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Justifying a Costly War in Sri Lanka

July 19 (NYT) More than 2,000 years ago, a Sinhalese king named Dutugemunu saddled up his elephant and headed north to fight and kill Elara, an invading Tamil king from India. The battle between the men is one of the most celebrated moments in Sri Lankan history, and the last time, until two months ago, that a Sri Lankan ruler won such a decisive victory over a mortal threat. Perhaps it is no wonder, then, that fans of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president of Sri Lanka, have taken to calling him a modern-day incarnation of King Dutugemunu. more..

Sri Lanka search for clean sweep

July 19 (CI) What could have been a tight series has already been won by Sri Lanka, thanks to three-and-a-half sessions of madness from Pakistan, during which they lost 27 wickets for 172 runs. Consequently they now stand one defeat short of what would be their first whitewash against Sri Lanka. To their credit Sri Lanka, who are missing their best spinner and who had dropped their most successful fast bowler, have capitalised on the chances Pakistan provided. more..

Sri Lanka where "stupidity" becomes a 'key word' in political policy

July 20 (TC) It was a total misfortune. Yes, to have read the draft that became the new UNP policy when unanimously adopted by two committees of the UNP and its "working committee" headed by their leader Wickramasinghe for a proposed "broad national consensus (alliance)", according to a news web site that has since a fortnight been blocked to the Sri Lankan surfers from Sri Lanka. more..

Inmates lack basic needs

July 20 (LG) While the refugee camps are exposed as veritable prison camps, suspected for deliberate elimination of Tamil people, international pressure on the Mahinda regime has increased. Even presidential adviser Vasu has come out strongly against the happenings in these camps. Perhaps the victories that he has won in important court cases has given him Dutch courage (hope it is not a racist remark!) to stand against the regime of his bosom pal. more..

The war’s real heroes

July 20 (LG) This is a land packed with patriots and heroes. On a crowded Pettah pavement you can’t help avoiding bumping into a patriot or stepping on the toes of a war hero after every step you take. Patriots are easily recognisable thanks to the definition of President Mahinda Rajapakse: ‘Patriots are those who are with us (on Mahinda Rajapakse’s side) others are not.’ The mood in this ‘Resplendent Isle’ right now is that if you are not a patriot, you are a traitor. more..

The Awakening North: Pretence and intent

July 20 (LG) On July 13, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), on behalf of the government, announced the launch of “The Awakening North — A Special Loan Scheme for Resumption of Economic Activities in the Northern Province.” In order to revive livelihood activities in the north, an initial sum of LKR 3,000 million (circa 26 million dollars) is earmarked for lending to micro, small, and medium enterprises in the north at a concessionary interest rate of 12% per annum more..

Children of the Conflict

‘Heavy deaths in camps not correct’, says a Sarvodaya leader working in IDP health

July 20 (AT) Noted Sarvodaya leader, Dr. Lalith Chandradasa, who is working amongst the IDPs with his Community Health Project, rejects as ‘absurd’ reports in the Western media about large scale deaths in the IDP camps. ‘I don’t say it is an ideal situation in the camps but the deaths of 25-30 every week is false, exaggerated’ he told the Asian Tribune in an exclusive interview. more..

Portrait of the man behind the victory against terrorism in Sri Lanka

July 20 (AT) Throughout history it has been recognized that the success of any organization or country depends on strong leadership. Few people had the leadership qualities to change the course of world history. His victories over Napoleon Bonaparte not only saved Britain from French invasion, but transformed it into a great naval power that changed world history. He became arguably Britain’s greatest naval hero of all time. more..

Mervyn Silva saves Astrologer Chandrasiri Bandara

July 20 (LNW) Labour Minister Mervyn Silva had intervened to get Astrologer Chandrasiri Bandara released from the CID, which was holding him in custody after receiving a detention order, Bandara’s family members said. Addressing a workshop at the UNP’s Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS) headquarters, Bandara had predicted that the President would enter a bad period after September 9, 2009 and more..

'Experience and youth is a winning combination to drive the tourist industry'

July 20 (AT) Former Minister of Tourism and the present Minister of Justice, Milinda Moragoda in an interview with Business Today articulates the steps he had taken to moot tourism as a means of employment in Sri Lanka – an industry in which one out of twelve people in the world are provided employment while at the same time generating US$ 3 billion a day, globally. more..

'Decision will be made on the ICRC’s operations in the north'

July 20 (LNW) Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe says that a decision on the role of the ICRC in the north could only be taken after receiving a report on the organization’s future action plan. The Minister made this statement in response to a query by the Ravaya newspaper whether the government announcement about limiting the ICRC’s operations in the east was applicable to other international NGOs. more..

