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Tamils: Broker politics or democratic action?

Aug 12 (CT) The more incisive comments on my previous posting, The Meanings of Wigneswaran, raise several, inter-related issues that have been central to the Tamil Question and still bedevil action. This writing responds to and builds on them and attempts to probe further. It is necessary at the outset to clarify an unfortunate misreading in one comment, that my arguments envisage ‘a need to fight the regime’. It’s ludicrous on my part to suggest Tamils ought to ‘fight’ the regime. more..

There is something amiss in governance

Aug 12 (CT) In recent times, the media has highlighted many cases of land grabs by politically powerful persons in Sri Lanka, with the lands ranging from those owned by individuals to State lands including river and reservoir bunds, flood plains, sanctuaries, among other areas coming under the greedy grasp of such persons. No matter the exposure, the plunder goes on with impunity as the offenders know for certain the law cannot catch up with them due to their high political more..

Kandy Esala Perahera: The world’s oldest, religious and cultural pageant

Aug 12 (DM) The historic Esala Perahera in Kandy, the world’s oldest, religious and cultural pageant began on August 7 with the traditional installation of Kapa (Kappa-Situweema) at the four Devales located around the Sri Dalada Maligawa. This year’s Esala Perahera is considered as the 1701st perahera after the ‘Danta Dhatu’ (Tooth Relic of the Buddha) was brought to the country by Prince Danta and more..

Nawaloka Hospitals to sell Rs1.5bn in debt

Aug 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Nawaloka Hospitals will sell 1.5 billion rupees in unsecured listed debt RAM Ratings Lanka said, giving them an 'A' rating. Nawaloka operates a 415 bed hospital in Colombo. "The ratings continued to be supported by the Group’s strong competitive position, lower leverage and strong debt-protection metrics as well as the bright demand outlook for the private healthcare sector," RAM Ratings said. "On the other hand, the ratings are weighed down by more..

Bomb causes no damage to temple

Aug 12 (Island) The new Buddhist temple being constructed in the Navakkuli area, in Jaffna, had been attacked with a bomb by an unidentified group on Friday night. No one had been injured and the temple premises too had escaped damage in the attack, Jaffna police said. A Buddhist organization, with the help of Sinhalese resettled in the Navakkuli area, is constructing the temple. These Sinhala families had been living there until the 1980s and had left their homes as the conflict escalated. more..

'Govt. to settle 100,000 soldiers in North'

Aug 12 (CT) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) candidate contesting the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) polls and former TNA MP M.K. Sivajilingam, said the Army in the North is in the process of setting up massive cantonments with Chinese assistance, to permanently relocate around 100,000 troops in the Northern Province, and there is no truth in the Army’s announcement of withdrawing from lands that belong to civilians in the North. more..

Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.3%

Aug 12 (LBO) Stocks closed down 0.35% Monday following long week-end with losses in the large cap stocks, brokers said. The All Share Index closed 21.68 points lower at 6,130.24 and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 18.71 points lower at 3,451.45 down 0.54%. Turnover was 372 million rupees up from 285 million Thursday with over 18 million shares traded. Foreigners brought 150 million rupees worth shares while selling 90 million rupees of shares, in a day that 72 stocks advanced and more..

Violation of Election laws: All complaints by UPFA candidates

Aug 12 (Island) Director of the Police Elections Secretariat, Senior DIG Gamini Nawaratne said that from July 25 up to yesterday his division had received ten complaints of election law violations in the run up to the North-Western, Central and Northern Provincial Council elections. All complaints had been made by UPFA candidates and supporters against their own party colleagues. The complaints included threats, intimidation and other breaches of election laws, he said adding that more..

Packer upset over change in casino building plans

Aug 12 (ST) Highly perturbed Australian casino operator Crown Ltd has expressed concern and rejected a govt decision to change the building plan of its mixed development at D.R. Wijewardane Mawatha. Following this refusal, the govt has now asked that the development be shifted to another location on the same road, completely disrupting the project to set up the Colombo Crown Casino at the car park site in front of more..

Spinners set up narrow win for Kandurata

Aug 12 (CI) An eleventh-hour surge put Basnahira Greens in touching distance of victory, but ultimately Kandurata Maroons' 124 for 8 proved just enough on a used Premadasa pitch that has steadily deteriorated. As has been the case during the tournament so far, the chasing side could not secure a situation of dominance throughout the innings, and for Basnahira, it was the five wickets they lost between the 9th and the 14th over that sealed their fate. Kithuruwan Vithanage attempted a more..

