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Lanka train chugs into former LTTE bastion once again

Sept 14 (PTI) A Sri Lankan rail project funded and executed by India today began operations with resumption of train services to the LTTE's erstwhile war-era stronghold in the island's Tamil-dominated north. President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the 'Yal Devi' (The Queen of Jaffna) train that departed from Omanthai with Rajapaksa on board and arrived in the former LTTE headquarters of Kilinochchi, 30 minutes later. more..

The big farce that demands A DIFFERENT Answer !

Sept 14 (CT) After Governor, Sir Henry Monck-Mason Moore left this island Ceylon, the heavy moustached, stocky ruler from Bothale who took over as Prime Minister, assured a Sinhala majority parliament by disfranchising the plantation Tamil polity and colonising the East. Thereafter, the tweed coat wearing, pipe smoking, bespectacled Anglican aristocrat, draped himself in white cloth topped with a white banian to take the ignorant Sinhala Buddhists on a merry-go-round, as more..

In pursuit of happiness!

Sept 14 (CT) Happiness is a fuzzy concept and can mean different things to different people. Different physiological, medical, religious and philosophical approaches have been made to define and explore this emotional state of mind, the sense of contentment, often with mixed and sometimes with starkly different outcomes. Nonetheless, it is such an integral part of human existence, that the framers of the US Constitution deemed ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ as inalienable rights of more..

WikiLeaks: 'Karuna and Douglas killing MPs'

Sept 14 (CT) “The Karuna group is probably the most active Sri Lankan paramilitary in abductions and extrajudicial killings. On March 20, former Tamil MP and legal expert Dr. K. Vigneswaran (strictly protect) confided to PolOff that even MPs fear that the GSL will use Karuna to assassinate them. Tamil MP and Chairman of the Civil Monitoring Commission Mano Ganesan echoed this anxiety to us on March 29. more..

Sri Lanka slanders and vilifies VVIPS

Sept 14 (CT) During our 1st standard, we were taught about fairy tales. One interesting story was about “The fox and the grapes”. A fox was very anxious to eat grapes. To achieve its goal, it was jumping up to a bunch of grapes that was hanging from a vine-tree. When the fox became tired of reaching for that bunch of grapes, he eventually said: “Those grapes are very sour”. I see a similar situation between the Sri Lankan govt – SLG and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights more..

Our future as a post conflict state

Sept 14 (CT) The President has expressed his annoyance with the TNA Manifesto perhaps because of their demand for the merger of the North and East- the original provisions of the 13th Amendment which were overturned by a Chief Justice who lawyers would say, certainly exceeded his mandate. At the end of every conflict there is a peace treaty or Agreement where the two sides that engaged in the Conflict agree to co-operate in future on some agreed basis. The Govt has failed to more..

Why and how CV Wigneswaran praised LTTE leader Prabhakaran as a great hero

Sept 14 (DBS) The nomination of retired SC Judge C.V. Wigneswaran as Chief Ministerial candidate for the NPC Polls by the TNA was widely hailed when announced in July. This writer while outlining the process by which the “unanimous” selection was made had this to say in his weekly column published by “Daily Mirror” on July 27th. “A veritable Pandora’s box of the “Eelam” variety seems to have been opened more..

Liquor giants’ licences renewed despite tax default

Sept 14 (ST) The Excise Department continues to renew the licences of five leading liquor manufacturers though they owed more than Rs. 1 6 billion in taxes by the end of last year. Excise Commissioner General D.G.M.B. Hapuarachchi said the licences were being renewed on condition that the companies would settle the tax arrears. The defaulting companies are Globe Blenders, Wayamba Distilleries, Wayamba Spirits, W.M. Mendis and Co. and McCallum Brewery, more..

Portal, precipice or political suicide bomb

Sept 14 (CT) The TNA is not a secessionist party, but when it is reliably reported that it has not broken with the secessionist paradigm and even flirts with dangerous secessionist discourse and symbolism, it must be recognised that Sri Lanka simply doesn’t possess the geostrategic space to regard the signs as unthreatening and unproblematic. A call for a measure of ‘self-rule’, ‘self-government’ or ‘self-administration’ within a united country is entirely legitimate. more..

Ven. Matale Amarawansa Thera honoured

Sept 14 (GDI) Sri Lankans should preserve their own identity and values wherever they go. It is futile to look to the outside world, putting aside discipline and moral values which have been moulded by the country's own inherent culture, traditions, values said President Rajapaksa addressing a ceremony to honour Most Ven. Matale Amarawansa Thera, who was bestowed with the title Maha Mahopadya of the Ramangna Chapter. more..

