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Media Freedom, a myth?

Aug 13 (DM) The 2010 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks Sri Lanka at the 158th position, very low on the rankings of Press Freedom. The latest attack on the Uthayan News Editor Gnanasundaram and the constant harassment of the media by the Rajapaksa regime will certainly ensure that Sri Lanka maintains such a bad image, in the global press freedom arena. Udayan, Sri Lanka’s largest and most influential Tamil newspaper published in the north continuously exposed the more..

UNP needs a New Image more than a New Leader

Aug 13 (DM) Change of leadership is merely a part of UNP’s problems. Surgeons of the party are undertaking to do major surgery trying to extract a ruptured appendix mistaking it for the malignant cancer that remains intact. It’s the image that needs the change, stupid! It’s a party of many things but none of it ignites to create the image needed to attract the votes of the majority. Problem is deep down beyond the comprehension of the UNP from 1956 except for the spell under President Premadasa: more..

Ipalogama 'Ranajayapura' pre school kids display artistic talents

Aug 13 (MoD) Kids learning at Ministry of Defence managed Ipalogama 'Ranajayapura' pre-school and Seva Vanitha Army Branch (SVAB) run Minneriya and Anuradhapura 'Viru Kekulu' pre-schools exhibited their exceptional artistic talents and handicrafts during their separate annual Exhibitions on Friday (5) at Ipalogama Housing Complex Minneriya and Anuradhapura. Of the three exhibitions, the one at Ipalogama, managed by Mrs Ioma Rajapaksa, Chairperson, more..

No prosecution of the police officers who tortured Neth FM Journalist

Aug 13 (LG) According to the information a journalist of one of Sri Lanka's leading electronic media institutions, Mr. Nilupa Sanjaya Liyanagehewa was seriously assaulted by a team of 15 police officers attached to the Mulleriyawa Police Station on 4 June 2011. Mr. Sanjaya is employed by Neth FM. On this particular day Sanjaya had a family gathering in his home at Angoda, Mulleriyawa. As Mr. Sanjaya approached his house a group of uniformed police officers brutally assaulted him. more..

Preaching to the convinced and damning dissenters will not work

Aug 13 (LG) Reading and listening to the fast and furious debates on ‘Channel 4’ that have been going on for quite some time, we have wondered about the objective of committed defenders of the Rajapaksa faith. Is it to prove that the controversial film strip is a fraudulent concoction to disgrace Sri Lanka, to give vent to expressions of loyalty to the Rajapaksa regime for various reasons or genuine patriotic outbursts? Preachers of all faiths and ideologies down the years and more..

Oldest practising surgeon still going strong

Aug 13 (SO) If you can swim, Dr. 'Mas' is ready to direct you to the famous coral reef in Hikkaduwa. It will not be a mere swim, but an educational tour with information on everything about the amazing coral wealth of Hikkaduwa. Dr. 'Mas' is ready to share his knowledge about the corals in Hikkaduwa, where he spent his childhood, diving in the seas, enjoying the wonders of the corals. Even in the twilight of his life, whenever he is off his busy schedule, more..

Enhancing the Post War Peace Dividend

Aug 13 (NS) The country is experiencing what is described as the post war peace dividend. The increase in tourist arrivals and earnings is a clear example of this benefit. Agricultural production too has increased owing to uncultivable areas during the war coming into production. Fisheries have expanded owing to the lifting of security restrictions. The improvement of internal trade with the North and East has also spurred increases in production, lower consumer prices and higher levels of economic activity. more..

Murder and Mayhem of LTTE in Sri Lanka

Aug 13 (NS) The report, Humanitarian Operation, Factual Analysis July 2008 – May 2009, compiled by the Ministry of Defence, was launched at the Colombo Hilton last week. The report includes details of the humanitarian mission conducted by the Sri Lankan Army, Navy and Air Force. It also refers to atrocities committed by the LTTE against civilians, use of child soldiers by the LTTE, the global threat posed by the LTTE, its supply network and international network, peace talks between more..

Nikini Poya thoughts: Bhikku’s rain retreats (Vas) and of hermitages

Aug 13 (Island) With the onset of the rainy season, Sakyamuni Gotama Buddha’s exhortation to his disciples was that from the July "Esala Full Moon Poya", they should confine themselves to a four month retreat (in Pali language known as "Vas") by living indoors in Temples or Hermitages. Theravada Buddhism requires all Bhikkus to observe during this "Vas Season", over 200 Vinaya (disciplinary rules) to the letter, concentrating on the aspect of Gila (Morality) and more..

