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An era of constitutional reform ahead

Apr 18 (NS) The general elections are all over bar the shouting at Nawalapitiya and Trincomalee and that will have to wait until after Tuesday when the re-poll in these two regions will be concluded, so that the district results of Trincomalee and Kandy could be announced. However, while subtle issues like the preference votes in these regions hang in the balance, the overall electoral picture is now fairly clear: the ruling UPFA has emerged the clear winner and more..

Amunugama’s fate in doubt

Apr 18 (NS) The re-polling in 37 polling stations in the Nawalapitiya electorate on Tuesday may exacerbate the divisions in the alliance in the Kandy District and might decide the fate of political heavyweight, Dr Sarath Amunugama. According to sources the UPFA strongman in the electorate Mahindananda Alutgamage who has been blamed for violence and irregularities on the date of the general election, more..

Range Bandara to quit politics?

Apr 18 (NS) Geetha Range Bandara, wife of newly re-elected Puttalam district MP Palitha Range Bandara, said her husband will seriously reconsider continuing in politics, following the brutal attack on the MP which almost took his life. When The Nation visited Range Bandara at the Colombo National Hospital early this week he was bandaged from head to toe and was not in a position to voice his views clearly due to his injuries. more..

Prabakaran mother's name was on ‘Warning Circular' list

Apr 18 (Hindu) The immigration authorities at the Chennai airport were surprised to see Parvathi, mother of slain LTTE leader Prabakaran, when she landed from Malaysia with a valid medical visa at the airport here on Friday night. The reason: her name was on the ‘Warning Circular' list of the Union government. Whenever a person's name finds a place in the list, the visa issuing authorities must obtain the approval of, or consult, more..

President plays his cards very close to his chest

Apr 18 (Island) With three more days to go before the final election results are declared after the re-polls at Nawalapitiya and Trincomalee are completed on Tuesday and the results announced the next day, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is playing his hand regarding various appointments he will make very close to his chest. "He’s been given various ideas but he is telling nobody what he plans to do," more..

'Boost' for Jaffna industries

Apr 18 (BBC) The food processing industry in Jaffna is to get a big boost as a result of the first International Trade Fair, according the Jaffna Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI). The fair is being held at Jaffna for three days starting 18 April , Mr. Poornachandran, President of the JCCI, told BBC Tamil service. Nearly 200 manufacturers including ten from India are exhibiting their machinery and technology at the JCCI fair at Central College Jaffna. more..

Editorial: The art of the possible

Apr 18 (Island) We in Sri Lanka are less familiar with the famous quotations of Otto von Bismarck (1815 to 1898), Prussian Prime Minister, Founder and Chancellor of the German Empire, than, say of Winston Churchill. This, no doubt, is due to the fact that we were a colony of Great Britain as she was then known during the last chapter of our colonial subjugation. Yet people do know something that Bismarck said, in most instances at least the first part of the sentence more..

Golden Key scam: Kotelawala and directors told 'they cannot take it easy'

Apr 18 (Island) As the inadequacy of liquid cash continued to impede moves to repay Golden Key depositors, the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Chartered Accountants summoned Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala and other directors for a discussion focusing largely on a more proactive role they should play to resolve this long-drawn crisis. more..

Mervyn Silva ready to help distraught GK depositors

Apr 18 (Island) Former Minister Mervyn Silva last week assured that he would honour his pledge to do everything possible within his means to ease the suffering of Golden Key depositors. "I want to see justice done to these people, most of whom have now been reduced to paupers", he told The Sunday Island. "All their hard-earned savings have been snatched away". "I am now in the process of making a personal evaluation of the situation", more..

"Brilliant’’ results at Colombo Dockyard drives up share price

Apr 18 (Island) Colombo Dockyard PLC has presented what its new Chairman, Mr. Akihiko Nakauchi, has called "brilliant results" for the year ended December 31, 2009 with the company posting by far its best ever performance with profit after tax soaring nearly 50% from the previous year and its share appreciating nearly fourfold. Revenue was up 20.4% to Rs.13.2 billion in the teeth of the global economic recession, more..

