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Editorial: Lanka needs religious unity in diversity

June 8 (DM) Inter-religious dialogue and an all-religions solidarity alliance for unity in diversity appear to be the most effective way out of the current socio-political and socio-economic crises where most issues and transactions have been plagued by party politics or corruption. Some weeks ago the Daily Mirror spotlighted a comprehensive proposal made by gynaecologist Dr. L.A.W. Sirisena for an on-going process of religious unity in diversity. more..

Sri Lanka stocks up 0.8-pct

June 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka stocks closed up 0.8 percent Friday boosted by selected buying in large cap companies which are beginning to trade at attractive valuations, recovering some recent losses, brokers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Index rose 40 points (0.86 percent) to 4,798.7 and the Milanka Index of liquid stocks rose 23 point (0.55 percent) to close at 4,264.7 points, according to provisional stock exchange data. Turnover was 309 million rupees. more..

'Need better tactics against pace trio'

June 8 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, has said his team's batsmen need to prepare better to take on Pakistan's pace attack. The trio of Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami and Sohail Tanvir have caused the hosts' top order problems on the tour so far; Gul and Sami shared six wickets in Pakistan's win in the first ODI in Pallekele. Sri Lanka were restricted to 135 for 8 in a rain-affected game after they had been reduced to 56 for 6 at one stage. more..

Plantation workers oppose tea factory closure

June 8 (wsws) About 850 workers at the Park Estate near the Sri Lankan central tea plantation town of Nuwara Eliya remain on strike after walking off the job on May 28 to demand the reopening of a tea estate factory. Management closed the tea processing facility in early January, claiming that a boiler needed repair. Workers fear that management wants to completely close the factory, destroy their jobs and construct a luxury hotel on the premises. more..

Lack of breast feeding results in over 21 pc being underweight

June 8 (Island) Community Physician Dr. Ms. Hiranya Jayawickrema said that 21.1 per cent of children under 5 years of age were underweight, 14.7 per cent were thin and 17.3 per cent were short. Although medical statistics showed a satisfactory trend in breast feeding children, a majority of mothers had changed to feeding their children with different kinds of food and that had led to mal-nutrition, she said. It was absolutely essential to breast feed infants for more..

Strong winds cause havoc

June 8 (Island) Gale-force winds caused havoc in the Wellawatte, Dehiwela, Ratmalana and Nawala areas yesterday morning. One person was injured while around 22 buildings, including the one housing the Police Fraud Bureau, were damaged. DMC Deputy Director Sarath Lal Kumara said that the roof of the Police Fraud Bureau building at Dharmarama Road, Wellawatte had been destroyed by the wind. "The roof of the Perakumba flats, in Wellawatte, was also damaged," more..

Chinese company gets 382 mln USD dam deal in Sri Lanka

June 8 (Xinhua) Govt has handed over the contract of a large dam project to a Chinese company, an official said here Friday. Sinohydro Corporation was given the construction of the Moragahakanda Project, which is the second largest tank ever built in Sri Lanka, according to Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. "We are grateful for the assistance given by China. In a few years we hope to become a country that will not depend on foreign loans and fund our own development," more..

TNA to go before the UNHRC

June 8 (CG) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has threatened to go before the UN Human Rights Council over allegations the military is forcefully taking over land in the north and east from civilians. TNA Jaffna District MP Apathurai Vinayagamurthi told reporters in Jaffna that the military has already taken over civilian land in the north and east. He said that the issue will not only be taken before the UN Human Rights Council but also to the international community. more..

Olympic Council President to visit SL

June 8 (NS) One of the most powerful personalities in the World’s Sporting Arena is expected to visit Sri Lanka next week. Member of Kuwaiti Roy al Family Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah will arrive in Sri Lanka in his private Jet on 13 June 2012 and will call on the President of Sri Lanka to deliberate matters of mutual interest. He is the President of Olympic council of Asia since 1991, Member of International Olympic committee since 1992 more..

Four nurses diagnosed with Swine flu

June 8 (CT) Four Nurses at the Angoda National Institute of Mental Health were diagnosed with the influenza AH1N1virus, also known as Swine flu. Director of the Angoda Mental Hospital Dr. Jayan Mendis said that none of the patients are suffering from Swine flu at the hospital and that instead four nurses were diagnosed with the AH1N1 virus. “One patient died at the hospital due to a heart attack and the media misinterpreted the cause of this death as Swine flu, which is not correct. more..

