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Australia caught in Sri Lanka refugee crossfire

July 24 (SMH) Australia's role in stopping Sri Lankan asylum seekers fleeing the country has been criticised by rights groups as a breach of its international legal obligations, potentially sending people back to harm. But the Sri Lankan govt is reportedly frustrated that Australia does not do enough to help stem the exodus. More than 1500 Sri Lankans have reached Australian territory by boat so far this year, more..

Olympic broadcasts a ’victory for spectators’

July 24 (NF) Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage says the fact that the Olympics will be broadcasted on several channels, is a victory for the spectators as everyone will be able to enjoy the Olympics. Meanwhile, former athlete Damayanthi Darsha says that as sportsmen and women, they are glad that events such as the Olympics are being broadcast on a number of TV channels as it helps uplift sports. These comments come in response to the removal of the interim injunction issued by the commercial high court preventing more..

Time to end arbitrary detention in Sri Lanka

July 24 (AUSA) Right now, hundreds of people are languishing in detention in Sri Lanka. They haven’t been convicted of any crime; indeed, they haven’t even been charged with any crime. Their detentions violate international law. Many of them are tortured while in custody. Some detainees have been killed. More than three years after the end of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war, security laws enacted to combat armed opposition groups continue to be used against outspoken, peaceful critics, including journalists, and others. more..

SLC close to appointing Lorgat consultant

July 24 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is close to appointing Haroon Lorgat, the former ICC chief executive, as a consultant to assist the board in revamping its domestic cricket structure, as well as potentially advising it on finances and governance. An SLC official said that negotiations have been going well and they are optimistic about bringing Lorgat on board. SLC, who have faced a turbulent 15 months, are interested in Lorgat's services because of more..

Violence against women

July 25 (NS) In 1978, Sri Lanka was devastated by a cyclone, especially the East Coast. Anton Jones, given to highlighting in song all kinds of satya siddheen’ (true events), naturally, put together words and music. Two lines are etched in my mind: ‘Madakalapuwa, ampare, polonnaruwa, samanthurai…e hema nagarema diyen yata une Mannarama, kanthalai, pothuvil, kalmunai natambun vage aethata penune’ [Batticaloa, Ampara, Polonnaruwa and Samanthurai – flooded more..

Healing power sector for brighter tomorrow

July 25 (NS) The ‘Viewpoint’ of The Nation last Sunday pointed out that though ‘power ‘corrupts’ the CEB, the customers needed the darned electricity’. There are two sides to this story. On the one hand one has to agree with the ‘power corrupts’ idea but when and where that happens they should be corrected. Having electricity and simultaneously reducing the price cannot happen in the immediate future. With visionary leadership a tough minister can turn the CEB in to more..

Victor’s never ending ‘Sa’

July 25 (NS) “What does the voice of God sound like?” one of my friends asked me a random question on facebook chat a few days ago. While talking to her, I was listening to a song sung by Victor Rathnayake. If my memory serves me right, I was repeatedly listening to the song obe dethol pethi lihe written by the late Premakeerthi De Alwis. I was mesmerized by Victor’s awe-inspiring singing. more..

Ethnic conflict, LTTE and future

July 25 (CT) It is now crystal clear that the Sinhala leaders will never put forward a just resolution to the Tamil national question. Therefore, we are not prepared to place our trust in the impossible and walk along the same old futile path…. We therefore ask the international community and the countries of the world that respect justice to recognize our freedom struggle.” This is the key sections of the annual Heroes’ Day statement delivered by the slain leader of the disabled LTTE, V. Pirapaharan. more..

The die is cast for the Lankan judiciary

July 25 (CT) Akin to the 18th Amendment to the Constitution which had been brewing for quite some time before it was actually passed by a supine Parliament, the uproar in Mannar over the burning of the courts last week was certainly predictable, despite those who threw up their hands in horrified surprise. Exponentially increased contempt displayed by the executive for Sri Lanka’s judiciary was manifested in recent years with politicians from the highest levels downwards seeking to influence the outcome of cases, with criminals having more..

Eastern Province to boost livestock industry growth

July 25 (SO) Being marginalised nearly for the past three decades due to threats of terrorism, most of the farmers of the East were adopting a survival strategy 'Invest less and hope for the best'. The affected livestock industry would have been the second worst devastated field in the Eastern Province apart from agriculture. Throughout the history, the country's largest herds of cattle and buffaloes were reported from the dry and more..

