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The land where hope was killed and despair was reborn

June 28 (CT) In my travels around the world I have felt the hope that drives countries forward and the despair of hopelessness that hits me smack on the face in countries that are moribund. I saw, I heard and I felt the hope for a better future surge among all Sri Lankans, including the war wary in IDP camps. I shared this hope and dreamt it would be translated into tangible action. This was both a rare historical moment and a golden opportunity. My hopes and dreams have been shattered. more..

Next year will mark Sri Lanka’s first racial riots centenary

June 28 (CT) We, Tamil Centre for Human Rights – TCHR are deeply concerned about and strongly condemn the heinous violence that has been meted out this month against the Muslim community in Sri Lanka. Looking at history – ethnic violence, sectarian violence and cultural violence against the Tamils and Muslims in the island are nothing new. Impunity is deeply entrenched and has continued for many decades. The first racial riot in the island was in June 1915. more..

Respite in sight for long-distance travellers

June 28 (ST) Long-distance bus travel has been an ordeal for passengers needing clean food and toilets en route but this is set to change. The National Transportation Commission (NTC) is to embark on a programme to put in place better food and sanitary facilities. Convening a meeting at the National Transportation Commission Auditorium with owners of wayside food establishments catering to long distance bus passengers, more..

Pera dons to take message of co-existence to society

June 28 (Island) A group of academics of the Peradeniya University at a meeting Chaired by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Shantha Hennayake on Friday agreed in principle to take the message of importance of ethnic harmony to the people. Lecturers attending the meeting expressed the view that it had become important to impress on the society that the rights and freedoms of all citizens should be respected irrespective of differences, ethnic, religious or otherwise. more..

Villagers happy to see the back of naguta kota

June 28 (ST) A marauding elephant known to the villagers of Karuwalagaswewa area as “nakuta kota’ was caught by Wildlife officials in Puttalam this week and relocated in a wildlife reserve. The elephant was located in an open area near Muriakulama Jayanthiwawa area in the Karuwalagaswawa region. He was also treated for a cataract problem in one eye. A Wildlife officer said the elephant was notorious for attacking people and damaging houses and was named “nakuta kota’ more..

Point to prove in Sri Lanka - Duminy

June 28 (CI) Even though next year's World Cup will be played in conditions completely different to what South Africa will experience from next week, they head to Sri Lanka with a "point to prove", according to JP Duminy. This time last year, South Africa were thumped 4-1 in an ODI series on the island- their biggest defeat in a bilateral series away from home since 2004 in New Zealand- and the memory of that humbling still stings. more..

'There's unhappiness in England dressing room after Sri Lanka loss'

June 28 (MO) Kevin Pietersen believes there is an 'underlying current of unhappiness' within the England team following their first ever Test series defeat to Sri Lanka on home soil. England suffered a 100-run defeat to Angelo Mathews' side at Headingley on Tuesday to lose the two-Test Investec series after the tourists escaped with a draw in the opening match at Lord's. This latest setback prompted Pietersen, whose central contract was terminated by the England and Wales Cricket Board after more..

The 'Talibanist Buddhists' attacking Sri Lanka's Muslims

June 28 (AA) Post-war Sri Lanka was rocked by the worst violence it has seen two weeks ago. On June 15, communal clashes set the southern resort towns of Aluthgama, Dharga Town and Beruwala alight. At least three were killed, 88 injured, 64 houses, 39 shops and a mosque completely destroyed while numerous others were damaged, according to data compiled by the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka. Overnight, 2,248 persons were instantly displaced in the worst religious riots in Sri Lanka's recent history. more..

Gota orders stern action against spread of religious hatred on social media

June 28 (AD) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa today said that he has ordered security authorities to take stern action against those who espouse racial and religious hatred using social media. Sri Lanka has seen a recent spike in the spread of religious hatred through social media websites such as Facebook, in the wake of recent clashes in Aluthgama and Beruwala. Authorities had stated that various rumors and false information being spread through more..

Ranil in Beruwala and Aluthgama tomorrow

June 28 (AM) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is to visit Beruwala, Aluthgama and Dharga Town tomorrow, UNP sources said. This is the opposition leader's first visit to the area after the clashes which broke out between Sinhala-Buddhist groups and Muslims. The opposition Leader will be accompanied by a group of UNP MPs and representatives. The opposition leader would hold discussions with people were affected by clashes and monitor the progress of the 'rebuilding' process. more..

