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Development of Hambantota and Ruhuna – some reflections

Jan 31 (Island) There is much activity planned and being implemented to develop Hambantota as well as adjoining areas of the district by the present government. In addition to the port, convention centre, cricket ground, and the airport, there is a multitude of other infrastructure, business and entrepreneurial activities planned or being implemented at a large scale. Southern highway is being extended step by step toward Hambantota. Foreign investments are being more..

Environmentalists don gloves to fight Green activists

Jan 31 (NS) Despite continuous public outcry about the deforestation and desecration of the nation’s national parks, some high handed corporates have turned a blind eye and deaf ear in pursuit of their own gains. Bordering Sri Lanka’s Ruhunu National Park, huge bulldozers have cleared away almost 100 ha of scrub forest for a Gliricidia plantation project by United Dendro Energy (Pvt) Ltd, a subsidiary of Lanka Orix Leasing Company Ltd (LOLC). The total land area expected to be more..

Calling in the marines

Jan 31 (Island) As I said last week, it is easy to become disheartened with the way that things are moving in Sri Lanka. One disappointment follows another, and each is more extraordinary than the last. The impeachment of the CJ was particularly disturbing. It demonstrated just how little space there is for dissent. Even the mild disturbance created by Shirani Bandaranayake when she ruled that the Divi Neguma bill had to be referred to the more..

Editorial: Diplomatic recon

Jan 31 (Island) The current visit by three US State Department officials, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State James Moore, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Vikram Singh and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jane Zimmerman, has the trappings of diplomatic reconnaissance ahead of next month’s human rights offensive in Geneva. They have made no bones about the fact that a procedural resolution on (or against?) Sri Lanka would be submitted to the UNHRC. more..

War euphoria waning: Minorities, dissidents targeted for electoral gain?

Jan 31 (SL) My bishop, the Rt. Revd. Dhiloraj Canagasabey, did us proud declaring today that there has been a complete collapse of democracy in the CJ’s impeachment and that we “as a Christian Church cannot remain silent in this situation. Such silence will be dishonoring to our Lord and a betrayal of our identify as His people.” Similarly UNHCR’s Navenetham Pillay described it as a “calamitous setback for the rule of law” and warned that Sri Lanka would have serious repercussions more..

In Jaffna, an effort to bridge the religious divide

Jan 31 (KSA) Vishu Kumar, 14, had heard from his Hindu parents and relatives about the similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism. He was interested in finding out more, but until recently the opportunities were limited. Now, a learning centre shut down during the civil war has been reopened by the Jaffna Tamil Buddhist Association, with the goal of promoting interfaith dialogue, fostering understanding and helping the more..

Sri Lanka’s constitutional crisis: The way forward for workers

Jan 31 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) warns that President Mahinda Rajapakse’s impeachment and sacking of the country’s chief justice, Shirani Bandaranayake, is aimed above all against the working class. As the govt moves to make further deep inroads into living standards, it is tightening its control over the state apparatus in preparation for cracking down on any resistance by workers and the rural poor. Rajapakse engineered Bandaranayake’s removal this month more..

Calls to British to boycott Sri Lanka fall on deaf ears

Jan 31 (Island) Despite a few British parliamentarians urging British vacationers to stay away from Sri Lanka they continue to be ignored as Britons plan to head out to one of the 'hottest' destinations being promoted by the travel industry. As the British media revs up the publicity and British Airways prepares to return to Colombo after some 15 years, official British travel advisories cautioning tourists visiting Sri Lanka are being tossed out of the window by vacationers looking for more..

Rude shock shakes tea exporters

Jan 31 (Island) The Tea Exporters’ Association in a strongly worded statement objected to the ad-hoc tax increase on bulk tea exports, and expressed surprise that the ministry overlooking the sector, Ministry of Plantations Industry, and the Sri Lanka Tea Board were not even aware of the change announced by gazette notification on Jan 23 until late afternoon yesterday after exporters complained more..

W Karunajeewa, the versatile leader I knew

Jan 31 (Island) It was in 1966 that I met W. Karunajeewa when I entered the University of Peradeniya. Karunajeewa entered the university in 1965 from Dharmaraja College Kandy. I found excellent leadership qualities and a high capacity to organize any given event, in Karunajeewa. My first involvement with him was The Buddhist Brotherhood of University of Peradeniya in 1967 when he became the president of the association and I was the secretary. The Buddhist Brotherhood more..

