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India, Sri Lanka ferry service to boost refugee returns: UNHCR

July 16 (PTI) A ferry service commenced recently between Sri Lanka and India for the first time in decades is set to boost the return of Sri Lankan refugees from their camps in south India back to their bases, a UNHCR report has said. "The number of refugees arriving back home in Sri Lanka is rising slowly and could increase further over the next half year with the recent launch of the Tuticorin-Colombo ferry service," more..

Experts checking Channel 4 film: LLRC

July 16 (DM) The LLRC said yesterday it was still examining the Channel 4 film on allegations of war crimes committed by the LTTE and the security forces in Sri Lanka and telecast early last month. LLRC spokesman Lakshman Wickremasinghe said the Channel 4 film, which was released on June 14 showing alleged war crimes by the military and the LTTE was viewed and analysed by the Commission but had to be examined by experts. more..

Dead dog politics in Jaffna

July 17 (LG) What would you feel if the pet dog you were rearing in your home for companionship as well as for security was brutally killed and decapitated, its body left lying on the street and its head placed on your gate? What would you feel if your pet dog was killed, its body bundled up and thrown into the well from which you draw your drinking water every day? If these brutalities take place in an environment in which an army consisting of members of the ‘other’ ethnicity is more..

Navi Pillai a racist says Sinhala racist

July 17 (LG) I write in response to the article ‘UNCOHR Ms N. Pillay unmask her true identity’ by Malin Abeyatunge, published in Sri Lanka Guardian with the comments – ‘Views expresses in this article are author's own.’. They certainly do not seem to come with the Goodwill enjoyed by Sri Lanka Guardian including from Tamils. As per my assessment – the author seems to want to establish that Ms Navi Pillai is an LTTE supporter and hence is not fit to be the UN Commissioner more..

'Sri Lanka lawlessness, injustice, engineered by best legal minds'

July 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's lawlessness and injustice was systematically engineered by the best legal minds in the country over a long period and the island's minority are not the only victims, a lawyer who has also spoken out against judicial autocracy has said. Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, lawyer and author, addressing a meeting of the CIMOGG, a civil society organization, said the framers of the island's post independent constitutions have more..

3 men accused of attack on Lankan team in Pak released

July 17 (PTI) Two days after the release of the alleged mastermind of the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, a Pakistani court has released three men accused of involvement in the same incident. The anti-terrorism court in Lahore released Javaid Anwar, Abdul Rehman and Muhammad Abdullah on bail yesterday against a surety bond of Rs 1 lakh each. Earlier, courts had granted bail to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi chief Malik Ishaq, the alleged mastermind of the attack, and more..

Don’t get entangled in government’s traps – JVP tells members of security forces

July 17 (LT) The govt that deploys members of security forces for undemocratic acts would not take any measures to save them from various repercussions they would have to confront as a result of engaging in such undemocratic acts and the govt would not hesitate to sacrifice them to save its skin says former JVP MP Ramalingam Chandrasekar. He asked members of security forces not to get entangled in such traps but to implement the law of the country. more..

SL seeks delisting from the UN 'naming and shaming' list

July 17 (NN) Sri Lanka has called on the UN Security Council and working group on children in armed conflicts to remove the country from the “naming and shaming” list of the UN Secretary General. A report titled Conflict Dynamics International, launched under the auspices of Canada and Germany, has led to Sri Lanka remaining on the “naming and shaming” list despite the end of the war two years ago. more..

'There’s a conspiracy to liquidate Samurdhi movement & grab its funds'

July 17 (LT) All Ceylon Samurdhi Officers Union states they would engage in stern trade union action if appropriate response is not received for the demands they have forwarded. This was stated by the President of the Union N.A.I.B. Abeysinghe at a media briefing held at Jana Medura Hall in Kandy. He said the promise the officials made that all Samurdhi officers would be absorbed into the department with full pension rights has been broken. more..

Winds lash Wariyapola

July 17 (NN) Strong winds lashed Wariyapola early this morning damaging several houses. According to officials in the area six houses were damaged by the strong winds and at least 25 people had been affected. No one was injured. Meanwhile the department of meteorology said this morning that there will be showers at times in the Western, Sabaragamuwa and Central provinces and in the Galle and Matara districts today. Showers can be extended to North-Western province too. more..

