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Govt. blames Scotland Yard for lapse

June 14 (DM) While commending the British govt for the warm reception and facilities provided to President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his stay in London to participate in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth 11, the govt today accused the Scotland Yard of failing to prevent the protest against President Rajapaksa by a section of the Tamil Diaspora. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella charged that the ‘Scotland Yard’ was a mere spectator more..

Ponnambalam rips apart centuries of communal harmony

June 15 (LB) The battle lines of coming events in the north and the south were drawn clearly in the thirties. By mid-thirties Ponnambalam had emerged as the leading figure of Tamil communalism in the north. It was Bandaranaike who led the counter-movement against Ponnambalam in the south in the latter half of the thirties. These two key actors in the political arena crossed swords publicly over the provocative hate speech of Ponnambalam targeting the Sinhalese at Nawalapitiya. more..

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

June 15 (LB) 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..

Tamils lured with promise of citizenship

June 15 (SMH) An international people-smuggling network is preying on Tamil refugees in southern India, promising them safe passage across the Indian Ocean and guaranteeing them Australian citizenship when they arrive. But boats have already been lost. Refugee advocates say at least two boats, carrying up to 50 people, disappeared off the Indian south coast late last year. The past six months has seen a spike in the number of boats leaving Sri Lanka more..

Peradeniya Arts Festival and the Art of Slumbering

June 15 (LB) For those savvy with the university literary scene the theme/title Maage Dheshaya Avadhi Karanu Maena (Awaken my Nation from Slumber) is not merely a line from an Amaradeva song: it is the heading of what for many decades has been a prime literary-cultural festival organized by the Students’ Union of the University of Peradeniya. In its heyday this magnanimous event would spread across a week, with parallel events incorporating the public and schools more..

GoSL’s complicity in shocking abduction during CFA

June 15 (Island) Sivasubramanium Varadanthan aka ‘Colonel’ Paduman (49) is perhaps one of the few senior LTTE commanders to survive the final phase of the conflict in May 2009 on the Vanni east front. The LTTE called the Indian trained combatant ‘Papa November’, a merciless battle-field tactician, who had fought both in Trincomalee and in the North and was responsible for a spate of successful attacks against Sri Lankan and Indian forces. Paduman surrendered on May 15, 2009, more..

‘We want to build the image of the whole of Sri Lanka’

June 15 (DBS) Basil Rajapaksa, younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is the current Cabinet Minister of Economic Development. He has been part of the political landscape of Sri Lanka since the 1970s, and is a meticulous planner, brilliant strategist and strong negotiator, having played a leading role in achieving political stability in the country following the end of the conflict. Q: What is your assessment of more..

Foreign policy challenges: Diplomatic honeymoons or unbridled engagements?

June 15 (DBS) A widely held belief among the populace is that the discourse on foreign policyremains the sole prerogative of those in the highest echelons of political power – that is, until presented with a statement by the likes of well-known American political activist, Ron Silver, who declared: ‘I can’t talk about foreign policy like anyone who’s spent their life reading and learning foreign policy. But as a citizen in a democracy, it’s very important that more..

Carlton Tournament and ITAK Convention: Two contrasting insights

June 15 (DBS) Two contrasting insights into reconciliation were on display in the last ten days – one in the field of sports and the other in the field of politics. The former relates to the Carlton Super Seven Rugby Tournament and the latter to the ITAK or Federal Party convention in Batticaloa. The significance of the latter is of course beyond dispute given that it was the party convention of the major party in the TNA and the speech made by its leader R.Sampanthan has more..

‘Sri Lanka is now emerging as a middle income nation’

June 15 (DBS) Interview With President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Q: What is your assessment of the country’s current stage of development? A: I am convinced that Sri Lanka can attain a much higher stage of development than we are currently at. Unfortunately, we lagged behind for over 30 years as a result of a debilitating war that sapped the energies of our nation and the will of our people. However, we, as a people, have the ability more..

Are govt directors personally liable for HDL debts of around Rs. 7 b?

