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SC dismisses JVP application against bus fare hike

May 1 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed the fundamental rights violation application filed by JVP MP Sunil Handunetti and another member of the JVP, Sumith Passapperuma, complaining against the bus fare hike imposed in mid February this year. The Court said there was no basis to grant leave to proceed. J.C. Weliamuna, counsel for the petitioners, said that the State permits only a 15 percent fare hike at any one time but more..

Ganesan sees JHU, NFF as obstacles to reconciliation

May 1 (Island) Leader of the DPF Mano Ganesan says small constituent members of the ruling UPFA, such as JHU and the NFF were a great hindrance to the national reconciliation. "After the end of war it is now the time to ensure ethnic and religious harmony in the country but the narrow vision of these parties further divides ethnic communities," Ganesan said. Sri Lanka’s ethnic minorities were ready to recognise the Sinhala Buddhist community as the majority more..

Sri Lanka thanks China for continuing investment flow

May 1 (DN) Investments from China to Sri Lanka are set to continue on an increasing trend. “Your tenure in Colombo was marked with achievements. A major one being increased Chinese investments in Sri Lanka” said minister Rishad Bathiudeen, on 26 April to Yang Xiuping, Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka who completed her tenure of service in Colombo and who was paying a farewell call on Minister Bathiudeen last week. more..

Sri Lanka mobile phone connections exceed population

May 1 (Xinhua) The mobile telephone users in Sri Lanka have increased rapidly over the year 2011 with more than 105 telephone connections for 100 people. According to a Central Bank annual report, telephone connections have increased 5.4 percent and the connection were increased to 21.9 million by the end of 2011. "There is also a considerable increase in the internet connections as new connections have increased by 4 percent over the year 2011," more..

Engineers on warpath over Norochcholai manuals

May 1 (Island) Senior CEB engineers, associated with the troubled Norochcholai coal power plant, have complained that even after more than a year of commercial operation the Chinese contractor is yet to provide vital documents such as the Operation and Maintenance manuals and ‘as-built’ drawings of the facility. They said that the high powered Ministerial committee, headed by Prof. Ranjith Perera more..

Up country people's front slams Karunanidhi

May 1 (DM) Nuwara Eliya District MP and head of the political wing of the Upcountry People’s Front V. S. Radha Krishnan yesterday said that DMK leader and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s recent statement that an Eelam should be established in Sri Lanka had been made with the ulterior motive of creating an unpleasant situation for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The MP expressed these views at a press conference held at his residence in Nuwara Eliya. more..

May Day: UNP wants Rs. 7,500 salary hike, IDP resettlement in original lands

May 1 (Island) The UNP’s first ever May Day rally to be held in Jaffna, aimed at forging ethnic unity in the post war era, was to urge the government to grant urgent relief to the working class, address the plight of internally displaced people and restore law and order throughout the country. Assistant Leader of the UNP, Joseph Michael Perera, said that today’s rally scheduled to commence at St. Roche Ground around 2,00 p.m. could be described as an historic attempt to more..

Sri Lanka slams listing on UK human rights report

May 1 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan govt on Tuesday slammed a British human rights report which listed the island among countries of concern over human rights issues. Deputy External Affairs Minister Neomal Perera said that Britain had no right to accuse Sri Lanka of not doing enough to address accountability of the war just three years after the conflict ended. The Human Rights Report for 2011 released by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Monday said that more..

New vocational school set up in Batticaloa

May 1 (Island) The Opposition Leader of the Indian Parliament, Sushma Swaraj and Minister Basil Rajapaksa recently declared open the newly built Vandaramoolai, Batticaloa Vocational Training Centre (VTC) on the invitation of Minister Dullas Alahapperuma. It has been put up with grant of Indian Rs. 300 million with the aim of providing vocational training opportunities to young men and women from conflict affected areas. The newly constructed vocational training more..

Two Maldivian nationals arrested for misbehaving on flight to Colombo

May 1 (Haveeru) Two Maldivian nationals were arrested by the Sri Lankan police on Monday for allegedly harassing passengers and crew members on a flight which had been returning to Colombo from Bangkok. A senior police officer said that the two Maldivian nationals had been intoxicated at the time they had boarded the Sri Lankan Airlines flight in Bangkok. “As soon as they boarded the aircraft they were reported to have been consuming alcohol in the flight. more..

