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Reformists to hold next protest in Gampaha District

Aug 20 (DM) The UNP reformists who had pledged to hold island wide protest campaigns to urge party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to step down said they would hold their next protest in the Gampaha District. The Gampaha protest was meant to convince some party seniors to change their attitude towards Mr. Wickremesinghe. They said Buddhist Monks were likely to hold a Satyagraha outside the residence of opposition leader Ranil Wickremesighe on more..

'Minors' trying to undermine tour - SLC

Aug 20 (BBC) The board that controls cricket in Sri Lanka has accused a group of former national players of trying to undermine the second phase of the Sri Lanka vs Australia series. In an unprecedented special communiqué, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chairman Upali Dharmadasa said the group seems to be working on a “hidden agendas”. “It is with agony that I state that a few individuals in Colombo think that they are indispensable,” more..

New Delhi conference aims at forging unified political stance among Sri Lankan Tamil parties

Aug 20 (DBS) Ten Sri Lankan Tamil political parties may seek solace from agony for two days on August 23rd & 24th in the Indian capital of New Delhi. 10 Tamil parties are invited to attend a conference named “Agony & Solace” to be held at New Delhi’s prestigious Constitutional club of India. Although titled”Agony and Solace” in English the conference is called “Thuyarum theervum”(sorrow and solution) in the Tamil language. more..

'UN will support Sri lanka to promote lasting peace'

Aug 20 (DM) The UN will increasingly look for opportunities to support the Government in promoting reconciliation which is key to ensuring a lasting and durable peace, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Subinay Nandy said yesterday marking the World Humanitarian Day. “Moving forward the UN will continue supporting the response to the remaining humanitarian needs in the country,” he said. While disasters do not discriminate between young or old, more..

Sri Lanka bats first in 4th ODI against Australia

Aug 20 (CI) Australia will chase for the fourth consecutive match after Tillakaratne Dilshan won the toss and chose to bat in Colombo. After Sri Lanka's victory in the third game in Hambantota, they could level the series with a win in this match, while Australia can secure the series if they are able to put the distractions of the Argus report aside. Sri Lanka have made two changes, with the legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna included for his debut, more..

SLMC to contest alone and with govt.

Aug 21 (AD) The SLMC says it will contest five Municipal Councils, including the Colombo Municipal Council, alone while it will contest the remainder of Local Government bodies jointly with the govt. SLMC General Secretary, Hassan Ali stated that the party has decided to contest the upcoming LG election for Colombo, Kalmunai, Galle, Kandy and Negombo Municipal Councils alone. For the remaining Local Government institutions the SLMC will join the ruling govt party, he said. more..

JSS: EPF and ETF monies used to buy buses

Aug 21 (SL) The UNP affiliated Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS) has accused the Transport Ministry of trying to use billions of rupees of the SLTB employees’ EPF and ETF funds to purchase new buses. The JSS says the Ministry is trying to spend Rs 1.9 billion from EPF and ETF funds to purchase 500 new buses. Head of the JSS and UNP parliamentarian Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena has said the Ministry did not have the right to use the employees’ monies in such a manner. more..

All-round Australia take series with big win

Aug 21 (CI) Crisis? What crisis? To watch Australia demolish Sri Lanka in the fourth ODI in Colombo, it would be easy to believe all was well with Australian cricket. Thanks to some fine bowling from Xavier Doherty and Brett Lee, a calm innings from Shaun Marsh, and a couple of brain explosions from Sri Lanka's batsmen, Australia secured the series with a match in hand, courtesy a five-wicket win in the fourth ODI. more..

Monk arrested on child abuse charges

Aug 21 (BBC) Police in Sri Lanka have arrested a senior Buddhist monk on charges of repeatedly sexually abusing a 12-year old girl. Namalwewa Rathanasara nayake thero was arrested by the police CID at Colombo’s international airport when he arrived from Singapore. Producing the chief incumbent of Mihintale Rajamaha Viharaya, the police requested the Colombo magistrate Tikiri K Jayathilake to remand him in custody until 24 August. more..

Death row maid's appeals "ignored"

Aug 21 (BBC) A Sri Lankan housemaid who has returned to the country after being sentenced to death says she was intimidated to make a wrong confession by the police in Abu Dhabi. Abbdul Karim Kansur Maharipa, a mother of three, was sentenced to death for allegedly murdering the wife of the employer and having an illicit affair. A resident of Selvanagar, Muttur in eastern Sri Lanka, Maharippa said the first case filed against her by her employer was dismissed by a lower court. more..