Fonseka faces fresh crisis

Apr 18 (ST) The approval of the Ministry of Defence will be required to enable retired General Sarath Fonseka to take his oaths in Parliament as an MP, the military spokesman said yesterday. "So far no request for such approval has been made," Major General Prasad Samarasinghe told the Sunday Times. He said there has been no communication so far from the Secretary General of Parliament to the Ministry of Defence. more..

Basil frontrunner for premiership

Apr 18 (ST) That Sri Lanka created history by not having a Cabinet of Ministers for ten days so far was no comfort for President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He had hoped he could swear in a Ministerial team days ahead of the Avurudu and then head for his ancestral home in Medamulana in the deep south. That was not to be. The supporters of one of his own party stalwarts and one time non-Cabinet Minister, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, had allegedly chased away agents from opposition parties in 34 polling stations. more..

Editorial: Turn this curse into a blessing

Apr 18 (ST) The week that passed saw Sri Lankans marking the National New Year including the nonagathe period when one is not supposed to be engaged in any activity. For a nation besotted with politics, this is possibly the only time when there is a semblance of a break from the year-round activity on the political front. Politicians themselves either escape to their constituencies or holiday abroad; the luckier ones being those who go abroad on the pretext of more..

Manape robbery

Apr 18 (ST) The manner in which preference votes are counted has given rise to allegations that all is not transparent when it comes to counting manapes. The process is susceptible to corruption and manipulation, say candidates who were present at counting centres. On April 9, fisticuffs broke out at Colombo's counting centre where the Colombo district's preference votes of the UPFA were counted and recounted - with each count producing different results. more..

Front row for General

Apr 18 (ST) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka will be among those who will be allocated front row seats on the opposition benches when Parliament meets on April 22 for its inaugural session. Fonseka who was elected to Parliament from the Colombo district is the leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) and this position will entitle him for a front row seat along with other senior members in the opposition. more..

Hakeem refutes crossover reports

Apr 18 (ST) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem yesterday denied reports that several newly-elected MPs of the party were planning to join the government. Mr. Hakeem said these reports were part of an attempt to mislead voters before Tuesday's re-poll in Nawalapitiya where he is a candidate. Mr. Hakeem said the newly elected MPs had assured him there was no truth in such reports. more..

Teenage girl stabbed to death in Jaffna

Apr 19 (TN) Unidentified persons entering a house Saturday night in Aththiadi in Achchuveali stabbed to death a 15-year-old girl student who happened to be alone in the house. Motive of the killing is suspected to be robbery. This is the fourth incident where women staying alone in their homes being killed within one month in Jaffna peninsula. Meanwhile, a student of Jaffna College who had accompanied students of more..

Magnificent Seven

Apr 19 (LG) Intelligent people in Sri Lanka are thankful to the voters of Colombo, Gampaha Kaluthara and Galle districts for voting in five people of the DNA. They are hopeful that seven intelligent, brave, straight talking, honest and committed members of the DNA will sit in the parliament. They will be Sarath Fonseka, Arjuna Ranathunga, Vijitha Herath, Sunil Handunnetti, Ajith Kumara, Anura Kumara Dissanayaka and Tiran Allas, the magnificent seven. more..

Jewel of Muscat arrives in Galle

Apr 19 (CNA) The Jewel of Muscat, a 9th Century Arabian Dhow gift from the Sultanate of Oman to the Singapore government, has arrived at its second stop, Galle, in Sri Lanka, after sailing through a tropical storm. A welcome ceremony will be held in Galle on Monday. The Jewel of Muscat is expected to arrive in Singapore in July this year. While it has only been a short hop for the crew on the Jewel of Muscat from Kochi, India to more..

Different sides of an ugly coin

Apr 19 (LG) The problem with much of the personalized attacks that passes for public debate in Sri Lanka is the unfortunate tendency to pin labels on persons having different points of view. This persistent inability to recognise that logical and sustained differences of opinion may be accommodated in healthy debates without resorting to name calling reflects not only on those responsible but also on the nature of our society today. more..

