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Editorial : The dead and the disappeared

Feb 7 (CT) Tuesday's declaration by the JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake about the skeletal remains found in a mass grave in the vicinity of the Matale District Hospital being that of JVP cadres who disappeared in the 1987-89 period, doesn't come as a big surprise. Given the degree of violence experienced during that period, speculation has been rife about the identity of the remains, with many acknowledging it could well be those of JVP more..

Health Minister backs PHIs’ demands

Feb 7 (Island) Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that the Public Health Inspectors in the country had shouldered a heavy responsibility to combat the dengue epidemic. The demands put forward by them were reasonable and the govt had accepted the need to meet their demands soon, he said adding that he was on their side. Sri Lanka, discovered dengue first in 1960 and in 1961 it had caused many problems in the country. But, the response from the people to eradicate the more..

Sri Lanka Debrief News - 07.02.2013

Sri Lanka at the point of no return after a mere 65 years of independence?

Feb 7 (CT) When we were in our youth, life in our physically beautiful country seemed worth living. We had just emerged after nearly 450 years of colonial rule and we had our country back. There was hope in the air of a fresh start whereby all Ceylonese would be given a fair deal. All of us could sniff the air of freedom and look forward to a meaningful future. Bliss indeed was it then to be alive and young. Our national university was one of the best in the developing world if not in the world at large, more..

President meets Chief Mahanayaka Theras

Feb 7 (GDI) Chief Mahanayaka Theras of all main Nikayas, Anunayaka Theras and Lekakadhikari Nayaka Theras met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees, Wednesday. The President summoned the meeting to consult the Mahasangha in building national. religious and coexistence in the country. Anunayaka of the Siyam Nikaya Most Ven Niyangoda Wijithasiri Thera, Anunayaka of the Asgiri Chapter Most Ven. Galagama Dhammasiddhi Thera, Mahanayaka of the Amarapura Maha Nikaya more..

The struggle for liberty: 65 years on

Feb 7 (FT) “The rise of the Nazis was made possible because the elite of German society worked with them, but also, above all else, because most in Germany at least tolerated this rise. Human rights do not assert themselves on their own; freedom does not emerge on its own and democracy does not succeed on its own” – Angela Merkel on the 80th anniversary of Hitler’s rise to power. On the 80th Anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s rise to more..

New Econ. Deputy Minister Chandrasena assumes duties

Feb 7 (GDI) SM Chandrasena assumed duties as the new Deputy Minister to the Economic Development ministry, Wednesday at his office in Govi Jana Mandiraya, Battaramulla. New Deputy Minister Economic Development S.M.Chandrasena who arrived at the Battaramulla office to assume duties was warmly welcomed by staff members in the Govi Jana Mandiraya office, several Ministers and senior govt officials. A religious observation was held to invoke blessings to the newly more..

UNP too calls for probe on Matale mass grave

Feb 7 (Island) In the wake of JVP demanding a comprehensive investigation into the Matale mass grave, which has revealed 140 skulls and skeletal remains so far, the UNP too said it was the responsibility of the govt to conduct an investigation into it. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that the JVP could point the finger at the then UNP govt for mass killings during the 1987 – 89 period, but it had not been proved so far that the then UNP govt conducted those killings. more..

Parliament debates amending legislation to criminalize terrorist financing

Feb 7 (GDI) Parliament moved a draft revision bill to revise legislation on terrorist financing. The draft bill to amend the Convention on Suppression of Terrorist Financing Act No 25 of 2005 was presented to parliament by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday and the debate on the proposed amendments will continue today as well. Speaking on the Draft Bill, Deputy Minister Neomal Perera said the objective of the Bill more..

Free and fee-based education balance vital - Sir Paul Judge

Feb 7 (DM) Sri Lanka must find its own balance between free education and fee-based education, particularly in the field of tertiary education in order to bring maximum benefit to the wider economy, according to Global President of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), Sir Paul Judge. “The benefit of education comes in two parts. Firstly, to the person who receives education, which gives them a direct benefit in terms of better career prospects and this in turn benefits more..

Tamil outfit protests against Sri Lankan President visit

Feb 7 (NIP) Activists of the Naam Thamizhar Iyakkam, protesting against the Sri Lankan president Rajapaksa’s Tirupathi visit on February 8, picketed an express train at the Puducherry railway station on Wednesday. Police arrested 22 activists picketing the Howrah Express. The activists, led by Arumaidass, raised slogans against the Central govt. The train was delayed by half an hour. Thirty-four activists of a human rights organisation, staging protest near a temple run by Tirupathi trust, more..

