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Western media on Sri Lanka

july 19 (LG) Two news articles this week raise important issues about the current situation in Sri Lanka. I think both are worth reading and discussing. TIME magazine offers an interview with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It is entitled: “The Man who Tamed the Tigers.” The article isn’t so much about how the president and government forces won the conflict against the LTTE as it is dealing with the consequences of that victory. more..

Slobodan of Sri Lanka

july 19 (LG) On May 17, 2009, a singular, notorious act by Sri Lanka made its premiere in Vanni – traditional Tamil land in northern part of Sri Lanka. Entitled by Sri Lanka as “Rescuing Tamil hostages” or as Tamils have come to know as “Bloodbath on the beach” which resulted in over 20,000 deaths and mortally wounded many more thousands of Tamils in few days. In addition to Sri Lankan deviants, it featured many foreign elements like Indian military, Chinese weapons, and Western indifference and cunningness. more..

President’s ‘Home grown solution’ for the national conflict

july 19 (LG) The never ending drama of the national conflict in Sri Lanka is not showing any light (even accidentally) at the end of the tunnel. Having tried the heartless avenues including a federal solution to the conflict since independence, the present upbeat government of the President Mahinda Rajapakse is now saying that it will not be guided by the international theories to solve the conflict in Sri Lanka and will find its own home grown solution. more..

Journey of a Journalist (Part 3)

july 19 (LG) These two lines from “A Tale of Two Cities” written by my favorite English novelist Charles Dickens aptly describe the contrasting conditions in Ceylon, which I left in August 1966, and the United States where I landed as a World Press Institute fellow to engage in journalistic indulgence for the next 11 months. Severe foreign exchange restrictions limited the Sri Lankans’ freedom to travel overseas. more..

The normalisation of excess

july 19 (LG) The victorious finale to a war which threatened and humiliated them for quarter of a century, has won for the Rajapakse administration the ardent admiration and the overwhelming gratitude of the Sinhala majority. But in a democracy, such sentiments do not translate into electoral support, permanently. The British admired Winston Churchill tremendously and were deeply grateful to him, for the role he played in defending their country against Nazi Germany. more..

Beyond Limits

july 19 (AT) By defeating the LTTE, President Mahinda Rajapakse has earned his place in Sri Lankan history; most Sinhalese (irrespective of their political persuasions) and some Tamils and Muslims are grateful to him (and will continue to be so) for this reason. But in a democracy, eternal gratitude does not amount to a licence for eternal or limitless power, let alone both. In a country with a mature electorate, appreciation for a politician for the role he played in a specific area and in a given time, more..

Nallur Kandasamy Kovil in full gear for festival

july 19 (GDI) While Catholics in the country are expected to flock the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu in thousands next month for the annual Feast, thousands of Hindus' in the Jaffna peninsula who were thwarted by the LTTE in exercising their religous right for several decades will on July 27 flock to the historic Nallur Kandasamy Kovil in thousands to pay homage with a free mind, reports from Jaffna said. more..

'Sri Lanka's Welfare Centres best in the world'

july 19 (GDI) While a few unscrupulous elements backed by the so called LTTE diaspora overseas attempt to tarnish the image of the Colombo government, all international institutions and relief bodies which visited welfare camps in the once strife torn northern area of Sri Lanka have commended that the welfare centers were the best in the world. Foreign delegates Ambassadors have already conveyed to their respective government that more..

Fishing industry geared in North

july 19 (GDI) The Government has invested Rs. 870 million to stabilize the fishing industry in the North under the 180 day ‘Northern Spring’ expedited development programme. The programme is implemented by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in collaboration with the Presidential Task Force on Resettlement, Infrastructure Development and Security arrangements in the Northern Province. more..

Doorstep facilities to Jaffna residents

july 19 (GDI) The newly appointed Minister of Justice and Law Reforms, Milinda Moragoda has initiated a scheme to provide legal requirements of residents in the North through an effective mobile service conducted by his ministry. Priority is being given to the civilians affected by the recent conflict between the LTTE and government troops. The mobile service already in action is led by ministry secretary, Suhada Gamlath. more..

