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A one-eyed view of Sri Lanka

Oct 24 (TC) A Western journalist visits the Sudanese capital Khartoum to interview President Omar al-Bashir. The reporter, after calling him "controversial" due to his "bloody" record in fighting terrorism, gives the leader a platform to explain his views and tactics. The only other voice featured in the piece is a commentator who backs the government wholeheartedly. The fact that Bashir has been charged in 2010 by the International Criminal Court for genocide in Darfur is glossed over in the story. more..

Why are we not outraged about child rape in Sri Lanka?

Oct 24 (TC) Every day, three children are raped in Sri Lanka….. Why aren’t we outraged? The incarceration of Gen. Fonseka, the 18th Amendment or the Rajapaksa dynastic project are contentious political issues; not so child rape. Child rape is an abomination which everyone of us, irrespective of our politics or lack of it, can and must condemn, unequivocally and in unison. One child raped is one child too many; the daily rape of three children is a menace which must be eradicated from Lanka soil. more..

SLA reluctant to disclose information of LTTE detainees in Jaffna

Oct 24 (TN) Sri Lanka Army did not disclose the number of ex-combatants of LTTE still held in the SLA special detention camp located in its High Security Zone in Thellippazhai in Jaffna when it allowed 23 female Liberation Tiger ex-combatants to join their families Friday evening. Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara who was the chief guest in the Friday event said that the released ex-combatants had undergone vocational training, more..

Daytime robbery in Batticaloa

Oct 24 (TN) A gang of men robbed a house during daytime Tuesday in Kaatththaankudi police division in Batticaloa district when there was no one in the house, according to the complaint made to Kaththaankudi police by the owner of the house who is a male nurse in Batticaloa Teaching Hospital. The robbers had stolen 19 sovereign gold and cash more than 400,000 rupees. The robbers had come in a white van on the previous day of the robbery to the location to study the situation, more..

Prevailing realities in the noble search for reconciliation

Oct 24 (TC) Sri Lankan conflict that spanned over three decades causing several thousands dead, massive disruption of social order, and destruction to economic capacities and infrastructure may take many years to rebuild. Sri Lanka has been a peaceful country, and adopted majority-based democracy for governance. What did not happen is that the majority community fell short of acknowledging that they had a responsibility to protect and assist the minority communities. more..

Tissainayagam speaks at 2010 Mackler Award ceremony

Oct 24 (TN) 2009 recipient of the prestigious Peter Mackler Award, Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagma, who was incarcerated in Sri Lanka prison for his writing, and was unable to receive the award in 2009, spoke at the 2010 Award ceremony held Friday at 6:00 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Tissainayagam was announced as the Award's first recipient on August 31, 2009, more..

The Left and the LSSP

Oct 24 (LG) The Conference of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) to be held at the end of this month prompts me to make a few basic comments on the role of the Left in our political life today. From my early years in the Left movement from 1948 as a youth in school and University campus, the politics of the LSSP centred around the class struggle of the working people which gave it a distinct identity in the country and a vitality which surpassed those of other political parties. more..

Is Sri Lanka a National Security State?

Oct 24 (LG) Let us not be evasive. There is a model of the National Security State that is not that which is described by the Washington Post earlier this year in its stunning expose Top Secret America (or by more radical critics of the US). It is the earlier and far nastier Latin American model, from which the term originated. That National Security State was the norm in Latin America from the mid 1960s through to the mid 1980s. more..

Airwomen rewrite history in the night sky

Oct 24 (MoD) Corporal Hewagamage TND and Leading Air Craftswoman Ranasinghe KHN of Sri Lanka Air Force rewrote history by becoming the first women in South Asia to successfully complete Night Skydiving on 19 October 2010. The two parachutists displayed their skills in on Tuesday night at SLAF Station Amapara. Both women completed the dives as part of the 5th Basic Sky Diving Course. This batch consisted of 8 members with 6 male and 2 female paratroopers. more..

Two wheel tractors distributed to farmers in Vavuniya

Oct 24 (MoD) A meeting was held at the Divisional Secretariat, Vavuniya South on 18 October 2010 where Hon. Rishad Bathiudeen MP, Minister of Commerce and Industries and Hon. Governor, Northern Province, GA Chandrasiri met with Government officials and Grama Niladharis of the area and discussed matters relating to the facilities provided to people resettled in Kelabagaswewa, Rankethgama, Oushadapitiya and Awaranthalawa. more..

