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The trail always leads back to America...

May 4 (LB) Is it something in the water? Or is the gravy spiked? Every time the Indians come here–and chow down on presidential grub–they lose their ability to understand the words that leave Mahinda Rajapaksa’s mouth. First, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna got his knickers in a twist about the 13th Amendment. Weeks later, Opposition Leader Sushma Swaraj followed suit. After separate visits to this country–and subsequent to intensive more..

The Mind of Compassion: Buddhism and Violence

May 4 (GV) A lion carries a dead wild boar in his mouth. He is walking through the grasslands, victorious after the hunt. On the dead boar is a crudely imprinted crescent moon and star. This is an image found in a Sinhala Facebook page that among other things compares Sri Lankan Muslims to wild boar, puppies (the Sinhala wording is cruder) and crows. The Facebook page has more than 5,000 likes and increases daily. more..

Some Critical Reflections on the Silences on Secularism

May 4 (GV) In a piece published on Groundviews on 29 April, Ms. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge (CBK) makes many pertinent observations on religion and society in South Asia. Underlying all her arguments however, is a certain reading of secularism that warrants contestation, which is the aim of this piece. Every time we fail to articulate the specificities and diversities in the history of secularism and allied Constitutional practices, and use ‘western’ more..

Catholic Bishops Conference wants govt to implement LLRC recommendations

May 4 (TC) Much has been written and discussed since the publication of the Report of the LLRC. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka (CBCSL) wishes to look at the Report of the Commission mindful of this biblical imperative and invitation to be peacemakers and agents of reconciliation in this post-war society of Sri Lanka. CBCSL acknowledges that every document formulated within given historical circumstances necessarily more..

‘Burmese Lessons’ For Sri Lanka

May 4 (CT) I am here not talking about Karen Connelly’s popular love story by the name of ‘Burmese Lessons,’ but rather Aung San Suu Kyi’s entry into Parliament yesterday as the leader of the opposition in Myanmar (or Burma) with 42 other members who were elected early April in a by-election from the National League for Democracy (NLD). There is no doubt that this is also a ‘love story.’ Suu Kyi came to Burma from London in 1988 just to see her ailing mother but more..

Psychosocial Problems Of Child Soldiers

May 4 (CT) Using children in armed conflicts has been reported in many countries around the world. Various rebel groups, and occasionally states, in Africa, Asia and Latin America exploit children in their armed conflicts. It is estimated that some 300,000 children – boys and girls under the age of 18 – are today involved in more than 30 conflicts worldwide (Global Report on Child Soldiers 2001). Often these children are kidnaped from their parents and indoctrinated, more..

Muslim community is strongly opposed to demolition or relocation of Dambulla Mosque

May 4 (DBS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to summon a meeting shortly to discuss a matter of vital national importance. This follows a discussion he had with SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem on Monday, during the course of which the President promised to resolve the dispute that has arisen over the Dambulla mosque, without harming the interests of the Muslim community. more..

Road to reconciliation: The Sri Lankan way

May 4 (DM) Less than 3 years ago, as Sri Lanka emerged from its 30 year long struggle against LTTE terrorism, there were many ‘prophets of doom’, including in this Parliament, who misjudged both Sri Lanka’s will and capacity. It was said that the IDP welfare villages set up were a “humanitarian catastrophe” and that malnutrition, disease and death would be rampant and the government was not interested in de-mining and that the conflict affected areas will more..

Karunannidhi wants Sampanthan to demand an Eelam which Sri Lankan Tamils dont want

May 4 (TC) The visit by the Indian joint Parliament delegation to Sri Lanka was no doubt a novel experience not only for the members of the delegation but also for the Sri Lankan politicians as well as the general public. It was novelty for the Sri Lankans since the delegation was led by the Opposition Leader of India and not by any govt minister of that country. Govt ministers in Sri Lanka had said that the Sri Lankan Opposition Leader has to take a leaf out of more..

'Public servants not paying tax: No justification, no moral right'

May 4 (Island) Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera said public servants had no justification for not paying taxes and no moral right to administer taxes while not being compliant themselves. He said that on a decision taken by the government ten years ago, state corporations were paying PAYE taxes on behalf of officials liable to pay the tax, which totaled Rs. 2 to 3 billion each year. COPE had highlighted the problem earlier this month more..

