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Scholar urges Sri Lankan expats to stay calm over racial tensions back home

May 6 (AN) A Sri Lankan Islamic scholar currently visiting the Kingdom said racial tensions following an attack on Dambulla mosque in Sri Lanka had greatly eased and the country’s government is trying its best to resolve this issue amicably. “We firmly believe that very soon a satisfactory solution will be realized on the initiative of the government,” M.I.M Rizvi Mufthie, president of the Colombo-based All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama (ACJU) said in Riyadh on Friday. more..

Small motor dealers cry foul

May 6 (NS) Small scale vehicle importers, who consist of more than 70% of the total vehicle dealers in the country allege that they will go bust if the recent proposal requiring a vehicle importer to obtain an annual license is implemented while the authorities maintain that such measures are necessary to save the vehicle buyers from the unscrupulous traders who compromise on quality. Chairman of Vehicle Importers Association of Lanka (VIAL), Sampath Merenchige says that the govt’s plan to more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

May 6 (ST) UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya, one time deputy leader, met Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa this week with a complaint. He said that MPs were not being allowed to visit former General Sarath Fonseka who was then undergoing medical treatment at a private nursing home. He has since been transferred to the National Hospital. Speaker Rajapaksa told Jayasuriya he would go into the matter. In the meantime, Jayasuriya, who had raised issue with prison officials, were told they could grant him permission as a more..

Govt doesn’t understand misery – Sajith

May 6 (CT) UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday charged the govt does not seem to understand the people’s unending misery, which it has grossly and impudently imposed on the entirety of the people of the country. “People should now realize their unenviable and uncertain future will continue in the same vein in the foreseeable future and make up their mind to install a govt of the people with the priority given to nurture and sustain the people with necessary social and economic safeguards,” more..

'Extremists trying to capitalize on Dambulla'

May 6 (Island) Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha alleged that extremists among both communities were making an attempt to capitalize on the recent unfortunate incident at Dambulla, where a group of Buddhists spearheaded by Buddhist monks targeted a Mosque. He emphasized that he wouldn’t encourage animosity towards any community as he didn’t want to contribute to ongoing efforts to destabilize the country. It would be a crime to seek political gain at the expense of more..

Sri Lankan lantern makers feel the pinch from Chinese rivals

May 6 (LBO) They are round in shape, colourful, sturdy, covered with cloth, with a little Buddhist flag competing for attention among pictures of pretty flowers. Chinese lanterns have slipped into Sri Lanka’s Vesak market threatening to dislodge the traditional paper lanterns. Colourful hexagon lanterns in many homes and places of businesses in Sri Lanka during the Vesak season that falls in May. more..

Unholy calm as sacred area awaits Presidential intervention

May 6 (ST) Nearly two weeks after the mosque attack in Dambulla, the issue, whether or not to relocate the mosque, is yet to be resolved. SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem, following a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa last Monday (30), told the media that the President had promised to resolve the dispute amicably. The SLMC leader strongly opposed the relocation of the mosque, and so did other Muslim leaders within the Govt. more..

TMVP deny allegations in UK human rights report

May 6 (SL) The TMVP has rejected allegations of child recruitment in the British Human Rights report on Sri Lanka. “During the war the TMVP armed themselves as a means of self-defense and at no point did we forcibly recruit anyone to fight alongside ourselves,” TMVP spokesman Azad Maulana, told The Sunday Leader. He went on to state that, “we are a democratic party; the only time we picked up arms was in 2004 to protect ourselves from the terrorists”. more..

SC to decide on Fonseka’s stay at private hospital

May 6 (ST) A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court would consider on May 9, whether or not the former Army Commander should be allowed to continue to receive medical attention at the private hospital where he is currently being treated for asthmatic bronchitis. The court decision was taken after considering an application by Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetti appearing for Mr. Fonseka, submitted an appeal he was making on humanitarian grounds that more..

Sluice gates of the upper Kotmal power project declared open by President

May 6 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada engaged in an inspection tour of the 150-megawatt Upper Kotmale Hydro Power Project this morning on 05 May. The power plant project was launched in 2006 with financial assistance from the govt of Japan. The sluice gate of the main dam of the Upper Kotmale Hydro Power Project was declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and more..

Govt. tracking down ex-LTTe cadres who avoided post-war rehabilitation

May 6 (Island) In the wake of a simmering row over search operations in the East, a senior police official said on Friday that 38 ex-members of the LTTE had been taken for questioning. Responding to a query, the official said that the govt had no option but to track down those who had avoided the post-war rehabilitation process. During a recent operation conducted in the East, the police had detained 38 persons, more..