Cheap vegetables from Lanka Sathosa outlets

Jan 31 (DN) On the directives of Co-operatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando, thirty Lanka Sathosa outlets in the Colombo district have begun selling vegetables at lower prices than in the regular market from yesterday. "The number of Lanka Sathosa outlets would be further expanded with immediate effect, allowing consumers to purchase vegetables at concessionary rates," Minister Johnston Fernando said. Sathosa outlets situated on Colombo-Kandy road upto more..

Sri Lanka Army to provide a prosthetic arm to the law student amputee

Jan 31 (SLA) Sri Lanka Army on the directions of the President Rajapaksa has offered a prosthetic arm to Ms Achala Priyadarshani, the final year Law student, whose arm on alleged medical negligence, was amputated after an accidental fall from a flight of stairs at her home in Urubokka. President Rajapaksa, deeply touched after reading media reports on the incident, spoke to the Commander of the Army, more..

Customs in another migrant worker friendly service

Jan 31 (DN) Gift parcels and baggages sent to Sri Lanka as cargo by migrant workers are to be delivered directly to their home courtesy the Sri Lanka Customs. Customs Director General Jagath Wijeweera said his department would soon introduce a system where such parcels will be delivered directly to the consignees' door step, even in the remotest corner of the island. On the need to introduce such a mechanism, Wijeweera said: "When migrant workers send gift parcels and more..

UGC seeks SC approval to adjust student selection

Jan 31 (Island) The UGC yesterday filed papers in the Supreme Court seeking a slight adjustment to the selection of students for practical/aptitude tests, to determine their eligibility to be admitted to the University for the Academic year 2011/2012. The Supreme Court, on Sept. 12, 20012, ordered the UGC to admit 5,609 students in addition to the normal intake of 21,500. The formula approved by the Supreme Court for the selection of students, suggested the holding of practical/aptitude more..

Opposition MPs decry freeloaders

Jan 31 (Island) JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that in addition to salaries, fuel allowance and free housing, each minister received nearly Rs.10 mn annually to meet their expenses. The JVPer was responding to a query by The Island in the wake of the ruling SLFP-led UPFA increasing the number of ministers to 69, including two project ministers. The MP said that a part of the funds were utilized by ministers to throw year-ending party for journalists. more..

‘Sri Lanka reaping peace dividends’

Jan 31 (DN) Politicians are entitled to have their own views on various issues, but, these personal opinions should not have a negative impact on the well being of society. All politicians should be united when the country faces a threat, states Senior Minister for Rural Affairs Athauda Seneviratne in an interview. Excerpts from the interview: Q: As a veteran politician what is your opinion about the current political situation in the country? A: When Mahinda Rajapaksa became more..

CPA wants all 11 SC judges for FR on Peiris

Jan 31 (FT) The Centre for Policy Alternatives on Monday filed a motion for a full bench of the Supreme Court to hear its Fundamental Rights petition on the constitutionality and legality of the appointment of CJ Mohan Pieris, on the grounds that the CJ is a respondent in the petition and cannot therefore appoint a bench to hear the motion. The motion signed by Attorneys for the Petitioners cites the fact that Pieris who is the sixth respondent in the petition “now purports to exercise the more..

Douglas to run for Northern CM

Jan 31 (Island) EPDP Leader and Minister Douglas Devananda said that he would forego his cabinet portfolio to contest the Northern Provincial Council elections, due later this year, as the Chief Ministerial candidate. Responding to a query, at a media conference, Devananda said that he would contest as the Chief Ministerial candidate at the NPC election scheduled for September. But, according to earlier media reports, more..

University offers type setter to Achala

Jan 31 (CT) The University of Colombo (UoC) has offered a type setter to the law student who lost her arm due to medical negligence, to answer exam papers if she finds it difficult to use her other arm. Senior Student Advisor of UoC, Premakumar Silva said special facilities can be provided for Achala Priyadarshani, the Law Faculty student who lost her arm recently, to sit for the final exam in June 2013. He said: "Achala can request special facilities at the exam by forwarding the medical certificate. more..