Negating that which negates us: In support of democratic dialogue

July 25 (GV) Hundreds are embarking on a perilous journey across the seas just so they can leave the country. Asylum seekers, refugees: words relegated to the times of combat and conflict, have resurfaced, even though these are peaceful times. It might actually be fair to say that these words never resurfaced; instead, they have been here all along, floating under the radar of mainstream dialogue, only to be revived as issues of national importance when they became too big to ignore. more..

Remembering Neelan Tiruchelvam’s intellectual legacy

July 25 (CT) Sunday 29th July 2012 is the thirteenth death anniversary of Dr Neelan Tiruchelvam, which will be commemorated, as is now customary, with the annual Neelan Tiruchelvam Memorial Lecture. An old friend, Professor Sujit Choudhry of the New York University School of Law, will deliver the lecture this year. I have been asked to write a few words of remembrance and reflection to mark the occasion, an invitation I take up here with both pleasure and sadness, more..

Never Again: Remembering ’83

July 25 (GV) First broadcast on aired on the MTV, Shakthi and Sirasa terrestrial TV channels in Sri Lanka from 23rd to 30th July 2008, Never Again in Sri Lanka featured 22 videos in Tamil, Sinhala and English on the anti-Tamil pogrom of July 1983 in Sri Lanka. The 30 second videos on the site featured well-known Sri Lankan civil society, film, teledrama, entertainment, academic and religious personalities including: Bellanwila Wimalaratne Thero more..

Mannar mayhem: The need to solve underlying problems

July 25 (DM) On 3 May 2012, long before the Mannar mayhem, the Sri Lanka Police acknowledged a growing trend – that of people taking the law into their own hands. In a media communiqué, Police Headquarters stated that certain groups were increasingly behaving in a violent manner, and noted that 105 individuals had been brought before the law for perpetrating multifarious acts of extrajudicial punishments. Sri Lanka is certainly no stranger to more..

Whither Sri Lanka’s media?

July 25 (GV) Having been through the grind in the field of Sri Lanka’s mainstream print journalism for nearly two decades, what I feel is a growing sense of frustration. Whatever standards and respectability that was maintained by our past peers are deteriorating to the extent that journalists are being looked at, more with ridicule, than with esteem. Today journalists have come to be often identified as so and so’s catcher or hanger on other than men and women of integrity and fair play. The failure to do some serious soul searching by those more..

Regime’s 5 Es: Economy, External Affairs, Education, Elections and Executive rule

July 25 (Island) The five E’s do not capture everything the govt does or is supposed to do. But they account for most of what the present govt is doing or, rather, misdoing. The first three – Economy, External Affairs and Education - are areas of dismal govt failure. The last two are devices used by the govt to manipulate its popularity and exercise power. The way the govt is using the two devices, Elections and Executive power more..

Another top Japanese conglomerate returns to Sri Lanka

July 25 (FT) Boosting Sri Lanka’s FDI profile, yet another Japanese conglomerate, Fortune 500’s Sumitomo Corporation, is returning to Sri Lanka, with a new strategy. “We warmly welcome back Sumitomo Corp, which left Sri Lanka in 2009. Our Govt is prepared do everything possible to facilitate your prompt re-entry,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen addressing the special Sumitomo Corporation delegation led by Masahiro Fujita, Managing Executive Officer more..

Dileep raises key issues in book ‘IIFA: The Other Side’

July 25 (FT) Tourism industry official cum professional Dileep Mudadeniya in his personal capacity has released a book on Sri Lanka’s hosting of the International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA) in 2010. Titled ‘IIFA: The Other Side,’ the book in Sinhala, Dileep’s first, recaps the efforts which went in to it, the challenges faced and its success, in addition to highlighting some key issues with regard to the Tamil Diaspora, media, and Lankan artistes,as well as the importance of people more..

Port volumes sink

July 25 (Island) With the global economy sailing in troubled waters and India’s economy under stress, ship traffic to Sri Lanka declined 4.2% during the first four months of this year while transshipment volumes slumped 8.6 percent. The number of container carriers calling on Sri Lanka declined 4.2% to 1,373 from 1,433 a year earlier. In April 2012, 326 vessels called on the country, down 13.8% from 378 in April 2011. Total cargo handling fell 4.2% to 1,357,551 containers during more..

