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Editorial: Are we sovereign or a pawn?

Sept 7 (DM) In the wake of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Teheran, Sri Lanka which has played a significant role in NAM since its inception needs to review its position because of the growing role of China and India in this country. From 1956, Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and later his widow Sirimavo took bold steps to build NAM without being aligned to the superpowers the United States and Soviet Union during the cold war era. So much so Ms. Bandaranaike had more..

Need for peaceful ‘regime change’

Sept 7 (CT) After the end of the war against the LTTE, ethnic reconciliation with all minorities, the Tamils and the Muslims alike, and also between them undoubtedly was the priority. There was no justification of the war otherwise. Development was necessary in parallel, but not as a substitute or instead of reconciliation. The policy of the Rajapaksa regime, as it has turned out to be, is not reconciliation but assimilation. Reconciliation is only by words but not by deeds. more..

WikiLeaks: 'Both Gota and Basil were at the elections commissioner’s office'

Sept 7 (CT) “Mangala argued that by obtaining the copies of the tally sheets and then comparing those totals sent by the districts to the totals announced in Colombo, it could be shown that changes were made. He also claimed they were trying to get statements from state employees working in the Elections Commissioner’s office, to provide evidence that both Basil and more..

New port boosts trade options for Sri Lanka

Sept 7 (KSA) Sujith Randeniya, 27, a private sector employee in Colombo, fell sick recently with an infection accompanied by a viral flu. He consulted a doctor, but his illness persisted. Another doctor prescribed him an antibiotic that cured the infection after two weeks of suffering. He later discovered the drug had been manufactured in Bangladesh. Prior to his illness, he hadn't realised that Bangladesh was exporting high-quality pharmaceuticals to Sri Lanka. Like many other Sri Lankans, more..

Three years of imprisonment and torture, but he was innocent

Sept 7 (AN) "As suspected terrorist, I was taken to the police station Teldeniya. There, under the eyes of my mother, a dozen policemen beat me with kicks and punches. I had burns on my legs and wounds everywhere. The police tortured me all night. " So begins the testimony of Muralitheran Raaja, familiarly called Murali, a young native of Kandy, who was arrested and imprisoned under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), the law more..

Development activities of Dry Zone Botanic Gardens accelerated

Sept 7 (GDI) A substantial proportion of development activities of the Dry Zone Botanic Gardens at Mirijjawila has been completed. This 300-acre botanic garden, which is the sixth botanic garden in Sri Lanka, is the largest Botanic garden in the country. Land acquisition for this site was initiated in 2006 and the planting commenced in 2008. over 50% of the development activities have now been completed. more..

Sri Lanka Vietnam trade up 51-pct in first six months: envoy

Sept 7 (LBO) Two way trade between Sri Lanka and Vietnam reached 64 million US dollars in the first six months of the year, up 51 percent from a year earlier, Hanoi's envoy to Colombo Ton Sinh Thanh said. "It is estimated that in the first nine months, the total trade between the two countries may reach 95 million US dollars," he said during an event to mark the national day of Vietnam. "I am confident that with mutual efforts, the friendship and co-operation between more..

Asylum seekers refuse to leave boat in Indonesia

Sept 7 (AFP) More than 50 Australia-bound asylum seekers from Sri Lanka have refused to leave their boat after it was found stranded off Indonesia's Sumatra island a week ago. Local police say the boat, with 53 people onboard, was found drifting near small Mentawai island off Sumatra on September 1 after it ran out of fuel. "They refused to get off the boat, saying that they want to continue their journey to Christmas Island (Australia). They want 2,000 litres of fuel to sail back to sea," more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 07.09.2012

FUTA protests welcome - President

Sept 7 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said he has no objections to protests by FUTA to coincide with the Commonwealth Parliamentary meet in Colombo next week as it will only go to show how vibrant the democracy in Sri Lanka is. Addressing the editors this morning the President maintained that he has never objected to peaceful protests by any party, union or group and added he has issues only with protests and marches that have vandalism as part of their action. more..

Tense situation in Embilipitiya

Sept 7 (CT) A tense situation arose in the New town area, in Embilipitiya while the Mahaweli pre-school building and buildings around the area were to be demolished without any notice due to being illegal constructions in the govt property. Speaking to Ceylon Today Online the Embilipitiya Urban Council Chairman Wevalduwe Gnanapraba Thero stated that he was informed about the demolition. The weekly fair and some other buildings are to be demolished and the place is to be built as an economic centre, he said. more..

