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DMK MPs meet Antony to end Sri Lankan Army training

Sept 4 (Hindu) Key UPA ally DMK on Tuesday demanded that the Centre should immediately scrap the training programme for Sri Lankan Army personnel in the country, arguing that such exercises create doubts in the minds of people of Tamil Nadu about the govt’s intentions. A delegation of DMK MPs met Defence Minister A.K. Antony and placed their demands before him, explaining the rationale for wanting scrapping of the training programmee. more..

Refugees in India reluctant to return

Sept 4 (IRIN) More than three years after the end of Sri Lanka’s 1983-2009 civil war, most Sri Lankan refugees in India say they would rather not return, citing economic hardship and concern over human rights abuses. According to Indian govt figures, there are more than 100,000 ethnic Tamil Sri Lankans in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, including 68,000 in 112 govt-run camps and 32,000 outside the camps. “My relatives who have returned say `Don’t come. more..

Sinhalese journalist on why some Sri Lankans need asylum

Sept 4 (ABC) The controversy over the Australian Opposition's plan to send all Sri Lankan asylum seekers home, without processing their claims has erupted at a time when a group of Sri Lankan journalists have arrived in Australia to promote a new documentary. Called Silenced Voices - Tales of Sri Lankan Journalists in Exile, the film paints a picture of the dangers faced by journalists, including death threats, abductions and indefinite detention. Bashana Abeywardane is a reporter from more..

Two men convicted of raping Sri Lankan woman

Sept 4 (JT) The Criminal Court has sentenced two men to prison for raping a Sri Lankan woman in the capital’s Hashemi Shamali suburb in November 2008. The court declared M.A., 30, and M.Q., 32, guilty of raping the 21-year-old factory worker at a house in Hashemi Shamali and sentenced them to 15 and 20 years in prison respectively. The court said the two defendants — and a third who was not identified in the charge sheet — were drunk on the day of the incident and more..

Wimal blames India’s central govt for attacks on Lankans

Sept 4 (AD) Minister Wimal Weerawansa says that “organized violence” against Sri Lankan nationals in Tamil Nadu, cannot be carried out without the assistance of the Indian govt. The silence of India’s central govt and its inaction over the incidents is a cause of regret for the Sri Lankan people, the NFF leader said. If South India incites violence against Sri Lankans visiting, training defence personnel, playing sports more..

CID's request for injunction against LTSU rejected

Sept 4 (LT) The injunction asked by the CID against Lanka Teacher Services Union (LTSU) has been rejected. The General Secretary of LTSU Mahinda Jayasinghe who went before Gampaha Magistrates Court on a directive has been asked by Gampaha Chief Magistrate Ms. Kema Swarnadhipathy to present to Court on the 6th all information regarding the statement he had given to the media. The request made to Gampaha Magistrates Court by the CID for an injunction against more..

NFF candidate under pressure to withdraw

Sept 4 (SM) The UPFA hierarchy is pressurizing NFF’s Jayantha Wijesekara to withdraw his candidature for Trincomalee district at the upcoming provincial council polls. The candidate from minister Wimal Weerawansa’s party has been told to issue a statement that he would pull out. However, Mr. Wijesekara has said that he would not withdraw candidature for any reason, and that he would support the UPFA after the polls. He has said that he had decided to contest on his own as the NFF had not been given nominations. more..

Indian govt not to stop training of lankan military personnel

Sept 4 (PTI) Notwithstanding pressure from Tamil political parties, government has no immediate plan to stop training Sri Lankan military personnel in India but joint exercises are expected to be put on hold for the time-being. Training of Sri Lankan defence personnel at different training establishments will continue as there is no plan to end the military cooperation programme with Sri Lanka, sources told PTI here. more..

Murder of the judiciary

Sept 5 (CT) We are not final because we are infallible; we are infallible because we are final,” said a Chief Justice of the United States referring to the Supreme Court. This statement was referred to by Chief Justice Asoka de Silva in his ceremonial address to the Bar upon his appointment as Chief Justice. Now we find judges’ houses being stoned, courts being attacked by the public and even excreta being thrown at judges within the court as well as police stations being besieged by more..

The Constitution of Sri Lanka

Sept 5 (NS) He adds, “These goal values are epitomes of human civilization development.” These words are followed by a very significant statement. “These goals - part of the Indian Constitution is the most excellent and most inviolable part of it. People have to be eternally vigilant to prevent anybody from playing with them.” This point about how the knowledgeable people of a country of their constitution received our attention earlier. But not in the pointed way Umpathy has dealt within it. more..

