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Political timber pirates are jolly good ‘fellers’

June 7 (NS) Keeping on the right side of the law has never been an attractive proposition to many of our lawmakers. And why ever not? When it comes to criminal politicians, our pitiable law-enforcing arm is not sufficiently long, nor brawny enough to reach out into their sanctified domain.A highly-politicized police force and virtually all other state departments jump through hoops to appease their legislative masters. What is apparent here has been the endearing more..

Defending the undergrad

June 7 (NS) Recently, I took my niece who is in her late teens on a tour of Peradeniya University. A question she asked me during the tour was whether anyone other than lovers entered the ‘Lovers’ Lane’ (an arbor where lovers enter). My answer was that they didn’t – that the ‘discipline’ of respect dictated students and perverts other than lovers or couples not to go there. Of course, my answer was a generalization of a sort, but this idea of ‘university discipline’ more..

Sarath Fonseka - Victim of a political process

June 7 (DM) Sarath Fonseka walked out of prison in the evening of May 21 to a rousing welcome of his supporters who had gathered in their numbers for several hours awaiting his release. Electronic media relayed an uninterrupted coverage of the different stages of the event signifying the considerable public interest that had been evoked. Although, he walked out as a free man, the extent of the liberty regained by him, more..

The never ending war, a fait accompli

June 7 (DM) The war is over at long last. The destructive battle that wreaked havoc for three decades causing catastrophic loss of precious lives, limbs and scores of privately owned as well as commercial properties including national assets, was brought to a decisive conclusion on 19th May 2009, by a successful military campaign executed by the combined military establishment of the country, through a well orchestrated politico-military strategy that witnessed more..

Self immolation: an Uncommon Suicidal Method in Sri Lanka

June 7 (DM) Suicide is a complex behaviour that has biological, psychological and social implications. Marital disharmony, dispute among family members, broken love affairs, socio economical problems and underlying psychiatric disorders are some of the key reasons, for the higher incidence of suicide in Sri Lanka. Deaths from suicide reached a peak in Sri Lanka in 1995. Several interventions reduced the suicide rate of 48.7 per 100,000 in 1995 to 24.1 per 100,000 in 2005 more..

Dambulla – Our Story

June 7 (DM) I refer to the article 'Dambulla - Untold Facts' published on 28.05.2012. The article refers to this so called mosque as not having any features of a mosque and states that there was no mosque in the location to begin with. This news is misleading. I doubt whether the Joint Committee of the Buddhist Organisations had studied the bona fides of the real situation without being misled by the priest in charge of the Ranagiri Vihara who was more..

New chapter in Tamil struggle for political rights – A response – I

June 7 (Island) It is very clear that R. Sampanthan told the fourteenth national convention of the ITAK held recently in Batticaloa to work with him to invite the western countries to give them Eelam. He has not come out with the truth in his arguments but he has made it clear that he wants an Eelam and nothing else. In essence, what he says is that the Tamils have not been successful in establishing an Eelam through so-called peaceful means more..

Can Fonseka be more than the Cat among (opposition) Pigeons?

June 7 (SL) The release of Sarath Fonseka with a pardon, the implications of which have still not been clearly indicated, has led to speculation of a kind not recently encountered from the punditocracy of this country. And, in a country where political theories run rampant on a continuous basis, that is really saying something! Let me very briefly make reference to what seem to be the two more plausible explanations for the fact that Sarath Fonseka, more..

Modernisation of Postal Department

June 7 (SO) The Postal Department has networked 12 post offices under the first phase of its networking project. Beyond its traditional services, the Department is gradually turning into a modern telecommunication service provider. The State owned Postal Department which was earlier dependent on a few services has expanded its boundaries with the introduction of modern telecommunication technology. more..

A sombre reflection of writing on rights

June 7 (CT) In this marking of the twenty fifth anniversary of the Sunday Times, it is a reflective task to write about the ‘Focus on Rights’ column, carried for the first time in the Times edition of 26th March 2000 and continued up to date, with brief pauses in between. Looking back, I discovered that, (though now faded almost completely from memory), the very first Focus column appropriately titled ‘the dilemma of disappearances’ called for enforced disappearances more..

Editorial: Let there be transparency!

