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Who is Adding Power to Sri Lanka – Mahinda or Gothabaya?

Aug 6 (LG) I respond to the report ‘Democracy and Human Rights’, by the Colombo Political Editor of Sri Lanka Guardian. The Political Editor asks the question on behalf of the Indian High Commission ‘The High Commission is still debating who is right – whether it is Mahinda Rajapaksa who speaks of defending human rights, democracy and does nothing or Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who says the two are western values and embarks on a heavy militarisation programme.‘ more..

Democracy and Human Rights

Aug 6 (LG) A scholarly debate has begun in the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka after the last official visit by Nirupama Rao, who relinquished office as Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs on 30th July this year. The subject is of great importance not only to diplomats but also to all students of political science. It is whether democracy and human rights are Western values that need not be practiced in developing economies like Sri Lanka? The person more..

Refurbished statue of King Sangilian unveiled

Aug 6 (Cimic) The new statue of King Sangiliyan Thoppu at the Muththarai Sandi on Point Pedro road was declared open by Hon. Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development Mr. Douglas Devananda Wednesday (03) morning. The new statue of the ancient king was constructed anew by the Jaffna Municipal Council replacing the old similar one. more..

SRI LANKA: White-washing war crimes

Aug 6 (LG) If truth is the first casualty during war, it is still under wraps for Sri Lanka’s perpetrators of war post war. Every utterance of the govt from the President downwards is cloaked in lies, damned lies and total denial that war crimes occurred. Yet there is ample evidence from the horses’ mouth by their own admission that civilians may have been inadvertently killed just months after the initial blanket denial no civilians were killed. It gets even better and funnier. more..

Vanni farmers and Indian fishermen

Aug 6 (LG) I respond to the report ‘Indian External Affairs Minister makes statement on Sri Lanka to Lok Sabha, published by LG. As per the report the Hon S.M.Krishna, Minister for External Affairs said The relationship between India and Sri Lanka is based upon shared historical, cultural, ethnic and civilizational ties and extensive people-to-people interaction. In recent years, the relationship has become multifaceted and diverse, encompassing all areas of contemporary relevance.’ more..

The most outstanding pageant in the world

Aug 6 (SO) Some exceptional events, festivals, pageants and ceremonies define the inner profile of a given culture. Of phenomena that emphatically define Sri Lankan culture, the annual pageant of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is undoubtedly the most outstanding. The Temple of the Tooth Relic has associated with it, a formal religious aspect. This determines its complex of rites and rituals, conducted scrupulously, right round the year. more..

Murder and abduction due to failure of the police to provide protection

Aug 6 (LG) A wealthy businessman was killed by a relative of his second wife who later attempted to abduct his two daughters. Prior to his murder the deceased complained to the Ragama Police requesting protection but as is usual in Sri Lanka no action was taken. The suspected mastermind behind the killing and abduction, the second wife, has not been arrested by the police. This case is yet another illustration of the total disregard by the police of their sworn duties, more..

Elections to Local Bodies – An Indian Perspective

Aug 6 (LG) The results of elections to local bodies, held on March 17, 2011 and July 23, 2011 and subsequent comments made by Sinhalese and Tamil leaders clearly indicate that the ethnic divide in Sri Lanka is getting sharpened. Two years after the decimation of the Tigers the Government is determined to impose a solution which reflects the will of the Sinhala majority. There is no attempt to win the hearts and minds of the Tamils by convincing them that they are equal more..

Veggie with a vengeance!

Aug 6 (ST) Vegetarians until recently were consigned to culinary pariah-hood with restaurateurs reeling with revulsion if asked, “Have you a vegetarian option?” Then vegetarianism surged because it was healthier, slimmer, greener, cheaper (post-recession), trendier or simply because Madonna and Paul McCartney are vegetarians. Vegetarianism is no longer risible. Indeed, it’s serious business. Governor’s Restaurant (Mount Lavinia Hotel): more..

Bandaragama housemaid’s death baffles sleuths

Aug 6 (SO) Is Bandaragama gradually acquiring the notoriety status of Kahawatte where several women were killed in the past? Two unmarried women had been gruesomely killed at Bandaragama as in Kahawatte, whose killers are still at large. It was on July 23 that the killing of a feeble old servant woman was reported to the Bandaragama police station. She had been strangled to death by unknown assassins. However the motive for her killing is still not clear. more..

