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US invites 15 other govts to address Tiger financing and weapons

Feb 13 (CT) “The Ambassador told Palihakkara that the US is inviting fifteen other govts to form overlapping contact groups to address Tiger financing and weapons procurement. Palihakkara agreed to reinforce Sri Lanka’s interest in working with the international community to bring an end to the conflict by reaching out to these nations’ foreign offices after the US has made initial proposals, but to ‘be economical’ in discussing the initiative more..

'UNP & Govt quite pleased at what’s happening to Muslims'

Feb 13 (LT) The UNP and the govt spend their time merrily watching what is happening to the Muslim community says the Member of DPF in Western Provincial Council Kumara Gurubaran. Speaking at media conference held at Asath Sally Foundation Mr. Gurubaran has said, “The Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe is a senior politician. He is very happy about the present Parliament. Also, he takes pleasure in watching what is happening to Muslims. more..

Russians to build nine new tourist hotels

Feb 13 (GDI) Russian investors have agreed to invest in constructing nine tourist hotels in Sri Lanka, according to the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Sri Lanka Alexander Karchava. The hotels are expected to be built in the vicinity of the International Airport Katunayake, Hill Country, Central Province and the Northern and Eastern Provinces among other areas. The Russian Ambassador presented the proposal on this to Minister Basil Rajapaksa recently. more..

TNA not invited to meeting chaired by MR

Feb 13 (CT) TNA MPs have not been invited to the Jaffna District Development Coordinating Committee Meeting presided over by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Jaffna yesterday, the TNA complained. The only TNA MP who had participated at the meeting, Appathurai Vinayagamoorthy, complained to the President about the eviction of civilians from Valikamam North by the Security Forces. more..

Govt. shy to report cyber attacks?

Feb 13 (Island) In the wake of rapidly increasing cyber attacks on government websites, Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team (SLCERT) said that the computer crimes would soon be the biggest challenge for the police and lawmakers. So far about 50 official websites have been hacked. SLCERT Security Engineer Roshan Chandraguptha told The Island yesterday that though a number of govt websites had been hacked only three or four had reported such attacks. more..

LPBOA faults police for Tangalle bus crisis

Feb 13 (Island) Private bus operators yesterday accused the Tangalle police of being biased during their investigations into an assault on a private bus employee by the Superintendent of the Tangalle SLTB depot. Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) president Gamunu Wijeratne said yesterday that the superintendent of the Tangalle SLTB depot had assaulted the conductor of a private bus plying between Tangalle and Hakmana 7.40 a.m. last Friday, for unknown reasons more..

IMF recommends reforms for Sri Lanka after loan discussions fail

Feb 13 (Xinhua) A range of reforms have been recommended by the IMF to the Sri Lankan govt urging fiscal consolidation, following the announcement that the two entities will not sign on a fresh loan to fund the island's post war development. IMF delegation head John Nelmes confirmed to media that discussions on obtaining a fresh loan had not borne fruit but he insisted that engagement with the Sri Lankan govt would continue. more..

Police should follow rules when receiving donations from public’

Feb 13 (DM) Police Media Spokesman SSP Prishantha Jayakody commenting on police stations receiving donations from various business enterprises said there was a mechanism in place to accepting such donations from private enterprises. “There are certain ethics related to receiving such donations. The beneficiary police stations have to first check whether the willing donors or their organizations face any criminal proceedings. If the need be, the donors even have to furnish more..

Sri Lankan cricket team to play in Goa Premier League

Feb 13 (IANS) Three outstation cricket teams, including a Sri Lankan outfit, will be the highlight of the Goa Professional League (GPL) which will kick off here Feb 23, the organiser said. Goa Cricket Association chief Vinod Fadke said playing with international players would give exposure to Goan cricketers, very few of whom get opportunities to play with top-grade players. "We have three outstation teams, one each from Haryana, Mumbai and Sri Lanka. We are getting outstation more..

Sharma: 'Actions should be free of contention'

Feb 13 (DM) Commenting on the recent Impeachment of CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma in his concluding statement on the visit to Sri Lanka today, said that Sri Lanka should ensure that “any such process in future is free of contention and does not call into question Sri Lanka’s commitment to the independence of the judiciary and separation of powers”. more..

