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Channel 4 documentary provides unwarranted distraction from main issues

June 20 (TC) The recently telecast Channel 4 documentary on ‘Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ sheds no new light (despite claims to the contrary), in terms of groundbreaking evidence, regarding the incidents related to the end of the war in Sri Lanka. If anything, it will seek to entrench already hardened attitudes and decrease the ever reducing space for dialogue and reconciliation. From the government’s perspective, it will seek to discredit the documentary as fake as more..

Mahinda will have to explain to his loyal supporters why he has to drop his so called patriotic mission

June 20 (TC) Those political writers who believed that Mahinda is independent of the global capitalist system are now crying and wailing. Suddenly the Sinhala giant, the modern Vijaya Bahu has become a boot licker of western powers. Sorry, it is worse; he has proved to be a puppet of Delhi Arya Brahmins. The tragedy is that with the new arrangement of Obama, the Regina of India is the regional power supervising the area on behalf of the global capital. more..

'We ensure maximum security for democratic political campaigns in Jaffna'

June 20 (Cimic) In the wake of an incident where a group of people attired similar to military uniforms had an argument with MSD Police personnel attached to Jaffna TNA Parliamentarians and disturbed their meeting at Alveddi recently, a special discussion was held between the Commander Security Forces - Jaffna (SF-J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe and four senior TNA Parliamentarians Saturday (18) at Civil Affairs and Public Relations Office Jaffna. more..

Looks like our neighbouring bhaiyas have got some problems

June 20 (LB) There’s a sick man in South Asia and it is not Sri Lanka. I checked. Here are some sobering facts. There’s a sick country in South Asia where 10.8% of the labour force is unemployed. In this sick country, a full quarter of the population lives below the poverty line. This country has an infant mortality rate of 47.57 deaths per 1,000 live births. Close to 40% of people over 15 years of age cannot read or write. This is India. ‘Shining,’ may we add? more..

Is the IMF to blame for the Pensions Bill?

June 20 (LB) The private sector pension Bill that the government was intending to ram down the throats of the working class has suffered a setback. It has been withdrawn temporarily but unlikely to be shelved in perpetuity. The government got a bloody nose at the cost of one young life and blame for the Bill has been hypocritically heaped on the IMF. The bloody nose is good if a turn has been reached in ending the regime’s repression and bullying of every part of society; more..

In search of a red moon on a cloudy night

June 20 (ST) Cloudy skies prevented most of us from photographing the much awaited total lunar eclipse which took place on Poson poya day. Colombo was clear right up to just before totality, after which it clouded over. A few lucky photographers got a view of totality through holes in the cloud cover. I travelled out of Colombo with a small group of young astronomy enthusiasts hoping to get to clear skies. We originally planned to go up to Dambulla, but more..

Killing Fields and the memory of that old barbarity in Anuradhapura

June 20 (TC) On 22nd October 2007, a group of Black Tigers launched a devastating attack on the Saliyapura air force camp. Prior to setting off on their fatal mission, the attackers participated in the usual Black Tiger rituals with Vellupillai Pirapaharan. The pictures of young men and women, destined for death, being blessed by the stolidly middle-aged Tiger Supremo were publicised by the LTTE, even before the attack was over. That act of ruthless premeditation was a more..

Military ‘training’ in the name of leadership

June 20 (TI) Salvage a heavy vehicle stuck in mud, complete a 5-km march in 45 minutes and do push ups and run obstacle courses. This is not part of the curriculum for those training to join the Sri Lankan military or the police, but a part of a controversial three-week-long “leadership training” programme for the students to gain admission to state-run universities across the country. The first batch of students “passed out” in mid-June, but the whole idea of more..

Upholding the national cinematographic heritage

June 20 (NS) It’s no exaggeration to call Dr. Lester James Peries as Lankan cinema’s nidhanaya or the treasure. Together with wife Sumitra Peries, Sri Lanka’s iconic cinematic couple claims 30 films, although tragically many have perished over the years. With the prime objective of re-constructing and preserving their work, which is part of the national heritage, the Lester James Peries and Sumitra Peries Foundation was recently launched. more..

