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A language called Sinhala through a glass darkly

Feb 1 (NS) “May you live in interesting times”- An obscure Chinese curse. What makes certain social sciences scholars of Sri Lanka interesting is a strange fallibility in acquiring the basic textbook information on subjects they write about. Even a cursory trawl through academic writings falling under Sri Lankan studies will flush out scholars, some of them quite high profile, who have left for posterity, evidence of this fallibility. Ranjini Obeyesekere, a medievalist scholar in more..

The Indian Consul General in Jaffna furnishes subtext

Feb 1 (NS) Not many people know me. I am V. Mahalingam. I have over 20 years of experience in the field of diplomacy. I am the first Consul General of India in Jaffna since the inception of the Consulate in Nov 2010. I have also worked in Indian missions in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Zagreb and also in various capacities in the Ministry of External Affairs particularly twice as Regional Passport Officer in Chennai and Delhi. I think I made some pertinent remarks in Jaffna more..

John quashes crossover rumours

Feb 1 (SO) Speculation was rife that UNP stalwart and senior MP John Amaratunga would cross over to the ruling party following his visit to the Holy Land with President Rajapaksa. However, on his return to the island, Amaratunga has quashed these rumours and clearly stated his stand with regard to the visit which he undertook with the consensus of the party hierarchy. Sunday Observer had an interview with John Amaratunga more..

Who is to blame?

Feb 1 (CT) Last two weeks our hearts were crying for the little son who departed from this world by accident. Most of us didn’t know him or his family, but we cried for him too. We heard stories about his family, we inquired from friends who attended the funeral, and we discussed and talked about it. We saw his picture in the newspapers, and we knew what he looked like. We still think about him and ask God that it should not happen to even our worst enemy. Lots of websites carried this story. more..

Gota has a case

Feb 1 (CT) "You have met our opponents." This is what the Swiss President told me when I went to present Credentials as Sri Lanka's Ambassador in the Swiss capital in 1984. The President actually used the word 'opponents,' but I have sanitized it thinking that in a democracy like Switzerland they could not be calling the single member in the Opposition in Bundes (Parliament) an 'enemy.' I thought it was a problem with the use of the English language. "We considered whether we more..

Averting an imminent power crisis

Feb 1 (CT) The Federation of Electricity Consumer Societies (FECS) states that while the government is making plans to provide electricity to 95% of the populace in the country, at present, 130,000 consumers in villages use renewable sources of energy to meet their daily energy needs. Of this number, approximately 120,000 households receive electricity through solar panels installed in their houses, while 10,000 households are more..

Nanda – Victor and Sirasa FM: Ramya Threerthaya and its beyond

Feb 1 (CT) What would you expect from a present-day Sri Lankan radio channel in celebrating its 20th birth anniversary? It is natural to be a big musical thamasha or a massive celebration that would not be beneficial to many of its stakeholders specifically to the mandate of the radio broadcasting in Sri Lanka. Sirasa FM, in this backdrop, set an example last week by organising a musical evening (I do not want to use the word ‘show’ as it has a different connotation in today’s context) more..

Complexities of Sinhalese ethnicity and community?

Feb 1 (GV) Due to the war with LTTE for over three decades in Sri Lanka, the attention of many including academics, journalists, foreign observers and leaders was focused on Ethnicity –majority and minority. There was an upsurge of literature –both popular and academic- using ethnicity as the framework and key concept used to gather information, analyse, interpret and write. Yet, I am arguing that to understand the complexities and intricacies in the Sinhalese society, more..

Darkness at Noon on the Ethnic Front

Feb 1 (Island) In my article Re-thinking the Ethnic Imbroglio in the Island of Jan 25, I pointed out that the prospects for a political solution of the ethnic problem "are nil, or almost nil". With the definitive military defeat of the LTTE in May 2009 we expected that, sooner rather than later, there would be a political solution and there would ensue noon-tide glory in the resplendent isle of Sri Lanka. Instead, what we see looks much more more..

Who is a sex worker?

Feb 1 (GV) Who is a sex worker? Is she an attractive woman with loose morals who is too lazy to find any ‘real’ work? Is she a young desperate mother of two who has no choice? How many sex workers are there? And who are they? The numbers we use to quantify sex workers in Sri Lanka is uncertain. Some say 40,000 others say 50,000. At its present state there is no way of knowing if this is true. Our idea of who a sex worker is, what she (or he) looks like, what they do, where they live, more..