'MR doen't know to govern a land without war'

June 28 (SM) President Rajapaksa does not know how to govern a land without a war and is attempting to make his dream of a third term in office, a reality by starting a racist commotion, UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera has told a weekend newspaper. "President Rajapaksa does not know how to govern a land without a war or commotion. He ended a war... yes. But looking back at the five years since the end of war, what can be seen? Even if the war against terrorism is over, women are still in battle.. more..

Dilshan to enter politics

June 28 (AM) Cricketer T.M. Dilshan's wife Manjula Thilini has hinted of her husband's possible entry into active politics. When asked by a journalist whether Dilshan intended to join active politics, Thilini, who was a popular actress at one point, had said he would certainly make a major step in that direction. She made this revelation in an interview with a weekend Tabloid newspaper. "When he makes that move, we will certainly inform the media, But at this point, more..

KOICA hands over KIA Sorento vehicles to three line ministries in Sri Lanka

June 28 (Island) KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) officially handed over KIA Sorento vehicles to three line ministries in Sri Lanka, namely, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Skills Development, Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management and Ministry of Highways, Ports and Shipping on June 26 at KIA Motors (Lanka) Ltd. The hand-over ceremony was attended by many dignitaries including CHO, Kyu Chan (Resident Representative, KOICA Sri Lanka office), more..

Cricket-West Indies, Pakistan awarded seats on ICC's executive

June 28 (Reuters) West Indies cricket president James Cameron and Pakistan board chairman Najam Sethi have been awarded seats on the International Cricket Council's new executive committee, but South Africa has been snubbed from the game's new world order. The five-member executive committee is one of a raft of sweeping reforms that have entrenched cricket's dominant economic powers India, England and Australia and, according to critics, at the expense of weaker ICC members and more..

Canada refuses to comment on Tiger

June 28 (CG) The Canadian authorities refused to comment on reports that Sri Lanka has sought the arrest and extradition of an LTTE convict believed to be living in Canada. A spokesperson at the Canadian Justice Ministry refused to confirm or deny if Sri Lanka had made such a request. The police had this week said that it has sought the arrest of an LTTE convict said to be in Canada and INTERPOL assistance has been sought in this regard. more..

Hill country veggie prices soar with heat

June 28 (ST) Prices of vegetables cultivated in the hill country are likely to remain high for the next few weeks due to the prevailing dry weather. Hill country farmers say every year they have to increase the price of vegetables in the drier months of June and July. They said water is scarce and the crops wither because of the heat and lack of water. Farmers are sometimes forced to pawn their valuables to get by during this season, as their vegetable plots are destroyed. more..

Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya re-elected as GMOA President

June 28 (AD) Dr. Anurudda Padeniya has been re-elected as the President of the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) at the election held today (June 28). Dr. Padeniya had received over 95 per cent of the total votes during the election of the 88 year old association. Dr. Lasantha Jinadasa has been elected as the Secretary while Dr. Nath Wijesooriya was elected Treasurer of the GMOA, which boasts a membership exceeding 16000. more..

Sri Lanka and Seychelles agree to strengthen relations

June 28 (SNA) Seychelles and Sri Lanka are stepping up their exchanges in their bilateral relations with the signing of six agreements which cover the setting up of a joint commission on co-operation, political consultations, tourism, cultural co-operation, sports, power sector and renewable energy projects in Seychelles. The signing ceremony of these six bilateral agreements took place this morning between the Sri Lanka Minister for External Affairs, more..

Dengue evolving into epidemic level – Epidemiology unit

June 28 (LT) The number of dengue patients in the month of June has gone up when compared with the previous five months of the year states the epidemiology unit. According to statistics 4267 dengue patients have been reported during this month and 60% of them have been reported from Western Province states the epidemiology unit. At present dengue has evolved into an epidemic throughout the island but the Ministry of Health or the govt has not carried out any proper programme to control the disease. more..

Harsh punishment against witnesses?

