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Extremism at what cost?

June 22 (SL) As the country slowly comes to grips with the violence that took place earlier last week in Aluthgama, many people including some leaders of various religious groups condemned the attack and pointed out that people need to think rationally and act with tolerance under these circumstances to let the tension die down and to avoid further clashes. Many religious leaders emphasized the need to put an end to violence against other religious and ethnic groups. more..

‘At times like this, we all should get together’

June 22 (SL) While pointing out to the fact that the UNP has a similar political history, some have been critical of the UNP for being hypocritical to accuse the govt of favouring BBS and causing communal disputes and violence for taking political mileage. People seem to question whether the UNP, despite its past records, as the main opposition has been vocal enough to actually protest against violence committed by extremist groups such as BBS against minor ethnic and religious groups. more..

Sri Lanka hit back after maiden Robson ton

June 22 (CI) Sam Robson. It is a name that signifies no messing, a straightforward, orthodox sort of name. It will sound even more straightforward to those who watched Sam Robson make his maiden Test hundred at Headingley. Nothing is likely to come easily for Robson in his England Test career. He is a batsman of few fripperies, committed to the long game. He made 127 before Nuwan Pradeep, armed with more..

The need to educate players on laws

June 22 (Island) The general feeling lead up to the Test series between Sri Lanka and England was that the tourists should do well as good weather was predicted during the five days. Although all five days weren’t sunny, the situation was far better than what the Sri Lankans had encountered on their previous tours to England. Usually Sri Lanka’s Test series in England were played in May, but this time with the ECB pushing the ODIs forward, the Tests went back to June and that should remain that way. more..

More milestones for peerless Sanga

June 22 (Island) Last week we saw Kumar Sangakkara showing everyone that if you desperately wanted to achieve something that can be done. His unblemished career was incomplete due to his poor record in England. He averaged just 30 in England in Tests whereas his career average was almost double at 58. But Sanga came to England with a mission and had put in lot of hard work by signing with county champions Durham. In the end, he achieved the much cherished more..

'Banks moving towards severe debt trap'

June 22 (ST) State and private banks are getting caught up in a severe debt trap by raising loans in international financial markets with the consent of the Central Bank, a Senior Minister has warned. This trend is likely to continue under the capitalist free economic system as the country is not receiving concessionary low interest financing and grants due to its middle income country status, Senior Minister Prof. Tissa Vitharana said. more..

Delft island attracts Rs.600 mln resort

June 22 (ST) Mercantile Merchant Bank through its Pathfinder venture would be investing nearly Rs.600 million in a 40 acre hotel resort project on the Delft island off Sri Lanka’s northern shore, an official of the organisation said. Currently the organisation was seeking approval from the Northern Province Land Commission in addition to other relevant authorities in a bid to get the project off the ground. It was pointed out that Delft island was considered for this project since it was a good location that more..

AIG to prepare detailed closure plan

June 22 (ST) The troubled American International Group (AIG) has to provide a detailed closure plan to tackle issues that would crop up after halting its operations, according to Insurance Board of Sri Lanka (IBSL) Chairperson Indrani Sugathadasa. She said that AIG’s Regional Director gave an assurance in a telephone conversation to submit this plan tomorrow or before the end of next week. Regional Director has informed that the salaries and due compensation of employees are being more..

President's website hacked!

June 22 (CT) President Rajapaksa's website and those of some key State institutions' had been hacked and knocked offline, in the immediate aftermath of last Sunday's Beruwela and Aluthgama atrocities. Last night, Minister Basil Rajapaksa, confirmed that President Rajapaksa's website had been hacked "and said has been activated now and would be hosted from Monday." Govt sources confirmed that the websites of the President, more..

Is the Rule of Law necessary for sustainable growth?

June 22 (Island) Most educated people, at least those who have had a modern education as against an indigenous education such as ‘pirivena’ education, would agree that there is no Rule of Law today in our country. Last week there were attacks against the Muslims in Alutgama and the Police took no preventive action to protect the Muslims against the criminal attacks. Don’t make a mistake – it is not that there is no law and order. Law and order can prevail without the Rule of Law as more..

Lankan refugee refused seat in medicine, petitions govt.

