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A 15 road flooded

Feb 1 (NN) The A 15 road in Verugal, which connects Trincomalee and Battocalao has been submerged in at least six places following heavy rain last night and this morning, officials said. According to the Verugal divisional secretary transport was at a standstill in the area this afternoon following the minor flood. Meanwhile in Thabalagamuwa, Trincomalee 81 people were displaced this afternoon by fresh floods while in Verugal 53 people were displaced so far. more..

LLRC enters phase 2

Feb 1 (NN) The LLRC will begin phase two of its mandate from tomorrow where it will analyse the evidence and submissions made by the public and officials over the past few months. LLRC media coordinator Lakshman Wickramasinghe said that although public sittings of the commission came to an end today, special sittings will be held as and when required before its mandate comes to an end. He said that the commission is also expected to conduct sittings in Ampara and Welikanda sometime in February, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 31.01.2011

Govt condemns torching of E-News Website

Feb 1 (GDI) The Government condemns the torching of Lanka-e-News as an act of criminals to discredit the Government. The Minister Keheliya Rambukwella describes the attack on the Sri Lanka-e-News Media Institution as a malicious attempt to place the government in an intricate position. The Minister explains that it has been a continuous practice of certain criminals to attack media personnel and media institutions when there are elections on the card and more..

E-Media provincial workshop via Tele-conferencing tomorrow

Feb 1 (GDI) The Department of Information with the aegis of the National Online Distance Education Service of the Ministry of Education will conduct a tele-conferencing e-media workshop for provincial journalists on Tuesday, with the participation of the Minister Keheliya Rambukwella & Minister S.B. Dissanayake. A simultaneous workshop will be conducted in 20 Distance Education Learning Centers throughout the country via tele-conferencing. more..

Sri Lanka v West Indies, 1st ODI: Rain ruins contest

Feb 1 (CI) The rescheduled one-day leg of West Indies' tour of Sri Lanka got off to a futile start as heavy rain in Colombo forced the abandonment of the first ODI at the SSC. The series had been postponed from December because bad weather had ruined the Test series but the move has had little effect. Before it began to rain during the lunch break, Adrian Barath scored his maiden ODI century and more..

Sri Lanka stock website shuts after regulator warning

Feb 1 (LBO) A Sri Lanka stock investment website has closed after warnings against misleading investors by the capital markets regulator, whose officials said they were cracking down on such sites. An official at the SEC said they warned the people operating the website, saying misleading advice that influence share prices could violate SEC regulations. The operator of the site,, decided to close last week after the warning by the regulator. more..

All should rally against media repression – IUSF

Feb 1 (LT) All including journalists should rally against the media repression carried out by the government states the IUSF. Issuing a communiqué regarding the thug attack carried out against ‘Lanka-e-News’ today morning IUSF states the government should take the responsibility of the attack. The communiqué issued by the IUSF states “This is not the first time this web site has been attacked or threatened. We have noticed the web site being attacked several times. more..

Mangala accuses Def Sec with illegal land grab

Feb 1 (AD) A protest organized by the UNP will be held on February 09 at Lipton Circus in opposition to the present dictatorship and also to demand the release of imprisoned Sarath Fonseka, MP Mangala Samaraweera stated. He said that the protest is also intended to oppose the suppression of media, the murders and the abductions taking place in the North, the escalating cost of living, the Local Government election being postponed in certain areas and more..

'Ask Lanka to stop attacking Fishermen'

Feb 1 (OI) Against the backdrop of frequent attacks against Indian fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan navy, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to advise Colombo in "strong terms" to refrain from such "uncalled for attacks." Karunanidhi, who arrived here on a three-day visit yesterday, met Singh at his 7, Race Course Road residence and took up the issue of recent "brutal attacks" by the Sri Lankan Navy on fishermen from Tamil Nadu. more..

Fishermen deaths: Lanka shrugs off blame, tells Rao 'we'll look into it'

Feb 1 (HT) Sri Lanka on Monday deflected accusation about its navy's involvement in the killing of two Indian fishermen with assurances of a thorough enquiry into both incidents. Colombo also asked for more details about the two incidents from New Delhi to facilitate the investigation. President Mahinda Rajapaksa promised visiting Indian foreign secretary Nirupama Rao that the deaths of two Indian fishermen allegedly at the hand of Sri Lankan navy will be thoroughly investigated. more..