Crisis: The UGC, Universities and the FUTA

June 20 (LG) A careful perusal of the provisions of the Universities Act will find that the University Grants Comision (UGC) has been given wide powers for the purpose of running higher educational institutions to cater to the higher educational needs of the general public. The UGC and all the state Universities established under the Act are dependent on public funds collected from the tax payers of this country. Hence the UGC and these Universities are public institutions and more..

CSE: Small investors burn their fingers

June 20 (LG) This is not a plea from the newspaper but the contents of a letter we received from a reader who like many small investors has got walloped by the plethora of IPOs with private placements and different pricing for both. We would add to that: Sell-downs stock held by directors in private companies). The Expolanka Holdings IPO is a good example. Criticised over the substantial difference in price; Sell down – Rs 6 per share; IPO – Rs 14 per share; some of those who bought into the sell more..

Plantation sector wage hike to cost Rs.10 billion

June 20 (BL) The additional wage cost arising from the recent Rs. 95 wage increase for the 240,000 strong plantation sector workers will be over Rs. 10 billion, the Chairman of the Planters Association of Ceylon (PAC), Lalith Obeyesekere said. The worst hit plantation company was the 14,000 strong Maskeliya Plantations, according to its CEO, Sunil Jayakkody who claimed that unless a way out is found the outlook for the plantation sector looks bleak. more..

Editorial: Talking to save face

June 20 (Island) The whole of US exploded in jubilation upon the announcement of Osama bin Laden's execution. Those who may have thought his death was half the battle in removing the scourge of Al Qaeda terrorism must be disillusioned today to learn that the US has not only failed to neutralise al Qaeda but also had to swallow its pride and negotiate with the Taliban, which it vowed to eliminate militarily, at the beginning of the Afghan war. more..

Editorial: Winning the global battle

June 20 (DM) Global concern for human rights has rarely been about human rights. As tragic as it may be more often than not, vested interests largely swathed in dollar funds have played a heavier role. The number of international lobbyists for human rights whose agendas seek personal or political identities far outweigh those who carry real concern for humanity. Yet, the global political reality is such that this minority can effect real harm and have thor June 24 and the 26-year-old had already hired a lawyer

Sangakkara keeps Sri Lanka hoping

June 20 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara entered the Rose Bowl Test as a visibly reluctant captain, but by the close of the fourth day's play, he had tapped back into his leadership qualities to emerge as Sri Lanka's only realistic hope of escaping the match with a draw. By the close he was 44 not out from 111 balls, already his best score of the series, and as coach Stuart Law cast one optimistic eye to the heavens, he admitted that anything less than a century would probably spell curtains for his team. more..

Judge not lest you be judged

June 20 (ST) My dear Alistair Burt, I thought I must write to you even though I must confess I didn’t even know who you were just one week ago! After all, you are not among the famous British men we are familiar with like William Shakespeare or Winston Churchill-or more recently, Chris Tremlett-are you? And even your official position is that of being the Junior Minister of something isn’t it? I suppose you became famous overnight here in Sri Lanka after that infamous video more..

Investigate war crimes? How, when it’s difficult to find two hard disks!

June 20 (LB) The international community expects Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of war crimes even while the country is unable to figure out how information pertaining to finances of the ICC Cricket World Cup has gone missing. According to reports under circulation two hard drives have been removed from the computers at the Sri Lanka Cricket office in what Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage describes as an “inside job.” more..

Online English, IT for university students

June 20 (DN) 'The first batch of university freshers who completed the leadership and positive thinking development training programme should face for an online English and IT placement test during the next 10 days from today, Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr Sunil Navaratne said. He said that the test will be conducted in 26 centres islandwide. About 9,000 students are expected to sit for the test. The students are requested to visit to find out the venue, more..

Schools, parks on red alert for dengue

June 20 (NS) All schools, playgrounds, parks, and recreational areas patronised mostly by children have come under the microscope of the Health Ministry to curb the spread of dengue which has taken its heaviest toll on school children. Over 50% of dengue patients are school children with 24% under five years. Red alerts have been issued to school authorities, local municipal councils as well as private owners of such institutions, and grounds, with a warning that those who fail to more..

Katunayake FTZ clashes reverberate overseas

June 20 (ST) An international grouping of trade unions has vehemently hit out at the recent unrest at the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (KFTZ) that left a worker killed and scores injured, calling upon its 300 plus membership to launch individual protests against the Govt of Sri Lanka. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which represents over 176 million workers through its 305 affiliates in 155 countries, including Sri Lanka, has expressed more..