Jagath Dias Col. Commandant VIR

Sept 14 (Island) Major Gen. Jagath Dias was yesterday appointed Colonel Commandant of the Vijayaba Infantry Regiment (VIR). Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Dias earlier functioned as the Colonel Commandant of the Gajaba Regiment (GR), one of the foremost infantry formations raised by war veteran, the then Lieutenant Colonel Wijaya Wimalaratne, in the early 80s. Maj. Gen. Lalith Daulagala succeeded Maj. Gen. Dias as the Colonel Commandant of the GR. Daulagala, more..

Leave Gemunu alone, plead elephant experts

Sept 14 (ST) Wildlife enthusiasts were disturbed by the news of a shooting incident in Yala recently. It revolved around the well-known tusker Gemunu, who has earned the reputation of getting close to safari jeeps in search of food. Initially the reports said the iconic tusker had been shot. But a video footage later showed a soldier firing a single shot into the air to scare the jumbo away. The Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance however, clearly states that under no circumstances should more..

Govt. uses opening ceremony as election propaganda –ACRGEU

Sept 14 (LT) All Ceylon Railway General Employees’ Union (ACRGEU) has requested the Commissioner of Elections to take immediate action to prevent the government’s attempt at turning the opening ceremony of the portion of the railway line from Omanthe to Killinochchito be held today into an election meeting. In a letter sent to the Commissioner of Elections the General Secretary of the ACRGEU, more..

Four ingenious smugglers nabbed on Prisoners’ Day

Sept 14 (Island) Four persons who were visiting inmates at the Welikada prisons on Thursday, on account of Prisoners’ Day, were nabbed attempting to smuggle in various quantities of heroin, weighing a total of more than 25 grammes in some ingenious ways. Commissioner General of Prisons Chandra Pallegama said that one visitor had been caught by the prisons police while sneaking in 19 grammes of heroin stuffed into a chicken leg that was part of a curry brought to a prisoner. more..

Project to repair broken desks, chairs in WP schools

Sept 14 (ST) Under the initiation of the Western Province Minister, Udaya Gammanpila, a project was commenced to repair broken desks and chairs of schools within the Province. Arethusa College, Dehiwala, was one of the schools where repairs were undertaken on Friday, through this programme. The school’s Principal Bimla Vidyanthi told Education Times that the project was a benefit to their school as well as other schools within the Province. Funds allocated to each Provincial more..

'Easy for western countries to talk, to criticise us'

Sep 14 (PTI) Dismissing allegations of poor human rights situation in Sri Lanka, President Rajapaksa has said a stable and powerful govt is essential for the country's development and the western countries criticised him without "clear understanding". "The development of a country requires a stable govt. A stable govt is a powerful support to a country. A powerful government with full support by the people is the most important more..

Concern about rule of law in Sri Lanka

Sep 14 (VoA) The United States welcomes the recent assessment visit to Sri Lanka, of Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Her visit was an opportunity to engage with the Govt of Sri Lanka, civil society, and political parties to examine outstanding human rights, justice, and democratic governance issues. The US shares the High Commissioner’s concerns about the recent surge in the incitement of hatred and violence against religious minorities, including more..

Two lankans caught off Kodiyakkarai

Sep 14 (ENS) The Nagapattinam customs officials secured a Sri Lankan duo along with a stolen boat off the coast of Kodiyakkarai on Friday evening. The apprehended men, who are without appropriate documents belong to Jaffna district in Sri Lanka and they had ventured from the island nation on Wednesday night in a stolen boat without engine. In the preliminary investigation, it is alleged that the duo’s purpose is to visit their relatives at a refugee camp in Madurai. more..

Isle of opportunity

Sep 14 (FE) Katchatheevu is a small, uninhabited island between India and Sri Lanka. It does not even have drinking water. Nothing much happens there except a two-day festival at the St Antony’s Church, when fishermen from Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu mingle and bond. In 1974, India ceded the island to Sri Lanka, a much contested decision. All the political parties in Tamil Nadu want it back. Both Tamil Nadu Chief Minister more..

