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Minister Champika and 23 others observe Dasa Sil

May 9 (GDI) Minister Champika Ranawaka, Western Province Minister Udaya Gammanpila, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe together with 21 other devotees, clad in white shaved their heads according to buddhist rituals and embarked on a 10 day Dasa Sil observance and Meditation at Sadhaham Sevana Viharaya, Gothami Road Rajagiriya last morning. In preparation for the 2600th Sri Sambuddha Jayanthiya, observing the Dasa sil ritual is the highest form of more..

Islandwide census after 30 years includes access to IT

May 9 (ST) Sri Lanka’s access to Information Technology (IT) will be assessed in the 2011 Census of Population & Housing to be conducted islandwide after 30 years, Department of Census & Statistics Director H.R. Gunasekara said. In addition to the access to IT, economic status of the people, occupation, fertility, migration patterns (among districts) and information on residence, vis-à-vis status of ownership, supply of electricity and water, more..

4 to get gift of sight from Sri Lanka

May 9 (NST) Four visually-impaired Malaysians will soon be able to see again. The Sri Lankan govt has donated four sets of corneas to the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple here in conjunction with the temple's annual Caring and Sharing Programme 2011. Chief High Priest Ven K. Sri Dhammaratana Nayaka Maha Thera said the temple had set a target of receiving 88 cornea donations. "We have received 16 corneas from Sri Lanka over the past four years." He did not say specifically who would receive the corneas, but more..

Canada MP to initiate All Party group on Lanka

May 9 (BBC) The first ever Tamil MP in Canadian parliament says she will take the initiative to form an All Party Parliamentary Committee (APPC) to look into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka during the last stages of the war. Rathika Sitsabaiesan, MP, told BBC Sinhala service, Sandeshaya that to form the APPC to “research and come up with recommendations” for the Canadian government over the UN expert panel report will be a priority. more..

Not heat; but humidity

May 9 (DM) With most of the country experiencing what seems to be a raise in temperature, the Meteorological Department said that the discomfort was due to the higher levels of humidity in the atmosphere. The Met. Dept. said that the discomfort being felt around the island was not due to an increase in temperature. An official said that this was prevalent in the South East part of the island with winds travelling over the sea saturating the air over land with water vapor due to more..

Govt launches two housing projects in N&E

May 9 (Island) The National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) plans to construct 60,000 houses this year, General Manager, NHDA, Lakwijaya Sagara Palansuriya says this is part of the ongoing project to construct one million houses in six years under Jana Sevana housing programme. Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Disaster Management and Economic Development will also be involved in the project. In keeping with the rapid resettlement programme carried out in more..

Buddhist monks 'should learn Tamil'

May 9 (BBC) It is necessary that the new generation of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka learn the Tamil language to help reconciliation between communities after decades of war, teachers of Buddhist scripture say. AIPTA made of teachers of Buddhism said that the Buddhist monks should be able to communicate with the Tamils in Sri Lanka. “They should be able to communicate in Tamil and spread the message of peace to the Tamil community,” more..

Now Navy moves to supervise Viharamahadevi Park

May 9 (Island) Due to failure on the part of the CMC, the government has placed the Viharamahadevi Park under the supervision of the Navy. Sources say the SLN recently moved in following a directive given by the Defence Ministry following a spate of complaints against the CMC. Sources alleged that for want of supervision at high level, those responsible for maintaining the park hadn’t maintained the primary recreational facility available to city dwellers. more..

Protest against suspension of Lanka e-news

May 9 (Island) The Media Movement for Democracy (MMD) will launch a protest campaign opposite the Fort Railway Station today (9) at 12 noon against the recent suspension of Lanka e-news and an alleged attack on Shantha Wijesooriya, a journalist attached to the website. Chandana Sirimalwatte, a spokesperson for the MMD told The Island that Wijesooriya had been assaulted at the Welikada prison, where he is held pending an inquiry. Sirimalwatte identified the attacker as a jailor. more..

