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Premachandran snaps at Uthayan

Dec 24 (NS) TNA MP Suresh Premachandran denied he was seeking credit for allegedly resolving a land dispute in the North and claimed the Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper report, which claimed he had, was ‘a distortion of fact’. An article, which appeared in the Colombo Telegraph, regarding a case of illegal land grabbing in Jaffna by a group of ‘Tamil criminals,’ accused the TNA Parliamentarian of claiming undue credit in the Uthayan newspaper for resolving the matter. more..

On pace and substance of demilitarization

Dec 24 (NS) The love that the British have for Sri Lanka is of such magnitude that one wonders if Sri Lankans should bother to love their country. They so loved this island, let us not forget, that they pillaged, burnt, robbed and perpetrated genocide and ethnic cleansing of a kind that even the LTTE in its most terrible days couldn’t come close to matching. And so when the likes of David Miliband, David Cameron and Hugo Swire wax lyrical about island-love, it’s quite normal to shrug and smile. more..

G.E. A/L Exam 2013: Diligence, hard work brought them success

Dec 24 (SO) Education is a treasure. Those who receive it properly will shine in the society and become an invaluable resource for the development of the country. Unfortunately, a large number of children begin their basic education but due to various reasons quit the education midway. Peace, social integrity and development can be achieved through education. The Sunday Observer talked to four students who won more..

Devanagala: Latest in the racist agenda to provoke Muslims

Dec 24 (CT) Devanagala is a beautiful peaceful village in the central hills about six kilometers from Mawanella on the way to Hemmathagama. The village has been known for the rock called Devanagala Rock. There is a Buddhist temple and an inscription on the rock. According to those in the village Devanagala area was believed to have been the place from where Sinhalese kings dispatched garrisons to different places. Muslims in the village claim that they were settled there by more..

A new way to Nirvana

Dec 24 (SL) Kasi Norbert Silva (a.k.a. Kashino Silva) and his friend Deshprem Dharmadasa (a.k.a. Double Dharme) meet on X’mas eve to celebrate the season with customary hugs and cries of Happy Christmas Umbatai Matai. Machang, you and I are not Christians but we celebrate every Christmas, no? We must be like Mandela and be ‘inclusive’ – as the saying nowadays goes – Kashino in a jolly mood observed, as they sat down for celebrations. Double Dharme poured a double for himself more..

2013 Round-Up

Dec 24 (GV) Groundviews published 142 articles over 2013. Our Facebook fan page grew by over 4,000. Our Twitter feed, the most probing, interactive and engaging of any media related Twitter account in Sri Lanka, grew by 3,000 followers. Given the site’s guidelines, which require Editorial vetting of all content, at a conservative average of 2,000 words per article, I’ve looked at over 280,000 words of original content more..

Ethics of war Vs Ethics of reporting

Dec 24 (CT) Praveen Swami’s “Questions about Wars” in the context of Sri lanka is rather misleading. Praveen Swami (PS) deserves in a way all appreciation for wielding all his expertise being a Strategic Affairs Editor and the Resident Editor of The Hindu for using all the wear withal of his “knowledge” to bury all the unfolded facts and the objective studies, under the carpet of his logic, the “ethics of war” and unwittingly exonerate Rajapakshe and his regime from the more..

Mandela: A different Perspective

Dec 24 (CT) I had the opportunity to meet Nelson Mandela soon after he was out of prison, and talk with him for about half-an-hour. This is an analysis of that meeting, couched in anecdotes. After I was officially introduced to him by the Iranian Foreign Minister, Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati, he came over to thank me for the support the Sri Lankan Government had given him, and wanted to me to convey a special message to President R. Premadasa. He could have treated me casually like he more..

Dr. Saroja Wettasinghe

Changing the messenger will not sell without showing change on the ground

Dec 24 (Island) Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga is to visit the UNHRC next month to explain the steps taken to address accountability issues stemming from the last stages of the war with the LTTE, which the international community is pressing for. There is much faith being pinned on him as a capable and efficient public servant. However, what those in the international community who are keenly watching developments in Sri Lanka will not wish to only hear another impressive more..