Editorial: When streets run white with milk

May 4 (Island) The past few weeks have seen quite a number of aggressive demonstrations by resentful farmers demanding reasonable prices for their produce. Heaps of vegetables they leave on the wayside to rot are a common sight in areas like Dambulla whenever there is a bumper harvest. Tomatoes and brinjals fetched as little as Rs. 5 and Rs. 3 a kilo respectively a few week ago in the North-western and North-central Provinces. Paddy growers are also up in more..

The two constitutions of Sri Lanka

May 4 (SL) Is the 13th Amendment: coming, going or gone? It is the question about which Sri Lankans are beating out their brains out and so are the Indians. Has Mahinda Rajapaksa accepted the 13th Amendment and will he implement it or he has decided—as we Sri Lankans say— to ‘quietly forget about it’? Did he tell Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna when he visited Sri Lanka in January that the 13th Amendment Plus would be implemented or did Krishna make it all up when he said more..

Niluka Karunaratne becomes third Sri Lankan to qualify for London Olympics

May 4 (Island) Sri Lanka’s badminton fraternity erupted in joy yesterday after learning that the island’s best player Niluka Karunaratne had qualified for the 2012 London Olympics. Sri Lanka Badminton Federation President Parakrama Basnayake confirmed Karunaratne’s selection for the London Games adding, "His selection for the Olympics is sure to propel the sport to further heights". more..

No Alcohol Week commences today

May 4 (DN) The 'No Alcohol Week' organised by the Health Ministry under the direction of Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena to mark Vesak commences today under President Mahinda Rajapaksa's concept 'Full Stop to Alcohol and Drugs' (Mathata Thitha). The main objective of the week is, preventing fathers from drinking alcohol during the Vesak season. The week to be organized in collaboration with the Ministries of Education, Youth Affairs and Public Administration. A special circular to be sent to more..

Parts of Batticaloa are worse than Vanni in ‘normalcy’

May 4 (TN) While the West and India have stopped talking about the East, and try to project an image that ‘normalcy’ has returned to the East and the North also should follow suit in the same directions, large parts of Batticaloa are silently kept under conditions worse than that of Vanni for the last five years, news sources in the East said. Similar to the times of the war in Vanni, more than 250,000 people were systematically displaced by the occupying SL military in more..

Lanka-Israel to expand bilateral trade

May 4 (DN) Sri Lanka and Israel are expected to further expand bilateral economic relations and trade in the following years which could see the total trade between the two nations rise from US $ 100 million to US $250 million plus within the next two years. “Bilateral trade between the two countries rose from US $68 million three years back to US $100 million plus in 2011. If we do all the right things we can reach US $250 million plus in a couple of years” more..

UNP undecided on course of action

May 4 (CT) The UNP is yet to decide on the course of action that is going to be taken against UNP MPs who attended the Premadasa Commemoration Ceremony on May 01 without getting permission from the party hierarchy. UNP Chairman Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said that a decision with regard to this issue will be taken at the Working Committee soon. As the main UNP rally was held in Jaffna only UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa and Hambantota District MP Dilip Wedarachchi more..

Tips from Sangakkara helps Indian spinner

May 4 (IC) Indian left-arm spinner Ankit Sharma has credited former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara for helping him get noticed at this year's Indian Premier League (IPL). Calling him the "find of the season" for the Deccan Chargers, their captain Sangakkara heaped praise on the 21-year-old. "Sangakkara gives a lot of confidence and his one piece of advice this season has been to try and turn the ball as much as I can and not overuse the arm ball. It has worked well for me," more..

Boston Lanka News: May 03, 2012

Lankan academic honoured in Hawaii

May 4 (Island) Sri Lankans in Hawaii held a ceremony on April 28 in honour of Dr. Wimal Dissanayake for his extensive scholarly accomplishments. The ceremony was held at the Bodhi Meditation Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Sri Lankans of Hawaii congratulated him on his many accomplishments as a son of Sri Lanka and presented him with a plaque to commemorate the event. The evening event concluded after Dr. Dissanayake shared some of his poetry and song compositions with attendees. more..

Monk relates alleged unfortunate incident

May 4 (Island) A group of TMVP cadres including the Chairman of the Wellawali Pradeshiya Sabha in Batticaloa had allegedly been abducted and later released Chief Incumbent of a temple after warning that the monk should give up his support for a group of Sinhalese calling for land rights in the Eastern Province. The monk had faced the alleged incident when he was returning from Wellaweli area after going there yesterday morning to look in to some paddy lands owned by Sinhalese in that area. more..

