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An apolitical public service-part 1

Sept 1 (NS) There have been several responses to Tissa Devendra’s ‘thesis’on what he calls the ‘myth’ of an independent public service. I do not propose to comment on them in detail. Some of Tissa’s suppositions, e.g., on the Public Service Commission and ‘political trade unions’, are, undoubtedly unwittingly hilarious. Errors in some matters in Tissa’s account have been pointed out by Susantha Wijeweera while more errors, some along the same lines as Tissa’s, more..

New face of LTTE terror abroad

Sept 1 (NS) LTTE-trained cadres, who have acquired citizenship in Australia, are openly engaged in psychological terror targeting Tamils who refuse to toe their political line. The Tamil community in Australia is concerned that this threat to their lives has been on the increase of late, disturbing their peace of mind and the right to live without fear. This seems to be the growing trend in the Tamil diaspora where the LTTE had established strong bases to pursue their activities. more..

A disappearance every five days in post-war Sri Lanka

Sept 1 (GV) On 21st at 2.31pm, August 2012, 32 year old Vasanthamala sent a sms from her mobile to her relatives saying she had been taken by the CID in Vavuniya. Around 8pm the same night, she made short phone calls to her mother and father, and said she was alright. When her parents had tried to find out where she was calling from, the call had been cut off and has been switched off thereafter, to date as her more..

Robbing a little, looting or manipulating the market?

Sept 1 (SL) Towards a sustainable corrupt government’ was the title of the skit we wrote on July 5, in this column stressing the importance of ‘sustainability’, the buzz word in politics and economics. In almost every sphere of human activity environment, trade, commerce, education or ADT (Any Damn Thing), ‘sustainability’ is a vital factor. Our thoughts were echoed two weeks ago in Uttar Pradesh – India’s state with the biggest population (bigger population than more..

‘Eelam Dream’ and Tamil elitism

Sept 1 (NS) The LTTE was crushed. The face of the LTTE, Prabhakaran was eliminated. The prolonged curse of war is no more. Yet, the voice of the LTTE is still howling with pain! No, it is not the pain of the defeat. The real pain lies somewhere else! The LTTE fought for a separate country for Tamils which they called ‘Tamil Eelam’. However, Prabhakaran’s dream was not just the Tamil Eelam but to become its undisputed leader. And Tamil Eelam was not his dream anyway. It was the brainchild of more..

Fifty years… and still stringing along!

Sept 1 (CT) They call themselves the ‘Lamplight Puppeteers’. Maxie and Yvonne Cruz’s story begins in 1952, when Maxi’s brother gifted him a pair of marionette puppets from England. It was a gift that ignited an obsession; a passion that was to last a lifetime and become the seed to a success story. The two puppets immediately became family favourites and were the centre of home entertainment. They also inspired Maxie to more..

Reconciliation after Terrorism: The Sri Lankan Experience

Sept 1 (DBS) Policy and decision-makers worldwide are grappled with managing ethnic and religious tensions that breakout into conflicts. Today, ethnic and religious violence constitute the predominant form of global conflict. About 70-80% of conflicts are driven by destructive ideologies that seek to divide and legitimize violence against ethnic and religious communities. Long after armed conflicts end, the virulent ideologies endure. more..

FUTA trade union action: Past and present IV

Sept 1 (Island) The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) twenty years ago submitted the demands as they came from the sister unions to the authorities but the strike decision was taken by the latter and conveyed to the respective Vice Chancellors. FUTA was in effect representing the teachers’ associations that came under its umbrella, and neither FUTA nor the sister unions as they are called did not alter the demands in midstream. A compromise was made, if at all, more..

Saying it with artificial flowers!

Sept 1 (SO) A group of foreign nationals who were on their way to Saman Devalaya in Ratnapura suddenly spotted an elderly woman selling beautiful flowers in a stall at Kosgama. They stopped the vehicle and inquired the flower seller about the prices of flowers. As she couldn’t understand what the English woman was saying, a trishaw driver who was nearby helped the foreigner. The foreigner said that they were going to Saman Devalaya and wanted to more..