June 22 (Hindu) An 18-year-old Sri Lankan Tamil refugee has sought a seat at a govt medical college and, after her application was rejected, faxed a petition to B. Anand, commissioner of rehabilitation and welfare of non-resident Tamils. R. Nandini, from the Arachalur camp in Erode, scored a total of 1,170 in her class XII exams. Her cut-off was 197.5, and she sent an application for medical counselling. “I did not receive any call or letter from the counselling authorities, and so, on Saturday, I went to more..

Hakeem to take troubles to Navi Pillay

June 22 (CT) Minister Rauff Hakeem, warned the govt he would approach Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, again over the Aluthgama incident and would continue to supplement those complaints by further cataloguing all what is happening in Sri Lanka. He said at last Thursday's Cabinet meeting, he was blamed and accused of having said that if he cannot find a solution through a domestic process from which the Muslims more..

No Jihadists in Sri Lanka

June 22 (SL) Ministry of Defence says it has no information over the alleged presence of Jihadists in Sri Lanka. Minister Champika Ranawaka was quoted in the media as saying there were Jihadists operating in the country. However when questioned over the claims, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that the military had not come across any tangible evidence to support such claims. He said the military intelligence maintains a presence that covers the entire country and more..

Sri Lankan Tamil family held

June 22 (Hindu) A Sri Lankan Tamil couple with their two children landed clandestinely at Arichal Munai off Danushkodi early on Saturday and were arrested by the Marine police on charges of illegal entry. The Mandapam Marine police of the Coastal Security Group (CSG) arrested them when they arrived around 1.30 a.m. from Talaimannar by a boat. As they could not be granted refugee status, the Marine police arrested the Selvaraj Antony Cruz (35), Selvi Nirmali (32) and their sons Rozario (7) more..

Stop deporting Pakistanis: UN

June 22 (ST) UN’s refugee agency has sought an explanation from the SL Govt why large numbers of Pakistani asylum seekers are being arrested and detained – with local and UN officials making conflicting claims on the issue. Office of the UNHCR has also warned the Govt that any deportations or expulsions would be in violation of international law – a principle called “non-refoulement”, which forbids the handing over more..

Branch of historical Bodhi tree falls in Sarnath

June 22 (Hindu) One of the branches of the historical ‘Bodhi tree’ in Sarnath, where Gautam Buddha had given his first sermon has fallen. According to Ven Baddegama Nanda Thero, one of the branches of the ‘Bodhi tree’ fell on Friday morning. “It appears the branch fell down because the stem of the tree was hollow from inside,” he said. One of the branches of the sacred ‘Bodhi tree’ fell down on its own, which is natural for a any tree when it has become old. more..

Sangakkara and Mathews' names onto Lord's Honours Board

June 22 (CT) Kumar Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews are the latest additions to the Away Dressing Room Honours Board. Sangakarra and Mathews' names have been physically etched onto the Lord's Honours Board in the Away Dressing Room, to mark their centuries against England in the 1st Investec Test match. Milestone was one that Sangakarra was desperate to achieve having failed in his previous three Test matches at Lord's to score a century on the famous Ground. more..

Arrest Him!

June 22 (SL) Govt ministers have called for the arrest of the General Secretary of the BBS the Venerable Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero in connection with the violence in Aluthgama. Veteran left-wing politician, Vasudeva Nanayakkara says Gnanasara Thero, together with the other members of the organization, should be taken into custody by the law enforcement authorities for instigating racial tension between the Buddhists and Muslims more..

Sequence of Events

June 22 (NS) May 8: A mob which includes three Buddhist monks set fire to a shopping complex situated in the Aluthgama town over an incident where a Buddhist child is alleged to have been molested inside a Muslim-owned shop on April 27. The shop is burnt despite CCTV footage showing no such incident took place. June 12 (Poson Poya): Chief Incumbent of Kurunduwatta Vijayaramaya Temple in Aluthgama, Ven. Ayagama Samitha Thera and his driver are allegedly assaulted more..

Cause of fire at Nolimit Panadura: Govt. Analyst still investigating

June 22 (NS) The cause of yesterday’s fire at one of the biggest clothing chains; Nolimit, Panadura is yet to be ascertained with the Govt Analyst report still pending. Deputy Govt Analyst who visited the site yesterday could not conclude investigations and is expected to return to the place on Monday. Speculations with regard to the cause of the fire was rife with some indicating that it was an arson attack, while certain reports stated that the fire was caused due to electrical short circuit. more..

