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'Channel 4: Brutal and shocking, but not journalism'

June 25 (PRIU) The Channel 4 programme “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” mixes a large collection of samizdat amateur footage from mobile phones and video cameras - mostly un-attributed and uncorroborated, with comment from unnamed sources with distorted voices and sh57 more..

Sri Lanka opposition cast doubt on new claims about 'pension'

June 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's main opposition has cast doubts on claims that a lifetime pension exceeding the contributed balance, will be paid through a controversial proposed pension plan for private citizens. "There is no way that the Government can make lifetime monthly pension payments via the proposed Private Sector Pension Scheme," opposition parliamentarian and economist Harsha de Silva said in a statement. "This is an absolute falsehood." more..

Oil pipeline damaged

June 1 (NN) A key pipeline distributing oil to the Kollonawa oil refinery has been damaged in 13 locations resulting in an oil leak, Petroleum Resources Minister Susil Premajayanth said. Speaking to News, the Minister said that repair work on the pipeline is already underway and the damage at two locations have been fixed. The pipeline begins from mid-sea and connects to the Kollonawa oil refinery and according to the Minister the damage is below land and not at sea. more..

FUTA to continue TU action

June 1 (DM) Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) today said that a decision has been made to continue their current trade union action in whatever form possible and said that it will be taken in all the universities except for J’pura, Ruhuna and Wayamba. An interim order was given by the Court of Appeal yesterday to the Vice Chancellors of Jayewardenepura, Ruhuna and Wayamba universities preventing them from accepting the resignation letters of Department Heads, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 31.05.2011

President orders investigate into FTZ incident

June 1 (NN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered an investigation into the incident at the Free Trade Zone in Katunayake yesterday. According to the President’s office, a commission headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Mahanama Tilakaratne has been appointed to investigate the incident. The police clashed with employees of the Free Trade Zone in Katunayake yesterday resulting in over 200 injuries. According to reports the police had used teargas on the protestors who more..

'India halted ’87 war'

June 1 (NN) The LTTE was on the brink of defeat in 1987 during the Vadamarachchi Operations but it was cut short after the then Indian Government intervened, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said today. Delivering the keynote address at the International defence symposium in Colombo today the Defence Secretary recalled that the primary problem in 1987 was that the relationship between the two countries had not been managed very effectively. “In 1987, the enormously successful Vadamarachchi Operations more..

Sri Lanka welfare investments seen helping raise support for war

June 1 (LBO) A government fertiliser subsidy given to farmers was a key factor in generating public support for Sri Lanka's military campaign that defeated Tamil Tiger separatists, a defence official said. A clear aim and unwavering political commitment to the war also helped build confidence among troops and the public in the campaign to crush the Tigers, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, secretary to the defence ministry, said. Strengthening government ranks, which had only a more..

Police charge 18,000 workers, Catholics condemn the crackdown

June 1 (AN) Catholic priests and human rights activists have firmly slammed the brutal police crackdown on thousands of Free Trade Zone workers who staged a protest yesterday in Katunayake. Protesters are against a proposed Private Sector Pension bill, which they deem deeply flawed because it does not guarantee workers a lifetime pension (see Melani Manel Perera, “Sri Lanka: pension guaranteed ‘until funds run out’,”). “Independent protest is a right of every free citizen,” more..

Sri Lanka unions threaten indefinite strikes over pension plan

June 1 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's major trade unions threatened on Tuesday continuous strikes unless the government scraps a proposed private pension fund, a day after thousands of workers clashed with police to protest against the retirement scheme. Although President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling party suspended the pension bill temporarily on Monday after the violence, unions said the move was merely a delaying tactic. Police and thousands of protesters clashed on Monday at a more..

Fonseka speaks of assassination plan

June 1 (BBC) Former military commander, General Sarath Fonseka says there is a plan to assassinate him. Appearing in the High Court for the fifth day to defend the allegations against him, Sarath Fonseka said he learned from reliable sources that there is an attempt to kill him during the transit from the prison to the courts or in the prison cell. In his statement as the main accused, Sarath Fonseka said that if he is killed, the president, defence secretary and more..

