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Overstaffed SLC planned for 172 % increase in staff

July 30 (Island) Now that new head of the Sri Lankan Cricket Interim Committee H. K. Upali Dharmadasa has acknowledged that the cash-strapped sports body is overstaffed, the Sports Ministry should investigate a controversial move by the previous Interim Committee to increase the staff from 267 to 727 by 2013. Dharmadasa is on record as having said that he would prune SLC staff beginning with those attached to SLC from 82 to 50. more..

'Jaffna MP seats will be increased if voters return'

July 30 (DM) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that he would take steps to allocate more parliamentary seats to the Jaffna district if the number of voters increased in the area in the future. He said that the registration of voters in 2010 resulted in the deleting of the names of around 320,000 people from the list since they had left the area. Mr. Deshapriya said that the reduction in the parliamentary seats to the district was a result of that process. more..

Canadian court releases four accused Sri Lankan migrant smugglers

July 30 (TP) Four men who were charged with smuggling Sri Lankan migrants aboard a ship to Canada have been ordered released on bail. The four were among 76 Sri Lankans on the freighter MV Ocean Lady, which was seized by Canadian authorities off the coast of Vancouver Island in October 2009. They were initially detained but later released by immigration authorities pending their refugee claims. n June, Francis Anthonimuthu, 33, Hamalraj Handasamu, 39, more..

British Govt. respects freedom of Channel-4

July 30 (DM) In response to a request by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa that the British Govt should take action against Channel-4 for airing what he described as ‘an irresponsible video film’, the British High Commission in Colombo said its govt did not exercise control over media contents. “Channel-4 is an independent television broadcaster. Britain believes that a free media is a vital part in every democratic country, more..

First Chairman monk seeks power from garbage

July 30 (DM) Ven. Vewelduwe Gnanaprabha Thera who may be the first monk to be appointed chairman said his priority would be to obtain Peradeniya University assistance to generate electricity from garbage and produce compost so that the Embilipitiya Urban Council could earn an income from it. “We are considering proposals to help farmers and develop the agricultural sector in the Embilipitiya district”, the Thera said. more..

Nirupama Rao on ‘secret’ Lanka visit

July 30 (TS) Foreign secretary Ms Nirupama Rao left for Sri Lanka late this evening on a hush-hush visit. The ministry of external affairs did not issue any Press release prior to the visit and no official explanation was forthcoming on why the foreign secretary is spending the last three days of her tenure in Colombo. Ms Rao was invited by Sri Lankan President Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa for a farewell visit and she has gone for that purpose. more..

Sri Lankan journalist attacked 'with iron bars'

July 30 (AFP) An ethnic Tamil journalist in Sri Lanka's formerly embattled north was brutally attacked with iron bars, police said on Saturday, the latest in a string of assaults on the nation's media. Gnanasundaram Kuhanathan, news editor of the Tamil-language daily Uthayan, was attacked by a gang of men wielding iron bars on Friday near his home in the area formerly held by separatist Tamil rebels, police said. "The man is in intensive care in hospital" with serious head injuries, more..

University teachers union sells out wage campaign

July 31 (wsws) On July 22, the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) called off its three-month protest campaign for a pay rise, accepting the limited allowance increases proposed by the government. University academics had resigned their administrative posts on May 9 as part of their protest campaign for higher wages. The FUTA leadership took the decision to terminate the wage campaign because it was adding to the political problems of the govt and it became clear that more..

Sri Lanka can tap Vietnam for seaweed, lobster culture: minister

July 31 (LBO) Vietnam is ready to send experts to Sri Lanka to transfer aquaculture knowledge and techniques to grow seaweed, lobster and sea-cucumber, visiting minister Vu Van Tam said in Colombo. "We can send out technicians or experts to help Sri Lanka," deputy minister Tam said. "Or we are ready to receive your delegation of technicians to practices in my country." Tam who is Vietnam's deputy minister of agriculture and rural development is also more..

SLC responds to The Island revelation

July 31 (Island) Apropos front-page news item captioned ‘SLC's 50,847 free World Cup tickets trigger controversy’, in the July 11 issue, SLC Media Manager Brian Thomas has sent the following statement: We agree that as per your report we printed 50,847 complimentary tickets for 12 World cup games to be hosted by us, and the printers authentication for this is in our files. We also agree that a total number of 272,318 tickets amounting to a rupee value of more..