June 15 (CT) Public interest activist Nihal Sri Ameresekere has filed papers in the District Court of Colombo asserting that the Govt Directors of HDL, who managed and controlled HDL had breached mandatory provisions of the Companies Act No. 7 of 2007, and that as a consequence they are personally liable for the debts of HDL, which are in excess of its assets. The Companies Act mandates the winding-up of a company, where the liabilities exposed the assets. more..

Editorial: Johnny's war

June 15 (Island) On seeing what is happening in this country one may wonder whether the law really is an ass. Buses and trains are free to carry more than twice their capacity thus exposing hundreds of thousands of commuters to danger day in day out, but passengers and drivers in other vehicles are fined for not wearing seat belts! Asininity is also a hallmark of all govt regulations and policies. The Education Minister wants the number of students in classes at public schools limited to 42 each but at some private tuition centres more..

Boston Lanka News: June 14, 2012

Policy reversals hit businesses after two years of rising profits

June 15 (Island) After two good years of increasing profits, Sri Lankan businesses were hit by escalating costs as a result of sudden macroeconomic policy changes, which could have been mitigated had the govt taken heed of warnings of a looming balance of payments crisis since June 2011. "Sri Lankan businesses were challenged by the shifts in macroeconomic variables that took place within the (2011/12 financial) year under review. The significant devaluation of the currency, more..

Anuradha suspects someone wanted to stop her Olympics bid

June 15 (Island) National archery champion Anuradha Karunaratne said that she suspected that there had been an foul attempt by someone within the archery fraternity to stop her from going to the Olympic qualifying archery championship in Ogden USA. "I very much suspect that there is someone in the archery arena who doesn’t want to see me going to this championship," Karunaratne said in a telephone interview minutes before her departure to Ogden on Wednesday. more..

'It’s a US $ 300 million project'

June 15 (Island) Emerging port city of Hambantota was announced as the host city of the Asian Youth Games 2017 by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah, the president of the Asian Olympics Council (AOC) and the Association of the National Olympics Committees (ANOC) at a function held at the Olympics House here in Colombo. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah cited the support pledged by the President Rajapaksa for the event had a bearing on granting the Asian Youth Games to Hambantota. more..

East coast threatened by coral-eating star fish

June 15 (ST) As the world celebrated World Oceans Day on June 8, environmentalists here are concerned about a rapidly growing coral-eating startfish, in the East coast. Marine naturalist Prasanna Weerakkody issued this warning after spotting an increased population of the Crown of Thorn Starfish (COT) in certain areas of the Coral Reef in Pigeion Island, in Trincomalee. The COT is a large sea starfish that lives and preys on live coral, destroying them in the process. more..

Policy too severe? PB says monetary policy easing may be needed

June 15 (Island) Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera is probably feeling recent measures to contain a balance of payments problem are too severe. "Sri Lanka may need to consider easing monetary policy, if, trade data for May and June point to significant weakness in global demand for the island’s goods," Treasury Secretary said on Thursday. "A further export slowdown would put additional pressure on the economy as domestic demand has already shown signs of cooling more..

First clear yourself, says Govt. to SF

June 15 (DM) Govt spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said that the former army commander Sarath Fonseka should clear himself first before pointing fingers at the govt. “The fact of the matter is that he should clear himself before he makes allegations against the govt or somebody else. The fact still remains that his son- in-law is a wanted man and is absconding. He should accept that and bring him before justice and clear himself if he is so keen about anti-corruption,” more..

SF rules out clinging on to elephant’s tail

June 15 (Island) There was no question of clinging on to the elephant’s tail to capture power, the ex-Army chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka said yesterday. Addressing a news conference, he said that his goal was to forge a common opposition front to oust the Rajapaksa regime. "We will not hang on to the elephant’s tail to go to heaven." Asked who the leader of the proposed opposition front would be, Gen. Fonseka said that it was something the people would have to decide on. "I am already the leader of a political party. more..

Ten Cricket pads up for India-Sri Lanka series

June 15 (BL) Ten Cricket is gearing up for the upcoming India-Sri Lanka cricket series that is slated to begin from July 22. The company has already roped in handset maker Micromax as the title sponsor and the series will be called the Micromax Cup. The other key on-ground sponsor is Royal Stag cricket gear. For the on-air sponsorships, the company has roped in PC maker Lenovo and liquor brand Seagram. The channel has both the on-ground and the on-air more..

