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Suriya or Poppy?

Feb 6 (NS) In early 1930s, some Ceylonese youth who studied in the West, and strongly indoctrinated with leftwing political doctrine, returned to the island. They played an important part in leading the 1932 Wellawatta Spinning and Weaving Mill strike. Around this time, they set up the Colombo South Youth League. This organization spearheaded the Suriya Mal Movement, which was launched on Nov 11, 1933. Idea of the movement came from an ex-British serviceman, Aelian Perera. more..

Independence Day vs. Republic Day

Feb 6 (NS) Sri Lanka celebrates its National Day or the Independence Day on February 4. It was the day that Ceylon gained ‘independence’ or Dominion Status from being a Crown Colony of the British Empire. It was the early days of the ‘decolonization’ following the Second World War and Ceylon was one of the first countries to achieve independence. However, Dominion status did not mean a total severing of the ties from the Crown. The monarch of the UK remained the Head –of- State, more..

Central Bank bomb blast: Remembering that fateful day 18 years ago

Feb 6 (SO) The popular television show ‘Ata Pattama’ recently featured Vietnam and the infamous ‘Chu Chu’ tunnels and described how the Vietnamese dug underground tunnels to travel over 100 kilometres in a bid to fight the Americans who had invaded their country. It showed the Vietnamese soldiers on bicycles and fighting the ‘mighty’ strength of the invading forces who retaliated with carpet bombings and other internationally banned more..

Anura Kumara Dissanayake comes to the helm at a vital time for the JVP

Feb 6 (CT) The JVP has made a good choice in Anura Kumara Dissanayake, not least because he shares with this columnist an excellent set of initials, AKD! He is known for his meticulous work and preparation on issues he raises in public or parliament, he is young (45) and promises stability for 15 to 20 years, and is said to represent the middle position in the party, (as NM did most of the time), so he will be able to bridge internal debates. By all reports he is prepared to more..

Literate but stupid?

Feb 6 (CT) A talented, vivacious and kind young woman was buried on Independence Day, the victim of a senseless crime. Apparently, a man who had been helped by the family came to rob her house thinking nobody was home, but there she was, a familiar face. A senseless murder followed, leaving a family in unfathomable grief, friends and colleagues shaken and the world a lesser place. The perpetrator too is as good as dead for his wife and children. These sorts of senseless murders more..

'Shan can do no more'

Feb 6 (CT) Actress Geetha Kumarasinghe says that she can render a better service to the people of the Southern Province, if she is given the position of Chief Minister. Q: Will you be elected to the PC this time? A: I will. I was elected last time as well. Q: How was that? A: It is pointless to speak about the past. Today I have a bigger backing. It is unprecedented. Q: You received only 39,000 preferential votes last time. more..

Flicker of hope in current political cesspit

Feb 6 (CT) Nominations are set to close for the Western and Southern PC elections on 6 February, and polls have been scheduled for 29 March. The run up to securing nominations has yielded its own tragic tales of how political parties trade the slots for money – the dramatic entry of male and female artistes in the fray in large numbers, converting the hustings to one glamorous event, more in line with Oscars and Golden Globes, as opposed to a political contest where citizens elect the best more..

Tears, sweat and blood...

Feb 6 (CT) The setting sun, with its crimson glow and a radiating circumference, had a final peep at the green paddy fields that lay about the vast expanse. The entirety of the field that expanded across the valley is rich with irrigated water and had the luxury of a modern design and a well-structured main and sub canal system. This immense span of greenery was the fruit of hard labour, immaculate engineering planning and huge capital outlay. In the olden days, the subject farmers of the kings more..

'JVP never a third force but alternative one'

Feb 6 (CT) The new leader of the JVP, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, said the JVP was never a third force in the country, but an alternative force. "It was the media which branded us as a third force but we never said that we were the third force," he said. Q: Somawansa Amarasinghe has handed over the leadership to you. You are the third leader of the Party. What are your plans to take party to a victory? A: At the last JVP convention held more..

Editorial: Good old world

Feb 6 (Island) British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has recently featured an 86-year-old legendary journalist, still up and running, so to speak—Gordon Martin, the correspondent for Vatican Radio in Geneva, where, incidentally, every prospect pleases and only hypocrites at the helm of the UN human rights body are vile. The BBC feature, in a way, is not really about Martin; its focus is on his 40-year-old Remington Performer manual typewriter and zeitgeist it is evocative of. more..