18 suspects in brothel case granted bail

June 8 (DM) Eighteen suspects including ten men and eight women, who were held in remand on charges of having operated a brothel under the guise of a night club in Colombo, were today released on bail. Defence counsels informed Colombo Fort Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne that the police had raided a karaoke club which had been operating in the area for the past 12 years. He said the police allegations that the suspects were involved in operating a brothel were totally false. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 08.06.2012

Sri Lanka industrialists forging ahead amid uncertainty

June 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's see sawing policy ranging from labour, exchange rate, taxation and interest rates are challenging manufacturers, who are also finding ways to remain competitive in the export market, officials said. "We need policy consistency from the government," said Dankotuwa Porcelain chairman Sunil Wijesinha, referring to a sharp drop in the exchange rate, higher interest rates that has chipped away earnings last year. Sri Lanka rupee fell from late 2011, more..

Sri Lanka sold gold worth USD 1,966 mn in 2011

June 8 (PTI) The Sri Lankan govt has sold gold worth USD 1,966 million in 2011 to manage its reserves, Parliament was told today. Answering a query from the opposition, Senior Minister Sarath Amunugama said 39.66 tonnes of gold were sold during 2011 to earn USD 1,966 million. The government was taking the advantage of price fluctuations of gold in the bullion market. At the end of 2011, Sri Lanka held gold worth USD 523 million or 9.98 tonnes. more..

Abuse of women migrant workers, Sri Lanka blocks 600 contracts with foreign agencies

June 8 (AN) The Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) has decided to terminate contracts with more than 600 employment agencies abroad (most of them in Saudi Arabia), to protect the rights of Sri Lankan migrants. The decision comes after incidents of abuse and discrimination against migrant workers, about 1.8 million people, 45% of whom are women. In addition, minister Dilan Perera, said it would organize training courses, more..

‘All communities should unite as Lankans for nation’s development’

June 8 (SM) Daya Gamage, opposition leader of the Eastern Provincial Council, stresses the need for the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities to unite as Sri Lankans and commit themselves to develop the country. Speaking at the monthly meeting of the EPC in Trincomalee yesterday, he said it was only the UNP which was capable of uniting all communities in that manner. The UNP is also the only party that had solved the problems of the Tamil and Muslim people and more..

Social activists to Elizabeth II: For Diamond Jubilee, save Rizana Nafeek’s life

June 8 (AN) Activists of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) are appealing for Queen Elizabeth II of England's intervention to save the life of Rizana Nafeek, the Sri Lankan domestic worker sentenced to death by beheading in Saudi Arabia. Just yesterday, the United Kingdom and several Commonwealth countries concluded the celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee, the 60th anniversary of the ascent to the throne of the monarch. more..

Shehan Karunatilaka wins 2012 Commonwealth book prize

June 8 (Guardian) Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka has won the Commonwealth book prize for his highly praised debut novel Chinaman: the Legend of Pradeep Mathew. Narrated by the alcoholic former sports journalist WG Karunasena, the novel is the story of his quest for Pradeep Mathew, a devastatingly talented Sri Lankan spin bowler who appears to have been expunged from historical record. more..

Sri Lanka to set up International Arbitration Centre in Colombo

June 8 (CT) Sri Lanka will set up an International Arbitration Centre in Colombo, Minister of Justice Rauff Hakeem said during his recent visit to the Middle East. During a meeting with President of Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ali M. Thunaian Al Ghanim, Minister Hakeem explained that steps were being taken by his ministry to set up an International Arbitration Centre in Colombo. He said that Kuwaiti business and Industry could benefit from this centre. more..

Fate of asylum seekers dicey

June 8 (CT) The fate of hundreds of bogus Lankan asylum seekers hangs in the balance with the introduction of a new immigration law in Canada. According to reports, the new immigration Bill-31 would permit to deport the bogus asylum seekers to their own countries and prevent the human traffickers targeting Canada as a suitable destination to bring the illegal immigrants, reports said. However, the Canadian MP of Lankan origin Rathika Sitsabesan from the Scarborough more..