North polls campaign calm

july 19 (GDI) Police claimed the ongoing polls campaign in the North looked very peaceful with no polls related violence being reported from the peninsula. IGP, Jayantha Wickremeratne has given strict directives to the police in Jaffna to move swiftly to arrest any type of violence during the current campaign. Following the crushing of the LTTE, the atmosphere in the Jaffna peninsula has remained calm and now it is even more calm, claimed a senior police officer. more..

Jaffna Fish stalls in Colombo

July 19 (GDI) There will soon be Jaffna Fish Stalls in Colombo and suburbs, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister, Felix Perera said. He said the ministry will shortly provide several insulated trucks to engage the transportation of the northern fish production to be brought to Colombo. Northern fishermen have indicated to the minister that they could near double the production in the next few months with the restrictions imposed on fishing being lifted. more..

North-South traders, investors meet

July 19 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce and the Jaffna Traders Association met for the first time in Jaffna on Friday in order to enhance the trading and investment activities in the war-torn North. "The meeting between the traders and investors of the North and the South is significant as President Mahinda Rajapaksa is determined to rebuild Jaffna with extensive investments, agricultural and trading activities." more..

Govt. pays tribute to war hero by demolishing his house and assaulting his wife

July 19 (LT) The wife of a war hero who has attempted to get compensation for the house they have lost due to the construction of the Southern Expressway was assaulted by the Police and has been admitted to hospital. The husband of W.R. Jayawardene, mother of one child and resident of Ambalangoda Road at Elpitiya is a war hero attached to Vavuniya Army camp at present. Their house was demolished to give way to Southern Expressway. more..

Flour up, milk powder down and bread up!

July 19 (LT) Prima Company has raised the price of wheat flour by Rs.3.00 per kilogram from the 17th of this month. With this increase the price of a kilogram of wheat flour which was sold for Rs.61.00 would increase to Rs.64.00. Speaking regarding the increase in price of wheat flour Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Bandula Gunawardene said wheat flour has not been considered as an essential item. more..

Another LTTE Submersible vehicle uncovered from Vellamullivaikkal Seas

July 19 (MoD) One more submersible vehicle used by the LTTE terrorists was uncovered from the seas about 500m off Vellamullivaikkal beach in Mullaittivu last evening, 18 July. Intelligence and security sub group of 56 Division has located the LTTE submersible based on information received by an informant. With the assistance of troops of Task Force 8 (TF-8) the submersible vehicle was brought ashore and more..

Pipe borne water for Mullaittivu, Kilinochchi

July 19 (MoD) The Government has commenced work to provide pipe borne water to Mullaittivu and Kilinochchci areas from the Iranamadu Tank. Plans are also under way to lay a 43 Kilometre pipeline from the Iranamadu Tank to Jaffna to provide pipe borne water to the peninsula. "We hope these two projects would be ready by early next year," said Project Director, Re-Awakening Project, Community Livelihoods in Conflict Areas, more..

Mano Ganesan says his campaign vehicles attacked by CWC

July 19 (CT) The Democratic People’s Front says a convoy of its vehicles engaged in electioneering in Passara came under attack by a rival party late last evening. Party leader Mano Ganesan told ‘Colombo Today’ that the vehicles were returning from Galaulla Estate in Madolsima where a meeting took place for upcoming Uva Provincial Council polls. He said the attackers were from the Ceylon Workers’ Congress, and that he had identified their leader as local body member Ramesh. more..

Mother commits suicide with 2 children over family dispute

July 19 (CT) The wife of an Army soldier has thrown their two children into a well and then jumped into the same well in Medawachchiya. The incident had taken place in the home of the woman’s sister on the night of July 16, police said. The dead have been identified as 29-year-old Anusha Dilhani Jayaratne and two sons Shehan aged six years and Ashan aged three years. The bodies were retrieved and the postmortem examination due to take place shortly. more..

President on hands-on mode as opposition gets going on alliance

July 19 (SL) On Saturday (11), President Mahinda Rajapakse flew by helicopter to deep within Yala. He was met by his older brother Chamal, who had motored over from nearby Tissamaharama. The two brothers beamed and greeted each other before proceeding to the ceremony to mark the opening of the Weheragala Reservoir — an important tank, set to give water to the areas surrounding it. more..