Sri Lanka Premier League to have seven teams

May 9 (CI) The first edition of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) will be a seven-team inter-provincial tournament played over approximately 18 days at the end of July and the beginning of August this year. The teams will play each other once, with the top four teams qualifying for the semi-finals. All the games will be played the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo and the winner of the tournament will qualify for the Champions League Twenty20. more..

Sri Lanka PM calls for action to defeat international threat

May 9 (Xinhua) Prime Minister DM Jayaratne called for the public to unite in the face of threats to the country's sovereignty from international forces. Addressing a public gathering at Gampola, Jayaratne said that Sri Lanka's progress after ending the 30 year curse of terrorism has angered many international elements who want to undermine the country. Jayaratne's response was on the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's advisory panel on Sri Lanka. more..

City roads to grow veggies

May 9 (DM) Soon you might see a blooming bandakka or a pathola creeper on lamp post or a purple vam batu plants along city’s roads; but never attempt to pluck them. Vegetables would soon be grown along the median strips (Centre Islands) of Colombo main roads, a top CMC official said. “Awareness programmes and law enforcement steps will be put in place to educate the public regarding the vegetable patches to stop removing or plucking them,” CMC Special Commissioner Omar Kamil more..

Three GS areas in Palaly HSZ released

May 9 (DM) Three Grama Sevaka Divisions in the Palaly High Security Zone of the Valigamam North had been released for resettlement after complete de-mining, the Attorney General told the Supreme Court. Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando representing the Attorney General also informed the Court that arrangements were being made to release certain parts of Tellipalai, Maviddapuram and Keerimalai areas more..

Bid to end SL workers’ strike in Jordan

May 9 (DN) The two week long strike by over 1,500 Sri Lankan apparel workers in Jordan demanding higher wages, is close to an amicable settlement as the majority of the protesting employees have expressed their willingness to resume work, authorities said yesterday. It is reported that 15 Sri Lankan protesting workers involved in clashes with a section of other workers have been taken into custody by the Jordanian Police. more..

UNP faction to campaign against Ravi appointment

May 9 (DM) The reformist faction of the main opposition UNP will start up a campaign to create awareness on the appointment of the national organizer of the party which they say illegal. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake was appointed the national organizer of the party at the Working Committee meeting last week. A member of the reformist group said that a series of meetings would be held to educate the members of the party. more..

'SPC profits down due to fraud and inefficiency'

May 9 (DM) Fraudulent transactions and inefficient and ineffective handling of affairs had led to the reduction of the pre-tax net profit of the State Printing Corporation (SPC) by Rs.5.4 million in 2009, reports said last week. According to the observations made by the Auditor General in the SPC’s latest annual report released to Parliament last week, the pre-tax net profit for the year under review stood at Rs.17 million, more..

Ragging leaves 26 injured in teachers’ college

May 9 (Island) A group of second-year teacher trainees at the At the Siyane National College of Education, Veyangoda on Saturday (May 7) attacked first year students causing injuries to several of them. Sources alleged that some of the attackers had been armed with clubs and blunt objects. Following the attack 23 students were admitted to the Wathupitiwela hospital; some of them were discharged on Sunday. more..

Somawansa: belle of the party

May 9 (DM) The JVP had no issues with the present leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, party’s General Secretary Tilvin Silva said yesterday. Responding to a query by the media about reports that plans were underway to appoint a new leader, Mr. Silva said that his party depended on the collective leadership instead of one individual right throughout. “Nobody in the party has any issue with the leadership of Mr. Amarasinghe. more..

EU GSP Plus: chapter closed, says EU envoy

May 9 (Island) The European Commission Head of Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Bernard Savage intimated that the chapter on GSP Plus trade concessions to Sri Lanka was closed and that relation’s with the country would move forward without it. Savage said, "The chapter on GSP Plus trade concessions is closed and Sri Lanka’s Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris has also said that Sri Lanka has turned the page and is moving on." more..