UNP rebel spokesman Lal Perera no more

Jan 31 (Island) Prominent trade unionist Lal Perera, who was identified with the UNP reformists, passed away, after a brief illness, at the Sri Jayawardenepura General Hospital on Tuesday. He was 53 years old. The late trade unionist was at one stage a stalwart of the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS), the trade union of the UNP. Even after he was disowned by the JSS for siding with UNP reformists, he fought a relentless battle. Lal Perera was earlier attached to the Govt Press more..

GCE A/L Z-Score: UGC chief confident no slip ups this time

Jan 31 (Island) Examination Commissioner General W.M.N.J. Pushpakumara said that the department was confident of this year’s Z–score marks of the GCE (A/L) results scheduled to be released today. He said that this time the Z–score marks and ranks had been calculated separately for the New and Old syllabuses. "We released the result to the department website last night," he said, more..

SLMC irked over Dawood’s accepting Cabinet post

Jan 31 (Island) The appointment of SLMC MP Basheer Segu Dawood as a Cabinet Minister, without any consent from the SLMC has caused strong resentment among the party’s stalwarts. SLMC leader Raul Hakeem, who is in India, has directed the Secretary General of the party to summon a politburo meeting on Friday to discuss the issue. Many of the politburo members want Dawood to resign as Cabinet Minister or be suspended from the party. more..

No begging in buses

Jan 31 (CT) Bus owners have taken steps to ban begging and selling goods inside buses from tomorrow, Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association (LPBOA) said. President of LPBOA, Gemunu Wijeratne said, the Association sent a letter to Secretary to the Defence Ministry, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, requesting assistance to ban begging and selling goods inside buses. He added copies of the letter have been sent to IGP, N.K. Illangakoon, Minister of Private Transport Services, more..

Jayasuriya promises fair selection

Jan 31 (CI) Sri Lanka's new chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya has highlighted the value of senior players in the Test side, after weeks of rumours suggested Mahela Jayawardene may be cut from the team after his public spat with the selectors last month. Other rumours also suggested Kumar Sangakkara's place was in doubt, as he was captain when Jayasuriya was dropped from the limited overs sides, but more..

President opens Miloda Financial Education Institute

Jan 31 (FT) In an attempt to increase financial training in Sri Lanka, President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday ceremoniously opened the Miloda Academy of Financial Studies possessing international-level facilities and built with funding assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera was overflowing with praise for the project, which he described as bringing financial training on par with Harvard to Sri Lanka. more..

Divisive asylum debate will return for election year

Jan 31 (SMH) On the day the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announced the election date, the opposition's immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, was discussing asylum policies in Sri Lanka, while the Greens' immigration spokeswoman, Sarah Hanson-Young, was visiting the Manus Island processing centre. It is a clear sign the divisive asylum debate will not abate this election year. Mr Morrison, who is conducting a five-day tour of Sri Lanka with the deputy opposition leader, more..

Govt. to hire PR team to counter the charges at the UNHRC

Jan 31 (CT) The govt is planning to spend whopping millions to hire reputed Public Relations agencies, to counter the charges levelled against Sri Lanka by the Western powers, at the upcoming sessions of the UNHRC in Geneva. A team of professionals and several reputed overseas PR agencies, backed by Sri Lanka's missions abroad, will face the challenges posed by the resolution to be brought against Sri Lanka more..

U.S. sure India will go with it again in new Sri Lanka resolution

Jan 31 (Hindu) The United States is sure that India will support a country-specific resolution sponsored by it in the coming session of the UNHRC in Geneva. The U.S. representatives revealed here that it had “decided to sponsor a procedural resolution at the March 2013 session of the UNHRC along with international partners”. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State James Moore said that “the resolution will be straightforward; it will be a procedural resolution, more..

Govt. ambulance not spared Expressway charges

Jan 31 (Island) It has now been revealed that even ambulances carrying critically ill patients have to stop at toll booths and pay for using Southern Expressway. Recently, when the Matara Hospital transferred a final year law student, Achala Priyadhshani, whose left forearm had to be amputated due to alleged medical negligence and inordinate delays on the part of hospital authorities, to the National Hospital, Colombo a toll of Rs. 400 levied was levied on the ambulance that more..