NanoCab threatens tuk-tuk industry

War Crimes?

July 17 (LG) I too saw the famous Channel 4 video, and I too was duly horrified, "duly" because I reacted in the way that the makers of the video obviously wanted its viewers to react. In terms of the obvious intent behind it, the video has to be judged a fine performance in journalism. The very title, Killing Fields, invoked the Cambodian horror, one of the greatest horrors of all time, of infinitely greater magnitude than anything that has been alleged to have happened in Sri Lanka. more..

The dismantling of democracy by obscurantist forces

July 17 (LG) Richard Tawney, the economic historian, was one of the many leading intellectuals of his time who supported the Labour Party. The above quote is from his book 'Equality' which he wrote on the eve of the Labour Party forming the second minority government under Ramsay MacDonald. Tawney's democratic socialism was to have a great influence on many socialists in Britain. It was such socialist-inclined intellectuals who produced the Donoughmore Constitution on which was based more..

The assassination of Alfred Durayappah

July 17 (TC) Alfred Durayappah, the Mayor of Jaffna, was a most unusual man. Most, if not all, the Members of Parliament representing Jaffna District were Tamil extremists, unwaveringly hostile to the SLFP government led by Mrs Bandaranaike which they accused of Sinhala hegemonism. Alfred D swam against this tide. He was a savvy local politician who had won the hearts and minds of the underclass, who constituted the majority of urban voters. more..

Editorial: Shed political agendas, defeat global terrorism

July 17 (SO) The recent terror attacks in Mumbai and Karachi have again stressed the need for a combined universal effort to eradicate global terrorism. While Sri Lanka beat all overwhelming odds to crush terrorism over two years ago, more countries are falling prey to international terrorism. At a time the world is grappling to combat growing international terrorism, Sri Lanka, with its proven track record in crushing the most ruthless terrorist outfit in the world, more..

Editorial: Publish and be damned

July 17 (SL) The End of the World’ was how a British newspaper described the voluntary closure of the News of the World which had a history of 168 years of publication. Some Britishers welcomed the closure of the Sunday tabloid which they considered to be sleazy, scandalous, crime oriented and titillating. Yet, it relentlessly exposed scandals that involved the highest in the land and on one occasion brought down a conservative govt. Directed towards the ‘literate working class’, more..

Real enemies of nation are ensconced at zenith of power and in control of national wealth

July 17 (TC) It was a shock, though not an unexpected one. Last week Sri Lanka lost her first hedging case, to the Standard Chartered Bank. Given this precedent-setting verdict, the other two arbitration suits – filed by the City Bank in the US and the Deutsche Bank in Singapore – are also likely to end in defeat. Ultimately, Sri Lanka will end up by paying around US$500 million to the three banks, money the country can ill-afford. more..

Editorial: Mumbai lessons for myopic West

July 17 (NS) The news that multiple terrorist strikes have yet again hit neighbouring India’s commercial capital of Mumbai has an eerie sense of déjà vu for many of us in Sri Lanka. Not long ago, a similar story could have emanated from Colombo and the gory details would have been much the same. This week’s events in Mumbai therefore will evoke memories of the dark days when Sri Lanka was fighting a bloody war. However, it ought to also reinforce a compelling message to the rest of the world: more..

Editorial: Cricket calamity concealed

July 17 (LB) No need to say howzat when confronted with the reality that cricket became the number one issue in the national spotlight this week. To say that there has been a long national love affair with the game is almost to repeat cliche. The current disaffection and shock over the way the game is being administered, is in the nature of a collective national trauma. It’s as if some long hidden and sordid saga of chronic neglect of a loved one has come to light, and more..

Elephant relocation claim harmful

July 17 (BL) A well-known environmentalist and senior tourism industry personnel, Srilal Miththapala last week claimed that a government big wig had shot his mouth that 200 elephants would be translocated in Hambantota and this could cause severe repercussions where there could be a strong international lobby against granting Sri Lanka the hosting of the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Miththapala, who was speaking on ‘Nature Based Tourism’ under the topic, more..