A festival to commemorate Sinhala film Ahasin Polowata

Aug 6 (LB) A programme to felicitate the artistes involved in the production of the ground-breaking and international award winning Sinhala film Ahasin Polowata directed by Dr. Lester James Peiris which hit the screen 35 years ago, also thanks to the input of the late U.W. Sumathipala as its producer, is to be held at the auditorium of the Sri Sambuddhathva Jayanthi Hall, Colombo 05, on August 02, 2011. The Sinhala film Ahasin Polowata created history in more..

'There’s no vacancy for Party Leadership now'

Aug 6 (DM) UNP Media Spokesman Mangala Samaraweera under heavy fire from Party reformists for his recent comments on the Party leadership and his criticism of ‘spoilers’ within the Party; maintains that leadership changes are sought by those seeking to ‘strengthen the govt and nothing else.’ ‘There is no question of new leadership now. There is no need to challenge the leadership now. This question doesn’t even arise because there is simply no vacancy. more..

Editorial: TNA's mighty rush

Aug 6 (Island) Even a child birth is normally preceded by nine months of gestation. But, the TNA wants the govt to make a crucial decision on devolution, which would affect the lives of not just a few people but over 20 million Sri Lankans, within less than eight months of the commencement of negotiations! The TNA has given the govt two weeks to 'meaningfully define and state' its response to three core issues, viz the structure of governance, the division of subjects and functions more..

Editorial: Mubarak: The blessed lesson for political leaders

Aug 6 (DM) He was blessed with the leadership of a country widely regarded as one of history’s greatest civilizations with its pharaohs, pyramids and all the glories of the Nile. But on Wednesday Egypt’s ousted President Hosni Mubarak who had apparently turned the blessings into curses was hauled before a criminal court in Cairo to face charges of the pre-meditated murder of hundreds of human rights demonstrators and widespread corruption or plunder of public funds. more..

Karu is not a dictator: Dayasiri

Aug 6 (DM) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera expresses his views on the present turmoil within the UNP. Q. Are you worried, that the present turmoil within the UNP will break-up the party and cause the two factions to go their separate ways? A: Yes, I am very worried about it because we don’t have a common agenda to work towards, which is the biggest problem. We begin something and thereafter everyone has their own views and the work is never completed, more..

Nearly 40 years after: A mini travelogue

Aug 6 (SL) The past week provided a mixed bag of emotions for three generations of my immediate family: for myself, for a middle-aged daughter returning to the land of her birth after 36 years and a young adult, granddaughter making a first visit to a South Asian country. Yala National Park provided a great deal of excitement: several leopard sightings, some elephants, a few calves and one quite magnificent tusker. The deer population appeared to be at an all-time low level. more..

Searching for honesty and integrity in a “rogue” society

Aug 6 (SL) Here, if you make it ‘idiot proof’, someone will make a better idiot” goes a one-liner, in a book of jokes. But that wouldn’t sound a joke here: seems much like a pay-off line for a govt project, instead. That, in fact, is how this govt and its polity works with each other. That, in fact, is how some try to explain the continued popularity of this govt, despite its inability to answer any of the issues it has to, and its arrogance in taking decisions. more..

Excelling exports

Aug 6 (FT) Sri Lanka’s first half export earnings reached US$ 510.4 million, recording a growth rate of 40.9% over the corresponding period in 2010, with expectations of hitting US$ 10 billion by year end despite the usual lull in the next few months. According to provisional data, growth has been experienced across all segments of the industry. The biggest boost came from the textiles and garments sector, which recorded earnings worth US$ 2,161.36 million, more..

Aussies call facilities at Pallekele ‘fantastic’

Aug 6 (Island) Australian captain Cameron White called facilities at the Pallekele International Stadium fantastic and that preparations for his side ahead of the two T-20 games have gone very well. The Australians arrived in Kandy on Wednesday and following some intense training sessions said were looking forward to the games against Sri Lanka. "Our preparation has been good and the facilities here have been excellent. This is a fantastic ground and the group is really ready to go," more..

Debt and deficit: Deficit and debt: A vicious cycle

Aug 6 (ST) The public debt and fiscal deficit are inextricably connected. The size and composition of the public debt affects the fiscal deficit. Continuous large fiscal deficits accumulate into a large public debt. The servicing of a large public debt increases the expenditure of the govt and leads to further deficits and borrowing. The cyclic relationship of the two leads to serious difficulties in containing either and results in economic instability and may even lead to a more..