The case for Sangakkara's all-time greatness

Feb 6 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara approached his maiden triple-hundred at a sprint. When the eighth wicket fell, he had been on 253 - in danger of being stranded short of a milestone he later admitted he desired, if only to "be part of the club". The team's goals happily aligned with his own in the late afternoon, lighting a fire underneath his feet. He sped forward from the crease often, with brutal intent. His final 52-runs as a non-member of the 300-club were walloped in 30 balls, more..

The Road from Geneva

Feb 6 (FT) Last Sunday morning, American television audiences were treated to a 30 minute long form commercial about Sri Lanka, a place many of them would ever only hear of in passing during their lifetimes. The infomercial depicts an island paradise, torn apart by ferocious conflict, hurtling forwards economically and socially after the defeat of one of the world’s most brutal terrorist groups. The footage features President more..

When cricket-playing nations become strange bedfellows

Feb 6 (CT) In recent times the international world of cricket has been shocked by actions and efforts of so-called Big Three, namely England, Australia & India, who are making desperate attempts to hi-jack the game and are shamelessly planning to pocket the proceeds of the game by holding fellow-members of the ICC to ransom. Indeed when the Imperial Cricket Conference was formed in 1909 – with South African funds –the three countries involved were England, Australia & SA. more..

Encountering ‘Death Counts’ in the Final Phase of the Eelam War

Feb 6 (Island) Using the ‘killed-to-injured ratios’ shown in Tables 2 and 3 along with the additional information referred to above the IDAG has derived a set of estimates on the numbers killed and the numbers wounded during the different time-spans of the Final Phase of the war and, based on those estimates, worked out the killed-to-injured ratios in each time-span as shown below: There are several reasons for questioning the validity of the IDAG methodology in its application to more..

Sangakkara thankful to SL's inner sanctum

Feb 6 (CI) Understated goes firmly with Kumar Sangakkara, and it was no different in his celebrations after his maiden Test triple-century, against Bangladesh in Chittagong. A cake was cut in the dressing room just before the team boarded the bus to the hotel. His long-time friend Mahela Jayawardene fed him the first piece and beforehand, he paid tribute to the environment in the Sri Lankan inner sanctum as well as more..

Bangladesh's mental brick wall

Feb 6 (CI) Tamim Iqbal, stand-in captain for the day, watched from deep fine-leg as Shakib Al Hasan bowled the last ball of the 146th over. All nine outfielders were just a few meters inside the rope as Sangakkara tapped the ball past point to retain the strike and move to 285. There was every reason for Tamim to pull all the fielders in, but on that instance, like many times in the past, B'desh were possessed. It has happened several times when playing against Sri Lanka since 2007. more..

Sangakkara hits maiden triple-ton, goes past Steve Waugh

Feb 6 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara hit his first triple-century and his highest score in Tests, bettering his 287, against South Africa in Colombo in 2006. Sangakkara has scored 1711 runs against Bangladesh - the highest by any batsman against the team in Tests - at 95.05 from 20 innings. Sangakkara's 319 was his sixth century against Bangladesh and his third score of 200 or more runs against them. He also leads the list of century makers against Bangladesh in Tests. more..

TN party seeks Rahul's intervention on Lankan Tamils issue

Feb 6 (PTI) Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, which advocates the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils, sought Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's intervention to ensure India's support for a resolution against Sri Lanka in a UN body next month. VCK president Thol Thirumavalavan, who represents Chidambaram constituency in the Lok Sabha, called on Gandhi at New Delhi and had a 45-minute discussion with him during which he more..

2013 records highest aircraft and passenger movements in Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (FT) Year 2013 recorded a total of 52,194 aircraft movements in and out of Sri Lanka, showing a 7.1% increase compared to the previous year (48,734). “This is the first time the number of aircraft movements has passed the mark of 50,000 in a year in the history of the country’s civil aviation,” CAA CEO H.M.C. Nimalsiri said. At BIA the total number of commercial scheduled aircraft movements was 48,363 and unscheduled aircraft movements amounted 2,661. more..

Standard Chartered’s Group Executive Director and CEO Asia in town

Feb 6 (FT) Standard Chartered Group Executive Director and CEO Asia Jaspal Bindra is visiting Sri Lanka today. On his brief visit here Bindra will meet with investors and local leaders for discussions focusing on the local branch’s plans for 2014. Bindra, who has visited the island on several occasions before, has been providing guidance to the bank in its intent to participate in the development and grown narrative of the Sri Lankan economy and polity. more..