Professor Hoole under Police Inquiry - EPDP

July 31 (LG) Following an article on the EPDP General Secretary and Minister Douglas Devananda by Professor Ratnajeevan H. Hoole in such manner as to cause scandal/defamation to Minister Devananda, the latter has recently filed a complaint at the Kayts Police Station. Following this complaint, the police who took the legally required steps came searching for the professor. Later they made contact and it has come to be known that inquiries are to take place. more..

Suspected EPDP goons assault 59 year old news editor of Jaffna newspaper

July 30 (DBS) Gnanasundaram Kuhanathan, News Editor of Tamil Daily ”Uthayan” was attacked with iron rods in Jaffna by 2 thugs suspected to be from the EPDP. 59 year old Kuhanathan was admitted to the Jaffna hospital is undergoing intensive treatment for serious head injuries caused by the assault. The attack occurred around 7.30 pm on July 28th near the Manohara theatre when Kuhanathan was walking from office to his home for dinner. more..

Injured Malinga out of Twenty20s against Australia

July 31 (CI) Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lanka fast bowler, has not been picked for the national team's two-match Twenty20 series against Australia, starting August 6 in Pallekele, due to an injury. Malinga was named in the list of 20 probables for the home series, but was left out of the Twenty20s to get back to fitness for the five-match ODI series starting on August 10. Sri Lanka have drafted in uncapped allrounder Shaminda Eranga more..

Toddler among four killed

July 31 (ST) A toddler was among four persons killed in motor accidents at several places during the past 24 hours, police said today. They said, a two-year-old child was killed in a freak accident when a motorist was reversing his vehicle at the residential Maligawatte flats in Maradana on Friday evening. The victim was identified as Assad Asthma. The motorist was arrested and is due to be produced before a Magistrate later today. In another incident a father and his teenage son were killed on the spot when more..

Police protection for area surrounding 'Uthayan'

July 31 (DM) Police protection has been provided to the area surrounding the office of Jaffna-based Uthayan news paper who’s Chief news editor was brutally attacked by an unidentified gang yesterday evening. News Editor, Gnanasundaram Kuganathan was attacked while he was traveling along the Navalar Road in Jaffna, after which he was admitted to the Jaffna Hospital in critical condition. The police and army are also carrying out frequent security patrols in the area.

'Lanka needs to look into war crimes allegations carefully'

July 31 (SO) Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said Sri Lanka has to look into war crimes allegations carefully. In an interview with Headlines Today, on her last day in office, the United States ambassador designate was queried on allegations of human rights violations in Sri Lanka and the controversial Channel 4 video amongst other topics. Asked about a Channel 4 documentary, aired recently on Headlines Today, which showed the horrific way more..

A Visit to South Africa

July 31 (TC) It was in May 2009 in Australia, that we first decided to visit South Africa with some friends. Our reasons for choosing South Africa over Kenya, was that there was more to see in South Africa, other than just wild life. Other than the spectacle of fabulous Cape Town, South Africa offered a better quality of accommodation, food, wine etc and first world infrastructure. On returning to London, our first point of reference was Roger and Pippa Munyard, our neighbours in more..

How the UNP govt of J.R. Jayawardane smashed up the 1980 general strike

July 31 (TC) It is over 30 years now since Sri Lanka witnessed one of the most merciless victimizations of strikers for having exercised their legitimate right to improve their economic lot. The severity and scale of the smash–up of the 1980 strike comes only second to the mass-scale victimization that took place in the aftermath of the 1948 general strike. The UNP that swept the polls in 1977 pledging to usher in a righteous and just society lost no time in letting loose a more..

'A vibrant Opposition vital for democracy'

July 31 (SO) Senior Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka said a Parliamentary Select Committee or any other mode of discussion is a good move to bring a viable solution to the national question. The Minister in an interview with the Sunday Observer said problems can only be resolved through dialogues where all political parties must arrive at a common decision. The issue of the national question does not confine to the Government or one political party. more..

Editorial: Sumanthiran’s statement, a wake-up call

July 31 (SO) A TNA MP has advocated a change of attitude of the Tamil diaspora. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran had told his party’s UK branch in London recently, that the current political environment demands that the Tamil diaspora changes its attitude. His bold and candid statement is not only an eye-opener to all Tamils living here and abroad, but also to his own fellow TNA MPs. The Govt has taken cognizance that the Tamil voters have given a clear mandate to the TNA at the recent LG elections. more..