June 28 (SM) The govt is closely focused on harshly punishing any Sri Lankans who witness before the Navi Pillay-appointed probing committee, the 'Irida Divaina' reports. The newspaper says that the witnesses are to be punished under the Terrorism Prevention Act and the Official Secrets Act. The 'Irida Divaina' further states as follows : "It has already been revealed that there are several parties prepared to witness before this committee in support of the LTTE terrorists and more..

Probe team has not yet sought visas

June 28 (CG) The team appointed by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to investigate the alleged human rights abuses committed during the war, have not yet sought visas to visit Sri Lanka, the External Affairs Ministry said. External Affairs Ministry sources said that such a request has not been put forward to the Sri Lankan Mission in Geneva or the External Affairs Ministry. Meanwhile the External Affairs Ministry more..

Conspiracies hatched in the West

June 29 (SO) A full-scale investigation is now under way to ascertain the sinister elements who were behind the recent unfortunate incidents in Aluthgama, Beruwala and other parts of the country. Initial investigations had revealed that these incidents were not isolated communal clashes but organised crime by those with vested interests. Several power-hungry politicians and NGO agents who thrive on foreign funding have time and again turned traitors. more..

Those that history will remember…

June 29 (SL) The Rajapaksa govt has invested millions if not billions of rupees in infrastructure development of the war ravaged regions. But that is clearly not enough because the aggrieved Tamil community by and large remains sullen. Their dignity as a people, who have rights in this land dating far back into history, has yet not been restored. Their basic demands such as the reduction of military presence in their areas of habitation; restoration of land taken over by the govt during more..

'Work towards ethnic harmony and reconciliation'

June 29 (SO) Deputy Minister Faiszer Musthapha said that Sri Lanka was a resilient nation that was not in favour of foreign elements interfering in domestic issues. He said whatever different views we hold, above all we are Sri Lankans. I am proud to be a Sri Lankan. Unfortunately, some people want to make use of the recent incidents in Aluthgama and Beruwala to further their political agendas. All of us should collectively work more..

The tour success means more for Sanga than anybody

June 29 (Island) Sri Lanka’s tour of England brought them lot of success. The tourists won the one off T-20, the ODI series and the Test series, their first ever Test series win in England. The players were in jubilant mood and more than anyone star batsman Kumar Sangakkara enjoyed this for several reasons. Sangakkara had been playing international cricket for 15 years now, but he hadn’t tasted a series win away from home other than against Zimbabwe or Bangladesh. more..

Don’t forget the beedis

June 29 (Island) The dangers of smoking are well known and documented and given the information age we live in, it is only the stupid who will indulge in a habit the tobacco industry likes to call an "adult choice." We have today run a report elsewhere in this issue saying that Mr. Walter Laduwahetty, the President of the Sri Lanka Cancer Society, has written to Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena congratulating him for the campaign he has been running requiring the publication of more..

‘All are welcome in democracy’

June 29 (SL) Calls to ban hate speech intensified recently following the incidents in Aluthgama. Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara has called for the introduction of laws against hate speech. He also called for the arrest of BBS Galabodaatte Gnanasara Thero over comments he had made in Aluthgama which led to the violence in the area. Minister says the authorities must take measures to enforce laws against anyone more..

We pay, but we do not know

June 29 (ST) It bodes ill for any country when a govt conducts business on the principle that what the people do not know will not hurt them. Sri Lanka has become such a nation. Despite its elephantine Cabinet, power is concentrated in the hands of a few. Many ministers are figureheads who learn of crucial decisions only when they sit down for the weekly Cabinet meeting. They sanction policies and initiatives that they have sometimes had inadequate time to study. more..

Hypocrisy, extremism are just not cricket

June 29 (ST) My Dear Angelo and the cricket team, I thought I must write to you and the cricket team to congratulate you on your fantastic performance against England, our former colonial masters, winning our first ever overseas test series against them and in doing so, teaching them a thing or two about how the game of cricket should be played. I know all of you played extremely well and that is why we won in all formats of the game, but it makes me wonder whether we play better against more..

‘What have we done?’

June 29 (SL) BBS and the Rev. Gnanasara Thero have been the focus of many issues in the recent past over the Aluthgama incident. Many have criticised the monk for his aggressive nature and have called for his arrest and the banning of the organisation after the incident. Gnanasara Thero said that in order to make the country pay attention to what he was trying to reveal concerning the threat of extremist Muslim Organisations more..