Whither free education?

Oct 24 (LG) Minister Dissanayake has antagonized students. He wants to clearly show that he is for private education, with English at the helm. Probably he wants to show the west that he is for the agenda of the multinational corporation system. He himself declared, that already nearly 80 institutes operate as university colleges affiliated to foreign universities. But that has not created a special problem as long as the free eduction system is concerned, more..

Below the belt punishment for three wheeler driver

Oct 24 (SL) The driver of a three wheeler who knocked a man causing him minor injuries last Tuesday (19), was given a punishment hitherto unheard of in the Godakawela area on Wednesday night, according to residents. Speaking to The Sunday Leader, a resident said that the incident occurred on the Embilipitiya – Ratnapura Highway in an area called Koswetiya. “There was a funeral in the area and the road was crowded. more..

Editorial: Demon dances and death

Oct 24 (SL) In Sri Lanka, we keep demon masks in the house. Not because we like demons, but to keep other demons out. This, essentially, is why The Sunday Leader endorsed Sarath Fonseka for president. It has been alleged that Fonseka killed our Founder Editor, but the alternative was worse. If then Army Commander Sarath Fonseka was the arms of the war effort, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was its brain, and — to lesser effect — mouth. more..

Editorial: The LG amendment bill and smaller parties

Oct 24 (LB) Does the proposed Local Authorities Elections Amendment Bill of 2010 contain the blueprint for overall changes to the national electoral system? Nobody knows the answer to that yet, but there have been plenty of suggestions that the proposed Amendment is a pilot project that goes ahead of altering the way in which future members of Parliament and provincial councilors would be elected. Wider scrutiny of the Bill therefore is imperative in this backdrop. more..

'Ranil is the best to hold party together'

Oct 24 (SL) A stalwart of the UNP, A.J.M Muzammil spoke to The Sunday Leader as the UNP ‘reformists’ continued with their struggle to make a change to the party’s ebbing fortunes. Muzammil explained just why Ranil Wickremesinghe must stay on – for the moment. Q: What ails the UNP? Why is it that the party remains so unelectable? A: A: The UNP came in for a short term administration in 2001, where they had the legislative power and more..

Editorial: Tax free emoluments

Oct 24 (Island) Speaking at a recent meeting of the Sri Lanka Economics Association, former Central Bank Governor A.S. Jayawardena made the point that the tax exemption on public service emoluments was inequitable. That is a viewpoint that is widely held among those within the income tax net and despite public opinion, a privilege granted in the late 1970s continues to this date. Mr. Ronnie de Mel, as finance minister of the J.R. Jayewardene government elected in more..

Reinventing the opposition, eh?

Oct 24 (LB) The opposition was in a valiant almost desperate attempt to reinvent its strategy last week. This is in the face of what the opposition interprets as a total takeover of electoral mechanisms and instruments to be in power in perpetuity. The opposition JVP alleges that the new local government Amendment Bill is an attempt to manipulate the system, for instance. But it is significant that the main opposition UNP is voting for this Amendment. more..

Defence Secretary suing The Sunday Leader for Rs. 2 billion

Oct 24 (SL) The ongoing trial against The Sunday Leader is set to take prominence with a hearing held last Tuesday, October 19, where Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa is seeking Rs. 1 billion in damages for articles published in 2008. In another court case he is seeking a further Rs. 1 billion because of the publication of his photograph which he deemed to be defamatory. The newspaper is also facing a contempt of court case more..

Who in LTTE ordered massacre of 630 cops in 1990

Oct 24 (EB) Twenty years have passed, and yet no one in Sri Lanka knows for sure who in the LTTE ordered the coldblooded massacre of 630 Sinhalese and Muslim policemen in the eastern province in June 1990, after the cops had meekly surrendered and laid down their arms. The long forgotten issue was brought to the fore earlier this week when members of the LLRC asked former Tiger cadre and the current Chief Minister, Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, if he would apologise for the massacre. more..

Democracy Vs Meritocracy in China:Lessons for Sri Lanka?