Sanath Jayasuriya grooves to 'Tama tama loge' on 'Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa'

June 8 (Jagran) International cricket star Sanath Jayasuriya performed on a different pitch -- he took to the dance floor for forthcoming reality show "Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa" and grooved to popular track "Tama tama loge". The former Sri Lankan cricket captain was shy and, even in a 30-second sneak peek into his recently-acquired dancing skills, took a while to get used to the stage and dance style. Dressed in a white suit, more..

China makes inroads in Sri Lanka

June 8 (PTI) From developing a new trans shipment port in Sri Lanka's south to becoming its chief foreign lender, China is making deep strategic inroads in the country traditionally believed to be India's backyard. Besides investing in infrastructure products, China is also working with Sri Lanka to expand business opportunities. At an interactive session conducted by the China Business council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the island's main trade chamber, more..

Tamils stage anti-Rajapaksa protest outside of British Consulate in Toronto

June 8 (Examiner) The Heathrow airport was raucous Sunday as Eezham Tamils waited for President Mahinda Rajapaksa to arrive in London. The several hundred protesters spontaneously coalesced to urge the British government of not allowing Rajapaksa, who many allege is a war criminal, from entering the country. Rajapaksa, alongside his wife, Shiranthi, arrived the following day, however. Tamil activists told TamilNet that the Scotland Yard allegedly leaked news that more..

Pope meets with president of Sri Lanka, addresses post-war reconciliation

June 8 (RR) It was about three years ago, when roughly 100,000 civilians died during Sri Lanka's civil war. Most of them, were from the ethnic group Tamil. On Friday, Benedict XVI met with Sri Lanka's president at the Vatican. During the meeting, he asked the president to 'quickly' reach an agreement to promote reconciliation. This is the second time president Mahinda Rajapaksa has visited the Vatican, but it's his first visit after more..

Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa’s action replay in UK – Update No 220

June 9 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s key note speech at the Commonwealth Economic Forum organised by the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) and the City of London today was called off by the organisers "due to pressure of pro-LTTE elements in London" as the Sri Lanka High Commission claimed. Though the Scotland Yard was ready to provide assured security, the CBC "decided it was not in their interest to stage the event" according to media reports. more..

GL shows the Buddhist way to reconciliation

June 9 (Island) Before several thousand Buddhist monks and laymen, politicians and scholars in the ancient Thai capital Ayutthaya, External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris preached the Buddhist way to reconciliation as a means of peaceably resolving long standing and festering conflicts. Prof Peiris was an international guest speaker at the opening of the UN International Day of Vesak which attracted Buddhists from round the world to one of Thailand’s great Buddhist universities, Mahachulalongkornraja vidyalaya, more..

Well-meaning move pounced upon

June 9 (Island) MP Wijedasa Rajapakshe’s motion to prevent priests from seeking parliamentary seats has already been pounced upon by some sections imputing various motives to his action. The opponents have said it is a move calculated to thwart the forward movement of the Buddhist and nationalist revival that has been initiated, while those supporting the move hail it as an appropriate step to preserve the dignity of priests of all religions. more..

Responding to comments whether the End of the War should be Celebrated or Mourned

June 9 (GV) Given the comments to the article I wrote on 19th May, I felt it was better to respond to them substantially. The first question point I raise is still debatable – and clearly demonstrates the polarization in the North and South of the country. Whether the end of the war should be celebrated or mourned, if so in what way? In the past, I had used the example of a funeral and a party happening at the same time in one house of a group claiming to be one family more..

Who’s afraid of exotic species, gene pirates and govt babus?

June 9 (GV) In this second part of a long interview, South Asia’s first systems ecologist Dr Ranil Senanayake shares his views on many facets of biological diversity. He looks at the challenges involved in in-situ and ex-situ conservation of plant and animal species on our already crowded and slowly warming planet. He takes stock of the Convention on Biological Diversity, adopted by govts of the world in 1992, and laments the narrow vision of old school foresters more..

The final stand

June 9 (CT) Nearly 30 years long, the war without witness ended up being fought and won on a small length of beautiful beach, in Mullaitivu surrounded by Sri Lankan armed forces and it is here in the May of 2009 that the world’s most feared terrorists, the LTTE made their last stand. The LTTE, called terrorists by some, freedom fighters by others, an opinion that is subjective really, were now cornered from all sides. At this point, more..

Oh Those Gratiaens!

