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View from Ritigala - by mahasona

Feb 11 (NS) The TIME magazine is upset. The reason is Iraq. TIME thinks Iraq is ‘on the brink’. TIME thinks that spiraling sectarian violence and weak rule of law could tip the country back into civil war’. Maybe TIME has got it Geography all wrong. Surely TIME knew that all this was precipitated by a war declared on Iraq by the USA in the name of capturing non-existent weapons of mass destruction? Surely it is well known that considering the US-led death-machines sent Iraq more..

JVP needs policy overhaul

Feb 11 (NS) The leadership of the JVP was passed on to MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake at the party’s annual convention last Sunday. Dissanayake succeeds Somawansa Amerasinghe who led the party for twenty years after emerging from proscription. The transition itself was spectacular for its lack of any kind of infighting or factionalism. The decision was unanimous. Reports also said that the decision was taken three months ago when Amerasinghe hinted that he would be retiring. more..

'Sri Lanka should win over three blocs'

Feb 11 (SO) Former SL Ambassador and political scientist Dayan Jayatilleka who fought SL's interests at the UNHRC during the height of the humanitarian operation in 2009, as the then Ambassador to UN in Geneva warned even if the US wants a moderate resolution against Sri Lanka this time, the UK could influence it to be a tougher one to gratify secessionist networks of Tamil Diaspora which is a decisive vote base in Britain. more..

Why still fear in the eyes of Camera?

Feb 11 (CT) “It is nobody else than we who used the weapons that has the capacity of destroying an area of one kilometer circumference’- Confessed by a Sri Lankan soldier who participated in the final phase of war. By varied reports of human right organizations and evidences unleashed in relevant to the internal war of Sri Lanka, it discloses that unaccounted number of innocent civilians were massacred in the pretext of war against the LTTE. These reports further disclose that even after more..

From Euphoria to hysteria and everything in between!

Feb 11 (CT) My wait for yet another filthy, abusive SMS, from a member of the ersatz Rajapaksa diplomatic corps from “down under,” having proved futile, I am compelled to address what is our “rural reality” once more! Not as exciting, I have to admit, but one that certainly needs some attention! The shouting of commands at the Independence Day celebrations in Kegalle, was a precursor to the incongruity of a President greeting a now-disgraced PM, both pretending that more..

SB explains why Ruvanthi and Gayesha were not nominated

Feb 11 (CT) Minister S.B. Dissanayake said that the final list of the UPFA nominations was prepared by Ministers Dullas Alahapperuma, Maithripala Sirisena and Basil Rajapaksa. "I can't say that 'Ginger' had sound knowledge but she could decorate our stage since she was a popular singer. I think Ruvanthi Mangala and Gayesha Perera responded knowledgeably." Q: You were a member of UPFA nomination board for WPC. more..

The great tragedy of our ‘non-law’

Feb 11 (ST) It is a favorite argument of the cynical minded among us that Sri Lanka never had a functional system of law in a manner which actually served the people. This argument may have its adherents and its critics. Indeed, radical theorists would argue that the role of the law and the courts is at the best, only limited in its impact and that the framework of social justice encompasses far more than judgments of courts or provisions in statute books. This critique too would be right but more..

Bitter gourd and sunshine statistics

Feb 11 (SL) Two tragic stories published recently exposed the pathetic plight which the aged people as well people living off the land are subjected to. The first was about a dedicated 82-year-old woman doctor who had been treating poor patients all her professional life living in an abandoned store room in the jungles off remote Dehiattakandiya with sparse furniture and only stray dogs and cats to keep her company. The life story of this woman doctor, who had a comfortable life in her youth, more..

A Sethusamudram Project that doesn't divide

Feb 11 (CT) Tempers rise in Sri Lanka with the very mention of the word 'Sethusamudram'. For Sri Lankans, the term represents the Indian Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP), which aims at digging a canal through the Palk Strait to enable Indian ships to sail from the East and the West coasts of India and vice versa without circumventing Sri Lanka or calling on Colombo. Sri Lankan environmentalists ring alarm bells more..

Editorial: Call for hanging drug dealers

Feb 11 (Island) President Rajapaksa tells us that he has shut the door on crossovers from the UNP as he believes the country needs an Opposition. We think the truth is quite otherwise. He does not have to further weaken the Opposition which is busy ruining its chances of winning elections and poses no formidable challenge to him. Having systematically debilitated the UNP by engineering defections the govt is now playing the role of the main Opposition. It seems to have taken a leaf out of more..

