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Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism will not allow religious pluralism

Aug 23 (CT) The Sinhala regime that had been targeting Tamils for many decades has now turned its acts of annihilation against the Muslims. The Sinhala chauvinist regime, while occupying the traditional Tamil homeland in the island of Sri Lanka, is working to suppress the Tamil Peoples’ campaign for the realization of their right to self-determination making use of their racist military forces. Now, as a continuation of this ever-growing trend of aggressive intolerance, more..

That ugly Wayamba episode

Aug 23 (CT) Elections and the Wayamba Province have a common denominator – intimidation underscored by violence or vice versa. Wayamba is also associated with one of the most, if not the most horrible election-related incident when way back in 1999, during the PC elections, at the time President Chandrika Kumratunge was at the helm of affairs, a woman supporting the UNP was stripped of her clothes and made to walk more..

Bullets, pen caps and flawed logic

Aug 23 (Island) UNP MP Ajith Mannapperuma got into hot water when he, in a bid to drive his point home during Wednesday’s adjournment debate on the Weliweriya killings, produced an object, claiming that it was a bullet used in crushing the Aug. 1 protest. He insisted that it had been found embedded in a wayside wall. However, when the govt MPs raised hell calling for disciplinary action against him for bringing a bullet into the House, Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody said more..

Beating voter apathy

Aug 23 (CT) We are on the threshold of electing representatives to three Provincial Councils. The elections are fresh but not many of the candidates, certainly not the issues, and the solutions offered. They are quite old in fact. A quick scan of the Sri Lankan media can provide ample proof of the type of persons we citizens have elected into power during the past two decades. Many of the elected are uninspiring, if not alarming choices we seem to have made. Each year, barring a few honourable more..

Weliweriya residents still crying for water

Aug 23 (CT) Three weeks have passed since deadly clashes erupted in Weliweriya over allegations of water contamination by a factory in the area. Despite the govt's pledge to address this serious issue with haste and attention, a solution is yet to materialize, according to local residents. The National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) had announced that it was laying new pipelines to provide water to the residents more..

Confronting Charlie Ponnadurai

Aug 23 (CT) Charlie and I go back a long way – to Ramanathan Hall at Peradeniya University where we were freshers together in 1957 and thus were ragged together.[1] Charlie was known then as Charlies Ponnadurai, but he is now a “Sarvan” and resides in Germany with his German wife after years of work in Zambia and the Middle East. He has done me a singular honour in basing an essay on “Para Dhemalâ” purely on my work. The reference is to “Pejorative Phases: the Anti-Colonial more..

Homeless, why?

Aug 23 (GV) July ’83. It was the month and year I would like to forget. As we woke up that fateful July morning, all I knew and felt was the tension in the air, in the house, as my parents and we children were contemplating what kind of dangers we, as a minority family was going to face! The situation was aggravated when the bodies of thirteen soldiers killed in the North were brought to the Borella cemetery and retaliation for their killing was vowed by the politicians present, more..

External sector stable: CB

Aug 23 (Island) Sri Lanka’s external sector remained stable with continued inflows being recorded in the balance of payments (BOP), the Central Bank said on Thursday. "Cumulative foreign inflows to the country in the form of earnings from tourism, workers’ remittances, foreign direct investments (FDI) and investments in Govt securities showed a noteworthy growth during the first half of 2013. Commercial banks and more..

30 years ago Exhibition: 24-25 August

Aug 23 (GV) To complement the launch of 30 Years Ago and focus on some of the issues the project is anchored to and inspired by, readers of Groundviews are cordially invited to attend four panel discussions on the 24th and 25th of August at Park Street Mews, Warehouse D in Colombo. We are particularly pleased to highlight the inaugural session, featuring Bradman Weerakoon and Dr. Devanesan Nesiah, both of whom have been featured on Groundviews previously writing more..

Asian Alliance Insurance given 'B' rating

Aug 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Asian Alliance Insurance has been given a 'B' insurer financial strength rating with a stable outlook by Fitch. Fitch also gave in a national insurance financial strength and long term credit rating of 'BBB+(lka)' with a stable outlook. Fitch expected operational assistance and synergies with its parent Softlogic Holdings (rated A-(lka) which owned 41.5 percent of the company. The full statement is reproduced below: Fitch Ratings Lanka has published Sri Lanka-based more..

