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Diaspora groups must let TNA set the agenda for Tamil political aspirations

July 28 (TC) The results of the second phase of the 2011 local govt elections reveal a north/ south divide with the ruling UPFA winning comfortably outside of the north and east and the TNA capturing the overwhelming majority of local bodies in those areas. These results need serious analysis by all political parties as an indication of the trajectory of politics to come. For the UNP and the JVP in particular, deep soul searching and political strategizing is in order. more..

Local polls show TNA is the pre-eminent entity among the Tamil people

July 28 (TC) The TNA’s Northern success, running against the ruling coalition in an area with a heavy military ‘footprint’ means one thing above all else: Sri Lanka remains a functioning, competitive, multiparty democracy. All thinking and policy within Sri Lanka and about Sri Lanka must stem from recognition of that basic fact. Yet, will the critics of the incumbent administration and of this country grant us that much? Knowing them as I do, more..

TNA sweeps the Northern polls as CBK speaks out

July 28 (DM) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) swept the recent local elections in the Northern Province, winning the popular vote by huge margins in all five electoral districts of the North and all the Tamil majority local council bodies baring three in the Jaffna Islets, namely Kyats, Delft and Velani. The Jaffna islands have long been a pocket borough of and tightly controlled by Minister Douglas Devananda and the islanders have consistently voted for his EPDP. more..

Economic concerns despite international upgrading

July 28 (NS) The upgrading of the country’s debt risk ratings has been the most recent good news on the economy. Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services improved their ratings and outlook for the Sri Lankan economy. These assessments of the three international rating organisations are of much value, especially for external finances. It would improve the country’s capacity and costs of foreign borrowing and hopefully more..

Pigeon Island a coral tomb

July 28 (ST) Last year, The Sunday Times of May 16 reported that, sections of Pigeon Island corals were under bleach attack, and ‘dying’ a natural death. This exclusive article titled ‘Corals under Bleach Attack’ highlighted the need to monitor this pristine reef. Recently, those who dived off Pigeon Island, confirm the worst has happened, with large areas of corals destroyed. But, are the guardians alert to monitor and protect this valuable reef? more..

Editorial: Poor man's smallpox affecting the rich

July 28 (Island) Duplicity of the developed world is the medium in which global terrorism thrives like maggots in muck. Time was when its tolerance of and support for terrorist groups, which plagued the Global South, seemed to pay in that it managed to be free from terrorism. But, today, it is hoist with its own petard as evident from the recent twin terror strikes in Norway. Emerging evidence that ultra right extremists responsible for the attacks in Norway have more..

Editorial: A mandate for peace and not hatred

July 28 (DM) One can interpret an election result anyway they want. You can find refuge in the numbers not polled with accusations against the victor or call the whole thing a farce devaluing the entire process of electioneering in a country's political history. Or you can do what the TNA does and call a victory at a local govt poll to hold the future of an entire land. The TNA has as usual taken the easy road. Rather than taking the effort to arrive at creating an environment that more..

'President has a bigger mandate against devolution'

July 28 (DM) Q: The TNA which secured 18 local councils yesterday insists on the devolution of police and land powers without which they claim a political solution could not be reached, emphasizing that ‘lasting peace, justice and democracy’ in the North depends on such devolution. A: Then the President has a bigger mandate not to give these powers. They’re talking of their mandate- how about ours- one accepted by a larger majority by the whole country? more..

Sri Lanka former war-torn areas get cold chain

July 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka's John Keells Holdings backed by the US Agency for International Development will build a 'cold chain' bring fishery and agricultural produce from former war torn regions to the market. John Keells Holdings told shareholders in a quarter report that the group's logistic unit and USAID will spend 400 million building the cold chain to carry produce from the north and east of Sri Lanka. A 'cold chain' involves cooled storage facilities and more..

TULF condemns Norway massacre

July 28 (Island) TULF leader V. Anandasangaree condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Norway. The following is the full text of a letter sent to Norwegian Ambassador Hilde Haraldstad by veteran politician Anandasangaree: "The Tamil United Liberation Front very strongly condemns the two dastardly acts of terror that cost many innocent lives. We Sri Lankans are aware, as to how painful it is for the relatives and friends of victims, to bear the agony of loss of lives. more..