Sri Lanka’s Education Mafia

Sept 1 (DM) Undeniably something is wrong somewhere and that somewhere is our education. The stock exchange is supposed to be ruled by the mafia, perhaps even the sports arena, so too are present day politicos and it is no exaggeration to say that there is a mafia controlling the education of Sri Lanka. Our objective is to view all areas of discussion and to determine how best we can address these areas instead of delaying action through blame tactics. What is on paper is never practiced and more..

Editorial: Onion tears

Sept 1 (Island) Hardly a single day passes without a farmers' protest reported from some part of the country. The last few weeks have seen demonstrations by drought-hit farmers accusing the govt of having mismanaged water resources and neglected reservoirs whose capacities have been greatly reduced due to siltation and encroachment. Onion farmers of Dambulla have taken to the streets, unable to dispose of their produce at reasonable prices. Big onion prices have plummeted due to more..

Boston Lanka News: August 30, 2012

Sri Lankan team moves ahead in the Global CyberLympics

Sept 1 (Island) Global CyberLympics is an international cybersecurity competition. There are teams from various countries participating in the competition. The competition is carried out in different parts of the world including North America, Europe, Africa, South America and Middle-east and the Asia P acific. It is hosted by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council), a member-based organisation that certifies individuals in e-business and information more..

IFC trains SL, Maldivian bankers on sophisticated trade finance products

Sept 1 (Island) IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, this week hosted an advanced trade finance seminar in Colombo to train bankers from Sri Lanka and Maldives on using sophisticated trade finance products, the better to serve small entrepreneurs engaged in international trade, the private sector arm of the multilateral bank said in a statement. The five-day training program, sponsored by the govt of Japan, helps bankers identify opportunities to connect local businesses more..

Uva take title after rain curtails final

Sept 1 (CI) A marauding Dilshan Munaweera trumped an Angelo Mathews special to launch Uva Next to victory in the SLPL, and a Champions League berth, in a rain-plagued final that just managed to eke out the overs required to constitute a full match. Munaweera clubbed five sixes in his 23-ball 44 to leave Uva 19 runs ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis par score after 5.1 overs, after they had hurtled to 63 for 1 in pursuit of 137 from 15 overs. more..

Sri Lanka Coast Guard’s Chief visits India

Sept 1 (Island) Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG)’s Director General Rear Admiral Ruwan Dias paid a five-day visit to India that concluded on Thursday. He was here at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Director General Vice Admiral MP Muralidharan. During the visit Rear Admiral Dias held meetings with Admiral Muralidharan as well as senior officials in the Indian Ministry of Defence, in manifestation of close bilateral cooperation between the security establishments of India and Sri Lanka. more..

Korean language course for teachers introduced

Sept 1 (DN) The Education Department plans to introduce the Korean Language to the school syllabus as a subject. As an initial step of this programme, a diploma for teachers in the Korean Language was introduced at the National Institute of Education (NIE) recently, under the auspices of Minister Bandula Gunawardane and Korean Ambassador in Sri Lanka Choi Jong Moon. The Korean govt presented 100 scholarships to 100 teachers selected for the diploma course more..

'Prabhakaran should have listened to me'

Sept 1 (CT) Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan said, Prabhakaran, could have become the Chief Minister of the North and East, if the late Tiger leader had listened to his advice. Muralitharan was speaking at a UPFA election rally at Pillaiyaradi, in Batticaloa. Muralitharan alias Karuna, regretting the adamant nature of his late leader said, he had pleaded with the LTTE Chief to give up the arms struggle and focus on political negotiations. more..

Acting Mayor highlights inefficiency of buildings unit

Sept 1 (Island) The Kandy Municipal Council is contemplating whether to abolish the Building Section, of the Municipal Council, since its performance was not satisfactory, the acting Mayor Kandy Sena Dissanayaka told the monthly council meeting last week. Dissanayake was acting for Mayor Mahindra Ratwatte who is out of the country attending an official assignment. Dissanayaka told the meeting the building section of the council, with 43 workmen, had failed to complete more..

Ampara undergrads oppose Indian University study centres

Sept 1 (Island) The Ampara district undergraduate association urges the UGC to ban the operation of Indian University study centres in Sri Lanka and refuse permission for them to award degrees. The Association complains that these study centres, in a bid to attract more students to earn money, conduct the examination in several parts of the country without any university supervision and allow the candidates to copy and impersonate freely at exam centres. more..