Ceylon Today Cartoon

Religious rifts in Sri Lanka’s Dambulla area, not affecting tourists

May 1 (LBO) Foreign visitors continue to tour Sri Lanka’s central regions, despite ongoing religious tensions where Buddhist monks have demanded a 60-year-old mosque be relocated, a tourism industry lobby said. "It’s not that much of an issue yet," Nilmin Nanayakkara, president of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) told reporters. The central regions which hosts some of the island’s former royal kingdoms and historic Buddhist temples, more..

Sri Lanka's Killing Fields gains support in Radio Times Bafta poll

May 1 (RT) More than 150,000 people have now voted in a poll asking users which programme should win the current affairs award at the Baftas – and now the poll's surprising status as a representation of the international struggle for democracy and justice has taken a new turn. The Channel 4 film Sri Lanka's Killing Fields, which documented alleged war crimes perpetrated by the govt during the Sri Lankan civil war, has received more..

Sri Lankan monks join rampaging mob

May 1 (AT) Sri Lanka's Muslim community is insecure and angry. A mosque in the central town of Dambulla was attacked with petrol bombs and vandalized around 10 days ago by a mob led by radical Buddhist monks. To add insult to injury, the govt has bowed to the mob's demand and ordered the mosque's demolition and relocation. Muslims say the mosque is about 60 years old. The monks insist it was built after 1982 when the govt declared the area to more..

Sri Lanka may get more port investments by China Merchants

May 1 (LBO) China Merchants Holdings International which is building a deep-water container terminal in Colombo port is interested in investing in other Sri Lankan ports as well, an official said. Hu Jianhua, managing director of CMHI, said the Chinese port operator was drawn to the island because of its "strategic advantages" like location, access to south Asia, open economy and literate labour force. China Merchants is investing 500 million US dollars to build more..

Sri Lanka: Australia should raise torture concerns

May 1 (HRW) Australia’s immigration minister should raise concerns with Sri Lankan officials about alleged arbitrary arrest and torture of people who were refused asylum and sent back to Sri Lanka when he visits this week, the Human Rights Law Centre and Human Rights Watch said today. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka from May 2 to 4, 2012, to discuss migration issues, including preventing people smuggling from Sri Lanka to Australia. more..

UNP calls for ex-army chief's release

May 1 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's main opposition on Tuesday called for the unconditional release of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka from prison. Deputy Leader of the UNP, Sajith Premadasa, said that Sri Lanka won the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels three years ago mainly because of Fonseka. At the time Fonseka was the army commander however following the end of the war he fell out with the govt after deciding to contest for the presidency against more..

Sri Lanka's road to peaceful co-existence

May 1 (GN) Following a protracted and violent civil war that lasted for more than 26 years costing thousands of lives and destruction of property, it would have been natural to assume that Sri Lanka would set itself on the path of healing through national reconciliation with all its peoples; Buddhists, Tamils and Muslims. Yet, within many Tamils there exists a widespread belief that the Sri Lankan govt is trying to wipe out their Tamil culture and religious identity by more..

Sri Lanka assess risks across key tourist spots

May 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka has completed preliminary work assessing the risks of most frequented tourist sites, as the island beefs up its leisure products to welcome more holidaymakers, officials said. The project was mooted, after an Australian tourist accidently died after walking-off the Hortain Plains in the central mountain regions last year, said Nilmin Nanayakkara, president of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators. “The Australian tourist’s family admitted more..

May Day message of the JVP

May 1 (LT) Today is May Day. Its history is the bitter struggle carried out by the working people sacrificing their lives, shedding their blood and sweat and making boundless sacrifices to win an eight hour working day. On May Day, the day commemorating the heroes and heroines who made the supreme sacrifice in the struggle, the masses all over the world amasses their strength. The working people in Sri Lanka with the leadership of the JVP clasp their hands more..

Sri Lanka and its broken promises

May 1 (EAR) It is hard for a man to keep a straight face and tell a lie but President Rajapakse manages to do it every time he has to face the Indians and the International community about devolving power to the Tamil NorthEast. He just did it again when he had breakfast with Sushma Swaraj on the last day of the Indian delegation’s visit to Sri Lanka. There is now a huge confusion as to who said what. Sushma says Rajapakse talked about devolution and mentioned 13th +Amendment and more..