Former CJ’s loyalist removed as Judicial Services Commission Secretary

July 20 (LNW) Judicial Services Commission Secretary, P.W.D.C. Jayathileka, who is closely associated with former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, has been removed from his post with immediate effect. Chandra Jayathileka has been appointed as the Post and Telecommunications Ministry Secretary by the President. Jayathileka was serving as a senior judge in the Court of Appeal when more..

EU to re-calibrate its relationship with Sri Lanka

July 20 (LG) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha has said the rejection by European voters of those who campaigned on a pro-LTTE platform at the recently concluded European Parliamentary elections, should encourage the EU to “re-calibrate its relationship with Sri Lanka” and “engage in a constructive manner in the post-LTTE context”. more..

Sri Lanka: To help or not to help

July 20 (NZH) Last August, when Government forces appeared to finally have the upper hand against the Tamil Tigers, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees drew up a three-page memo setting out the conditions it would require to help Sri Lanka set up displacement camps for the anticipated wave of refugees. The camps should be run by a civilian administration, and the displaced should be guaranteed "full and unhindered freedom of movement," the memo noted. more..

Mendis could miss out as Sri Lanka opt for pace

July 20 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lankan captain, has hinted at picking four seamers for the final Test against Pakistan which means the out-of-form spinner Ajantha Mendis could sit out the match starting Monday. Left-arm medium-pacer Chaminda Vaas will be returning to the side for the Test, which he announced will be his last. "Playing four seamers is a very good possibility, the combinations are endless with the quality we have," Sangakkara said. more..

Tourism drives post-war recovery in Sri Lanka

July 20 (MT) ATEAR-DROP shaped island nestled seductively on the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is blessed with more than its fair share of abundant and varied touristy delights—from golden beaches and lush mountains to colorful festivals and a rich cultural past that dates back several centuries. However, the debilitating three-decade long secessionist war manipulated by the Tamil Tigers’ terrorist outfit, which cynically pitted the north of the country against the south, more..

Absence of SLFP-UNP consensus, main obstacle to solution - Dew

July 20 (CT) The absence of consensus between the two main political parties is the real obstacle to finding a lasting solution to the national question, said secretary of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka, minister Dew Gunasekara. Extremist and communalist tendencies could well obstruct a way out of the conflict, but political agreement between the SLFP and the UNP is more imperative, he observed. more..

Ranil rejects federal solution

July 20 (LNW) A senior UNP parliamentarian told Lanka News Web that Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had clearly stated that a solution to the Tamil people’s problem could not be found through a federal administrative structure. The Opposition Leader had made this statement during a discussion held on Friday morning with SLMC Leader Rauf Hakeem and SLFP (M) Wing Leader Mangala Samaraweera where they were presented with the “unitary and bhoomiputhra policy proposals” more..

Foreign minister dissatisfied with certain diplomats

July 20 (CT) The government is in receipt of several complaints against certain Sri Lankan diplomats serving overseas over giving personal opinions to the media on matters of political nature, said a senior official of the ministry of foreign affairs. Foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama has ordered investigations into these complaints, the official told ‘Colombo Today.’ more..

Tamil refugees still waiting in camps

Potato Farmer’s Poultry Venture

July 20 (GV) I arrive on holiday at the Colombo airport with my family. It is I, your potato farmer. In my last post I told you about my trial, you might remember. Mine is a complex family: “Look my darling, your children and my children are playing with our children”. We often have quarrels about our respective ancestry, me very proud of my heritage, thinking it far superior to hers, she thinking exactly the same about hers: its uniqueness, cultural values and religious beliefs. more..

Devolution of powers under the 13th Amendment in Sri Lanka: Fact or Fiction?

July 20 (GV) In the aftermath of the defeat of the LTTE in Sri Lanka, many expected the government to put forward the promised political solution to the problems of the Tamils which led to the war. Those who expected this were disappointed when the President said at a recent interview with the ‘Hindu’ newspaper that the solution would be put forward only after the next Presidential elections. more..

Festival of Cricket in the UK attained maturity at 21

July 20 (IL) Twenty one years ago on a sunny morning, 3 of July in 1989 to be specific, thousands of Sri Lankan expatriates gathered at the Maori Club in a suburb of London, Worcester Park, Surrey, to witness and celebrate what was introduced as the Festival of Cricket (FOC) organised by Six Old Boys Associations of Sri Lankan alma mater. The main objective behind the founding was to attract a full spectrum of the Sri Lankan expatriate community in the UK, more..

Elections in the North – Myths and Realities

July 20 (LG) Scribes have come out with volumes about the local government elections in the North scheduled for August. As usual, they have been writing lies with an agenda in their mind or have been misled by interested parties. Any intelligent person can find how untrue these stories are. The other day, BBC Tamil service has quoted TNA candidate in Jaffna to say that the government forces have visited houses and collected polling cards of the people living abroad. more..

