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Do self-congratulation and paranoid schizophrenia complement each other?

May 23 (SL) Connected to the recent furore, sometimes hysterical, over “treasure hunting” was a footnote that many readers of the local media may have missed. A spokesman for that nest of chauvinist vipers that is an active constituent of a Govt of a Thousand Ministers, the JHU, while trotting out his suspicion that members of his own government were complicit in the industrial-level pilfering of artifacts, provided the inevitable throw-away line: more..

'Peace, stability and freedom pave the way for development'

May 23 (SO) Sri Lanka yesterday celebrated the third anniversary of the liberation of the entire country from the LTTE terrorism that gripped this country for three decades. The LTTE - the most ruthless terrorist organisation was destroyed by Sri Lanka’s valiant Security Forces under the guidance and direction of Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the political leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. As we enjoy the peace, more..

Cope and the 18th amendment

May 23 (DM) Recently the Board of the National Savings Bank (NSB) sought to explain why it purchased shares of The Finance Company (TFC) from two or three of the latter’s directors with a premium exceeding 50% of the market value at a time when the entire Stock Market was in dire straits. It was apparently a very sound investment! For whose benefit? The NSB has not revealed from where it got the confidence to violate the very Act under which it was created and the various provisions under which the Central Bank, more..

‘Home-truths’ – and, home-truths!

May 23 (DM) It could not have come at a better time, or worse. President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga’s speaking/reading about ‘home truths’ in Sri Lanka’s relations with neighbouring India coincided to the week with the conclusion of ‘Eelam War IV’ and the end of the LTTE. His references to India’s role in the Sri Lanka of the Eighties are not always supported by facts – as the sweeping charge of Indian security forces causing bomb-blasts in Colombo would indicate. more..

Connections | May 21, 2012

Return from reserves surges

May 23 (Island) The country has seen a surge in the rate of return from gross official reserves in 2011 despite a serious rundown of reserves to prop up the exchange rate in the face of a balance of payments crisis. The average rate of return on reserves as at the end of 2011 was around 7.21 percent. Reserves stood at US$ 5,958 million at the end of the year and returns from investments amounted to US$ 430 million. The reserves position was stronger at the end of 2010 more..

Malinga cannot say he’s a freelancer – Arjuna

May 23 (Island) Former Captain Arjuna Ranatunga, scathingly attacking on a recent statement made by Lasith Malinga, said the Sri Lanka fast bowler cannot justifiably say that he is a freelancer. Ranatunga, speaking in a live TV talk show, proved his point saying that Malinga was selected, trained and introduced to the international arena by Sri Lanka and the local cricket board and therefore after achieving good status, he cannot say that he is a freelancer. more..

Harsha rebuffs CB’s rosy EPF story

May 23 (FT) The UNP yesterday in Parliament stepped up its charge on alleged mismanagement of funds of the EPF by the Central Bank, raising fresh queries as well as revealing latest losses. The attack by the UNP comes a day after the Central Bank denied allegations of fraud over EPF investments by the Opposition. Yesterday, opening the debate in Parliament on Regulations under the Imports and Exports (Control) Act, UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva revealed more..

Brandix strengthens ties with academia

May 23 (Island) The Brandix Group’s initiative to forge closer links with national higher education institutions for mutual benefit took an important step forward recently with the signing of a MoU with the University of Colombo. "The agreement enables Sri Lanka’s largest apparel exporter to support undergraduates of the University’s Faculty of Management and Finance, focusing on the latter’s Department of Human Resources Management, with a view to developing skills more..

UPFA PC arrested for murder

May 23 (CT) A ruling party Western Provincial Councilor was arrested yesterday by the CID in connection with the murder of a leading businessman in Anamaduwa on 10 December 2010. Three army deserters had been arrested earlier in connection to this murder. According to their statements, Provincial Councilor Thushara Perera, had given the army deserters the contract to murder the businessman, Warnakulasuriya Stanis Joseph, 36 years, a millionaire trader who had close business ties with Japan. more..