Polls: A barometer for UPFA popularity

July 17 (NS) This week, a small but significant section of the Sri Lankan electorate will go to the polls. Its outcome will not alter much in terms of the balance of power in the nation, but the elections will be watched with interest for a variety of reasons. It will be recalled that polls for the vast majority of local bodies - 234 to be precise - were held in March this year. The ruling UPFA romped home, winning 205 local bodies. The UNP managed to win nine councils. more..

Ranil’s offer of support ruffles opposition, baffles govt

July 17 (NS) The statement made by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe last week making the point that working out a political solution through a united effort paving the way for durable peace in the country after restoring democratic governance in the North, would go a long way in easing the international pressures being exerted on Sri Lanka, has become the main moot point in political and diplomatic circles today. Fresh from a visit to the United States, more..

Anandasangaree wants ministers out of North

July 17 (NS) TULF Leader V. Anandasangaree in a statement issued yesterday requested the President to recall his coterie of ministers now engaged in election work in the North. Anandasangaree further requested the President to confine the Army to the barracks until the LG elections are over and hand over all law and order concerns to the Police. “Since it was more than two years since the war was concluded the people in the North were still unable to lead a normal life. more..

Editorial: Dons' pay dispute: A glimmer of hope?

July 17 (Island) The university crisis is far from over though hope is being expressed in some quarters that the warring dons and the government are likely to thrash out a compromise formula at long last. What is fuelling hope of a negotiated settlement is what is being described as a positive outcome of a recent meeting between the FUTA and President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The govt is reported to have agreed, in principle, to a revision of university teachers' salary structure, more..

Editorial: Mumbai attacks: Lessons for Lanka

July 17 (ST) The commercial capital of India was again rocked this week by simultaneous bomb explosions, their impact resounding through the sub-continent. It is easy for Sri Lankans to empathise with the anguish of the people of Mumbai, having lived through such venomous terrorist attacks not so long ago. It is unfortunate, however, that apart from a brief statement from President Mahinda Rajapaksa immediately after the explosions on Wednesday evening, the Govt of Sri Lanka did not issue more..

Britain says Sri Lanka corruption perception high

July 17 (NS) The level of corruption perception in Sri Lanka is high, states the United Kingdom, warning “all UK companies preparing to do business in Sri Lanka to consider their strategy for dealing with bribery and corruption.” In the official Trade and Investment website on Sri Lanka, the advisory dated last week says that whilst Sri Lanka ranks mid-way on corruption according to the Transparency International’s corruption perception index (CPI), more..

SLC announces Inter-Provincial T-20 tournament fixture

July 17 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Friday announced its tournament fixtures for the Inter-Provincial T-20 tournament, which was scheduled to get underway earlier as the now postponed Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL). The tourney will be held from July 21-31. Cash strapped SLC postponed SLPL to next year. Contracted Indian players were also not granted permission by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at the height of its inception. more..

Wimal In Housing Scam

July 17 (SL) Residents in the Ivanwatte housing project in Egoda Uyana, Moratuwa have alleged that Housing, Construction, Engineering Services and Public Utilities Minister Wimal Weerawansa has misappropriated Rs. 5 million from the project. A statement released by the Ministry states that a sum of Rs. 9.2 million had been spent to provide financial assistance to 30 house owners under the project. However, each house owner had been given only a sum of Rs. 150,000. more..

Leopard kills woman: Big Cats lose fear of humans

July 17 (LB) A 31 year old woman, a Samurdhi officer from Jaffna, was attacked and killed by a leopard in Yala on July 9. This is the first time that a leopard killed a human since the attacks of a man eating leopard in Punani almost 100 years ago, and has raised serious concerns about what led to this sudden attack and how it will affect how we look at leopards. The 31 year old woman was a part of the traditional annual two month long pada yatra from Jaffna to Kataragama. more..

Hedging: The recurring nightmare

July 17 (Island) When the JVP politburo met last week, the main topic of conversation was the hedging deal with Somawansa Amarasinghe and Tilvin Silva saying that the govt had now been asked to pay 162 million US$ to just one bank and that since there were similar agreements with some other banks as well, the final amount that the govt had to pay may be much more, and further that the govt could not foist the blame for this deal on just one individual as it had been approved collectively by the Cabinet. more..