21 year old woman arrested over lawyer’s murder

Sept 7 (AD) A 21 year old woman has been arrested in connection with the murder of a lawyer in Athurugiriya, Police said a short while ago. Earlier it was reported that a 65 year old lawyer was found dead at his house in Athurugiriya. Police claim that the woman arrested on suspicion has confessed to the murder. Upon investigation it was revealed that the victim had been living separate from his wife and has two sons more..

stocks jumps to two-month high on foreign buying

Sept 7 (Reuters) Stocks extended gains for a ninth straight session on Friday, jumping 2 percent to a five-month high helped by blue chips and foreign buying. The Colombo Stock Exchange's main index gained 2%, or 107.93 points, to 5,496.85, its highest close since April 4. "Everybody is chipping in. Everybody is participating in the run and it's mainly a sentiment-driven market," said a stockbroker. The new head of the SEC, Nalaka Godahewa, is expected to come up with more..

Rage in India a spotlight on Sri Lanka’s war victims

Sept 7 (Reuters) Almost 4 years since Sri Lanka’s war ended, rage over the lack of rehabilitation for thousands of survivors of the bloody 25-year-long civil conflict has surfaced – not on the war-torn Indian Ocean island itself, but in neighbouring India. India’s Tamil Nadu state — where the majority Tamil ethnic group have a close association with Tamils living across the Palk Straits in Sri Lanka – have long felt their brothers have been discriminated against by the Sinhalese-ruled govt. more..

Tiran resigns from Fonseka’s party ?

Sept 7 (CG) General Secretary of the Democratic Party Tiran Alles has resigned from his post in the party, reports said. When the Colombo Gazette contacted DNA General Secretary Vijitha Herath he said that Alles has not resigned from the DNA alliance. However he could not comment on reports that Alles had resigned from the Democratic Party. The resignation followed an interview Democratic Party leader Sarath Fonseka had given to a local Sinhala newspaper. more..

12 hour water cut in Colombo

Sept 7 (DM) The water supply will be interrupted 12 hours from 8.00 pm on Saturday (8) to 8.00 am on Sunday (9) due to the laying of new pipe lines under the Kalu Ganga Project. The following areas will be affected: Maligawatte Road, a part of Panchikawatte Road, Abeysinharamaya Road Junction to Jethawana Road Junction with Sri Sumanatissa Mawatha, Meraniya Street, Paradise Place, Old Moor Street, Prince Gate, M.J. Laffir Mawatha, Bandaranaike Mawatha, more..

Complaint boxes in schools: Dealing with escalating child abuse

Sept 7 (CT) Complaint boxes are to be provided to schools for children to lodge their complaints regarding child abuse, said National Child Protection Authority Chairperson, Anoma Dissanayake. Dissanayake said children can write information and complaints regarding child abuse, and put it into these boxes installed in schools for the officials of the Bureau to collect. The officials will regularly inspect the boxes and safeguard the identity of these children. more..

'Indian govt assures safety of Lankans'

Sept 7 (PTI) Against the backdrop of attacks on Sri Lankan pilgrims in Tamil Nadu, President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said the Indian govt has responded positively to his country's request to guarantee the safety of its citizens. Only a small, politically-motivated group was responsible for the harassment of Sri Lankan visitors and they were receiving no encouragement whatsoever from the central Indian govt, he said in his first public reaction on the issue. more..

Sri Lanka’s Avirate plans more outlets in India

Sept 7 (F2F) Sri Lanka’s Timex Garments, which opened its first Avirate brand outlet in India last December, now plans to increase the count of its Avirate outlets in India to seven by close of the current year, and to 30 by end of next year. With an aim to penetrate in Indian market in a big way and to cater to high-end consumers, the brand plans to set up outlets in key malls across India, Timex Garments CEO Arshad Sattar said. Eyeing good returns from its stores in more..

SSU tightens bonds with Chinese Communist youths

Sept 7 (LT) The National Organizer of Socialist Students Union (SSU) Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa, who is in China for an international workshop of leaders of youth organization on an invitation from All China Youth Federation (ACYF), has had special discussions on the 5th with Mr. Lu Yongzheng, the Vice President of the ACYF and Secretary of the Chinese Communist Youth Organization. Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa also had a meeting with Miss Dong Xia, the Deputy Chief Secretary of more..