Hazardous smoke-emitting vehicles to be banned

Feb 7 (DM) The Motor Traffic Department (DMT) has taken steps to ban vehicles with high smoke emissions in an attempt to reduce air-pollution in Colombo. The DMT is currently in the process of making arrangements to purchase 45 machines from the German govt at a cost of Rs. 50 million to effectively test vehicle emissions. Vehicles found to have high smoke emissions would be blacklisted and be given a specific period more..

Attempt to sabotage new six-storey cancer complex?

Feb 7 (Island) The Health Ministry yesterday alleged that an attempt was being made to sabotage a major project to expand the Maharagama Cancer Institute. A senior official said that those opposed to the Razavi Medical Complex had alleged that it would include a special area for Muslim prayers. The project was funded by British based ‘Ahmed Tea’. The six-storey Complex would cost Rs.1,450 million to build and would be affiliated to the Maharagama Cancer Institute. Ahmed Tea would provide more..

Foreign buying boosts Sri Lanka bourse to 1 week high

Feb 7 (Reuters) The stock market climbed off a three-week low on Thursday thanks largely to foreign buying, snapping a losing streak extending over five sessions. The rupee ended marginally firmer. The main share index rose 0.52%, or 30.33 points, to end at 5,810.42, its highest since Jan. 30. On Wednesday, it closed at its lowest since Jan. 15. Turnover was 1.53 billion rupees, more than this year's daily average of 1.19 billion rupees. "Falling interest rates and foreign participation more..

Bank of Ceylon branch attacked in Chennai

Feb 7 (Hindu) An unidentified group on Thursday afternoon ransacked the Bank of Ceylon branch in Egmore and attacked its employees. The attack is suspected to be orchestrated by a Tamil group in protest against the visit of Sri Lanka's President Rajapaksa to India on Friday. The group barged into the Bank complex around 1.30 p.m. and attacked the police personnel on duty. While some damaged the guard's room other rushed to more..

'JVP, FSP causing rifts between North, South'

Feb 7 (CT) The JVP and its dissident group, the FSP, are trying to create rifts between the people in the Northern and Southern regions of Sri Lanka, by using undergraduates as advocates to manipulate student agitations in campuses, Minister S.B. Dissanayake charged. The minister made this statement while addressing a ceremony at the UGC recently. He also said university authorities, including the Higher Education Ministry, are aware of the agitators and protestors, and more..

Leadership training for batch 3 to start on 12th Feb

Feb 7 (CT) The leadership training programme for the new university entrants will start on 12th Feb at countrywide military and police establishments. The Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education P.G. Jayasinghe said that names of selected students have already been uploaded in the website of the Ministry He said that 7038 students selected for training in the third batch would conclude their programme on February 28th more..

Firefox Bikes shuts Sri Lanka plant; shifts it to Bangladesh

Feb 7 (PTI) Premium bicycle maker Firefox Bikes today said it has closed its manufacturing plant in Sri Lanka, owned by one of its promoters, and moved it to Bangladesh to avail lower duty benefits. “We have closed down our Sri Lanka plant and the last production was in January. We have relocated the unit to Bangladesh,” Firefox Bikes Managing Director Shiv Inder Singh said. The manufacturing plant is operated by Intertrend Ltd, more..

Maldivian student arrested in Sri Lanka for having illegal drugs

Feb 7 (Haveeru) A Maldivian student has been arrested in Sri Lanka for the possession of illegal drugs. The 24-year-old, who is following a designing course at the Academy of Design (AOD), was arrested on Sunday evening from Colombo 3. A police spokesperson said that a cigarette filled with hash oil was found from the Maldivian. He was granted crown bail today by the Colombo Fort Magistrate Court. The Maldivian High Commission in Colombo, however, said it had no information more..

Sri Lanka arrests 57 attempting to flee to Australia illegally

Feb 7 (Xinhua) In its latest effort to curb human smuggling, the Sri Lankan navy on Thursday arrested 57 local nationals for attempting to flee to Australia illegally. Navy spokesperson said that the 57 were arrested off the coast of Kalkuda in the north western part of the island. "They were arrested in the early hours of Thursday and we are making arrangements to bring them to the Trincomalee harbor before handing them over to the law enforcement authorities," more..