'Next president will be from the UNP'

July 19 (SL) UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya says that while the party is ready to face either a presidential or general election, it is yet to decide on the candidate for the next presidential election. It might be Ranil Wickremesinghe or it might be not, Jayasuriya said in an interview with The Sunday Leader, adding that decision is yet to be made. "Once a decision is made about who will be the face of the UNP at the right time, more..

US lobbyists making a killing of killings in Sri Lanka

July 19 (SL) The Sunday Leader has learned that the Government of Sri Lanka is paying the Washington firm Patton Boggs $35,000 a month "to provide guidance and counsel to the Embassy of Sri Lanka regarding its relations with the Executive and Legislative Branches of the US Government." In other wordsthe firm is/was being paid to lobby on behalf of the current administration and keep US scrutiny away from the conflict in the north. more..

Changing their stripes

July 19 (SL) On a sweltering late Tuesday afternoon in an unremarkable class room on a picturesque hillside in the vicinity of Ambepussa a group of young women is paying careful attention to an instructor’s demonstration of the cross stitch. The teacher makes one stitch then another and the girls enthusiastically imitate and take careful notes. At first glance the scene is almost idyllic – the class stares out over a bend in the maha oya and the students are clearly rapt, more..

Police bust human smuggling racket

July 19 (SO) A well organised human smuggling racket has been uncovered by the Police. The leader of this human trafficking racket - a multi-millionaire fish businessman from Negombo has been taken into custody, said Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickramaratna. He said that the victims of this racket were not only Sri Lankan job seekers to Australia, Europe and Japan, but also others from Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries of the region. more..

Sparring match: “Good governance” vs. “democracy”

July 19 (LB) The opposition has decided that more than economic issues, governance issues have in the long term the best potential of destabilizing the Rajapaksa administration. Good governance and constitutionally dismantling the presidential system are both key planks in the new joint manifesto of the UNP, and allied parties. An article elsewhere details the nitty-gritty of developments in the UNP’s new drive towards regaining power, unveiled this week. more..

'Optimistic On Improving Theatres'

July 19 (SO) For nearly 40 years, since stepping into the silver screen with ‘Moodu Puttu’ Ravindra Randeniya had been regarded as one of the industry’s most powerful thespians. As an actor who had never failed to deliver the goods, he is on par with legends like Gamini Fonseka, Malini Fonseka, Vijaya Kumaratunga and Sanath Gunatilleke for his incomparable service to the country’s cinema scene. more..

Cycle lanes for first time in Sri Lanka

July 19 (SO) Construction work on Sri Lanka's first roadway with two bicycle lanes from Padeniya, Kurunegala to Anuradhapura will be commenced under the patronage of Highways and Road Development Minister T.B. Ekanayake at Daladagama junction, Mahawa today. he said that the estimated cost for the project would be Rs.6,000 million which will be funded by the Korean Government. The length of the stretch of the road between Padeniya and Anuradhapura would be 81 km. more..

IDPs in vanishing act

July 19 (LB) A major human smuggling racket in which security officials in charge of refugee camps in Chettikulam were charging exhorbitant rates and releasing Tamil refugees from camps, was busted this week. Authorities fear as to whether LTTE leaders who were among civilians in the camps have also made good their escape after bribing security officials. Meanwhile the chief suspect in the murder of minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Murthi was arrested while escaping from one of the camps. more..

They would end up being presidents, if only they could!

July 19 (LB) Like most politicians in Sri Lanka, Nandana Gunetilleke is a remarkably astute man. At a meeting in Panadura last week, he analysed that the JVP could have solved many of this country’s problems if they had only followed the right path. With his acceptance of a ministerial portfolio in Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government, Nandana Gunetilleke has made it exceptionally clear what he means by the “right path”. more..

UNP turns its back on neo-liberalism?

July 19 (NS) The United National Party in an apparent realisation of its own mistakes is attempting to deviate from its declared economic policy of unbridled capitalism. A document titled ‘A policy document for a broad national political consensus’ adopted by the party’s political affairs committee and the working committee last Wednesday at Sirikotha has for the first time recognised the need for more state involvement in managing the economy. more..