Sri Lanka state media profits up

June 20 (LBO) Profits of Sri Lanka's state media enterprise rose in 2010, with profits of Independent Television Network (ITN) television station rising 66 percent to 308 million rupees, a finance ministry report said. At Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) profits rose to 42 million rupees from 12 million rupees a year earlier, Both are television networks. The report said SLRC's revenues rose 3 percent to 1,930 million rupees. The report said the firm needed a better costing system. more..

H’tota aviation fuel terminal faces deadlock

June 20 (BL) Although Sri Lanka envisaged accelerating the construction of the crucial Aviation Fuel Terminal, at the Hambantota International Airport at Mattala, the selection of the contractor has prevented the project from taking off the ground. Though Sri Lanka anticipates becoming a global mega hub in energy and aviation, authorities are yet to decide whether China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC), which is specialised in construction of ports or more..

Jayalalithaa in new avatar champions Tamil cause

June 20 (DBS) Actress turned politician Jayalalithaa Jayaram’s triumphant return to the seat of power in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu has added a vibrant dimension to the “Intermestic” relationship between India and Sri Lanka. Jayalalithaa elected as chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the third time has in her current “avatar” seemingly transfigured into an ardent champion of the Tamil cause both in India and Sri Lanka. more..

No to more foreign students - IUSF

June 22 (DM) Increasing the quota of foreign student admissions hinders Higher Education chances for local students, the IUSF said as they criticized Higher Education ministry’s alleged plans to recruit more foreign students to universities. According to IUSF Convener Sanjeewa Bandara, the quota of foreign student admissions which was only 0.5 percent has been increased utre to reveal its stand on the resolution adopted in the State Assembly demanding economic sanctions be imposed against Sri Lanka for indulging in genocide. Addressing a public meeting in Saidapet to thank the government for adopting the resolution, he said Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s move had won appreciation of Tamils across the world. “The Chief Minister also took up the issue with more..

Vietnam, Sri Lanka in Oil, gas exploration talks

June 20 (Island) Vietnam and Sri Lanka are seeking to develop bilateral ties in several areas including oil and gas exploration. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson told The Island that the Vietnamese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Ton Sinh Thanh and the Deputy Minister of External Affairs Neomal Perera had held wide ranging discussions at the Foreign Ministry in Colombo last week. Thanh had said that with the end of the war in Sri Lanka, there was immense potential to more..

Dengue Prevention Week to eradicate dengue

June 20 (DM) The Health Ministry was to commence a National Dengue Prevention week from today (20) in a bid to clear mosquito breeding grounds and create public awareness to curb the spread of dengue fever in the country, the Health Ministry said. All Medical Officers of Health (MOH) divisions in the country were required to participate in this dengue prevention programme. Accordingly each MOH division would be divided into seven zones with all health officers more..

‘Hakkapatas’ used against elephants

June 20 (Island) The elephant population in the country is fast dwindling and in recent times a number of elephants have died due to an explosive device called "Hakkapatas". Hunters have adopted this most ruthless method to kill the beasts by placing the explosive device in the jungles where elephants roam. They place it inside something edible and when the animal chews it, it explodes causing severe injuries to its mouth and the jaw causing it to go through untold suffering and more..

Glowing tributes to Dudley

June 20 (DM) UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya who paid a glowing tribute to late Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake yesterday on his birth centenary said politicians should possess the ability of forming a government bringing all people with diverse political views. Mr. Jayasuriya made this point at a launch of late Mr. Senanayake’s biography titled “Dudley Senanayake the most loved leader of our time” by the Senanayake Foundation at the SLFI yesterday. more..

England v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test: England chip away in victory hunt

June 20 (CI) Sri Lanka's top order made England work hard for their successes but the home side will be confident of securing a 2-0 series win if the rain stays away for long enough. England, led by Ian Bell's sublime 119, showed positive intent throughout the first full day's play of the match as Andrew Strauss declared 193 ahead with the aim of a victory push and Sri Lanka finished on 112 for 3, still 81 runs behind. more..