Separate unit for Anti- Doping

July 25 (DM) The Sports Ministry has decided to form a separate unit for anti-doping measurements, in addition to the Institute of Sports Medicine which is already established, under the patronage of Ministry of sports. This was revealed by minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, while addressing a media gathering on Tuesday. Speaking at the occasion Director General of the Institute of the Sports Medicine Prof. Arjuna De Silva said that the Institute of Medicine has been fully reorganized during the last six months. more..

Who signalled the Powerplay?

July 25 (CI) Confusion over India's batting Powerplay in the first ODI has become a laughing matter three days after the event but it reveals a serious loophole in on-field communication. In the end, though, India got away with what seems like a wrongly interpreted signal by the umpires and the batsmen's failure to cross-check with them. The problem originated before the 17th over, when Virat Kohli signalled to the dressing room for a cap. The umpires, though, seemed to think it was more..

Connections | July 23, 2012

Perera's day to remember

July 25 (CI) In his short career, Thisara Perera has shown he can do everything in the middle; he can crack big sixes, he can run through sides with his deceptive seamers, and he can create dismissals with his fielding. Today, during Perera's first over, Virender Sehwag swatted one in the air to the bowler's right. Perera instantly arrested his followthrough, dived and plucked the ball mid-air, tumbled down, but still managed to hold onto the ball. When India bolted to 31 for 0 in more..

Thilini says she is not under pressure

July 25 (Island) Badminton player Thilini Jayasinghe will be under immense pressure to perform when she competes in the 2012 Olympics starting in two days time in London. Although she has a better world ranking and has been selected by virtue of that ranking, her lowly Sri Lanka rank has made better ranked local counterparts, criticize her selection. Her local counterparts are faulting the badminton federation for promoting the lowly ranked player ahead of them for her to secure more..

USAID partnership with apparel factory creates opportunities in the East

July 25 (FT) The United States Ambassador, Patricia A. Butenis on Monday opened an apparel factory in Thirukkovil, Ampara, set up under the Eastern Garment Alliance, a public private alliance between the USAID and Daya Apparel Pvt. Ltd. Two other factories have already opened under this alliance over the past year, in Ninthavur and Maha Oya. The three factories have helped over 1,000 men and women from different ethnic backgrounds build skills and secure more..

Kreeda Shakthi to develop sports at village level

July 25 (DN) A programme called Kreeda Shakthi was launched to develop sports at village level. Under this programme, students with sports talent selected from school level will be granted a monthly allowance of Rs 2,500 each and avenues for overseas training to help boost their talents to international standard, said Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage. He said so addressing the annual prize giving of Dheerananda Maha Vidyalaya, Pilimatalawa as the chief guest recently. more..

'Macro picture of country will guide voters'

July 25 (DN) The UPFA has done a lot towards the welfare of people of this country during the last eight years. Ending the war is one of its landmark improvements in the quality of the country's political situation. Therefore the people will take into account the macro picture before them in casting their vote during upcoming Provincial Council Elections, Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said yesterday. According to Minister as far as his area (Sabaragamuwa Province) is concerned, the tea and rubber smallholders and the small scale tea and rubber cultivators get reasonable prices for more..

Govt drops proposed airports: Public outcry bears fruit

July 25 (Island) The govt has abandoned its grandiose plan to build two new domestic airports, at Kundasale in Kandy and at Sita Eliya in Nuwara Eliya in view of the growing public outcry against both. The two airport projects came in for severe criticism from the public due to the environmental destruction they would cause. An airport at Kundasale would have resulted in the destruction of the country’s premier agricultural school while at Sita Eliya it would have more..

More land to come under Maize cultivation

July 25 (Island) The govt had decided to promote the cultivation of maize on 5,000 acres of highland in the Mullaitivu and Killinochchi districts prior to the forthcoming Maha season, said Minister S.M. Chandrasena yesterday at a ceremony to mark the reopening of the Jaffna Agrarian Services Centre. The govt had been able to earn foreign exchange by exporting a surplus stock of 10,000 MT of maize, he said. Over 700 farmers from the Jaffna district were present at the reopening, which had been destroyed during the war. more..

Central Province smells a rat in doc’s transfer

July 25 (Island) The recent transfer order issued to the Provincial Director of Health of the Central Province without consulting the Governor was in violation of the powers vested in him by the Constitution, UPFA, member Rizvi Faroque told the recent Central Provincial Council meeting. The meeting was held with Chairman Saliya Bandara Dissanayake, presiding. He said that the incumbent Director of Health Dr. Ms. Shanthi Samarasinghe was transferred to the North Central Province more..