Verbal battle in Cabinet over southwest violence

June 22 (ST) With items on the agenda cleared at last Thursday’s weekly ministerial meeting, the participants stood up to leave. Just then President Rajapaksa intoned “inna, inna thava deval thiyanawa katha karanna” or “stay back, stay back, there are more things to talk.” Thus began a heated discussion on last week’s incidents in and around Alutgama. When it was over, another stormy session followed when partners of UPFA met more..

Combating religious extremism!

June 22 (CT) Watareka Vijitha Thera, a monk who has been at loggerheads with the extremist Buddhist association, BBS was on Thursday found with grievous injuries, abandoned under a bridge in Hirana, Panadura. The monk was abducted in the previous night from his temple by unidentified men, who reportedly tortured him, before he was dumped in Hirana with his arms and legs bound. Vijitha Thera, who is receiving treatment at the National Hospital has accused the BBS for the attack. more..

The politics of ‘Aluthgama’

June 22 (GV) The BBS and its many monks take their ‘professional’ duty – the promotion of Sinhala Buddhism – quite seriously. And recently, they decided to spread a bit of their Sinhala Buddhism, in Aluthgama, Beruwala and a few surrounding areas. Gnanasara thera called his audience to finish off the Muslims if a single Sinhalese is touched. A singer, Madhumadawa Aravinda, invoked the lines of the late Tibetan S. Mahinda himi (“… es gedi walata hena gahalada sihalunne”). more..

Lokuarachchi to appeal 18-month ban

June 22 (CI) Sri Lanka's slow-bowling allrounder Kaushal Lokuarachchi has said that he will appeal the severity of the 18-month ban handed down by the BPL anti-corruption tribunal on Wednesday. The appeal will largely hinge on Lokuarachchi's claim that the spot-fixing approach he failed to report was made by a team official, and not a known bookmaker. "It was not a bookie who approached me, but an official in the team more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

June 22 (ST) The External Affairs Ministry (EAM) took the extraordinary step of denying a statement attributed to the Minister Keheliya Rambukwella – even as the latter stood by his comments. An EAM media statement surfaced on Friday morning in response to an international newswire report that quoted Mr. Rambukwella as saying Sri Lanka imports Iranian crude oil from “third parties” to circumvent US sanctions. more..

Food supplement surplus can be exported

June 22 (Island) In a big boost to improve the nutritional status of Sri Lanka’s malnourished children and lactating mothers, Treasury Secretary, Dr. P.B. Jayasundara has allocated Rs. 200 million to double the production of a key food supplement distributed free of charge island-wide, senior health officials said. "This will be a turning point for Thriposha, which will see the monthly output zoom to 3.6 million packets, more..

Sri Lanka’s tea trade ‘watching’ Iraqi crisis

June 22 (ST) While there is no immediate cause for panic, Sri Lanka’s tea industry is ‘watching’ the troubled situation in Iraq, industry sources said. In unfolding violence, an Islamic radical group – the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — has taken control of some cities in Iraq in the past two weeks. Colombo Tea Traders Association Chairman Jayantha Keragala said prices eased at the Colombo Tea Auction this week but more..

GMOA poll going ahead, enjoining order on one contestant

June 22 (ST) The election of office bearers to Sri Lanka’s most powerful health trade union will go ahead as scheduled next week on June 28 amidst a ruling by a court barring one of the contestants. The Colombo District Court on Tuesday issued three enjoining orders which included preventing Dr. Harsha Atapattu from contesting the post of Vice President (VP) of the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA). more..

Farmers to blame for fresh outbreak of cattle disease

June 22 (SO) Farmers who transport cattle without a valid permit are to blame for the fresh outbreak of the Hoof and Mouth cattle disease, Director, Department of Animal Health, Dr A Sivasothy said. “Transporting cattle or any hoofed animal without a valid permit is a punishable offence. Many unscrupulous traders are still engaging in this illegal practice due to the demand for meat especially during religious festivals. more..