Reflections on local government elections in North

Aug 13 (NS) The TNA, the umbrella organisation of once unabashed apologists for the LTTE secured control of 18 local government authorities while its arch rival, the TULF, which openly criticised the LTTE, won two while the ruling UPFA also took control of two bodies in the strongholds of key ally, the EPDP of Douglas Devananda. The results have provoked hurrahs on all sides, some chest-beating and some condemnation of an ungrateful and even communalist electorate. more..

There are many more things in common than there are differences between the govt and TNA

Aug 13 (TC) Speech in Parliament of Prof Rajiva Wijesinha MP on the debate on the extension of the State of Emergency, August 9, 2011. Hon. Deputy Chairman of Committees, In supporting the extension of the State of Emergency for another month, I would like, if possible, to introduce some conceptual issues. I have not spoken on the State of Emergency for some time, and I was deeply sorry just now to hear that the speech of the Hon. Member from the Opposition simply repeated the mixture as before. more..

'Public views of Govt and Defence Secretary on political solution are diametrically opposite'

Aug 13 (TC) The Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, brother of His Excellency the President and an important policy-maker in the Govt, has been quoted in the “Headlines Today”, that there was little scope of going beyond the current levels of devolution. He has further stated that the existing constitution is more than enough for us to live together and that he does not think that there is any issue on this more than that. At the beginning of the bi-lateral talks between more..

Editorial: Lady JJ's conniption

Aug 13 (Island) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has, true to form, flown off the handle at a remark by the Sri Lankan Defence Minister Gotabhaya Rajapaksa that she had got a resolution passed in the State Assembly calling for economic sanctions against Sri Lanka, to gain political mileage. While venting her spleen on the Defence Secretary, Jayalalithaa has called for the Centre to condemn him through an envoy. She seems to be still living in the world of celluloid fantasies, where she reigns supreme. more..

Editorial: No future without forgiveness

Aug 13 (DM) The role of political leaders, the future of Sri Lanka and the process of healing and reconciliation towards sustainable peace and justice in the country were the main topics of a dialogue held recently among religious communities. Some of the participants had just returned from South Africa where they had closely studied the situation in that country, which for years had been rocked to the point of being ruined by an ethnic conflict. The moderator of the dialogue was a well known thinker and more..

Shelton Ranaraja: Courageous politician with enlightened principles

Aug 13 (DBS) The demise of Shelton Ranaraja on August 11th 2011 takes away from Sri Lanka a distinguished member of a dwindling species –Principled political leaders. The former MP for Senkadagala and deputy minister for Justice was a courageous politician with enlightened principles. It is indeed a rare politician who is prepared to stand up against the majority of his or her political party for what one believes to be right.Shelton Ranaraja was such a person. more..

Warning to Lankan, Indian fishermen not to poach

Aug 13 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne warned Sri Lankan fishermen not to poach in Indian waters, as it was against international law. The Indian fishermen too had no right to fish in Sri Lankan waters, he said. If both sides did not pay attention to this issue, it would affect the relationship between the two countries. He had brought this issue to the notice of the Indian government and had educated Sri Lankan fishermen, he said at the convention of National Fisheries Federations in Mannar. more..

Land for those whose land was acquired in NE

Aug 13 (Island) The govt will provide land to all those whose land was acquired in the north and east before 1983. A special programme has been initiated by the Ministry of Land and Land Development in this regard, Senior Assistant Secretary of the ministry, P. M. P. Udayakantha said. "The govt has already commenced the programme to provide land in five divisional secretariats in the Northern Province." Northern and Eastern Provinces have 75 and 42 divisional secretariats respectively. more..

Attempted stabbing on Geetha Kumarasingha: Planned attack

Aug 13 (LP) Popular actress Geetha Kumarasingha who was nearly stabbed by two men at a funeral house in Elpitiya, claimed the attack was politically motivated by an opposition politician. She narrated the fearsome ordeal she experienced at the point of a sharp knife that evening in her life. After discussion with the party members on several development projects in the area, actress Kumarasingha accompanied by several others had visited the funeral house of a more..

IOPN to open South Asian Operation office in SL

Aug 13 (DM) The Asian Region Director of the International Organisation to Protect the Nature (IOPN), Mrs. Aban Makar Kabraji considering the progress Sri Lanka has made in saving the environment has suggested to establish its’ South Asian Operation Office’ in Sri Lanka, a spokesman of the Central Environment Authority (CEA) said. The suggestion has been made at a courtesy call she made on Environment Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa during her recent visit to Sri Lanka. more..

Charges on supplementary estimate: MP

Aug 13 (DM) DNA MP Sunil Handnunetti yesterday in Parliament charged that the Ministry of Private Transport Services had sought the approval of the House for an additional Rs. 9 million to purchase equipment and administration expenses though a supplementary estimate. Mr. Handunetti came out with this charge as a supplementary question at the oral question time in the House. He said the Ministry is seeking Rs. 9 million after spending Rs 2.6 million for a state function that had been organised to more..