Accountability in non-international armed conflicts

Feb 11 (Island) It is common knowledge that the USA is deploying its resources to canvass yet another resolution against Sri Lanka. The focus of the forthcoming resolution is expected to be on accountability relating to events that occurred during the conflict from January to May of 2009. The two official bodies that have addressed the issue of accountability thus far have been the Panel of Experts appointed by UN Secretary General and the LLRC appointed by the President of SL. more..

Lankan architects aiming at designer village homes to uplift the community

Feb 11 (ST) Sri Lankan architects, keen to create a new identity and perception of their work and ethics, are launching a new programme aimed at enhancing the beauty of simple village homes made of wattle and daub, cadjan, cow dung floor houses – all to attract foreign tourists. Top officials told a media briefing this week in Colombo to announce the holding of ‘Architect 2014’ – Architectures ‘Envisioning Futures’ – more..

Herath undergoes surgery in Australia

Feb 11 (Island) Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath underwent surgery on his knees in Australia yesterday. The 35-year-old returned home from Bangladesh on the eve of the second Test Match last week. Herath was sent to Australia to undergo operation. Authorities were confident that Herath will feature in the Test series against England in June and didn’t rule out the prospect of him playing the World T-20 in Bangladesh in late March. Herath has been a key player for SL in Test cricket more..

Sanga’s historic effort lands him 2nd place

Feb 11 (Island) Kumar Sangakkara’s historic effort of 424 runs in the second and final Test in Chittagong against Bangladesh has seen him jump five places to second in the latest ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen. Sangakkara rewrote the history books with his knocks of 319 and 105 in either innings of the Chittagong Test. He became only the second player in history to score a triple hundred and hundred in the same Test. Overall, he became the fourth man in history to score more..

Balance of Payments records $ 991 m surplus in 2013

Feb 11 (FT) Central Bank said that the country’s overall Balance of Payments (BOP) is estimated to have recorded a surplus of $ 991 million during 2013, significantly surpassing the initial estimates for the year. “This was achieved despite the volatility in international financial markets, which particularly affected emerging market economies in the region,” the CB said. Impressive achievement was possible more..

Commercial Bank to broaden its offering in Investment Banking

Feb 11 (Island) Commercial Bank has signalled its intentions to sharpen its focus on the sphere of investment banking, with the re-launch and renaming of its Corporate Finance Unit as ‘Commercial Bank Investment Banking’ to reflect the broader dimensions of the unit. "Commercial Bank Investment Banking will leverage the status of Commercial Bank as the largest private bank in the country, to offer potential issuers of listed securities in equity and debt forms, more..

ACMC contemplating legal action

Feb 11 (Island) Akila Illankai Makkal Congress (ACMC) was contemplating legal action against the rejection of their nomination papers to contest the Kalutara District at the forthcoming election General Secretary Y.L.S. Hameed said. All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC) led by Minister Rishard Bathuideen has informed Elections Commissioner of the change of the name of the party to Akila Illankai Makkal Congress and that English acronym of the party ACMC would remain the same. more..

'B'desh domestic experience will help us'

Feb 11 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan will bank on his Bangladesh experience as he prepares for three limited-overs events starting with the two Twenty20s against the home side. He was among 41 Sri Lankans who played in this season's Dhaka Premier Division, a domestic one-day competition. Sri Lanka was the most represented overseas country in this year's tournament, followed by England, with 15 players, more..

Pakistan joins effort to revive Sri Lanka handloom textile industry

Feb 11 (Island) Although many countries tend to forget the village when reaching development goals Mahinda Chinthana treats both urban and rural areas equally since its programmes are centered on the individual and the family. Minister Basil Rajapaksa made this observation when he thanked the Pakistan govt, the Pakistani people and the Liya Abhiman organisation on the Sri Lanka govt’s behalf at the opening of the handloom textile training project and the textile village at more..

Lanka Bell celebrates national Independence with launch of 4G connectivity

Feb 11 (FT) Lanka Bell announced the formal launch of its much-awaited 4G connectivity in SL. Lanka Bell’s Managing Director Prasad Samarasinghe said that this was in line with a promise made last year to the company’s over one million subscribers. “As Sri Lanka celebrates the 66th anniversary of her independence, we, as a home-grown and truly Sri Lankan corporate, are delighted to share the amazing benefits of 4G connectivity with our fellow Sri Lankans,” more..