Why a different set of rules for Sri Lanka? asks GL

Jan 31 (Island) Minister G.L. Peiris yesterday said that the visiting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State James Moore had an excellent opportunity to compare the situation in Sri Lanka as he was based in Colombo during eelam war IV. Moore was Deputy Chief of Mission from 2006 to 2009 and headed the mission during the absence of the then Ambassador Patricia Butenis. Prof. Peiris was addressing the visiting delegates, Moore and more..

Editorial: Made in USA and buried in SL

Jan 31 (DM) Last March when the US sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka was passed in Geneva it was more of a story of betrayal than learning lessons. In the aftermath of the tragedy, what stole the headlines more than somewhat the arbitrary action of the US was the fact that India voted against its tiny little neighour in the latter’s hour of need. Those who protested in front of the UN mission in Colombo and the ones who vehemently demanded that the foreign elements take more..

Striking together while marching separately

Jan 31 (DM) The article of the leader of opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has become an item of discussion among those who are interested in Sri Lankan politics. Many have praised it as an essay that explains many things from a liberal point of view. On the other hand there were those who blamed him for inaction and inability to launch a mass agitation. I am amused to read these comments. In the past, the Left parties together with the opposition organised many campaigns more..

Army’s response to LLRC observations

Jan 31 (DM) This is an extract from the first Chapter of the Report of the Army Board on ‘Implementation of the Recommendations of the LLRC delivered by Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya to Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary Defence and Urban Development. Observations, recommendations, and action plan for measures to safeguard civilians and avoid civilian casualties. The Commission is satisfied that the military strategy that was more..

Monks put religious freedom at risk

Jan 31 (SL) Muslim govt MPs had an urgent meeting last week with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other top officials in the govt. The meeting was to raise concerns over threats faced by Muslims in the country after a campaign was launched by a group of monks targeting who they claim are “extremist” Muslims. The ‘Bodu Bala Sena’ mostly made up of Buddhist monks, was among those groups believed to have been involved more..

Varsity hopefuls from 2012 A/L batch face uncertain future

Jan 31 (ST) Has the UGC made a mess of admissions to universities from the 2011 A/L batch of students without considering the life and death consequences of its decision? Is it also attempting to surreptitiously foist the same fate on the 2012 A/L batch? These are the serious concerns gripping both batches of students, while the UGC promised after a prolonged delay (1 years after the exam) to release the cut-off mark for more..

Vihara Maha Devi Park, Town Hall re-development to kick-start next month

Jan 31 (DM) Work on the refurbishment of the Vihara Maha Devi Park is expected to take place in mid-February under the Metro Colombo Urban Development Project (MCUDP). Renovations to the park, a part of the project’s re-development of the Town Hall area, will take place at a cost of Rs. 309 million and will include the creation of pedestrian footpaths through the park, installation of furniture, lighting, more..

Sri Lanka ranked 162 in the Press Freedom Index 2013

Jan 31 (Island) Press freedom across most parts of Asia has worsened, according to the latest Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders. The media watchdog says Burma is a rare bright spot, and changes in Afghanistan are "precarious" as foreign troops withdraw. Authoritarian countries like North Korea, China, Vietnam and Laos continue to appear at the bottom of the list, while Cambodia and more..

Top British official in Sri Lanka for talks on reconciliation

Jan 31 (Xinhua) Following the U.S. decision to move a second resolution on Sri Lanka at the upcoming UN sessions, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for South Asia Alistair Burt arrived here on Thursday morning for what is tipped to be a crucial meeting with govt officials. The British embassy reported Burt's second visit to the country in the statement. It further added that during his two-day visit, the minister will more..

Dutch marines use Sri Lanka as a hub to fight piracy

Jan 31 (Xinhua) Selected Sri Lankan harbors are being used by Dutch Special Forces to provide security against pirates in the Indian Ocean, a statement released by the Netherlands embassy said. On Thursday morning the first team of Dutch marines departed from Bandaranaike Colombo International Airport to return to the Netherlands after disembarking from a Dutch vessel in the Colombo harbor the day before. more..

Govt. urged to reveal observations of independent panel

Jan 31 (DM) It is learnt that the committee appointed to look into the charges against ousted CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake comprised Professor Mark Cooray, former Central Bank Deputy Governor Ranee Jayamaha, former Parliament Secretary General Dhammika Kithulegoda and Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies Chairman Jeevan Thiagarajah. It is reliably learnt that certain panelists in their individual recommendations more..