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Armed anti-Muslim gangs continue to roam freely in the Aluthgama Area

June 20 (DBS) Although PM DM Jayaratne has informed Parliament that the situation in Aluthgama, Dharga Nagar, Beruwela and other areas have been normalised, the actual reality in the troubled region is different say informed sources who visited those places recently. According to sources armed gangs of thugs and hoodlums describing themselves as Sinhala Buddhist patriots are roaming about freely more..

Unity amongst Muslim politicians, need of the hour

June 20 (CT) Much has been written about what had happened in Aluthgama a few days ago. In short, a personal altercation involving a driver of monk and two Muslim youth did not cause for the Aluthgama riot. However, such a personal altercation politically and racially exploited by BBS and its thugs metamorphosed into a communal riot between Sinhalese and Muslims, following a rally and protest march going through the Muslim majority area. Much of the discourses on Aluthgama riot more..

Editorial: Undergrads’ militancy

June 20 (Island) The UGC has commissioned a study to find out the causes of undergraduate militancy, of all things, we are told. It is hoped that before embarking on this venture the higher education panjandrums will study the report put out by the Presidential Commission on Youth (1990) appointed by the late President R Premadasa in the aftermath of the second JVP uprising, and heed the recommendations therein. It is in undergraduates’ nature, anywhere in the world, to rebel. more..

How BBS mobs caused mayhem

June 20 (DBS) A curfew was clamped down in the Aluthgama and Beruwela Police divisions of Kalutara district in the Western Province following an outbreak of communal violence on Sunday that was triggered off by the “Ethno Religious Fascist” Organization the BBS. Preliminary reports indicate that the violence was sparked off by a protest rally conducted by the Bodhu Bala Sena – meaning “Buddhist Power Force” more..

Is the spirit of Cricket dead?

June 20 (SL) The tremendous and nearly unanimous outburst against the English during the last two weeks after English cricket captain Alistair Cooke held that his batsman Jos Buttler should have been recalled to bat after being run out attempting to steal a single, would not have been matched since the outcry against the English since the Kandyan rebellion of 1817. Sri Lankans in the seven provinces save those in the north and east and all corners of the globe rose to a man to more..

Responding to the demand for accountability

June 20 (NS) When, with the blessings of the Sri Lankan leadership, a nationalist minister went on a hunger strike in 2010 in response to the UN Secretary General’s appointment of a Panel of Experts (the ‘Darusman-Panel’) meant to advice him on the issue of accountability in Sri Lanka, the signs were clear, even ominous. The Sri Lankan government had lost the plot. And after such a disproportionate response, the only response one could have expected in the face of more..

මිතුරුකමින් - එතෙර වෙමු...

Violence in Sri Lanka won't just kill tourism – it will sink the economy

June 20 (Independent) Sri Lanka has so much going for it. After five years of peace, the vital tourism industry is recovering strongly. The economy grew at 7.6% in the first quarter of 2014, 1.5% better than 2013. A fine new network of motorways link the major towns. Jaffna peninsula, mired in war and terror for decades, feels increasingly normal now, and will soon be connected to Colombo by fast and comfortable Chinese-built trains. Govt is produced by properly conducted elections. more..

Whether or not to engage with extremists

June 20 (Island) When I was first invited to participate in this debate, I was told it was about talking to terrorists. I thought then that I would like to speak in favour of doing this. This was in line with a position I took up a quarter of a century ago, at one of the early seminars when the Liberal Party proposed a programme of far-reaching constitutional reforms. We were faced then by two terrorist movements, one in the North, the other in the South. I had been strongly critical of some more..

'What was our crime?'

June 20 (FT) The watcher at the Al Humeisara Central College in China Fort is compulsive about keeping the tall gates padlocked at all times. He ushers authorised vehicles in and hurriedly shuts the gates behind them, casting furtive looks on the road outside. Inside the closely-guarded gates, schoolroom desks and chairs are stacked in corners. All the signs of mass displacement abound – large water tanks, more..

