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Moving out of the maze

June 11 (GV) The ubiquity of the Tiger flags was the most dramatic aspect of the demonstrations in London during the President’s visit for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Diaspora Tigers were not a result of a vacuum in Sri Lanka’s post-war policies. Several times the recent number demonstrated in 2009, blocking access to the Mother of Parliaments in the last weeks of the war. A slightly stylised version of the Tiger flag, hardly distinguishable from the original and more..

A friend indeed for 180 years

June 11 (ST) Lahiru Karunapala, a 19-year-old from Ratnapura was born with a deformed leg. He received his first artificial limb in 2000 and would stay at the residential hostel for two weeks while it was fitted. Thereafter, he had a new limb fitted every year. Helped with an educational grant, this bright young man has obtained 3 A’s in the Advanced Level examination and is now waiting to enter the Peradeniya Medical Faculty. more..

Expatriate Tamils and the dimensions of culpability

June 11 (CT) Imagine the LTTE, which few would describe as anything other than a terrorist organization, running around in the jungles of the Vanni, occasionally blowing up a bus or carrying out a suicide attack inColombo. Imagine the LTTE ambushing the occasional Army patrol, stealing uniforms, guns and ammunition. Imagine also a Tamil population of expatriates made of people who had the wisdom to see that something that begins in Vadukkoddai with a nod to armed more..

Surely, the Queen’s govt can do better than this?

June 11 (CT) Navi Pillai, the UN Human Rights Commissioner may be an example – to take a best case scenario – of someone who is an idealist of sorts, now in the business of being an international civil servant. After all, Sri Lanka voted for Navi Pillai’s next term as the UN Human Rights Commissioner. But now we find that the Sri Lankan ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Tamara Kunanayakam, has faulted Pillai for being partisan, and exceeding her mandate in more..

Tiger chief’s romantic days of guns and roses

June 11 (NS) Most Tamils have been brought up in the shadow of civic-minded parents who have taught them the importance of respect, social order and hierarchy. However, Jaffna, the center of Tamil culture in Sri Lanka, despite its veneer of harmony and opportunity for all, was in the not-too-distant past deeply divided by caste lines. Naturally, readers of my vintage will remember the many iniquities enacted in the more..

Speaker draws the line as MPs fail to heed

June 11 (ST) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa got tough in Parliament last week, once threatening to remove from the Chamber, two UNP legislators for defying orders from the Chair, and secondly, saying he would have to summon Secretary- Ministry of Finance and Planning, P.B. Jayasundera to the House, if questions directed at his Ministry, by Opposition legislators, go unanswered for a long period of time. The two UNP MPs who angered the Speaker were Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella, more..

Trade deficit could surpass last year's record

June 11 (ST) Once again the country is heading for a balance of payments crisis. The trade gap of nearly US$ 2.6 billion in the first three months of this year foreshadows a huge deficit surpassing last year's massive deficit of US$ 10 billion. Import expenditure has continued to increase by 17 per cent owing to significant increases in intermediate and investment goods imports. At the same time, there has been a decrease in both industrial and agricultural exports. Export earnings have declined by 1.4 per cent more..

Sampanthan’s speech: Intentions, interpretations and implications

June 11 (Island) Whether he intended it or not, TNA leader R. Sampanthan’s speech in Batticaloa two weeks ago has stirred up a hornet’s nest. The occasion was the 14th National Convention of the ITAK, once known in English as the (Tamil) Federal Party. The speech became the subject, and the object, of interpretation in the editorials and commentaries from last Sunday onward. Their burden is Sampanthan’s mysterious allusion more..

Pitiable Deaths at Railway Crossings and…

June 11 (Island) Now that bombs and suicide bombers are no more, vehicles and unprotected rail crossings have taken over to keep the death toll rolling. You can blame the drivers of vehicles for road accidents but the blame lies fair and square on the Ceylon Govt Railway, or Sri Lanka Railway as it has been reborn, for the several recent deaths caused by trains ploughing into vehicles, many of them three wheelers. The accidents were caused due to the absence of gates that more..

Land-grabbing killer torches two sisters

June 11 (SO) Kahawatta has gained notoriety in recent times following the killing of ten women during the past two years. The motive behind most of the killings appears to be the desire to grab property. However, the only exception was the killing of a mother and her daughter three months ago at Kotakethana, Divulgala. In that instance a drug dealer had allegedly killed them for fear of exposure. The suspect involved in the murder was the brother of a Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councillor. more..