Russia to fully back Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (DN) Russia will extend its unstinted support to Sri Lanka in successfully facing the challenges posed in the international arena. This assurance was given by visiting Russian Deputy Speaker Sergey Zheleznjak when he called on Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody with a Russian delegation for discussions at the Deputy Speaker's office at the Kotte Parliamentary Complex yesterday. A communique issued by more..

Special Commodity Levy on dhal reduced

Feb 6 (Island) It has been ordered by the President to reduce the existing Special Commodity Levy on imported dhal with effect from 06.02.2014 with the view of providing concessions to consumers. Therefore, Ministry of Finance and Planning hereby announces that the Special Commodity Levy of Rs. 22 per kilo of imported dhal is reduced up to Rs. 5/- by Rs. 17/-. The Special Commodity Levy on essential items will be revised by the govt from time to time in order to provide more..

CA Sri Lanka, ICTA and SLASSCOM in joint initiative

Feb 6 (Island) In yet another pioneering venture, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) joined hands recently with the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) and the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) to offer a groundbreaking professional qualification for the Financial Accounting Outsourcing (FAO) sector. The qualification which is slated to launch later this year, comes at a juncture when Sri Lanka is more..

Legal experts recommend SLC to reject ICC proposals

Feb 6 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) legal advisors have offered a comprehensive and resounding opinion to reject the proposed constitutional and financial changes of the ICC. They have also asked SLC to question the ICC for the reason to bring such sweeping changes to ICC’s present governance and financial model. Proposed changes which are aimed at handing wide powers of controlling world cricket to just 3 boards of India, England & Australia more..

Two more lion cubs die in zoo

Feb 6 (Island) Two of the three lion cubs born during the early hours of yesterday, died in the afternoon at Dehiwela Zoo. With yesterday’s deaths, 28 cubs of the cat family––26 tiger cubs including ten rare white tiger cubs––have died during the past four years. Plans are underway to separate the mother from the surviving cub as she is refusing to feed it. The male parent lion named ‘Thor’ was brought in May 2013 from Seoul Zoo, while two females were brought from Germany last year. more..

We will continue our struggle : Maithri

Feb 6 (DM) Former UNP Southern provincial councillor Maithri Gunaratne said he and Shiral Laktilleke would resume the struggle from Kandy to remove UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and the leadership council in April this year after the UNP’s expected defeat at the forthcoming PC elections. He said they would elect Sajith Premadasa as the party leader and then bring UNP into power within three months. “Our party memberships, posts of organiser and councillorships were taken away more..

G.L rejects allegations on Lalith

Feb 6 (CG) The Govt gave its full backing to Presidential Secretary Lalith Weerathunga saying he never made any comment while in the United States recently which gave the impression he had admitted to wrongdoings by the army during the war. Speaking in Parliament, UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake accused Weerathunga of admitting the army committed war crimes by saying if investigations are conducted in Sri Lanka more..

President invites Sampanthan for talks

Feb 6 (CT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, while extending birthday greetings to TNA Leader, R. Sampanthan, has invited him for direct talks over the Tamil question. According to sources, the TNA Leader, who turned 81 yesterday, is currently on a private visit in India and the President had invited him to have direct talks once the TNA Leader returned to Colombo from India. The President has a habit of greeting the TNA Leader every year on his birthday, TNA sources added. more..

No more international cricket at Moratuwa stadium – Minister

Feb 6 (DM) The Moratuwa Tyronne Fernando Stadium will no longer be an international venue as it would be allocated for only school cricket matches, Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said today. Aluthgamage who was responding to an oral question raised by UNP MP Rosy Senanayake said the stadium would not be considered as an international venue as there are new modern stadiums available in the country including the Pallakale, Sooriyawewa and Kettarama. more..

Smooth handover of nominations, but prohibited parades outside

Feb 6 (Island) Elections Department yesterday announced that 55 political parties and independent groups had handed over nominations to contest the forthcoming PC elections. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said 49 independent groups had paid their deposits to contest the polls. UPFA handed over nominations for three district of the Western Province yesterday and they would hand over nominations more..