Kadirgamar dreamt of composite Lanka

Aug 12 (ENS) Lakshman Kadirgamar, who was Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister under President of Chandrika Kumaratunga for eight years, and who was assassinated by the Tamil Tigers this day eight years ago, would go down in history for his brave, if unsuccessful, attempt to establish a composite “Sri Lankan” identity in a country hopelessly divided on ethnic and religious lines. Kadirgamar abhorred politics and governance being held hostage to narrow ethnic and religious interests. more..

President hails Aussie support

Aug 12 (CG) President Rajapaksa has expressed his appreciation for Australia’s support in a number of different sectors, including the support that has been extended thus far with preparations for the CHOGM 2013 that will take place in November. The President also said that the tourism and service sectors are two areas that the Govt is particularly keen on promoting further, particularly because of the high literacy rate more..

Sri Lanka’s sea to China

Aug 12 (LT) Minister Rajitha Senaratne has signed an agreement that gives the right to a Chinese company to fish in Sri Lankan waters using large trawlers reveals a very reliable source. Accordingly, 40 large Chinese trawlers that dwarf local boats that fish in our waters will commence fishing in our waters say these sources adding the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Development has got the support of the highest in the UPFA govt for this venture. more..

‘Indian policy can solve milk crisis in SL’

Aug 12 (ENS) Dr T Jayasingam, a dairying expert at Eastern University in Batticaloa, has urged the Sri Lankan govt to adopt the “Be Indian Buy Indian” policy to prevent recurrence of the milk supply crisis it is facing now. Pressed by the medical community, the govt has temporarily suspended milk powder imports from New Zealand on suspicion that the largest supplier, Fonterra, has the agro-chemical Dicyandiamide (DCD). The effect could be severe if not resolved quickly, more..

Bus fares to be increased by 10% by Sep 1

Aug 12 (AD) The Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) stated that it will increase bus fares by 10% from September 1. President of the LPBOA, Gemunu Wijeyratne stated that the fares will be increased at a press conference held today. The minimum bus fare of Rs.9 will be increased to Rs.10 following the price revision while the maximum fee of Rs. 662 will be increased to Rs.728. Wijeyratene said that the LPBOA had on more..

'Incidents hijacked to destroy peace'

Aug 12 (DN) Some frustrated political elements and anti - Sri-Lankan organizations are attempting to snatch opportunities such as the incident at Grandpass to fan the flames of communal and religious unrest in the country ahead of the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in November, clergymen of the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian faiths comprising the Inter Religious Alliance for National Unity, stated at a press conference yesterday. more..

Pakistan hails Lankan response

Aug 12 (CG) Pakistan has hailed Sri Lanka’s response to transfer the body of a Pakistani crew member of an Italian Ship MV LDN FORTUNA, after he had died while the ship was anchored in India. According to sources at the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo, the Pakistani had died when the ship was anchored at the Cochin port last month. The ship crew requested the Indian authorities to allow the disembarkation and further repatriation of the dead body to Pakistan more..

Former Norwegian minister calls for probe in Sri Lanka

Aug 12 (Xinhua) A former Norwegian minister who once played a key role in brokering peace between the Sri Lankan govt and Tamil Tiger rebels on Monday called for an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. Erik Solheim, a former minister of International Development, told Xinhua that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka more..

'How can residents who asked for water be international conspirators?'

Aug 12 (AD) The govt is blaming international conspiracies in order to cover its tracks over the incident in Weliweriya, UNP MP Harin Fernando stated. He questioned as to how the government could call innocent residents who asked for clean water international conspirators. The MP said that if Basil Rajapaksa, Gotabaya Rajapaksa or the President himself did not give this order he could not think of who else would wield so much power as to give such an order. more..

Japanese Naval Ships in Colombo

Aug 12 (MoD) 'Ariake DD- 109' and 'Setogiri DD- 156', two Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) ships, arrived at the Port of Colombo today. The two vessels en route to Somaliya for counter piracy operations called in at the Colombo harbor for logistical requirements. In keeping with naval traditions the Sri Lanka Navy accorded a customary welcome to the two ships up on their arrival at the port. "Ariake" is a destroyer with two helicopters onboard. more..