Railway line from Galle to Induruwa closed from September

Aug 13 (DN) The Transport Ministry will close the Southern coastal railway line from Galle to Induruwa from Sept 1, 2011. The rail track will be closed for six months up to Feb 29, 2012. The 53-kilometre rail track will be closed for upgrading under the second phase of the high-speed southern railway renovation project. The spokesman said the Indian Railway Construction Company Limited (IRCON) which handles the construction work on the Southern coastal railway track, more..

USAID, Brandix Lanka collaboration - Batti garment workers get a ride

Aug 13 (Island) Around 450 apparel factory workers in Punani, Batticaloa will soon find their daily commute a lot easier. In recognition of the difficulties posed by long travel distances to and from work – up to 40 kilo meters one way for some – and the region’s unreliable public transportation, the workers’ employer, Brandix Lanka Limited, and the USAID provided two 58-seater buses to transport the workers to and from their homes daily. The buses will be operated by Brandix’s worker welfare committee, more..

Six coaches spearhead National Athletic plan

Aug 13 (LP) In keeping with the four year National Athletics Plan, the Ministry of Sports had appointed six main coaches. The six appointments made under the National Athletics Coaching Advisor on advise of the Sri Lanka Athletic Association, are for six different events, the Ministry added. The four year plan to improve the standard of athletic in the country was established to regularize the training squads, provide the expertise of foreign coaches, to train the athletes under an athletic training plan, more..

Kudos for Hambantota 2018 CWG bid from Caribbean delegation

Aug 13 (FT) Representatives of the Caribbean delegation which visited Sri Lanka recently had praised Sri Lanka’s Hambantota bid for 2018 Commonwealth Games. In a letter to the Organising Committee of the bid, Jean Francis of Gwade/Cameroon had commended Sri Lanka’s efforts and preparations in addition to being impressed with the warmth and hospitality received during the delegation’s visit. High-level Commonwealth Games Associations and affiliate bodies from more..

Commercial Bank June net up 63-pct

Aug 13 (LBO) Commercial Bank of Ceylon's net profits in the June 2011 quarter rose 63.8 percent to 1.97 billion rupees, amid strong credit growth and containment of interest expenses, interim accounts show. The group reported earnings of 5.17 rupees per share for the quarter. For the six months it reported earnings of 10.57 rupees. Profits were also helped by a lower rate of tax. A so-called financial value added tax fell 41 percent to 373 million rupees and income tax fell 11 percent more..

Chinese company to build container port in Colombo

Aug 13 (DJ) China Merchants Holdings Co. has signed a deal to invest in a container port in the Sri Lankan capital, the Chinese port operator said Friday, as it continues to seek growth opportunities abroad. A consortium led by the blue-chip port operator, which has a 55% stake in the project, plans to invest more than US$500 million to build and operate a container port in Colombo, with the first phase of the new terminal scheduled to begin operations in early 2013, more..

'Cardinal’s intention was to help the poor; no hidden agenda'

Aug 13 (Island) Archbishop’s Secretariat issued a statement to clear certain misconceptions spread by unscrupulous individuals and parties to the detriment of Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith. The full statement is as follows: "It has been reported to His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo that over the national media reports have appeared distorting facts concerning a meeting attended by him at St. James Church, Colombo 15 on 3rd August, in order to sort out more..

England Lions v Sri Lanka A, 1st one-dayer: Taylor hundred sets up Lions win

Aug 13 (CI) James Taylor's 106 and a buccaneering 26-ball 59 from Jonny Bairstow set up England Lions' 97-run win over Sri Lanka A at New Road. Having been inserted after losing the toss Taylor, who made 76 and 98 in the four-day fixture against the same opposition last week, ensured his side posted a tough target by anchoring the innings. Joe Root offered bright support initially with a boundary-studded 62 from 66 balls. On a day when his England batting rival Ravi Bopara made 7 against India, more..

Convey unhappiness to Colombo: AIADMK

Aug 13 (Hindu) The AIADMK on Friday expressed unhappiness over the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa's criticism of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and wanted the sentiment be conveyed to Colombo. Raising the issue during zero hour in the Lok Sabha, party leader M. Thambidurai rejected Mr. Rajapaksa's allegation that Ms. Jayalalithaa had voiced concern over the plight of ethnic Tamils and condemned “war crimes” for political gains. “Ms. Jayalalithaa had spoken on more..