Grease Yaka still haunts villages

Aug 21 (BBC) Fear prevails in many parts of Sri Lanka, especially in the east, despite repeated assurances by the police that the grease yaka (grease devil) phenomenon is a myth. In the western coastal town of Kalpitiya residents have arrested a man suspected of being grease yaka and handed over to the police. But the police have released the suspect saying he was suffering from a mental illness. In Batticaloa, a clash has erupted between the local people and more..

UNP is reaping what it sowed in 1970s

Aug 21 (DM) The talk of the town now is that the UPFA Govt on Wednesday openly meddled in the rift between the two factions of the main opposition UNP and helped widen the gap. On the day the UNP Working Committee meeting under the leadership of party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was scheduled to be held in “Sirikotha” a demonstration by the rival Sajith faction was to be held in front of the same building, the authorities without prior notice had taken steps to more..

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

Aug 21 (DM) It was a Deepavali day on 21 October 1987, 68 innocent Tamils were shot and killed by the IPKF inside the Jaffna Hospital compound, including 3 Doctors, 3 Nurses, 17 Hospital staffs. The next morning Dr.Sivapathasuntharam, who unknowingly came into hospital premises in an attempt to save his injured staff, was killed by the ‘peace keepers’; a child who was thirsty and went to ask for water was also shot by the Indian soldiers. Though Deepavali, more..

'Colombo will be on par with modern cities soon'

Aug 21 (SO) One-time UNP stalwart and Deputy Mayor of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), Azath Salley, who joined the UPFA in 2010 and was unsuccessful at the April 2010 parliamentary election spoke to the Sunday Observer about prospects of his being named the UPFA Mayoral candidate and his future aspirations and ambitions. He outlined his plans on developing Colombo as a modern metropolitan city to bring it on par with cities in developed countries. more..

CPA survey shows remarkable congruity between Sinhalese and Tamils on key issues

Aug 21 (TC) There is an extensive survey of public opinion, the results of which will up-end all conventional assumptions about what the Sri Lankan people think and therefore how they are likely to act or react. This is the Survey on Democracy in Post-War Sri Lanka, Topline Report July 2011, conducted and published by the Social Indicators unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), in association with the Friedrich Neumann Stiftung of Germany. more..

Ancestry and Ethnic Identity in the Australian Census… and thus to Sri Lanka

Aug 21 (GV) The 9th of August was census night in Australia. The census form has three boxes relating to “Country of Birth,” one’s “language other than English at home” and “Ancestry”— all interesting formulations that bear on one’s ethnic subjectivity and one’s explicit identity. Ethnicity is a complex phenomenon that is nourished over the years by the influence of many factors. Ethnic self-perception is always inter-relational and thus inter-subjective. more..

Abimansala: A place to heal the wounds of war

Aug 21 (ST) For 52 war heroes with permanent disabilities, the ‘Abimansala Wellness Resort’ is a haven of peace and security. Built in a scenic location beside the Nuwara Wewa in Anuradhapura, the resort is equipped with facilities to provide these severely injured soldiers with lifelong care. A staff of 11 officers and 195 other soldiers have been assigned to manage the resort and care for the residents. Most of the injured war heroes are in the prime of their lives but more..

Editorial: Taming UNP's 'Wild elephants'

Aug 21 (SO) The UNP is embroiled in crisis, the worst since its inception some 65 years ago. The UNP, one of the foremost political parties in Sri Lanka, has made a significant contribution to the country's economic and social progress. There was a time the UNP was firmly entrenched as the strongest single political party in the country - especially after its landslide general election victory in July 1977 with a five-sixths majority under President J.R Jayewardene. more..

Editorial: Ranil, have you no shame?

Aug 21 (SL) Ranil Wickremesinghe is the dictator of the opposition and the first thing between Sri Lanka and real political change. He has deployed the bureaucracy, the courts and even road paving equipment to protect his position, but he still stands in the path of history. Ranil Wickremesinghe has the support of ruling ministers, but he has lost the confidence of his party and the nation. Still, selfishly, he puts himself before all. Ranil, have you no shame? more..

'No shortage of drugs'

Aug 21 (SO) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena categorically denied certain media reports that his Ministry has imported, distributed or issued any substandard drugs to patients. He said a Ministerial Sub Committee has been appointed under his chairmanship to rectify the existing shortcomings on drug imports. The Minister has decided to formulate a new program to prevent various malpractices alleged to have taken place when drugs and medical equipment more..