13th Amendment and President Rajapaksa

July 20 (LG) Having defeated the LTTE, President Rajapaksa stated, on 19 May 2009, in Parliament: “We have removed the word ‘minorities’ from our vocabulary … There are only two peoples in this country. One is the people that love this country. The other comprises the small groups that have no love for the land of their birth.” Having stated that a military solution is not a final solution, more..

Towards a peaceful, equitable and sustainable Sri Lanka (Part 2 )

July 20 (LG) The chauvinist agenda of Sinhala only Buddhist country has seriously jeopardised the transformation of colonial idea of settlement of Ceylon into a stable prosperous peaceful nation of Sri Lanka. In an era of secular democracy, the insecurity of majoritarian democracy and the threat of Marxist revolutions gave rise to fascist ideologies of unification and that led to the usurpation of power in democracies. more..

Kindom of Anuradhapura, Sigiriya

President Rajapaksa’s military manoeuvres

July 20 (LG) As the dust settled down after the victory celebrations ended, Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced a series of senior appointments connected with armed forces. To call it a shake up would be journalese but that is what it appears to be. All the three chiefs of armed forces were changed, a chief of defence staff (CDS) and a national security advisor were appointed. more..

Development project for Matara

July 20 (GDI) MP Basil Rajapaksa chaired a special meeting to review progress of development in the Matara District. It was held at the District Secretariat recently. It was agreed to grant 325 million rupees at the rate of 500,000 rupees to each of the 650 Grama Niladhari Divisions within the District under the “Gama Neguma”. In addition to setting apart 100 million rupees for Provincial road development, 70 million rupees will be allocated to complete the provision of electricity this year. more..

Peaceful trend Jaffna Municipal Council - Dalas Alahapperuma

July 20 (GDI) The Jaffna Municipal Council election is to be held in a new trend where several sectors which were divided on social, political and economic issues in the past are reuniting with the President reuniting a divided nation under a single flag, Treasurer of the SLFP Minister Dalas Alahapperuma said at a media briefing held in Jaffna this morning. He pointed out that 25 political parties and groups in Jaffna are contesting the election under the UPFA ticket. more..

'Immense benefits in plantation sector'

July 20 (GDI) The plantation community received immense benefits under the Mahinda Chinthana has become a reality vision to the plantation community, Minister of Plantations Industries D.M. Jayaratne said addressing a Uva Provincial political campaign at the Uva Paranagama electorate recently. He said the Ministry will launch the country's development drive from Uva as the historical Uva-Wellassa rebellion against British imperialists commenced from Uva , more..

Kandy Perahera route extended

July 20 (GDI) Measures are afoot to hold the Esala Festival of the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy on a grand scale. Large crowds view the first Kumbal Perahera every year and the route of the Sri Dalada Perahera has been extended with the dawn of peace. More crowds are expected to view the Kumbal Perahera this year. As such, the Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Dela said at a news conference held at the Sri Dalada Maligawa. more..

Commander visits his former Wanni fortress

July 20 (GDI) Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya on Sunday morning made his first visit to Vavuniya after assuming the office of Commander of the Army. His visit to Vavuniya was of two fold importance. This was the first time he was visiting his former Security Forces Headquarters where he served nearly two years as the commander. More importantly, Lt.Gen. Jayasuriya took a personal interest in distributing Rs. 3.8 million worth milk powder and other essentials among more..

Special group on human rights issues

July 20 (GDI) The Government is to appoint a special group headed by Attorney-General Mohan Peiris PC, to address important human rights issues and report to the Cabinet on measures to address them. The group is to include representatives from key stakeholders such as the Ministries of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Foreign Affairs, Justice and Law Reforms, the Attorney General's Department and the Police Department. more..

25,000L Petrol and 2070L Engine Oil found

July 20 (MoD) Troops conducting continuous clearing operations in recently librated areas in Puthukkudirippu, Mullaittivu, have uncovered a large quantity of Petrol and Engine Oil yesterday, 19 July, military sources said. On information gathered from an informant, Intelligence and security sub group of 56 Division uncovered a tanker containing 25,000 liters of Petrol and 9 barrels of engine oil each containing 230 liters, more..

Density of Batticaloa district to be changed

July 20 (PSM) Few selected villages in Ampara district that are bordering Batticaloa districts are to be re-attached to Batticaloa district soon. Four Sinhala villages near the Batticaloa district were detached from the district 18 years ago and attached to Ampara district. These four villages are now to be re-attached to the Batticaloa district. Gamunupura and Mangalagama in Chenkalady Badulla Road are to be re-attached with Eravur Pattu, Chenkalady Pradeshiya Sabha division. more..

Mahinda Samarasingha to become Minister of Foreign Affairs?

July 20 (LG) “I will plan and make major changes and restructure a strongest integrated diplomatic network to overcome the present difficulties to strengthen our diplomatic relations, if the President appointed me as the Minister of Foreign Affairs,” said Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe in an exclusive interview with more..