Bar divided on “traitor lawyer’’ fracas

July 19 (LB) A "sinister" article posted on the website of the ministry of defence is threatening to divide the bar along political lines and has resulted in strong criticism against the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL). A lawyers' protest planned for tomorrow against the article titled 'Traitors in black coats flocked together?' has been indefinitely postponed. Some lawyers accuse BASL of insufficient action while others maintain that enough has been done already. more..

Underworld slaughtered, but Kudu Lals lucky...

July 19 (LB) Close on the heels of decimating the most ruthless terrorist outfit - the LTTE, underwolrd types are being hounded or abducted and eliminated -- bumped-off -- by unknown gangs. A large number of underworld gangsters who operated in Colombo and the surrounding areas have been attacked or abducted and left for dead by unknown elements. It is estimated that lately around a hundred gangsters have been killed. more..

People need justice and fair play and - Chief Justice

July 19 (SO) Justice Asoka de Silva was appointed as the 32nd Chief Justice of Sri Lanka when the Nation was going through the most turbulent period of its history, where the Horror of Terror of three decades was eliminated in three years ending unnecessary blood bath which bled the Nation and the people with destruction to the public property, reputation and thousands and thousands of lives. more..

Hizbullah public rebellion puzzling

July 19 (NS) After continuous attacks on the method of administration by Eastern Provincial Council Minister, M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, Governor of the Eastern Province, Rear Admiral (Retd.) Mohan Wijewickrama expressed his consternation and chagrin at the allegations claiming that there is no basis for those charges. “Minister Hizbullah has not discussed any of the allegations with me” responded the Governor to questions posed by The Nation. more..

Digging up the past

July 19 (NS) Roman Historian Titus Livius, aka Livy in English, once stated that the study of History is the best medicine for a sick mind because, in History, one has a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see. Speaking of history, the 5,000-year-old skeletal remains being discovered in the Hungama area has become one of the recent topics of discussion. Thus The Nation met Dr. Nimal Perera of the National Archaeological Department who more..

Amnesty for military deserters?

July 19 (Island) The government is likely to explore the possibility of discharging hundreds of security forces deserters held at Welikada and also granting a general amnesty to deserters on the run. Justice and Law Reforms Minister Milinda Moragoda after a recent visit to Welikada where he had received a briefing about the deserters, has discussed the possibility of discharging them with Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. more..

Avamangala Alliances

July 19 (NS) Mangala Pinsiri Samaraweera is a not-so-young man in a hurry. The former fashion designer turned politician is now in the news, and seems to be the pet hate of the two main political parties in the country, the SLFP and the opposition UNP. On Thursday, Samaraweera called a media conference to issue a 19-page statement outlining what he called was a conspiracy within the SLFP. Samaraweera said he would have the statement distributed among all SLFPers, but more..

Dayan says his lightning recall is a mystery

July 19 (NS) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Geneva and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations there Dr Dayan Jayatilleka claimed yesterday that his sudden recall intimated to him by fax on Friday is a mystery to him as he was given a nine month extension by the President earlier this year. But he added that he will not take the matter up with the President. more..

'Southern Highway not properly monitored'

July 19 (Island) UNP MP Lionel Premasiri yesterday said that last week’s revelation that about 30 bridges on the southern highway having to be demolished due to extremely poor standard in construction was evidence of the government’s pathetic failure to monitor the project. He that constant monitoring of the project would have compelled foreign consultants and contractors as well as their local partner, Access International, to carry out the project in keeping with the agreement. more..

Former SLAF officer complicit in Rs. 98 million heist

July 19 (Island) The police investigating an abortive bid to rob Rs. 98 million rupees belonging to The Nations Trust Bank and the Hatton National Bank while being moved from Kurunegala to Colombo last Tuesday (July 14) said that an ex-SLAF officer employed by a private security agency responsible for money transfer had been directly involved in the robbery. "We have identified the suspect," a senior police official told The Sunday Island yesterday, more..

