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‘Sports can unite the world'

Jan 26 (Hindu) Sports can unite the world, says Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka. Almost obsessed with cricket, the favourite pastime in his country and the subject matter of his popular novel Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew, Mr. Karunatilaka says: “Unlike life, sport is eternal. Sport matters.” Manu Joseph, journalist and author of Serious Men, the winner of The Hindu Best Fiction Award 2010, who shared a session with him at more..

'EC should take legal action against Govt. abuse of state resources'

Jan 26 (Island) The Elections Commissioner should institute legal action to stop Ministers from abusing public property for the Local government polls campaign, the UNP said yesterday. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told a news conference in Colombo that true to its record the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime was once again violating election laws by allocating State property and vehicles to its candidates. more..

'Govt forces failing to curb violence'

Jan 26 (UCAN) Bishop Thomas Savundaranayagam of Jaffna has appealed to top military in Sri Lanka’s restive north to bring an end to what he described as a wave of terror. At a meeting held in Jaffna secretariat with major general Hathurusinghe, the Jaffna security forces commander, government officials, military commanders, police and clergy of different religions, the prelate said: “Violence has become rife at this stage. I kindly request your immediate action. more..

Sri Lanka adamant not to probe war crimes

Jan 26 (AP) Sri Lanka’s government still refuses to investigate war crimes allegations from the country’s civil war despite emerging evidence, an international human rights group reported, calling it an “affront” to the victims. The Sri Lankan government intimidates the press and is unlikely to respect human rights anytime soon, New York-based Human Rights Watch also said in its annual report, released Monday. Sri Lankan troops defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009, more..

'SF’s Leader interview cause of post-war troubles'

Jan 26 (Island) Denying the main news item of The Sunday Leader of Dec. 13, 2009, captioned, Gota ordered them to be shot, the Defence Secretary on Tuesday said the ‘story’ had brought immense pressure on the government and the country. The Defence Secretary said that due publication of the news item, on the basis of an interview with the former Army Chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the government had incurred the wrath of the Tamil speaking people more..

Charge drunkards and ?

Jan 26 (DM) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena who had taken steps to charge fees at state hospitals for injuries sustained as a result of drunken behavior or drunk driving is now suggesting charging for the medical treatment of those attempting to commit suicide. He made this suggestion while Addressing a ceremony held in connection with the opening of a dispensary at Borella- south constructed by the CMC. Meanwhile the Government has decided to go ahead with the decision to charge fees from more..

More buses for SLTB from India

Jan 26 (DM) The Transport Board would import hundred new buses from India at Rs. 4 mn a unit. The SLTB would purchase 400 more buses following the first consignment, SLTB Chairman, M.D Bandusena told the Daily Mirror. “SLTB covers some 30% of public bus transport in the country. However we are expected to cover 40%. To meet this expectation we need to add another 2000 buses which is what we are hoping to do,” Bandusena said. more..

Top cop in Rs. 10 mn racket allowed bail

Jan 26 (Island) A senior police official attached to IGP Dr. Mahinda Balasuriya’s staff, arrested in connection with an ongoing inquiry into his complicity in a racket to send LTTE suspects and other undesirable elements abroad, was released on Rs. 20,000 cash bail by the Colombo Fort Magistrate on Tuesday. The CID arrested SSP Baba Mahidul on Tuesday morning following the arrest more..

IFJ urges investigation into Ekneligoda case

Jan 26 (DM) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) based in Australia urged the United Nations to intervene in the investigation of the disappearance of the Lankanews columnist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda. In a statement released by the IFJ, Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said that the Federation would lend full support to a petition submitted to the United Nations in Colombo by more..

South Korea assures protection for Lankan workers

Jan 26 (Island) South Korean Ambassador to Sri Lanka Dr. Choi Kichul assured Minister Maithripala Sirisena that Sri Lankan expatriates would be given protection in the event of the current tension between North Korea and South Korea developing into a war. Minister Sirisena said that a large number of Sri Lankans were employed in South Korea and the government was concerned about their plight in the event of war. more..

