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Lanka U.S. relations looking back & forward

Jan 23 (Island) In 2011, the United States will strive to strengthen cooperation between our two countries. There will certainly be times when our governments have policy differences, but those differences do not have to hinder our broad cooperation. My Embassy will continue to meet and listen to the full range of Sri Lankan voices to determine how best our friendship, assistance and advocacy can strengthen and deepen our dynamic partnership. more..

Mrs Anumaana learns how not to contest LG elections

Jan 23 (LG) Mrs Anumaana has had such an earful about the Local Government Elections lately that she fears she will be too fed up with the whole business to even cast her vote when the time comes around. She has had to listen non-stop to her son, on the one hand, and Mrs Aandupaksa on the other, going on about the elections. Mrs Aandupaksa has persuaded Sunil to contest the upcoming elections. Sunil has agreed, his idea being to enter national politics and more..

Humanity denied by racism

Jan 23 (LG) The Racist Paradigm - I have long believed that we will never really solve our ethnic problems until we approach them in terms of a racist paradigm. How do ethnic problems arise? For the most part they arise out of perceptions among ethnic minorities that they are not being given fair and equal treatment, that they are being deliberately discriminated against. Who does the discriminating? more..

'Residents of Jaffna gripped in a fear psychosis'

Jan 23 (TC) “Honourable Deputy Chairman of Committees, I move for the adjournment of the house to discuss a matter that is urgent, a matter of which notice was given with regard to serious security situation that has arisen particularly in the Jaffna Peninsula and generally in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. This matter was to be raised by our party leader on the 4 th of January as Parliament convened for the first time for the year and more..

Accelerated development with minimum accountability

Jan 23 (LG) There is a popular perception that the Rule of Law is relevant only in the context of civil and political rights and applicable primarily to extraordinary crimes such as torture or enforced disappearances. Nothing can be farther from the truth. We see this almost daily in Sri Lanka. At one level, such a perception is understandable in a country that has been wracked by conflict for many years. This week’s judgment by one of Sri Lanka’s High Courts more..

Scare stories hurt vaccination

Jan 23 (NS) Disturbed by the overall decline in the immunisation coverage for preventable diseases in young children due to spread of unfounded scare stories about vaccines and concerned that it will take its toll on child health, the authorities are today launching a countrywide awareness programme on the significance of the national immunisation campaign and its benefits to children. Acting chief epidemiologist Dr Sudath Peiris said that with the commencement of more..

GLF boycott: This time around charlatans hijacked media activism

Jan 23 (LB) A group of exiled Sri Lankan journalists, Journalists for Democracy (JDS) and Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) have launched a global appeal to boycott the Galle Literary Festival. The appeal has reportedly compelled Nobel laureate and Turkish author Orhan Pamuk and Booker Prize winning Indian writer Kiran Desai to pull out of the GLF, which is scheduled to take place in the southern city of Galle next week. more..

GMOA: No cheers for drunkard-patient policy

Jan 23 (ST) The GMOA rejected a government proposal to charge money in state hospitals from patients seeking treatment for alcohol related diseases saying the move was ‘unethical’. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. S. Sivapriyan said the move was in breach of the free health services in the country. “If the government wants to charge patients with alcohol-related diseases then what would it do for patients with sexually-transmitted diseases? Both are diseases of severity. more..

Sajith, Ravi clash over southern candidates

Jan 23 (ST) UNP MPs Sajith Premadasa and Ravi Karunanayake were locked in an angry exchange of words at yesterday's meeting of the party’s nomination board for the local polls. The war of words erupted when the board chaired by UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was discussing the list of candidates for the Tissamaharama and Beliatte areas. Others present at the meeting in Siri Kotha were deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya, D.M. Swaminathan, Daya Pelpola. more..

Peiris’ latest blunder on Queen’s visit annoys Commonwealth Secretariat

Jan 23 (ST) Minister G.L. Peiris committed yet another diplomatic faux pas last week when he declared that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II would visit Hambantota for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in 2013. He told a meeting of the Tangalla electorate SLFP branch that 53 heads of government would attend this meeting. Immediately after the statement, the Commonwealth Secretariat in London reacted angrily to Dr. Peiris’ remarks. more..

