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More than 20 people last seen in Army custody remain missing

Apr 15 (SL) The Sri Lankan government needs to respond to all allegations of disappearances with more than a ritual blanket denial. Family members of the disappeared have the right to know if their loved ones are alive or dead. (New York April 7, 2011) The Sri Lankan government should account for everyone who was taken into custody at the end of Sri Lanka’s 26-year-long armed conflict in May 2009 and are feared to have been “disappeared,” more..

‘No radioactive material in Rains’

Apr 15 (AT) The National Atomic Energy Authority (NAEA) of Sri Lanka has informed the general public that the tests conducted in rain water and soil samples collected across the island nation have not shown any radioactive material yet. Thus according to NAEA it is indicating that the radiation leaked from Japan's Fukushima power plant has not flown to Sri Lanka via wind yet. However, Sri Lanka experienced heavy rains during the week ended on 12 April 2011 whilst more..

SLC considering BCCI's request

Apr 15 (TNN) The Sri Lankan cricket board (SLC) has never dared to go against the diktat of the sport ministry and the top brass doesn't want to set a precedent this time either. But with pressure mounting from its Indian counterpart (BCCI), Sri Lanka Cricket is in a fix. In order to find a solution to the sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage's demand that Lankan players leave IPL midway to report for the national camp by May 5, some former Lankan cricketers and more..

President Mahinda Rajapaksa reach Top Ten in ‘TIME 100’ poll

Apr 15 (AT) Becoming the very first Sri Lankan leader to be featured in TIME magazine’s TIME 100 Top Ten, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reached much popularity leaving behind all other top political icons and celebrity stars in the world and some Hollywood superstars in 2011. Rajapaksa is on top of ‘Robin Hood of the information age’, Julian Assange who acquires secret and often controversial documents from government and more..

Sri Lanka: Beyond The UN Drama – Analysis

Apr 16 (ER) No matter what the UN report contains, it should be made available to the people of Sri Lanka and the world at large. The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki – Moon appointed his panel to collect facts and advise him on accountability concerns on war crimes in Sri Lanka during the final weeks of the war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) well known as Tamil Tigers and the Government of Sri Lanka which ended May 2009. more..

Sri Lanka state bus service lose Rs8.4bn

Apr 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's over-staffed state-run bus services lost 8.4 billion rupees in 2010, up 4.9 percent from the 8.4 billion rupees a year earlier, eating up billions of rupees of taxes extracted from the people from other means. Sri Lanka Transport Board, originally started by violating the property rights of citizens and forcibly 'nationalizing' assets, is a long-standing symbol of the state speculating with people's money on businesses and losing heavily. more..

Harper brushes off questions over Tamil candidate who praised terrorist group

Apr 16 (G&M) Stephen Harper insists the Conservatives maintain “a strong position against the Tamil Tigers” despite a party candidate’s role in hosting a televised tribute to the banned terrorist group in November. “Our position on the Tamil Tigers has been strong and unequivocal,” Mr. Harper told reporters Thursday in Beaupré, Que. “This is the party that listed the Tamil Tigers [as a terrorist group]; previous govts have refused to do so, more..

Loan shark Kanadasaba Nadarajah jailed for eight months

Apr 16 (BBC) A loan shark running a money-lending business in east London has been jailed for eight months. Kanadasaba Nadarajah, 68, was found guilty of two counts of lending money without a licence. During the trial, jurors were told the loans were offered to members of the Sri Lankan community living in London and the south east. The court heard people would go to Nadarajah when they were desperate for money. One man asked for a loan after falling into arrears on his mortgage, more..

Public transport resumes

Apr 16 (NN) Public transport is expected to be back to normal by this evening, the National Transport Commission and Private Bus Operators said. Passenger bus services were at a virtual standstill over the last two days as bus drivers and conductors had gone to their respective home towns for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. With the New Year now over transport services are expected to be back to normal later today, the National Transport Commission and Private Bus Operators said. more..

‘BCCI has always been supportive’

Apr 16 (ES) Thanks to the Indian Premier League, Sri Lankan Cricket seems to have been caught on a sticky wicket. With the government-appointed SLC suddenly asking its top players to return from the IPL and prepare for the England tour in May, the relationship with BCCI is on the boil for sure. Unconfirmed reports say SLC members are trying to convince the ministry to let Kumar Sangakkara and Company complete their IPL assignment, but more..