Oct 24 (Island) "How China and India displaced the West in Sri Lanka" is a recent Time Magazine news story on Sri Lanka, describing Sri Lanka’s "diplomatic juggling act" using China and India to countervail alleged attempts by the West to meddle during Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE and thereafter. Much is made of the fact that China and India are not only emerging powers but they are also ‘Asian powers’ – an (imagined) counter to the colonial and imperial west and more..

Peace means a homecoming for Sri Lanka's Muslims

Oct 24 (BBC) Sri Lanka's war, which ended last year, set the mainly Sinhalese government and military against the LTTE, a militant group drawn from the Tamil minority. Caught in between were the Muslims, about 9% of the population and regarded as a separate ethnic group, although Tamil is their mother tongue. Exactly 20 years ago, the Tigers violently expelled almost all of northern Sri Lanka's Muslims. more..

Foreign jobs at risk due to official blundering

Oct 24 (Island) For want of government supervision and regulatory measures, Sri Lanka can lose its share in the overseas job market and the ongoing crisis in the Saudi job market is a case in point, analysts warned. Saudi Arabian agencies recently decided to cease recruitment of Lankan domestic workers after Sri Lanka sharply increased the costs of supplying workers. Industry and political sources allege the government turned a blind eye to the crisis more..

SL Navy Chief meets indian dignitaries

Oct 24 (Island) Sri Lankan Navy Chief Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, now in India on a bilateral visit, has met top dignitaries here and exchanged views on relations between the two close neighbouring nations. The first service chief to visit this country since May 2009, he called on Defence Minister AK Antony, on the three Service Chiefs—-Army Chief Gen Vijay Kumar Singh, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma and Indian Air Force (IAF) head Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik more..

sajith Ranil head-on clash

Oct 24 (LB) A fresh crisis has erupted in the UNP with UNP rebels having decided to hold ‘Village Travels’ programmes in every district led by Sajith Premadasa in a bid to boost the morale of grassroot UNPers and to enlighten them about the steps being taken to co-ordinate UNP strategy. This comes in the wake of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe also planning to launch a ‘VillageTravels’ programme on similar issues. more..

Death threats to Oncologists

Oct 24 (SL) Senior Consultant Oncologists of the National Cancer Institute Maharagama, Dr. Jayantha Balawardena and Dr. Mahendra Perera have received death threats allegedly from the hospital’s therapy radiographers following their (Consultants’) attempt to get security cameras installed to scrutinise the radio therapy machines. Following the Health Ministry’s decision to install security cameras to monitor radio therapy machines at the National Cancer Institute in Maharagama, more..

Trade unions allege govt. trying to plunder EPF/ETF

Oct 24 (SL) The government’s proposed amendments to the EPF and ETF are aimed at misappropriating the monies in the two funds, private sector trade unions allege. The ICEU says the government is trying to tap into the nearly Rs. 850 billion worth EPF and Rs. 85 billion ETF funds. Head of the ICEU, Wasantha Samarasinghe says that according to the existing EPF Act, monies in the fund cannot be used for any other purpose other than its interest on investments. more..

Manju tested positive, may lose gold

Oct 24 (LB) Sri Lanka suffered a major humiliation as Commonwealth Games bantam weight boxing champion, Manju Wanniarachchi has been tested positive for banned steroid, nandrolone and is on the verge of losing the country’s first gold medal in 72 years. According to highly placed sources his ‘A’ sample contained 19-Norandrosterone, a prohibited anabolic under category S1 from the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) more..

Editorial: JVP behind student unrest

Oct 24 (SO) Successive Governments have allocated billions and billions of rupees on the country’s free education system. Sri Lanka is one of the few countries which provides free education from the Kindergarten to the university and postgraduate level. Despite the colossal amount spent on national security, free health facilities and maintaining the public service, the Government has always given top priority when allocating budgetary funds on the country’s free education. more..

Editorial: Education: The agony and the answers

Oct 24 (ST) The verdict is in. The fears and concerns of children, parents, teachers and educationists have been justified. They are no longer speculation to be dismissed lightly. School education including the curriculum and the syllabi is too vast. A huge 3.9 million children in the age group five plus to 19 years, from Grade 1 to the Advanced Level cannot cope. This serious state of affairs in education is not being pointed out by just anyone but by more..

