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Along the A9 — A traveller’s tale

Apr 4 (SL) When the sun rises over the Palmyrah trees which dot the landscape of the northern peninsula, long shadows start to fall through the Jaffna Fort – a remnant of the days of Dutch occupation. The structure stands solid, bearing witness to the millions that have walked through. “This is my second time in Jaffna” says T. Sudakaran from Gampola, as he takes a slow stroll over the Jaffna Fort, “It’s good that the war is over.” more..

The two thirds target

Apr 4 (SL) The Coen brothers’ movie with Javier Bardem was called No Country For Old Men. What should we begin to call this one? I mean the country, not the movie. What do you call a country in which an unarmed young woman, a woman who has not harmed anyone, is detained in a police station for writing a book, and a book which does not call for violence against anyone? As Marvin Gaye, another non-home grown cultural inspiration, kept asking What’s Going On? more..

Aid roadblock hits IDPs

Apr 4 (SL) International aid to the North and East of Sri Lanka hit a roadblock last month when the government abruptly changed the way it processes donations, jeopardising efforts to relocate IDPs to their villages. For years, the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has used the Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) to determine where relief funds should be directed. In March, however, the government decided to scrap the CHAP and more..

'Two-thirds majority assured for UPFA Govt'

Apr 4 (SO) W.D.J. Seneviratne is the Minister of Power and Energy, and the district leader for Ratnapura. He has transformed the traditional political landscape of Ratnapura by introducing a trend for a new political culture that set an example for many others to follow. Moreover, he is noted for having made judgements based on a broadly focused vision of the political ethos of the country. more..

UPFA victory certain

Apr 4 (SO) The ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is tipped to win this week’s parliamentary general election with a clear majority. Political observers said that a victory for the UPFA is certain with a majority of over two million votes, which would give the ruling alliance a near two-third majority. The UPFA hopes to receive over 6.5 million votes in the overall result. more..

Five years of development: Major transformation in Colombo

Apr 4 (SO) With rapid and focused development, the Colombo City is now being transformed into one of the most developed townships in Asia with high living standards. While the Government is providing the infrastructure, the private sector too has played a major role in transforming Colombo in to a much sought after city to live and work in. The biggest ongoing development project in Colombo is the Colombo Katunayake Highway project more..

On the trail of doyen of Sinhala cinema

Apr 4 (SO) A singular characteristic of the brilliant career in cinema of Lester James Peries is his production of canon defining Rekava which was a watershed in the annals of Sri Lankan filmdom. Apart from deviating from the beaten track of producing prototype North Indian melodrama films, Rekava paved the way for the production of artistic tradition of Sinhalese cinema. more..

Food poisoning - tough action against employers soon

Apr 4 (SO) The Labour Ministry has stressed the need to implement strict laws to take action against employers who provide meals to employees without the supervision of Public Health Inspectors or the relevant health authorities in their areas. This follows a food poisoning incident on Wednesday reported from a garment factory at Gemunupura, Mahiyangana. Over 300 employees took ill after consuming an unhygienic fish curry. more..

New bridge for Oddamavadi

Apr 4 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa ceremonially opened the new Oddamavadi bridge on Friday. The bridge, constructed at a cost of Rs 770 million across the Oddamavadi lagoon, will be a big boon to the people in the area in their day to day activities. It fulfils another pledge given in the Mahinda Chintana to build this new bridge in place of the old Oddamavadi bridge which will directly benefit the public entering Valachenai town. more..

'This bubble has to burst'

Apr 4 (LB) With three days to go for the general election, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe tells LAKBIMAnEWS, among other things, that Mahinda Rajapaksa will never let Sarath Fonseka out. Excerpts: If the UNP forms a government, how will you avoid the tensions and unpleasantness that arose from the hybrid situation you had with President Chandrika Kumaratunga in 2001-2004? more..

Yawn! A done -deal election

Apr 3 (LB) The government juggernaut moves for a total annihilation of the opposition, no matter whether it’s Champika Ranawaka or Wimal Weerawansa who are the ideologues behind the signature pro-nationalist stance, now adopted to optimum stretch at these elections. The UNP, still the main opposition party, had mounted a rear-guard last week with Ranil Wickremesinghe conceding that at the worst of times the UNP got 86 seats, more..

Lanka risks becoming India’s 'Chernobyl'

Apr 4 (LB) Across the Palk Strait, that narrow strip of water separating our two countries, neighboring India today possesses one of the fastest growing nuclear reactor populations in the world. What is Colombo doing to protect national interest should an accident happen in such close proximity to Sri Lanka? Precious little, it would seem. Two sites of concern to Sri Lanka should be Kalpakkam and Koodankulam, both in South India. more..

'My father being president - a challenge'

Apr 4 (LB) The president’s son Namal Rajapaksa speaks to Saman Priyankara Nammunige on a host of issues including why he opted to contest general elections and the ‘good fortune’ of being a Rajapaksa. Q: You didn’t want to enter into politics this early, did you? A: Yes, I didn’t want to get into politics this soon. However, I had a great interest in it from childhood. Though I’m now a full time politician, my ambition is to be a lawyer and more..