President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit Bangladesh

Apr 16 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will pay a five day state visit to Bangladesh from next Monday to Friday on the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. This is the first state visit of President Rajapaksa to that country. Diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were formally established in 1972 and the Sri Lankan High Commission in Dhaka was set up in 1979. In addition to the Mission in Dhaka there is an Honorary Consul functioning from Chittagong. more..

Rajapaksa an unlikely hit in Time's 2011 movers and shakers

Apr 16 (HT) It could well be the perfect New Year gift for President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He has been ranked sixth, far ahead of any contemporary political leader or statesmen, in Time magazine’s prestigious poll to find out the 100 most influential persons of 2011. It is being said that he is the first Lankan leader to be featured in the annual list. While Rajapaksa seems to be sitting in pretty in the company of singer-actor Beyonce, who precedes him, more..

CJ defends verdict on military courts

Apr 16 (BBC) The Chief Justice (CJ) of Sri Lanka has strongly defended the recent Supreme Court verdict that ruled court martial is a competent court. The ruling has come under strong criticism from senior lawyers and the opposition political parties after it sealed the fate of the former army commander, as a parliamentarian. A group of lawyers has even launched a campaign to sign a petition urging the Supreme Court to reconsider its verdict. more..

We are All Presidents

Apr 16 (LG) I respond to your open letter dated 12 April 2011, to His Excellency Barrack Obama - President of the United States of America. I read it this morning in Sri Lanka Guardian where it was published under the heading “A Responsibility to Act”. I bring to your attention that my article ‘The President Within’ was also published yesterday in Sri Lanka Guardian as well as Tamil Daily News. I sent you a copy of the published article via email. more..

Law without rule of law

Apr 16 (LG) "LIBERTY RIGHTS AT STAKE: THE VIRTUAL ECLIPSE OF THE HABEAS CORPUS REMEDY IN RESPECT OF ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES IN SRI LANKA" is a study of 880 judgments of various courts of Sri Lanka on habeas corpus applications from pre-independence times up to the present period by Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena and Jayantha de Almeida Guneratne. The effort examines an impressive number of judgments on habeas corpus during this period.1 This preview of this forthcoming publication is based on their findings. more..

New Year In Jaffna

Apr 16 (LG) It is very unfortunate that Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe had completely misunderstood me. Initially I like to tell him that I am not one who seeks cheap popularity or political gains. From his Excellency the President down-words everyone knows well that, if I am like some others, I would be in Parliament today. I am as patriotic as any other person in this country, about which the country knows well. I had never been unpatriotic and more..

Perverted Patriotism

Apr 16 (SL) In further developments to the lead story that appeared in our last week’s edition on the Hambantota Port fiasco, it is now learnt that the public will have to cough up an additional Rs. 15.9 billion as new capital costs for blasting the bedrock at the Hambantota Port to obtain the required 17 metre draft to accommodate mega container carriers as well, coupled with other new costs. That Rs. 15.9 billion is equivalent to meeting the Govt’s Samurdhi welfare bill, more..

Dangers of the contemplated nuclear energy

Apr 16 (SL) The earthquake and tsunami in Japan is the biggest and most intense for the past 140 years, though Tokyo sits on the Ring of Fire. The tsunami waves rose 33 feet and shifted the earth’s axis by 25 cm. This tsunami travelled at a speed of 800 km per hour and swept 10 km inland. Japan is one of the most seismologically active regions in the world, and the Japanese are no strangers to earthquakes. There were 125 aftershocks which also brought untold hardship to the Japanese. more..

Kandyan treasures

Apr 16 (NS) The Portuguese and the Dutch ransacked and burnt villages on their attempts to capture Kingdom of Kandy, but the British, after they came into a so-called Treaty with the Kandyan Chiefs, did little damage compared to the other foreign powers. One does not hold a brief to the British, but what they had done for the arts and crafts has been for the good of the country. As Robert Knox, the British prisoner puts it across, the British pulled down the buildings more..

‘Ragging is now an act of frustration’

Apr 16 (NS) Ragging has been part and parcel of university life for many decades. Though it was initially believed to have started as an act of socialising, it went through several changes and had resulted in costing the lives and the future of several students. Many students and human rights activists have taken a hard stance against ragging, as it had been a concern for the students and the authorities. The influence of politics among the university students is also said to be a cause for such a violent behaviour. more..