CIFL scam robs Pathirana's adviser post

Sep 14 (SM) Mr. P.V. Pathirana, a former general manager of the People's Bank, has been removed from the post he held as an adviser in the Finance ministry. Mr. Pathirana also worked as an adviser in a project set up under World Bank aid. The project had been deployed in order to provide financial aid for the small and medium scale industries which have fallen into trouble due to the current global economic crisis. It is said that the main reason behind this decision is the order given by more..

PC Elections: Govt encouraging intra alliance clashes to divide Indian Tamil votes

Sep 14 (Island) The UNP charged that the Rajapaksa regime had encouraged clashes between Tamil parties within its ranks in the Nuwara Eliya, Matale and Kandy districts, so as to divide the Indian Tamil votes at the forthcoming election to the Central Provincial Council. Ramiah Yogaraja MP, said that the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) and Upcountry Peoples Front (UPF), were fighting on the streets edged on by leading figures in the govt, which would eventually more..

Kalonzo to head commonwealth team in Sri Lanka

Sep 14 (CN) Wiper Democratic Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka has been appointed by the Commonwealth to lead the observer team to Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council Elections slated for September 21. The four-member observer mission, which was announced by the Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, will comprise Musyoka as the Chairman, members Jenni McMullan former Electoral more..

Dutch biz delegation Meet Minister Rajapaksa

Sep 14 (MEA) Dutch biz are bullish on Sri Lanka’s emergent prospects. “Sri Lanka’s historic links with the Netherlands have entered a new era. This strong business and investment delegation is the latest sign” said Buddhi Athauda, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Netherlands on this to Minister Basil Rajapaksa recently. The Dutch biz delegation, which is on a week-long tour in Sri Lanka, consisted of reps from such leading Dutch firms as JIMPP Media, Abos, Defteq International BV, Beursgenoten, more..

585 gm gold seized from Lankan flyers

Sep 14 (ENS) A Sri Lankan couple who had claimed that they had to journey to Chennai as they were undergoing fertility treatment at a specialty hospital in Vadapalani, were arrested for trying to enter the country with 585 gms of gold jewellery concealed on their persons. Suppaiah (38) and Latha Thangavel (28) had lifelong visas to India and had been frequent visitors in the past year. They arrived in Chennai from Colombo on Jet Airways flight 9W 253 at 4.30 am and attempted to clear Customs more..

Four pesticides and one weedicide banned

Sep 14 (DM) The Agriculture Ministry yesterday banned the import, distribution and sale of four pesticides and one weedicide. It was one of several measures taken to control the use of pesticides and weedicides and put a stop to kidney ailments fast spreading in the area. Agriculture Ministry Secretary W. Sakalasuriya said pesticide retailers would be permitted to sell pesticides only through specially trained Agricultural Sales more..

Asia Cup dates finalised

Sep 14 (CI) The Asia Cup will be held between February 24 and March 7 in Bangladesh, pending confirmation by Nimbus, which owns the broadcasting rights for the event. The dates along with the venues and other details of the tournament were discussed at the Asian Cricket Council meeting in Chennai on Saturday. The meeting was attended by the BCCI president N Srinivasan and representatives from Sri Lanka (Nishanta Ranatuga, Sri Lankan Cricket secretary) and Pakistan more..

Navy commissions Naval Deployment Mullaitivu as SLNS Gotabhaya

Sep 14 (SLN) Naval Deployment Mullaithivu located in the Eastern Naval Area was commissioned as SLNS Gotabhaya by Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage on 13th Sept. President of the Navy Seva Vanitha Unit, Mrs. Srima Colombage, Commander Eastern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Rohan Amarasinghe, senior naval officers attached to the NHQ and Eastern Naval Command were also present on the occasion. In keeping with naval traditions, more..

A Forgotten Pearl

TNA leader goes berserk

Sep 15 (SO) The TNA, the former Tiger proxy party which had been remote-controlled by LTTE terrorist leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, is finding it increasingly difficult to retain its popularity in the North since people in the province have realised that there is barely any difference between the Tigers and the TNA. The TNA perhaps was under an illusion that it could easily succeed the LTTE after the world's most ruthless terrorist outfit was crushed militarily in May, 2009. more..

NPC election vital for national interests

Sep 15 (SL) The interest in the forthcoming elections to the PCs, particularly the NPC, has gone beyond the shores of Sri Lanka and is stirring up not only neighbouring Tamil Nadu but is drawing the interests of Western nations on Lankan minority interests about which they seem to be obsessed. Unfortunately the political stresses in the NPC campaign seem to be heading towards the political brink the country was at prior to the long drawn conflict against terrorism. more..

