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Four elephants electrocuted

Nov 23 (CG) Four elephants were killed after being electrocuted in Hambantota this morning, the police said. The elephants had got entangled onto wires placed around a house in a village in the area. Among the animals found dead was a baby elephant, the police said. The police said that the house had been constructed illegally in the village area and the electric wires had been placed to keep elephants away. more..

Tamil poet arrested in Sri Lanka for violating visa condition

Nov 23 (PTI) Norwegian Tamil poet and actor V.I.S. Jeyapalan has been arrested in Sri Lanka for violating visa regulations. Jaffna-born Jeyapalan, 79, was arrested on Friday at Mankulam in the country’s north, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said. He said Oslo-based Jeyapalan, who was in the country on a tourist visa, has been arrested for holding seminars in Jaffna. “He was reported to have taken part in gatherings aimed at more..

Sri Lanka military to probe blocking of foreign media

Nov 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka's military promised to investigate why AFP journalists were prevented from working in the country's former war zone this week by soldiers who said they were under orders to restrict the media. An Agence France-Presse (AFP) video journalist and a photographer were obstructed in the Northern province by local military officials on Monday who said they were following directions from their commanders. more..

Accountability, President Rajapaksa and The Lord Buddha

Nov 23 (CT) “Accountability” is an important word in international law and international relations. The effect of this word and the principles that impart by that word is truly important at least to every human being on this planet. The simplest meaning of accountability is the answerability by any person for his or her mindful action. This simple definition differentiates the principle of accountability from the principle of The Rule of Law. The rule of law relates to an institutional system while more..

Budget 2014 and Sri Lanka's flagging exports

Nov 23 (CT) The Budget 2014, which was delivered to Parliament by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday, contained a series of relief measures, a one billion rupee famers' pension scheme, Rs 1,200 increase in the cost of living allowance for State employees, interest free loans for female entrepreneurs and so forth. These measures, it is expected, would help redistribute wealth to the less affluent sections of the population. The President also proposed to upgrade the more..

Budget Proposals 2014

Nov 23 (DM) President Rajapaksa delivered his 9th Budget Speech-for the Fiscal year 2014, in parliament yesterday (21). Amidst the boycott of the session by the main opposition parties the UNP and JVP, the President seemed undeterred, content with the applause he received from his supporters and aptly thankful at the absence of interlocutors. The budget, in line with the “development” theme expounded within the more..

Sri Lanka: Towards a militant saṅgha state?

Nov 23 (CT) Venerable Galagoaatte Gñanasara of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has become the single most recalcitrant Sangha demanding attention to a different kind Buddhism in Lanka. His out of control anger, fistfights, ruthless and full of filth public speeches are internationalized through the social media. He perhaps is a symbol of a new brand of Saṅgha militancy that is tolerated if not sponsored/manipulated by the powerful and confrontational sections of the ruling regime. more..

Chamal Rajapaksa: An Incomplete Biography

Nov 23 (CT) If the “Mahawanshaya” can be considered as the biography of the ancient Sri Lanka, then certainly the latest ‘vanity publication’ in Sri Lanka “Chamal Rajapaksa” written by Punya de Silva (and sold for Rs.2000), can certainly be considered as Chamal Rajapaksa’s biography. It is a universally acknowledged fact that history is narrated and repeated in versions. However when considering history we must not forget that even ‘Mahawanshaya’ is also a more..

TNA slams Muralitharan

Nov 23 (CG) TNA today slammed Muttiah Muralitharan over the recent comments he had made to the media on the visit to Jaffna by British Premier David Cameron. Speaking in Parliament TNA MP E. Sarawanabavan drew reference to the questions raised by Muralitharan following Cameron’s Jaffna visit and if some of those who demonstrated at the time seeking information on their missing relatives were authentic. more..

Elilan’s wife goes to HRCSL

Nov 23 (CG) The wife of former LTTE Trincomalee District political head S. Elilan is to file a petition with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) over alleged threats faced by her and many of those who demonstrated in Jaffna during the visit of British PM David Cameron. Anandi Sasitharan, a TNA NPC member, said that she has been followed from the day she organised the demonstration. She said that many of the family members of those missing who had more..