Food prices and economic challenges

Apr 16 (NS) The sharp increases in international food prices in recent years have resulted in grave anxieties about food security in the country. The problem facing the country was made more serious by the loss of the Maha 2011 harvest of paddy and the destruction of many food crops in the East and North Central region. The increasing food prices have strengthened the argument for food self-sufficiency in Sri Lanka. This is especially so as international food prices are expected to more..

The ‘dobis’ in Colombo: Unseen people, used by most

Apr 16 (GV) In a locality where washing lines heavy with colour light up even the most mundane landscape, Navam Mawatha’s laundry seems a nucleus of sorts. Surrounded by banks and plush office spaces, the old laundry, sitting on prime real estate, remains virtually unchanged since its creation in the 1920s. It consists of two sturdy rows of stone basins for washing and a field strapped with washing lines, all surrounded by a boundary of more..

Editorial: A report based on servility, hostility, prejudice and greed

Apr 16 (Island) The government has rightly rejected the Moon Panel report on Sri Lanka out of hand. That the UNSG and his panel members would pander to the whims and fancies of some western governments sponsoring the LTTE rump hell bent on avenging the elimination of Prabhakaran et al was a foregone conclusion. According to what is known of the contents thereof, it meets the specifications of the US and others all out to penalise Sri Lanka for having flown in more..

Editorial: Is this pension gift a horse deal?

Apr 16 (DM) On April 8 the government presented three Bills – the Employees' Pension Benefits Fund Bill, the Overseas Employees' Pension Benefits Fund Bill and the Pensions (Consequential Provisions) Bill -- in parliament to pave the way for the setting up of a contributory pension scheme for those who are employed in the private sector, in foreign employment or for those who are self employed. These Bills will be debated and probably approved when more..

'Govt must sincerely engage with us'

Apr 16 (SL) The issues faced by the Tamil community and finding a political settlement will have to be done through discussions, says TNA MP and Attorney at Law, M.A. Sumanthiran. In an e-mail interview, he observed that the TNA was engaged in discussions honestly and sincerely with a view to resolving all issues. “There is no other way. We wish that the government too would show more sincerity and purpose in this matter,” he said. more..

Wither TNA- Govt talks

Apr 16 (DM) The most and longest negotiated issues in Sri Lankan politics in history might be the ethnic problem and the devolution of power. These issues have been in the public discourse since the early eighties. An interesting point in this regard is that Sri Lankan society has not been able to come to an agreement during the past forty or more years on the question whether an ethnic problem persists in the country even after a thirty year long bloody war. more..

Price hikes and public lethargy

Apr 16 (SL) With the government having raised fuel and gas prices over two weeks ago, the effects of the hikes are just starting to become apparent for people. A litre of 90 Octane Petrol now costs Rs.125, having gone up by Rs.10, and a litre of Auto Diesel was increased by Rs.3 to Rs.76 per litre. Not stopping there, the government also decided to raise the price of a12.5 kg cylinder of Litro gas by a hefty Rs. 238 and a Laugfs gas cylinder also by Rs. 238. more..

Pension payments to be back-dated

Apr 16 (Island) Minister of Labour Gamini Lokuge said that pension payments for private sector employees will be backdated with effect from last January, the government’s information office said. "It is another pledge given by President Mahinda Rajapakse that pension rights will be provided to private sector employees," it says quoting the minister. The labour minister said that drafting of legal framework in this regard has been carried out and more..

Kapruka: Coconut in one million home gardens

Apr 16 (DM) The government has arranged to plant 285,000 coconut saplings in the Divulapitiya Divisional Secretary’s Division under the Kapruka Programme this year. Addressing a ceremony to distribute coconut seedlings among the people, the Regional Manager of the Coconut Development Board, D P B Jayakody said that the Divulapitiya Electorate has been selected as the location for the proposed Kapruka Village in the Gampaha District under the Divi Neguma Programme and more..

12% with A/Ls unemployed

Apr 16 (SL) Relatively high unemployment among youth, in particular among educated youth remains a concern, Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) in its 2010 Annual Report said. Total unemployment stood at 400,000. The highest unemployment rate of 11.6% was among those with qualifications of GCE (A/L) and above, followed by those with GCE (O/L) qualifications (6.9%). The unemployment rate was high among the age group of 15–29 years as observed during the last few years. more..