'Disciplined youth, vital in politics today'

Sep 15 (SO) The illustrious political journey of PM D.M. Jayaratne, the most senior member of the SLFP spans over 62 years. He was fortunate to become the 13th member of the SLFP when the late PM S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike laid the foundation for his new party in Kandy in 1951. Since then he remained a solid figure during the turbulent times of the party. No SLFP member who loves the Party can forget how “Dimu” fought for victory more..

Wigneswaran bids adieu...

Sep 15 (NS) If the TNA’s manifesto with its not-so-subtle separatist posturing dismays those who believe that the TNA has to be part of any discussion on post-conflict resolution, the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate C.V. Wigneswaran must leave them in tears. First, because his inconsistency plays into the hands of those who harbor apprehensions about the TNA’s political will with respect to reconciliation. He was, ab initio, a ‘problem’ for the hardliners in the TNA. more..

Ghosts of the past

Sep 15 (ST) As the campaigning for the NPC election builds up steam in this final week, the front-runner for the post of Chief Minister is sending smoke signals that are going to cause serious alarm. The TNA’s chief ministerial candidate C. V. Wigneswaran is going around praising the LTTE’s slain leader Velupillai Prabhakaran as a “hero” — and worse still, candidates from the party are warning of the possibility of another armed uprising from the North. more..

'Govt will achieve a resounding victory'

Sep 15 (SO) With the PC elections round the corner the electoral seats are feeling the heat. The North Western Province experiences nothing less. Amid his busy schedule the former UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara conducts his campaign with the confidence of leading the UPFA to victory. "At present a large number of people are rallying round me and voluntarily extending their support. The significance is that they are not helping me more..

Bravo Putin

Sep 15 (Island) Russia’s President Vladimir V. Putin has earned the plaudits of a global constituency of not only liberals but a much wider spectrum with what he said in an article in the op-ed (opinion and editorial) page of the New York Times on Wednesday. He made a plea for caution as America and some of its allies were preparing for a military adventure in Syria, remembering that just as much as his country and the U.S. had stood against each other during the cold war, more..

Carrying the cross of another election

Sep 15 (ST) My Dear Voter, I thought I must write to you since you are going to the polling booths next Saturday if you happen to be living in either the Wayamba, Central or Northern provinces. They say any elections are better than no elections, but I am not sure of that any more. Why it was just the other day that Mahinda maama declared that he was not a dictator because he is always holding one election or another. That is true indeed but some are asking why he should make such an announcement. more..

'War crimes investigation should look at LTTE as well'

Sep 15 (SL) Shanmugam Kumaran Tharmalingam alias KP, was once one of the most wanted men in the world for his involvement in arms procurement for the LTTE. After meeting Prabhakaran in 1974 in Jaffna while still a student, KP joined the LTTE. He was also believed to be the next in command of the terror outfit (proscribed in 32 countries), upon the demise of Prabhakaran at the Nanthikadal lagoon in May 2009. more..

With UN drying Lanka’s goodwill well - President looks for election showers

Sep 15 (NS) UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay finished her fact-finding mission in Sri Lanka almost two weeks ago with an ‘authoritarian’ comment. Pillay had also expressed concern over individuals who met and provided her with details while addressing the 24th UNHRC sessions, which commenced last week in Geneva. No one in the island is expecting a 100 percent positive presentation by Pillay on September 25 or later in her report due in March next year. more..

Govt. breached promise to ban cattle slaughter

Sep 15 (CT) The hardline nationalist organization Sinhala Ravaya yesterday charged the government had breached an earlier promise to ban the slaughter of cattle within two months. General Secretary of Sinhala Ravaya, Ven. Akmeemana Dayarathana Thera said the government has only submitted a legal draft to the Department of Legal Draftsman. Earlier, a delegation from Sinhala Ravaya met President Mahinda Rajapaksa to demand the government ban cattle slaughter. more..

'Armed group hindering campaigning in the North'

Sep 15 (SL) UNP Jaffna District leader for the PC elections T. Thuvarakeeshwaran accused Minister Douglas Devananda of creating a fear psychosis amongst the people in the North by operating an illegal armed group. According to Thuvarakeeshwaran, this armed group is not allowing the UNP to paste their posters and has assaulted some UNP supporters last Sunday for attending UNP meetings in the Jaffna district. more..