Dayan sacked – A Rajapakse to be appointed ?

July 20 (LT) Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka's permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, has been sacked by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A spokesman for the ministry said Dr. Jayatilleke’s term of office ends on the 20th of next month. However, President Mahinda Rajapaksa had extended the contract by a year - until June 2010. The foreign ministry official said Dr. Jayatilleke was informed of his removal from office on the 17th by letter. more..

“Tamils are safe; their rights will be protected”

July 20 (Organiser) "There will not be any suppression of Tamil rights in Sri Lanka. The Tamils who constitute 16 per cent of the population will enjoy equal rights with the 70 per cent majority Sinhalese and devolution of power to the Tamil-dominated areas is a priority of the Rajapaksa government, which is now engaged in a massive rehabilitation effort following the elimination of the terrorist outfit LTTE.” more..

Surrender to Police – Defense Secretary tells underworld

July 20 (LT) All members of underworld gangs have been asked to surrender immediately to the closest police stations with their weapons by the Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse. He has also asked all politicians not to have any dealings with the underworld and any politician having such dealings will be dealt with severely. Mr. Rajapakse has said that the underworld takes extortions even from tea auctions, encroach on state lands and collect ransom from business community. more..

‘Dayan did not meet country’s requirements’

July 20 (DM) Sri Lanka’s representative to the UN in Geneva Dayan Jayatilaka is to be recalled as his performance was ‘not up to the expected standard and the country’s requirement,’ a senior government minister told the Daily Mirror yesterday. He dismissed speculation that Sri Lanka’s permanent UN representative in New York, H.M.G.S. Palihakkara would also be recalled adding that the government had not taken a decision to that effect. more..

Sri Lanka higher education needs quality upgrade, more investment

July 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's higher education system needs to be revamped with more investment to produce graduates with information technology and English skills, while private providers need regulation, a World Bank study has said. Higher education minister Wiswa Warnapala says expansion of the arts and humanities stream, low quality external degree programs, and student violence which result in frequent closures have made it difficult for more..

National census covering entire island in 2011

July 20 (CT) A national census on population and housing will take place in 2011, said director general of the Department of Census and Statistics Suranjana Vidyaratne. This will be the first census covering the entire country, including the north and the east, after 1981. Two censuses that had taken place in 1991 and 2001 had been incomplete, without any data on areas under LTTE control at those times, she said. more..

‘Presidency is not the biggest problem people are faced with’

July 20 (Island) The biggest problem people were faced with was not the executive presidency and nearly 80 per cent of Sri Lankans in rural areas seeking solutions to their burning problems would not be benefited from a debate on whether or not that institutions should be abolished, UNP front-liner and MP Sajith Premadasa said yesterday. more..

Inactive status of Public Services Commission to be taken to courts

July 20 (CT) Public servants are planning to go to court over the inactive status of the Public Services Commission for the past three months, said chairman of the Ceylon Teachers Union Joseph Stalin. They will also resort to union action against the politicization of the public service as a result of this situation, he said. With the terms of the PSC officials have ended, its powers have been vested in secretaries of government ministries. more..

Husbands are now allowed presence at deliveries

July 20 (CT) The policy decision by the ministry of health to allow husbands presence at the deliveries of their wives has begun its practical implementation. The first such instance was reported from Elpitiya Base Hospital in Galle on July 17. Through this decision, husbands are given the opportunity to attend to their expectant wives in the period from hospitalization to discharge. more..

Designing democracy: A post-Prabhakaran future

July 20 (GV) Was/is he an ethnonational liberation fighter, an egocentric megalomaniac or an unschooled political protagonist? Depending on the perspectives they would prefer to take, concerned future historians will struggle to pigeon hole Veluppilai Pirapaharan. Whatever the analysis, anarchist ideology, neo-Marxist categorization or a Minority Nation Rights discourse, he is sure to be mentioned in a very special place in post independent political history of Sri Lanka. more..

'Are we tackling the day-to day problems of our city?'

July 20 (LeN) This is the speech made by Navin Dissanayake, Minister of Investment Promotion, at the National Forum on City Cluster Economic Development on 17th July. Good morning ladies and gentlemen, It is a great pleasure to address you today, especially on a very topical subject. However, I wish to take your mind back to the ancient world history for a minute. Damascus, the capital of Syria is considered the most ancient metropolis in the world. more..

The Future History of Eelam

July 20 (AT) “When you are dead, lie down!” These wise words need urgently be whispered in the ears of intransigent ultras in the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora now attempting to revive the failed project to set up a “Tamil nation”. But we have a problem here. The ultras do not represent anyone but themselves; the Tamil Tigers, who fought for a separate ‘Eelam’ in Sri Lanka, were embodied, represented, and ruled by one man, Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..