SL sees drop in maid deployment this year

Feb 11 (AT) “We expect to see a drop in the deployment of Sri Lankan housemaids this year after a law has been passed banning Sri Lankan women with minor children from travelling overseas for employment. Moreover, there’s a proposal to increase the age limit of 25 to 30 for women to work abroad, to discourage women from working abroad as our government eyes deploying more skilled labour,” disclosed SL Ambassador more..

Five killed in Mankulam crash

Feb 11 (CG) Five people were killed and six others were injured following an accident along the A9 road in Mankulam. The accident involved a van and a truck this morning, SSP Ajith Rohana said. He said the accident took place at around 3am today near the 234th and 235th mile post in Mankulam. Among those killed are two children. This was the second most serious accident reported this year. Rohana said that the accident had been blamed on reckless driving by the van driver. more..

Chinese Chery begins to blossom in Sri Lanka next month

Jan 11 (ST) Ideal Motors, the sole franchise partner of India’s Mahindra & Mahindra in Sri Lanka, has tied up with one of China’s largest car makers – Chery Automobile Company Ltd to market four types of Chery vehicles in the island, officials of the company said. These four types are; small car – Chery QQ, medium van – Chery YOYO, sedan car – Chery Fulwin 2 FL, and SUV – Chery Tiggo FL. These vehicles will be launched in Sri Lanka next month. more..

SB’s son appointed to oversee private Universities: Nepotism says FUTA

Feb 11 (CT) The appointment of Narada Dissanayake, the son of the Minister of Higher Education, S.B. Dissanayake, to oversee private universities, has been condemned by university academics. The FUTA, charged that Narada Dissanayake's appointment was nothing short of nepotism, while further claiming that a father and son could and should not hold such positions at the same time, in any ministry. more..

Thewarapperuma’s show cause letter to be drafted on Ranil’s return

Feb 11 (Island) Kalutara District UNP MP and Chief Organiser for Matugama Palitha Thewarapperuma, who is alleged to have created mayhem at the party parliamentary group meeting on Feb 5 is expected to be summoned before a disciplinary committee shortly. Sirikotha source said that the party’s National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was due back in the country yesterday from India and Thewarapperuma’s show cause letter would be drafted on his instructions. more..

Sri Lankan doctor in NZ takes first prize in short story competition

Jan 11 (FM) The New Zealand Society of Authors is delighted to announce that first place, winning the Asia New Zealand Foundation Prize 2014, goes to Auckland based writer Himali McInnes. Himali was born in Sri Lanka and moved to NZ as a teenager. She subsequently pursued a medical career and holds down a day job as an Auckland GP. Her prize-winning short story Your Place follows the fortunes of a grieving woman who overcomes her prejudices and was described by judging panel more..

G.L. to speak at UNHRC

Feb 11 (CG) Minister GL Peiris has been scheduled as a speaker at the High Level Segment of the UNHRC meeting in Geneva next month. Latest scheduled list of speakers released by the UNHRC has Minister Peiris listed to speak on March 5, two days after the 25th session opens. The 25th regular session begins on March 3 and continues till March 28. British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird more..

Trains off track for 24 hours

Feb 11 (CT) Railway employees have threatened to launch a countrywide token strike tomorrow demanding the removal of two supervisors, who they claim are arbitrarily involved in Sri Lanka Railway (SLR) administration. Convener of the Sri Lanka Railway Trade Union Alliance (SLRTUA), Janaka Fernando, said nearly 5,000 railway employees will participate in the strike from 12 noon, on 12 Feb to 12 noon on 13 Feb. Fernando told ceylontoday, the two supervisors violate regulations of more..

Renewed pressure on Sri Lanka over war crime allegations

Feb 11 (SBS) Next month the UNHRC will vote on a resolution on Sri Lanka. It relates to accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity by both sides during the final stages of the island nation’s bitter civil conflict, and ongoing reports of systemic abuse of Tamils by the government since the end of the war in 2009. Driven perhaps by internal asylum seeker politics, successive Australian govts have continuously sided with the Rajapaksa regime. There is, however, growing international more..

'Certain Western countries trying to destabilize Sri Lanka'

Feb 11 (DN) Certain Western countries led by the US which hardly worry about human rights, point the finger at Sri Lanka with various allegations. This is a well hatched plan to destabilize Sri Lanka, JHU General Secretary and Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He said the 25th session of the UNHRC will be held in March 2014. "Both local and international conspirators are presently preparing the platform to bring our more..