June 9 (SL) Everybody looked as if they were something out of Jurassic Park. It was probably the eerie blue lighting. As I perched myself on a chair I whispered softly to my companion on my right that she looked good. She actually did. Despite the awful lighting – perhaps because she had wisely chosen white for her attire and plenty of makeup as she herself hissed back. Unlike me – who looked like the French flag – waving under terrible blue lighting. The Gratiaen Prize, which was instituted by Michael Ondaatje in 1992 more..

Rajapakse besieged in London, after Gota denies Tamil region

June 9 (CT) On the eve of the Presidents visit to the UK to attend the Queens Diamond Jubilee, Gotabaya in his usual finger wagging style told the BBC that the north cannot be recognised as a “Tamil” region. In the run up to the first Presidential election, Mahinda Rajapakse told his Sinhala Buddhist electorate that he is from the “south”. Was he not indicating that he was from the Deep South, which is hard line Sinhalese? By denying that the North is a Tamil region, more..

Sri Lanka’s success story on rehabilitation

June 9 (SO) Sri Lanka’s success in rehabilitating former terrorists would make it the best model for other countries which face similar conflicts and also in the rehabilitation of ex-cadre, said the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, Brigadier Darshana Hettiarachchi. He said “Nearly 11,000 ex-tigers are back with their families and living peacefully. Only a handful of incidents, where ex-LTTE cadre had been involved, were reported from more..

Editorial: Failures, politics and education

June 9 (Island) An education minister in one of India's poorest states, angered by his two children's failure at examinations for the second consecutive year, is out for the state examination chief's scalp, The Daily Telegraph reports. With the head of the examinations board determined to stand her ground without yielding to political pressure, a showdown is likely, we are told. The Indian minister––Baijnath Ram is his name-––has blown a gasket unnecessarily. Some students who fail examinations, more..

UK - The Mother of all Muzzling?

June 9 (Island) The hangers-on of the Eelam Tigers were there as expected; and so was Freedom there to be trod upon. Some of the Freedoms of Democracy were to used, manipulated, and directed to the destruction of the same freedoms that empower there users. That is what happened in London last Wednesday, as the British were winding up their Regal Bash to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. There is hardly a cause for surprise at what took place near Mansion House that day, and from earlier near the Hilton Plaza Hotel. more..

Indifference and intolerance in a disabling-state

June 9 (SL) Will the corrosive Rajapaksa ethos prove to be a far more abiding yoke than even Rajapaksa rule? Will Rajapaksa politico-administrative mores become transformed into governance-traditions, and thereby survive the eventual fall of the Rajapaksa regime? Though partisan-politicisation of state entities began well before Rajapaksa Rule, the Lankan state always had key-niches which were immune to this malaise. more..

Needed: A new Constitution with a focus on unity amidst diversity

June 9 (Island) Last week-end, the British people celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of their Queen’s accession to the throne. Sixty years is a long reign for any monarch but what is remarkable is that Queen Elizabeth has throughout the period retained the loyalty and affection of all her subjects, irrespective of any differences. There still are a few anti-monarchists in the United Kingdom, but by and large, there has been near-unanimity in viewing the reign of Queen more..

SLIM goes to the Maldives

June 8 (Island) Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) has broken new ground by initiating educational programmes in the Maldives. This is the first time that SLIM is venturing out of Sri Lanka with its total product portfolio. SLIM recently signed a MOU with Focus Education Center –a leading education provider in the Maldives. Commenting on this breakthrough, SLIM President Tilan Wijeyesekera said that SLIM lives up to its values of daring to be different and has taken a bold step in going beyond the boundaries of Sri Lanka. more..

Mega ‘India Show’ in August 2012 to boost bilateral trade with Sri Lanka

June 8 (FT) An exclusive ‘India Show’ is planned for August in Colombo to boost bilateral trade with Sri Lanka. The High Commission of India organised an India-Sri Lanka Business Forum at the Taj Samudra recently to discuss the possibilities of enhancing trade and economic relations between India and Sri Lanka and informing the participants about the ‘India Show’ planned for August 2012. more..

EFC urges the ILO to be more stakeholder-focused

June 8 (FT) Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Director General Ravi Peiris has urged the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to be more stakeholder-focused to achieve a win-win situation amidst global challenges. In his address to the 101st International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva yesterday, Peiris also expressed his gladness that the ILC 2012 was giving due recognition to Freedom and Association and Collective Bargaining, two fundamental standards that more..