KP to enter politics?

May 6 (CT) Former head of the LTTE's International operations Kumaran Pathmanathan said that he is now focusing more towards humanitarian activities; however he would even consider entering politics if the Tamil political leadership continue to mislead the innocent Tamils with false promises and rotten political ideologies. Kumaran Pathmanathan expressed his views in an interview, with a Tamil newspaper published published by the TNA MP more..

Dep. Minister/DFC officials ride rougshod into forest reserve

May 6 (LB) It has been revealed that moves are underway to clear 505 acres within the Nilgala Forest Reserve in order to settle families residing in the vicinity of the reserve enveloping the National Zoological Gardens in Gal Oya which comes under the purview of the Department of Wildlife Conservation. This forest reserve comes under the Bibile Divisional Secretariat on the border of the Moneragala district, the Karadugala Grama Seva Division and the Boella area. more..

Head Boy dies in Avurudu pillow fight

May 6 (LB) The shortcomings at Ragama hospital which led to 17 year old Shenal Dhananjaya not receiving proper medical attention after being injured at a New Year pillow fighting contest, it had been determined, let to his untimely demise. A resident of Ja Ela and the head prefect of St. Sebastian College, Kandana, he had been injured whilst participating in New Year games being held at Jasitawatta playground in Ekala, on April 28. He had been taking part in the more..

Sri Lanka's forex reserves dipped to US$5.5bn in Feb

May 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's foreign reserves fell to 5,552 million US dollars at the end of February 2012, down 32 percent from a peak of 8,098 million US dollars in July 2011. Reserves fell steeply during the second half of 2011 credit taken by state enterprises to manipulate energy prices amid already high loan growth to ordinary citizens put pressure on a dollar peg. By end February foreign reserves were equal to 3.2 months of imports, more..

‘Present glory in Kelaniya because of Mervyn’

May 6 (DM) Chief Incumbent of the Kelaniya Rajamaha Vihara, Ven. Prof. Kollupitiye Mahinda Sangharakkitha Thera said the people were well aware of the services rendered by Minister Mervin Silva to the Kalaniya area and that the present glory in Kelaniya was due to his efforts. Ven Thera pointed out that that it was Minister Mervin Silva who introduced the Vesak Zone in Kiribathgoda. Addressing a gathering at the opening ceremony of the Vesak Zone at the Kalaniya Rajamaha Vihara, more..

Gas goes black market; dealers up shutters

May 6 (LB) If Colombo residents fall short of LP gas today, they can buy it in the black market at Rs.50 more than the controlled price of Rs.2,396 per 12.5 kilo cylinder. With the govt’s announcement Friday morning that gas will increase midnight by Rs.350 for a 12.5 kilo cylinder; many dealers put up shutters on the pretext of the Vesak holidays falling on Saturday and Sunday, extended till Monday. People hearing of the price hike of Rs.350 rushed to their local gas dealers. more..

South Korean karaoke-bar fire kills three Lankans

May 6 (AD) A fierce blaze swept through a karaoke lounge in the South Korean city of Busan killing nine people, including three Sri Lankan nationals, and injuring 20, police said on Sunday. The fire broke out on Saturday night in one of the establishment’s 28 rooms, police said, and witnesses reported hearing a loud bang before smoke quickly engulfed the bar, on the third floor of a six-storey building. The dead included two women and three Sri Lankan workers more..

Kohuwela Police deny assault – Victim claims otherwise

May 6 (SL) The man who claimed that he had been assaulted by police attached to the Kohuwela police station had never filed an official complaint regarding the incident, Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said. ‘Once he has filed a written statement, we can begin investigations,’ Rohana said. However, contrary to the police spokesman’s claims The Sunday Leader learnt through reliable police sources that the victim Alex Van Cuylenberg (26) had indeed made two statements more..

Promote education to weed out terrorism: Sri Lankan Minister

May 6 (Hindu) Poor educational and infrastructure facilities have paved the way for the growth and expansion of terror networks in various parts of the world, Sri Lankan Commerce Minister Basheer Shaikh Dawood has said. Mr. Dawood was addressing a public function after inaugurating the Saadiya Orphanage Handicraft Centre at Jamia Saadiya Arabiya at Deli, near here, on Saturday. “There is an urgent need to set up more educational institutions that help students more..