The fine line between LTTE terrorism and state terrorism

June 1 (LG) Public servants functioning in the North and East during the most turbulent times in the last two years deserve plaudits and recognition. Ms Imelda Sukumar is one such figure whose courage and strength and above all her duty consciousness amidst threats from some members of the LTTE and of course amidst a spiralling war scenario saved hundreds of civilians. Many criticisms were levelled at her by the Tamils abroad and others in the country. more..

Development of former war zones neglects reconciliation

June 1 (LG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa replied to his govt’s detractors at the second anniversary celebration of the war victory over the LTTE. Although the President showed no signs of anxiety that his govt was under siege by sections of the international community on the issue of human rights violations in the last phase of the war he sought to address those concerns. He argued that the war victory and elimination of terrorism had established genuine human rights in the country. more..

'Constitution can solve 99% of Tamils' woes'

June 1 (SO) Noel Nadesan, a veterinarian who owns a private clinic in Melbourne was closely related to Sri Lanka's conflict with the ruthless LTTE. As a young graduate in 1985, he set up the Medical Unit for the Service of Tamils (MUST), a charity organisation based in Chennai to help Lankan refugees. Members and leaders of the LTTE, PLOTE and EROS, used to frequent his place where his wife, a doctor from Peradeniya University attended to refugees more..

Rating Sri Lanka’s investment prospects

June 1 (LG) How does Sri Lanka rate internationally as an investment centre? Have we put the war behind us? Are foreign investors, keen on Sri Lanka, concerned more about good governance or how quick they get a return on investments, or vice versa? Is Sri Lanka’s economy and development in the hands of a military-styled administration? Are the fundamentals in place? Is the new tax structure working? Is the budget deficit on track? Will the Govt be as ‘disciplined’ as more..

The Sambuddhatva Jayanthi and the New World Order

June 1 (LG) Construction, Engineering and Common Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa addressing the UN special ceremony to mark the 2600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi on May 16, 2011 said: “Let us all wish together on this 2600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi for a new world order and a better world for humankind… I am hopeful that we all will be fortunate enough to witness this profound change in our lives, societies, nations and finally in the whole world. more..

Manju: between the hero and the villain

June 1 (Island) The visuals filled with emotions are still afresh in the mind. Manju Wanniarachchi kneeling and breaking down in tears of joy near Dian Gomes, his mentor, as a mark of respect after he made history at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, winning country’s first boxing Gold medal in many years. There was another memorable moment for Wanniarachchi five years ago. It was when he was edged out in the first round perhaps due to a senseless draw at the more..

Matters to be taken notice of by VVIPs

June 1 (Island) There have been numerous articles and letters to editors and innumerable discussion among people and heartfelt cries, but no notice seems to be taken by the powers-that-be of the issues written about, discussed or lamented over. HE the President has very many advisors. Could not just one of these important personages scan the papers and pass on the oft repeated grouses by sensible persons and organizations that speak and act with responsibility? more..

Suicidal sycophants - a new trend in this country

June 1 (Island) To die for one’s country, or for an equally noble cause, is indeed praiseworthy. Throughout history, men and women have died fighting heroically defending their motherland. Such gallant men and women are remembered as heroes. The closest that we have seen to dying in action, albeit remote is 'fasting unto death' resulting in actual death. Such cases have been rare in the world; and the few who had died are remembered. In our own country many ‘cardboard heroes’ have more..

Full Text: Defence Secretary at military symposium

June 1 (MoD) Political leadership has always been the key factor in defeating terrorism; the President had the clear aim and commitment to rescue the country from terrorism once and for all, said Secretary Defence. "Over the years, there had been many attempts at militarily defeating the LTTE, but none of these campaigns had met with lasting success. The most distinctive feature of the Humanitarian Operations launched in 2006 was the clear aim and more..

The importance of Foreign Direct Investment

June 1 (ST) There is a strong relationship between foreign investment and economic growth. Larger inflows of foreign investments are needed for the country to achieve a sustainable high trajectory of economic growth. There are several irrefutable reasons for this. For the economy to grow by 7 to 8 per cent a year there is a need to invest around 35 to 40 per cent of GDP. National savings fall far short of this by nearly 10 per cent. Foreign borrowing and foreign investments have to more..