An oceanfront villa in postwar Sri Lanka

May 4 (NYT) Since celebrating the end of almost 25 years of civil war in 2009, the island nation of Sri Lanka has become an increasingly popular vacation home spot for Western professionals working in Hong Kong, the Middle East and Singapore. And a three-bedroom villa, with both a swimming pool and a private beach on the Indian Ocean, is representative of the kind of property they often buy. The villa, listed at $2.4 million, stands on Taple beach, more..

Harin slams Govt.

May 4 (CT) UNP MP Harin Fernando charged that the govt has started a sinister campaign to sling mud on the UNP saying a UNP supported displayed the LTTE flag during the May Day rally in Jaffna. “There were so many cameramen who were covering the event. But surprisingly, only the ITN Cameraman captured the LTTE flag. It is dubious,” Fernando said. Fernando also challenged the govt to arrest the man shown on video as he has displayed the flag of a banned terrorist organization. more..

Uni. non-academic staff to meet SB

May 4 (Island) A crucial meeting between representatives of university non-academic staff unions, which are demanding the rectification of their salary anomalies and Minister S.B. Dissanayake will be held on Tuesday with the aim of finding an early solution. The union;s top brass will meet today in Colombo to decide their future course of action in the event the govt fails to come up with an acceptable proposal for their decade-old salary anomalies issue next Tuesday, more..

Sampanthan carrying national flag should be highlighted-JHU

May 4 (CT) In what appears to be a significant change of their stance, the JHU said that everyone should appreciate the sole fact that at least the opposition was able to give a May Day rally for people in Jaffna. Commenting on the allegation that the Eelam flag was promoted during the May Day Rally, the JHU also said one should not try to gain political advantages through a simple footage of one person showing an Eelam flag. more..

Alleged signature forger grilled

May 4 (Island) The Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) yesterday said that the suspect, now in custody in connection with forging of actress Angela Seneviratne’s signature, named Udesh was being interrogated. The police had obtained a detention order from a Magistrate to detain and question him, a senior officer said. The suspect is alleged to have forged the actress’ signature to clear three parcels of magazines, concealing hashish, from the Central Mail Exchange after more..

'Govt. deploys security sections to plunder treasure'

May 4 (LT) The Member of the Central Committee of the JVP Bimal Ratnayake spoke of deploying the Army, the police and STF that come under the Ministry of Defense to plunder treasure and abductions by white vans. He said, “The society is aware that a plunder of treasure existed in the country. The people knew there were very senior men in security services and political bigwigs involved in these acts. STF personnel, Backhoe machines, T-56 firearms had been used for more..

'Milco will purchase every drop of milk from farmers'

May 4 (DN) Milco is ready to purchase any amount of milk coming through dairy farmer societies, Minister Arumugam Thondaman told the media yesterday. The dairy farmers of Hatton took to the streets on Wednesday in protest, throwing away their milk stocks as some private milk companies had not purchased their stocks for the last three weeks. Minister said there is no connection between that incident and his ministry. more..

Negative start for tea exports in 2012

May 4 (FT) The country’s tea industry has got off to a negative start in 2012 as far as exports are concerned, with dips in both volume and value. The negative start has caused concern among industry analysts, whilst dampening optimism for higher exports in 2012 on the part of the Govt. Tea exports for the month of January 2012 totalled 23.1 million kilos, down by 1.2 million kilos over the corresponding month of last year. In value terms too total revenue of Rs. 11.8 billion more..

Media is still suppressed

May 4 (FT) With Sri Lanka dropping five places in the World Press Freedom Index from 158 in 2010 to 163 in 2011, the country’s press freedom today lies suppressed with the parliament not passing legislation for a Right to Information Act, not granting justice for the disappearances, assault and murders of journalists as well as economic pressures. Celebrating World Press Freedom Day, senior journalists, heads of newspaper organisations and related originations yesterday voiced that more..

No political activities for dual citizens

May 4 (CT) The govt is considering amending the Immigration and Emigration Act disallowing dual citizenship holders to engage in political activities in Sri Lanka, highly placed govt sources said. With the new amendment, those who hold dual citizenship will not be able to contest Presidential, Parliamentary, Provincial Council or Local Govt elections. However, the politicians who already have dual citizenship will be exempted from the new ban, more..