Police violate national language policy: Vasu

Feb 13 (DM) The National Languages and Social Integration Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said the Police had violated the “national language policy” by distributing forms to motorists in Colombo containing instructions in only the Sinhala language. “It’s a clear violation of the national language policy and I have written to the Inspector General of Police to take immediate action regarding this,” the minister said and added that he was awaiting a response from the IGP. “The IGP has been very cooperative more..

'Public asked not to panic over solar storms'

Feb 13 (Island) The public have been told that there was no need to panic over the solar storm, which was expected to hit the earth after 154 years. Prof. Chandana Jayaratne, a consultant at the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies, told ‘The Island’ yesterday that the solar storm was unlikely to have an impact on the earth. The burst of a massive solar flare was reported at around 2.30 a.m. on February 9 and it would take about three days to reach the earth, he said. more..

'Sri Lanka fails to keep war probe promises'

Feb 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka has failed to honour promises to investigate serious rights abuses and allegations that thousands of civilians were killed in the final stages of its ethnic war, a UN report says. The report by human rights experts, which was submitted to the UNHRC on Monday, found that investigations by local authorities were inconclusive and were not independent or impartial. "The steps taken to investigate allegations of serious more..

Tourist’s tattoo lands her in trouble

Feb 13 (E24|7) The Tourism Unit of the Kandy Police Headquarters has taken into custody a young woman, reportedly a Netherlands national, who has a tattoo of the Buddha on her back. Patrina Irene Bronco, 26, who said she came to Sri Lanka with her fiancé had been at a leading restaurant in the city, and dressed in a manner that revealed the tattoo of the Buddha. A group of Sri Lankan youth in the restaurant who had seen the tattoo on her body had flown into a rage, resulting in a heated more..

It is raining gold in Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (E24|7) After coloured rains, it is now raining ‘gold’ in certain parts of Sri Lanka. ‘Virakesari’ reports that some unidentified objects – golden coloured – has been falling when it rains in Gaminipura area of Hatton hills. Many people picked them up and took them to their homes it has been reported. Meanwhile, in Dambulla some rocks fells from the skies. In Puwakththawala of Samanthalaya area some rock-like black, white and yellow colour stones have been falling from space. more..

Water mismanagement in northern Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (IRIN) Water resources in northern Sri Lanka, which are coming under increasing pressure as returning farmers use wasteful water pumps to irrigate their crops, need to be better managed, say experts. “Never before have water resources in the Northern Province been under such stress,” Thushyanthy Mikunthan, a senior lecturer at the Dept of Agriculture at Jaffna University, said, citing increased farming and an upsurge more..

SA women crush Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (CI) Sri Lanka continued their inconsistent run in this World Cup, losing to South Africa by a massive 110-run margin in their last Super Six game in Cuttack on Wednesday. Set a target of 228 for victory, Sri Lanka folded for a paltry 117 with just two batsmen reaching double-figure scores. Sri Lanka will play South Africa again on Friday for fifth place. Opener Chamari Atapattu scored 63 of her team's 117 runs, the only batsman to offer any resistance to the South African bowling that was more..

Sri Lanka: No need for IMF, after all?

Feb 13 (FT) It isn’t every day that a country cancels a plan to seek $1bn in emergency loans from the IMF, just a few weeks after announcing it. But having unveiled plans to go cap in hand for money earlier in the year, it seems this is just what President Mahinda Rajapaksa is about to do, following a row with the IMF. So what exactly is going on? Sri Lanka is coming to the end of a previous $2.6bn IMF deal, struck back in 2009 to help the country pick itself up after more..

U.S. opens two hospitals in Northern Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (USE) The U.S. Embassy opened two new hospitals at a cost of over $1,000,000 to provide services in conflict affected areas of the Northern Province. On Feb 12, Deputy Chief of Mission William Weinstein opened Mulankavil Base Hospital in Kilinochchi and Oddusuddan Divisional Hospital in Mullaitivu during ceremonies attended by Govt representatives including the Northern Province Ministry of Health. more..

Sri Lanka compensates textile workers laid off in 1980-82

Feb 13, 2013 (F2F) The Govt has launched a compensation programme to reimburse the textile workers who were laid off due to privatization or closure of about 64 state-run textile units way back during 1980-82. As per the Govt’s estimates, it would require around SL Rs. 330 million to fund the programme. Under the program which would be executed in two phases, all the employees who lost their jobs would be paid Rs. 17,000 for each working year that they lost. more..