June 7 (Island) Sri Lanka has come under tremendous international pressure to make public the findings of special presidential commissions, especially the one that probed the massacre of a group of 17 aid workers in Muttur in 2006. It continues to be hauled over the coals at international fora for not abiding by principles such as transparency. The UNHRC last March adopted a resolution at the behest of the US calling on Sri Lanka to address, inter alia, accountability issues more..

Pakistan go in as favourites in ODI series

June 7 (Island) Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene yesterday admitted that Pakistan will go in for the five match ODI series between the countries as favourites following their excellent run in recent months. The tourists have an outstanding head to head record against the Sri Lankans in the last 12 months having beaten them 4-1 in UAE and then in an Asia Cup game. In the last ten games between the countries, Pakistan have won eight matches more..

Sri Lanka hope to reverse UAE defeat

June 7 (CI) The drawn Twenty20 series in Hambantota, in which there was little to separate the teams, has set up the five-ODI contest nicely. The pattern of both T20s was the same: the batsmen made just enough runs and the bowlers used the swing and seam available in the evenings to defend modest targets. Sri Lanka will hope to improve the recent head-to-head record, having lost five of their last six ODIs to Pakistan. Four of those defeats were in the UAE in 2011, more..

Regulator shows some teeth

June 7 (Island) The country’s small stock exchange, that has fast gained a reputation of being a den of gamblers and manipulators, has last year seen an increase in detections into market malpractice carried out by the watchdog Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with cash penalties for compounded offences nearly doubling during the year. Offenders are allowed to pay a compounded penalty without admission of guilt which goes into the Compensation Fund maintained by more..

PNM wants action against TNA leader

June 7 (Island) President of the Patriotic National Movement Dr Gunadasa Amarasekera said that the statement made by TNA leader R. Sampanthan at the annual ITAK Convention in Urani was a violation of the constitution and warrants his expulsion from parliament. The PNM leader said that the comments made by Sampanthan were very serious and President should not keep silent. "They are demanding something beyond the 13th amendment," he said. more..

Agriculture Department celebrates centenary

June 7 (DN) The Agriculture Department which completes 100 years this year has organized a number of programmes to mark the occasion. The Anniversary Celebration ceremony will be held in Gannoruwa on July 20 under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. "The Agriculture Department was established on May 20, 1912.Since then, the ministry has done a great service for the betterment of farmers and consumers," said Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane. more..

Endemic fish gets Lankan-flavoured name

June 7 (ST) The popular edible fish known to local fishermen as "modha" or "koduwa", and recently declared endemic to Sri Lanka, has been given a scientific name with a local flavour - Lates lakdiva. In an article that appeared last week in the scientific journal Zootaxa, Sri Lankan scientist Rohan Pethiyagoda has established that the koduwa is a marine species, not a freshwater fish, and that it is unique to Sri Lanka. The Lankan sea bass was earlier thought to be the same species, Lates calcarifer, found in waters across Asia and all the way to northeast Australia. more..

Commonwealth Institutions seem unable to lend a helping hand with Sri Lanka

June 7 (DBS) From Gary Barlow’s backing musicians to flags fluttering on the flotilla, the Commonwealth featured prominently in the diamond jubilee celebrations. And when Commonwealth leaders sit down to a special lunch with the Queen later today, there will undoubtedly be much toasting. Yet, behind the pomp and pageantry of the weekend, lies an international association that has had few public political successes in recent years and shows signs of more..

Facets 2012 this September

June 7 (Island) They started off with just 40 booths at the Hilton Colombo in 1991, today over 154 booths have all been pre-booked and sold out three months ahead of FACETS 2012. That alone is testimony to the true potential and opportunities afforded by FACETS 2012 for both buyers and sellers. Supported by the National Gem and Jewellery Authority as well as the Export Development Board, this year’s exhibition will play host to over one hundred local and foreign more..

Paramilitary groups deployed to grab coastal lands in Ampaa'rai

June 7 (TN) The Sri Lanka Army has deployed paramilitary groups to grab lands that belong to Tamils along the coastal belt of Ampaa'rai. The lands seized from Tamil owners are later sold to settlers and businessmen from the South by the SL military. The paramilitary operatives, who interfere in land issues, have also been used by politicians to appropriate public lands. Latest reports from Kaaraitheevu division say that a Tamil politician, with the backing of more..