Attack leaves Lankan monks in city shaken

Jan 26 (TOI) The Sri Lankan Maha Bodhi Society on Kennett Lane, Egmore, is barely distinguishable, crammed in between hotels and lodges that crowd the street. Hordes of policemen and a couple of patrol jeeps stand outside the society premises. Security has been provided after an attack on the building by a group on Monday night in which four monks were injured. Yet Kennett Lane derives its name from the society itself, more..

IFRC President to visit Sri Lanka

Jan 26 (TN) The President of the International Federation of the Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Tadateru Konoé is scheduled to arrive Wednesday in Colombo to support the much needed flood operations and to celebrate volunteerism in the island. Mr. Konoé is scheduled to travel to the north, the east and the south of the island to assess the aftermath of floods and also to witness the work of more..

Compensation for houses, cultivations damaged by floods

Jan 26 (DN) Arrangements are in place to provide compensation for the houses and cultivations damaged by recent floods in the Eastern, North Central and Central Provinces soon. The Government will grant compensation of Rs. 50,000 for a fully damaged house while Rs 25,000 would be paid for a partially damaged house on the recommendations of the respective Divisional Secretaries and District Secretaries. more..

With UN panel blocked from Sri Lanka, visit now called not essential

Jan 26 (ICP) After breaking the news that the Sri Lanka Panel of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was being blocked by President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government, ICP has repeatedly asked Ban's Spokesperson's Office for comment. In particular, since Ban on December 17 and January 14 told the Press the Panel could go to Sri Lanka, ICP every day asked who Ban had spoken to before saying that, and what was said. more..

Sri Lanka military HQ to make way for hotels

Jan 26 (AFP) The Sri Lankan government said Wednesday it was relocating the defence ministry and main army headquarters in Colombo to make way for a billion-dollar hotel project. An information department statement said the cabinet had decided to shift the military facilities from their prime, seafront location in the capital to the eastern edge of the city. The move would accommodate "two giant foreign (hotel) projects that will bring in a direct investment of $1 billion," more..

Sri Lanka raises age for women to work overseas

Jan 26 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Wednesday raised the minimum age for women seeking employment abroad from 18 to 21, saying it was aimed at curbing the exploitation of young female migrant workers. Although the order was imposed across the board, a government statement made it clear that the main focus was the large number of young Sri Lankan women who find work as maids -- mostly in the Gulf states. more..

Solheim offers new role

Jan 26 (NN) Norwegian Minister and former Sri Lankan peace envoy and facilitator Erik Solheim has offered to play the role of a “dialogue partner” between the Sri Lankan government and communities living in exile, possibly a reference to the Tamil Diaspora or the LTTE supporters who have formed a government in exile. Erik Solheim, who has been often labeled in Sri Lanka as being pro-LTTE, said that the recent Wikileaks reports on him proved that he was not biased towards one party. more..

Venue for ODI with West Indies shifted to Colombo

Jan 27 (GDI) Sri Lanka Cricket has shifted the venues for next week's 3 – match ODI series against the West Indies to Colombo, its Secretary Nishantha Ranathuge said the games will be played during the day at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground in Colombo, The West Indies team will arrive in the country on January 28. The matches had been scheduled as day-night encounters at the World Cup venues, including the newly-built Hambantota and the renovated Premadasa Stadium more..

CBK responds to LLRC

Jan 27 (NN) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has responded to an invitation to make submissions before the LLRC. LLRC Media Advisor Lakshman Wickramasingha said that Kumaratunga had responded saying she had received the Commission’s invitation but was yet to confirm if she would make her submissions. “Mrs. Kumaratunga informed us that she will let us know in due course if she will appear before the Commission. Once the invitations are sent and if the concerned parties are more..

'All Sri Lankans know General is faultless'

Jan 27 (LT) Despite the fact that justice could be accomplished through legal process, it is an illusion to believe that democratic rights and freedom of Gen. Sarath Fonseka and the people in this country couth be achieved through legal processes only said MP Anura Dissanayake. He said, “Whatever decisions are given by the law, the masses in this country know whether Gen. Fonseka is right or wrong, whether he is corrupt or not, more..

