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Exchange rate standoff as IMF visits Sri Lanka

Jan 24 (Reuters) Sri Lanka and the IMF meet this week amid a standoff over the central bank’s defence of the rupee currency, which has cost $2.6 billion in foreign exchange reserves since July — the same amount the global lender has pledged to loan. Bucking all its Asian peers, Sri Lanka has propped up the rupee since the second half of 2011 to prevent depreciation, which prompted the IMF in September to withhold the latest $400 million loan tranche. more..

SEP/ISSE meeting to demand release of political prisoners

Jan 24 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) will hold a public meeting in the northern town of Jaffna on January 29 to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. Thousands of mainly young Tamils are being held in detention as “terrorist suspects” without charge or trial. Many were among the more than 11,000 persons arrested at the end of the govt’s communal war more..

SL can see transformation in 15 yrs with trilingual policy: Abdul Kalam

Jan 24 (DM) Sri Lanka could see a great transformation in the next 15 years with the launching of a trilingual policy, former President of India Abdul Kalam said today. Mr. Kalam, former president of India who is Sri Lanka on a five day official visit, made this observation when he met the media today in Colombo. He said that trilingualism will naturally lead to racial amity in the country. "I had a discussion with President Mahinda Rajapakse on the practical aspect of more..

‘PSC – a crucial instrument’

Jan 24 (LB) LAKBIMAnEWS met up with Lalith Weeratunga, secretary to the president, who explained the govt’s current stance on the 13th Amendment. Weeratunga said the 13th Amendment plus was something President Rajapaksa talked about when he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh several years ago. He also brought up the subject of a senate, which goes beyond the 13th Amendment. It will be a central structure that accommodates representatives from provincial areas, more..

A page from Galle Lit.

Jan 25 (NS) Today the curtains will fall on this year’s edition of the Galle Literary Festival or Galle Lit as it is known to the Colombo people. If you planned well ahead and booked your tickets for the workshops early and secured a place in one of the many workshops or ‘breakfast with this writer or that writer’ then you were one of the lucky ones. If you had planned early and waited till last Monday or Tuesday and realised that all the workshops were sold out, you were obviously one of more..

Tom Stoppard and Galle Literary Festival

Jan 25 (NS) The Galle Literary Festival is a blend of pretension and promise, brain farts and art. It’s a trip. Tom Stoppard was my favourite speaker. With a spray of gray hair, he’s got the moves like Mick Jagger. I saw his play (Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead) and found it particularly relevant to high school. It’s the story of bit characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet wondering what on earth the bigger drama is about. They die in the end. more..

Lotus Tower: A place for all, at 350m high

Jan 25 (SO) Standing a massive 350 metres tall on the banks of the beautified Beira Lake, the Lotus tower would definitely make this paradise isle more stunning. This, the world’s nineteenth tallest building started its construction work last week. This multi-functional tele communication tower and Entertainment Centre is the brainchild of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. This tower started its construction on an auspicious moment on Friday more..

Presidential Committee and GCE A/L results

Jan 25 (Island) Many have expressed their dissatisfaction over the findings of the committee appointed by the President to investigate the results of the GCE A/L results 2012. Now the committee itself has come forward informing the public why the committee findings and recommendations failed to resolve the issue once and for all. Responding to my article on The Island (16), Prof Ranjith Premalal de Silva, Vice Chancellor of the Uva Wellassa University and a member of more..

Once more into the breach

Jan 25 (GV) Dr Dayan Jayatilleka has been good enough to respond to my critique of his position with regard to the merits of the current govt of Sri Lanka. Let me first deal with his view of my original comments on his intellectual and political practices; then I will go to the heart of his response. Readers of Groundviews know, better than most, Dr Jayatilleka’s fondness for name-dropping. Famous names in themselves are harmless; it all depends on the use or misuse one makes of them. more..

Patriotism becoming increasingly difficult

Jan 25 (Island) It was a disastrous dichotomy that was suggested in a Presidential speech, dividing people into ‘patriots’ (with us) and ‘traitors’ (not with us). As long as the President remains the head of a political party, the implication is ominous. Patriotism is zeal for a country’s freedom or rights. The country goes beyond the geographic, to the socio-political. Am I zealous in that context? I wonder! I seek only the best for my country more..