Somali pirates kill two Sri Lankan fishermen

Feb 1 (AFP) Somali pirates seized a Sri Lankan fishing vessel after killing two crew members and took three others hostage, Sri Lanka’s fisheries ministry said today. Pirates captured the boat as it strayed into Somali waters on Jan 27, the ministry’s director Lal Silva said. The captured fishermen, who left Sri Lanka’s southern town of Mirissa on Jan 4, had alerted Sri Lankan authorities, Silva said. “Three fishermen were taken hostage. more..

Sri Lanka inflation slows in January for second straight month

Feb 1 (BN) Sri Lanka’s inflation slowed for a second straight month, supporting the central bank’s decision to cut borrowing costs this month and spur economic growth. Consumer prices in the capital, Colombo, rose 6.8 percent in January from a year earlier after gaining 6.9 percent in December, the statistics office said on its website today. The median estimate of five economists in a Bloomberg News survey was for a gain of 7 percent. more..

'Govt. should take the responsibility for Lanka-e-News attack'

Feb 1 (LT) The government should take the responsibility of the attack on ‘Lanka-e-News’ today morning says the Information Secretary of the JVP MP Vijithe Herath. He said this when he visited the ‘Lanka-e-News’ office that was set on fire today morning. Speaking further Mr. Herath said under the present regime January has become a dreadful month for journalists. He pointed out that a large number of journalists and media institutions were attacked and threatened more..

AG’s advice sought on Daya and George Master

Feb 1 (AD) The Colombo Magistrate’s Court today ordered the CID to seek the Attorney General’s advice and to inform the court as to the action that should be taken regarding LTTE’s media Coordinator Daya Master and interpreter George Master, who are currently released on bail. The Criminal Investigations Department submitting a report informed court that all the investigation reports on the two suspects have been presented to the AG seeking his advice and more..

Appeal by AHRC on behalf of Rizana Nafeek

Feb 1 (LG) The Asian Human Rights Commission has once again written to the Western Embassies in Saudi Arabia to request their intervention in the case of Rizana Nafeek. Following is the text of the letter: Your Excellency, You will remember the appeal by the Asian Human Rights Commission regarding the young Sri Lankan house maid facing the death sentence in Saudi Arabia. We wish to thank the several Ambassadors and Consul Generals who graciously responded to more..

People or politicians grow the economy?

Feb 1 (LG) Never have more sanguine predictions been made about the Sri Lankan economy. All the talk about quadrupling per capita income etc., have been treated with either derisive scoffing or grunts of admiration considering the audacity of these claims. If the government is able to deliver, the Sri Lankan economy - it is predicted - would be akin to that of Singapore, or any of the dragon economies of the Far East. Sounds fantastic, but is there any real chance that more..

Galle Face Green to be vandalised by twenty-first century savages

Feb 1 (TC) Most great cities around the world have public places that have acquired historic sanctity and are left untouched even by eager modernisers who develop an itch to leave behind puny constructions for their immortality. London has those great grand parks, palaces and open spaces such as Piccadilly Circus; Paris — the historic 86,400 sq km cobbled stone park Palace de la Concorde; New York, the Times Square; New Delhi — India Gate, more..

Two Nations One Country Option - way out of impasse

Feb 1 (LG) If President Mahinda Rajapakse and his advisors are patting themselves on the back for taking an Ostrich-like stance in the National Question where they feel they have so far managed to avoid a settlement, they do so at their on their own peril and that of the country. After half a century of negotiations of various forms between the two parties the Question remains unengaged. The Sinhala-Tamil sides find themselves far apart than ever before. more..

Sri lankan police tortured a man with hot chilies on his genitalia

Feb 1 (LG) Mr. Sunil Shantha was illegally arrested by the Anguruwathora police. A non-state agent abducted Sunil from the street and assaulted him in a private confinement. Later, they handed him over to the police whom the abductor entertained with liquor. The police officers tortured Sunil by massaging chopped hot chilies on his body including his eyes and genitalia. The next morning Sunil was released. At no time was he shown or informed of any complaint more..

