The suspect was taken into custody for continuing to conduct underworld activities during his time in prison. more..

Ranil Booed out of Beruwela

Feb 3 (CT) A beleaguered UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was prevented from holding a meeting in Beruwala today, by UNP supporters. The proposed meeting was aimed at rallying UNP support to collect funds for the purpose of repairing the UNP headquarters in Kotte. The headquarters building, ‘Sirikotha’, had been damaged on the leadership election day, in December following a clash. As Wickremesinghe was about to reach the planned location of the meeting, more..

Sri Lanka unexpectedly raises rates as best growth since ’70s spurs credit

Feb 3 (BN) Sri Lanka unexpectedly raised interest rates to contain credit growth and inflation after the island’s economy expanded the most since at least the 1970s following the end of its decades-long civil war. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka raised the reverse repurchase rate to 9 percent from 8.5 percent and the repurchase rate to 7.5 percent from 7 percent. All seven economists in a Bloomberg News survey predicted no change. more..

Human Rights Study Project Visits Sri Lanka

Feb 3 (LW) The 10th Cowan Fellows Human Rights Study Project (HRSP) team traveled to Sri Lanka from January 1-17, 2012. The goal of the project, which is now in its tenth year, is to promote awareness of legal issues surrounding the development and protection of human rights in foreign countries. Each year, the team of students selects a country to visit during winter break, and each team member researches a different area of human rights within that country. more..

Committee hands over report on riot

Feb 3 (CT) The three member committee appointed by the Prison Reforms Ministry presented its report to Prison Reforms Minister, Chandrasiri Gajadeera today. Prison Reforms Ministry Secretary, Ariyasiri Dissanayake said the primary report with regard to the prison fiasco was handed over to the Minister today. “After going through the report, a Tribunal may sometimes be appointed if the President recommends as the establishment of a Tribunal for prisons is more..

'Govt. attempting to borrow US$1 billion in international markets'

Feb 3 (DM) The Govt is planning to borrow US$1 billion in the international markets besides attempting to borrow US$500 million via the Bank of Ceylon. After the IMF had ended the US$ 2.6 billion bailout package charged UNP MP Harsha de Silva charged today. Following is the text of the statement issued by him yesterday explaining the current financial position the country is in today. “The verdict is out and for more..

Whither the post office

Feb 4 (NS) For someone of my generation, using the post is an ordeal. It involves paper, pens, envelopes and patience, none of which I have readily at hand. For people my age, communication is largely electronic. The entire country may be moving this way, in fact. According to household spending data, the average Sri Lankan household spends only Rs.4 per month on postal services compared to Rs.750 on telecom. For someone of my generation, using the post is an ordeal. more..

Gestures of courtesy and their value…

Feb 4 (NS) Do you say ‘thank you’ to the bus conductor? I am serious with my question though it may sound ridiculous from an everyday point of what marks the norm amongst us as citizens of Sri Lanka. I thought of bringing up this question in today’s column because perhaps it’s worth investigating to check how our own civic mindedness could be bettered? We are after all known to the world as a nation of friendly courteous people, am I not right? more..

Book Review: The Sri Lanka Reader

Feb 4 (TC) This massive, ambitious project by a distinguished historian of religion contains a series of essays that span a long time period from Sri Lanka’s mythic origins to the terrifying 25-year insurrection of the Tamil Tigers – the LTTE – and its ­final eradication by the Sri Lankan army. It is difficult to review a comprehensive collection of this magnitude without bringing to bear the reviewer’s own prejudices. more..

Accountability and Universal Values in Development

Feb 4 (GV) Something is of universal value if it has the same value or worth for all, or almost all, people. This claim could mean two importantly different things. First, it could be that something has a universal value when everybody finds it valuable. This was Isaiah Berlin‘s understanding of the term. According to Berlin, “…universal values are values that a great many human beings in the vast majority of places and situations, at almost all times, do in fact hold in common, more..

Longing and Belonging series: The science of planning in Jaffna

Feb 4 (GV) The throng of devotees and tourists visiting the Nallur festival had receded and life slowly returned to normal in Jaffna. I stayed behind to see if I could persuade others visiting from abroad to be a part of my Longing and Belonging series. I was especially interested in those that were engaging in a sustained manner, in contrast to the charming young family that I had met at the height of the festival. This however proved to be a challenge. more..

The Sri Lankan connection of Swami Vivekananda

Feb 4 (DBS) Narendranath Dutta known as Swami Vivekananda was the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsar and founded the Ramakrishna mission that performs commendable service in many parts of the world including Sri Lanka. Swami Vivekananda is a Bengali who was born in 1863 and passed away in 1902. He was greatly responsible for ushering in a modern Hindu renaissance. The Swamy propagated “Vedanta” and “Karmayoga” to the western world, more..

Only Connect, Only Congest

Feb 4 (LB) Only connect” is a commonly quoted aphorism by E.M. Forster. I have never quite understood it. Forster himself was quite keen to connect with policemen, bus drivers and Egyptian labouring men but that probably is not the wisdom of the aphorism. Forster’s literary output was small. The author of works such as A Room With A View and Howards End stopped writing in 1924 after he published A Passage To India. He lived until 1970. According to Wendy Moffat, more..

Is Sports Minister a barefaced liar?

Feb 4 (LB) In Colombo, last week journalists questioned outgoing Sri Lanka cricket captain Tillkeratne Dilshan and captain elect, Mahela Jayawardena whether infighting within the team and petty scribbles had lead to the nation losing the Tests and ODI series just concluded in South Africa. Mahela said that as a team there was no infighting and politics. The team did not play well and that was why they lost. They cannot point a finger to a single individual for the shortfall in performance. more..