Editorial: A prescient warning

Jan 25 (Island) Our ministerial worthies are doing their damnedest to cover up the GCE (A/L) results mess-up with the help of their propaganda and bureaucratic lackeys adept at obfuscation and mudslinging. But, theirs is an exercise in futility like that of a child trying to keep a rubber ball under water. The Z score issue has surfaced again much to the embarrassment of the govt. In answer to a question from the Opposition in Parliament last week, Minister S.B. Dissanayake sought to more..

Liberalism and evolving politial authorit arianism

Jan 25 (DM) This was the Council for Liberal Democracy, an explicit Liberalism being thought necessary because of the evolving political authoritarianism in Sri Lanka since 1970. A decisive event was the deprivation of the civic rights of Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Then the Referendum of December 1982 postponed elections for six years, which confirmed the necessity in Sri Lankan public affairs of Liberal values, a necessity made more urgent by the communal riots of July 1983. more..

'TNA should learn history’s lessons'

Jan 25 (NS) Minister of Western Provincial Council, Udaya Gammanpila, entered politics in 2000 as a founding member of Sihala Urumaya. In 2004, he was seen in Jathika Hela Urumaya when the Sihala Urumaya broke up. Gammanpila represented the JHU at the APRC appointed by the All Party Conference to formulate a political solution for the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka although he always stated that there was no ethnic conflict in the island. more..

33 Lankan teens to attend Leadership Summit at Harvard University, USA

Jan 25 (Island) In July 2012, Sri Lanka will send 33 promising teenagers to the "Leadership in Action Summit" at the prestigious Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The program will be conducted by People to People Organisation of The Dwight Eisenhower Foundation, founded in 1956 by the late US President, Dwight Eisenhower. From the many entries, a final list of 33 student leaders have been selected by the Sri Lanka Country Director Ananda Rajapakse. more..

Why Krishna's visit to Lanka can't be termed 'successful'

Jan 25 (Rediff) As is customary, official circles in India have hailed External Affairs S M Krishna's four-day visit to Sri Lanka from January 16th to 19th 2012 as 'successful.' Whether or not it was indeed 'successful' demands an examination of what transpired during the visit and the extent to which India's interests were promoted. During the visit, besides detailed discussions with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Professor GL Peiris, Krishna called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa and more..

University Teachers’ wages, 1961 and 2010 and education policy

Jan 25 (Island) There is much discussion about the behaviour of teachers, both at school and at university. Many older people recall, no doubt with some selective memory lapses, that in the decade of the 1950s, the work of their teachers both at school and at university was by and large without blemish and in fact exemplary. They were dedicated to their students and their teaching. They worked after hours without payment, more..

Agony of Tamil minority in Lanka: Film reaches out to students

Jan 25 (AA) Aimed at making the student community in Tamil Nadu sensitive to the agony of the Tamil minority in the island nation, the production team of Uchithanai Muharnthaal — a film that poignantly portrays the sufferings of a 13-year-old Lankan Tamil girl at the hands of the Lankan army, is organising special promotion programmes in Chennai and Madurai. Slated for re-release in the state on February 3, the dance shows to be organised by more..

Govt. warns investors that land would be taken back

Jan 25 (Island) Land leased to 14 investors in Passekudah would be taken back by the govt if tourism projects fail to commence operations by end December, Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena warned, meeting investors here. These investors had been given time until end May to commence operations but for various reasons only two are likely to meet the target. He told the investors that another inspection would be made by the end of May, more..

සබැඳියාව - January 24, 2011

SDB still held in high esteem - President

Jan 25 (DN) A felicitation ceremony in honour of former Gampaha district MP cum General Secretary of SLFP S. D. Bandaranaike who turned 96, was held at Temple Trees yesterday under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President speaking on the occasion identified S.D. Bandaranaike as a honest and hardworking politician. "The respect with which the people hold him has not diminished over the years", he added. The President also said that SD had been a more..

Post-war disease: Melioidosis detected in SL

Jan 25 (LB) A team of doctors from the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital headed by specialist Dr. Pankaja Kalukottage has warned that a disease called Melioidosis which normally comes in the wake of a long drawn out war could become an epidemic in the country. During the past few days around 12 patients have been diagnosed with the disease – Melioidosis – in the country. Of that number, five have been diagnosed as positive while three of them have succumbed to the disease. more..