Smile the gun thugs couldn't take away

June 11 (DM) Fifteen months ago, she was fighting for life on the floor of her uncle’s shop. Thusha Kamaleswaran was bleeding from a gunshot wound, the victim of a terrifying drug war that would leave her paralysed from the waist down. Her devastated parents were told she was unlikely to walk again. But the one thing a gangster’s bullet couldn’t take from the innocent schoolgirl was her smile. It was on show for more than four hours this week when more..

Human smugglers denied bail

June 11 (CT) Seven human smugglers were denied bail on Friday by Colombo Chief Magistrate Rashmi Singappuli after they were apprehended for attempting to send 112 individuals illegally to Australia by vessel. The Magistrate further permitted the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) to obtain the bank statements of the seven suspects in order to conduct further investigations regarding the incident. The order was made after the CCD informed Court that the suspects had more..

Editorial: Drugs policy

June 11 (Island) Tamil Nadu is on the boil once again. However, this time around, it is not over Sri Lanka. Politicians of Dravidian parties regardless of their partisan interests have, in a show of unity, joined forces to take up the cudgels against the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for printing in one of its textbooks a cartoon by R.K. Laxman lampooning a spate of student agitations against the imposition of Hindi as the state language on non-Hindi speaking states in 1965. more..

Shivanthi, Madusanka create history with golds in 400 metres

June 11 (Island) St. Joseph’s Balika, Kegalle athlete Shivanthi Kumari Rathnayake and Pasyala Central College runner Dulaj Madusanka created a piece of history on Sunday when they won country’s first ever 400 metres golds in the women’s and men’s categories respectively, in an Asian Junior Athletics Championship, as Sri Lanka commenced its medal hunt in the 15th edition of the championship, now in progress at more..

Lankan housemaids in demand - Wimal

June 11 (DN) Sri Lankan housemaids are in demand in foreign countries. The housemaids have earned a good name for themselves, especially among employers in the Middle East, due to their compassion and hard work which they have derived from the free education and Buddhist culture, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said. The minister was addressing a ceremony where pre-school equipment were distributed among pre-schools in Hokandara. The minister was addressing a more..

Severe drought forecast in coming months

June 11 (DN) Low rainfall could lead to a severe drought in certain parts of the country in the coming months, Meteorology Department Director General S H Kariyawasam said yesterday. He said the onset of the South West monsoon did not bring much rain to the country. Kariyawasam said the possibilities of heavy rains in the coming months too are very low. He said it is during the beginning of the monsoon that heavy rains are usually experienced. Kariyawasam said the more..

UNP explains the Bill they prepared on behalf of Gen. Fonseka

June 11 (Island) The UNP yesterday explained the circumstances that had led them to prepare a Bill to present to parliament to obtain a full pardon for Gen. Sarath Fonseka along with restoration of all his rights and privileges. In a statement issued in this regard the Chief Opposition Whip and Acting Opposition Leader John Amaratunga also explains the circumstances that led them not to present to Bill at a request of Gen. Fonseka. more..

Country needs workers not pen pushers - Amunugama

June 11 (Island) The need of the hour in public service was efficient workers and not clerks who all the time wrote letters, observed the senior Minister for international monetary cooperation Dr. Sarath Amunugama at the distribution of furniture to dhamma Schools in Hataraliyadda Divisional Secretariat division on Saturday. Dr. Amunugama noted that all information in public service was at present documented in the computer as a result there was comparatively more..

New Bill aimed at privatising Ayurvedic Research Institute – JVP

June 11 (Island) The JVP affiliated All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) General Secretary Gamini Kumarasinghe yesterday accused the Minister Salinda Dissanayaka of seeking the Cabinet approval to convert the Bandaranaike Memorial Ayurvedic Research Institute (BMARI) Nawinna into an independent institute. Dissanayake said the govt-owned Research Institute on indigenous medicine would be administered by foreign drug manufacturing companies more..

Snap election this year ruled out

June 11 (CT) Elections commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday ruled out the possibility of a snap election this year. He said according to the elections department’s calendar there is no provision for legal elections in the country this year. He also said he was not aware of rumours of the govt’s attempts to dissolve three provincial councils prematurely. “The govt has not informed us about any Provincial Council elections. I have only read in the newspapers about such a move. more..