Getting ready to face the third resolution

Feb 1 (CT) Switzerland is considered a replica of heaven on Earth and the city of Geneva is popularly known as a worldwide centre for diplomacy. However, the word Geneva has become a nightmare to many in Sri Lanka since the UNHRC brought two resolutions against the island nation in 2012 and 2013 consecutively, urging the country to put its human rights record straight. When the first UNHRC session on Sri Lanka was convened in 2012, apart from the usual govt more..

Sports Ministry snubs veteran cricketers

Feb 1 (Island) Prominent cricket figures have been offended by Sports Ministry’s decision to leave out veteran cricketers from a recent felicitation ceremony. On Wednesday, 15 athletes who had brought the country honour and fame were felicitated by the Ministry of Sports parallel to the ceremonial opening of the new Ministry building. President Rajapaksa was in attendance to felicitate the 15 sportsmen. more..

Commemoration of 18 years since suicide bomb blast at Central Bank

Feb 1 (FT) The 18th Commemoration Ceremony in memory of those who lost their lives on 31 January 1996 in the LTTE suicide bomb blast at the Central Bank was held yesterday. The ceremony honoured 41 colleagues and the 50 other persons who lost their lives, as a result of the attack. Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal chaired the ceremony held near the monument “Arising”, erected in loving memory of those who gave us the strength to rise from the ashes. more..

Report on census on data on dead and disappeared to be released this month

Feb 1 (FT) The Department of Census and Statistics said that the report of the census on human death and property damages during the three-decade long conflict will be released this month. Director General of the Department of Census and Statistics D.C.A. Gunawardena told media that the field work had been completed and the data were being processed at the moment. The nationwide survey commenced in December last year was a key recommendation of the LLRC. more..

'I am under severe pressure'

Feb 1 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket President Jayantha Dharmadasa had claimed that he had been put under ‘severe pressure’ during the recent ICC meeting to discuss proposed changes to the game. An emergency meeting of SLC’s Executive Committee was convened yesterday and Dharmadasa had informed the board that he had been put under pressure to agree to the new resolutions to the administration of sport more..

Tie in balance after Godamanna come-back

Feb 1 (Island) The tie was level at 1-1 after Sri Lanka pulled off a thrilling morning Singles rubber, through the efforts of their long time saviour Harshana Godamanna, against the strong Philippines in the Asia-Oceania Zone Group-II Davis Cup which began at the SLTA, Colombo yesterday. With the Doubles and the reverse Singles are on the cards, today and tomorrow, the tie will now go down to the wire with the finals day’s action deciding who will emerge victorious and assure more..

Ranil accepts rally had poor turnout

Feb 1 (CT) Although UNP organizer, Karunasena Kodituwakku, has claimed that the TNA, the JVP and DP participated in Tuesday's anti-govt protest, only JVP trade union representative, Wasantha Samarasighe, attended the rally, sources said. Though the Party Leader had instructed all electoral organizers to bring a caravan of at least 50 people each, there were barely 500 people gathered for the protest march from Lipton Circus to the Hyde Park grounds. more..

TFC to strike merger deal with a state bank

Feb 1 (ST) Battling in a difficult financial and negative net-worth situation, the Finance Company (TFC) is close to striking a merger deal with a state bank in accordance with new Central Bank (CB) rules aimed at consolidating the non-banking financial sector, official sources said. TFC is the very first Non Banking Financial Institution (NBFI) to identify a partner to merge to reach the stipulated Rs. 8 billion in assets more..

‘Sri Lanka’s FTA with China promising more global trade’

Feb 1 (Island) Buoyed by its latest exports turnaround, Sri Lanka is now marshalling its FTAs to directly catapault into major global regions-and for the first time, FTAs have become an FDI driver. "You will be eligible for even more free trade when we begin our FTA with yet another G20 economy in addition to India-which is China. As a result, 40% of the world population will be directly accessible to Lankan exporters" said a Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, on 30 January in Colombo. more..

Central Bank’s Road Map 2014 versus underlying macroeconomic vulnerabilities

Feb 1 (ST) The Road Map 2014 presented by the Governor of the Central Bank early this month is the eighth consecutive policy announcement in the series commenced in 2007. The presentation is filled with more than 160 colourful slides illustrating impressive economic achievements. Almost everything in the economy is fine, and nothing has gone wrong, according to this policy declaration. The complacency of the Central Bank about the country’s economic achievements is more..