Former Education Secy says wrong formula used for calculating Z-score

Jan 25 (Island) Former Secretary to the Ministry of Education and Higher Education Prof. R. P. Gunawardane says the presidential committee appointed to look into issues related to the messing up of the district ranking of the GCE (A/L) results has overlooked the wrong formula used for calculating Z-scores pertaining to results from two different syllabuses. In an article we publish on the editorial page today, more..

TB warning among returnees from India

Jan 25 (Island) The Anti-Tuberculosis Unit warns the health authorities to be vigilant over the returnees to the country from India for being potential tuberculosis carriers. Currently the disease is said to be rapidly spreading in India. "The persons with tuberculosis symptoms should be immediately directed to the centres established countrywide for immediate treatment to prevent the country being further affected by the disease," the Director of the Anti-Tuberculosis Unit Dr. Sunil de Alwis said. more..

Zoo DG frowns on proposal to DNA test and tag jumbos

Jan 25 (Island) Carrying out DNA tests on elephants is a wonderful idea but it has to be done after careful observations as such things might lead to gene piracy or bio piracy, says National Zoological Gardens, Director General Bashwara Senanka Gunaratne. Responding to the recent recommendation by the Wildlife Conservation Forum that to prevent elephant theft, particularly baby elephants from the wild, a DNA test should be conducted and all elephants given to third parties more..

Rowdyism at Rameswaram by Tamil Nadu ‘activist’ mob

Jan 25 (DBS) Rameswaram (Rameshwar)in the South of Tamil Nadu state in India is revered by Hindus all over the world as a place of tremendous religious significance. The Island town was the scene of an ugly rumpus on the tenth of this month when a well-known Sri Lankan Tamil businessman visiting for a religious purpose was victimized in a deplorable act of rowdyism. He was apparently targeted because of his relationship to President Rajapaksa through marriage. more..

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe candidate with most credentials

Jan 25 (Island) MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC, and attorney-at-law, Thirantha Waraliyadda, are in the fray for the post of President, Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL). About 11,000 lawyers are eligible to vote at the countrywide poll on Feb 22. The winner will succeed incumbent President Shibly Aziz. MP Rajapakshe said that there had been numerous requests from lawyers and other professionals for him to contest the top BASL post. more..

Over Rs. 6,500m for Anuradhapura road development projects

Jan 25 (DN) 'The govt has initiated a massive road development drive in Anuradhapura and the Deyata Kirula national exhibition area. Over Rs. 6,500 million has been allocated for this project which includes the rehabilitation of main roads connecting different towns with Anuradhapura city, Deputy Minister Nirmala Kothalawala said. A massive transformation is taking place in road development with the awakening of Oyamaduwa as a result of the Deyata Kirula national more..

Armed men on nocturnal terror visits to deter students’ struggle

Jan 25 (ST) It was around 10.20 p.m. on Monday this week, when a group of students had just finished their dinner and were preparing to call it a day, when it all happened. A group of around 15 to 20 persons, some of them masked and armed with assault rifles and hand guns, stormed the hostel situated in Homagama, and informed the occupants that they were searching for an ‘underworld leader’. The armed men immediately went around searching more..

Mannar expo a success

Jan 25 (Island) Crowds thronged the first Divineguma exhibition that went on show in Mannar. The eighth Divineguma show in the series and the first ever Divineguma to be held in the region, it also highlighted strong private sector participation and pulled the highest Tamil speaking crowds in any Divineguma show to be held in the Northern Province, specially considering the overall low population in the region. Interestingly, it also showed unprecedented interest of more..

We’ve right combination – Kandamby

Jan 25 (Island) The five-match one-day cricket series between touring England ‘A’, also known as England Lions, and Sri Lanka ‘A’ was announced yesterday, Jan. 24, to the media at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) headquarters in Colombo. "Our main intention in this series will be to impress the National selectors so that we can enter Sri Lanka team. For these five matches, we have a good combination of youngsters and seniors," said Sri Lanka ‘A’ captain Thilina Kandamby. more..