Livelihood of Fishermen in the Palk Bay: Sri Lankan Tamil Perspective

Feb 1 (LG) Two recent incidents, allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan Navy, have sent shock waves throughout Tamil Nadu. In the first incident, on Jan 12, Veerapandian and three other fishermen left Jagathapattinam, presumably entered the Sri Lankan waters, when the Sri Lankan Navy opened fire, killing Veerapandian. In the second incident, which occurred on Jan 22, three fishermen, Jeyakumar, Senthil and Rajendran, set sail from more..

Food prices may overwhelm new economic policy

Feb 1 (LB) The ramifications of the food shortage and price crisis will be more complicated than people imagine. I am not referring to the certainty that the worst is still to come; no I mean the prospect of the government retreating from the new business friendly economic model that it charted at the last budget with the IMF holding its hand. If things go this far the class and political ramifications will be exciting. The global food scene is grim and the effect will more..

Getting away with the numbers game

Feb 1 (SL) Not so long ago most young Sri Lankan students wanted to end up in one of three professions – medicine, engineering or law – in that particular order. Then somewhere between J.R. Jayewardene’s open economy and Mahinda Rajapaksa’s open sesame it all changed. Today this country produces more accountants each year than medicine, engineering and law put together. The younger generation of Sri Lankans, both men and women have taken to accounting like ducks to more..

DEW regrets delay in local poll reforms

Feb 1 (NS) Senior Minister DEW Gunasekera, who heads the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), says much has been achieved by the UPFA government despite criticisms levelled against it, but he says it was a mistake not to go into the upcoming local elections without long deliberated and unanimously accepted reforms in place. The result had been that from nomination day, it is the moneyed and more..

If you have expression-phobia forget freedom

Feb 1 (LB) Years ago, when I was working at the Sunday Island, I wrote an article on media freedom for our sister paper in Sinhala, Divaina: ‘badagagaagena gos maadya nidahasa dinaa gatha nohaka’ (We cannot win media freedom crawling on our knees). Listening to some of the opinions dished out regarding media freedom and the ‘state of the nation’ in a panel at the Galle Literary Festival, I felt that there’s too much crawling and whining and very little of anything else. more..

Sri Lanka another Tunisia? Not in my book!

Feb 1 (SL) Much as I’d like to see the back of a regime that has taken the one time bastion of democracy in southern Asia to the cusp, in not into, the cauldron of dictatorship, I cannot, in all conscience, subscribe to the hope/prediction that Sri Lankans are going to follow the Tunisian example and rise up against a dictatorship without precedent in this country. To the inevitable question of ‘Why’ I can only revert to what I have said before. more..

Kala Pola 2011 big success as art-lovers flock to Green Path

Feb 1 (NS) It was extremely hot and sunny but there were more than just plenty of people making their way towards Green Path last Sunday for the Kala Pola 2011. It is amazing what people can do and put themselves through to see paintings and other various forms of art; somehow it makes people feel like this keeps the arts alive in our country whereas at the same time it also makes it seem somewhat commercialised. more..

Editorial: Of those political misfits

Feb 1 (Island) There are over 4,000 politicians in Parliament, Provincial Councils and Local Government institutions, besides their families and cronies, sponging off the State. And the country is going to the polls again to elect about 3,000 of them on March 17, when the next LG elections are due. The manape (preferential vote) war has already begun with candidates going for each other's jugular. People deserve the representatives they get. For, they tend to reject more..

Editorial: Be a bridge over troubled waters

Feb 1 (DM) The 12-hour water cut in Colombo city and some suburbs on Sunday caused additional difficulties for thousands of people but in a positive sense it reminded us of the importance of purified tap water. Self-centred human nature is such that we often realize the importance of things only when we don’t have them or lose them. This is true in human relationships also. We often realize the virtues and vital roles that people played only at the grave and after they are gone. more..