Karunanidhi takes umbrage at Jayalalithaa dragging his name

Aug 13 (Hindu) DMK president M. Karunanidhi on Friday criticised Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for dragging his name while condemning Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa for his reaction to an Assembly resolution demanding economic sanctions on Sri Lanka. Condemning Mr. Rajapaksa, Ms. Jayalalithaa had termed “mere eyewash,” the actions taken by the DMK such as convening all-party meeting, meeting of legislature party leaders, passing resolutions in the Assembly, more..

No supervisory MPs – Dinesh tells Dayasiri

Aug 13 (Island) No MPs has been appointed as supervisory MPs, Parliament was told yesterday. Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena replying a question raised by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said that all govt rank MPs have been assigned to ministries to work and cooperate with the ministry officials but none had been appointed as supervisory members of parliament. MP Jayasekera said that MPs Duminda Silva, Sajin Vass Gunawardena and Uditha Lokubandara had been appointed as supervisory MPs to more..

Sarvodaya in Rs 194 mn Norwegian project

Aug 13 (Island) Sarvodaya and Norway have inked an agreement to enhance good governance at community level. The Norwegian embassy said that the project would be implemented in all 25 administrative districts covering 52 Divisional Secretariat divisions for a period of 3 years. The embassy said: "The total investment of this project is Rs.194 million, with around 15% of the contribution coming from the communities themselves. Ambassador Hilde Haraldstad and Dr.Vinya Ariyaratne, signed more..

'Powerful figure behind cement scam'

Aug 13 (DM) DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake charged that a powerful figure in the govt was behind the low quality cement scam. He alleged that the inferior quality cement had been imported as a result of a deal between the said powerful figure and a Cement company in Pakistan. He said this deal was finalized when the company owner visited Sri Lanka together with Pakistani President recently. The cement had been imported by the National Cooperatives Board - an more..

Accountability issues: Why focus only on GoSL? – Gomin

Aug 13 (Island) Senior lawyer Gomin Dayasri alleges that those attacking Sri Lanka over so-called accountability issues have been silent on the atrocities committed by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) during its deployment here. Dayasri said: "On Tamil civilian casualties there are allegations against Sri Lankan Forces and the IPKF. It is ironical that there should be cacophony of shrieks about the Sri Lanka forces and an eerie silence as regards the IPKF. more..

Croydon's Tamil community feel lt down by authorities

Aug 13 (LL) The Croydon Tamil community has accused the authorities of letting them down. Predominantly based in London Road, the traders said the police should have done more to protect them from the “madness”. The statement from Dr Jeyanthan, chairman of the Croydon Tamil business forum, said while the town centre was protected there was no protection for London Road businesses. He said: “It is utterly disgraceful that a peaceful thriving business community more..

Curfew in Pottuvil: One Killed in Clashes

Aug 13 (DM) Police imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in the Pottuvil area yesterday after clashes between civilians and law enforcement authorities intensified leaving one dead and five injured. The tense situation erupted in Pottuvil as a result of people mistaking officers engaged in elephant census hiding in jungles as ‘Grease Devils’, robbers and army deserters. The victim who died of gunshot injuries was identified as a SLMC candidate in Pottuvil. more..

Special team to probe outdated Insulin

Aug 13 (DM) The Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena disclosed that a special team had been appointed to conduct investigations on grant of tenders to import a stock of Insulin to Sri Lanka which had even been proscribed by the WHO as outdated. The Minister had directed this committee to submit its report within a week. The Minister said that the tender to procure this large stock of Insulin from India at a cost of several millions are to be administered to Diabetic Patients. more..

Norwegian boost for Vanni youth : Ex-LTTE combatants among beneficiaries

Aug 13 (Island) Sri Lanka’s post war efforts aimed at rehabilitating those who once fought for the LTTE and other youth will receive a big boost, courtesy the Norwegian govt. Norway has provided funds through the World University of Canada (WUSC) to set up a vocational training facility at the one-time LTTE stronghold at Jayapuram, and two Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) centrers in the Vanni. Sri Lanka was grateful for post-war overseas assistance aimed at helping war affected communities. more..

New Council to regulate private educational institutions

Aug 13 (DM) The Higher Education Ministry announced plans for establishing a ‘Non-state Higher Education Council’ – an institution to regulate the non-state higher educational institutions -- in a move to curb operations of bogus educational establishments. Ministry’s Additional Secretary P.G. Jayasinghe said the decision to establish a regulatory body was taken following the increasing number of complaints received by the ministry about more..

PAFFREL objects to reduction of seats in Jaffna

Aug 13 (DM) The PAFFREL yesterday expressed serious concern over the reduction of the number of parliamentary seats in the Jaffna district. It said such a decision could not be taken by the Elections Commissioner but by the delimitation Commission set up through the 1978 Constitution. PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiaarachchi said the number of representatives of a particular electoral district should be determined by the number of registered voters at more..