We do not know what note he is referring to — British High Commission

Apr 16 (SL) The British High Commission in Colombo last week told The Sunday Leader they had no idea what ‘note’ UPFA MP Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha was talking about when he told the BBC Sinhala Sandeshaya Service that the former defence attaché at the BHC had handed him a typed note which stated that a gang working closely with the then Army Commander Sarath Fonseka was guilty of carrying out killings and abductions. more..

Welgama visits Fort railway station to review transport plans during festive season

Apr 16 (Island) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama kept a close watch on the transport services operated by the Sri Lankan railways and the SLTB during the New year season. More than 500 SLTB buses and additional trains operated for the benefit of the commuters from April 13. The same service will continue tomorrow too. He has also instructed relevant officials at Fort Railway Station and Central Bus Stand to maintain proper sanitation and toilet facilities for the people. more..

Sinhalese demanding ransom captured by villages in Jaffna

Apr 16 (TN) The three men, who came in a white colored van, searching for the trader, had earlier claimed that they were from Pillayan's TMVP and issued a letter to the trader for a fee of 30,000 rupees while he was visiting Trincomalee. After issuing the letter, they also informed their contacts in Vavuniyaa military check-post while the trader was travelling back to Jaffna. But, the military personnel at Vavuniyaa, who didn't find any document in the trader's possession, more..

Murali slams SLC for calling back players from IPL

Apr 16 (HT) Retired spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan on Friday slammed Sri Lankan Cricket Board for asking its players to return home midway through the Indian Premier League for a tour to England, saying the No Objection Certificate had permitted them to play till May 20. "I think the board (SLC) has given the m permission till May 20. I don't know what happened suddenly. The players were told to come on May 5. It is the fault of SLC because they signed more..

Zoo organizes video clip contest for visitors

Apr 16 (DN) The Dehiwala National Zoological Gardens has organized a best video clip competition for visitors from April 8 to 22 for the New Year school vacation, Director General Bashwara Senanka Gunaratne told the Daily News. He said that visitors can use video recorders in hand phones for this competition. The competition will be held under two categories. Participants can either capture any movement of the animals or behaviour of the visitors in the zoo. more..

Dayasiri attacks US

Apr 16 (Island) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera says the US shouldn’t be worried about Sri Lanka’s human rights record. The UNPer alleged the US was responsible for numerous HR violations over the years, though it routinely blames other countries of rights violations. The Kurunegala District MP was responding to UNSG Ban ki-Moon’s decision to appoint a three-member panel to investigate ‘war crimes’ charges in relation to Sri Lanka’s successful war against terrorism. more..

On Sri Lanka war crimes, after Ban Ki-moon gives Rajapaksa a head start, a partial text emerges, criticism of UN

Apr 16 (ICP) This is no way to conduct, or release, an inquiry into war crimes. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who claimed UN Panel of Experts could travel to Sri Lanka due to President Mahinda Rajapaksa's “flexibility,” belatedly got the report on April 12. But he only gave it to Rajapaksa's govt, not to the public. That day, ICP asked Ban's Spokesman when it would be released, and if the Panel had traveled to Sri Lanka and if not, why not. more..

Shrimp trawlers banned from waters

Apr 16 (SL) Kalpitiya, in the afternoon heat was like a beautiful mirage, with little boats dotting the coast, returning after the day’s catch. A warm breeze drifted along the coast, bringing with it the smell of the fresh catch and salt. Everyone seemed to be busy with their jobs, their lives dictated by the swell of the sea. Except it seemed, a group of fishermen who specialised in catching isso (prawns). They were trawlers, men who spent around four days at sea, more..

Inspiration is sport's primary purpose

Apr 16 (Hindu) Never underestimate sport's ability to inspire. Certainly it also provides opportunity and entertainment. It is, too, an outlet for youthful energies that might otherwise be directed into less savoury activities. Now and then a noted sportsman stoops but it's a small price to pay. Overwhelmingly sport takes the sting out of young males. Inspiration, though, remains sport's primary purpose. And it can take many forms, can show that a black man can succeed as captain of more..

The white elephant in Hambantota

Apr 16 (SL) Hambantota Port costs may escalate by another Rs. 15.9 billion, state run Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama told The Sunday Leader in an email interview. Those additional costs are due to having to blast and remove the bedrock found in the harbour which would cost Rs. 4.8 billion, another Rs. 8.9 billion for escalating costs of raw material, a further Rs. 999 million to build a head-office building in more..