No Indians in Sri Lanka Premier League

June 15 (TOI) The Indian cricket board (BCCI) has once again 'rejected' Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) appeal to let Indian stars play in the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL), tentatively scheduled to be held in August. The BCCI feels that if it allows the players to play in the SLPL, it will have to let them appear in T20 leagues organized by other Test-playing nations. Besides, the Indian team has a cramped itinerary in the coming months more..

Wanted: A tusker with a flat spine

June 15 (TOI) Ever heard of an elephant with a flat spine? The authorities of a famous Buddha temple in Sri Lanka are looking for one. Recently the Sri Lankan govt had forwarded an application to the Indian govt asking if they could get young male tuskers from Kerala with a flat spine to carry the ceremonial casket containing the 'sacred relic' of the island nation's famous Buddhist Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic at Kandy. The Sri Lankan govt believes that the two elephants, more..

Pakistan HC attack suspects indicted

June 15 (DM) Three men were indicted before the Colombo High Court for attempting on the life of Pakistan High Commissioner and committing the death of seven others at Colpetty on 2006. Senior State Counsel Riaz Bary appearing for the Attorney General served the indictments on the accused Yogarajah Nirodhan alias Star, Subramanium Subendraraja alias Karan and Kanagaratnam Aditian alias Giri alias Ranjan on 25 counts. The accused were committed for conspiring, aiding and abetting with each other more..

Canada helps thwart another Sri Lankan smuggling operation

June 15 (PMN) The federal government has apparently helped stop another group of Sri Lankan migrants from seeking asylum illegally in Canada. About 148 Sri Lankan men, women and children were returned to their homeland Thursday after arriving in Benin. It's believed the group was planning to come to Canada and were shaken down by human smugglers while transiting through the West African nation. more..

Discussions between JVP & All India Forward Bloc

June 15 (LT) A special discussion between a team of representatives of the JVP and that of All India Forward Bloc was held at the JVP office at Pelawatta today (14). MP Vijitha Herath and the Member of the Central Committee of the JVP Ramalingam Chandrasekar had represented the JVP while MP Dr. Barun Mukerjee, Member of Tamil Nadu State P.V. Kadiravan and the General Secretary of the Indian party G. Devarajan represented All India Forward Bloc. more..

Health workers want govt. to act in democratic manner

June 15 (Island) The Graduate Association of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (GAPSM) urges the govt to deal with the health sector trade unions democratically. President of the Association Ravi Kumudesh said yesterday that several key trade union figures had been targeted by the govt in the recent past showing that it was deviating from the democratic path. He said that even the restraining orders obtained by patients as well as the claim made by the Health Minister, more..

Harsha pitches for individual freedom, but there are skeptics

June 15 (Island) UNP Economic spokesman Dr. Harsha De Silva MP yesterday pushed for individual freedom in an ‘appropriately regulated market economy’ saying the masses were the losers when the govt tried to dictate terms to markets. "The UNP having introduced the market economy to Sri Lanka, has continued to appeal for just and equitable economic policies that provide economic freedom to people to work hard more..

US$ 400 m India-SL energy transaction in the pipeline

June 15 (FT) A 400kv electricity integration project between Sri Lanka and India at an approximate investment of US$ 400 million is now at the final stage of discussion and is expected to commence work in the near future. To be financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the project will transmit electricity between Madurai and Anuradhapura and has been on the drawing board for a number of years. Nepal Electricity Authority Director of Power Trade Department more..

UNPers allowed to proceed with case against police

June 15 (Island)The Supreme Court yesterday granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights violation application against the police, filed by two UNP MPs. The petitioners, Dr. Jayalath Jayewardene and Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, have complained that the police attacked a joint Opposition rally, held near the Fort Railway station. The police fired tear gas on the peaceful rally, which was demonstrating against the rising cost of living the petition said adding more..