Move to scrap visa facility shocks travel trade

Oct 24 (ST) The Government and the travel trade are locked in a battle over the decision to scrap on arrival visas for foreign visitors to Sri Lanka. Immigration and Emigration Controller of Chulananda Perera said that the facility afforded to visitors from 83 countries would be scrapped. “The only exception will be Singapore and the Maldives. These two countries issue on arrival visas to visiting Sri Lankans,” he said. more..

If there were atrocities, the govt. too must apologize says LLRC Chairman

Oct 24 (Island) Retired Attorney General C.R. de Silva, PC, Chairman of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) last week said that if atrocities against the public had been committed by government forces, then the government too must apologize. The Chairman said so at the conclusion of the testimony of Chief Minister S Chandrakanthan (Santhirakanthan) of the Eastern Province before the LLRC. more..

Lanka poised for accelerated economic growth

Oct 24 (SO) Sri Lanka is poised for accelerated economic growth in the post-conflict era through enhanced investments, fiscal discipline and expansion of human capital, says the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF expressed optimism about economic prosperity in Sri Lanka following measures taken to cut the budget deficit and introduce fiscal policy reforms to fast-track development. more..

MR confident of winning LG polls

Oct 24 (ST) Touring districts to review development programmes appears to have put President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a jubilant mood. He told cabinet ministers last Wednesday night he was most impressed with the work carried out in the north. He said those responsible deserved credit for this remarkable progress. Though he did not mention names, it became clear he was commenting on a multitude of projects under Uthuru Vasanthaya (Northern Resurgence). more..

'Vested interests trying to destabilize Lanka'

Oct 24 (ST) "Information has been received that certain vested interests are attempting to undermine Sri Lanka's hard gained stability by creating student unrest. The students should be aware of such evil forces", said Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Discipline has eroded among the students of schools and universities alike. It has fallen to such ebb that some have even resorted to assaulting Vice Chancellors like what happened at the Ruhuna University recently. more..

Luxury hotel and apartments on Army sports grounds

Oct 24 (ST) The Army grounds adjoining the Galle Face Green will be the site for an upmarket luxury hotel and apartment complex, the Cabinet has decided. The project costing 75 million US dollars (Rs 8.3 billion) will be awarded to the internationally reputed Shangri-La group. A recommendation to provide this key site for development was made to the Cabinet by Economic Development Minister, Basil Rajapaksa. more..

Golden Key depositors to wait longer

Oct 24 (ST) Aggrieved depositors of the failed Golden Key (GK) Co, which triggered many collapses across Sri Lanka’s finance company sector nearly two years back, will have to wait longer for their money despite reports this week that the formation of a new company could end their problems. Though it was announced this week that a limited liability company under the name of GKCC Special Purpose Vehicle Company Ltd will be formed to more..

'JR, Premadasa betrayed the country'

Oct 24 (ST) Chief Minister- Eastern Province, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan better know as ‘Pillayan’, on Wednesday suggested that the powers of the provincial councils should be strengthened with more powers to the provinces. “Government should allow to fully exercise the powers vested in the provincial councils,” the Chief minister told the Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Commission. “That is the only way we can win the hearts and minds of the people,” more..

Fire at Norochcholai

Oct 24 (LBO) A fire has broken out at Sri Lanka's first coal burning power plant in Sri Lanka Western coastal town of Norochcholai which was scheduled to start test operations next month, but it is being brought under control, a top official said. Chairman of state-run Ceylon Electricity Board, Vidya Amarapala said strong winds from the sea were making it difficult to quickly put down the fire completely though it has been "brought under control." more..

No pilots, no flights

Oct 24 (ST) A shortage of pilots is forcing SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier, to periodically cancel flights. The latest flight to be cancelled was UL 505, which was scheduled to leave for London at 2:00 AM today. On Friday, UL 571 to Rome was also cancelled. Last week, a flight to Narita (Japan) was delayed by six hours. Sri Lankan Airlines staff complain that the management is slow to recruit pilots. more..