Northern Tamil girl weds Sinhala soldier

Nov 23 (MoD) Raghu Tharmila, a northern Tamil lass from Savalkadu, Sudumalai entered matrimonial bliss with Ranjith Amerasena, a soldier attached to the 11th Sinha Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army. The couple became man and wife at a special ceremony held at the 'Thalsevana' holiday resort in Kankesanthurai on Wednesday. Tharmila and Ranjith crossed ethnic, religious and regional boundaries to join hand in hand with the blessings of family, friends and elders of their more..

UNP says traitor tag a joke

Nov 23 (CG) The UNP says the traitor tag has now become a joke as anyone who speaks the truth is labeled as a traitor. Speaking in Parliament today, he said that even journalists are suppressed and not allowed to speak the truth. However he noted there are a handful of journalists who do not give in to pressure or bribes to hide the truth. He praised journalists who keep their head high and think about the country first. more..

CHOGM 2013 final communiqué; Making a mockery out of the C’wealth

Nov 23 (CG) The CHOGM in Colombo ended in flash, with many citizens left asking “was that it?” After spending millions on infrastructural improvements and inconveniencing the entire city in the lead up to the event we can now ask what has been the outcome of this meeting. As is the case with all Commonwealth Heads meetings the end of proceedings was signalled by the symbolic agreement in the form of the “final communiqué” (a summary of all that was discussed). more..

Foreigners banned from buying land after CATIC given 258 perches - Harsha

Nov 23 (Island) Having sold 268 perches of land to a foreign company in Colpety recently, the govt had proposed legislation to the effect that in future foreigners could only lease out land, the UNP charged yesterday. UNP MP Harsha de Silva told a news conference in Colombo, that the whole transaction was confusing because it was this years budget which prohibited land sales to foreigners."But we are now told the ban will come into effect from January 1,2014. more..

S.M. Chandrasena sworn in as Minister of Special Projects

Nov 23 (AD) S.M. Chandrasena took oaths as Cabinet Minister of Special Projects before President Rajapaksa in Anuradhapura today, the President’s Media Division said. Chandrasena assumed duties as a Deputy Minister to the Economic Development Ministry on February 06, 2013. He was one of four Economic Development Deputy Ministers. A former Minister of Agrarian Services and Wildlife, Chandrasena had more..

Teachers’ petition: SC refuses leave to proceed

Nov 23 (Island) The Supreme Court recently refused leave to proceed in respect of an application filed by 199 govt teachers challenging a cabinet decision to absorb into the Sri Lanka Education Administrative Service officers who had covered up duties as Assistant Directors of Education for several years. The petitioners said that the absorption was outside the prescribed provisions for the recruitment for Sri Lanka Education Administrative Service, and violated the petitioners’ fundamental right to more..

Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy signs an agreement

Nov 23 (GDI) National Ozone Unit of the Ministry of Environment and Renewable energy implements various programmes to stop the use of ozone decaying Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) in Sri Lanka. Accordingly the Ministry entered in to an agreement with Regnis Lanka, an affiliated company of the Singer Group of companies, to stop using HCFC 141b in their products at the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy on 20th Nov. The Montreal Convention has paid an more..

'Centre's meek response emboldens Lankan Navy'

Nov 23 (PTI) TN Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa alleged the central govt's "meet and pusillanimous response" to attacks on Indian fishermen has emboldened the Sri Lankan Navy. In a letter of PM Manmohan Singh Nov 22, Jayalalithaa while referring to the apprehension of Indian fishermen, said: "The meek and pusillanimous response of the govt of India to these repeated instances of apprehension have emboldened more..

Now, criminals impersonate senior health officials to extort money

Nov 23 (Island) Director General of Health Services Dr. Palitha Maheepala, revealed that some notorious criminals in prison were posing as Health Ministry officials, medical officers of health and public health inspectors and demanding money from various hotel owners in return for special favours. He said he had made a complaint to the IGP N.K. Illangakoon and asked for an investigation. Hotel owners in many parts of the country had fallen prey to the organised gangs. more..

President pays homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic at Dalada Maligawa

Nov 23 (GDI) President Rajapaksa on Friday visited the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy and paid homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic after assuming the post of Commonwealth Chair. President Rajapaksa was welcomed by Central Province Governor Tikiri Kobbekaduwa and there after at the Dalada Maligawa he was welcomed by Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela Bandara. After attending to religious ceremonies at the temple, the President called on Malwatte Chapter Mahanayake more..