US condemning even a ‘common cold’

Aug 12 (DM) Minister Wimal Weerawansa today accused the US Embassy of playing the role of opposition leader in Sri Lanka and issuing statements condemning even a ‘common cold.’ He told a meeting at Matale that infrastructure development in villages was continuing unabated. “There are many setbacks in these activities, like when bombs went off in the country and its stability was endangered. Now peace has dawned, more..

Mubarak, bowlers engineer Ruhuna win

Aug 12 (CI) A silken 18-ball 36 from Mahela Jayawardene and a half-century from Dinesh Chandimal was not enough to keep Uthura Yellows in the hunt for a final spot, as Ruhuna Reds defended an impressive total to win by 21 runs. No team has yet won batting second in the tournament, and chasing Ruhuna's 162 for 6 on a wearing pitch was always going to be a difficult task. Uthura, however, were well placed after ten overs at 85 for 1, but Mahela Udawatte's dismissal for 34 more..

UK concerned over Grandpass

Aug 12 (CG) Britain has raised concerns over the attack on a Mosque at Grandpass over the weekend. Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said that it is vital that the Sri Lankan govt investigates the incident. He also said that the govt must ensure that all are able to practice religion without fear. After two days of tensions a solution had been reached on the Mosque issue yesterday (Sunday) and as part of that solution a bo-tree near an old Mosque in the area was cut down today. more..

Massive demo by UNP on Weliweriya and Grandpass

Aug 12 (DM) The UNP said it would organise a protest under the theme ‘Samagi Balawegaya’ on August 14 urging the govt to arrest those responsible for the incidents at Grandpass and Weliweriya and demanding answers and explanations to what happened in those areas. It said the protest campaign would be launched near the Fort Railway Station and would be a historical one as it would not back down until govt gives an explanation. more..

Sri Lanka orders whey protein products out of shelves

Aug 12 (PTI) Sri Lankan health authorities today said that milk products containing whey protein have been ordered to be withdrawn from shops. Palitha Maheepala, the Director General of Health Services said public health inspectors throughout the island have been told to pull such products off market shelves. "I myself visited several food stores today and inspected the withdrawal of varieties of food containing whey protein", Maheepala said. The decision followed an order issued more..

'Govt should stop its gimmicks and solve farmers’ issues'

Aug 12 (LT) “The govt should stop its gimmicks and response to our proposals without getting farmers to take to the streets,” says the National Organizer of All Island Farmers’ Federation Namal Karunaratne. Speaking at a media conference today Mr. Karunaratne said, “The media conference was convened to draw attention to farmers’ issues when preparing the budget for 2014. We have presented to the govt six proposals based on issues affecting the farmer community. more..

President orders relocation of glove factory to a BOI zone

Aug 12 (AD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today ordered the relocation of the Dipped Products Glove factory which had been at the centre of the controversy in Weliweriya, leading to protests and clashes between residents and security forces personnel. Resident of Rathupaswala had engaged in a protest on August 01 claiming that the effluents released by the factory is causing environmental and water pollution and more..

Amarakeerthi and the political bankruptcy of romantic criticism

Aug 13 (NS) Recently Kumara Liyanage offered a critical appraisal of the work of Dr. Liyanage Amarakeerthi’s work in an article titled ‘Sarasavi Adurunge Buddhi Maandama’ (‘The intellectual poverty of university lecturers’ if you will). This is a complement of sorts, not on the theoretical aspects of Amarakeerthi’s work, but his politico-ideological preferences and conduct. Amarakeerthi is, not doubt, a talented writer as well as a committed and effective teacher, more..

From Weliweriya Army attack on people to Grandpass mob attack on Mosque

Aug 13 (DBS) For the regime, Weliweriya was an unexpected, unwelcome and an ominous digression. With the mob-attack on the Grandpass mosque, Sri Lanka is back in the familiar Rajapaksa-groove. In Weliweriya, the police felt unable to deal with a group of peaceful demonstrators. The army stepped into the breach, ready for war, and led by a Brigadier, no less. The peaceful demonstrators were shot at and assaulted. In Grandpass, a violent mob reportedly attacked a mosque and more..

The story of the Rathupaswala incident

Aug 13 (CT) Senior officers of the Security Forces revealed that Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, had called a meeting on 1 August, to discuss the problems faced by the residents of Rathupaswala with regard to their supply of drinking water that they alleged had been contaminated due to chemicals being released by a factory in the area. It was further revealed that the authorities had submitted short-term and more..