Fishing in Palk Bay in turns a solution: Kalam

Jan 25 (Hindu) Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen could fish in the Palk Bay in turns to avoid the current problems, or switch to deep sea fishing for better returns, Former Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has said. He suggested that deep sea fishing and fishing in turns in the Palk Bay, are solutions to resolve the contentious fisheries issue that India and Sri Lanka have been grappling with for the past few years. more..

DMK Warns UPA on Attacks Against TN Fishermen

Jan 25 (PTI) Lashing out at the Centre for continued attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by their Sri Lankan counterparts and the island nation's navy, key UPA coalition partner DMK today warned that neither such incidents nor delay on govt's part to intervene can be tolerated. In a strongly-worded statement, DMK chief M Karunanidhi said the latest attack, where Sri Lankan fishermen hurled petrol bombs at Indian fishermen came days after External Affairs Minister more..

Sri Lanka Customs to go High-tech from February

Jan 25 (DN) Sri Lanka Customs implementing electronic submission of Cusdec and manifest in February. The system in use generates a large amount of paper work and document handling. This also requires a lot of space for record storage. This generates an additional problem of providing security for archival records. Further the handling of physical documents subject them to damage and perishing which will not be present in the electronic system. The new e-manifesting system will more..

Public express dissatisfaction over demo: Underhand move against SL

Jan 25 (DN) People from all walks of life expressed their dissatisfaction over a scheduled protest today by a handful of persons posing as journalists, whose agenda it is to tarnish the country’s image. They said that these elements with vested interests are trying to disrupt the day-to-day life of the people by launching these protests to achieve their sinister agendas. They also said that these elements were trying to harm the country’s image by more..

Women's vigil for disappeared

Jan 25 (BBC) Mothers and wives against abduction and disappearances held a vigil in front of the Fort railway station. The vigil marked the second anniversary of the disappearance of Journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda. "We are invoking the blessings of sacred women such as Virgin Mary, Godess Pathini, Kali and Maha prajapathi Gothami to find our children and husbunds," said Sandya Eakneligoda, wife of Prageeth. Sri Lanka's Appeal Court recently ruled that former Attorney General more..

Solving ethnic issue: UNP willing to cooperate with govt but ...

Jan 25 (Island) The UNP said yesterday that it was willing to co-operate with the govt to find a political solution to the ethnic issue, but the the latter should stop its dilatory tactics such as the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee on the national question. General Secretary of the UNP, Tissa Attanayake said that numerous Committees had discussed the ethnic issue and the Rajapaksa regime had even discarded the recommendations of the APRC. more..

Mendis content despite losing selection job

Jan 25 (DM) Lankan cricket legend Duleep Mendis was dragged through the mud in recent times by critics who incessantly questioned the judgment of his team of selectors for the recent string of losses the national team suffered, and has paid a heavy price just for doing a great job, but is a contented man today though he has lost his job. “I have no regrets. I knew all along that I was doing the right thing. It is for my country and I know that when more..

Visa process keeps body in mortuary for weeks

Jan 25 (NZH) Immigration officials have refused to issue a visa to a Sri Lankan man wanting to attend his father's funeral because he presented a risk of becoming an illegal immigrant. The body of Suppiah Mylavaganam, originally from Sri Lanka, has been in the morgue for 24 days as the family put back his funeral so his only son Vamatheva can travel from India, where he currently lives. But last night Immigration officials said his visa application - and that of daughter more..

‘Prison violence sparked by drug lords’

Jan 25 (DN) Unprecedented level of prison mayhem - including clashes and fire breakouts-at the Welikada Prison was the result of activities triggered by seven or eight drug lords who had become restless over their being unable to smuggle drugs and cell phone sim cards into the prison as they used to, Commissioner of Prisons K. Kodippili said. Four prison officers suffered injuries during the incident, the Commissioner said. “One of them is in critical condition and is receiving a medical treatment at the Colombo National Hospital.” more..

Hidden hand behind bloody prison riot?

Jan 25 (Island) Thirty one including five jail guards and 26 inmates were injured yesterday at the Welikada New Magazine prison in a bloody clash. The injured had been admitted to the Colombo National Hospital. The condition of two of the injured as serious and said that all 19 inmates admitted to the hospital following the clash had suffered injuries below the knee. Trouble began when a group of inmates staged a protest demanding that their rights be granted and more..