Tourists can get driving licence at BIA

June 22 (ST) Driving licences will be issued to foreign visitors at the BIA from August, Motor Traffic Commissioner S.H. Harischandra said. 3-month licence will enable foreigners to drive light motor vehicles during their stay here. The decision has been taken as many tourists like to hire vehicles and drive around the country on their own. “Once they get the local licence, they can hire a vehicle from the airport itself and drive away,” more..

The IGP must resign!

June 22 (NS) These are days of frayed tempers, perceived grievances, real threats and real fears that can cloud and blow away reason. This is the hour of the rumor-monger. This is the hour of the extremist. This is the hour of the passionate, the hour or the irrational. The word on the street is ‘Aluthgama’. Indeed it is the word on every street where matters of yesterday, today and tomorrow, matters of the nation and its destiny, more..

Enforce law against those spreading hate – President

June 22 (NS) President Rajapaksa has directed police and security forces not to allow anyone to take the law into their own hands and to strictly enforce the law against any persons who attempt to do so. Addressing the nation last night regarding the current situation in the country, President requested all citizens to act in a manner that safeguards the peace and harmony that exists between the country’s different communities. more..

Sri Lanka police face media flak over anti-Muslim riots

June 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka's media showed rare unity in condemning police Sunday for their failure to control anti-Muslim Buddhist extremists as religious tensions grow in the wake of riots in the island's south. A day after a Muslim-owned shop was burnt down outside Colombo, The Nation took the unusual step of publishing its editorial as the main story on its front page, with the blunt headline: "The IGP must resign". more..

Learning from Ranasinghe Premadasa

June 22 (Island) After President Premadasa’s funeral ceremony was over and the body had been cremated I sat alone by the pyre. Everyone had left. The only other person there was Dulanjalee (I remember talking to her). I knew even then that my world has collapsed. I also knew that the party and the country were lost, that we would not be able to continue on our journey without him. What I miss most about President Premadasa is his leadership. When there is the right kind of leadership more..

Jaffna Re- revisted

June 22 (Island) I have gone to Jaffna three times. My first visit to Jaffna was in 1956 when my parents took my brother and myself to Jaffna. The second visit was when the late Gamini Dissanayake took a team of Mahaweli agronomists, for a week, to study the agricultural practices in the Jaffna peninsula. The third visit was at the beginning of June this year, when we went to carry out a schools awareness program. On my first visit we drove to Jaffna from Kandy. more..

Sri Lanka briefs UNHRC on incidents of violence

June 22 (AM) Sri Lanka today informed the Human Rights Council that prompt action had been taken by the govt to bring back normalcy to Aluthgama and Beruwala, the areas affected by recent incidents of the communal violence. This observation was made by Manisha Gunasekera, Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva exercising a 'Right of Reply' in response to comments made by Germany, more..

Kupun shifts focus to Asian Games after bad luck haunts him in Taipei

June 22 (Island) Nalanda College runner Kupun Kushantha is shifting his focus to national trials for challenging Asian Games in a bid to put back the bitter experience of being disqualified at the recently held Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Taipei. The runner hailing from Welimada was disqualified more than an hour after being awarded the bronze medal of the boys 800 metres for crossing his lane during the final. The athlete who was also targeting reaching qualifying standards more..

The incredibly malleable spirit of cricket

June 22 (CI) Two British satirists, the late John Fortune and John Bird, mastered the art of explaining slippery subjects through humour. They would take a major news story and apparently merely knock it about in a light, spontaneous chat on TV. But their mischievous dialogues often took us closer to the heart of the matter than acres of self-important newsprint. (Here they are in a famous sketch from 2007 about the financial crisis). How I would have loved them to address more..

Legal and material assistance on the cards

June 22 (NS) With almost a week after the unrest, Aluthgama and Beruwala are yet to come to terms with the incident. Several officials including Government Ministers stated that it would take time for the affected families to pick up the pieces. Deputy Minister Faiszer Musthapha said that the extent of the damage was yet to be evaluated but added that the suffering the people had undergone was immense. more..

Jaffna mosque attacked by motorcycle gang

June 22 (AM) A mosque in Jaffna has been attacked by an unidentified group who came in a motorcycle, police sources confirmed Asian Mirror. The incident had taken taken place on Friday and due to the attack, the glasses of the mosque have been damaged. The 'motorcycle gang' had left the location minutes after attacking the mosque. Police have started an investigation into the incident following a complaint lodged by the management of the mosque. more..