Monorail proposed to resolve Colombo's traffic woes

Sept 5 (SO) Colombo, which is getting increasingly traffic-clogged and congested, is in dire need of a mass rapid transit system that could help reduce the number of cars on the road. It should be more convenient, faster, cleaner and equally affordable. Several proposals are being pursued and there is greater focus on a monorail project, which does not require (enormously costly) underground tunnelling. more..

Minister Champika Ranawaka must be held responsible for Chinese power plant fiasco

Sept 5 (DBS) Just a few months ago Champika Ranawaka was strutting about the political firmament like an up and coming world champ. Sri Lanka, he declared, was the only country in South Asia that did not suffer power cuts. He as the Minister of Power would provide electricity to every household in Sri Lanka before 2013, was his proud boast. Under his command new power plants had come up. Kerawalapitiya was one and then there was Norochcholai more..

From chalkboards to picket lines:The journey of a trade union

Sept 5 (DBS) The university system in Sri Lanka is at a standstill. The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA), the umbrella body of 43 university teachers’ trade unions, is attempting to negotiate with a government that sees even the acknowledgement of FUTA’s position as a threat to its power and control. A trade union action that began a year ago as a simple demand for salaries goes viral as school teachers, students, and political parties examine the trajectory of more..

When patience is not a virtue…

Sept 5 (DM) There is a saying that patience is a virtue. However, this saying cannot be applied to all situations. The Rajapaksa regime told the masses to be patient. It was during the war when the govt increased prices of essential commodities and burdened the masses with more and more taxes. The Govt’s excuse was that it had to earn a large amount of money to spend for the war. It was emphasized that the masses, despite suffering, should endure more..

Hail! I am from the Northern Province, I wrote this…

Sept 5 (NS) “I will erase even the memory of Sparta from the histories…”- Antagonist dialogue line from the movie 300- Here is the storyline given in The Evolution of an Ethnic Identity; “The Tamils of Sri Lanka evolved as a second ethnic group. Their evolution was parallel to that of the Sinhalese” (p 31). The start of the evolution goes back to the Early Iron Age (900-300 BC), which was a happening period. During it, ‘the Mesolithic people of the island came under new influences’ more..

Dictators are not immune from justice processes

Sept 5 (CT) Dictators who believe that they are immune from being brought to justice for the crimes that they commit should take a long, hard look at what is happening around us in the wider global community. And let me add a caveat right at the start. This is not a precursor to a discussion on the mechanisms of international justice by the United Nations, the workings of which (it must be conceded) have a long way more to go before they can be a sufficient deterrent to abusive more..

Sri Lanka’s obsession with fairness

Sept 5 (CT) There have been a countless number of times I’ve heard the aunty-types say, “she’s dark but pretty, no?” It just goes to suggest that usually people cannot be dark and pretty at the same time. It’s been a phenomenon in India for the longest time and it seems to be creeping down to Sri Lanka; if it hasn’t already taken root. Preying on peoples’ insecurities, fairness creams are widely available and come more..

Editorial: Jayalalithaa's terrorism

Sept 5 (Island) Sri Lanka has, after years of vacillation, issued a travel advisory, warning its citizens against visiting Tamil Nadu, where there has been an alarming increase in attacks on Sri Lankans. The latest incident has been reported from Thanjavur, where 184 Sri Lankan pilgrims worshipping at the Poornimatha Church were mobbed on Monday. Luckily, they managed to take refuge in the church. Else, what would have befallen them is anyone's guess. They were to be more..

Sri Lanka wheelchair duo lose in London Paralympics

Sept 5 (Island) Sri Lanka’s promising wheelchair tennis players who featured in the London Paralympics failed to live up to expectations losing in the first round of both Men’s Singles and Doubles events by yesterday, the Sri Lanka Tennis Association and ITF sources said. The London Paralympics wheelchair tennis is held at the Eton Manor of the Olympic Park from Sep. 1 to 8. The Lankan duo were expected to provide a stiff challenge to their opponents after getting Wild Card entries more..