Sri Lanka probes China coal plant for defective materials, design

Feb 1 (Island) Sri Lanka is probing a Chinese built coal plant for possible material, design or construction defects, following leaks in a steam cooling unit. Power minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said she had informed Chinese embassy officials at a meeting in Colombo that the builders had to bear responsibility for the latest breakdown and it was not good for China’s image. Officials of CEB said it was not unusual for new power plants to be more..

Construction chaos on Galle and Duplication roads

Feb 1 (ST) Current traffic congestion on Galle and Duplication roads would revert to its previous position with no serious improvement upon completion of road work within 10 months, a top govt official said. Though motorists expect some sort of improvement to everyday traffic, Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Director Traffic and Project Manager Nihal Wickramaratne however said that they did not expect any “serious improvement” in traffic flows. Work involves only upgrading the road with more..

Army to probe its miscreants

Feb 1 (CT) The Sri Lanka Army will conduct confidential investigations into the involvement of military personnel in illegal activities, Army Commander, Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, said. He said the Military Police will investigate any army personnel, against whom there are reports of misconduct. "Recently, the Military Police arrested several army personnel, who were alleged to have been involved in a cement fraud in the Kandy area. Steps will be taken to remove more..

Pre-Geneva Lanka-US powwow begins

Feb 1 (FT) A top US Envoy who arrived in Colombo yesterday, setting the stage for Geneva’s UNHRC Session in March, has emphasised that the US has no agenda against Sri Lanka but highlighted the “growing frustration” in the international community, due to fears that the country would lose a golden opportunity following the end of the war. During a meeting with Minister G.L. Peiris, US Assistant Secretary of State more..

Sri Lanka: A fragile beauty that crosses old frontlines

Feb 1 (Independent) We arrived at Colombo airport in the sticky still of night, struggling with the driver to tie a surfboard to the roof of his saloon, before setting off for the north: Tamil country. We were heading beyond Sri Lanka's former frontlines. On the car radio, a phone-in show was at full throttle. A monk raged in Sinhalese about potholes, vowing to blockade the road. My partner and I sped past well-trodden Negombo and Kandy, past trenches, commando jungle bases more..

Sri Lanka marshaling FTA's to major global regions

Feb 1 (DN) Buoyed by its latest exports turnaround, Sri Lanka is now marshaling its FTA's to directly catapault into major global regions-and for the first time, FTAs have become an FDI driver. You will be eligible for even more free trade when we begin our FTA with yet another G20 economy in addition to India-which is China. As a result, 40% of the world population will be directly accessible to Lankan exporters", said minister Rishad Bathiudeen, yesterday in Colombo. more..

'Bilateral talks essential to resolve fishermen issue'

Feb 1 (Hindu) Asserting that the TN fishermen’s dispute with Sri Lanka over fishing in Palk Bay could be resolved only through bilateral talks, senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said their problems would be solved by an Indian PM and not by a Tamil PM after the Lok Sabha elections. Swaraj, in an obvious reference to CM Jayalalithaa, said fishing community was under the impression that a Tamil PM would solve their problems. more..

Ambassador Karannagoda calls on Japanese Dep. Chief Cabinet Secretary

Feb 1 (FT) Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Japan, called on Hiroshige Seko, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary of the Office of the PM of Japan on 31 Jan. Seko is a Member of House of Councillors and has been the former Chairman of Committee on General Affairs of Diet, and Actg. Secretary General of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. Seko also holds the position of being in-charge of the 242 Member House of Councillors of the Govt of Japan. more..

Centara to open second resort in Sri Lanka

Feb 1 (FMR) Centara Hotels & Resorts of Thailand will soft open its second resort in Sri Lanka in spring of this year. The resort is owned by Softlogic Leisure and will be operated by Centara under a management contract. Centara Ceysands Resort&Spa Sri Lanka is set on the Bentota Peninsula, at the south of the island, with the Bentota River on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other. The resort`s arrival lounge is situated at Aluthgama, on the inland side of the river, more..