Listen if you wish

June 20 (CT) It is that time of the year that gossip is circulated, predictions are made, hypotheses are formulated, mud is slung and curiosity is aroused regarding the next political extravaganza, presidential poll. Talk concentrates on the subject of whether the Rajapaksas can be defeated, whether there can be a common opposition candidate, who can be that candidate, is it Chandrika, Ranil, Fonseka, Sobhitha or Dissanayake and what should be the winning manifesto. more..

Editorial: A dangerous road in Sri Lanka

June 20 (Hindu) Anti-Muslim violence in what were once idyllic tourist spots on the southern Sri Lankan coast has once again underscored the majoritarianism that has dominated the politics of the country since the end of the war against the LTTE in 2009. Four people were killed and scores injured, and houses and businesses looted and burnt over two days. The violence, clearly instigated by a recently formed extremist Buddhist organisation called the BBS, affected the seaside towns of more..

BBS speaks out on Aluthgama aftermath

June 20 (FT) “BBS was never involved in any violent activities and we will never approve of such moves,” says CEO Dilantha Withanage. “We are trying to warn the people that in another decade or two there will be clashes between religious groups in the country. Unfortunately, it is happening right front of our very eyes.” Q: What happened in Aluthgama? A: On 12 June, two Muslim boys assaulted a Buddhist monk & his driver. more..

Anti-India Hysteria in Sri Lanka

June 20 (NIP) Colombo is witnessing anti-India demonstrations in an unprecedented scale. Chauvinist elements among the Sinhalese demonstrated outside the Indian High Commission, shouted slogans against PM Narendra Modi and TN chief minister Jayalalithaa and demanded that India should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka. The demonstration was spearheaded by the NFF, a chauvinist Sinhala organisation which is a partner in the ruling coalition govt. more..

Is our external debt sustainable?

June 20 (ST) Although the comments of the recent IMF mission were positive, there were a few words of warning about the country’s foreign debt. They cautioned the country about the rising commercial debt and advised it to invest borrowed money in high return projects that will make the economy and tax revenues to grow. This was sound advice. However it does not bring out the seriousness of the growing foreign debt and its increasing debt servicing costs. May be the IMF mission made a more more..

Sri Lanka bowlers prepared for more toil

June 20 (CI) Sri Lanka's quicks will work to the blueprint they had set down in the UAE, as they attempt to leave England with their first Test win since 2006, Angelo Mathews said on the eve of the Headingley Test. The fast bowlers toiled for long spells against Pakistan in January, but found success in limiting scoring options, and consistently hitting a good length outside off stump. Pitch at Headingley should also be more more..

Fast-tracking SL’s economic development

June 20 (FT) Sri Lanka has made steady progress and achieved economic growth rates that are higher than the regional average, but while it boasts of its success, it is imperative to keep up the momentum. As the nation graduates to middle income status, the importance of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and active participation of the public sector is higher now than ever before to take forward the economy and provide equitable economic development. more..

Disturbances impact financial markets

June 20 (CT) Financial markets were impacted with the week's disturbances experienced in certain parts of the Southern Province and in the fringe areas of the Western Province, with some of the commercial establishments of those who feel threatened continuing to be closed, with the benchmark ASPI in the stock market having had fallen by 0.49% to 6,313.20 points in the last two days. "The recent incidents in the island are all over the global media, with the message given not to visit SL," more..

'No involvement in reporting Senanayake'

June 20 (CI) Alastair Cook has denied suggestions that the England camp played any part in spinner Sachithra Senanayake being reported as having a suspected illegal bowling action. Senanayake was the top wicket-taker as Sri Lanka defeated England in the ODI section of the tour but has subsequently been obliged to report to Cardiff for independent testing on his bowling action after it was reported by ICC's match officials more..

Fire on the island

June 20 (KT) First, the govt of President Rajapaksa has called for calm and restraint from all sections and for an inquiry — but has failed to compel the police to act decisively enough to quell further outbreaks, which have continued with impunity. Second, Sri Lanka’s mainstream media has covered the continuing violence desultorily; it is social media and international news media reports which have filled the gaps — that these gaps exist has deepened the insecurity of the victims. more..