MPs demand more ‘fuel’ to serve efficiently

June 29 (NS) Would you agree if somebody tells you that our MPs (yes, they are ours for we elected them in the last election. Didn’t we?) are a bunch of freewheeling, freeloading fraudsters? I don’t, because our MPs are not freewheeling although they may take us for a ride in the guise of making law. And they are certainly not freeloading though they may get their snouts in the trough. The most recent example for this is the attempt by the MPs to get their fuel allowance increased. more..

GL and Namal to troubleshoot

June 29 (SL) The entire country, except the govt, thinks that the BBS and similar extremist ethno-religious organizations are causing trouble for the country, not only locally, but also in the international domain. While the Aluthgama dust is settling, BBS continues to create headlines in the media. After the protest rally in Aluthgama which led to clashes in several parts of the country, the BBS this week managed to hold its first public event in front of the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy. more..

Looking for the truth from under the rubble

June 29 (NS) Those who are eagerly bashing Sinhala Buddhists as ‘racist terrorists’ are conveniently ignoring the rise of Muslim fundamentalism within the country, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. Minister, who is also the General Secretary of JHU, said it was unfortunate that the media, particularly the English language media and citizen journalists on social media, had taken it upon themselves to provide ‘fabricated stories’ more..

Black Hand or Manic Folly?

June 29 (Island) There has been mayhem all round these last several months for the Rajapaksas and the UPFA – the UNHRC probe, anti-Muslim incidents, and the Modi-Jayalalitha twin-landslide nightmare. The most intense and sharply focussed manic moment is the assault on the Muslim community, its places of worship and Muslim businesses, allegedly plotted, programmed and provoked by extremist Buddhist monks. Is the BBS, or more muscular souls in clerical attire, more..

Sri Lanka needs a grand visionary

June 29 (CT) A special military operation has begun to rebuild the shops and houses set aflame in the Aluthgama-Beruwala area a fortnight ago, mainstream media reported on Friday, giving ostensible credence to claims that normalcy had returned to the ravaged townships. Yet, the unbridled viciousness that tore apart the very fabric of trust and communal amity in Aluthgama and the continuing sense of unease, palpable in all parts of the country, has one wondering just more..

Call for banning hate speech

June 29 (SL) Idea of banning hate speech is welcomed by many as Aluthgama was recently in fire as a result of a speech made by BBS Galaboda Atte Gnanasara Thero inciting violence and hatred against the Muslim minority. However, there are also concerns among others that measures taken to prevent hate speech may ultimately violate freedom of speech and expression. When inquired, several politicians expressed more..

Ranil’s moment

June 29 (NS) Humility is probably the most powerful propaganda tool around. It is also the least used, especially by politicians. This is why Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe should be applauded for acknowledging that his party erred in July 1983. He said that the then UNP govt did not take adequate action to prevent the riots. Wickremesinghe referred to this as he urged the Govt to make sure that matters be resolved before they get out of hand; the ‘matter’ being that of more..

Atapattu praises players

June 29 (NS) Interim head coach Marvan Atapattu heaped praise on his players and Sri Lanka Cricket’s coaching department for the team’s successful tour of England where they recorded their first-ever Test series win in four attempts since 2002, prior to that they played only one-off Test matches. “The fighting spirit, the belief and togetherness we had in the dressing room is what made this team different to previous sides,” Atapattu said. “It was coming from the time we played the two T20I’s more..

Residential businesses on verge of collapse

June 29 (ST) Residences converted into business premises in local govt authorities of Colombo and outside are on the verge of closing down amidst high service charges and commercial tax being levied by the authorities, businessmen complained. Charges range from Rs. 150,000 to Rs. 500,000 per annum, they said. They alleged that the UDA is taking action to allow the natural death of small businesses operating in residential areas by more..

Christmas Island staff prepare for arrival of asylum seekers

June 29 (ABC) Staff on Christmas Island have been told to prepare for the possible arrival of asylum seekers, according to Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan. An asylum seeker vessel made contact with marine rescue authorities on Thursday night claiming to be leaking oil 300 kilometres west of Christmas Island. ABC understands that vessel is from southern India and has more than 150 people on board, including 37 children. Ms MacTiernan said people onboard two asylum seeker boats more..