World realizing rights abuses in Sri Lanka: Karunanidhi

Feb 13 (IANS) The world is beginning to realize that human rights are being violated in Sri Lanka, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi said Wednesday. Canada has announced plans to boycott the upcoming Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka on grounds of human rights violations by Colombo, Karunanidhi said in a statement. He said the New York-based Human Rights Watch had also demanded that Sri Lanka should not be allowed to host the summit due to its poor rights record. All this showed that more..

Sri Lanka should hold policy rates till inflation falls: IMF

Feb 13, 2013 (LBO) Sri Lanka should freeze policy rates until inflation starts to the fall IMF said as country is suffering from the highest inflation generated by the central bank in over four years. "Our view is that inflation levels of around 10 percent where we see them now is cause for holding interest rates cuts," IMF mission chief John Nelmes said. "And the decision yesterday to keep monetary policy on hold, we support. more..

Aborted prior to execution Coup d’état ‘62

Feb 14 (NS) A detailed discussion on the circumstances and factors that motivated conspirators and politics of Ceylon during post independence transitional era that lasted up to late 50s was serialized at the beginning. Family and socio-cultural background of the coup leaders was taken up next. Plans to arrest the Prime Minister, other political heavy-weights and military / police chiefs and the Stanley Senanayake factor, were also discussed. Eleventh hour planning by the more..

Colonialism, freedom and self-rule

Feb 14 (NS) Under the yoke of foreign domination - the Portuguese (AD 1505), Dutch (AD 1656) and the Brits (AD1796) - for some 450 years; the indigenous folk eventually begin to rule themselves. But, to what extent has this change been a success? Looking back, one reflects on classic examples of British occupation in Hong Kong, leaving it in 1997, an extremely rich state of prosperity, now discreetly maintained by communist China on similar lines of governance, if not better. more..

The politics of personal glory

Feb 14 (NS) Sri Lanka is continuing to pursue its retrogressive course towards becoming a political giant at the expense of being sidelined as an economic dwarf. Recently that dwarf suddenly raised itself to unprecedented heights when another lop-sided, grand-daddy of all Cabinets was formed. It all started in November 2000 when the Chandrika Kumaratunga govt with its razor-thin majority found itself embroiled in a muddle of Machiavellian more..

Memes and the art of majority placation

Feb 14 (GV) The thing about Social Media is that it gives people a shot at engineering their identities without much effort. A simple ‘like’ or ‘share’ of a particular picture can easily give the impression of an aware and concerned citizen, and so the proliferation of such images in such a politically-charged climate is not surprising. This picture, posted on the Sri Lankan Memes Facebook Page, is a fascinating example of minority damage control. Given the anti-Muslim sentiment simmering more..

Mixed messages in President’s independence day speech

Feb 14 (GV) In a significant act of outreach the Independence Day ceremonies were held in Trincomalee, a provincial city with a pronounced ethnic mix; while President Rajapaksa presented one part of his message in Tamil, repeating what he had said earlier (in English?) and then reiterating the same points in Sinhala. In keeping with the occasion and location, he referred to the Dutch and British interests in Trincomalee during the imperialist past as a prelude to his argument more..

Upali Wijewardene: Unforgettable memories of a dynamic tycoon

Feb 14 (DBS) Today Feb 13th is the 30th Anniversary of the disappearance of Philip Upali Wijewardena. If he was among the living Upali as he was generally known would have been 75 years of age on Feb 17th. Alas, this was not to be as he disappeared thirty years ago just four days before his 45th birthday. This article written five years ago is reproduced with slight changes as tribute to the man in this eventful week of more..

Boralu Para (Gravel Road) to assert rule of law

Feb 14 (CT) It is not a sophisticated ‘carpeted’ road, but just a ‘Boralu Para’ (gravel road) to assert rule of law in Sri Lanka. It is still possible if people like Ayesh, Channul, Darrel and Pinki get united and the police officers like Victor Wendakaduwa do their duty proper. The worst scenario would be the opportunist police officers like Regan or others who flout the rule of law when in office but try to become heroes in troubled waters entering into politics. All these are possibilities according to a more..