Tamil Nadu police arrest protestors against Namal Rajapkase’s arrival in Chennai

Apr 19 (TN) Tamil Nadu police arrested ten persons Sunday among hundreds of people who had gathered at Chennai airport to protest against the arrival of Namal Rajapakse, the son of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse, passing via Chennai International Airport to watch the cricket match between the Chennai and Punjab teams, sources in Chennai said. Meanwhile, a group of fifty Sri Lankan police officers led by more..

Sri Lanka war wounded face long fight to recovery

Apr 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka's leaders have hailed the end of the island's long civil war as the start of a new era, but for soldiers injured in battle, the future is far from rosy. In a hospital outside Colombo, Manju Lakshman, 32, lies on a bed staring at the ceiling. He was shot in the spine by Tamil Tiger rebels one year ago in the last weeks of fighting in the northeast of Sri Lanka as more..

Four "New" Sinhala doctors conduct a medical camp in Mandaitheevu

Apr 19 (TC) The North-South Dialogue Desk of The Lanka Centre for Social Concern organized a Medical Camp conducted by the recently passed out doctors of Colombo Medical College from 5th April to 7th April 2010. All the four doctors were Sinhalese and Sewwandi was a Catholic doctor from All Saints’ Parish, Borella. Rev. Fr. Sudam Perera, Assistant Parish Priest of Ragama church, Lasheen the Secretary at NSDD, and more..

Caste in modern Sri Lankan politics II

Apr 19 (TC) Prof. Roberts, I wish to write some comments below with reference to usage of some words in Lankan vocabulary, explained by you. Kindly clarify: Thuppahi: It is well-known that the ge name of the Obeyesekera family according to old documents is THUPPAHIGE as their origin could not be traced. Here, thuppahi meant- nondescript or "...unknown mixed origin." Isn't this the same as themparadu or kalavam culture that we hear from political platforms even today. more..

Australia re-opens detention centre

Apr 19 (BBC) The Australian government is re-opening a mainland detention centre for Sri Lankan and Afghan asylum-seekers to ease overcrowding at the country's Christmas Island facility in the Indian Ocean. The centre, at the Curtin air base in Western Australia, was closed down in 2002 after riots and reports of mistreatment. more..

Revamping the Foreign Ministry

Apr 19 (LeN) During the last four years, Sri Lanka's relations with many countries were some what volatile and shaky. We had to seek new alliances while strengthening our relations with the friends. At the same time we had to abandon certain section of the international community as they were sympathetic towards the LTTE during the time of the war. President Mahinda Rajapakse had to balance the domestic politics without upsetting the international community more..

First flight from Colombo to Rome takes off after three days

Apr 19 (NF) The first flight from Colombo to Rome since volcanic ash disrupted air traffic in northern Europe and the United Kingdom, took off today from Katunayake airport. For the last three days, passengers in Sri Lanka awaiting flights to the UK and Europe have been stranded in Colombo as most airports in that region had had imposed a total ban on flights due to safety concerns. more..

Dhamma Dinna Viharaya

Sri Lanka bans competition in state insurance deals: report

Apr 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state has shut out competitive bids from private insurers for state entities, drawing a warning that the move would increase the cost of state enterprises and raise burden of government to the ordinary man. Sri Lanka Insurance Association, an industry body, has protested to the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka, the regulator, over a Treasury order which ended competition for government insurance deals. more..

Sri Lanka state postal services lose Rs2.4bn in 2009

Apr 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state postal services lost 2.4 billion rupees in 2009 up from 2.1 billion rupees in 2008 while the mail use has stagnated at 21 letters per inhabitant, official data showed. Revenues of Sri Lanka's Department of Posts increased marginally while operating expenses rose 5.6 percent in 2009. Sri Lanka's postal service is made up of 4,738 post offices, which includes 643 main post offices, 3,411 sub post offices, 463 agency post offices, more..