Sri Lanka accuses 2 London mayoral candidates of pro-LTTE stance

May 4 (PTI) Sri Lanka today accused two key candidates for the mayoralty of London of showing support to pro-LTTE organisations in the UK to garner Tamil vote for elections. Ken Livingstone the former mayor and the labour party candidate at today's election has promised the historic Trafalgar Square, or some other prestigious London venue, for the celebration of Tamil Day on May 18 which is the anniversary of the defeat of the LTTE's armed separatist campaign in 2009, more..

Rs.10 & 2000 notes won’t be printed:CB

May 4 (DM) The Central Bank has decided to stop the printing of Rs.10 and Rs.2000 currency notes henceforth, officials said yesterday. However, the CB said notes already in circulation in could be used for transactions. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivaard Cabraal told the Daily Mirror that a coin had been minted in denomination of Rs. 10. “Instead of the ten-rupee currency note, we will issue this coin hereafter. However, we will not print the note in denomination of Rs.2000. more..

Tamara won’t quit Geneva, stage set for new dispute

May 4 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, Tamara Kunanayakam, has flatly rejected an offer to move her to either Cuba, where she was previously stationed, or Brazil, amidst a simmering dispute over the handling of the US-sponsored resolution at the 19th sessions of the UNHRC in Feb-March, 2012. The resolution was passed by 24 votes––15 against with 8 abstentions. Sources pointed said that a dispute over more..

SC to call Angulana murder convicts’ appeal on May 14

May 4 (Island) An appeal by four officers of the Angulana Police Station, who were convicted of the murder of two youth and sentenced to death by the High Court Trial-at-Bar, will be called before a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court on May 14, 2012. The convicts are constable Indrawanse Kumarasiri, Officer-in-Charge of the station T. V. Newton, constable J. Dhamika Nihal Jayaratne and homeguard G.W.A. Janapriya Senaratne. They were found guilty of killing two youth, more..

GL briefs EP team on development

May 4 (DN) Three Members of the European Parliament's (MEP) Delegation for Relations with Countries of South Asia called on Minister Prof G L Peiris on Monday at the ministry. The delegation discussed with the minister issues of interest to the European Parliament, including the follow up and implementation of the recommendations in the LLRC report. The minister briefed the delegation on developments in this regard and work undertaken by the govt in the North and East which has contributed to more..

Kudankulam nuke risk: concerns on both sides of the gulf

May 4 (ST) Sri Lankan and Indian environment activists are concerned about the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, in Tamil Nadu, which is to be commissioned within the next six weeks. There will be a 20-day trial run of the plant’s first 1000 MW reactor, and the second 1000 MW unit is expected to be commissioned within two months of the first one. Indian activists and the local Kudankulam community are opposed to the nuclear power plant. more..

President’s Office rejects TNA criticism over search operations

May 4 (Island) The President’s Office yesterday said TNA leader R. Sampanthan had conveniently forgotten that he wouldn’t have been able to visit at least Jaffna without the LTTE’s permission if the govt failed in its war on terror campaign. MP Sampanthan, who had remained silent while the LTTE forcibly conscripted children to be used as cannon fodder, today criticised the police and armed forces engaged in more..

Refugees dream of return, come home to nightmare

May 4 (IPS) Krishnaveni Nakkeeran has fled the country of her birth twice and returned twice in the last two decades. The 36-year-old mother of four from the northern Jaffna peninsula in Sri Lanka first fled the bloody civil war to India when she was just 16 years old in 1990. Her family mistakenly believed it was safe to return five years later and was forced to flee yet again in 1998. She returned again in 2010, barely a year after govt forces had defeated the separatist LTTE in 2009, more..

US$ 150mn additional cost dampens exports

May 4 (Island) Sri Lanka’s total export cost is likely to increase by an estimated US$ 150 million per quarter with shipping lines increasing freight rates by as much as US$ 700 per container since the beginning of this year. The Chairman of the Sri Lanka Shippers Council Gehan Kurrupu says the country’s total export freight cost is likely to increase by US$ 150 million per quarter with 20 foot container charges increasing from US $ 900 to US$ 1,600 since January. more..