IMF Executive Board to consider $2.5 bn. facility for SL on July 24

July 19 (Island) The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund will this week consider the grant of a US dollar 2.5 billion dollar facility to Sri Lanka, authoritative sources revealed yesterday. The board meeting is set for July 24 at the IMF’s Washington headquarters and a favourable decision is widely anticipated. The Letter of Intent (LOI) by the Government of Sri Lanka that must precede the grant of the facility has now been finalized. more..

Deadly diseases erupt in Vavuniya

July 19 (ST) Vavuniya-based United Nations staff providing relief services to the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) have been advised to keep away from the Vavuniya General Hospital due to an outbreak of meningitis and encephalitis, the Sunday Times learns. The UN warning to staff came amidst reports that hospital employees at Vavuniya had failed to inform authorities about the outbreak of the two diseases. more..

Bitter battle over Kalu Ganga gems

July 19 (ST) A senior minister is leading a protest against the controversial auctioning of a section of the Kalu Ganga to private gem traders --- but officials concerned say the protest is orchestrated by an organised mafia with vested interests. Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne told the Sunday Times the Gem and Jewellery Authority had auctioned a section of the river for a mere Rs 30 million when it could have fetched a higher price. more..

Kandy sans Tigers ready for Buddhist festival

July 19 (ST) The famous 17th century Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is breathing easy for the first time in many years ahead of a pageant that draws hundreds of thousands of people to this sacred Buddhist town. For, the Tamil Tigers lie vanquished. "We are expecting nearly double the number of visitors to the annual pageant as the security has improved vastly following the defeat of the Tamil Tigers," said Pradeep Nilanga Dela, chief custodian of the shrine known as Sri Dalada Maligawa. more..

Chaminda Vaas to retire from Tests

July 19 (CI) Chaminda Vaas, the Sri Lanka fast bowler, has announced he will retire from Tests after the third match against Pakistan in Colombo starting Monday. He said he will continue to play one-dayers and Twenty20s till the 2011 World Cup. "I am officially retiring from Test cricket after the third Test against Pakistan, but will continue playing one-day and Twenty20 matches till the 2011 World Cup," more..

Mystery over major military shake-up

July 19 (ST) It was a week of dramatic developments. For President Mahinda Rajapaksa who has put a separatist war behind and a re-election bid ahead, the focus was all three - military, political and economic - as he charted a new, concerted course to usher in a greater peacetime environment and a new image for his Government. The most significant move came in the security establishment, for months the cynosure of both Sri Lankan and world attention. more..

Prabhakaran’s personal files found

July 19 (ST) Personal files belonging to the late LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran – with details about arms deals and arms shipments, intended targets, suicide cadres and other key information – were unearthed last week in what appears to be one of the most significant finds in areas formerly controlled by Tiger guerrillas. The items were found at the end of a six-day search operation conducted by a police team led by Colombo Crime Division director SP Vass Gunawardena. more..

Sri Lanka troops find Tiger submarine

July 19 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops have recovered a submarine-type craft built by Tamil Tiger guerrillas in an area where they fought their final battle two months ago, the military said Sunday. The craft was found on Saturday submerged about 500 metres (yards) off the coast of Vellamullivaikal in the district of Mullaittivu, the army said in a statement. "Based on information provided by an informant... the submersible was found and brought ashore with the help of army divers," more..

War refugees interned in camps built by donors

July 19 (AP) In just six months, one of the world's largest camps for war refugees has been carved out of the jungles of northern Sri Lanka, complete with banks, post offices, schools and a supermarket. But no one is allowed out, and hardly anyone is allowed in. Aid workers and foreign diplomats increasingly fear that Manik Farm, a facility they helped build, is actually a military-run internment camp where 210,000 ethnic Tamil civilians displaced by the civil war are being held indefinitely. more..

Sri Lankan diplomat who advocated power sharing is sacked

July 19 (IANS) One of Sri Lanka's most outspoken diplomats who consistently argued for devolution of power to the country's minorities has been sacked by Colombo. In one of the most significant developments since the Tamil Tigers were decimated in May, Dayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka's permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, has been told to go home by Aug 20. more..