An announcement from D.B.S. Jeyaraj

May 23 (TC) Hello Friends, Today May 21st is my Birthday. I have turned 58 on this day. After deep thought and reflection both alone and with my loved ones, I have decided to stop the website from tomorrow. Running this website for several years has been a pleasant and productive experience. It has become quite popular with readers from different backgrounds and ethnicities. Some quote from it or cite it as a source. more..

National Construction Techno Park launched

May 23 (DN) Construction of the country's first National Construction Technological Park (NCTP) was inaugurated by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa at the State Engineering Corporation premises at Peliyagoda yesterday. Construction work will be carried out by the Institute for Construction and Development (ICTAD), State Engineering Corporation, National Engineering Research and Development Centre on the directives of Minister Wimal Weerawansa. more..

16 Christian places of worship receive development assistance

May 23 (DN) Sixteen Christian places of worship received development assistance to the tune of Rs 11.7 million under the National Programme for Development of Religious Centres, implemented by the Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs Ministry yesterday. The cheques were handed over to the representatives of the 16 places of Christian worship by acting Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs Minister MKADS Gunawardana at a ceremony at the more..

Rs. 37 b fresh boost from World Bank

May 23 (FT) With the graduation of Sri Lanka to a middle income country status, the Govt has paid further attention to develop education and urban development sectors in order to meet new challenges of the 21st century. In this context, it was decided to expedite development programs which have already been formulated pertaining to the above sectors with foreign assistance. In response to the request made by the Govt of Sri Lanka, more..

Restaurants at Old Dutch Hospital, Fort a law unto themselves?

May 23 (Island) The restaurants situated at the Old Dutch Hospital in Colombo have not obtained their trade licenses even after the lapse of five months. Well informed sources said all hotels, restaurants and eating houses should have obtained their trade licence by January 01. They were earlier given a grace period till March 31. However, the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), from which the Trade licence should be obtained, had extended the date till June 01, they said. more..

CEB non execs to protest demanding pay hike

May 23 (Island) Non–executive staff of the Ceylon Electricity Board will launch a protest campaign, opposite the CEB head office in Colombo on Friday, demanding another pay hike, a trade unionist said yesterday. Trade Unions affiliated to all political parties would be backing the campaign and have geared themselves to launch a strike on Tuesday, the unionists said. CEB trade unions have been protesting in front of their workplaces, in various parts of the country, from May 9. more..

Eran finds fault with buying building for UN mission in NY

May 23 (Island) UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne demanded, in Parliament, that the govt reveal why and how the Central Bank purchased a building in New York. Participating in the debate on nine sections, on the regulations under the Imports and Exports Act, the MP referred to the latest annual report of the Central Bank and said that the purchase had not been included in the account details of the report. more..

Sri Lanka: Portrait of a people

May 23 (NZH) A morning stroll in the Sri Lanka surf town of Hikkaduwa took me down to the wharf where a hundred eyes had me acutely aware of being a European female, so I took to hiding behind my camera. A fisherman grinned with a single tooth and beckoned for me to come over. "You see what we doing? Look!" He pointed to the hole in the bow of the boat. "Ice! For catch the fish! We fish for 12-14 days, six of us." I looked at the tiny boat. Fourteen days? "But what do you eat?" more..

Dr. Anil new head of National Hospital

May 23 (FT) Dr. Anil Jasinghe has been appointed as the new Director of the country’s main hospital, Colombo National Hospital, by Public Services Commission, Ministry of Health reported. Dr. Jasinghe has been functioning as director of Colombo South Teaching Hospital in Kalubowila for four years. He had previously served as Head of Accident Ward of the Colombo National Hospital. The acting director of the Colombo National Hospital Dr. Sujatha Senaratne, who was overseeing more..

Slaying of Tamil-Canadian underscores enduring ethnic violence in Sri Lanka

May 23 (G&M) Andrew Mahendrarajah Antonipillai believed he was protected. Family and friends tried to warn him of the danger he faced returning to his native Sri Lanka. But Mr. Antonipillai, a man his Montreal neighbours knew as ready to help anyone in need, shrugged them off, saying his Canadian citizenship would keep him safe. “They can't do anything to me,” he told friends who cautioned him about his planned travels more..