Elephant, Russian, and Stoner Spotting in Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park

Sept 1 (UT) A short, wiry, dark-skinned man dressed in a Sri Lankan sari asks us to take a seat on one of the long padded benches lining the bed of a hulking off-road vehicle. We’re soon rambling down the bumpy, mostly deserted streets of Tissamaharama, the sun rising from behind a serene manmade lake just outside the city center, flocks of egrets perched in the tree tops on a small island just off the lake’s shore. more..

Welgama vows to take back misappropriated railway lands

Sept 1 (Island) Minister Kumara Welgama said that if the British rulers had not enacted a law prohibiting the disposing of lands owned by the Sri Lankan Railways (SLR), a few money-hungry politicians would have sold all railway lands. Today, some lands owned by the SLR had been encroached by some people. They had built large business organizations on SLR properties by force. The owners of such business enterprises were under the impression that they would be able to more..

Air Lanka team to study feasibility of Vizag operations

Sept 1 (Hindu) A delegation from Air Lanka will visit the city on September 11 to study the potential demand for operation of flights to Sri Lanka from Visakhapatnam. Members of the delegation will interact with airport officials, tour operators, and business leaders to study the potential and make a recommendation to launch operations based on the demand, according to Visakhapatnam Air Travellers’ Association (VATA) leaders Ch. Ramakotiah, P. Vishnu Kumar Raju, O. Naresh Kumar, more..

President thanks Iran for assistance

Sept 1 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is in Iran to participate in the XVI Non Aligned Summit, yesterday called on his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Teheran. At the outset of bilateral talks between the two Heads of State, President Rajapaksa expressed his condolences to the Iranian govet over destruction and deaths caused by earthquake that took place in North Western Iran last August. He wished that the lives of the people who more..

6000 kilos of refuse tea detected

Sept 1 (Island) Kandy Chief Magistrate Kavindra Premaratne directed the Special Crimes and Operations Unit of the Kandy DIG headquarters to release the driver of a container truck and his assistant, who were arrested for transporting 6,000 kilos of refuse tea, on police bail and produce them again in Court on September 05. The Magistrate also ordered that the owner of the tea be apprehended and the container and refuse tea be kept in police custody. more..

'We will see the popularity of SLPL grow'

Sept 1 (DM) The inaugural edition of the Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL) will reach its conclusion with a much anticipated finale on August 31, 2012, with the two top teams of the tournament – Uva Next and Nagenahira Nagas – battling to take the crown in Colombo. It has been a successful tournament as evident from the reviews it has received not only from the fans, but also those who have featured in the seven-team tournament. With a host of International players on display, more..

Children from 60 Tamil families forcibly taken into Norwegian State Custody

Sept 1 (CT) A group of Sri Lankan Tamils living in Norway, whose children were allegedly forcibly taken into Norwegian State custody, have written to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, seeking government intervention for the release and return of these minors. Children from 60 Tamil families have been forcibly taken away for dubious reasons, ranging from unhygienic feeding habits to embraces that are sexual in nature. more..

Agents to be briefed on online attestation system

Sept 1 (GDN) RECRUITMENT agents and manpower groups will today be briefed during a special meeting about the new online attestation system to hire Sri Lankan workers. Honorary Consul General P B Higgoda said this was the first time they were conducting an orientation programme for manpower groups and all parties involved in hiring Sri Lankan workers. "We are soon launching the web-based attestation programme that will regulate recruitment of our nationals," more..

Sugar, salt intake should be controlled - HM

Sept 1 (Island) The country’s food industry should watch how the people consume sugar and salt in their food preparations. The Health Ministry Spokesman said that amendments to the National Non-Communicable Diseases Act would be drafted to control the amount of salt and sugar in food and beverage preparations. The spokesman said that with the new amendments hotels, restaurants, eating houses and tea kiosks would have to serve the salt and sugar separately so that more..

Move to arrest Judge Warawewa: Ranil

Sept 1 (DM) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe alleged that there was a move to arrest retired High Court Judge W.T.M.P.B. Warawewa soon. Addressing an election rally he said Mr. Warawewa was to be taken in by the CID on a statement he had made on the education sector in the country. Mr. Wickremesinghe said he appointed Warawewa to head a committee to study and prepare a national education charter and more..