What South Africa can do to help with reconciliation in Sri Lanka

July 28 (ICG) As South Africa knows better than most, a country cannot begin to overcome decades of internal conflict without a sustained effort at revealing the truth of the past and a committed push for reconciliation. If only Sri Lanka could learn that lesson. It has been more than two years since the Sri Lankan military defeated the LTTE, in a war whose final months saw both the Sinhalese-majority government and the rebels contribute to more..

Restraining order against UGC, University heads extended

July 28 (Island) The Court of Appeal yesterday extended till August 05, 2011, the restraining order, issued earlier, against the UGC, the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, and the Heads of Departments, of the Ruhuna, Wayamba and Sri Jayewardenepura Universities. The stay order restrained the UGC the Chancellor and the Vice Chancellors, from accepting the letters of resignation submitted by the Heads of Department. The same stay order restrained the Heads of Departments from more..

Sirisena identifies four obstacles to healthy living

July 28 (Island) Minister Maithripala Sirisena identified four major obstacles the country was faced with in uplifting nutritional values among people. Quoting the Health Minister, who was chief guest at the Opening of National Nutritional Coordinating Centre in Polonnaruwa, the spokesman said that alcohol and tobacco posed the largest threat to nutrition. "It’s been a problem from colonial times. A sizable share of a person’s earnings is spent on alcohol and tobacco. more..

‘Trail’ reaches Point Pedro

July 28 (Island) Yesterday was, according to Dr. Kanishka Karunarathne, who is the Director Cancer Hospital, Maharagama, a historic day for the people of Jaffna. As the 27-day-long walk, which began on July 1 at Dondra, organised by a charity named ‘Colours of Courage Trust’ reached its destination at Point Pedro in the Jaffna Peninsula last morning, more than three fourth of the funds needed for building a much-needed children’s cancer unit for more..

Where the mind is without fear

July 28 (HT) What will I miss most if I leave Sri Lanka? After much deep and soul-searching introspection I realized that it would be the set of family values preached by the first family. Specifically, the way the family has tried to inculcate these values in the rest of the country. Say, by staying united in the control of 94 govt ministries and departments ranging from the zoo to the powerful and disciplined military. How, for example, economic development for the whole of Sri Lanka including more..

A bear in Yala found seriously ill

July 28 (DM) A bear was found seriously ill and semi conscious while another was found dead by wildlife officials who were patrolling the Yala National Park. They said the sick bear was suffering from pneumonia and that the other might have died of a similar ailment. A Udawalawa Elephant Transit Home Veterinary Surgeon Dr. Tharaka Prasad treated the sick animal and said it was now out of danger. Meanwhile the ECO-TEAM, an NGO dedicated to protecting the wildlife, donated a more..

First Lady meets Bangladesh PM

July 28 (DN) First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa who is in Bangladesh to attend a special seminar on children suffering from autism, paid a courtesy call on Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheik Hasina at her official residence on Tuesday. The Bangladesh Prime Minister who warmly received the First Lady had a half hour long discussion with her on matters relating to mutual friendship and relations between the two countries. The First Lady gave a first hand account of more..

Punish Lankan war criminals, TNCC chief appeals to PM

July 28 (PTI) TNCC president K V Thangkabalu today appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure that those responsible for alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka against Tamil civilians during the last phase of the offensive against the LTTE in Sri Lanka faced action. Calling on the Prime Minister at his residence in Delhi, Thangkabalu referred to a recent UN report on this matter, which found alleged human rights violations during the final phase of the conflict, more..

Durham v Sri Lanka A: All-round Borthwick puts Durham in control

July 28 (CI) Scott Borthwick, the legspinning allrounder who was recently called-up by the England Lions, enjoyed an excellent day with bat and ball to leave Durham firmly on top of their four-day match against Sri Lanka A at Chester-le-Street. Opening the batting after Sri Lanka A were bundled out for 203 in just 51.4 overs he was unbeaten on 70 as Durham reached 143 for 1 at the close. Mark Stoneman also passed fifty, making 56 from 95 balls in a 117-run opening stand. more..

Sri Lanka: Tamil hopes and national unity

July 28 (Hindu) More than two years ago the guns fell silent in Sri Lanka, ending a three decade-old civil war with the LTTE. But voices demanding an acceptable solution that accommodates Tamil aspirations are still strident. The country's leadership is seeking to meet these demands within a national unity framework. The expected landslide victory of the TNA — the most popular political formation in the Northern Province, which before the war ended openly supported the armed secessionist movement more..