View from Ritigala - by Mahasona

Aug 13 (NS) Ranil Wickremesinghe drew from the Yamaka Vagga of the Dhammapada in Parliament, dwelling on evil and what it begets (Mano pubbangama dhamma mano settha manomaya and so on). As the wheel follows the hoof of the draught ox, evil follows the evil, he explained. The question is, ‘what evil has the UNP, party members and party loyalists done to be saddled with the current leader?’ Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has said that Sri Lanka is an ‘unfriendly’ country. more..

For whom the bell tolls: Anti Buddhist behaviour

Aug 13 (CT) Sri Lanka has seen yet another incident of violent behavior motivated by hate, greed and arrogance. The attack on the Masjid (Prayer Centre) on Swarna Chaitya Road, Grandpass, during prayers no less and just after the Holy month of Ramadan is a despicable act by one of the so called Buddhist armies, formed to protect “Sinhala Buddhism”, as the Buddhist “temple” bell rang out. One needs to look for this new kind of Buddhism, which is a hybrid of ethno religious nonsense. more..

Ninth Commonwealth Youth Forum 2013 : The youth identity; the Sri Lankan way

Aug 13 (SO) Sri Lanka is privileged to host the ninth Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) from November 10 to 14 at the Hambantota International Conference Hall. The CYF will be held as one of the mega events parallel to the CHOGM scheduled to be held in Colombo from Nov 15 to 17, 2013. Over 1,000 local and foreign representatives from 54 Commonwealth countries are expected to participate in the inaugural ceremony of the ninth CYF. more..

A bit embarrassed, to say the least!

Aug 13 (CT) The horrendous butchering of Nihal Perera, the manager of Noori Estate in Deraniyagala, has even left the major apologists of the current regime at a loss for words with which to distance those who look after their well-being from the direct results of a reign of terror without precedent. Anyone simply trying to fulfill the obligations of management of resources honestly and without recourse to take-the-law-into-our-own-hands conduct with the aid of thugs and more..

Remembering the riots

Aug 13 (GV) June 2013 saw violent clashes between small groups of Sri Lankans at cricket grounds around the UK. Although barely reported by the mainstream media, for members of Voices for Reconciliation (VfR) – a peace-building network that facilitates dialogue within and between every Sri Lankan community in the UK- these altercations served as a potent reminder that communal divisions still run deep. In July 1983, exactly 30 years ago, the fire raged much longer and more..

Harvard, here comes a teen prodigy

Aug 13 (ST) She’s 14 and will soon be reading for her Masters in Legal Studies at Harvard University. No, Eugenie de Silva is not like any other 14-year-old. Yes, she does love going to the movies with her dad and enjoys playing soccer- but Eugenie’s intelligence is far, far ahead of other teenagers her age. At the rate she’s going, this young prodigy from Harrogate, Tennessee might well achieve her ambition of becoming the more..

'Bank capital buffers lower than reported'

Aug 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s banks had reasonable capital buffers, higher than Vietnam and India but when adjusted for gold loans and some state exposures, core capital was lower than reported, Fitch Ratings officials said. Sri Lanka has zero risk weight for gold-backed or ‘pawning’ loans, a highly accessible tool that provide over-the-counter credit for businesses and individuals that surrender gold or jewellery. In Sri Lanka the reported regulatory Tier I capital adequacy was more..

Wigneswaran’s pentathlon: The real game will start after the elections

Aug 13 (Island) The pentathlon consists of five tasks and though the challenges facing the prospective TNA Administration and Chief Minister (CM) designate C. V. Wigneswaran (CV) resemble a decathlon, I will limit this study to the first five in priority. (a) Shielding the NP Administration from wilful and/or contingent obstruction by the Centre, the Governor, and a military which has been aggressively interfering in civilian life. (b) Demilitarising the North, ensuring safety more..

Attack on mosque fuels anger in Sri Lanka

Merrill fails to impress

Aug 13 (Island) US based hurdler Sonali Merrill’s poor form at International competitions for Sri Lanka continued as she failed to impress in the women’s 400 metres hurdles heats at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow yesterday. With a personal best and a recent Sri Lanka record of 56.45 seconds against her name she was expected to do well at yesterday’s heats. But she could return only a time of 58.46 seconds after finishing seventh in what turned out to be the fastest heat. more..