British Tigers call for sanctions against SL

Feb 1 (Island) The US is seeking a broad consensus on its proposed resolution against Sri Lanka at the forthcoming UNHRC session in Geneva, while an influential section of overseas Tigers strongly pushed for unprecedented inclusion of a special clause to pave the way for UN sanctions in case President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government ignored the latest resolution. The US led two successful resolutions in 2012 and 2013. more..

Raids: CAA, CMC need more personnel

Feb 1 (Island) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) says it has only 160 to 170 personnel and three vehicles to conduct countrywide raids. Chairman of the CAA Rumy Marzook said that his outfit was handicapped by a severe man power shortage though Minister of Trade Johnston Fernando extended his full cooperation. He said the CAA needed 50 to 100 additional personnel and more vehicles if it was to do a better job. Its actual requirement was 300 personnel, he added. more..

Buddhist artefacts found in Odisha state

Feb 1 (Island) Buddhist artifacts dating back to the eighth century were discovered at Majhipara village in Odisha’s Jajpur district, a researcher claimed. Harischandra Prusty, a researcher on Gautama Buddha, claimed to have discovered the Buddhist artifacts while touring Barchana area in the district early this week. The discoveries comprise three broken Arghyastupas (domes), believed to be made of stones from the Buddhist era, and remains of a temple found near the Stupas. more..

India refuses to support Sri Lanka against US resolution in UNHRC

Feb 1 (ET) To avoid hurting Tamil sentiment ahead of elections, the Indian govt has refused to commit Sri Lanka any support against a US-sponsored UN resolution accusing its military of committing war crimes in the final assault on the LTTE in 2009. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister GL Peiris met his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid in New Delhi Wednesday and sought Manmohan Singh govt's support more..

Mahela Jayawardene: World Cricket's Batsman of the Month

Feb 1 (BR) Mahela Jayawardene has made a superb start to 2014, showing that he has plenty of energy and ability in international cricket despite his advancing years. The 36-year-old scored 430 runs in January to open the year in great form, already scoring two centuries including the seventh double century of his career. It was not an easy start for Jayawardene in Sri Lanka’s first Test of 2014, as he was dismissed cheaply twice in the drawn match, but he recovered in the second game. more..

NSSP wants competent engineers to diagnose problem at Norochcholai

Feb 1 (Island) Leader of the NSSP Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne is of the opinion that Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, who succeeded qualified Electrical Engineer Champika Ranawaka, is clueless about the subject. NSSP Leader said that the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant had been built by the China Machinery Engineering Corporation in 2011 with the first phase costing USD 455 million. He said that the plant had broken down on 33 occasions so far and was a white elephant. more..

Video: Implementing LLRC proposals: UNP ready to support Govt

Feb 1 (DM) UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal that his party was ready for cooperation with the govt in the implementation of LLRC recommendations if the ruling party took any positive step in this regard within the next two weeks. Mr. Wickremesinghe had given this assurance to Ms. Biswal when he met her more..

From the people and to the people

Feb 1 (DM) JHU front liner Udaya Gammanpila who is contesting again for election to the Western Provincial Council launched a practical campaign on Thursday in a novel and inspiring move to curb or end the dirty politics including ill-gotten wealth and large scale corruption in election campaigns. During the past 35 years especially, after the introduction of the executive presidential system and the preferential voting scheme, candidates say they have been forced to raise more..

Agitation by state sector employees

Feb 1 (DM) There is an agitation by state sector employees. It is an effective campaign that has shaken the govt. The state sector employees in general either remained silent or launched protests confined to their trade disputes. General issues were carefully set aside; as any agitation on such general problems could breach their understanding with the govt. There was a general belief that the govt is worker-friendly. Such beliefs were based on two factors. more..

An improved Sri Lankan school system through an empowered school community

Feb 1 (WB) Kulatunga Adhikari, Principal of Divulgaskotuwa Primary School in Galewala recalls the time when school principals had to await for clearance from the Ministry of Education to take any action towards school improvements. Now he conducts his own school based teacher development programs with the support of the zonal director and facilitates improving school facilities and equipment with the support of a more..

'I am a new face in politics, but I have a brave heart'

Feb 1 (FT) Bold and beautiful Hirunika Premachandra believes she has a right to be a part of this Govt simply because her late father has shed blood, sweat and tears to bring this regime to power. “We care about the President, we care about this Govt. My family has always been with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. We feel he is a great leader. This is why I decided to contest under SLFP,” she points out. In an interview with the Daily FT, more..