Editorial: May Day - The final battle fizzles out

May 1 (DM) May Day today is a shadow if not ashame when compared with the May Days up to 1977. For several decades after independence we saw huge processions that took several hours to pass a point and ended with rallies that went on till late at night with newspapers giving them front page splashes. Politicians and workers today need to remember that it was the S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike Govt that declared May Day as a national holiday and introduced long-term welfare measures more..

'I was never the hidden leader of the JVP'

May 1 (AD) Frontline Socialists Party (FSP) central committee member Premakumar Gunaratnam says he was never the ‘hidden leader’ of the JVP, as presumed by many, but confirmed that he was amongst the top brass of the Marxist party. In an exclusive interview broadcasted on TV Derana today, Gunaratnam, known by fellow members and supporters of his party as ‘Kumara Sahodaraya,’ denied claims be JVP leadership that no one by his name ever existed in the party. more..

Opportunity for reconciliation

May 2 (NS) Pressed by the international community for speedy, effective steps at reconciliation, the government stands at a crossroads today. The clock is ticking. If this country is to move forward effectively, we desperately need to rise above the pattern of thinking we had got used to for the past few decades. As Einstein pointed out, the same level of thinking that gets you into a problem cannot get you out of it. It might be more profitable for the country to stop more..

Suspension of disbelief a must for Darusman fans

May 2 (NS) There is one part in the UN report on Sri Lanka that even should one have passionate crushes on one or all three members of the panel, find hard to read without wincing. That is when they talk of the Government shelling of the 11th UN convoy. From paragraph 79 to 91, the report details the adventures of this convoy, 50 lorries full of essential goods accompanied by seven international staff that had travelled from Vavuniya to PTK. When they offloaded and more..

Story of a ‘rehabilitated’ LTTE combatant

May 2 (CT) Whenever Ashoka Handagama produces a movie, people sit up and take note! ‘What unpalatable societal truth has he portrayed this time?’ That’s the question on most people’s minds whenever a Handagama movie is set for release. His latest offering is a Tamil film set in Jaffna. Predictably it’s about social struggles and the hardships of day-to-day life instead of being flighty, light hearted froth, but Handagama has also matured over more..

Where do we come from?

May 2 (GV) The current controversy on the identity and significance of the series of mounds linking Rameshwaram in India with Mannar in Sri Lanka has attained international attention due to a proposal to dig a channel though it. It might also help address a burning question today ‘Where do we come from ?’ The environmental risks of the project were ignored in the pursuance of ‘economic expediency’ until, the tradition of the land spoke of its importance. It was the route that more..

Implications and ramifications of the attack on the Masjidul Khaira Mosque

May 2 (CT) On 20th April 2012- Friday, a mob of some 2,000 led by Buddhist priests occupied and ransacked the Masjidul Khaira Mosque, obstructing those engaged in prayer. Even the police and the Special Task Force could not prevent the mayhem. The attack was carried out on the grounds that the mosque had been constructed on a site designated as a sacred Buddhist area. A firebomb had been blasted the day before, without, however, causing any casualties. more..

Wither national cricket policy?

May 2 (ST) A while ago, we were rather exasperated about the deteriorating standards of junior cricket in the country. We really wanted to find out if there was a national coaching policy in Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Cricket’s answer was affirmative – such a policy was in place for all levels of the game. Yet now we want to ask if there is such a policy laid down, how is it in place, how does it work and for whose benefit. more..

Is Sri Lanka in the throes of an anti-Muslim wave?

May 2 (LB) The Dambulla demonstration against a mosque that was being rehabilitated close to the Buddhist Maha Vihara is symptomatic of an anti-Muslim expression which has become more pronounced in recent months. The Dambulla incident, instigated by Sinhala Buddhist fundamentalism and backed by goons is more a statement of intolerance and insecurity than it being a statement of piety. Nor is this an isolated incident, where in cyber space such as facebook, more..

Politics, and opposition politics as joker-magnets...