Bahu summoned by police

Feb 11 (Island) Leader of the NSSP Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne has been summoned by the Gampaha Police today to be questioned on fraudulent nominations for the Gampaha District. SSP Ajith Rohana said that the Elections Department had made the complaint and the police had found 16 fraudulent names in the list of 43 candidates submitted by the NSSP. He said that a statement would be recorded from the NSSP Leader and that the nomination list was a public more..

Moves against child labour

Feb 11 (CG) The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) and the Govt are to work together to eliminate child labour in Sri Lanka, an ILO statement said. ILO Assistant Director General and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Yoshiteru Uramoto was briefed on the Govt’s progress towards ratification of Employment Policy Convention, 1964 (No. 122), and the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, and eliminating child labour. Govt, with ILO assistance, more..

Kiriella challenges GL, MS to debate on govt. foreign policy

Feb 11 (Island) Senior Vice President of the UNP Lakshman Kiriella, challenged Ministers G.L. Peiris and Mahinda Samarasinghe for a public debate on the govt’s foreign policy. Kirielle said that if the two ministers accepted his challenge, he would prove that the Rajapaksa regime was facing the prospect of a third successive UNHRC resolution against it due its own folly and had no one to blame but itself. more..

President inaugurates construction of Elpitiya - Pitigala road

Feb 11 (GDI) The same duties I performed in the past for the country and the people will be performed by me today and tomorrow as well, said President Rajapaksa. The development program of the govt is not for one province but for the entire country, he said. The govt will take action to hold Deyata Kirula Exhibition in the Southern Province next year, he added. President was addressing the people gathered for the inauguration of the development work of Alpitiya–Pitigala road, more..

‘She’ was arrested for ‘his’ crimes

Feb 11 (DM) A suspect taken into custody in Moratuwa on Sunday in connection with last Friday’s killing of a Homagama factory security guard, is reported to have undergone sex change through plastic surgery in Thailand. Police said he had been wanted in connection with the killing of the 65-year-old security guard in Katuwana and also over another killing that took place one and a half years ago in Mirihana. The suspect, believed to be a close relative of the Homagama factory owner, more..

'Criticism was not my intention'

Feb 11 (DM) Some might have viewed my desired visit to Sri Lanka as an effort to criticise but that was certainly not my intention, US Ambassador-at-large for Women’s Issues Catherine Russell said during a video conference session with local women rights and civil society organizations today. Speaking to the gathering at the American Centre via video, she said the US remained deeply committed to assisting Sri Lanka. more..

Political chicanery at election time

Feb 11 (DM) Minister Mervyn Silva was seen on television footages “inaugurating” a bus service from Kiribathgoda to Kelaniya via Wanawasala last week during which nominations were tendered for the Western and Southern PC elections scheduled to be held on March 29. What is interesting in this is that this bus service, according to the residents of the area, had been “inaugurated” several times in the past as well by various politicians, local as well as national, on the eve of various elections. more..

Have you got what it takes to think critically?

Feb 11 (DM) Critical thinking is hard to come by because it needs a lot of training; painstaking training, meticulous calculating and a lot of discipline in keeping oneself fresh. We are used to being trained by another but self-training is rare and not common. So what is this ‘rare’ form of thinking? First, you need to be able to think about your thinking. It might seem a bit impossible but here is a starter. How can one eat while he eats? How can one see while she sees? more..

Betting the bottom dollar on Packer’s one-upmanship

Feb 11 (DM) Forbes Asia reported on 29 Jan, that Australia’s casino king James Packer had claimed he just won approval from the Sri Lankan govt to build a five-star casino resort in Colombo. Sydney Morning Herald had also reported a few days earlier, on Jan 23, that Packer received govt approval to build a resort in Sri Lanka but without explicit approval for a casino. It said that Crown was in discussions with the govt more..

Nominees keepers, losers weepers as nominations close to win at all costs

Feb 11 (ST) Intense election campaigning began with the closing of nominations on Thursday for the two provincial council (PC) elections. Rallies of supporters shouting slogans, from all major and other political parties, took place with the respective district representatives, on conclusion of nominations for the Western and Southern PCs. Elections Dept confirmed that elections will be held on March 29, while numbers will be more..