Sri Lankan Tamils seeks mandate for power sharing

Sept 7 (PTI) The Tamil political party seeking to control a Sri Lankan provincial assembly for the first time hopes an election victory Saturday will be seen internationally as a mandate for more power-sharing in ethnic Tamil-majority provinces. TNA lawmaker M.A. Sumanthiran today said that a victory in the Eastern Provincial Council would be a key step though the party wants more power to be devolved based on federalism. more..

SF says no letter from Tiran

Sept 7 (CG) Democratic National Party (DNP) leader Sarath Fonseka says he has not received a letter from Tiran Alles stating that he has resigned from the party. Fonseka also said that he was misquoted by a weekend newspaper regarding some comments he had made on Alles. Fonseka said that he will be making a full statement regarding the controversy that had arisen over the next couple of days. There were reports today to the effect that Alles had resigned from the DNP and had handed over his resignation letter to Fonseka. more..

Has political posturing intensified anti-Lanka emotions?

Sept 7 (Tehelka) Fuelled by political posturing, Tamil Nadu has been transformed into a hotbed of anti-Lankan sentiment. The black flags and sloganeering resorted to by fringe groups in the aftermath of the decimation of the LTTE, three years ago, has been getting periodic shots in the arm from the State establishment, egging on mainstream parties to join the race to capture Tamil emotions. At one level, the situation is reminiscent of regional tension of more..

North to Jaffna

Sept 7 (TA) Emerging north out of the lushness of Sri Lanka, like a bare toe sticking out of a sock, is Jaffna, a peninsula surrounded by 10 islets linked by causeways and ancient ferries chugging through the calm seas intersecting the fragmented land. There are plans to develop the islands as high-end tourist destinations, but for now -- except for local families travelling up from the south to discover the remote north after 30 years of civil war -- more..

East coast Muslims, the choice is yours

Sept 8 (LB) The upcoming Eastern Provincial Council elections offer the ethnic Muslim majority community in the province a clear choice regarding their own future. They face a choice between the proponents of massive development programmes that underlie the govt’s efforts to build a prosperous and ethnically harmonious Sri Lanka, and communalist forces urging them to rally around the banner of ‘Muslim Unity’ for future confrontations, on account of problems yet to emerge. more..

Baton passes in British conservative politics

Sept 8 (SL) A 25-year old who traces his ancestry all the way to Balangoda, Sri Lanka was recently elected as a Local Councillor in a London suburb. Gaj Wallooppillai was the Conservative Party candidate in Coombe Hill, Kingston a well-to-do constituency in England’s stockbroker belt county of Surrey. Gaj registered an easy win and became the youngest ever Conservative party member of Asian extraction to be elected as a Local Councillor. Wallooppillai traces his ancestry more..

Why did Raja die?

Sept 8 (Hindu) Raja, the elephant, frequently hung out by the side of the dirt road leading through Yala National Park to the Buddhist temple of Sithulpahuwa, Sri Lanka. He tugged at the foliage lackadaisically, an elephant minding his own business. A van crammed with pilgrims approached and the driver paused, uncertain whether to zip around the elephant or wait for him to move. Raja showed no sign of leaving, so the driver edged closer. more..

IDPs, Buddha statues and unsettling news on resettlement

Sept 8 (CT) The Govt has been trumpeting its success in resettling IDPs to all and sundry of late. Hardly a week goes by without some reference to the official statistics, which indicate that at the end of July there were only 5,443 people remaining at Manik Farm, while another 7,329 were staying in welfare centres elsewhere in the Northern Province. That’s nothing compared to the hundreds of thousands the Govt was accommodating at the end of the war. What’s more, more..

Midweek Politics: Monsoons and elections

Sept 8 (CT) The much-longed-for monsoon rains are lashing at the capital Colombo and other parts of the south west as Sri Lanka gears up for yet another provincial election and international challenges pertaining to its post-war accountability and reconciliation plans in the days and weeks ahead. With election campaigning having officially ended at midnight yesterday, political parties led by the UPFA and the UNP are vying for supremacy in the battleground provinces of North Central and Eastern, although the results of more..