Govt. and Ulamas reiterate -‘halal certificate’ voluntary

Feb 7 (DM) The Govt and the All Ceylon Jaamiyathul Ulama (ACJU), reiterated today, that obtaining of the halal certificate is voluntary and the entire process is based on International specifications. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, on behalf of the govt, made a detailed response today to Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who asked the govt to take steps to ease religious tension. In his statement the previous day, more..

'Colonizing Sinhalese in Nawatkuli, is it reconciliation?'

Feb 7 (OU) Forcible colonization’s of Sinhalese people in the north, is it govt's reconciliation. This activity clearly establishes a difference between govt’s words and act was said by DPF Leader Mano Ganeshan. He made this statement concerning the fast developing of Sinhala colonization in Nawatkuli. Confiscating Tamils lands outrageously will not show at all national harmony. At a state President Mahinda Rajapakse establish international sector that reconciliation is the answer, more..

Student steals coconuts to find money to paint her school

Feb 7 (LT) A 13 year old student has been brought before Court on charges of stealing coconuts to find funds to paint the buildings of the school she is having her education at. She has stolen coconuts as she was unable to find the Rs.800 her school authorities had asked each student to find to raise a fund to paint the buildings. When she was caught she had in her possession 8 coconuts worth Rs.300. The lawyers Thushara Gunaratne and Roshan Dehiwela, who appeared on behalf of more..

New Selectors meet the National Players & Technical Team

Feb 7 (SLC) Picking the national team is no easy task, so the newly elected selectors are eager to make no mistakes and have the best available players wearing the Sri Lankan Cap. The newly elected selectors of SLC headed by its Chairman Sanath Jayasuriya together with the Secretary of SLC Nishantha Ranatunga, met for the first time the National Coaches, Physio’s & the Match Referees of SLC, and all the more..

DMK members suspended from TN assembly

Feb 7 (IANS) DMK members were suspended from the Tamil Nadu assembly till Friday when a debate on Sri Lanka caused an uproar that the speaker ruled was undignified. Upset over Minister K.P. Munusamy’s remarks against DMK chief M. Karunanidhi, DMK members stormed to the speaker’s podium shouting slogans. Deputy Speaker R. Jayaraman ordered them evicted, saying their conduct breached the dignity of the house and that their protest was undemocratic. more..

Rajapaksa to avoid New Delhi

Feb 7 (IANS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrives Friday in India for pilgrimage and he will not visit New Delhi to meet the country's leaders. Rajapaksa's trip to Bodh Gaya in Bihar and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh comes amid barely concealed strains in India-Sri Lanka ties over Colombo's refusal to devolve powers to provincial councils. The president will fly from Colombo Friday to Bodh Gaya, the site where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment and which hosts a 1,500-year-old temple more..

Women's WC: Sri Lanka's new beginning

Feb 7 (BBC) Sri Lanka's win over defending champions England was rated as the biggest upset in the history of the Women's World Cup by BBC Sport commentator Alison Mitchell. And there were other commentators who regarded the victory as one of the biggest upsets in all forms of cricket, including the men's game. It was the biggest run chase in the 16-year history of SL's women's team, and the first time they have won a more..

Sri Lanka to spruce up colonial era canal

Feb 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka will rehabilitate a colonial era canal north of the capital Colombo for tourism promotion and to improve the livelihoods of people living in the area, information minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said. State-run Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Company had been awarded a 600 million rupee contract for the project. A 14 kilometer stretch of Hamilton Canal running from Negombo to the Kelani River estuary will be rehabilitated under the project. more..

Another 6 Sri Lankan asylum seekers voluntarily return to Columbo

Feb 7 (TC) Another six Sri Lankan asylum seekers have returned home, bringing the total to 936 since the Federal Government reinstated offshore processing in August. The men returned to Colombo voluntarily this week, an immigration department spokesman said. "They chose not to pursue their asylum claims and no longer seek to engage Australia's protection obligations," the spokesman said. While further transfers to the offshore processing centre on Nauru would more..

Indian trawlers hurt northern Sri Lanka livelihoods

Feb 7 (IRIN) Indian trawlers are taking their toll on northern Sri Lanka's fishing sector which is struggling to recover almost four years after a decades-long civil war. "Since the conclusion of the civil war, Indian trawlers have been coming in closer and closer," Maarten Bavinck, director at the Amsterdam-based Centre for Maritime Research, said, noting that over half of the 5,000 trawlers based in southern India more..