May 2 (LB) Take one look at the quality of the field in the Sri Lankan opposition, particularly the UNP, and it is enough to make you despondent in these draining times of March-April-May festive delirium. Each succeeding candidate for the UNP’s leadership stakes is invariably worse than the man preceding him – and Sajith Premadasa is the best possible example of this phenomenon. If Ranil Wickremesinghe is unfit to lead, cannot win, and is unable to read more..

‘Sinhala Buddhism’ is worlds apart from the tolerant non-violent Buddhism of Buddha

May 2 (TC) That the ancient-city of Dambulla is not sundered by religious violence is thanks to the sense and sensibility of its ordinary inhabitants (of all faiths) and the security personnel on duty. Had the people of Dambulla been as virulent as the anti-Mosque/anti-Kovil demonstrators, had the STF and police personnel been as supine as the government, a religious conflagration would have engulfed the area and beyond. more..

A coordinated response to UNHRC

May 2 (TC) The homemade response to the UNHRC challenge has to begin with a clear understanding of the perspectives of the complaint. The Resolution calls for the implementation of the LLRC recommendations. But that does not imply that all the recommendations had not been complied with. By and large, the recommendations may be classified under three broad heads, physical, moral and constitutional. ‘Physical’ refers to material initiatives like bomb disposal, more..

The Govt must apologise to the Muslim community over Dambulla Mosque Incident

May 2 (TC) The violent mob attack on the Dambulla Muslim Mosque in the presence of the Police on 20 April is a serious event that can ignite communal disharmony in the country, including open violence, if the government fails to apologise to the Muslim community and take appropriate action to thwart the efforts by communal elements among its own ranks to create rift and mischief. So far it has not happened. By apologising, the government can appease the aggrieved more..

Colourful lanterns to brighten Vesak

May 2 (SO) Have you heard about a Vesak lantern manufacturer who sold some Vesak lanterns to a foreign tour group at a cost of Rs. 1,500 each. The medium size lanterns were made in the shape of lotus flowers and pasted with colourful oil papers and cellophane papers. Although the actual price of a lantern was Rs. 200, the tourists who were holidaying in Sri Lanka during the Vesak season a couple of years ago had to spend a large amount of more..

Editorial: Govt, workers and goni billa

May 2 (Island) Sri Lanka seems to have more enemies than friends if we are to go by the government's claims of conspiracies. Lashing out at the country's enemies, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has, in his May Day message, said workers will unite to defeat them. The SLFP and its coalition partners had a mammoth rally in Colombo yesterday and the ruling party politicians with bloated egos must be standing tall. But, the question is whether they still enjoy the backing of the working more..

Attorney General – Units to advise the Police

May 2 (Island) The proposal in the LLRC, for "setting up of units of the AG’s Department in the Provinces to guide and advise Police regarding criminal investigations, prosecutions and other matters touching the criminal justice system" merits some comments before implementation. Firstly, the proposal of the LLRC is couched in general terms and is not specific as to the scope and extent of the advice to be given. These units cannot cover all police investigation, more..

Believe us today like when the going was good: Dr. PB

May 2 (FT) At Monday’s encounter with the media, there was an apparent sense of frustration in Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera over the manner in which markets and businesses have failed to respond to what he described as ‘fundamentals” but being swayed by speculation. A series of monetary and fiscal policy measures effected from as far back as mid-November last year starting from the 2012 Budget presentation are part of more..

Brazilian with cocaine nabbed

May 2 (CT) A Brazilian national was arrested yesterday at the Bandaranayake International Airport for attempting to smuggle in a stock of cocaine to the country. According to the police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana the smuggler had swallowed the stock of cocaine in capsule form. He had arrived in the country around 08.15 last morning aboard a Quata airways flight. The Nacotics bureau officials had arrested the suspect on a tip off received by them. more..

Income inequality on the rise

May 2 (Island) Sri Lanka’s recent labour data shows impressive progress but inequality, youth unemployment and better jobs are still areas of much concern, a new report released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) showed. The economy recorded an impressive 8.3 percent growth rate in 2011. Per capita GDP increased to 2,804 last year from US$ 2,370 in 2010. The rate of unemployment has dropped 4.2 percent in 2011, the lowest level in post independence Sri Lanka. more..