Is Sri Lanka becoming Hub of crime and Criminal miracle of Asia?

Jan 23 (TC) Forget justice and fair play; forget altruism; unadulterated selfishness alone should compel us of the South to pay attention to the wave of violence engulfing the North. After a period of relative quiet, murder and abduction are becoming rife in the North, despite the ubiquitous presence of heavily-armed troops and the rigorous implementation of the Emergency and the PTA. Has the North, with its politically abandoned and more..

President’s three messages to the Tamils

Jan 23 (NS) The government celebrated the national Thai Pongal Day in Jaffna last Monday. Though it was a personal triumph for President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the chief guest, it failed to evoke any enthusiasm among the Tamil people. Reasons for that are many. It had lost its significance as it was held two days late. The day and time for thanking the Sun for its benevolence was the dawn of Saturday. Tamils looked at the National Thai Pongal Day as an effort to glorify the more..

Questions galore over MR’s sudden visit to US

Jan 23 (ST) Top-secret plans got under way hurriedly on Tuesday night. The travel itinerary was finalised and the security personnel handpicked. Within hours, before dawn Wednesday, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and an entourage of 18 others flew in a SriLankan Airlines flight to Dubai. To most, including those in the top echelons of the government and the Colombo-based diplomatic community, perhaps with one or two exceptions, they were caught by complete surprise. more..

Polls-watchers want less security in N-E

Jan 22 (LB) In local government elections residents of the area should canvass for candidates, but how are they expected to do so under such circumstances? If they are contesting under the UNP or JVP how can they bring down party stalwarts?" CaFFE Executive Director, Keerthi Tennakoon asked. He added that the government should immediately take steps to normalize the north and establish civil administration, before holding elections in order to ensure free and fair elections. more..

Golden Key proposes refund of deposits on flat 6% interest under 4-year plan

Jan 23 (Island) Golden Key (GK) is now proposing the refund of deposits on the basis of a flat 6% interest rate payable from the date deposits were made. All excess interest payments already made will be discounted from the capital, creating a "strange situation where some depositors might find that they owe GK rather than the other way around". The GKCC All Depositors’ Association headed by more..

'Crucial for Tamil people to strengthen TNA’s hands at local polls'

Jan 23 (Island) TNA leader R. Sampanthan says it is crucial for the Tamil people to strengthen the hands of his party at the forthcoming local polls for the ongoing negotiations with the government towards reaching a solution to the national problem to be more constructive. Agreement has been reached for two parties in the Tamil Political Party Forum (TPPF) — the TULF and PLOTE — to contest all the local bodies in more..

TNA facing dilemma as young ‘shun ballot race’

Jan 23 (NS) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which has planned to contest the elections with the PLOTE and TULF’s Anandasangari, is facing a dilemma without being able to fulfill the election law to include 40% of the nomination list with youths. According to TNA MP Suresh Premachandran, the younger generation has not shown enthusiasm this time to contest the forthcoming election. more..

Govt. rejects tax relief call from tourism

Jan 23 (ST) Senior government officials led by Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera at a meeting with high-fliers in tourism on Thursday, turned down a request to reduce the industry’s burden particularly high taxes and power rates. “One of our positions is that we have contractual obligations and are bound by it. This is a burden we cannot carry at the moment. It’s quite high,” said one hotelier who was present at the meeting. more..

Treasury Secretary fires back at grumbling exporters

Jan 23 (BL) While leading exporters have warned that Sri Lanka is fast losing its clout on export competitiveness due to the increasing cost burden and the loss of concessions provided by western nations, a senior government official opines otherwise. According to Dr P.B. Jayasundera, exporters have been treated very well with a wide range of tax reliefs afforded to them by the government, but they had failed to live up to the expectations. more..

Exporters ring alarm bells over Sri Lanka’s competitive edge

Jan 23 (BL) Sri Lanka’s leading exporters working in the private sector last week rallied to appeal to the government to give them immediate relief measures which could prevent the island from losing its competitive edge in exports to other countries. They cited reasons from loss of European GSP+ and the GSP from the United States of America, high electricity tariffs, appreciation of the Rupee, high cost of raw materials, more..