'TNA making same demands as LTTE'

June 7 (DN) The TNA has put forward demands which the LTTE failed to achieve militarily. They are also stressing on pre-conditions to attend the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) proceedings to find a political solution to the national question, Minister Prof Tissa Vitarana said. He said TNA leader R Sampanthan had wanted what the LTTE had submitted as their proposals for an Interim Self-Governing Authority in the North and East in November 2003. more..

Banks await Sri Lanka’s sovereign bond mandate

June 7 (FA) Debt bankers are waiting for the Sri Lankan sovereign to mandate banks for its upcoming dollar benchmark. The sovereign sent out RFPs three weeks ago and is expected to mandate three or four banks during the next week or two. Sri Lanka last tapped the bond market in July 2011, when it issued a $1 billion 10-year bond. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland were joint bookrunners. Bank of Ceylon acted as a co-manager. more..

Destination Review: Sri Lanka

June 7 (TOI) A road trip across the island that has emerged from turmoil challenges any traveller to not fall for our neighbour's diverse and seductive charms. President Mahinda Rajapaksha's face could not be missed on Sri Lanka's highways. As I kept tabs on the billboards announcing his temple visits, political meetings and environment-conservation efforts, it struck me that the motorable stretch (450 km North to South and 220 kms East to West) had features that more..

Less females leaving as maids

June 7 (DN) Sri Lankan females seeking jobs as housemaids in the Middle East dropped below 40 percent, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign employment (SLBFE) sources said. In contrast, statistics show Sri Lankans migrating for skilled jobs increasing by 50 percent which is attributed by the SLBFE to the successful training programme it has afforded to prospective migrant workers in specialised vocations. more..

State urged to ask Centre to close down Sri Lankan Deputy Commission in Chennai

June 7 (Hindu) The Tamilaga Vazhvurimai Katchi has appealed to the State govt to prevail upon the Centre to immediately close down the Sri Lankan Deputy Commission in Chennai for registering its protest against the “war crimes committed by the Rajapaksa govt in the 2009 civil war in Sri Lanka.” The party at its district general body meeting, chaired by former MLA T. Velmurugan, passed a resolution in this regard on Tuesday. more..

The chef and the chocolate factory

June 7 (Hindu) Ayurvedic cakes — that's what chef Gerard Mendis is working on at the moment with the Chef's Guild of Sri Lanka, which he heads. This basically involves baking cakes out of herbal products. He's also working on a programme to educate parents about cutting down family trips to fast food outlets, which he says quite forcefully, are totally unhealthy. “We are also making sure that what we cook is organic, using produce that is chemical free. more..

Speaker threatens to summon Treasury Sec.

June 7 (CT) Speaker of Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday said action will have to be taken to summon the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Planning to Parliament to enquire from him as to the reasons for the delay in providing answers to questions raised by the Opposition MPs. The Speaker said this when the Deputy Minister of Finance Geethanjana Gunawardena asked for four weeks additional time to provide answers for two questions more..

Life saving drug out of stock

June 7 (Island) A life saving drug, commonly used when a patient is anaesthetised, which helps maintain the individual’s blood pressure, is unavailable in all govt hospitals. Informed medical sources said yesterday that the drug, ‘Ephedrine’ had been out of stock for over a week. Ephedrin is administered mainly during caesarean surgery, where the anaesthetic injection is given to the spine. There is a possibility of a patient’s blood pressure dropping following the injection. more..

Sri Lanka in final run to demutualise stock exchange

June 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka is putting the final touches to a draft bill to demutualise, or make the Colombo Stock Exchange a shareholder owned limited company, the island's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said. "The SEC is in the process of finalising the draft bill for the Demutualisation of the CSE to bring our capital market to be in line with those in more mature jurisdictions," Thilak Karunaratne said in the watchdog's annual report. more..

Toronto man arrested in MV Sun Sea human smuggling case: RCMP

June 7 (NP) The investigation into the human smuggling ring behind the MV Sun Sea, which brought 492 asylum seekers to Canada in 2010, has ended with charges against two Canadians and four Sri Lankans. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested a 55-year-old man in Ontario Tuesday and issued warrants for two more suspects, bringing to six the number of alleged people smugglers the Crown intends to prosecute over the Sun Sea. more..