The kingdom of Kandy: Challenging narratives of British colonialism

Feb 14 (CT) European early modern empires in South Asia are sometimes described as water-borne parasites: they command the sea, but only take up small stretches of territory and factories along the coasts. In such a picture, the British win out against their European rivals at sea, and then start forming alliances with South Asian states; they work closely with land-based Indian financiers and merchants and protect the rights of landowners. It is from this ground of mutual interest that British more..

Self-sufficiency in sugar, the goal

Feb 14 (SO) The subject of sugar rises in a family only when a family member is diagnosed as a diabetic; at other times the subject is hardly spoken at home. Sugar remains a silent subject at home since people do not receive a huge sugar bill unlike for some other commodities. However, it is estimated that every citizen consumes around 35 kilograms of sugar per year! One may think that Sri Lanka's top import bill is for vehicles, oil more..

Editorial : A fish story

Feb 14 (Island) A team of scientists, psychologists and English academics of the Liverpool University has proved that the works of Shakespeare, Wordsworth et al are rocket boosters to the brain. They have monitored, with the help of scanners, the brain activity of volunteers poring over classics and found that challenging prose and poetry set off far more electrical activity in readers’ brains than the pedestrian versions thereof. But, why should you tax yourself unduly by reading difficult prose and more..

India’s Geneva vote on Sri Lanka and Sampur power betrayal?

Feb 14 (EAR) Let’s put things in perspective. Whatever Resolutions are brought, whoever votes against Sri Lanka, whatever embargoes are imposed, Sri Lanka will continue to rally round its valiant Armed Forces because they remain the only military to eliminate a terrorist movement. No country can diminish this achievement and we stand proud of our military no matter what. No Indian Govt is, has ever been or will be bothered to win the popularity contest of the Sri Lankan people. more..

SL Independence Celebrations in NY

Mysterious lights…

Feb 14 (Island) Dr. Piyasiri Amilasith Yapa’s article appearing in ‘The Island’ recently does not at all do much good to Buddhism which has comparatively a lesser dose of the supernatural in its literature. Buddhism differs from the other mainstream religions espousing a creationist view of the world, thus demanding their followers to have faith in a supernatural omnipotent being presiding over the world and all creatures living in it. The absence of such claims and the encouragement the more..

Worrying fall in government revenue

Feb 14 (Island) There has been a sharp fall in govt revenue in 2012. Revenue collection is likely to have declined to as low as 11% of GDP. This is significantly less than the 14% - 15% that has been recorded in previous years and compares very unfavourably with 17% - 18% of GDP that is the mean for countries at Sri Lanka’s level of development (lower-middle-income country). It also seems to imply that growth has been less than the 6.5% officially recorded. more..

CID records statements from 150 people over Rs. 263 m credit card fraud

Feb 14 (FT) CID detectives informed Court that they had recorded statements from 150 people in connection with the Rs. 263 million fraud, where funds belonging to foreign credit cardholders were withdrawn using an e-commerce application service provided by a Sri Lankan State bank. In this scam, the State bank had incurred a massive Rs. 263 million loss and 14 suspects who were allegedly involved in the incident more..

Newly formed prisoners’ rights group asks for prison riot probes findings

Feb 14 (Island) A newly formed movement for the Protection of Prisoner’s Rights claimed that the govt killed prisoners like animals and the lives of prison inmates were not safeguarded by the state while they were in the custody of prison guards. It also accused the govt of failing to reveal the findings of the probe committees, appointed after two recent prison riots, that occurred in Welikada and Vavuniya, where 23 and two inmates were killed, respectively and leaving many others injured. more..

'No more fake driving licenses'

Feb 14 (DN) The ministry would make no room to make fake driving licenses in the future, Transport Deputy Minister Rohana Dissanayake said. He said the Motor Traffic Department issues nearly 40,000 driving licenses per month. He said that in 2012 alone, 347,959 new driving licenses had been issued by the Department. He said that the department receives over 1,250 applications for driving licenses per day. He said that evidences were found that there had been instances more..

Vehicle survey forms only in Sinhala

Feb 14 (CT) Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara, requested the IGP, N.K. Illangakoon, to conduct an inquiry into the incident where the forms handed over to motorists while conducting a survey on the number of light vehicles entering Colombo, were only in the Sinhala language. He said handing over forms only in the Sinhala language is a violation of the National Language Policy. He added, the police are bound to more..