Elections Commissioner reason for 'no confidence' election

Apr 4 (LB) Government claims that the April 08 election will be held under tight security. 59,000 police officers and 20,000 soldiers are deployed to provide security. The election will be monitored by some 30,000 election monitors. Despite all this, the people’s faith in elections is at an all time low due to the actions of the elections commissioner who has engaged in a systematic campaign to sideline journalists, civil society organizations and election monitors. more..

Tamils want an end to Sri Lanka discrimination after election

Apr 4 (Guardian) Vanaja Uma Khanta is waiting for the 794 bus to Kodikamam. It has been a long time coming. The queue for the bus stretches all the way down the yellow concrete shelter and mixes with that for the 794 for Kanakamuydady. Despite the crushing heat and the delay – in part caused by the arrangements for a political rally attended by newly re-elected president Mahinda Rajapaksa – the crowd waits quietly. more..

Constitutional change to extend president’s term?

Apr 4 (LB) The most senior member of the SLFP D.M.Jayaratne says that he will quit politics in a few years and will be pleased if he is appointed prime minister. Q: You are campaigning for a two thirds majority in parliament. Is it realistic under this system? A: Since I am in the national list, I have travelled all over the country and have addressed hundreds of rallies. more..

New homes for families in batticaloa

UNF hits panic buttons

Apr 4 (NS) The United National Front (UNF) this week has hit panic buttons despite outward claims of being able to win more than 113 seats at the April 8 Parliamentary election. Informed political sources said that this had been caused by an independent survey done by a private company in six districts, which had shown a rather dismal picture of the party’s standing in those districts. more..

Kithul Rejuvenating the soul

Apr 4 (NS) A refreshing cup of ginger tea with kithul hakuru or jaggery rejuvenates a weary soul while a bowl of curd with kithul treacle feasts the taste buds. Since 116 BC, Sri Lanka had been boasting of a thriving Kithul industry and Customs’ records of colonial ‘Ceylon’ hold evidence of a successful Kithul export market in Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands and several more European countries. more..

Mihin absorbs top ex-pilots of Srilankan

Apr 4 (NS) A number of ex-SriLankan pilots, who were kicking their heels in Colombo for about one year hoping to rejoin the national carrier, are now being absorbed by the country’s fledgling budget carrier Mihin Lanka. These pilots have been complaining that SriLankan, which utilises a large number of foreign pilots, was ignoring them due to petty jealousies, despite more..

Old-timers vs ‘newcomers’

Apr 4 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa reconvened the parliament through an extraordinary gazette notification for the sole purpose of getting the extension of the state of Emergency passed, although he had dissolved it to make way for holding a general election. Accordingly, the parliament, which met on March 9, adopted the motion to extend the state of Emergency by another month. Parliament will meet again on April 6 to extend the state of Emergency again for another month. more..

The high noon of the polls

Apr 4 (NS) Ever since the conclusion of the presidential election, the political focus shifted almost imperceptibly to the general election and the campaign for that poll will reach a climax on Thursday, although the eventual outcome is expected to be an anti-climax of sorts. Interest in electioneering has waned since the bitterly fought presidential election just over two months ago. Its outcome left the collective opposition badly battered and more..

'Cabinet of 35 will reduce unnecessary expenditure'

Apr 4 (NS) Firebrand politician, Wimal Weerawansa, the leader of the National Freedom Front and once a key figure of the JVP, who scaled a new ladder when he cut his teeth in forming his own party and aligning to the Mahinda Rajapaksa led UPFA, in an interview with The Nation, touches on a broad spectrum of issues ranging from his confidence at reigning supreme in the Colombo district at the April 8 General Elections, more..

TNA set to exploit anti-govt feeling in Jaffna

Apr 4 (EB) The TNA seems well set to exploit the widespread anti government feeling in Jaffna district to emerge as the single largest party in the district in the April 8 Sri Lankan parliamentary elections. Jaffna district is to send nine MPs to the Sri Lankan parliament. Although there are a number of parties, which espouse Tamil nationalism like the TNA, it is the TNA that enjoys the greatest credibility. more..

Apparel exporters undertake promotion mission

Apr 4 (F2F) An Export Promotion Mission to Central Europe, covering Austria, Croatia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic had been organized collectively by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Vienna. The mission that was conducted between 15th and 20th February 2010 was aimed at exploring new market opportunities in budding Central European countries, for exports from the country and more..

Keeping the turtles alive

Sri Lanka's counterproductive nationalism

Apr 4 (LBO) This is an election special. There is value in analyzing election messages. Whether positive or negative, such analysis advances debate and understanding. As said elsewhere, elections are teachable moments. And a note to the candidates: “Publicity, darling. Just publicity. Any kind is better than none at all.” Thilanga Sumathipala, UPFA Candidate in the Colombo District, claims credit for “breaking the telecom monopoly.” more..