Ranil fires all cylinders

July 25 (FT) Akin to firing all cylinders, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has blasted President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s forum with capital market stakeholders and renewed the call for the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee to probe what he alleged were “shady stock market investments” of the EPF and ETF. Speaking at a ceremony kicking off the Party’s fund raising campaign at the official residence of the Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzzamil more..

Sri Lanka buys US water supply system with US$64.9mn ex-im finance

July 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka has bought a 64.9 million US dollar water supply system from Tetra Tech, a California based firm with financing from the Export-Import Bank of United States. The 12-year credit, the first since 2008, will finance a water supply system for Badulla, Haliela and Ella areas on Sri Lanka, the US Ex-im bank said in a statement. "Not only does this transaction stimulate U.S. job creation, but it also contributes directly to the quality of life in Sri Lanka,” more..

Puttalam Lagoon to become ‘Colombo Face’

July 25 (CT) The Puttalam Urban Council (UC) is planning to develop the Puttalam Lagoon area as a tourism zone, which will be on par with the Galle Face Green, and to name it ‘Colombo Face,’ UC Chairman, D.D. Baiz said. Since the proposed airport and the harbour are in close proximity to the Puttalam UC area, the tourism zone will be built from that point onwards and spread in the direction of the Northern Province. Baiz said the buildings that do not suit an ultra-modern town more..

Sirisena denies JVP allegations

July 25 (Island) Minister Maithreepala Sirisena claimed that the UPFA had given nominations only to two sons of govt ministers to contest the forthcoming provincial councils elections, following an assurance given by those ministers that they would not contest next general election. He said that Minister Jagath Balasuriya and Deputy Minister M.K.D.S. Gunawardena would not contest the next parliamentary polls therefore more..

Bodhi puja for rape suspect outside temple

July 25 (Island) A bodhi puja was held on Monday morning near the Polpitiya temple in Yakabedda, to invoke blessings on the remanded chairman of the Akuressa Pradeshiya Sabha S.L. Sunil charged with child abuse. The puja, in which the suspect’s wife, too, participated, had been held outside the temple as the resident monks had objected to it being conducted in the temple premises. There had been about six police personnel providing security to the suspect chairman’s wife more..

Jayawardene hails 'confident' Perera

July 25 (CI) Isuru Udana, the left-arm fast bowler, had a forgettable ODI debut. His opening over contained five wides and two boundaries and went for 16. It was also the over that was to completely alter the course of the game. With India racing to 31 for 0 in three overs and Udana struggling to cope with the stiff breeze across the ground, Mahela Jayawardene handed the ball to Thisara Perera in the fourth. Perera started with three wicket-maidens taking out Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli and more..

Over 1,000 A/L students file complaints to HRC

July 25 (CT) Over 1,000 Advance Level students have filed complaints to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) that their rights have been violated with regard to the A/Level results. The IUSF said 150 students had gone simultaneously to the HRC yesterday, and many more students had followed. IUSF Convener Sanjeewa Bandara charged that the govt was responsible for the crisis the students are in, and therefore more..

Docs strike paralyses northern hospitals

July 25 (Island) Over 1,000 doctors from more than 100 hospitals in the Northern Province went on strike from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. yesterday in protest against the failure of the police to arrest Dr. Nadaraja Jayakumaran’s attackers and the Health Ministry’s failure to act on allegations against the present Jaffna hospital director Dr. Ms. Bavani Pashupathyraja. Many OPD and clinic patients had to return home without medical treatment. Emergency services had been maintained but all the routine and scheduled operations had more..

President orders relief to students affected by Z score

July 25 (DN) Minister S.B. Dissanayake yesterday said President Mahinda Rajapaksa has offered maximum relief to the students who may have been subjected to injustice due to the Z score issue, by facilitating the admission of some of these students to the universities. The President has ordered the minister to provide him with details of how many such students could be accommodated in a single university and the number of students who could be admitted to all the universities. more..

84-year-old ex-planter arrested for abusing 14 underage girls

July 25 (DN) The police are investigating the shocking case where an 84-year-old man, who ran an orphanage in Mawanella, sexually abused 14 underage girls. The police described the suspect as a retired planter. The police believe that the actual number of victims could be much higher, though investigators have so far been able to identify only 14 victims. Police headquarters confirmed the on-going inquiry. more..