EU wants fair trial for long term detainees in Sri Lanka

May 6 (Xinhua) The European Union (EU) on Sunday called for a fair trial for long term detainees in Sri Lanka. Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with countries in South Asia, Jean Lambert, told Xinhua that the EU parliament's position on long term detainees in Sri Lanka is that they should be either charged or released. Several hundreds of suspected Tamil Tiger rebels and other political prisoners are in Sri Lankan prisons, more..

TNA heading to India this week

May 6 (SL) A TNA delegation is scheduled to head to India this week for talks with the Indian government. The TNA delegation is to brief India on the current state of talks aimed at reaching a political solution in the country as well as post war developments in the north and east, TNA sources said. Headed by TNA leader R. Sampanthan, the TNA delegation will meet several political party representatives apart from having talks with leaders of the Indian government. more..

6 Lankan fishermen arrested for entering Indian waters

May 6 (PTI) Six Sri Lankan fishermen were arrested by Marine police here for illegally fishing in Indian waters off Nizampatnam coast in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari district, police said on Sunday. The Coast Guard personnel first spotted a Sri Lankan boat with six fishermen on board during routine surveillance in Bay of Bengal on Friday. After verification, they seized the boat and handed it over to Kakinada Marine police, along with the apprehended fishermen and more..

TNA to Sri Lanka govt: Want progress in bilateral talks

May 6 (PTI) TNA is keen to revive its stalled talks with the govt but wants progress in bilateral dialogue before joining the multi-party deliberations over charting out a political solution to the ethnic issue. The talks between the Tamil party and the government over devolution of powers to the Tamil-dominated provinces have been stalled since January over differences, the main being its demand for giving police powers to the provinces. more..

The dangers of banning Manila ‘Truants’

May 7 (SL) THE more you think about Sri Lanka’s performance in the recent A5N competition; more painful is the regret that promotion had eluded us, needlessly. A team of second-stringers did perform admirably, but, in the final analysis, to no avail. The whole exercise of the campaign was to win promotion to the premier division – a prize that was there for the taking had a full-strength national outfit been on national duty. more..

Three in the gentlemen’s game take to the crooked game

May 7 (SL) Sachin Tendulkar is the most adorable of sportsmen and indeed Indian sportsmen we have seen . He is certainly an international superstar and a cricketing god. India has thousands of gods and Sachin is among the latest and the most evoked of gods particularly when the Indian Cricket team is in dire straits. Little wonder when the ‘Little Master’ was appointed to India’s Upper House, The Times of India headlined: God has a new House. more..

'Better management ensures growth in sugarcane industry'

May 7 (SO) “The sugarcane industry has achieved a remarkable progress during the last six months under the new management of Sevanagala and Pelwatta sugar factories”, Productivity Promotion Minister Lakshman Seneviratna said. Both the companies were taken over by the govt last year under the Parliamentary Act on ‘revival of underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets’. The ‘Sunday Observer’ interviewed Minister Lakshman Seniviratna, more..

Mahinda has sold our country to the new imperialist of global capitalism

May 7 (TC) Text of speech made by Comrade Bahu at the May day rally at Price park, Colombo that was organized by the NSSP itogether with other leftist parties from the Trotskyite and Stalinist traditions. We have come together today to face the dictatorial Mahinda regime. This regime has used all tactics of repression against the oppressed masses. Police arrests, court cases, abductions, disappearances and torture are used even against trade unions involved in demonstrations and strikes. more..

Is Thirteenth Amendment plus the best solution?

May 7 (DBS) Implementation of the 13th amendment to the constitution with its attendant powers is held to be the best solution for the ethnic problem of Sri Lanka, particularly by India, Western powers, Tamil leaders as well as various critics who are interested in the devolution of power as a measure of a political solution. However, the ethnic problem being only one aspect of the minority issues, any solution proposed for this problem should be one that will preserve the more..

‘Kalimann Vandi’ and history of Sri Lankan modern Tamil theatre

May 7 (DBS) The “Tamil language production of Mettikaraththaya” refers to Mirhchakadikam, a Sanskrit play written in B.C. 300-400 by Chudraka. It was produced in Tamil as ‘Kaliman Vandi’ translation of the Sinhala version of Mettikaraththaya at the Swami Vipulanda Institute of Aesthetics Studies, Batticaloa, Sri Lanka. The production was a joint venture of the Drama and Theatre Department of Swami Vipulanda Institute of Aesthetics Studies and more..