Remedy worse than malady

Dec 24 (Island) A locomotive has recently had a smooth 15-km run for the first time since legendary Rampala left the Railway Department because, a wag says, there was no railway official to control it. Likewise, some of the state institutions characterised by inefficiency and mismanagement may, cynics say, perform better without bungling politicians and bureaucratic pundits at the helm. Today’s comment is, however, not on locos and rolling stock but a cart and a horse placed in the wrong order. more..

'Why I defended the Prime Minister'

Dec 24 (CT) Despite PM D.M. Jayaratne maintaining a strong stance that he will not issue a statement regarding his involvement in the unfolding heroin scandal, a group of religious leaders has come forward in his defence and issued a public statement. In this backdrop, Ven. Kahatapitiye Pannasekara Thera, who says that PM Jayaratne is a clean man and he will not get involved in heroin smuggling although his name is implicated, more..

Kaushal hundred guides SSC to close win

Dec 24 (CI) On the day he was named in the Test squad, wicketkeeper-batsman Kaushal Silva affirmed the selectors' faith to score an unbeaten 102 in Sinhalese Sports Club's tense two-wicket victory in the Premier Limited Over Tournament semi-final against Ragama Cricket Club. Silva's innings was all the more admirable because it was very nearly a lone stand. No one else in the top nine crossed 20, but he and Dhammika Prasad forged a brisk 56-run association for the 9th wicket more..

Sri Lanka’s war had witnesses

Dec 24 (EAR) Firstly Sri Lanka’s war did have witnesses. The witnesses were however NOT – Gordon Weiss, Francis Harrison, Channel 4, the Darusman Panel, Charles Petrie and a whole list of others who have promoted themselves as witnesses when they are not because they were never inside the war zone. They were only passing between themselves a version they have contrived that fits well within a different agenda that has nothing to do with what they claim it is. more..

Health workers threaten strike

Dec 24 (Island) Nurses and paramedics staged a protest opposite the Health Ministry yesterday, against prolonged delays on the part of the authorities in rectifying their salary anomalies, effecting promotions and granting allowances. Convener of the Joint Council of Nursing, PSM, Paramedic Services Saman Rathnapriya said that they would launch a token strike if the ministry officials failed to solve more..

Economy: Fantasy vs Reality

Dec 24 (ST) SL Economic Association (SLEA) held its annual sessions on the theme “The way forward for sustained growth”. Theme was important and timely; presentations during the sessions were analytical, revealing and filled with rich data; discussions were live and contributory. Discussions were revolved round the relationship between (a) fiscal deficit, public debt and foreign borrowings and (b) indices such as growth, innovativeness and human development. more..

Delay in submitting answer scripts, a case of sabotage?

Dec 24 (Island) Commissioner General of Examinations W.N.J. Pushpakumara said there had been no incident of the GCE O/L exam, Buddhism paper answer scripts, being set on fire, at the Trincomalee Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya centre, as reported by some sections of the media. Pushpakumara said there had been a delay in handing over of answer scripts of the Buddhism II question paper by four candidates. He said that S.K. Mallawarachchi had been the Chief Invigilator more..

Milco workers want Thondaman, Chairman, Deputy out

Dec 24 (Island) Employees attached of the Milco Ltd. factory in Narahenpita, have been on strike since last Friday, the second during this month, demanding the removal of Minister Arumugam Thondaman. Strikers belong to the SLFP aligned Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya (SLNSS). Among their other demands are the removal of Milco Chairman Sunil Wickramasinghe, Deputy Chairman Sanjaya Leelaratne, more..

Improving the quality of the SL passport

Dec 24 (LBO) I travel on a Sri Lanka passport. The hassle is so great that I regret not getting another passport. My life was made simpler, for a short time, by the wonderful one-year SAARC visa that allowed me visa-free access to our neighboring countries. I still have it, but now it is given for three months at a time. I’ve already had to decline one invitation to speak in Bangladesh because I lacked the time to get the SAARC visa renewed. The problem has several aspects: more..

Hale and Hearty Hulugalle!

Dec 24 (FT) Contrary to alleged reports of taking poison, bed ridden or dying, Lakshman Hulugalle last night didn’t look so. Apparently proving doomsayers wrong Hulugalle was wining, dining and mixing with select captains of industries at a pre-Christmas cocktails hosted by Commercial Bank Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody at the Bank’s penthouse in Head Office building in Fort. Hulugalle is also a Director of the Commercial Bank. Here Hulugalle posing for a picture with more..