CHOGM dogs still not returned

Nov 23 (CT) Members of several Animal Welfare Organizations stood outside the Dematagoda slaughterhouse yesterday and demanded the officials of the CMC to let them inside the slaughter house, to see the dogs that are said to be sheltered there. Sathva Mithra President, Sargarica Rajakarunanayake, Animal Welfare Trust (AWT) President, Irangani De Silva, and members from Animal Protection Trust (APT), more..

'Budget is inclusive development oriented'

Nov 23 (GDI) Sri Lanka's 2014 budget is an inclusive development budget which has given solutions for the benefit of all the people in the country since the country's growth performance is beyond expectations. This was stated by the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Planning Dr P.B Jayasundera delivering the keynote address at the post budget seminar organized by the Department of Inland Revenue at Hilton Hotel, Colombo yesterday evening. more..

Holidaying in a war zone: Sri Lanka & the Tamil Tiger conflict of 2008

Nov 23 (ST) In 2008 I thought ‘The Tamil Tigers’ were an Indian cricket team. Then came a visit to Sri Lanka…. At the arse-end of a relationship so fraught that it had become surreal we decided (as, inexplicably, people do) that a holiday would sort things out. We walked into a Flight Centre and scanned at the choices. I fancied fulfilling a life long yearning to SCUBA dive with the frolicking Giant Manta-Rays in the Seychelles but that was out of our price range. more..

David Cameron challenged to justify arms sale to Sri Lanka

Nov 23 (Guardian) David Cameron must explain why the govt has allowed machine guns and assault rifles to be exported to Sri Lanka despite his recent highlighting of the country's human rights abuses, the head of the Commons weapons watchdog has said. Sir John Stanley, chairman of the arms export control committee, said the govt has a "questionable" approach on arms exports to Sri Lanka. The senior Conservative MP said more..

PSC to discuss expenditure of 25 ministries

Nov 23 (Island) Parliament yesterday gave approval to a motion which sought approval for the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee to discuss, outside the Chamber, the heads of expenditure of 23 ministries and a secretariat. The motion seeks the permission to discuss in the PSC the expenditure heads of the following ministries: Secretariat for Special Purposes heading the ministries of ten senior ministers, Ministries of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, more..

A different tuna

Nov 23 (Hindu) Standing at the junction in Pettah, I let my nose guide me forward. Past the hot fragrance of dried red chillies heaped in their gunny sacks, past the subtler, earthy scent from the stores where rice merchants weigh their produce and the shops of the spice sellers where the aroma of cinnamon, clove and pepper mingle. I keep going until I turn into a street where a cloud of fishy smells envelops me. Liberally salted and dried in the sun, the Sri Lankan speciality more..

Secret White House memo: President JFK’s relations with Ceylon a ‘hot potato’ in 1963

Nov 23 (LR) A secret White House memo sent to President John F. Kennedy, now declassified, stated relations with Ceylon had turned from ‘bad to worse’ and urged the US leader to find a friendly resolution to save Srimavo Bandaranaike’s govt from ‘left wing’ pressure in 1963, four months before the President’s assassination. During the early 1960s former US President John F. Kennedy and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) PM exchanged more..

Pinnawela, Dehiwala elephants and humans tested positive for TB

Nov 23 (Island) Some of the employees at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage were tested positive for Tuberculosis, better known as TB this week after an elephant there was diagnosed with TB a month back. In addition a two and half year old male elephant brought from Pinnawala to the National Zoological Gardens in Dehiwela has been diagnosed with TB this week. Zoo’ s Director Anura De Silva had instructed some ten employees there to go for immediate blood tests, more..

Sri Lankan boat arrivals mostly refugees

Nov 23 (WAT) More than half the Sri Lankan asylum seekers arriving by boat are later found to be refugees, new figures show. Despite this, Australia will help Sri Lanka stop asylum seekers leaving to claim asylum in Australia. Announcing that Australia will give two Bay-class patrol boats, at a cost of $2 million, PM Tony Abbott last Sunday said there were "few more important humanitarian issues in our neighbourhood right now" than stopping the flow of boat people to Australia. more..

SL movies picking up, but hurdles remain

Nov 23 (IANS) After being battered for years by ethnic conflict, Sri Lanka's movie industry is picking up but has a long way to go to come on par with its once golden era, a Sri Lankan director said. New cinemas are finally coming up, although the total number of theatres across the island nation has dropped from 300 plus in the 1970s to less than half the number, director Rasitha Jinasena said. "Younger people are now making movies. more..