'Sri Lanka, US trade, investment can grow'

June 15 (LBO) Trade and investment between Sri Lanka and the United States can grow after the end of 30-year war, as peace brought new opportunities US Trade Representative to South Asia Micheal Delaney said. The US was already the biggest buyer of Sri Lankan goods to the tune of 2.1 billion US dollars while Sri Lanka had bought over 300 million dollars of goods, he said. "The golden age of our economic relationship is right now," he said. more..

Two sex workers arrested over Maldivian’s death

June 15 (Island) The Slave Island police have arrested two Sri Lankan sex workers in connection with the death of a Maldivian national, whose body was found at Hilton Residencies, yesterday morning. Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said that the victim had rented a room at the hotel for a few days. On the day in question, he had been drinking till the wee hours of the following day with seven other Maldivians, two Sri Lankan women and a Russian sex worker. more..

CA calls for copy of President’s order to release Fonseka

June 15 (FT) The Court of Appeal yesterday called for the copy of the order by the President granting pardon to former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka enabling his release. The Bench comprising Justices W.L. Ranjith Silva, A.W.A. Salam and Upaly Abeyrathne directed the Registrar of the Court to send letters to the Secretary to the Justice Ministry as well as the Secretary to the President asking for the copy of the said order. Court called for the copy of the said order upon the more..

President on two-day official visit to Cuba

June 15 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will pay an official visit to Cuba today and tomorrow. An MoU will be signed between Sri Lanka and Cuba during the President’s visit, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said it will be signed between the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies of Sri Lanka and Raul Roa Garcia Institute of International Relations of Cuba. more..

Govt. hospitals packed with dengue patients

June 15 (Island) A senior Health Ministry official yesterday said that all hospitals in the island were full of dengue patients and the disease had reached epidemic proportions. "About 200 dengue patients are admitted to govt hospitals," he said. During the last five months, 14,500 dengue cases had been reported and two of them had died, he said, adding that the Health Ministry had directed schools, govt institutions and the public to destroy all potential dengue breeding grounds. more..

No revision in oil prices

June 15 (DN) The prices of oil could not be revised overnight despite short term fluctuations in price levels in the world market, Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said Sri Lanka follows a methodology of analyzing oil prices periodically and deciding the local prices unlike certain developed Western nations which decide the prices on an hourly basis. He said the govt has to study the prices quarterly or once in six months and decide on the average prices. more..

I’m ready to go back to jail - SF

June 15 (Island) Former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka yesterday said that he was prepared to go back to prison, if that was the price that had to be paid to topple the corrupt and dictatorial Mahinda Rajapaksa govt. Addressing the first press conference since his release from jail on May 21, Fonseka told the local and foreign media at the Taj Samudra in Colombo, that he would not join the Rajapaksa regime, as speculated, since it included more..

Bus goes down precipice injuring 38 children

June 15 (Island) Thirty eight schoolchildren were admitted to the Kegalle hospital after the private bus they were travelling in collided with a car and went down a precipice in Endurapotha yesterday morning. Two of the children had suffered serious injuries, the police said. The bus was travelling from Polgahawela to Devalegama. The driver of the bus also suffered injuries and was admitted to the same hospital. The bus, while falling down the nearly 100-foot precipice had more..

Over 19,000 arrested in Sri Lanka for drug offences

June 15 (PTI) Over 19,000 people have been arrested in Sri Lanka so far this year for drug-related offences, the police narcotics bureau said today. The 19,057 offenders were in possession of over 12 kilos of heroin, over 51,000 kilos of cannabis, 4 kilos of cocaine, one gram of opium and 280 mgs of hashish. Under Sri Lankan law, anyone possessing more than 2 grams of heroin is liable to be sentenced to death.

Prostitution thrives thro’ casinos

June 15 (LB) The modus operandi for prostitution in Sri Lanka’s has gone high-tech as prostitutes and their customers’ use the internet to fix a location to meet, and transfer funds to bank accounts online, police sources said. A senior police officer said, “Prostituion is now carried out online as well to decide where a client and a sex worker should meet- and also to transfer monies online to bank accounts for services provided.” more..