Tourism: 183,772 arrivals needed to reach this year’s target

Dec 24 (Island) The expenditure on various promotional programmes since 2009 seems to have been a waste with this year’s tourism arrival target in the dark. According to data country needs to attract more than 183, 000 arrival in December to achieve 1.2 million tourists by the end of this year. Tourist arrivals for the 11 months ending Nov 30, increased 15% to 1,016,228 from 883,353 recorded in the same period last year. more..

Raids to continue in search of missing milk powder

Dec 24 (DN) While milk powder packets continue to go missing from market shelves across the country, the Cooperatives and Internal Trade Ministry launched regular raids on milk powder storage facilities islandwide. Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) Director General J.M.A. Douglas said on being asked about the situation, that the shortage of milk powder varieties began since a request was made by milk powder giants to increase the prices of their products. more..

'Sri Lanka could bat first on winning toss'

Dec 24 (National) Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lanka captain, has hinted he might consider batting first in the final two one-day internationals as they head to Abu Dhabi, down 2-1 in the five-match series. Pakistan have batted first all three matches so far, putting up scores of 322 for five, 284 for four and 326 for five, and while the Lankans came close in the first game at Sharjah and overhauled 285 in Dubai, they lost by 113 runs in Sharjahon Sunday night. Given the depth in their batting more..

Homagama PS budget also defeated

Dec 24 (CT) The ruling party members (UPFA) of the Homagama PS yesterday voted against the budget presented to the council by Chairman A.D. Kumarasiri. This comes despite strict warnings from the Party hierarchy against members of the UPFA, who voted against budget 2014 at several other local govt bodies. Homagama PS is made up of 23 UPFA members and 3 JVP members out of whom, 10 voted for the budget, more..

Chinese bookstore in Sri Lanka

Dec 24 (CD) For many Chinese, Colombo is a great place to shop for jewelry and tea, but for Li Yong, the Sri Lankan capital is the location of the latest in his chain of Chinese bookstores. Li's company, Kunming Xinzhi Group, is China's largest private book retailer, with 58 outlets around the country. It opened its fifth overseas bookstore in late November in Sri Lanka. The 450-square-meter shop is the first in South Asia, but others have opened in Phnom Penh, Vientiane, Kuala Lumpur and more..

Budded vehicles valued at Rs 20 mn seized

Dec 24 (Island) Officers of the Western Province Crimes Division raided four places in the Gampaha District, where vehicles had been assembled without permission from the Commissioner General of Motor Traffic. The seized vehicles had been estimated to be worth around Rs 20 million. Among the vehicles seized were a double cab, a jeep, buddy lorry and 12 motor cycles. They had been recovered from four locations at Udugampola, Delgoda, Weliweriya and Kirindiwela. more..

Dubai locks up SL-born American for parody

Dec 24 (TS) A court in the UAE sentenced eight people including a Sri Lanka-born American to up to a year in prison Monday after being convicted in connection to a satirical video about youth culture in Dubai. The video they produced and uploaded to the internet was a spoof documentary of would-be “gangsta" youth in the Gulf Arab city-state. The National said they were accused of “defaming the image of UAE society abroad." more..

Health Minister visits Indian hospital

Dec 24 (Hindu) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena visited the Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular sciences and Research here in Bangalore on Monday. His interactions with the institute’s director focussed on modern hospital facilities, quality cardiac care services and an administration unit in the institute. Minister said super-specialty hospitals for cardiac issues, kidney and cancer diseases have been set up in Sri Lanka and the ministry plans to set up more hospitals in Jaffna region. more..

GCE A/L all-island first place students called on President

Dec 24 (DN) High-flyers in the GCE A/L exam placed all-island first place in their respective streams called on President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday. President congratulated them on their achievements and wished success in their future educational pursuits. He presented each of them with a cheque for Rs. 100,000 sponsored by the People’s Bank, a dictionary and a laptop computer. The students included Tatsarani Amaya of Eheliyagoda MMV who was first in more..

Thalatha condemns LC, pushes for three-member ‘high command’

Dec 24 (Island) UNP Reformist Thalatha Atukorale, yesterday asserted that a ‘high command’ comprising Ranil Wickremesinghe and former deputy leaders, Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith Premadasa, would have served the crisis-ridden UNP better than the recently formed Leadership Council (LC) consisting of nine members sans Wickremesinghe. She said that she declined the invitation to join the LC as she felt more..