Finding the Middle Ground

June 1 (GV) Just over a week ago, a couple of my colleagues and I appeared on a prominent Canadian talk show discussing our attempts, as both individuals and organizing members of the Young Canadians’ Peace Dialogue on Sri Lanka hosted by the Mosaic Institute, to find a middle ground with respect to the relationship of the Canadian Diaspora to the internal politics in Sri Lanka. Joining us on the show was Craig Scott, a renowned professor on international humanitarian law and more..

'SL must not lift Emergency/repeal PTA'

June 1 (LB) The three-day defence seminar scheduled to begin this Tuesday has met with calls for boycott by human rights groups, which charges it for being “... a public relations exercise to whitewash abuses.” The Ministry of Defence, which is organizing the event expects to share with its international counterparts, the Sri Lankan experience in defeating the LTTE. The official website of the seminar states : "The seminar simultaneously expects to more..

Editorial : When workers fear for future

June 1 (Island) The government seems to practise the obverse of the adage, 'Think before you leap'. It apparently begins to think only after leaping and landing on its derriere. As regards the Private Sector Pension Scheme (PSPS), its grand leap has ended in a shameful pratfall. It should have known better than to try to force PSPS down the workers' throat. Had it acted with restraint and consulted the representatives of all stakeholders, the unfortunate incidents at more..

Editorial : Stop the self-glory; seek a solution now

June 1 (DM) No one, will grudge the Rajapaksa regime, President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his brother and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa their moments of glory or the bouquets they deserve for defeating the LTTE, claimed to have been the most ruthless terror outfit, and eradicating its brand of terrorism from Sri Lanka’s soil and most importantly bringing to an end the 30-year-old war. We can now move about in peace without suspecting any unattended parcel or more..

Man and tusker, a long journey together

June 1 (ST) Man and elephant………..a lifetime of bonding. One is an octogenarian and the other believed to be a septuagenarian, although no formal birth certificate is available. Just off the main Colombo-Kandy Road, at Molagoda in Kegalle, in a house sitting squat on a large property are two legendary figures --- 88-year-old Appuhamy Millangoda and 70-odd-year-old Millangoda Raja famous for those much admired tusks. more..

'Continuous clean up program only solution'

June 1 (SO) After the completion of the humanitarian operation on May 19, 2009, the country witnessed yet another operation last year. That was also to eliminate the dengue epidemic which was fast spreading across the country in an unprecedented and alarming level. Many mechanisms were put in place to eradicate the mosquito menace and even the Security Forces and the Police were deployed to clean up and inspect the houses for mosquito breeding ground as the dengue epidemic more..

An impartial body of advisers is urgently required

June 1 (LG) Persons and organisations dedicated to intellectual pursuits have been many throughout history. Their efforts have been to reduce the widely prevalent ignorance among people and to enhance their level of rational and logical thinking on human affairs. The importance of intellectual pursuits was accentuated by Francis Bacon thus: “Seek you first the good things of the mind and the rest will either be supplied or its loss will not be felt.” more..

'We need to build mutual confidence with the UN'

June 1 (LG) Sri Lanka welcomes the Special Rapporteur’s efforts to provide the govt an opportunity to respond to his technical note, we would however like to observe that the whole exercise did not achieve its full potential. Firstly the report contained blurred and illegible images which were not of a quality that could be examined and therefore precluded the govt from making a proper assessment. It would therefore be useful for legible copies to be made more..

Kokavil tower opens June 6

June 1 (Island) The Kokavil telecommunication transmission tower will be declared open on June 6 providing television, radio and telecommunication coverage to the entire Northern Province, Chairman of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) Anusha Palpita said. "The test transmissions, by the State owned Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, Rupawahini Corporation and the Independent Television Network, commenced in April. The privately owned TV, Radio and more..

Land of the giants awaits shell-shocked Sri Lanka at Lord's

June 1 (Guardian) As if Sri Lanka did not have enough psychological problems after England dismissed them in less than two hours in Cardiff, they could be about to face the tallest fast-bowling attack in Test history. Size might not be everything, but try telling that to a shell-shocked Sri Lanka batting line-up, bowled out for 82 in only 24.4 overs at the Swalec Stadium, if Chris Tremlett, Stuart Broad and Steve Finn bear down upon them at Lord's in the second Test beginning on Friday. more..