Towards a meaningful freedom...

Feb 4 (DM) The 64th Independence Day is near at hand. The government is preparing to celebrate ‘independence’ on a grand scale. In addition to spending a colossal amount of money for celebrations, a “carnival”, ‘Dayata Kirula’ is also being organized annually. The ‘independence’ that is said to have been won is becoming meaningless and often being used for propaganda and celebrations. This is only a means of temporarily mesmerizing more..

Editorial: Devolution and stakeholders

Feb 4 (Island) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has retrieved from the political attic its dust-coated demand for a separate South-Eastern Provincial Council which it wants set up if the Provincial Councils including the one to be established in the North are vested with land and police powers. However, the SLMC is not opposed to those powers being devolved, it has said. It is only natural that the Muslims feel their interests are threatened. They have been taken for a ride by more..

Freedom and Nationalism: Some insights into the final phase of British rule

Feb 4 (Island) The word freedom in the context of this article is subjective and relates to the freedom we gained from British rule in 1948. The word nationalism, on the other hand, has been interpreted in many ways in post-colonial literature. This makes it complex, difficult to define. An interesting study first published in 1983 titled Imagined Communities by Prof. Benedict Anderson of the Cornell University states that the definition of nationalism has transformed more..

The road to Independence

Feb 4 (Island) Today, Feb 4, 2012, we commemorate the 64th anniversary of the achievement of independence from colonialists. We were under foreign domination for 443 years – 153 years of Portuguese settlement in the Maritime provinces (1505 to 1659) the Dutch for 138 years (1658 to 1796) and the British for 19 years (1796 to 1815) and again under the British for 133 years (the whole country), from 1815 to 1948, after the capitulation of the Kandyan Provinces and more..

Forging an inclusive and pluralist Sri Lankan identity

Feb 4 (Island) Writing twenty years ago, Reggie Siriwardena, one of Sri Lanka best known writers and human activists, quoted Justice D Wimalaratne who was the Chief Guest at the Prize Giving of his old school S Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia. That was soon after the 1983 pogrom. Recalling his schooldays, Wimalaratne said: ‘Whether one was a Molamure or an Abeysekera, a Saravanamuttu or an Abdulla, a Mugabe or an Arndt, all were equal and no one was considered superior to more..

It is the simple act of giving that is so special and so inspirational — Sangakkara

Feb 4 (Island) Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara was given just three days holiday in between tours to South Africa and Australia, but was nevertheless determined to travel to Kilinochchi in the island’s war-affected North East to deliver 300 brand new bicycles to poor families in desperate need of transportation. The bicycle donation was the result of a successful fundraising campaign called ‘Sanga’s Bikes for Life’ which has so far raised US$50,000, more..

Always – breakdown at Norochcholai?

Feb 4 (LB) There are far too many breakdowns at the Norochcholai plant. According to information we have received, one of the oil pumps in the turbines is not functioning. They say that it will take some time to ascertain why there are regular breakdowns. But due to this shortcoming, to date there has been a loss of 350 megawatts to the national grid. Some CEB engineers were sent on a training programme to China for three months but the question that more..

Cyprus HC taken up by development in Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (DN) High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus, accredited to Sri Lanka, Nafsika Krousti paid a farewell call on Prime Minister D M Jayaratne. The High Commissioner spoke about the longstanding relationship between the two countries. "Sri Lanka is developing rapidly after the defeat of terrorism. The government has also taken measures uplift the economy and launch development programmes in the North and East," Krousti said. Prime Minister Jayaratne said that the govt more..

Electricity for 200 families in Kalutara district

Feb 4 (DN) The Power and Energy Ministry has provided electricity to approximately 200 families in the Kalutara district yesterday, in its bid to provide electricity to the entire country by the end of 2012. This provision was made through four projects in the Kalutara district under the directions of Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. With these electricity extension projects, 96 percent of the Kalutara district would be provided with electricity. more..

IMF concerned over Lanka trade deficit

Feb 4 (BBC) The IMF has expressed concern over the increasing trade deficit in Sri Lanka though the growth of the economy has been “very strong.” Speaking to journalists in Colombo, the head of IMF delegation Brain Aitken said when the team last visited Sri Lanka in September, last year, the inflation was also under control. “The one thing seen in the last three months is that the trade deficit has widened and the credit growth has stimulated,” he added. more..

Severe drug shortage in hospitals – Unions

Feb 4 (Island) A chronic shortage of essential drugs such as losaton for hypertensive patients, ranitidine for gastritis patients, thyroxine for goitre patients has been crippling at some main hospitals, especially in rural hospitals. Antibiotic syrups needed by children have also been out of stock for a long time. In addition, some medical equipment such as three-way-taps used for saline IV transfusion in ICUs are out of stock. No practical solution to shortages more..

British Council shut down after fire

Feb 4 (Island) The British Council in Colombo was shut down yesterday after an early morning fire in one of its classrooms. The Council in a statement said that it expects library and examination services to resume next Wednesday after the holiday break. Following is the statement issued by its Country Director Tony Reilly following the fire: "A fire was discovered in one of our Teaching Centre classrooms in Colombo at 7.45 a.m. today before classes had started. more..

Mahela puts his hand up

Feb 4 (SMH) Having three captains within a year is proof enough that all is not rosy with Sri Lankan cricket. The new leader (for a second stint), Mahela Jayawardene, makes no attempt to gloss over the on- and off-field problems but is determined to play a key role in remedying at least the former. Elegant and eloquent wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara resigned in the aftermath of Sri Lanka's World Cup final loss to India last year; the nation's selectors also felt a duty to depart. more..