Consumers set to suffer another high-voltage backlash

Feb 8 (NS) Let the power games begin! And be reminded that there will appear to be hardly any gamesmanship as far as the ordinary consumer is concerned. The news that the CEB has proposed a tariff increase to the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) from next month is not only grossly unfair, but is actually extortion on the hapless consumer. The CEB has become the biggest scrounging and whinging entity of all time, always finding an excuse or whipping boy more..

‘Sugar Minister’ can help nation fight diabetes

Feb 8 (NS) Sri Lankans traditionally like to consume sweet food items. Most of them they prepare for numerous festivities, domestic or national, and contain sugar to a great level. It is recorded that a Sri Lankan takes in about 30kg sugar for a year and accordingly, the current consumption of sugar in Sri Lanka is over 550,000 tons. The amount is expected to rise to more than 600,000 tons by 2015 and for importing the necessary sugar amount the govt has to spend over Rs.50 billion by 2015. more..

GCE A/L was tougher for Thilini than others

Feb 8 (SO) Twenty year old Thilini from Kegalle seems to be the newest member of the list of courageous daughters of the motherland. For twenty years, Thilini Jayathilake endured the greatest challenge in her life - inability to move properly. Yet she passed every academic hurdle and today stands tall among all those who passed the G.C.E. A/L exam. With her success Thilini is teaching us the worthlessness of many things more..

The call for an electricity pricing formula

Feb 8 (CT) There is nothing more to discover. The truth is that a pricing formula is already in place for electricity. Pricing formulae have been introduced many times in the past, but more recently since January 2011, after the new Electricity Act was approved in year 2009. Over a period of one year, a pricing formula evolved with the participation of many stakeholders. Each pricing formula in the past was shot down or blocked by the politicians, who wanted to continue with the populist policies more..

Some issues concerning Tamil language rights

Feb 8 (Island) Like nearly every other multi ethnic country, we have had a history of ethnic conflict. But, compared to several other countries, our conflict was mild and not posing a serious threat to national unity till the mid 20th century. The so called 50-50 issue raised by the Tamil Congress before the Soulbury Commission in the mid 40s was a non-starter, and quickly and smoothly disposed of. Far more insidious was the issue of citizenship and voting rights of ‘Indian Tamils’ more..

Matale mass graves: Is Gotabhaya Rajapaksa implicated in the incident?

Feb 8 (DBS) Speculation is rife in Sri Lanka and among Sri Lankans abroad of the possibility of Defence and Urban Development Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa being implicated in the incident concerning the discovery of skeletal remains in mass graves in the Hill town of Matale. Discussions are on whether the Presidential sibling regarded as the second most powerful person in Sri Lanka could have been allegedly involved more..

The state of the Left, post independence: They can still act

Feb 8 (CT) The decline of the Left is one of the many dark chapters of post independence Sri Lanka. This is especially so because the people had the distinct faith that the Left would deliver a prosperous, happy and just society. The failures of the Left are both political and moral. They are perpetuating these failures to this day, and are unwilling to take the steps they readily can, even at this late hour, for the good of the people who placed infinite trust in them. more..

Biggest obstacle to national reconciliation is the promotion of jingoism

Feb 8 (DBS) The govt held the 65th Independence Day celebration in Trincomalee in the former war zone of the East to emphasise perhaps the territorial unity of the country that had been secured after the ending of the war. The historical significance of this national day should be that it represents the collective effort of the country’s diverse peoples, including Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims to obtain their freedom from foreign rule. In his speech on the occasion President Rajapaksa emphasised more..

Endorsing religious-nationalism on Independence Day

Feb 8 (DBS) President Rajapaksa’s Independence Day speech contained three main themes/ideas. It reiterated national sovereignty, which, in today’s Sri Lanka, is a cover for Rajapaksa absolutism. The Siblings want a free-hand, and, as the impeachment-travesty demonstrated, they abhor even judicial restrictions. The speech also indicated that devolution is not on. The Rajapaksas do not want even a minute-dilution of their power; more..

Sri Lankan ladies take on Kiwis in Super Six game today

Feb 8 (Island) After an exciting group phase that had its fair share of upsets, the Super Six stage of the ICC Women’s World Cup kicks off today with New Zealand taking on giant killers Sri Lanka at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Bombay. New Zealand is the fancied side in the contest but the early morning start could be a potential banana skin should Sri Lanka bowl first in what have been helpful conditions. Until the ICC Women’s World Cup started, Sri Lanka had not beaten more..