Shipping Corporation to transport crude oil and petroleum

June 20 (CT) In order to promote Sri Lanka's vision of becoming a maritime hub and save substantial amount of foreign exchange the Cabinet yesterday approved a proposal to acquire three ships financed by the Treasury and a loan by People's Bank. A proposal by President Rajapaksa as the Minister of Finance and Planning was approved by the Cabinet yesterday to strengthen the fleet of Ceylon Shipping Corporation. Proposal highlighted that the govt was desirous of entrusting the transportation more..

Govt, Opposition throw punches in Parliament over pensions

June 20 (FT) UNP charged in Parliament that “mismanagement and financial imprudence” by the Govt has deprived over 400,000 retired public workers from receiving their pensions and gratuities for over a period of two years. Moving the adjournment debate, UNP MP Sajith Premadasa rapped the Govt for not taking necessary action to protect public sector workers and their future benefits, which will help stimulate the system more..

NZ on Sri Lanka war crimes probe

June 20 (RNZ) Former New Zealand Governor-General Silvia Cartwright will be part of a UN panel investigating alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka in 2009. A UNHRC resolution to investigate was passed in March, though it was not supported by New Zealand. The panel will investigate allegations of mass killings when Sri Lankan authorities crushed the Tamil Tiger rebellion after decades of civil war. Amnesty International and countries inculding the US, Britain and Canada believe more..

Oil and gas regulation taking too long

June 20 (CT) Cairn India said it is continuing discussions with the Govt of SL in order to begin commercial production of natural gas found in Sri Lanka's side of the Mannar Basin. "Cairn India is in discussions with the Sri Lankan Govt for commercial terms to monetize gas discoveries. In 2013 the company completed appraisal and commercial studies to determine the next steps for the gas discoveries made on the block," it said in its 2013/14 annual report released recently. more..

HC allows Lankan minister to file plea after 536-day delay

June 20 (TOI) The Madras high court has condoned the delay of 536 days in 're-presenting' the revision petition of minister Douglas Devananda against a lower court order which quashed his plea to recall a non-bailable warrant against him and permit him to attend the proceedings via videoconferencing. Devananda was declared a proclaimed offender by the IV sessions court for a shootout in which one person was killed more..

UNP Uva Provincial Councillor crosses over to UPFA

June 20 (Island) UNP Organiser for Bandarawela and Uva Provincial Councillor Ravi Gunawardena crossed over to the UPFA. He said his faith in the leadership of President Rajapaksa had led him to take that decision. He said that he was greatly disappointed with Ranil Wickremesinghe’s leadership and that he was certain that as long as Ranil remained the UNP leader that party could never come back to power. Chairperson of the UPC Mrs. Hema Ratnayake announced the more..

Test 2: England crave tangible reward

June 20 (CI) For all that has gone before, the result of the Headingley Test may determine how this tour is remembered. Win or draw and Sri Lanka, with both limited-overs series already packed in the coffin, can depart as unquestionably the side in the ascendant; lose and they will feel a wonderful opportunity has been squandered. England would take victory as confirmation they are Doing The Right Thing in the format that means the most to them. Like a party that takes ages to more..

'Justice key to end anti-Muslim violence'

June 20 (HRW) The Sri Lankan authorities should urgently investigate recent deadly violence against minority Muslim communities, Human Rights Watch said today. The violence, which began on June 15, 2014, after a rally led by the ultranationalist Buddhist BBS organization, left at least four Muslims dead, 80 injured, and numerous homes and businesses destroyed in the town of Aluthgama and surrounding areas. more..

Cop, assistant injured in acid attack

June 20 (Island) The police are looking for two persons who threw acid at a police officer and a security assistant on duty at the Mawanella Court Complex in the early hours of yesterday. The police said they were studying footage from a CCTV camera to identify the suspects. A senior police officer said that the police would obtain a court order to check the mobile phones of two persons suspected to have carried out the attack. Police constable, Jayaratne (59), more..

'Gota has direct involvement with the BBS'

June 20 (CT) “It is shocking to note that the Govt, which was able to deploy the armed forces against the unarmed villagers to safeguard the interest of a corporate entity during the Rathupaswala incident, did not take any emergency measure to protect the Muslims with the same sense of urgency. The recently established special police unit aimed to deal with religious clashes is only a cosmetic measure to appease the international community.” one of the IMADR staff member said on behalf of its more..