Now, UNPers battle over SF’s welcome

May 23 (Island) Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga, MP, yesterday questioned the motives of those UNP MPs, who had joined crowds at the Nawaloka Hospital and later at the Welikada prison to welcome General Sarath Fonseka following his release. The Gampaha District MP and Ranil loyalist alleged that those who were present among the crowds were trying to win over the former army commander. UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, former Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya, MPs Buddhika Pathirana, more..

SB says 205 Uni lecturers sent abroad to complete PhD

May 23 (Island) Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake told Parliament that the govt had sent 205 university lecturers abroad, to complete their PhD degrees, last year alone. He said that the ministry hopes to send a similar number of lecturers abroad this year too for the same purpose. The minister said that eleven doctorate degree holders who left the country, effecting a ‘brain drain’ had been brought back with the initiatives taken by his ministry. more..

Ministers welcome release of Fonseka

May 23 (DN) Ministers yesterday said the release of Sarath Fonseka reflects the smooth operation of the law and due regard for legal processes in a democratic country. They said President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decision to release Fonseka is a positive move reflecting Sri Lanka’s commitment towards the democratic process. Commenting on Fonseka’s release they said President has always acted according to the constitution with regard to legal matters. more..

Lankan prostitutes travelling to Singapore

May 23 (CT) The Chairperson of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) Anoma Dissanayake has written to the Controller of Immigration and Emigration, asking him to prevent female workers suspected of prostitution from travelling to Singapore. She said the NCPA had received numerous reports of female workers from Sri Lanka being employed in the sex trade in that country. She said that the NCPA had conducted investigations into several of these complaints and more..

Apsara says they have lost everything

May 23 (Island) Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s eldest daughter Apsara yesterday declared that though their father was involved in politics she, her mother and younger sister did not want to get involved in the subject. During the two and a half years their father was in prison they neither ate milk rice nor cooked it and often wore black clothes, she said. According to Apsara, though she and the sister mostly lived abroad during that period, they were very suspicious and scared. more..

Restoring SF’s civic rights: UNP to move parliament

May 23 (Island) The UNP is to present a Bill in parliament calling for the restoration of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s civic rights, his military ranks and privileges including pension, that were scrapped as a resulted of his being convicted in the Hicorp and White Flag cases. General Secretary of the UNP, Tissa Attanayake told a news conference in Colombo yesterday, that a mere remission of the former army commander’s sentences was totally inadequate. more..

President to Lankan expats: Time to think of one’s obligations and country

May 23 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said his desire is to bequeath to future generations of Sri Lankans a country where they can live in peace, unity and dignity. ‘The time has now come for everyone to think of one’s obligation, duty and service towards the country as regards its development effort’. The President expressed these sentiments when he met a group of Sri Lankan expatriate workers in Qatar during his state visit to Qatar, on Monday afternoon. more..

Opposition takes govt. to task over vehicle tax hike

May 23 (Island) Govt’s decision to increase vehicle taxes received heavy flak, in Parliament, from the Opposition, which claimed that the Colombo port was jammed with thousands of vehicles following the tax increase. JVP CMP Sunil Handunetti participating in the debate yesterday on nine sections on the regulations under the Imports and Exports (Control) Act, said the govt had increased the import tax of motor cars by 300 percent with effect from March 31. more..

SF to form a new party

May 23 (DM) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, who was released on a special presidential pardon, is to form a new political party named, ‘Democratic Party’ led by him, MP Jayantha Ketagoda said. “We have already forwarded the application to the Elections Secretariat for registration and awaiting its approval,” said Mr. Ketagoda, who is the Chairman of the party. He also said MP Arjuna Ranatunga and Anoma Fonseka will be the Co-Deputy Leaders more..

Fonseka welcome to join UNP - Gayantha

May 23 (Island) All opposition political parties, including the UNP and religious leaders, could take credit for obtaining the release of the former army commander, General Sarath Fonseka from prison, but it was international pressure that ultimately forced President Mahinda Rajapaksa to grant Fonseka a pardon, the UNP said yesterday. UNP MP Gayantha Karunathillake said that despite wild allegations being levelled at the UNP, it had campaigned vigorously, for the more..