As its President dines with the Queen, Sri Lanka's torture of its Tamils is revealed

June 7 (Independent) Further evidence has emerged of the brutal treatment of Tamils by Sri Lankan soldiers during the closing stages of the country's civil war. Video footage obtained by The Independent shows soldiers gloating over a pile of more than 100 Tamil corpses, including dozens of women who have been deliberately stripped of their clothes to expose their breasts and genitals. The videos are part of a growing body of evidence more..

Statements collected on Museum thefts

June 7 (CT) The CID has informed the Colombo Magistrate’s Court yesterday that statements from 18 witnesses have been recorded, regarding the thefts at the Colombo National Museum on March 17. According to CID officials, further investigations have been initiated to narrow down the list of suspects in connection with the theft, on the basis of the evidence received from the investigations to date. Statements by Kapila Premadasa the officer-in-charge of more..

Gotabhaya - diplomat in high profile meet

June 7 (CT) Former safe zone areas have now been assigned as a priority for demining, and all IDPs will be allowed to return to their original homelands, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said during a confidential meeting with high-ranking diplomats. The meeting is said to have been organised by a high-ranking United Nations official in Colombo, and Rajapaksa, along with several high profile members from the defence establishment, met with the more..

Caught Lankan Tamils sent to camps in Tirunelveli

June 7 (DC) As many as 123 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees from various camps in Tamil Nadu who were caught while trying to escape to Australia through the Sakthikulangara coast near Kollam in Kerala, were handed over to Mandapam special deputy collector for refugee rehabilitation in Tirunelveli on Wednesday. The refugees said they had tried to escape out of India as they were unhappy with their present status. “Most of our men who have escaped to Australia more..

SF requests UNP not to present full civic rights restoration Bill

June 7 (Island) Former Army commander Sarath Fonseka has requested the UNP not to proceed with a Bill, it intended presenting to parliament this week, seeking to restore his full civic rights, ranks and emoluments, since it could prejudice other cases that had been filed against him by the govt. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella MP said that the Bill drafted by a three-member committee, headed by him, was ready for presentation to the legislature, but Fonseka had more..

Killing of handsome Tamil cricketer traced to UK-based wife

June 7 (Island) Police investigating the killing of 28-year-old Iswaradasan Kedeshwaran aka ‘Kathee’ in the Trincomalee police division on the night of April 18, 2012 have arrested a pilot and an Air Force deserter. The suspects had killed the handsome cricketer on a contract given by his wife, living in the UK. Asked whether the police were in touch with British authorities, sources said that action would be taken to more..

Speaker suggests educational visit for MPs

June 7 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa suggested to Minister Champika Ranawaka, in Parliament yesterday, that he arrange a trip to the Norochcholai power plant for the MPs to increase their awareness on coal power production. The Minister accepting the proposal made by the Speaker made an open invitation to all Parliamentarians to visit the Norochcholai power plant. The Speaker made this suggestion following an exchange between UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake and the more..

UPFA divided over no faith motion against Muzammil

June 7 (Island) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) UPFA spokesman Riza Zarook said yesterday that a war of words between Roy Bogahawatte and Tony Ramzi at an unofficial discussion among Councillors, including the UNP, of the CMC, a few days back had nothing to do with the no-confidence motion that UPFA Group Leader M. H. Maharoof was planning to move against Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil. He said that Maharoof would discuss the issue at a UPFA Group meeting before the Council more..

More licences to be issued if gold finds increase: GSMB

June 7 (ST) The Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) will be issuing more licences to individuals panning for gold in the Kelani Ganga if the quantity of gold found in it increases, said Bureau Director General B.A. Peiris. The Bureau has already issued 300 licences to individuals in the Dompe Divisional Secretariat area and 150 to those on the other side of the river bank in Hanwella, at Rs. 2000 per licence. more..

Leaking pipelines and politics

June 7 (LB) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is losing a total of Rs. 4 billion a month by selling fuel below cost, according to the latest figures. Of this, Rs. 2 billion alone amounts to losses incurred in providing fuel to the Ceylon Electricity Board, authoritative sources said last week. These sources said the Treasury’s control of fuel prices continues to throw the balance sheets of the corporation into crisis. While a formula was introduced in 2002 whereby more..