Concerns on proposed law

Aug 23 (CG) The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is deeply concerned by reports that the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs is to introduce new laws seeking action against publications that ‘defame the original teachings and traditions of the major religions’. These reports state that as a first step, a draft Bill providing for the establishment of a ‘Buddhist Publications Regulatory Board’ that more..

Pawning biz: Banks’ Association says no cause for undue concern

Aug 23 (FT) The Sri Lanka Banks’ Association, which represents the interests of the banking industry in Sri Lanka, issued a statement commenting on certain negative statements which appeared in print media recently on pawning advances made by banks. It said of the total advances of banks amounting to Rs. 3.27 trillion, pawning advances constituted 17.9% or Rs. 585 billion as at end-June 2013. Non performing pawning loans as a percentage of total more..

Postal polling cards handed over to Postal Dept.

Aug 23 (Island) The Police have stepped up security in and around Post Offices, in the districts where the PC polls are scheduled to be held on Sept. 21. That followed the handing over yesterday of 111,383 ballot papers to the Postal Department, for immediate delivery to the certifying centres. The marking of postal votes would take place on Sept. 9 and 10. When Post Master General (PMG) D.L.P.R. Abeyaratne was contacted, in this regard, a spokesman for his office said that more..

Airtel in talks to sell its Sri Lankan operations to Etisalat

Aug 23 (ET) Bharti Airtel, the world's fourth largest telecom operator by subscribers, is in advanced discussions to sell off its Sri Lankan operations to Abu Dhabi's Etisalat, said two persons aware of the development. According to one such person, Standard Chartered Bank is advising the Indian company in the transaction. Bharti AirtelBSE 4.97 % Lanka, which has a subscriber base of 1.7 million, has been more..

The Palk Bay catch

Aug 23 (Hindu) Sri Lanka’s latest position that it will prosecute Indian fishermen arrested for poaching instead of arranging for their early release is bound to cause alarm in Tamil Nadu, where over 100 families await the return of their kin from Sri Lankan jails. SL’s External Affairs Minister, G.L. Peiris, has clarified that the stress is not on detention, but deterrence; and that a fine, rather than a long jail term, could be equally effective. This may not be enough to address the disquiet in TN more..

Around the World

Aug 23 (TP) It was day three of my trip in Sri Lanka and the soundtrack of the morning was my friend Lori’s terrified muttering that she was about to die. “I can't believe I'm freaking doing this.” “My husband's never going to believe that I did this.” And... “Oh my freaking God!” It was actually when the muttering and profanity stopped that caused some concern. That's when I knew she was getting seriously freaked out. The reason we were in Sri Lanka and apparently about to die was due more..

SL threatens to confiscate Indian trawlers

Aug 23 (Hindu) Sri Lankan govt is considering confiscating Indian trawlers if they trespass into their waters, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. “We recognise the fact that this is a livelihood issue for the Indian fishermen. We will release them immediately. It is the owners of the trawlers who need to be dealt with – those business magnets. We have decided not to return the trawlers we confiscate. At least, that should act a more..

Sri Lankan Tamil escapes deportation

Aug 23 (TOI) Three weeks ago, Theva Satesh Kumar, a Sri Lankan Tamil leaving for Nairobi, was detained by Mumbai Police and sent back to Sri Lanka. The electronics engineer was held at Mumbai airport following a notice issued against him by the Sri Lankan govt through the Interpol. What happened to him in Sri Lanka is still a mystery. V M P Nehru alias Eela Nehru is not as unlucky. Facing imminent deportation to Sri Lanka, Nehru got a reprieve on Thursday, when the Madras HC more..

Hearse door opens and dumps coffin on road

Aug 23 (DM) An unusual event occurred in Kandy last afternoon: The door of hearse belonging to a funeral director in Kandy opened accidentally and the coffin it was carrying (with a corpse inside) fell onto the main road in the heart of Kandy. The incident occurred at around 12.15 pm yesterday as the hearse was heading towards Dalada Weediya from the central market area. The corpse had spilled on to Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe road. The driver, unaware of what had occurred had continued more..