Sri Lanka not in Indian VISA extension list

Feb 6 (DM) India will extend visa-on arrival to tourists of all nations barring eight, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Iran, as it looks to boost tourism, Planning Minister Rajeev Shukla said on Wednesday. "We have decided to extend the visa-on-arrival facility to tourists from 180 nations. It will take 5-6 months for the respective departments to put the required infrastructure in place. We hope to implement this from the next tourist session beginning October," he said here. more..

Dejected Ravi writes to Ranil

Feb 6 (CG) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake has written to UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe expressing his disappointment in the manner at which decisions were taken at the party nomination board to select candidates for the PC elections in Colombo District. In his letter, Karunanayake said that he was earlier confident the UNP will win the elections in Colombo District at the WPC elections. However now he said he had doubts after party leader had taken an “arbitrary decision” on the selection process. more..

'India monitoring China build-up in neighbourhood'

Feb 6 (LM) India is keeping an eye on strategic rival China’s involvement in infrastructure projects in India’s immediate neighbourhood, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said. The countries where China is engaged in include Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Maldives and Pakistan, he said. “Govt is aware that China is involved in the construction of or assistance to infrastructure projects in our neighbourhood more..

Harsha says Govt. fooling people with dhal tax

Feb 6 (FT) With the Govt’s move to reduce tax on dhal, UNP MP Harsha de Silva issued the following statement. The tax on dhal has been dramatically reduced from Rs 22 per kilo to Rs 5 per kilo with immediate effect as per an ‘order’ by the President to provide concessions to consumers. Last time such a dramatic reduction was made was in November 2009 just before the presidential election for January 2010 was announced. That time, the tax tumbled from Rs. 20 per kilo to Rs. 2 per kilo. more..

Release of Lankan fishermen GL's claim angers Rajitha

Feb 6 (CT) Minister Rajitha Senaratne said External Affairs Minister, G.L. Peiris, has more important tasks to do than to interfere in the affairs of his ministry. Senaratne denied that Minister Peiris had a hand in the release of the 179 fishermen from the Tamil Nadu jails. He said Minister Peiris cannot take credit for the release and by the time Peiris spoke to the Indian External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid, over the telephone, the Indo-Sri Lanka talks between fishermen of the two countries, more..

U.S. says Sri Lanka refuses visa for official after war crime accusations

Feb 6 (Reuters) Sri Lanka has refused a visa request for a U.S. State Department official, the U.S. Embassy said on Tuesday, after Washington signaled it would propose a U.N. resolution against Sri Lanka over alleged war crimes. However, SL's External Affairs Ministry said the embassy's statement "was not a correct representation of the facts", adding the dates for the proposed trip had not been convenient. more..

Cancer: Preventable if you are careful

Feb 6 (DM) Some decades ago the phrase or cliché ‘spreading like cancer’ was used largely figuratively, but today in the world it has become literal. It is a leading cause of death and a global crisis. We need to give much more attention to this in the afterglow or aftermath of World Cancer Day which we marked on Feb 4. According to the International Agency for Research for Cancer in 2012, the worldwide number of cancer patients rose to an estimated 14 million new cases a year--a figure expected to rise to more..

Looking at East more meaningfully

Feb 6 (DM) It should be recalled that it was then PM Sir John Kotelawala who first reached out to the East by summoning the first Asian Prime Ministers Conference in Colombo in 1955, this was followed by a conference in New Delhi, when we were all then developing countries emerging from five centuries of colonialism. Then followed the famous Afro-Asian Bandung Conference at which a heated exchange took place between Nehru, Chou En Lai and Sir John on Soviet Imperialism more..

Much anticipated leadership change in JVP

Feb 6 (DM) Ahead of the PC elections, the JVP, an active Opposition party, had a change of leadership last Sunday at its convention. At the event conducted at the Sugathadasa Stadium, party members were waiting anxiously for the moment to select the new leader. Followed by the speeches of party stalwarts such as Tilvin Silva, and the adoption of eight resolutions outlining the party's way forward, more..

Do as I say not as I do

Feb 6 (SL) With the UNHRC Sessions scheduled to be held in March, the SL govt and the Army have come under fire again, and this time for allegedly using cluster bombs and chemical weapons. Allegations of war crimes and the use of chemical weapons are periodically levelled at the govt of SL in a collective bid to bring disrepute to the state and the armed forces which sacrificed life and limb to save the country from more..