Editorial: Newspaper out of control

Aug 21 (NS) We have noted with interest an editorial in the respected Indian daily, ‘The Hindu’ castigating Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa for remarks made during an interview with an Indian television network, where he has questioned the need for a ‘political solution’ in Sri Lanka. The editorial questions Rajapaksa’s integrity and sincerity in countering the recent war crimes accusations levelled against Sri Lanka and his unabashed criticism of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram, more..

Editorial: President’s ‘justice’ and old friendships?

Aug 21 (LB) Last week’s shenanigans and the subsequent non-event will be remembered as one more anti climactic episode in the hilarious modern-day saga of the UNP. The short to long-term fortunes of that party are all but sealed, and therefore, except in terms of comic theatre, there isn’t much to talk about the absurd drama regularly enacted in this country’s main opposition political combine. But the UNP’s ineffectuality has been a dangerous contagion and it seems that the larger more..

Civil war leaves woman vulnerable

Editorial: Getting UNP’s act together

Aug 21 (Island) There is no need to labour the point that the UNP, the alternative govt of this country, is in very poor shape. The Ranil –Sajith conflict has been most divisive and the main problem for the green party is getting its supporters to the polls. Even at the time of its worst debacles, memorably in 1956 and 1970, the UNP was able to poll a respectable national vote. J.R. Jayewardene believed, and many agreed with him, that the introduction of proportional representations (PR) will more..

Editorial: HR allegations: Act wisely before it's too late

Aug 21 (ST) The UNHRC is warming up to meet in Geneva for its bi-annual autumn sessions and the question that ought to be in the minds of the Government's hierarchy is how to tackle the issue relating to allegations of human rights violations should they come up for discussion, and possibly, vote. By now the Govt should not only be getting prepared to meet this issue head on but be having sufficient diplomatic intelligence to 'suss' out whether any country or a bloc of countries is more..

State bankers refute COPE report allegations on PAYE

Aug 21 (BL) Several top state bankers last week refuted the recent allegation made by the COPE that state banks paying employee’s Pay as You Earn (PAYE) tax through bank funds was not illegal and in fact had the endorsement of the govt. The Ceylon Bank Employees’ Union (CBEU) President Amarapala Gamage said that the Union is presently in the process of seeking legal advice on the matter. more..

UNP debacle: Truce amid veiled threats

Aug 21 (NS) The crisis in the opposition UNP has been going on for months now and the latest has been a ‘take-over’ bid by the Sajith Premadasa faction using co-deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya as a proxy, but this week the dispute literally spilled on to the streets. Thursday was a day of high drama, and coming events were casting their shadows with the Premadasa faction threatening to stage a ‘satyagraha’ opposite party headquarters ‘Sirikotha’ with participants claiming they wouldn’t disband more..

Heads of Sajith loyalists roll as a defiant Ranil hits back

Aug 21 (NS) The struggle that the Sajith group launched to oust the party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe with a tumultuous demonstration at the Viharamahadevi Park last Wednesday appeared to have lost its steam after the party’s Working Committee meeting held the same day. However, certain developments that have followed show that the group is in no mood to relent. The Sajith group had planned to get about 10,000 party supporters to stage a Satyagraha opposite the UNP Headquarters Sirikotha more..

'Govt. holding elections to exploit UNP disunity'

Aug 21 (Island) Listening to Ranil loyalist Ravi Karunanayake is more like listening to a man with a personal score of his own to settle with reformist leader Sajith Premadasa even though he insists that there is nothing personal. It is only too well known that the two have had one of the stormiest showdowns in public not so long ago after the last UNP convention when he was rudely booed by Sajith’s supporters. But Ravi seems to be a man with a never say die attitude more..

STF busts multi-million rupee vehicle racket

Aug 21 (SO) The Police Special Task Force (STF) has busted a multi-million rupee racket involving the illegal assembly of vehicles at a garage at Pannipitiya, Kottawa last week. A team of STF officers from the Special Weapons and Tactics Team swooped on an illegal vehicle assembly plant at Makumbura, Kottawa and took in for questioning six suspects following a tip-off by the STF Intelligence wing. It was revealed that a millionaire businessman in Colombo was involved in the racket more..

e-Sri Lanka project cost Rs 74.2m.