TNA PS members join with the govt

Aug 23 (IL) Vice Chairman of the Wadamarachchi Pradeshiya Sabha E. Santhasorupan and Vice Chairman of the Point Pedro Pradeshiya Sabha M. Logasinhem met President Rajapaksa and pledged their support to the govt today (22). Both are representatives of TNA from Jaffna Peninsula. They have crossed over to the UPFA and extended support to the govt and became members of the SLFP during the meeting more..

SLC appoints shoplifter as national selector!

Aug 23 (Island) Cricket enthusiasts, sponsors of the national cricket team and fans are in for a rude shock, as it has emerged that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has appointed a shoplifter to the prestigious position of national selector. While SLC’s reputation has taken a severe beating over the years due to the politicization and questionable characters running the game, the latest development comes as a crying shame, to an institution that once stood for good governance, fair play and a clean image. more..

TNA directs candidates to submit asset declarations

Aug 23 (FT) The leadership of the TNA has directed all its candidates contesting on the ITAK ticket at the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council elections to file their asset and liabilities declaration by the 30 August deadline, the party’s media wing said. The TNA will be contesting the Northern elections under the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi’s (ITAK) House symbol. Justice C.V. Wigneswaran, the TNA’s Chief Ministerial candidate, will also file his declaration next week, the party’s media office said, more..

Sri Lanka can be major supplier of construction workers to S'pore, says BCA

Aug 23 (CNA) The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) believes Sri Lanka has a strong potential to be a major supplier of construction workers to Singapore. As BCA moves to bring in more higher-skilled labour, it says Sri Lanka has good quality workers based on their experience and ability to speak English. With Sri Lanka as a new source country for construction workers, more than 100 workers have more..

Polls Chief orders removal of illegal campaign offices, propaganda

Aug 23 (Island) Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya had ordered the closure of all illegal party offices and the removal of all illegal propaganda materials such as posters, cut-outs and banners in the ten districts where the elections would be held on Sept. 21, senior SLAS official, now functioning as consultant to the Elections Secretariat, Bandula Kulatunga said. Deputy Elections Commissioner M. M. Mohammad said that the polls chief had issued a directive to more..

Pillay to submit oral report on Lanka to UNHRC September sessions

Aug 23 (FT) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay will present an oral report before the UN Human Rights Council next month, following her five day mission to Sri Lanka, Daily FT learns. An oral presentation by Pillay during the 24th Session of the UNHRC that starts on 9 September will be followed up by a full report by her office on the Sri Lankan human rights situation for the Council’s February-March 2014 sessions, highly placed diplomatic sources said. more..

Weliweriya shooting: Send all firearms to GA

Aug 23 (CT) Gampaha Chief Magistrate ordered the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) to hand over the 98 firearms alleged to have been used by the Army during Weliweriya protest, to the Govt Analyst (GA). CCD officials informed the Court the 98 firearms will be handed over to the GA to ascertain how many bullets had been sprayed during the protest, and identify the Army personnel who had used these firearms. more..

BASL wants Army probe scrapped

Aug 23 (CT) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has expressed strong opposition to the investigations conducted by the Army into the Weliweriya incident on 1 August, where three persons were killed. They also requested Gampaha Chief Magistrate, to call off all investigations conducted by the Army, alleging that they are in the blame for the three deaths. The BASL representatives, condemning the investigations, submitted a copy of the summons issued by more..

Sri Lankan accusations denied by Fonterra

Aug 23 (RNZ) Fonterra denies accusations in Sri Lanka that it has not complied with a court order there forbidding it from selling or advertising its product for a fortnight. A union in Sri Lanka succeeded in having the ban introduced after raising concerns about the company selling product there which it said was tainted with DCD. Now the same group has made an application to a Sri Lankan court claiming that Fonterra has not complied with the the order, by continuing to conduct business. more..

India urged to get Sampur project going

Aug 23 (Island) India has been urged by Sri Lanka to get the construction work on the proposed Sampur coal fired power plant started without further delay. Power and Energy Ministry Secretary M. M. C. Ferdinando yesterday wrote to the Indian government, stressing the need to send officials of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) of India here soon to iron out differences as regards the proposed 500 MW plant in Trincomalee. more..