Sri Lanka state railways lose Rs4.7bn in 2009

Apr 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run railways lost 4,768 million rupees in 2009 up 4.7 percent from the a year earlier, which was more than its annual revenues, while carrying lower volumes of cargo and passengers. Sri Lanka Railways operated 4,568 million passenger kilometres in 2009, down 2.2 percent from a year earlier, while freight ton kilometres also fell 2.2 percent to 118 million, more..

Jakarta to end boat stand-off on Monday

Apr 19 (AAP) Indonesian authorities plan to move a group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers who have refused to leave their boat for the past six months into an Australian-funded detention centre on Monday. The Tamils' boat was headed for Australia last October when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stop it in Indonesian waters. But the Tamils - then numbering 254, including 31 children more..

Japanese schols for 14 Sri Lankan students

Apr 19 (DN) The Government of Japan has awarded higher education scholarships to 14 Sri Lankan students under its Monbukagakusho Scholarship Scheme 2010. These scholarships were awarded under the categories of postgraduate, undergraduate and college of technology. Selection of candidates was done through an examination and interview conducted jointly by the Japanese Embassy and the Higher Education Ministry. more..

Eight indicted on embassy attack

Apr 19 (DM) The Oslo District Court indicted eight Tamils of Sri Lankan origin for vandalism on the Sri Lankan Embassy last year in Norway. Prasanna Petkunam, Anthony Johananthan Theverajah, Krishnakumar Tharmalingam, Inbarajah Thavarasa, Sajeenthan Parvathythasan, Vidussan Suresh, Jeswanth Pushparajah and Gouwtham Karunakaran are names of those prosecuted. more..

Behind the bloom of Hakgala roses

Apr 19 (ST) Vivid colours and sweet fragrances to keep any visitor spellbound. Come April, the Hakgala Rose Garden in all its glory entrances all and sundry. The process of bringing the rose garden alive with over 100 varieties of roses displaying their beauty for the April season starts in the second week of January and is the result of careful planning and dedicated efforts by Hakgala Botanical Gardens staff. more..

TNA welcomes Sri Lanka’s stand on Palestine issue, hopes same to be followed in Tamil traditional homeland

Apr 19 (TN) “The permanent UN representative of Sri Lanka Bandula Jayasekara’s statement that an atmosphere to bring peace in Palestine could only be created by the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory it occupies is welcomed by TNA which expects Sri Lanka to follow the same principle in withdrawing its armed forces from the historical and traditional homeland of the Tamils of North and East to create peace in Sri Lanka,” more..

Indian visa in Jaffna from May

Apr 19 (TN) High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka, Ashok K. Kantha, said Sunday that India will not open a branch of its Colombo embassy in Jaffna but only an office to handle visa applications, at the opening ceremony of Jaffna International Trade Fair in Jaffna Central College and Vembadi Girls’ College premises in Jaffna where he participated as the chief guest, sources in Jaffna said. more..

Prabhakaran's ghost returns to haunt DMK

Apr 19 (DNA) Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa has moved on after LTTE, and has won the presidential and parliamentary elections with thumping majorities. But the DMK government in Tamil Nadu is still struggling to rid itself of the slain LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran’s ghost. The decision of the immigration authorities at the Chennai international airport to deport more..

Astrology becomes mind candy for them!

Apr 19 (ST) The astrologer was famous for making accurate predictions, especially during the past elections. Now, he had a steady stream of visitors and they all wanted to know who the next Prime Minister would be…The first to visit him was Nimal Siripala. “Why do you think you should get the job?” the astrologer asked. “Why, I am a senior party member and I am now a President of the World Health Organization, so am I not suitable?” Nimal Siripala asked. more..

Impressions after a recent visit

Apr 19 (LG) Everybody thought that after the defeat of the LTTE the situation would improve in Sri Lanka. That was the overall opinion. However, there was a lot of information that the war itself was constituted of human rights violations and war crimes. These have been documented and are a matter of concern to the UN. But nonetheless there was also appreciation in the neighbourhood, that Sri Lanka had shown the way to defeat a very, very strong terrorist organization. more..