Vavuniya to get US$ 20mn garment factory, 1,500 to be employed

Aug 6 (Island) A new garment factory is to be constructed in Vinayagapuram, Vavuniya in a joint venture by Omega Line Limited, which is fully owned by Calzedonia Finanziaria of Luxembourg. Calzedonia’s Vavuniya factory is expected to commence operations in October 2012 and will provide employment to 1500 at full capacity. The initial investment for the Vavuniya factory is US $ 20 million. more..

Vandals repeatedly target crucifix

Aug 6 (UCAN) A small Catholic community in the largely Buddhist city of Matugama has fought an uphill battle to preserve the sanctity of a cemetery in St. Mary’s Church, in which a local priest says a crucifix has been the target of repeated acts of vandalism. Father Devshan Asanka, the parish priest, said the crucifix, which was recently replaced after having been damaged, was again vandalized last week. “We filed a complaint to police in Matugama, and they came to investigate. more..

Now, fresh revelation over cricket corruption

Aug 6 (Island) Following the recent The Island expose of irregularities in printing tickets for theICC World Cup 2011, Ranjan Dharmaraja, a SriLankan businessman cum cricket fan, who bought tickets for three matches played in the Caribbean during the 2007 World Cup, alleged corruption in the process. He told The Island that the local company which arranged ‘package tours’ to the Caribbean had charged about $ 300 for each ticket, whereas those who bought tickets elsewhere, more..

Excise raids earn govt. Rs 6 mn in six months

Aug 6 (Island) The Excise Department said it had conducted nearly 20,000 raids in the first six months this year and earned Rs. 5,947,440 by way of fines. The most number of raids (5,415) was conducted in June. There were 2,302 successful raids in January, 2,981 in February, 3,277 in March, 2,565 in April and 3,420 in May. 2,363 raids were conducted on Sports Clubs, Night Clubs and Karoke Bars in the first six months of this year for more..

Over 160,000 clay pots given free

Aug 6 (Island) The Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Child Development has distributed over 160,000 clay pots at a cost of eight million rupees in the Anradhapura District. The spokesperson for the Ministry said yesterday that there were 28 villages in the Anuradhapura District that had had carried on the trade for generations. She said that research and surveys carried out during the past few years identified the use of low quality aluminum cooking utensils as one of the causes for more..

Russia, Sri Lanka to open direct air route

Aug 6 (IT) Russia and Sri Lanka will open a direct air route, a source at the Russian Transport Ministry told Itar-Tass on Friday. Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin told the Sri Lankan colleague that Russia had completed interdepartmental coordination of the agreement and was expecting Sri Lanka to do the same. “Current agreements between the two aviation authorities make it possible to start regular flights between Moscow and Colombo,” the source said. more..

‘Nam Tamilar’ group behind harassment?

Aug 6 (DM) Sri Lankan pilgrims who came under attack by some Pro LTTE elements in Chennai yesterday alleged that they were harassed by members of a group called ‘Nam Tamilar (We are Tamils) which is allegedly backed by some politicians in Tamil Nadu. These members who came under attack retuned to the island yesterday morning. One of the victims Sunil Kukulegama told the Daily Mirror that they got to know from reliable sources that these goons who more..

England Lions v Sri Lanka A: Day 4

Aug 6 (CI) James Taylor pushed his claims for a place in next week's third Test squad by making 98 in the drawn match with Sri Lanka A at Scarborough. Taylor has been mentioned as a possible England replacement for Jonathan Trott, who is trying to prove his fitness for the Edgbaston Test, and he did his chances no harm with impressive performances in both innings. With his batting rival Ravi Bopara making just 44 runs in the game Taylor, 21, followed his first innings 76 more..

Sri Lanka Nestlé unit launches infant milk formula as profits rise

Aug 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Nestlé unit has launched an up-market infant milk formula as June 2011 quarter profit rose by half amid rising personal incomes and accelerating economic growth after the end of a war. Nestlé Lanka MD Alois Hofbauer said the 'Neslac Excella 1+' growing-up-milk formula was developed by Nestlé's research centre at Lausanne, Switzerland for children between the ages of one to three. "This product is aimed at the premium end of the market and more..

Tamil migrant ship passenger involved in suicide bombing can stay, ruling says

Aug 6 (G&M) A Tamil who says he had to flee Sri Lanka after the Tigers used one of his possessions in a suicide bombing should not be deported, an immigration adjudicator has ruled. The adjudicator Michael McPhalen has rejected the government's effort to have the passenger aboard the migrant ship MV Sun Sea deported after concluding there is no credible evidence the man knew he was helping the terrorist organization in the bombing. more..