Perera has potential to be Sri Lanka Test regular - Ford

June 11 (CI) Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford has said allrounder Thisara Perera could establish himself in the Test side, if he can replicate the bowling form he showed in Saturday's ODI against Pakistan with more consistency. "With the talent he has got and the way he bowled [on Saturday], there's no doubt he can be a regular Test player," Ford said. "His work ethic is good and he knows the areas he has to improve on. I am sure, with the many years he has got ahead of him, more..

5 Sri Lankan fishermen held

June 11 (Hindu) Five Sri Lankan fishermen were apprehended by Indian Coast Guard (ICG) here on Sunday morning. Their fishing boat was seized on the charge of illegal fishing in the Indian waters and violating the Indian Maritime Boundary Line. A statement from the local office of the ICG said personnel on Coast Guard ship Veera engaged in routine patrol sighted the Sri Lankan fishing boat, ‘Saloman – II', with the five fishermen trespassing into the Indian Ocean at 45 nautical miles South East off Manapad lighthouse. more..

UN rights body wants access to civilians

June 11 (CT) The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is planning to hold discussions with civilians who testified before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, External Affairs Ministry sources said. Sources added that the discussions might be conducted through third party human rights bodies active in Sri Lanka, if a formal request were to be denied by the Sri Lankan govt. more..

Sri Lanka, Vietnam in move to boost tourism

June 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka and Vietnam are planning to boost tourism between the two countries following a visit by Vietnamese travel firms to Colombo which will be followed by a familiarization tour by Sri Lankan travel agents. "We would like to promote two-way flows tourism, both to Sri Lanka and to Vietnam," Hanoi's envoy to Colombo Ton Sinh Thanh told a gathering of travel agents. "We know that Sri Lanka is a very beautiful country. It is worth for Vietnamese tourists to come here." more..

Sri Lanks's FTAs with India and Pakistan offer access to giant markets

June 11 (BP) Thailand- or Asean-based companies looking to enter the lucrative Indian and Pakistani markets are being encouraged to set up operations in Sri Lanka to make use of the favourable free trade agreements it has with the two countries. "Sri Lanka is well poised to be a safe and sound investment destination," President Mahinda Rajapaksa told a gathering of business leaders during his official visit to Thailand last week. more..

As Felix offers booze, Sira extends rehab

June 11 (Island) In the wake of Social Service Minister Felix Perera proposing to set up a tavern in every village, Health Minister Mathripala wants to establish a rehab center in each village. Addressing a gathering at Welikanda Havenpitiya Tamil Maha Vidyalaya on Saturday, the Minister said the move to set up rehabilitation centres for drug, alcohol, tobacco and substance abusers would commence next month. more..

CMC threatens to halt concert by Indian singer

June 11 (Island) The Colombo Municipal Council is threatening to halt a planned concert by top Indian play-back singer Udith Narayan scheduled to be held at CR and FC grounds next Saturday. Sources of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) told The Island that the event organised by Balcony Six Entertainment had not been approved by the CMC and if taxes were not paid before the event, the council had the power to cancel it. more..

DIMO to invest Rs. 5 b more to boost biz

June 11 (FT) Diesel and Motor Engineering Plc (DIMO) has announced plans to invest Rs. 5 billion over the next three years despite a tough environment to further bolster its business which enjoyed a windfall. “We are targeting investments totalling Rs. 5 billion over the three years ending 2013/14,” DIMO Chairman Ranjith Pandithage revealed in the company’s 2012 Annual Report released last week. Giving a sneak preview of some of the major long term investments, more..

Talks fail, university strike continues

June 11 (Island) The strike launched by the university non academic staff demanding rectification of their salary anomalies enters its sixth day today as the latest discussion with the Labour Commissioner and University Grants Commission (UGC) officials failed on Saturday. Media spokesman of the University Trade Union Joint Committee Wijayathilake Jayasinghe said that the next discussion with the Labour Commissioner would be held tomorrow. more..

NFF demands apology from Sampanthan

June 11 (CT) The National Freedom Front (NFF) has demanded an apology from TNA leader R. Sampanthan over his remarks during the ITAK convention. Describing Sampanthan’s remarks as ‘treacherous’ the NFF has said the parliamentarian owes the country an explanation. NFF Secretary Priyanjith Vitharana has accused R. Sampanthan in a press release saying Sampanthan has called the 30 year war waged by the LTTE a freedom struggle and has dismissed the concept of a unitary nation. more..