ICRC chief weeps

Oct 24 (ST) Maryse Limonar, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sub delegation in Vavuniya couldn't hide her feelings at a ceremony where her organization was distributing 400 two-wheel tractors to villagers in the Mullaitivu and Vavuniya districts. She walked to the rear of an ICRC vehicle and cried after a minister allegedly overruled the list of beneficiaries the ICRC had chosen. ICRC officials allege that the minister distributed the tractors to people of his choice. more..

Sri Lanka frustrated by bad weather

Oct 25 (IC) Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara said that it was frustrating not to have played New South Wales today. The islanders spent much of the afternoon watching and waiting as persistent rain delayed the start of play, eventually leading to the abandonment of Sri Lanka's second warm up game. When asked if he was frustrated by the rain, Sangakkara said: "It is, it would've been nice to play a game against such a competitive side. more..

DMC: Wildfire in Knuckles range continuing

Oct 25 (SL) The Disaster Management Center has stated today that the wildfire in the Knuckles Range is still continuing. The wildfire commenced on Friday night. The Center told the media today that the Police, Army and Wildlife Department have launched a joint operation to douse the fire. Disaster Management Ministry’s Kandy Coordinator Major Kamal Herath has been quoted as saying that Air Force assistancee was requested more..

'No relief can be expected from the budget'

Oct 25 (LT) The masses in the country are confronted with a more burdensome period than what the country underwent during the war states the JVP. JVP Vijithe Herath said the government, through its appropriation bill for the next year, has proposed to take a loan of Rs.997.8 billion and pointed out that the country’s economy would have a very destructive effect when the country’s debt burden increases. more..

'Talawakelle arrest is political reprisal'

Oct 25 (AD) Reacting to the news of three persons being arrested at Talawekelle, one in possession of T-56 rifles, Democratic Peoples Front (DPF) leader Mano Ganesan says that it is nothing but political reprisal by the government. In a media release the DPF leader states that the arrest of Bharathi Dasan, a party activist was due to his being considered an obstacle in the intrusion of a newly formed trade union among the plantations which is headed by Mano Ganesan’s brother Prabha. more..

SLMC asks govt. not to rush through local government reforms

Oct 25 (Island) The SLMC would urge the government not to rush through the reforms to the Local Government Ordinance and to conduct the next Local elections under the prevailing electoral system. The amendments have some healthy features and are welcome but this does not mean the government should do it post-haste, says SLMC General Secretary M. T. Hassen Ali, MP. "We thank the government for including some of the proposals put forward by the SLMC earlier, but more..

Pakistan president to visit Sri Lanka: official

Oct 25 (AFP) Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will visit Sri Lanka next month in a bid to boost trade and security cooperation, an official said Sunday. Zardari will be accompanied by foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and a group of Pakistani businessmen, a foreign ministry official said. "The two days of meetings will centre around security and trade cooperation between both countries," more..

Job hunt for Bayliss after Sri Lanka success

Oct 25 (SMH) After more than three successful years coaching the Sri Lankan team, Trevor Bayliss has handed in his notice. The former NSW player and coach will finish up after the World Cup, running from February to April next year, which Sri Lanka is co-hosting with India and Bangladesh. Bayliss told the Herald yesterday he wanted to spend more time with his wife and two children, aged 15 and 12, who still live in Sydney. But he also intends to keep coaching. more..

Busmen take on Provincial Minister

Oct 25 (AD) The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) head Gemunu Wijeratne has said that they do not have confidence on the Western Province Transport Minister as he has not done anything tangible to improve the private passenger transport services. Mr. Wijeratne said that the free travel passes introduced by the Provincial Council (PC) for certain categories of persons has been proved a failure and that many abuse such facilities. more..

Govt. to reduce fuel prices

Oct 25 (SL) The government has said today (24) that fuel prices would be reduced within the next few months. Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha has told the media today that the government planned to purchase crude oil directly from the oil producing countries. Sri Lanka currently purchased crude oil from Singapore, which is not producing crude oil.

Supporters fight to get LTTE ban removed

Oct 25 (BBC) The supporters of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers in India are engaged in a legal battle to get the ban on the rebel group that was militarily defeated last year removed. The LTTE might be part of history, for all intents and purposes. But its supporters in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu are going all out to try and get the ban lifted in India. A tribunal headed by Justice Vikramjit Sen is currently holding a public hearings on the issue. more..