Dengue breeding places in WP: Over 41 percent created by plastic items

Aug 6 (DN) Latest MRI entomology surveys reveal that 41 percent dengue mosquito breeding places in the Western Province were created by plastic items. Around 15 percent of dengue mosquito breeding takes place in water storages and 13 per cent in coconut shells, Dr. Indira Weerasinghe said. He said that over 90 per cent of mosquito breeding places are located outside in the environment and only 10 per cent of dengue mosquito breeding places located inside buildings. more..

Japan provides further humanitarian assistance to IDPs

Aug 6 (LP) The Govt of Japan recently decided to extend a financial contribution of 100 million Japanese Yen (approximately 1.26 million US dollars) through the Office of the UNHCR for humanitarian assistance to IDPs and IDP returnees in Sri Lanka. This grant will be utilized for various activities of UNHCR such as shelter cash grant for returnees. Japan’s overall assistance to the Northern Province has covered a wide range of areas to promote development and more..

Sri Lanka v Australia, 1st Twenty20: Preview

Aug 6 (CI) Australia commence their tour of Sri Lanka under a captain, Cameron White, who will be flying home once the Twenty20 matches have concluded. Sri Lanka, by contrast will be led in all three formats by Tillakaratne Dilshan, leading the team at home for the first time after taking over the reins for the England tour earlier this year. Until a narrow victory over England in the second of two T20 matches following the Ashes, Australia's form more..

Luxembourg, Sri Lanka finalise Avoidance of Double Taxation Convention

Aug 6 (Island) A Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income on capital, has been finalized between Luxembourg and Sri Lanka. Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said that the ADTPFE Convention was negotiated and concluded in keeping with the government’s policy to enhance economic relations with Luxembourg. Sri Lanka would benefit through the promotion of foreign investments and foreign exchange earnings, more..

Incident involving Sri Lankan pilgrims unfortunate, says India

Aug 6 (IANS) The government Friday termed as "unfortunate" an incident involving physical and verbal abuse against a group of Sri Lankan pilgrims in Chennai and said three people have been arrrested following investigations. Replying to questions, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said the ministry's attention had been drawn to an incident in Chennai Aug 3, in which Sri Lankan pilgrims staying at a guest house in the city had been targeted and more..

Ranil calls for discipline in party

Aug 6 (DM) Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday stressed the need for discipline in the party if its unity was to be safeguarded. He told at the swearing-in ceremony for the newly elected UNP local councillors at party headquarters Srikotha, that he would not answer critics as those who criticized him were also leaders in the party. “I don’t want to put up a show by responding to the allegations against me,” he said. more..

UNP criticizes govt. evict to low-income people from their houses in Colombo

Aug 6 (SL) UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera has criticized the govt’s move to evict low income earners from their houses in Colombo and has expressed shock to see the involvement of a Catholic leader involved in the attempt. He made this comment in a statement issued on the eviction of low income earners from Colombo in order to demolish their existing abodes. He has been critical of Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith for attending a meeting organized by UPFA MP Duminda Silva more..

Post war issues: A realistic naval strategy and Indo-Lanka relationship

Aug 6 (Island) In spite of the conclusion of the war, Sri Lanka needs to closely monitor the Indo-Lanka maritime boundary to thwart any fresh attempt to re-establish a clandestine sea line of communications between northern Sri Lanka and India. Constant watch on the Indian fishing fleet, as well as the local fishing population should be one of the most important factors in the overall naval strategy in a post-war era. Although the LTTE no longer poses a conventional military challenge, more..

I am very happy and satisfied says Mrs Tamilselvan

Aug 6 (IN) Wife of the former head of the LTTE political wing Mrs RehaTamilselvan said that she is very satisfied with the facilities provided by the Sri Lankan Government but her only concern is that will the Tamil people accept them. She made these remarks at the interview in the 58.5 minutes long video clip – Sri Lanka counters Channel 4: Lies agreed upon which was broadcast on TV Derana recently. more..

‘Introduce rice varieties having bigger consumer demand’

Aug 6 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed the need to introduce rice varieties having a bigger consumer demand to farmers to help them overcome marketing problems. The President made this observation when he presided over a progress review meeting of the Ministries of Agriculture, Livestock, Environment, Economic Development, Agrarian Services and Wild Life and Irrigation and Water Management and more..