India go down to Sri Lanka in rugby semis

Apr 4 (HT) India's bright start in the Asian Rugby Sevens Invitational tournament was halted by Sri Lanka when the hosts were beaten 34-19 in the semifinal here on Saturday. India had earlier won three matches on the trot, topping Pool A at the end of first day. Having won their pool matches against Uzbekistan, Iran and Brunei on Friday, India thumped Pakistan 38-5 to get a winning start on the final day. more..

Int'l polls monitors start work in Sri Lanka

Apr 4 (Xinhua) International polls monitors have commenced their pre-polls monitoring activities for the forthcoming parliamentary polls in Sri Lanka, local monitoring groups said on Saturday. Rohana Hettiarachchi, executive director of the PAFFREL, told reporters that 16 international elections observers have already started the pre- polls monitoring in selected districts including the minority Tamils dominated Jaffna. more..

Buddhism, Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict

Apr 4 (LG) Sulak Sivaraksa is a well-known Thai social thinker and activist. A nominee for the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize, Sulak is being tried by the Thai Supreme Court on a charge of defaming the King of Thailand.The charge of lese majeste, if proved, carries a maximum penalty of fifteen years in prison. Currently, Sulak is a Visiting Professor at Ryukoku University, Kyoto. In Japan, he is engaged in dialogues with Buddhists, non-Buddhists, atheists and socialists on problems of Asian societies. more..

Elections for ‘Asian’ model of dictatorship

Apr 4 (TN) Even though the present elections are imposed ones and are deviation tactics of the oppressors, if it is properly understood where the game is heading for, Eezham Tamils will know to whom should they vote to keep their aspirations alive. Despite all odds, the TNA line of politics has to be challenged by the Tamil national cause, at least in some token constituencies, to send the message loud and clear to India and to the outside world. more..

Demining at accelerated pace

Apr 4 (MoD) The Sri Lanka Army de-mining personnel who have cleared mines in over 1,000 square kilometres of land have sped up the removal of mines in the remaining 692 of heavily mined former LTTE strongholds in Jaffna, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi to accelerate the resettlement of displaced people. After the defeat of the LTTE on May 19 last year, the Army was tasked with the clearing of 1,692 of mine-laden areas in the North. more..

Private buses too prefer a ban on begging

Apr 4 (GDI) The ban on begging in trains came to effect last Thursday. A programme has also been launched to detect beggars who are engaged in illegal activities. Meanwhile the Private Bus Owners Association is gearing to ban begging in private buses as well. President of the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association Gemunu Wijeratne said all types of begging will be prohibited in private buses from the 1st of next month. more..

People see and feel the development taking place- President

Apr 4 (LP) At a ceremony held Temple Trees yesterday morning (03) to award tittles through “Ranbima Oppu Pradanaya” to 30 landless peasants, President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared that today people not only see but also feel the depth of development in the country. Speaking further, the President said that he was concerned not only about material development but also the development in Cultural value and discipline in the country. more..

More Isuru Schools to come in future

Apr 4 (GDI) All Divisional Secretariat areas will be provided with ‘Isuru Schools’ equipped with necessary facilities. Minister Susil Premjayanth said the ADB is granting 35 million rupees while the Provincial Council is allocating 15 million rupees. 10 million rupees will be separately provided. He observed that these schools will receive 60 million rupees within the next two to three years. more..

Confusing reportage over comments by the President: Propaganda or fact?

Apr 4 (GV) Angry President tells jeering crowd to leave published in the Sunday Times today is a story based on reportage that first appeared on two sites on the web, Lanka Truth and Lanka News Web. The version on Lanka Truth, published on 3 April, attributed contentious comments, outrageously derogatory towards the Tamil community, to the President in a rally held in Jaffna on 1st April. Two audio (MP3) files were embedded in this story. more..

Govt. attempts to remove ‘fast’ in fort using police

Apr 4 (LT) About 300 police personnel have been deployed at the area opposite Fort Railway Station where the ‘fast’ carried out with the participation of Maha Sangha organized by ‘People’s Solidarity to Emancipate General’ to demand the release of Gen. Sarath Fonseka is held say reports reaching ‘Lankatruth.’ According to our reporter the police are in a bid to remove those who are engaged in the ‘fast.’ more..

Roaring business in Chettikulam relief camp under the very nose of the Defense secretary

Apr 4 (LeN) It is reported that a roaring business is being carried out in the Chettikulam relief camp conducted by an individual who is very close to the Minister. Two spurious Display centers are being run in the name of ‘Lanka Fabrics Ltd’ which comes under the purview of the Handicrafts Industry Minister. The Defense Ministry’s full approval has been obtained to run this fraudulent trade. more..

Retrospection of the media behavior

The nationalist prerogative in a post-LTTE election

Apr 4 (LG) This is the first General Election since 1977 where the spectre of terrorism is absent. It is nevertheless an election that is not absented by the Eelam wish. Indeed, the absence of the LTTE-factor has perhaps made it imperative for Eelamists to put their full weight behind the reinvention of Eelamism or, to be more precise, to replant the Eelam seed. This is the logic of the manifesto that the TNA has come up with. more..