Cheap fuel giving us combustible tempers

July 17 (ST) My dear Petrol Susil, I thought I must write to you after hearing all the stories about petrol which are circulating these days and everyone trying to blame poor you for their stalling car engines and hedging deals that have cost the country billions of dollars and then demanding your resignation as well! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way trying to add fuel to the fire! Of course, Petrol Susil, some people have all the luck but others like more..

Jaffna Polls: Concerted effort aimed at voter turnout

July 17 (SL) The local govt elections in Jaffna are being taken very seriously by the UPFA and the TNA. The UNP has a low key presence and on the surface is not pursuing these elections with much gusto. The government efforts are spearheaded by Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the TNA by Suresh Premachandran. Minister Rajapaksa’s meetings were largely very well attended, with veteran politician M.L.M Hizbullah accompanying Rajapaksa and more..

Psy-ops cows opposition in North

July 17 (LB) The govt is carrying out a systematic and calculated psychological operation to create a fear psychosis in the North leading to the July 23 Local Govt (LG) elections, claim election monitors. The army and police are openly obstructing the election campaign of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), and intimidating the candidates, said Campaign For Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) spokesperson, Keerthi Tennakoon. more..

TNA candidates’ security beefed up – Polls Chief

July 17 (NS) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has ensured full security for all TNA candidates contesting the forthcoming local government polls in Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts. LG polls are scheduled for 63 local bodies on Saturday July 23. The Election Commissioner’s assurance came in the wake of representations made to him by the TNA that their candidates in the North had come under intense pressure due to various disruptive activities during more..

‘We need to be twice as hungry to beat the Aussies’

July 17 (NS) Former Sri Lanka fast bowler Rumesh Ratnayake believes that Sri Lanka needs to be twice as hungry as their opponents if they want to emerge victorious in the Test and One-Day International series against Australia starting next month. “Taking on Australia is a huge challenge. They are like a wounded tiger after losing the Ashes and the World Cup and they will be hungry,” Ratnayake said after being appointed interim coach of the Sri Lanka more..

Dockyard builds test facility in eastern port

July 17 (Island) Colombo Dockyard has commissioned a 'bollard pull' test facility in Trincomalee for use by its own vessels and others such as in planned oil exploration work. "The test facility is built mainly to check and confirm the pulling capacity of ships including tugs and Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessels up to 250 tonnes," the yard said in a statement. Bollard pull indicates the maximum pulling force a ship such as a tug can exert on another ship or object. more..

Cat burglar steals goods worth Rs. 1.3 mn from Colombo supermarket

July 17 (Island) Police are probing the theft of foreign liquor, perfumes and ready-made garments worth around 1.3 million rupees from a popular supermarket at Kollupitiya last week. Several fingerprints were found at the scene of the crime. but investigators have so far not made any headway. Police said the cat burglar had smashed a glass window of the store and gained entry after scaling the wall of an adjoining building under construction. more..

800 vehicles stuck at port, row over new directive

July 17 (ST) A Govt directive on the import of reconditioned or used cars has sparked a crisis among importers with some 800 vehicles being stuck at the port for the past two months. The directive stipulates that only cars less than two years old could be imported while many dealers had opened Letters of Credit for the import of vehicles which were five years old. The directive led to protests from used vehicle importers after Customs refused to more..

UNP withdraws motions against ministers

July 17 (ST) The UNP will not go ahead with its earlier plans to move votes of no confidence against two senior cabinet ministers. Nor will it press for adjournment debates over issues that have confronted these ministers. Two such four-hour debates were to come up when Parliament meets later this month. One of the no-confidence motions was to be against Petroleum Resources Minister Susil Premajayantha over the import of 20,000 tons of adulterated fuel from Dubai. more..

Maldives– Sri Lanka currency swap talks continuing says Minister

July 17 (Island) Despite the apparent lull in discussions on a Maldives- Sri Lanka currency swap, a Maldivian minister said yesterday that it was continuing. The Maldives Economic Development Minister Mahmood Razee said in Male said that the monetary authorities of the two countries were working on the financial arrangement for a direct exchange between the Rufiya and Rupee. When told that it was quite some time since President Mohammed Nasheed and more..