Environment Ministry to finalize NCCP

June 20 (DN) The Environment Ministry is finalizing a National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) for Sri Lanka after obtaining public comments and observations to the draft which was made in collaboration with key stakeholders, a ministry spokesman said. The ministry welcomes suggestions and comments of interested parties and individuals for the draft until June 30. The draft includes a set of guiding principles followed by broad policy statements under sections, more..

Over 16,000 acres encroached upon: SLR to file legal action to take over state lands

June 20 (DN) The Railway Department will file legal action against encroachers to take over 16,000 acres of railway lands that had been encroached upon by unauthorized persons. Minister Kumara Welgama said that legal action will be taken against encroachers, squatters and those with unauthorized constructions on lands belonging to the Sri Lanka Railways (SLR). "Several private vendors and certain people allegedly backed by politicians have illegally occupied railway lands and more..

GR alleges TNA split over Sampanthan’s reconciliation move

June 20 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa alleges that a section of the TNA is all out to sabotage an effort by TNA leader MP R. Sampanthan to normalise relations between his party and the government. The Defence Secretary Rajapaksa, yesterday, in an interview with The Island, said that he had received a letter from MP Sampanthan seeking assistance for his party to engage in political activity in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. more..

President returns from Russia

June 20 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to the country last morning after attending the 15th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia. During his visit, President Rajapaksa held successful bilateral talks on the sidelines of the conference with several Heads of State, including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. more..

Thirty injured During Mihindu Perahera

June 20 (DM) A firework mishap occurred due to an unwanted act by a “kawadi” enthusiast during the Beliatta Mihindu Perahera on Saturday evening had injured nearly thirty spectators. The procession was at its tail end and entering the Beliatta Sirisunandarama Temple when the unfortunate incident took place. The merrymaker while dancing with a “kawadi’ group had smashed a plastic container believed to be filled with explosives on to a concrete slab of a more..

Foreigner arrested for obtaining money posing as President’s friend

June 20 (Island) An Indian national who had fraudulently obtained Rs. 5 million from a Sri Lankan businessman by posing as a close friend of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s family was arrested yesterday. Pretending to be a friend of both the President and his son Namal Rajapaksa, MP, the suspect had promised to arrange for a loan of Rs. 75 million, the police said. The arrest was made by the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) more..

Defence Secy orders probe, action against attackers

June 20 (DN) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa directed Jaffna Army Commander Major General Mahinda Haturusinghe to inquire into an incident where a group of TNA Parliamentarians was attacked while attending a meeting and to take into custody those who were involved and punish them. The TNA Parliamentarians were allegedly attacked during a meeting with party supporters at Alaveili, Jaffna on June 16. more..

India-Sri Lanka ferry hits troubled waters

June 20 (AT) A ferry service between India and Sri Lanka suspended almost 30 years ago due to the island's armed insurgency last week resumed service in style, with a luxury liner plying the route of 152 nautical miles. The Scotia Prince arrived in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo last Tuesday from Thoothukudi (or Tuticorin) in southern Tamil Nadu. The ferry, which can carry some 1,000 passengers, is expected to boost travel, trade and tourism between the two countries, more..

War Crimes: UK playing politics at SL’s expense

June 20 (Island) Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice is one among many HR groups launched in the wake of Sri Lanka’s triumph over the LTTE in May 2009. The group targeted the government on humanitarian and HR fronts. The Sri Lanka Campaign also declared its affiliation with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group and Reporters sans Borders. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka Campaign came into operation three months after more..

Hedging case order due in July

June 20 (DM) The judgement of the controversial Oil Hedging dispute heard before the London Commercial High Court against Sri Lanka Petroleum is reserved. The arbitration action relating Sri Lanka’s controversial oil hedging begin on March 28 this year and it was filed by Standard Chartered Bank to recover US$ 161 million for nonpayment of dues by the Ceylon Petrolium Corporation (CPC). The hedging deal in early 2007 when CPC entered into a more..

TNA wants to re-merge N&E

June 20 (DM) The TNA had renewed its call for the re-merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces as a single political administrative unit, former MP M.K. Sivajilingam said. Mr. Sivajilingam, TNA candidate of the July 23 election, said that the party would once again ask for a mandate from people to evolve a negotiated political solution with the right to self determination. He noted that the North and the East should be converted to a single political administrative unit. more..