Bank of Ceylon workers demand pension rights for state employees

Jan 27 (ST) At least 1,000 employees attached to the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) headquarters and several branches in and around Colombo staged a ‘picket’ (protest demonstration) at around 12.30 pm today (Wednesday) outside the bank headquarters in Colombo demanding pension rights for all state bank workers. It was organised by the Ceylon Bank Employees' Union. A spokesman of the union said that bank employees had been deprived of their pension, more..

Prisoners launch another protest at A’pura jail

Jan 27 (AT) Anuradhapura Prison, which was the venue of Monday’s violent clash that left one inmate dead and 21 others injured, saw another protest being launched today (26) demanding the arrest of the errant prison official. Although Commissioner General of Prisons, Maj. Gen. V.R. de Silva yesterday went to north-central capital of Anuradhapura and took over the charge of the prison with assistance of a new team, a group of inmates commenced a hunger strike more..

Sri Lanka military to share war tips at forum

Jan 27 (AFP) Sri Lanka's army Wednesday announced plans to share with other countries its success in crushing ethnic Tamil Tiger rebels and ending the island's 37-year-old separatist war. Army chief Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya said they were inviting heads of military and defence establishments in 54 countries to a three-day forum starting from May 31. "After the war ended many countries have requested us to share some of our strategies with them," more..

Ban on Iraq jobs lifted

Jan 27 (NN) The ban imposed on sending housemaids to Iraq for employment by Sri Lanka will be lifted with effect from next month, the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau said. Minister Dilan Perera has given instructions to relax the ban with effect from February 1 as the security situation in Iraq is now conducive for Sri Lankans to seek employment. The ban was earlier imposed from the time war broke out in Iraq yet some people were found to have gone to Iraq illegally for employment. more..

Jayalalithaa plays politics over fishermen deaths

Jan 27 (TOI) Second time in a week AIADMK Supremo J Jayalalithaa took on the Centre over the issue of Tamil Nadu fishermen killings allegedly by Sri Lankan navy. In a scathing attack on the Centre, Jaya has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to step down as she feels he has been ineffective in taking action in the issue. "The Central government should act and issue a stern warning to Sri Lanka in such a manner that Lanka does not kill our fishermen again. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 26.01.2011

Italy airlifting tents, generators, high-energy biscuits to flood-hit Sri Lanka

Jan 27 (AP) Italy is sending a planeload full of tents, generators, high-energy biscuits and a motorboat to flood-ravaged Sri Lanka. The Foreign Ministry said the humanitarian airlift, worth an estimated €340,000 ($465,000), would arrive in Colombo on Thursday night. Monsoon flooding killed 43 people and left four missing. More than 1 million people were affected, with about half facing food shortages and the threat of waterborne diseases.

Swiss deport Lankans

Jan 27 (NN) The Swiss Federal Migration Office today announced that it will begin repatriating asylum seekers from Sri Lanka whose applications were rejected. In its update, the Migration Office added that the security situation in Sri Lanka had clearly improved so that rejected asylum seekers from the north and west of the country could again be sent back, with the exception of those from the troubled Vanni region. more..

‘Human Rights’ back to Mahinda Samarasinghe

JJan 27 (DM) Minister of Plantation Industries Mahinda Samarasinghe will soon have ‘Human Rights’ added to his portfolio and will lead the Sri Lankan delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva next month. He had also visited Geneva earlier last week to prepare for his representations at the Council. “The President has asked me to take charge of this area and it is in the process of being gazetted. more..

Caligula and Rajapakse: Horses and Camels

Jan 27 (LG) In one of its latest white elephant schemes the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse is planning to import 5,000 buffaloes and ten camels from Pakistan within the next three years. The ostensible idea behind this scheme is that the livestock will be delivered to various state farms where they will be bred and the offspring given to livestock farms around the country. more..

Shootings at Anuradhapura Prison

Jan 27 (LG) It has been reported that four persons were killed at the Anuradhapura Prison after a shooting incident. According to the details reported a group of prisoners had been engaged in a fast in order to call attention to their problems. They had been fasting for a few days and the negotiations between the prison authorities and the fasting prisoners had not led to any kind of positive result. It is not yet clear as to the manner in which the prison conducted these negotiations. more..