Bigger tax on imported onions

Sept 1 (Island) The govt would soon increase the import tax on big onions, the Co–operative and Internal Trade Ministry said. They said that discussions on the tax revision would take place at the Finance Ministry next week. The current tax on imported big onions was Rs. 50 per kilo and it would be increased to protect the local producer, Minister Johnston Fernando said. He said there had been a bumper harvest of big onions in the Dambulla area. However, while Lak Sathosa purchased more..

MP’s speeding back up kills one, injures four

Sept 1 (Island) A vehicle carrying the security contingent of UPFA MP Roshan Ranasinghe yesterday morning crashed into a three wheeler at Jayanthipura, Polonnaruwa, killing one woman and injuring four others, including a five-year-old boy. Police said even though the jeep had been travelling at an excessive speed when the crash occurred at about 7:30 a.m. it was not accompanying the Polonnaruwa District MP. The deceased was identified as Chandani Guneratne and more..

Troops declare war on drug dealers: 300 already arrested

Sept 1 (Island) The Defence Ministry has thrown the full weight of the armed forces behind the police engaged in a battle against those engaged in the lucrative narcotics trade. The ministry has gone to the extent of deploying the network once successfully used against the LTTE, particularly in the South, with the focus on Colombo and its suburbs during the eelam war IV. Military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya more..

Lanka Sathosa purchases over 150,000 kgs of big onions

Sept 1 (DN) Lanka Sathosa chairman Nalin Fernando said over 150,000 kilograms of big onions were bought from farmers at a certified price of Rs 65 per kilogram during last week. He said it was done to stabilize the prices of big onions in the local market. Fernando said the price of a kilogram of big onions at the market was Rs 50- 55 when Lanka Sathosa bought them at a higher price of Rs 65 per kilogram. He said 2,000kgs were bought from each farmer who has obtained more..

SLFP Gen Secy lashes out at unruly supporters

Sept 1 (Island) Three suspects arrested over the assault on Dr. Chamila Herath were yesterday remanded till September 11 by the Anuradhapura Magistrate. According to Crimes OIC Anuradhapura police, the three suspects, surrendered to police, were responsible for the brutal attack. There had been 20 people in the gang and search operations for other suspects were going on, he said. Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena, when contacted, said that he would take stringent more..

UPFA goons assault doc: GMOA threatens indefinite strike

Sept 1 (Island) Doctors attached to the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital launched a lightning token strike from 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. yesterday in protest against a brutal attack by UPFA supporters on Dr. Chamila Herath. The attack took place at midnight on Thursday during a meeting near an election propaganda office of former North-Province Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayaka, currently in the PC polls fray, more..

PMB ready to buy drought affected paddy harvest

Sept 1 (Island) Trade and Commerce Minister Johnston Fernando said that the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) had purchased 5,105 tonnes of paddy during the current season. The government had allocated Rs. 10.7 million to purchase the stock. He said that harvests from Batticaloa, Ampara, Trincomalee and Polonnaruwa were coming in at the moment. Although large harvests of paddy were not expected in the foreseeable future, due to the prolonged drought in those areas, more..

Elections will prove common man is with govt. - Welgama

Sept 1 (Island) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said that the provincial council elections to the Sabaragamuwa, North-Central and the Eastern Provinces would prove that the common man was in favour of the government’s policies. The UPFA govt had striven to provide a better standard of living to the people. The Opposition would not be able to form a government, he said. Speaking at a UPFA meeting held at Bulathkohupitiya recently, Minister Welgama said that the people more..

Results coming from a staggered election

Sept 1 (ST) Scheduling elections prematurely on a staggered run is a strategic device to hold an early Presidential Election -provinces are artfully selected to declare a winner enabling the early bird to pick worms on the ground, as the serial unfolds. Results are infectious, sufficient to spread its impact to neighbouring provinces in a game where the winner finally takes all. Then goes on to bag the precious Presidential Prize comfortably. more..

Civil mechanism mariginalises returning Muslims in northern province

Sept 1 (SL) A commission studying the expulsion of Muslims from the Northern Province by the LTTE state that of the escalation of the recent incidents in the Mannar District is due to the perception among Muslims that they are being unfairly treated in Mannar. The Citizens’ Commission on the Expulsion of Muslims from the Northern Province by the LTTE, which is an independent commission, more..