'Show your anger at local polls'

Jan 23 (Island) The JVP expects the electorate to show its anger at the SLFP-led UPFA’s indifference to growing economic difficulties experienced by the vast majority of people at the forthcoming local government elections, a leading member of the party said. It stressed that the voting public will not get another chance to hit back at the ruling party for being utterly corrupt and wasteful in spite of those who backed it both at the presidential and parliamentary election as well as more..

'We love Tamils but oppose separatism'

Jan 23 (NS) JHU legal advisor Udaya Gammanpila has thrown a fresh challenge to Tamil leaders who claim they have a right to self-determination. Gammanpila is steadfast in his views that Tamils have no right to self-rule but are entitled only to minority rights recognised by the UN in Sri Lanka. His contention is that the Tamils, who claim to have grievances, should prove with empirical evidence that would convince the Sinhala masses. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Jan 23 (ST) The shocking disclosure by a deputy minister last week perhaps provides an insight into corruption, which is assuming monstrous proportions in Sri Lanka. Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told Parliament that a staggering Rs 411.87 million had been spent to construct four kilometres of highway along the Maha Oya-Chenkalady road. That works out to a staggering more than Rs 100,000 for just a metre of the road. more..

Flood-hit Lanka seeks foreign aid, recovery efforts need Rs. 40 b.

Jan 23 (ST) As the devastation caused by the recent floods in central, north central and eastern provinces became clear this week, a government minister warned that reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts cannot be undertaken by the state alone. “We need foreign assistance. It would take more than Rs 40 billlion for our recovery efforts,” Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said more..

Pranab Mukherjee asks Lankan navy to desist shooting Indian fishermen

Jan 23 (TOI) Voicing concern over alleged attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday asked the defence force of that country not to open fire on the Indian fishermen but apprehend them if they had done something wrong. "There is no point in shooting them (Indian fishermen)," he told reporters after meeting Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi at his residence to discuss the issue. more..

TMVP blames police for not taking action against GS

Jan 24 (NS) The TMVP blamed the police for failing to take action against Arayampathi Grama Sevaka (GS) following complaints of misappropriation of flood relief items. TMVP Eastern PC member Poopathipillai Prashanthan told The Nation that the people had informed the police that the GS, Anton Suresh was in possession of the relief items for the flood victims. Prashanthan along with seven others surrendered to the Kathankudi Police on Thursday and more..

Panic as earth cracks in Kutchiveli

Jan 24 (NN) A tense situation was reported in Trincomalee this morning after cracks began to appear on the earth in Salapearu, Kutchiveli. The cracks were seen on the earth near the sea in the area by residents who began to later panic fearing an earthquake and informed the police. Water was seen seeping out of the cracks and the ground was also weak posing a danger to people visiting the area to get a glimpse of the ground. more..

Massive development projects in preparation for Deyata Kirula exhibition

Jan 24 (SLBC) The organizing committee of the Deyata Kirula exhibition says a massive development programme has been implemented in the Moneragala District in connection with Deyata Kirulka programme under the theme of “lets create new Wellassa”. Chairman of the committee Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya has directed officials to renovate 250 kilometres of roads in the district. more..

Beggars to get jobs

Jan 24 (NN) The govt has decided to offer self employment opportunities to beggars who are on the streets of Colombo and its suburbs after they are rehabilitated. Some 1800 beggars roam the streets of Colombo and its suburbs with some of them even engaging in prostitution at night. The Social Services Ministry and the Defence Ministry will roundup the beggars and rehabilitate them and later offer them self employment opportunities, an official said more..

Sri Lanka: life after the floods

Jan 24 (C4) After what seems like an eternity, the rains have stopped. But as families leave their makeshift camps, what awaits them at home? Save the Children reports for Channel 4 News from Sri Lanka. Children and their families have started to leave the camps that they have called home since floods forced them to flee earlier this month. While people are looking forward to getting back, they know it's going to be an uphill struggle to rebuild their lives. more..