India sends back 27 fishers, five boats

May 23 (Island) Twenty seven fishermen, along with five fishing vessels, now in Indian custody, would return to Sri Lanka today, the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry said. The five fishing vessels, Kapila Putha, Podi Malli, Nikini, Minoli 06 and Charuni 02 were seized for crossing the IMB along with the 27-member crew on April 19 and 24 respectively. The fishermen and their vessels were taken into custody in the seas off Tamil Nadu when they strayed into the IMB. more..

Parades and Post war Promises

May 23 (LB) Yesterday (19), Sri Lanka celebrated the rout of the LTTE in a massive victory day parade held for the third consecutive year. 13,680 security forces and police personnel, including 852 officers, who collectively made up a fully fledged military division marched in unison as main battle tanks rolled on the ground and Kafir interceptors flew overhead. Among the arsenal on display were 148 armoured fighting vehicles, 72 naval vessels and 32 aircraft more..

JHU wary of Western moves amidst SF’s release

May 23 (Island) In the wake of Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s release, the JHU warned that the govt would have to carefully watch how Western powers reacted to the latest development. The JHU’s National Organizer, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said that the impact of the former army commander’s unexpected release on the political scene should be studied. He emphasized that the political authority shouldn’t forget that more..

Australian researcher discovers non-migratory blue whales off Sri Lanka

May 23 (SWA) A researcher from UWA’s Oceans Institute and the School of Environmental Systems Engineering is investigating why blue whales are found in Sri Lanka all year round. As part of her thesis ‘Oceanographic processes influencing blue whales off southern Sri Lanka’ student Asha de Vos says the northern Indian Ocean (NIO) population is poorly understood, with a portion of the animals atypically not migrating to more..

Letting the general out of the bottle

May 23 (Economist) Sarath Fonseka, Sri Lanka’s former army chief, emerged through the brown gates of the Welikada prison on May 21st, blowing kisses to his ecstatic supporters and declaring a vow to fight unto death for democracy. The bright-green balloons his supporters had brought earlier that morning were already flat after hours in the sun. Their flower garlands were wilting in the heat. But as Mr Fonseka strode out of jail, their cries were jubilant: more..

Sacked coach Marsh takes legal action against SLC

May 23 (DM) Sacked Sri Lanka national cricket coach Geoff Marsh has sent a letter of demand to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said Upali Dharmadasa, President of SLC yesterday. “Marsh had sent us a letter of demand three weeks ago. We have referred it to our legal department to check the matter out and deal with it,” said Dharmadasa. SLC sacked Marsh and replaced him with South African Graham Ford in more..

Ranil accuses Govt. of destroying free education

May 23 (Island) UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday accused the government of systematically depriving children of their right to free education. Making a special statement in Parliament, Wickremesinghe said the latest ploy towards blocking the avenues of free education, was to deprive the students of their right to select a national school in keeping with their examination results. more..

'Fonseka now a prisoner in the open'

May 23 (Island) Former Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva yesterday observed that President Rajapaksa had not granted a full pardon to Gen. Sarath Fonseka. The presidential pardon had not been backdated to the beginning of his sentence passed by the second military court martial, therefore he had lost his civic rights for seven years, the former Chief Justice said. Making further observations on the pardon, Silva said when the President exercised his powers to more..

TNA demands release of fasting prisoners

May 23 (Island) The TNA yesterday in Parliament demanded that the govt release all the Tamil political prisoners, currently engaged in a fast unto death campaign in the Colombo, Vavuniya and Kalutara prisons. TNA MP, R. Sampanthan, making a special statement in Parliament said: "We call upon the govt to take immediate steps to release all the Tamil political prisoners since three years have lapsed after the armed conflict ended. more..

Only in Sri Lanka: SLC secretary’s company wins SLC’s TV rights

May 23 (DM) The television rights of the Sri Lankan cricket team’s matches for the territory of Sri Lanka have been offered to sports channel Carlton Sports Network (CSN) for three years from 2012 to 2015, Sri Lanka Cricket President Upali Dharmadasa said yesterday. CSN had been the only bidder for the local TV rights in response to advertisements SLC published in January in local newspapers and also on their website, more..