Economic armies of the colonial powers

Aug 23 (DM) Billions of people in the Third World, either due to lack of awareness or ignorance, presume that wide-scale military colonialism or imperialism by rich countries ended to a large extent after the Second World War and the setting up of the United Nations Organisation. One of the last big empires was the British Empire, which included Sri Lanka. British political and military leaders boasted it was an empire on which the sun would never set. Though Third World social justice advocates more..

Sri Lanka continues to woo Indian PM

Aug 23 (DM) This week, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh again emerged as a key figure factor in Sri Lankan politics as Colombo continued to woo the Indian leader, with Minister G.L. Peiris personally visiting New Delhi to invite Singh for the upcoming Commonwealth Summit. Minister Peiris was cordially received but Singh played his cards close to his chest neither confirming nor excluding the possibility of his attendance at the summit. Instead, Peiris was lectured on more..

Investigation Into Illegally Registered Wild Elephants

Aug 23 (SL) High ranking wildlife officials have allegedly removed the elephant registration book from the Department of Wild Life Conservation (DWLC) in fear of an ongoing investigation on an illegal elephant registration racket, claim environmentalists. The elephant registration book which has all the data of registered elephants in the country is alleged to have been tampered with since of late in order to more..

A method in the madness to rein in the ‘tuk-tuk’s

Aug 23 (ST) Three-wheeler drivers charge that, despite the new regulations for the operation of three-wheelers, absence of a State body to monitor and support three-wheeler drivers, will, for all intents and purposes, result in the regulations being observed in the breach. All-Island Three-Wheel Drivers and Owners Union President Sudhil Jayaruk said most people sought three-wheelers as the public transport system is a failure. more..

Red alert over rising rape cases

Aug 23 (ST) With a woman being raped every 90 minutes in Sri Lanka, women’s rights activists and academics are expressing serious concern over the rise in grave sex crimes – a disturbing trend that puts the lives of local and even foreign women here on high risk. Their concern came in the wake of several brutal rape cases in recent weeks. In one of the brutal sex crimes, a 38-year-old mother of three from Pooneryn, more..

Confusion in House over unasked question

Aug 23 (Island) Confusion reigned in Parliament yesterday as Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga declined to raise a question listed under the name of UNP MP Rosy Senanayake during question time without adhering to the normal protocol of the Whip raising questions of absent MPs. MP Senanayake’s question had been referred to the Minister of Foreign Employment and Welfare and when the time for the question came up, more..

'No reason for SL to be on the defensive'

Aug 23 (Island) In facing the world, Sri Lanka had absolutely no reason to be on the defensive. On the contrary, its achievements in every sector of public policy were significant, by any rational standard, and opportunities to bring those accomplishments to the attention of the world were more than welcome, Minister o G. L. Peiris said in Dodangaslanda on Wednesday. The Minister was addressing a rally in support of UPFA more..

Sharma gets reports on Shirani

Aug 23 (CG) Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has received a number of reports and opinions on the removal of the former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. The documents were received following a request made by the Commonwealth Secretariat, Director of Communications at the Commonwealth Secretariat Richard Uku said. “It is Commonwealth Secretariat practice to ensure more..

Audio: No army interference in polls

Aug 23 (CG) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya says there have not been any complaints of the army interfering in election work ahead of the provincial council elections in the north. Deshapriya, who was on a visit to the north, said that even voters have not made any specific compliant of army harassment or threats. “In general by saying the army is intimidating voters in a particular area cannot more..

Abuse of state vehicles continues unabated

Aug 23 (Island) A local election monitoring group, the CaFFE, yesterday reiterated that the vehicles belonging to the Higher Education, Lands, Fisheries, Irrigation and Transport Ministries, were still being misused for campaigning in the Matale District in the run-up to the Central Provincial Council election. CaFFE National Organiser Ahmed Manas said that his outfit had made several complaints to more..

Opposition, Civil Society launch Samagi Balavegaya

Aug 23 (Island) The UNP yesterday entered into a 10-point agreement, with many political parties and civil society organisations to force the Rajapaksa govt to restore democracy, implement the rule of law and ensure the basic rights of its citizens. Among the signatories to the agreement titled Samagi Balavegaya are the NSSP, DPF, USA, DUA, NSU, representatives of all religions and a large number of civil society and more..