Aug 21 (NS) The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the allocation of Rs 74,229,538 for a government-owned company called ‘Lanka Govt Information Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd’ set up to take over the management and operations of the Lanka Govt Network from August 1, 2011 onwards, the Department of Government Information said. Under this project, implementation of the LGN Central Hub, network operation centre, connecting 325 govt organiztions with local and wide area networks and more..

MRAPCA files petition in SC to stop animal sacrifice at Badrakali Kovil festival

Aug 21 (Island) The Multi Religious Alliance for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MRAPCA) has filed a petition before the Supreme Court to halt the sacrifice of animals known as ‘Bili Puja’ at the annual Badrakali Kovil festival in Muneswaram scheduled to held this month. An initiative to gather 100,000 signatures for a petition against animal sacrifice to be presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be held at Viharamahadevi Park on August 23, more..

Elephants led by Rhinos!

Aug 21 (Island) When the UNP working committee met last Tuesday, the minutes of the last meeting were read out and after some amendments suggested by Sajith Premadasa, were approved. After that the party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe read out Articles 8.1 and 8.2 of the party constitution and said that the suggestion brought at the last parliamentary group meeting that the party leadership should be handed over to Karu Jayasuriya was wrong and if there are people who cannot adhere to more..

All kinds of Yakas

Aug 21 (LB) It is now confirmed that former UNP pin-up darling Milinda Moragoda will be the UPFA candidate for the mayorality of Colombo — with the Colombo Municipal Council being something the govt is eyeing covetously a time when the UNP is reduced to a tragic-comic enactment of pantomime due to the recent unsuccessful challenges to the party’s long-standing plague — its leadership by the ineffectual Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe. The UNP Colombo mayoral candidate has still not been decided, but more..

UNP Sec’s ‘all OK’ claim a fib, Govt. saves Ranil

Aug 21 (LB) The UNP leadership crisis took another bizarre turn last week as UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe used his powers in the Working Committee (WC) to implement several proposals which could split the party in two. These include an attempt to change the composition of the UNP Disciplinary Committee and another to take severe action against several vocal critics of the Wickremesinghe leadership. In addition, many UNPers claim that the events leading up to more..

Going to pieces choosing a leader!

Aug 21 (ST) “Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “what is happening to the Green party?” “I wish I could answer that question, Bindu…” Bindu’s father Percy said. “Why do you say that, thaaththa?” Bindu wanted to know. “Why, they are still trying to decide who their leader is…” Percy observed. “I thought Uncle Ranil was their leader…” Bindu said. “But now,” Percy explained, “Uncle Sajith wants a different leader…” “But thaaththa,” Bindu protested, “I thought they accepted Uncle Ranil as their leader only a few months ago…” more..

Uthayan publisher says no faith in Police

Aug 21 (SL) TNA MP and publisher of Jaffna-based newspaper Uthayan, Easwarapatham Saravanapavan, said that the results of police investigations into last month’s attack on the Uthayan News Editor “may be fabricated” considering the limited information revealed to the public. Saravanapavan made this statement following media reports last week that the police had arrested one of the two men suspected to have brutally assaulted Uthayan News Editor Gnanasundaram Kuganathan on July 29. more..

Private TV channel seeks to obtain SLRC’s sports visuals

Aug 21 (ST) The sale of archival video material from national broadcaster Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) to a private channel has become the subject of controversy. The private channel Carlton Sports Network (CSN) has asked the SLRC for sports material dating back to the past 20 years.CSN had written to SLRC Deputy Director General Nishantha Obeywansa, requesting sports archive visuals covering sports festivals, including the SAF games, Asian Games, more..

Minister Premajayantha’s committee report still in abeyance

Aug 21 (LB) The Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS) of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) alleged that those who have been behind the scandal of importing inferior quality fuel to the country are now spreading baseless rumours that there was a move to contaminate petrol with kerosene. The JSS charged that such unfounded rumours are spread by those involved in the scam in order to escape charges levelled against them for their role in having imported sub-standard fuel to the country. more..

Now, Pakistan fumes over ‘bad cement’ charges

Aug 21 (LB) The Pakistan High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Seema Ilahi Baloch has questioned the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) as to what right it had to 'blame her country' of having provided sub-standard cement to Sri Lanka. The High Commissioner has told the CAA that Pakistan at no stage had exported inferior quality cement to Sri Lanka. The High Commissioner had told the CAA authorities to explain the reasons behind having branded cement imported from her country 'sub-standard', more..