Vaiko to address Sri Lanka 'hearing' at European Parliament premises

June 1 (DBS) Tamil Nadu MDMK party leader Vaiko flew out to Brussels to address seminar on Sri Lanka at EU parliament premises on Wednesday June 1st. The seminar titled “Sri Lanka – Two years after the war: Will the perpetrators be brought to justice?” will be held at ASP 1G2 of the EP. The seminar critical of the Rajapaksa regime is organized by the GUE/NGL – (EUROPEAN UNITED LEFT/NORDIC GREEN LEFT)MEP’s & Global Tamil Forum. more..

Chaminda Vaas ready to face England if call comes from Sri Lanka

June 1 (Guardian) Chaminda Vaas, who took 355 Test wickets for Sri Lanka, has told the Guardian he would consider returning to represent his country in the second Test, which starts at Lord's on Friday. The 37-year-old opening bowler retired from the long form of international cricket in July 2009, but the skill and stamina he showed in taking seven Glamorgan wickets for Northamptonshire on Tuesday confirmed he would unquestionably strengthen the tourists' weak and inexperienced pace attack. more..

District judge mauled by phone-crazy Corporal

June 1 (LB) The District Judge of Matara Lalith Saman Kumara was on his way with his wife by his side, from the Matara Fort area towards the coast at around 9.00 am on May 22. They travelled in their official vehicle but when it was proceeding past the third Gemunu Regiment Camp, an Army Corporal and his spouse had been on a motorcycle in such a way that they had obstructed the moving vehicle of the Matara District Judge. The Army Corporal is alleged to have obstructed more..

Smoking ban in all public places

June 1 (DN) The National Tobacco and Alcohol Control Act number 27 of 2006 will be amended shortly to prohibit smoking in all public places throughout the country. The amendments will be presented to the Cabinet and then to Parliament soon after the Attorney General’s Dept submits its draft Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. He said that as Sri Lanka’s Health Minister he will not give in to any pressure by any party or organization not to amend the Act. more..

EPZ TUs to take legal action against police attack

June 1 (Island) Trade Unions of the Katunayake Export Processing Zone are getting set to file a Fundamental Rights case against Monday’s police attack on their protest against the proposed Private Sector Pension Scheme (PSPS). President of the Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) Wasantha Samarasinghe said that police fired live bullets at their peaceful protest and their lawyers would file a case shortly. He said that over 200 employees of the Katunayake EPZ were more..

'Leadership training will rid student of negative mentality'

June 1 (DN) 'In order to be a good leader, a genius, or a scientist a person should have good mental health as well as physical health, said Minister S B Dissanayake. He stated this on his visit to Horana, Kalutara, Galle, Boossa and Elpitiya army camps to check on the well-being of the university students who were going through leadership training. He pointed out that these children who get selected to universities achieve that position after three years of battle. more..

New bribery commission: Hell freezes before FAT CATS get caught?

June 1 (LB) “Dear officer,” implores a woman on the TISL website, stating that she is writing on behalf of her colleague, Mr. P. Palanisamy. Mr. Palanisamy, it transpires, had gone to the Kotahena police station on November 19, 2010 to report the loss of his passport. The policeman on duty allegedly demanded a bribe from Mr. Palanisamy to record his complaint. “This is a very frustrated situation,” the woman vents, in halting English. more..

Suppression of people’s rights : Sajith

June 1 (DM) UNP deputy leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday vehemently condemned the attack on the free trade zone workers in Katunayake on Monday calling it a suppression of rights of those who opposed the proposed private sector pension scheme. Mr. Premadasa said in a statement yesterday that those who were working in the free trade zones were confined to their homes without a livelihood under the present rulers of this country during one of their previous regimes. more..

IPU rep to meet Fonseka in prison

June 1 (DM) Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Representative Mark Trowel is to meet jailed former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka in prison after he arrives in the country on June 5, the DNA said yesterday. DNA General Secretary Vijitha Herath said that Mr. Trowel would witness court proceedings against the jailed MP for two days during his five-day visit.Mr. Herath said that Mr. Trowel would hold talks with Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and more..