Heshma Wignaraja

Inflation down on technicality, but food prices rise

Feb 1 (Island) Sri Lanka’s headline inflation, the rate at which prices increase, as measured by the CCPI, fell marginally to 6.8 percent in January 2011 from 6.9 percent in December, but this is due to a technicality called the base effect in statics, but prices, especially food prices, continued to increase. "The rate of inflation as measured by the CCPI on a Year on Year basis decreased to 6.8 percent further in January 2011 from 6.9 percent recorded in December more..

Dengue reaps its grim toll again

Feb 1 (NS) The threat of another outbreak of dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fever (DF/DHF) which had temporarily subsided has re-surfaced. Data from the Government Epidemiology Unit (EPU) up to January 28 has revealed that the cumulative number of DF/DHF cases for January alone was 559 cases, while the cumulative number of deaths from the twin diseases was eight. In the first week of the month the cumulative number of cases was 182 with two deaths. more..

Media protection for development

Feb 1 (FT) The attack on LankaeNews has brought an often discussed topic back to the attention of people. Media freedom in Sri Lanka has long been a touchy topic and the addition of yet another attack on an organisation underscores the need to take strong action to address this literally burning issue. Sri Lanka’s media repression track record does not illuminate either the country or the laws governing it. more..

Commission probes outside involvement in A’pura prison riot

Feb 1 (ST) A three-member committee probing this week’s prison riot in Anuradhapura is looking into the possible involvement of outside persons in instigating the prisoners, Commissioner General of Prisons Maj. Gen. (Rtd) V.R. de Silva said. He said the Committee, led by a Commissioner, is investigating as to how the prisoners organised a protest campaign which led to a clash. “The Commissioner who was appointed recently, had taken measures to ensure discipline was maintained. more..

Common sense before politics

Feb 1 (FT) Last week the most bizarre news was the Elections Department rejecting a staggering 450 nominations for the upcoming local government polls. The rejections included 302 from independent groups and 148 from political parties. They were out of 2,047 total nominations received (1,282 from political parties and 765 by independent groups) for the 17 March elections to 301 local bodies. As per Elections Department officials, some of the reasons for rejections more..

LLRC suggests solutions for amity

Feb 1 (LB) The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’s (LLRC) final report to the president will focus on land issues, releasing the names of all detainees in camps, language rights and restitution. LLRC sources said. However the defense establishment is not ready to meet several demands of the LLRC, including the release of a list of detainee names. Since its inception in May 2010 the LLRC it held numerous sessions at more..

Sri Lanka poultry producers cry foul

Feb 1 (Island) Eight to 10 percent of the poultry industry are hesitant from purchasing day-old chicks from the hatcheries who complain of an excess of chicks and have even started destroying them or culling the senior batches. The President of the Poultry Producers Association Dr. D.D. Wanasinghe said that most of the small scale farmers are in dire straits due to the import of chicken from India and are temporarily moving out of the market as more..

More powers for GNs

Feb 1 (Island) Grama Niladharis will be empowered to monitor development activities and curb anti-social and criminal activities in their areas, with the support of the Police, Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs W.D.J. Seneviratne says. He said that it would be mandatory for all Grama Niladharis to remain in their offices up to 11.00 am five days a week, except on Wednesdays, when they have to report to the AGA’s Office and Sunday would be their day off. more..

'Neither Epigraphy nor Pali chronicles say Dutugemunu was a Sinhala'

Feb 1 (DBS) Hello Friends; Many of you would have read part one of JL Devananda’s article posted on my blog under the heading “I DID NOT SAY MAHANAMA THERO WAS A RACIST OR THE MAHAVAMSA WAS A RACIST DOCTRINE”. I am now posting the second and concluding part of the article with the expectation that the process of unlearning and re-learning would continue in the ensuing debate. Here is the second part more..

'I did not say Mahanama Thero was a racist or the Mahavamasa was a racist doctrine'

Feb 1 (DBS) The article by JL Devananda “Mahavamsa Mindset:Re-visiting Political Buddhism in Sri Lanka” that was posted on my blog some weeks ago evoked a passionate discussion although I did feel that some readers had missed the essence of what the writer was actually trying to say. Among the responses was an interesting and informative one by former Diplomat Bandu de Silva which was also published separately on my blog under the heading more..