Connections | September 03, 2012

Tilak insists no overregulation

Sept 5 (FT) Former Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Chief Tilak Karunaratne rebuked allegations of over regulation and ad hoc measures as having impacted the stock market during his tenure and noted that the SEC Act should be strengthened further to punish manipulators. “What some of the crony brokers and dishonest investors try to project in the media is that over regulation, ad hoc controls, sudden restrictions affected the growth of the market, which is not true,” more..

Lankan women more at risk of NCDs

Sept 5 (DN) More Sri Lankan women than men are at risk of developing Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Only 81.4% of Sri Lankan men have an unhealthy diets while 93.3% of women take unhealthy diet. Only 18% of men are inactive while 32% of women are inactive. This means more women are idle than men during their daily life. When it comes to being overweight and obesity, only 20% of men are subjected to both while 30.4% are overweight and suffer from obesity. more..

Black economy gobbles up US$ 3bn annually

Sept 5 (Island) Sri Lanka loses nearly US$ 3 billion in foreign exchange each year from private remittances and a further Rs. 100 billion in taxes and duties from importers under invoicing bills because the state was not doing enough to curb a thriving black economy in the country. "The Sri Lankan population working abroad is estimated to be around 1.9 million in 2010. Based on that, average annual earnings are around US$ 8.7 billion. more..

9% of Lankans have hearing disorders

Sept 5 (DN) The Health Ministry has discovered that nine percent of Sri Lankans are suffering from some sort of hearing disorder, a Health Ministry spokesman said. This condition is alarming because the percentage is similar to countries with large populations. The hearing impaired population in Sri Lanka has been calculated including deaf persons. Health Ministry has planned to launch a special National Programme on September 11 on prevention of hearing impairment and deafness under the direction of Health Minister more..

Two gold smugglers nabbed at BIA

Sept 5 (Island) Officers of the State Intelligence Services (SIS) and Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB), took into custody two persons, at the BIA, while they were attempting to smuggle out gold biscuits to India in the early hours of yesterday. According to their confession to the BIA Customs, the smugglers, who had provided their services as couriers to unknown agents, had been carrying out the operation a few times and this was the first time that they had been arrested. more..

‘Boom’ is back?

Sept 5 (FT) The stock market is enjoying a sudden boom but it is certainly too unpredictable to be emphatic that the rebound is there to stay though investor sentiments are sure to have got a big boost of late. Continuing from where it left on first day of the fresh week, CSE yesterday got further strengthened with buying across the board as confirmed by at least two brokers whilst retailers remained re-energised, more..

Five more power sets in operation

Sept 5 (DN) "Five of the 13 high-tech power-sets imported from China have arrived and the rest would arrive in the country before the end of the year," Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said. "Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) has ordered 13 power sets (S-12 category) from China on easy payment terms as a result of strong bilateral relations between China and Sri Lanka," he said. The loan would be settled within 15 years. The cost of the 13 S-12 category trains is US $ 101 million. more..

Severe shortage of essential drugs

Sept 5 (Island) A severe shortage of essential drugs has jeopardised the lives of many patients seeking treatment at a large number of state-run hospitals around the country. Drugs such as atavastatin (for high cholesterol), metformin (diabetes), losartan (high blood pressure) and spinal needles were out of stock, All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) General Secretary Gamini Kumarasinghe alleged. He pointed out that several kinds of vital drugs required by the heart, kidney and more..

Campaigning ends at midnight today

Sept 5 (CT) When the political campaigns of the upcoming Provincial Councils Elections in the Eastern, North-Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces come to an end at midnight today, no political party can continue their propaganda work,. Elections Department, Deputy Commissioner, M.M. Mohammed told Ceylon Today, yesterday, election laws categorically states rallies, meetings and campaigns should not take place after political campaigning ends. more..

Batticaloa Airport modernisation underway

Sept 5 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the modernisation work of the Batticaloa Domestic Airport. Modernisation work estimated at a cost of Rs 800 million was launched on the direction of the President with the involvement of the Treasury and the Civil Aviation Ministry. Construction work will be carried out in two phases. Under the first phase, a new terminal building will be constructed at a cost of Rs 19.3 million. Construction of the first phase, scheduled to be completed by January next year, will be carried out by the Air Force. more..