The cinematic journey of a rebel

Sept 8 (CT) Prasanna Vithanage’s earliest memories of cinema stem from the time he was five years old. As a little boy he was excited to be treated to the movies by his parents, to watch both Sinhala and Hindi movies. Almost four decades later, he is able to remember storylines of each and every movie without missing a single scene but also capable of recollecting the entire evening to and from the cinema hall as if it were a part of the same sequence. more..

The existence of objects – II

Sept 8 (Island) We return after more than a month to the discussion on "the existence of objects" the first installment of which appeared on 1st August 2012. The so-called objects are creations of the mind and can be considered atmavadi in Theravada Bududahama. It is anicca, dukka, anatta and shunya according the teaching of Sammasambuddha, which are not concepts though we attempt to understand anicca as impermanence using the concept of permanence. It is anicca, dukka, anatta and shunya that we do not understand thus more..

Public Bureaucracy And Development:A point of view

Sept 8 (Island) Sri Lankan public bureaucracy, though it came into existence as a colonial instrument, was adapted to the economic and social needs of the country and the process of adaptation began under the Donoughmore dispensation. The public bureaucracy has, since then, been transformed by the different governments in the post-independence period and deriving inspiration from the colonial tradition, it adjusted accordingly to the political perceptions of the regimes which more..

Muslim Congress assumes people can be fooled all the time

Sept 8 (DBS) “You are with us or against us” and many other slogans President Bush used after 9/11 to force an alliance. In the forthcoming local elections, The SLMC position is better described as ‘with you and also against you.’ The SLMC joined the UPFA to get the 18th Amendment through Parliament, for which the party was rewarded, although the SLMC had backed Sarath Fonseka in the last Presidential Elections and more..

10th Death Anniversary of Legendary Broadcaster Vernon Corea

Sept 8 (Island) The 10th death anniversary of the Legendary Radio Ceylon/Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation broadcaster falls on the 23rd of September 2012. He had a glittering career of 45 years in public service broadcasting in Sri Lanka and in the United Kingdom. In a tribute to the ‘Golden Voice of Radio Ceylon’, Neville Jayaweera, the distinguished Sri Lankan civil servant and former Director-General of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation said: more..

Editorial: Bringing dons back to universities

Sept 8 (Island) The govt has reopened universities but without teachers. Students are keeping away and conducting street protests. The university crisis has manifestly got out of hand. The striking dons have crossed the Rubicon. The govt is trying to wear down the strikers, who have shown remarkable resilience. Neither side is likely to blink in the foreseeable future; all signs are that the universities will remain paralysed indefinitely and students will be driven to extreme action. more..

Mixing music, making DJs

Sept 8 (ST) Love of music and ‘DJ-ing’ are inextricably linked and that is what the DJ Academy, Sri Lanka’s first-ever school exclusively catering to the education of Disc Jockeys (DJs) and entertainment industry training pursues passionately. As the DJ Academy celebrates its fourth anniversary, its Founder Tareeq Musafer stresses, “Be a DJ for the love of music. It has to wow you. Never do it for the image.” more..

Anarchy in governance

Sept 8 (ST) “There are none so blind as those who will not see and none so deaf as those who will not hear” says a well-known idiom which is a reflection of the state of governance today. Unfortunately – aside from sections of the media – Sri Lankan citizens (barring a few) are either afraid to speak out or are simply not interested and reminds one of another phrase “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”. Over the past few years, many issues have surfaced that have raised more..

Customs extends automated services to two companies

Sept 8 (Island) Sri Lanka Customs (SLC) said that the extension of the automated service to two private institutions would help small time importers and exporters who don’t have the facility to electronically key- in the required documents. Additional Director General Sri Lanka Customs, D.S. Gunatunga said yesterday that SLC would be able to expedite the Customs process by the extended facility. Explaining the procedure he said that more..

Interview - Chandraguptha Thenuwara

Court cases filed against illegal fishing

Sept 8 (DN) The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry has announced that it has already filed 596 cases against fishermen who use illegal fishing vessels, equipment and prohibited fishing methods island-wide. According to Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne 497 cases out of those filed, relate to fishing with dynamite, and using illegal nets and equipment. Others are connected to unregistered fishing boats and non-renewal of fishing licences and permits. more..