Ma Xiaotian holds talks with Sri Lanka army commander

June 11 (PLA) Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), held talks with Jayasuriya, the visiting commander of the Sri Lanka Army, on the morning of June 7, 2012 in Beijing. Ma Xiaotian said China and Sri Lanka have a time-honored history of traditional friendly relations. In recent years, the relations between the two militaries have been developing constantly, and the two sides have conducted good cooperation in such fields as more..

Govt. domestic borrowings grow despite CB warnings

June 11 (Island) While Sri Lanka is trying its best to move out of a balance of payments crisis brought upon by higher than expected credit growth last year, loans continued to surge during the first four months of this year with loans to the govt from the Monetary Authority, or Central Bank, increasing 33 percent year-to-date and 257.3 percent year-on-year as at end April 2012, data released by the Central Bank showed. more..

New domestic worker recruitment rule postponed

June 11 (SL) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) has postponed the implementation of a new rule that calls for foreign employers to make a deposit of US$ 1,000 when recruiting Sri Lankan domestic workers. SLBFE Chairperson, Amal Senalankadhikara said that those regulations were being introduced so that in the event of a worker wishing to be repatriated before their contracts were over, they could use this money to return without delay. more..

15-year-old held for burning baby’s face

June 11 (Island) The police have arrested a 15-year-old boy for allegedly burning the face of a two-and-half year old girl with a butt of a beedi at Rathkinda in the Giradurukotte police area late last week. The suspect told the police that he had decided to hurt the girl as her mother scolded her. The police quoted the teen as having said: "There is no one to look after me as I don’t have parents. I have been denied an opportunity to go to school." The police said that the suspect had used to smoke beedi, though not being a regular smoker. more..

Two-year ban on players who refuse Sri Lanka Cricket contracts

June 11 (IC) Sri Lanka's sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that his ministry will impose a ban on athletes who do not sign contracts with national sport bodies. The minister referred to Lasith Malinga as the reason for this new policy. "I am a great follower of fast bowler Lasith Malinga but that does not mean that I condone all his actions," Aluthgamage told Sri Lanka's Sunday Times newspaper. more..

The readers' editor on… an unhappy clash of editorial and commercial content

June 11 (Guardian) Sri Lanka's civil war, in which tens of thousands of people were killed over a period of 26 years, ended just three years ago. Since then Sri Lanka has been fending off allegations of human rights abuses against its Tamil population to restore its image around the world. Both faces of the country were on show on the same day in the Guardian in what many readers thought was at best more..

Can the Govt ‘ban’ its way out of student agitation?

June 11 (LB) Despite many attempts, including those by Minister Wimal Weerawansa - a former JVPer enjoying demigod status when I was a university student - to form an alternative to the leftist IUSF in 2010 and the ‘leadership training’ programme to weaken the student movement, universities and all that they entail continue to be a thorn in the establishment’s side, obstructing several what they allege are ‘neo liberal’ more..

The stock market, A miracle!

June 11 (SL) One of the hallmarks of our country, referred to in some circles as the Miracle of Asia, is the ease with which it carries extreme and contradictory situations within its fold. One day the sun is shining and the lucky souls living inside the miracle are heady with optimism. Crackers are lit, garlands placed around opulent necks, speeches are made and all is well under the sun. The next day it is pouring, the roads are under water, roofs are leaking, more..

'SLMC is the kingmaker in the East'

June 11 (Island) SLMC leader and Justice Minister, Rauf Hakeem, during a three-day fact-finding mission in the Trincomalee District declared that his party would be the deciding factor at the forthcoming Eastern Provincial Council polls. A confident Hakeem emphasised that the outcome of the Eastern polls would primarily depend on the SLMC move regardless of what was being said by various political parties about the impending Eastern polls. more..

Sri Lanka energy utility circular debt up

June 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has run debts of 65 billion rupees with other state entities by May 31 and talks are on to clear them with a Treasury bond, a minister has said. Petroleum minister Susil Premjayantha has told parliament furnace oil is still being sold to state-run Ceylon Electricity Board at a loss 37 rupees a litre. In the first quarter of 2012 CPC has been given a 62 billion rupee bond which is equal to about half a percent of GDP more..