Murali, A true patriot

Nov 24 (SO) Former Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is known the world over for his milestone achievements in the field of cricket. His most recent spotlight in the international media was certainly not about another achievement in cricket, but his efforts to enlighten British PM David Cameron on the real situation in Sri Lanka. The British Premier, who was here to attend the CHOGM 2013, visited Sri Lanka's oldest British club, the Gymkhana Club, over the weekend. more..

Survival with austerity for development

Nov 24 (SL) The budget presented by the Finance Minister and President to Parliament on Thursday, would certainly be praised for the sheer macro economics statistics cited. The growth rate of the economy has been estimated at 7.5% to 8%. That is indeed a stupendous achievement which could rival or even beat the highest growth rates in the world; certainly beating India and even overtaking China, countries that have recorded the highest growth rates in recent years. more..

'All are equal irrespective of race'

Nov 24 (SO) Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody said Sri Lanka was one of the founder members of the Commonwealth and also one of the oldest democracies in the region. “We will always contribute in the best possible manner to protect and safeguard such values. But this does not mean that there is room for anyone to hold an inquiry against us” he said. “We are not afraid of inquiries because we have a judicial more..

Getting India ‘right’

Nov 24 (NS) Now that the CHOGM circus is done, along with frills, clowns and performing monkeys, we can return to the man and country that had teased and taunted but in the end was hardly missed. That’s Manmohan Singh and India. India cannot wish away SL and neither can SL wish away India. That’s geography. That’s political reality. India snubbed SL when Singh chose to privilege domestic electoral compulsions. CHOGM came and went, but significance of snub remains. more..

Rathupaswala aftermath

Nov 24 (Island) Four months have passed since the Weliweriya – Belummahara shooting where several people, including two schoolboys, died in what to all intents and purposes appears to have been a military over-reaction to protests against suspicions of contamination of wells in the Rathupaswala area where the Dipped Products’ rubber glove manufacturing facilities are located. The factory has remained closed for production since July 30 and an industry, painstakingly built over a long period more..

'The budget of a dreamland'

Nov 24 (SL) With the UNP’s decision to boycott the 2014 Budget, many were of the view that the main opposition party missed out on an important opportunity to raise its voice against budget proposals. Although the UNP MPs were absent in the house when the budget speech was delivered by President Rajapaksa, they have stated clearly that they do not see any positive sign in the budget. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake, a strong critique of more..

The Budget, Ranil and the harmless reptile

Nov 24 (NS) Arathon sittings of parliament in view of the budget debate commenced on Thursday. President Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance delivered the ninth budget of his govt and the 67th of independent Sri Lanka and thereby entered the annals of records – he was the first Chairman of CHOGM to present a budget. He read out 101-section-long proposals within 2.20 minutes. The UNP and JVP boycotted the sittings for the day. Their reason was that no concessions were more..

The free-n-frank that Cameron did not tell

Nov 24 (NS) PM of the UK David Cameron was more of a presence on the sidelines of the CHOGM. Indeed he tried to upstage the main event with his visit to Jaffna, on-field spin-on-spin with former Test Cricketer Muttiah Muralidharan and a cleverly stage-managed ‘meet the press’ event following discussions with President Rajapaksa. Much of this was of course anticipated after Cameron pledged ‘tough talk’ with President Rajapaksa weeks before he actually arrived in Colombo. more..

Cameron’s comments: Brickbats and bouquets

Nov 24 (SL) Many agree that British PM David Cameron should not accuse Sri Lanka on war crimes or issues related to human right violations, as under numerous circumstances, including the invasion of Iraq and related investigations, the British Govt itself has not acted righteously. While those claims carry weight, it is also noteworthy that just because British PM does not practice what he preaches it does not more..

Two candidates to replace under-fire Fernando as head of SL Olympic Committee

Nov 24 (IG) here will be two candidates to replace Hemasiri Fernando as President of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka in an election already marred by controversy. Fernando, former secretary to Sri Lankan PM Sirimavo Bandaranaike, is stepping down having held the position since 1996. Dilan Perera, a member of Sri Lanka's Parliament and President of the Sri Lanka Volleyball Federation, will take on Rohan Fernando, head of the country's rowing federation, to replace more..