The Constant Reminder

May 7 (CT) Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor of the New York Times, writing on the American Presidential Election campaign now in full swing recently flagged an interesting TV ad by Obama’s re-election campaign. The video, available online, mark the anniversary of bin Laden’s killing in Pakistan. It shows Democrat and former US President Bill Clinton showering praise on Obama’s decisive leadership that doggedly pursued and ultimately killed the founder of Al Qaeda. more..

Stirring a dangerous cauldron of religious hatred

May 7 (CT) Religious fundamentalists of all faiths have just one attribute in common. The beliefs that they profess are a mere cloak, hiding maggots crawling around in their minds feasting on hate, bigotry and ignorance. These are not new tales but rather the lessons taught by humankind’s devastation through millennia as a result of religious bigotry. Umberto Eco captured the devious fight of the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages to keep all knowledge and wisdom more..

36th birth anniversary of the LTTE

May 7 (DBS) The LTTE which determined the course of Sri Lankan politics for more than two decades is no more a functional entity today. The LTTE would have celebrated its 36th birth anniversary on May 5th if it was an active organization now. Adverse developments on the war front in Northern Sri Lanka leading to the military debacle at Mullivaaikkaal in Mullaitheevu district in May 2009 have brought about an end to the tigers in Sri Lanka. more..

Some thoughts on the eve of 2012 Vesak

May 7 (GV) Two Veask Poyas have come and gone and three years have sped by since May 2009 when the prolonged war with the LTTE ended. And we Sri Lankans are yet trapped in post-war rhetoric and caught up in punches and counter-punches arising from different visions of what post-war Sri Lanka ought to be. Debates on who is a patriot/nationalist and who is a traitor have raged. Some Sri Lankans, sadly, have tended to the viewpoint that saving face is more more..

Editorial: Freedom of information and other matters

May 7 (Island) The govt may have thought its trouble was over when it torpedoed the Opposition's freedom of information Bill in Parliament last June. About one year on, the Opposition is planning to take it up afresh, when Parliament resumes this week, as we reported yesterday. This is an interesting development and the UNP's resilience is to be appreciated. The govt finds itself in a dilemma this time around as the Opposition insists that its move is in keeping more..

Mahinda Chinthanaya and public accountability for the economic crisis

May 7 (CT) The ‘miracle of Asia’ is rapidly morphing into the ‘debacle of Asia’ as the Sri Lankan rupee plunges to an all time low with the trade deficit ballooning to unsustainable levels, and the county sinking into a debt trap. The people are paying for the debt incurred due to corruption, loss making enterprises, and the policy mistakes of a jumbo cabinet of incompetent Ministers. Just before the three day Vesak holiday with its excess of more..

Will Amarasekara beat odds to qualify for Olympics?

May 7 (Island) London Olympics is probably the final opportunity for Prasanna Amarasekara to realize his dream of featuring at the world’s showpiece sports event. When the next Olympics come he would be 35, the age many sprinters would consider ripe enough to retire. The successor to Olympians Sugath Thilakaratne and Rohan Pradeep Kumara, the 400 metre specialist has not taken part in an Olympics during his impressive career although he has at times produced feats which more..

Asia Leisure in expansion drive, Japanese firm gets on board

May 7 (Island) With the influx of tourists to the country despite a slight slowdown in growth, Asia Leisure, a fully owned subsidiary of Asia Capital Group, recently announced their expansion plans to capitalize on what seems a promising industry with a strategic partnership being formed with a Japanese investor. Teoria Investments, an asset management company in Japan recently invested US$ 2 million to develop one of two hotels undergoing construction of Asia Leisure. more..

New visa rules attract US$550 mln revenue

May 7 (ST) New visa rules for visitors to Sri Lanka involving the payment of a visa fee has generated revenues of US$550 million during the first four months of this year. Revenue from this new source is targeted at, at least $2 billion this year. Immigration Controller Chulananda Perera said the new visa procedures were currently operating "very smoothly." The new visa processing system or the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) introduced in more..

Govt minimised price hike burden - Minister

May 7 (DN) The government has implemented a well organised series of programmes to protect and strengthen the consumers and has been careful to impose the minimum impact on them through the recent price hikes of milk powder and gas, Cooperatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando told the Daily News. He said the recent price hikes came into effect after keeping the prices under control for a long period despite continuous demands from the companies. more..