Australia questions choice of Sri Lankan envoy

Jan 24 (SMH) Australia is under pressure because of a war crimes controversy to reject Sri Lanka's choice of a senior military commander as its next top envoy in Canberra. A former Sri Lankan navy chief, Thisara Samarasinghe, has reportedly been nominated to fill the vacant position of high commissioner to Australia. But the Herald understands Foreign Affairs - which must decide if it will accept the nomination - sees the appointment as 'problematic' for Australia more..

Sri Lankan Navy denies killing Indian fisherman

Jan 24 (PTI) Sri Lanka rejected as "baseless" the allegation that its military had killed an Indian fisherman and wounded two others. These "allegations are baseless and without proof," Sri Lankan Navy spokesman Captain Athula Senarth said. We have given strict instructions to our naval patrols and we ensure that these instructions are carried out, Senarth told reporters. Earlier, Indian media reported that a man, who had put out to sea more..

Criticism against Sasunata Aranak will only make it more strong

Jan 24 (NF) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa says that all charges and criticism levelled against the 'Sasunata Aranak' program will be converted into a platform that will strengthen the programme. He expressed this view when he visited the Bellanwila Raja Maha Vihara to engage in religious observances at the Vihara last evening. “Today this programme has been subjected to attacks of several persons who have political jalousies and cussed individuals more..

Sri Lanka floods destroy crops

Sri Lanka U-19 v England U-19: Series ends in drawn stalemate

Jan 24 (CI) Sri Lanka Under-19s Test series against England Under-19 ended in stalemate with another high-scoring draw in the second game at the P Sara Oval in Colombo. While Sri Lanka bossed the first two days, Yasoda Lanka compiling a double hundred and slow left-armer Supeshala Jayathilake taking 5 for 57 to force England to follow on, the visitors' batsmen continued to fight in their second innings and the match was called off 84 overs into the fourth day. more..

Missing Sri Lankan fishermen rescued at Indonesian sea

Jan 24 (SLN) As a result of continuous coordination made by Sri Lanka Navy with Indonesian Navy 05 fishermen with the multiday fishing trawler “Sankara Putha II” left for fishing from the Southern seas and missing since 12th November last year, have been rescued by Indonesian Navy yesterday (22). Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources updated the Sri Lanka Navy about this fishing vessel from the beginning and Sri Lanka Navy continuously coordinated with more..

Sri Lanka conflict commission to go south

Jan 24 (BG) A Sri Lankan commission, which was appointed by the president to look back at the island's longstanding civil war ending in May 2009, is to meet southerners to record evidence, officials said Saturday. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission said they would record evidence from people in the southern districts of Galle, Matara and Hambantota inhabited predominantly by the majority Sinhala community. more..

Is Tamil Nadu-Kerala conflict cause of indecisive Indian policy on Sri Lanka?

Jan 24 (LG) The heavy influence of Malayalese of Kerala state in the central government is said to be impacting on the decision making of the central government on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue. When asked about the lack of interest of the Indian government on Sri Lankan Tamil issue, a non-Malayalee official discreetly said: ‘it is all in the hands of the Malayalese now. Haven’t you realised the influence they have in the decision making? more..

Sri Lankan’s Crimes against humanity

Jan 24 (LG) The People's Tribunal on Sri Lanka (PTS) officially met again in the Dublin University over the claims that Sri Lanka has committed war crimes. An official inquiry requested by the Irish Forum for Peace in Sri Lanka (IFPSL) and held by the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT). Since I read the inclusive report of judgers of the panel that they have no doubt Sri Lanka has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute and Geneva Convention. more..

Veedu Nokki…………Homeward bound after 28 years

Jan 24 (TC) War in Northern SriLanka comes to an end. Commotions of emotional despair slowly fade in to the daily routine of the expatriates’ lives, here in Australia. My heart suddenly yearns for that humble little village Sandilipay in Northern Sri Lanka, where I grew up in to adulthood; the village that brings sweet memories of my teen days. A simple yearning for the village, a notion with love, materialises in August 2010. more..