Editorial: Deeds not words

July 31 (SL) The recent defeat of the Right to Information (draft) Bill presented to parliament by the Deputy Leader of the UNP, Karu Jayasuriya, needs deep thought and address by the people of this country. The govt using the two thirds they possess within their ranks to defeat this bill without even a by your leave, raised many an eyebrow. It does not take an Einstein to delve into the thought process of those within the ruling group, to comprehend the reasons for shooting down more..

Sangaree volunteers to help govt find solution

July 31 (SO) A fearless critic of LTTE atrocities, the leader of TULF V. Anandasangaree has spent most of his days, during the LTTE’s bloody years, behind closed doors of his tightly secured house in Colombo. A veteran Tamil politician who took to politics in 1950s and entered Parliament contesting Kilinochchi district in 1970 on the invitation of Dr. N.M. Perera said he is willing to help the Govt in find a solution to the grievances of people now that more..

Editorial: Lessons from Oslo

July 31 (NS) Last week, the world watched in shock and horror as it was told the story of a lone gunman massacring over 90 people in Oslo, the Norwegian capital. It was the first taste of terror for the usually peaceful Scandinavian nation. The attack was a dastardly one and needs to be condemned vehemently. Nevertheless, we in Sri Lanka could perhaps be pardoned if we felt a sense of déjà vu in all this: a sudden terrorist attack, bomb explosions in the city and scores of innocent people, more..

Editorial: One track obsessions

July 31 (LB) In our political column below in this page and in the post-mortem on the opposite page, we have set out the basic results of the local govt polls that were held for some 65 LG bodies in the country. There are lessons to be learnt for both opposition and govt in these outcomes, and they are manifold. But yet, our guess is that in history one aspect of this poll that would be remembered for years to come is the result in the north. That the TNA all but swept the boards at more..

'Economic development alone will not satisfy minority grievances'

July 31 (TC) An Interview with Jayantha Dhanapala by Namini Wijedasa. Jayantha Dhanapala, one of Sri Lanka ’s most eminent retired diplomats and a former UN under-secretary-general for disarmament affairs, warned last week that filling a man’s pockets or stomach will not make him forget his political or human rights. Excerpts from the interview. Q: How is Sri Lanka faring on the foreign policy front? more..

LG poll strengthens TNA bargaining power

July 31 (NS) Last week’s local government elections may have been a mini-poll but its political reverberations are being felt quite strongly in the corridors of power in the ranks of both the government and opposition political parties. The results in the south were a foregone conclusion and the ruling UPFA won all the councils on offer. It was the however the results in the North - where free elections were being held after thirty years - that were more intriguing. more..

UNP’s leadership crisis takes a bizarre turn

July 31 (NS) The debacle that the UNP suffered at the L/G polls has left the party’s MPs and the rank and file highly dejected. UNP MP Rosy Senanayake said in a press release issued soon after the party’s worst defeat in its history that party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe should take the rap for the poor showing at the polls. Mangala Samaraweera opined that the party members and sympathisers had kept away from the polls because of their disgust over the sectionalism bedeviling the party. more..

A celebration in more ways than one

July 31 (ST) As ‘Trail’ completed its journey from Dondra to Jaffna with the aim of raising USD 2 million to build a paediatric cancer ward for the Jaffna Teaching Hospital, Sarinda Unamboowe, one of the main movers behind the effort shares his feelings about their 670km, 27-day marathon. July 27, 2011: This morning I looked at a map of Sri Lanka, where the route of Trail had been marked out. It was almost surreal to see a black line of less than an inch left of more..

Editorial: Lighting a candle

July 31 (Island) Captain Elmo Jayawardena who calls himself an 'aero plane driver,’ now retired from Singapore Airlines, wrote a movingly eloquent story in our Lifestyle section last week about a crippled young man called Pahalagedera Jayathilaka from a Nuwara Kalaviya village, Dandubendiruppa, deep in the North Central Province, who had overcome unbelievable odds to take a PhD degree in fluid dynamics from Singapore’s National University. Jayathilaka took a superior first class more..

Editorial: Communal politics must end

July 31 (ST) The July 23 LG elections were significant in more ways than one. One irrefutable fact in favour of the Govt is that these LG elections, however flawed they may have been, were conducted in the Northern Province after nearly three decades; one having to concede that flawed elections are better than no elections. Students of politics will know that one of the earliest acts of terrorism in the Northern Province was the disruption of the 1981 District Development Council (DDC) elections. more..