Effort on for release of 210 fishermen

Dec 24 (ENS) Representatives of fishermen from coastal districts of Nagapattinam, Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram called on Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday and thanked her for the measures being taken for their welfare. Talking to reporters after a 15-minute meeting with the CM, the representatives said they had requested her to take immediate steps to release 210 Tamil Nadu fishermen who were languishing in Sri Lankan prisons and to get back their 72 boats more..

JHU warns the Govt

Dec 24 (CG) JHU has warned it is ready to step down from the govt if it can serve the people better. JHU member Udaya Gammanpila said that the JHU has now become the opposition within the Govt. He said that if serving the people will be more effective by sitting in the opposition benches in Parliament then the JHU is ready to do so. Meanwhile Govt Minister and JHU member Champika Ranawaka said that the JHU will oppose any attempt to open a new casino in Sri Lanka. more..

TISL wants Elections Judge

Dec 24 (FT) Recommending measures to curb election violence and malpractices, the Transparency International of Sri Lanka (TISL) called for more powers to be vested with the Elections Commissioner and suggested the appointment of an Elections Judge. The civil society organization’s Election Monitoring arm, the Program for Protection of Public Resources (PPPR) presenting its report on PC elections more..

Google expands movie service to Sri Lanka

Dec 24 (ZER) Google Inc (GOOG) recently announced that it will be extending its Google Play Movies app to thirteen new nations, including Jamaica, New Zealand, Trinidad & Tobago, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. This will take the tally of nations with access to the service to 27. The app will work on Google TV, Chromecast and all Android devices. However, the availability of Google Play TV shows continues to be limited only to countries like the U.S., U.K. and Japan. more..

I was labelled a ‘Kudda’ -DM

Dec 24 (DM) Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne alleged that he was labelled a drug dealer (Kudda) by some faction in robes, soon after he proposed to set up two Courts (Sanga Adhikarana) for Buddhist monks to act against errant Bhikkus. The Premier also said, “Some of the Bhikkus are currently serving prison terms, some are claiming that they had attained state of ‘rahath’. Some of their junior monks came to me seeking my help. I told them that I was also interested in attaining state of ‘rahath’, more..

Official alleges Growth Rate massaged

Dec 24 (DM) The Census and Statistics Department’s National Accounts Division Director H.S. Wanasinghe in a revelation made during an investigation, the report of which is now filed as a document in court and referred to in Parliament last week said the Department’s Director General had told him to inflate the growth rate initially computed by them to show a higher rate. Department of Census and Statistics is the more..

HRCSL should defend human rights, not the regime

Dec 24 (CT) The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) had submitted to President Rajapaksa and the Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem, recommendations in order to enhance the powers and mandate of the Commission. Recommendations have envisaged to endow the Human Rights Commission with powers to enact its recommendations by submitting them to the High Court or the Court of Appeal; powers to enact interim orders; powers to conduct more..

Why financial system stability should be a function of Central Banks

Dec 24 (CT) Traditionally, central banks have been mandated to attain two objectives. One is to keep the value of money it has issued at a stable level known as ‘the price stability objective’. In the laymen’s language, this objective is known as maintaining an ‘inflation free world’ but in actual practice, it means maintaining an inflation rate at a very low level, say around 2 to 3%, so that it would not discourage people to save, invest and plan their activities more..

Races over but the mess stays

Dec 24 (ST) Almost a week after the Colombo Night Races were conducted, some of the hundreds of filled sacks used in safety barricades lay for many days on the streets, with some having toppled over, causing risks to motorists. The race brought no revenue to the CMC – a Rs 3 million loss – given Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga’s decision to waive the entertainment tax due to the council. more..

Tug of war between Kilinochchi and Jaffna for water

Dec 24 (SL) The Jaffna Kilinochchi water supply and sanitation project has been opposed by the TNA specifically by Suresh Premachandran stating that the water and irrigation facilities for the people in Kilinochchi have to be attended to first before channelling water to Jaffna. The local authorities in Kilinochchi are also under pressure from the farmers in the area, who fear that if the water in the Iranamadu tank is more..