The Sri Lankan soldiers 'whose hearts turned to stone'

July 28 (C4) As the Sri Lankan war approached its endgame, 130,000 civilians were trapped along a small strip of beach. An eyewitness recalls the bloodshed that followed and how civilians were targeted. Over the last two years Channel 4 News has broadcast footage that the UN says constitutes "credible evidence of war crimes" in Sri Lanka. In the final stages of 26 years of civil war between the Sri Lankan govt and the LTTE, the United Nations estimated up to 40,000 more..

'80% of families settled close to HSZ'

July 28 (DM) Petitioners had filed a fundamental rights application in the Supreme Court seeking a declaration from the Court that the action of the Respondents in not permitting them to occupy and live in their homes in their villages situated in the periphery of the High Security Zone infringes their fundamental rights. The Attorney General meanwhile informed Court that 11,879 families consisting of 38,637 members have been re-settled in Tellipalai just outside the Palaly High Security Zone in Valigamam North whereas 6,928 families consisting of more..

Golden Key case: Seven accused granted bail

July 28 (DM) Former Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala and six others who were indicted in connection with the Golden Key Credit Card fraud were yesterday released on a surety bail of five million rupees each by the Colombo High Court. The third accused was released on the bail condition set by a Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s Court on a previous occasion. The Court also served indictments on each accused in the case and ordered that their finger prints be taken. more..

Johnston requests JVP, opposition to refrain from criticizing Govt.

July 28 (Island) Minister Johnston Fernando requested Tilvin Silva and the JVP as well as the Opposition to refrain from criticizing the government for the sake of criticizing. He said that the voters had given the UPFA government a mandate at Saturday’s Local Government elections. Fernando was speaking at the opening of a Coop City outlet in Maradana on Tuesday (26). He said that the JVP was hiding behind facade of democracy and instigating the public by conducting protests. more..

UNICEF blows out the Hype of exaggerated civilian deaths in Sri Lanka

July 28 (AT) Latest UNICEF report for July 2011 has blown out the hype of exaggerated repetitions by - international elements saying that there were '40,000 civilian deaths' during the final stages of the Sri Lankan humanitarian campaign. The UNICEF report in its latest analysis of missing persons accounts the numbers as 2,564 individuals. The report also reinforces the Govt's policy on zero civilian casualties endured during the end of the conflict resulting more..

Wildlife director sacked over Govt.’s loss of votes in Wayamba

July 28 (Island) Wildlife Conservation Director General Dr. Chandrawansa Pathiraja was removed from his post yesterday by Wildlife and Agrarian Services Minister S. M. Chandrasena. The Island learns that among the causes for the removal of Dr. Pathiraja were elephant drives and relocation, particularly in the Wayamba area. Dr. Pathiraja took the initiative to relocate wild elephants which caused the human-elephant conflict in the Wayamba Province. more..

Use prime time for studies- MR

July 28 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting that all the TV channels should be requested not to telecast teledramas between 7.00 pm and 9.00 pm so that schoolchildren could devote their time to studying. The president said that the Cabinet should make a collective request to the TV channels operating in the country. At this time, Minister Wimal Weerawansa had reportedly said that all the political programmes should be telecast during this time instead of teledramas. more..

Prisoners’ data to be computerised

July 28 (Island) The Ministry of Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation has taken steps to introduce a computerized data system for all the prison inmates islandwide. "The data system will include all the information about the prisoners, such as personal information, special skills, the type of offence and health records," Secretary to the ministry, A. Dissanayaka said. At present, only written records about the inmates were maintained, except in the Welikada Prison complex. more..

Dons await fresh letters of appointments

July 28 (DM) The university academics said they would not withdraw the resignation letters which they submitted to university authorities and were awaiting the Vice Chancellors to issue fresh letters of appointments for the academics who resigned from their voluntary posts. FUTA President Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said that they had been advised by their lawyers to refrain from withdrawing the resignation letters. “We have been advised that if we withdraw the resignation letters, more..

N’Eliya, Batticaloa affected: Over 500 hit by rains

July 28 (DN) Over 500 persons in Batticaloa and Nuwara Eliya districts were affected by heavy rains and strong winds. Nearly 189 people from 38 families have been affected by floods in the Nuwara Eliya district, said DMC Nuwara Eliya District Coordinator Eranda Hemawardane. The DMC has taken measures to evacuate those affected to camps in Queensbury School and Bogahawatta. Nine families have been provided shelter at Bogahawatta camp and 129 at Queensbury School. more..