Sri Lanka imports Iran crude via 3rd parties, avoids sanctions

June 20 (Reuters) Sri Lanka has been buying Iranian crude through third parties from various countries and avoiding sanctions with the understanding of the US. "We have been buying (Iran crude) from third parties. But we have had some understanding with the U.S. as well," Minister Rambukwella said. "This is not the quota. This is in addition to the quota. For instance, Malaysia supplied that happened to be Iranian oil. more..

'Muslims will lose trust in govt if BBS not punished'

June 20 (CT) Leader of the SLMC, Minister Rauff Hakeem told US Ambassador Michele J. Sison that Muslims in the country will lose faith in the govt if it fails to take immediate legal action, against Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera. He said this when the US Ambassador met him at his residence. He also stressed on the need of taking legal action against those other culprits who were involved in recent attacks. Minister Hakeem was discussing the current situation and his stance on more..

UGC probes undergraduate militancy

June 20 (Island) UGC had commissioned a study to find out the reasons for the negative transformation of undergrads who became troublemakers overnight after entering the universities, UGC Chairperson Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama said. "Some students are instigated by a section of radical undergraduates backed by outside elements," Prof. Hirimburegama said. She said the govt had taken steps to develop the university system as never before after crushing terrorism, but a section of undergraduates more..

Hakeem won’t quit UPFA over Alutgama

June 20 (Island) SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem, said that he wouldn’t quit the ruling coalition, though he held the govt responsible for mayhem at Alutgama and Beruwela. He claimed that he would be able to bring more pressure to bear on the govt from within than from without. In the immediate aftermath of attacks on the community, Minister declared that he would quit the govt unless punitive action was taken against those responsible more..

Thousands of illegal pharmacies doing big business

June 20 (DM) One of the dangerous scandals or the biggest farce in the health sector – which has boomcd into big business, is the little-known fact about pharmacies. There are about 3,500 registered or legal pharmacies in Sri Lanka, but the poisoned pill is that there are at least 5,000 if not more private pharmacies which are functioning illegally without the presence of a qualified pharmacist. What does this mean to the innocent unsuspecting patients? It means there is a strong possibility that more..

Prince Zeid, the new force to reckon with

June 20 (DM) Sri Lankans who have for years become familiar with Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, would have heaved a sigh of relief as the retirement of the South African diplomat was announced this week. She will step down from her post in August. Pillay was a formidable foe to contend with in Sri Lanka’s diplomatic stand-off with the UNHRC. She was also instrumental in ensuring that resolutions against the country were adopted at the Council more..

Tamils in North: Waiting for godot ?

June 20 (SL) Land continues to be an area of contention in the Northern Province. People of Tamil origin allege that the state is grabbling land from people. According to them, under the shield of development and security, private lands are being acquired whereas some people are not yet been resettled and are still in IDP camps. They complain that even after the conflict was over, military continued to confiscate their land more..

China tells OHCHR: Stick to the Brief

June 20 (DN) A senior diplomat of the Permanent Mission of China to the UN Office in Geneva said that the OHCHR should stick to the objectives and principles of the UN Charter and carry out its work in an objective and just way within its mandate. He also said the OHCHR should increase transparency of its internal management and fund use. Speaking at the 26th session of the UNHRC, the senior diplomat gave four more..

SEA, CEB in heated exchange over wind park project

June 20 (ST) Officials from the Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA) and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) this week traded words over a Cabinet memorandum submitted in March regarding the setting up of a wind park in Mannar. Energy experts, including CEB engineers, want tenders to be called to select the best investors for the park with optimum pricing. But SEA officials say it is their prerogative to decide on renewable energy more..

Fish exports jump by 20% in first quarter 2014

June 20 (Island) Sri Lanka’s fish exports had increased by 20% during the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. Sri Lanka earned USD 95.68 million from fish exports in the first quarter of this year, making the fisheries sector the top export income earner in the agricultural sector. In agriculture export, there has been an increase of 19%. more..