On the Sangupiddy-Kerathivu Lagoon: Bridge of peace and hope

Jan 27 (SO) January 16 turned out to be a historic day for the people of Jaffna as their long-time dream became a reality with the opening of the new bridge between Sangupiddy in Pooneryn and Kerathivu in Navatkuli. The bridge on the lagoon between Kerathivu and Sangupiddy is 288 metres in length and 7.1 metres in width. Construction had cost Rs 1,037 million. Initiatives to link the Jaffna mainland with the North-Western coastal region via more..

Reflections on the year following that ‘close’ election

Jan 27 (DM) This time, one year ago, the country was at the height of election fever. It was as though only two people existed, two names mattered, that of Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sarath Fonseka, and not without cause for we are trapped in a constitution which confersso much power to the executive president that it is reasonable to say that it is made to make dictators, at least in terms of prerogative reach. It was thought to be a close race by those who had an more..

Beyond the trap that is the Mahabodhi attack

Jan 27 (DM) Tuesday’s attack on four Buddhist monks and damage to the Mahabodhi temple in Chennai is an action carried out by thugs that must be condemned vehemently. The 9.30 pm attack on the Temple in Chennai a haven for Sri Lankan travellers as well as fishermen caught by Indian Navy awaiting deportation has reportedly caused significant damage. But it is necessary for this dastardly attack to be differentiated by any political connotations that any opportunist more..

Women’s representation in LG elections

Jan 27 (DM) Women should be included in political parties and we have been working in one district as pilot program to take women who are active in politics at district levels. We created profiles for them on their ability to mobilize people on their own account essential for democracy and also change in political culture. We can’t point to examples like President Chandrika Kumaratunga. In Trincomalee out of the 113 local authority members only four women were elected more..

Karunanidhi like Ban-Ki-moon is victim of Mahinda Rajapaksa's diplomacy

Jan 27 (TC) The Indian media last week reported that supporters of the political party who staged protests against the distribution of calendars carrying the photograph of Sri Lanka (SL) President Rajapaksa in the Schools of the Tamil Nadu were arrested despite the fact that during the SL war and after until recently , there was bitter resentment against the name of Mahinda Rajapaksa in Tamil Nadu. Hence, it had become a vexatious issue to understand how an more..

Tunisia seen in Menika’s crystal ball

Jan 27 (SL) Aha! Gotch’ya! Now we know who wanted to ban mini skirts. ‘A sanctimonious humbug’ as he was labelled in last Sunday’s Leader! How did Menika get a frocked padre from the Catholic Church as the mooter of the ban. Maybe he pronounced the evils of exposing girls’ legs inches above the knee and this sanctimonious political humbug picks up the idea, expects Brownie points which equate to a trip abroad, a grander car, even a pat on the head by the king, all equally prized, and more..

The extraordinary courage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Jan 27 (TC) One of the defects of my character is timidity. That must be why I have inordinate admiration for leaders with so much courage. Even as well-informed and intellectually sophisticated commentators on international affairs have been warning us, we are living in dangerous times. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka perceives nothing less than ‘a global psywar against Sri Lanka’. Mr. Izeth Hussain senses ‘considerable British displeasure over more..

Killers let the husband alone

Jan 27 (SO) It was one of those mysterious murders that baffled the detectives for a few days. An elderly lady was gagged to death in her kitchen while preparing the morning tea for her husband. Stuck with the grip of sporadic violent crimes committed by individuals, IGP, Mahinda Balasuriya instructed DIG Crimes, Western Range, Anura Senanayake for the CCD headed by Director, SP Ranaweera to take over the investigations into the murder of a housewife at Borella last week. more..

National ‘Attitude’ problem

Jan 27 (SL) Almost every part of Sri Lanka has seen some form of flooding in the last one year. While there is absolutely no argument about the unprecedented quantum of rain that has fallen on the island during this time period, it can certainly be argued the damage that was caused could have been mitigated had the storm water drainage systems been in decent condition. It is a well-known fact that half an hour of heavy rain is enough to flood Colombo making many key more..