Ranil obtains interim order against Maithri Gunaratne’s case

July 28 (DM) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and the party’s Working Committee obtained an interim order stopping the proceedings of a civil suit filed by UNP Provincial Council member Maithri Gunaratne before the Nugegoda District Court challenging the appointment of several members to the party’s Working Committee. The bench comprising Civil Appellate Court judges Rohini Walgama and M. Zurifick Razeen issued the interim order sequel to an application filed by more..

'Int’l Bond Issue to pay back loans'

July 28 (DM) Sri Lanka yesterday obtained Rs.101 billion through an International Bond Issue repayable in 10 years at an annual rate of 6.2 per cent interest, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said. He said that the funds would be partly used to pay loans obtained earlier at higher rates of interest and partly for development purposes. “The IBI was opened on the 20th and it was oversubscribed within a couple of days, displaying the level of confidence the global business community has on Sri Lanka" more..

HC issues arrest warrant on Cecille K’wela

July 28 (Island) Colombo High Court Judge Deepali Wijesundera yesterday issued a warrant for the arrest of Cecille Kotelawela, Director of Golden Key Ltd. and the Ceylinco Group of Companies. Cecille Kotelawela is accused of criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 7,200 million deposited in the Golden Key Ltd. Earlier, the High Court ordered summons to be served on more..

TNA & TULF benefited by UPFA’s mistakes

July 28 (Island) Government sources allege the pro-LTTE lobby is now working overtime to interpret the outcome at Saturday’s northern LG polls as a vote for devolving power to predominately Tamil speaking areas. Sources say a section of the diplomatic community and Tamil Diaspora are stepping up pressure on the govt citing the TNA’s victory at the second phase of the LG polls 2011. The TULF secured two LG bodies. more..

Sajith to make crucial announcement today

July 28 (DM) UNP Co-Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa is to make a crucial announcement today regarding the future of the party, informed sources said last night. The announcement follows a meeting of the UNP reformists led by Mr. Premadasa, to discuss the party’s future, at Mr. Premdasa’s residence last evening. Several MPs including Rosy Senanayake, Talatha Athukorala and Imitiaz Bakeer Markar had participated at the meeting. more..

Registration of foreign docs suspended

July 28 (Island) Around 26 patients who had undergone cardiac surgery performed by Indian surgeons, at some private hospitals, are now being treated by local doctors at the Colombo National Hospital, the GMOA alleges. General Secretary of the GMOA Dr Chandika Epitakaduwa alleged that Indian qualified doctors get registered in the Sri Lanka Medial Council as medical officers and later change the title to consultants or surgeons. more..

30 Indian fishermen injured in attack by Lankan Navy

July 28 (PTI) Thirty fishermen were injured when they were assaulted allegedly by Sri Lankan Naval personnel in the high seas off the coast here on Thursday, police said. The fishermen alleged that the Lankan Naval men, who came in seven boats, whipped them with a rope, and took away their catch and GPS equipment, among others, early Thursday morning. Two of the boats were fitted with machine guns, more..

Norwegian ‘peace evaluation’ delayed

July 28 (Island) Norway seems to be reluctant to make public a costly evaluation of its unsuccessful peace efforts in Sri Lanka. Although Norway initially planned to unveil the final report in the first week of April 2011, ahead of UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s unsubstantiated ‘war crimes’ report, an influential section in the Norwegian government is concerned about the outcome. Sources told The Island that in view of a spate of revelations made by more..

Missing HR activist’s body exhumed

July 28 (DM) The body of human rights activist Pattinin Razeek who disappeared more than one and half years ago was exhumed before Valachchenai Magistrate on a lead given by a suspect today. The body was buried within a half built private house in a remote village in Uddamaveli, Valachchenai. The Valachchenai Magistrate ordered to send the body to the Government Analyst Department for the scientific identification. more..

Mahela hails epic Sri Lanka anti-cancer walk

July 28 (BBC) Cricket star Mahela Jayawardena has paid tribute to his compatriots' generosity in donating funds for a cancer project in the north of the country. He was speaking from Jaffna after laying the foundation stone for a children's cancer ward in the town's main hospital. Jayawardena took part in two separate days of a 27-day sponsored trek from the southern tip of Sri Lanka to its northernmost extremity, Point Pedro, devoted to the project more..