Airman’s body found on Bambalapitiya beach

Sept 5 (Island) An airman's body was found stuck between two rocks yesterday morning on the Bambalapitiya beach, where boulders had been laid to prevent sea erosion. The deceased, 21-year-old Thilana Madusanka Gunaratne, a resident of Karadeniyawa, Kandy was found trapped between two rocks around 7.25 a.m. after Bambalapitiya police were informed of the presence of a body by residents. The investigations were being carried out to ascertain the cause of death. more..

Two hungry nations collide over fishing

Sept 5 (NYT) Drifting on the strait between India and Sri Lanka, an Indian fisherman named Sakthivel cowered in his boat. A Sri Lankan naval officer, who took the man’s photograph, delivered a warning: If we find you in Sri Lankan waters again, you will never leave. Returning to this Indian fishing village, Sakthivel quickly sold his boat and swore off fishing. He told friends that he was too frightened to return to the sea. But, uneducated and jobless, he knew only fishing. more..

Devotees throng Matara to pay homage to Kapilavasthu Relics

Sept 5 (DN) Over 700,000 devotees paid homage to the Kapilavasthu Sacred Relics since they were brought to Kotikagoda Rajamaha Viharaya, Matara on Sunday. An eight kilometre queue extended from Rajamaha Viharaya upto Godaga as pilgrims stood for the pristine opportunity of worshipping the Sacred Relics. Police said a 15 feet wide path on the main road was created for devotees to enter the viharaya premises. Three new entrances were also opened to cope with more..

Witness protection law almost finalised

Sept 5 (Island) The Victim and Witness protection law and the new Prison Administration Act have been almost finalised and are expected to be presented to the minister of Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation next month for presenting in parliament. "The enactment of the Prison Administration Act was initiated at the time the department was under the Ministry of Justice," Secretary to the ministry, Kamalini de Silva said. The Act was mainly to ensure the effective administration of prisons. more..

Journey of faith turns nightmarish

Sept 5 (Hindu) For Joseph from Chilaw in Puttalam district in North-West Sri Lanka, the yearly pilgrimage to India has always been a thanksgiving mission after being cured of sores that covered his body. It turned nightmarish this year. Not only was the pilgrimage of 178 Sri Lankan nationals, including Joseph, who visited the basilicas of Velankanni and Poondi curtailed, but the last leg of the journey also saw them return home with bruises after buses transporting them to more..

Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu: A messy situation

Sept 5 (Rediff) If the political parties in Tamil Nadu do not conduct themselves with a sense of balance and responsibility and indulge in competitive exploitation of the discontent in certain sections of the population over Sri Lanka-related issues, they may end up by creating passions beyond control in both countries. All right-thinking Tamils should be concerned over the acts of anger directed against two football teams of Sri Lankan students in Chennai and against Sri Lankan Christian pilgrims in southern Tamil Nadu in recent days. more..

Ampara the most violent – Polls monitors

Sept 5 (Island) Election monitors yesterday said that in the run up to the September 8 PC elections, the Ampara District topped the polls violence List. Executive Director of the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) Keerthi Tennakoon said that most cases of harassment had been reported from Akkaraipattu. He said that during the last six days, massive fights took place between the National Congress and SLMC. Tennakoon said that both physically attacked each other, but police involvement was not enough. more..

Parties sympathise with Sri Lankan pilgrims’ plight

Sept 5 (DC) With the pro-Tamil outfits attacking Sri Lankan pilgrims in the state, the DMK on Tuesday said it was only opposed to India’s training defence personnel from the island nation while the CPI(M) expressed concern over the hostility towards the visitors. DMK president M. Karunanidhi said his party was strongly opposed to India’s training of defence personnel from Lanka, but was not averse to players’ visits. more..

Dr. JJ wants WHO recommendations implemented

Sept 5 (Island) UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana has written to the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission’s Chairman asking him to advise the relevant authorities to implement the recommendations, submitted by the WHO and local Medical Experts, on the latest findings on Chronic Kidney Disease of Unidentified Etiology. He said that he had urged the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission to immediately implement the recommendations suggested by the more..

Vying for political points, Tamil Nadu parties silent on attacks

Sept 5 (TOI) At a time when there is hardly a ripple on the political horizon, the Sri Lankan Tamil issue has come as a handy tool for political parties in Tamil Nadu. The stand of the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK has inspired smaller parties and pro-Tamil outfits to step up their aggression against visiting Sri Lankan dignitaries and tourists. There have been at least three incidents of intimidation before Monday's Thanjavur episode, but there have been no statements of condemnation by any more..