An interview with TNA leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan

July 31 (TC) TNA Parliamentary Group Leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan spoke to the Sunday Times after his Party secured a landslide victory in the local govt elections in the North, despite widespread use of state power by the ruling party that pulled out all stops to secure a win there. Mr. Sampanthan said the Govt should recognize and respect the verdict of the people of the North adding that his Party was willing to extend maximum cooperation to achieve more..

Sajith Group ropes in Karu

July 31 (Island) On Wednesday, Sajith Premadasa, Talatha Atukorale, Ranjith Madduma Bandara and others in the UNP reformist group met Karu Jayasuriya at his residence and asked him to take over the leadership of the UNP. What Karu J told the UNP reformists was that if the majority in the party agrees, he is willing to take on that responsibility. After the discussion, Karu had informed Tissa Attanayake about what had transpired at that meeting. Attanayake had for his part said that more..

Oh Karu, Judas would have blushed!

July 31 (ST) `My dear Karu J, I thought I should write to you Karu, when I heard some people say you were ready to take up the leadership of the Green Party and you had said that you were ‘ready’. I must say I was not surprised, really, but I thought I should convey some thoughts to you on this issue. We all know Karu, that politics is a tricky business and getting to the top involves not only ability and charisma but also a lot of luck and being at the right place at the right time. more..

US debt crisis ring alarm bells for exports!

July 31 (BL) The running US debt crisis has sparked ‘alarm bells’ among the country’s 600 exporters who fear they will be further hit if the dollar continues to depreciate. It has, in turn, led exporters to appeal to the govt to find alternative measures, the President of the NCE, Sarath de Silva said. The panic buttons have already driven the chain of exporters to hold emergency meetings with the Treasury Secretary, Dr P.B. Jayasundera and more..

Rs 950 million Kelaniya new rail bridge idles for 5 years

July 31 (LB) The Kelaniya railway bridge completed five years ago at Rs 950 million lies idle. This is part of the colossal waste within the island’s transport sector, Dr. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan said in Colombo last week. Dr. Gunuruwan explained that any asset created through capital expenditure, but not put to effective use, amounts to waste. Another such idle waste was the Nilwala River railway bridge, completed 2007 at a cost of Rs320 million. more..

Colombo auctions for rubber not feasible

July 31 (BL) Experts last week were in disagreement with a ministerial proposal to set up a compulsory auction system for rubber produce in addition to tea, saying that what was needed was a centralised marketing point for dealers to sell their produce. Also Sri Lanka should follow the Thailand example which has a ‘smallholders’ area auction’ which could ideally be on a village basis. This would largely raise the lot of the smallholders. “It is impractical to have a compulsory auction system based in Colombo. more..

Red Bull X-Fighters Jams are back to thrill Sri Lanka fans

July 31 (DM) The Fearless four who thrilled the vast crowd last year at the Galle Face Green with their breathtaking performances are back again and the foursome are scheduled to thrill the crowds once again with their dare devil stunt riding when they perform from 3.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. at the same venue. This year the Red Bull X-Fighters Jams promises to be bigger and better which the Sri Lankan fans are going to experience which more..

Muttuhettigama A 'Modaya'

July 31 (SL) A govt minister has called Galle district government MP Nishantha Muttuhettigama a “modaya” over the way he behaves in public. The comments came after Muttuhettigama forcefully removed iron railings at the newly built Galle bus stand to satisfy a group of private bus protestors. Senior Minister Piyasena Gamage told The Sunday Leader that such parliamentarians will spoil the good name of the government and so should not be allowed to operate in that manner. more..

Common policy for TV stations mooted

July 31 (NS) A leading television station feels that there should be a common government policy for all television stations. Privately-owned Swarnavahini television’s Director Programmes, Buddhika Kulasuriya said this reacting to an intended move by the govt to shift teledramas from the prime time slot on the grounds that the children’s education is adversely affected by the television’s influence. While airing the view that all TV stations need a common government policy, more..

Humanitarian operation: Defence Ministry report tomorrow

July 31 (ST) The Ministry of Defence is to release a 161-page report titled 'Humanitarian Operation: Factual Analysis' at a formal ceremony tomorrow justifying the use of military force to defeat the LTTE in May 2009. It is a unified effort by a number of state agencies and individuals to project the situation in the country before, during and after the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas. Though expressly not stated, it would also be the govt's answer to more..