Wanniarachchi stripped of gold medal

May 9 (Island) Sri Lanka boxer Manju Wanniarachchi’s lawyers say they will carry on his fight to try to keep his Commonwealth Games gold medal after he was stripped of it, following a positive test for anabolic steroids. The gold was awarded to Wales’ Sean McGoldrick by a court in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. The Commonwealth Games Federation Court rejected claims by Wanniarachchi, 30, that he should not be punished, following a positive test for nandrolone after more..

South Africa backs ‘Darusman Report’

May 9 (Island) In the wake of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) throwing its weight behind UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s controversial move to initiate a war crimes investigation targeting Sri Lanka, the Government of Sri Lanka is stepping up diplomatic efforts. The External Affairs Ministry is expected to take up the issue with the South African government and explain post-war national reconciliation efforts. more..

Dons go ahead with TU action

May 9 (DM) The crisis in universities over the demand for higher pay by the lecturers may deepen today with the academics resigning from all voluntary administrative positions they held in the universities. Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) President Dr. Nirmal Dewasiri said that over 90% of the academics holding voluntary administrative positions in all universities including posts of department heads, unit coordinators and hostel wardens, more..

MR nominates members for the Bribery and Public Service Commissions

May 10 (NN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has nominated members for the Bribery and Public Service Commissions, the government information department said today. According to the government information department the Parliament Council will now meet on Thursday to give its observations on the nominations made by the President. Retired Supreme Court Judge Jagath de S. Balapatabendi has been named to head the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption while more..

Academics want talks

May 10 (NN) University lecturers who have resigned from service over a salary dispute have sought negotiations with Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake in order to settle the issue. The Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) noted there was an attempt by the Minister to issue a circular to immediately fill the vacancies created by the mass resignations. Media spokesman of the Association, Mahil Mendis, said that if the Minister fails to resolve the issue and more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 09.05.2011

Cleaning up the Act

May 10 (DM) The report of the three-member UN panel of experts set up to advise UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on alleged war crimes and human rights violations committed during the final stages of the Eeelam war has produced two reactions – both on expected lines. In the report made public by the UN on April 25, the panel found many of the allegations “credible” against both the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). more..

Incremental Devolution, and Eternal Guarantees

May 10 (DM) It should now be business as usual – and good time for conferring greater urgency on the political negotiations on power devolution. Robert Blake, the visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, has offered comfort to the Government of Sri Lanka on the report of the three-member panel appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. For his part, Ban has now laid greater stress on the panel’s recommendations than findings, if any. more..

'Don’t give in to ransom demands; Army is there to protect you'

May 10 (Cimic) “The era we worked under threat at gun point is over and now you have liberty to engage in your legitimate business. If you or your business comes under forceful obstruction or threat by any group or individual, Army is put on standby to protect you,” said the Commander Security Forces - Jaffna (SF-J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe addressing a gathering of businessmen of Jaffna Sunday. more..

The need for an International Investigation Of war crimes in Sri Lanka

May 10 (TC) USTPAC recently released the following report, entitled “The Track Record of Sri Lankan Commissions and the Need for an International Investigation of War Crimes.” This report highlights the Sri Lankan Govt’s attempts to resist international pressure to investigate violations of human rights abuses against the Tamil people over the past 35 years. Releasing the Report by the USTPAC’s War Crime Prosecution Committee said “the Tamil people are clearly more..

The two “kinds” of Enid Blyton and Ban-Ki-moon

May 10 (TC) Every cloud, they say, has a silver lining, and the Darusman Report was no exception. It gave me a reason, if not exactly a good one, to re-read Enid Blyton, a pleasure that increases in value as one nears one’s sixties. Having discovered that Marzuki Darusman was also called Kiki, I remembered that the only other Kiki I knew was the parrot in the ‘Adventure’ series that Enid Blyton began just as the second world war was ending. more..

'Better water management , more irrigation schemes in the offing'

May 10 (SO) SLFP stalwart and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva in an interview with the Sunday Observer expressed confidence that Sri Lanka would emerge unscathed with regard to the Darusman Report. The report neither had the legal authority nor the formal sanction of the UN and is based on falsehood and unfounded heresay information. The Government refuted the report’s credibility and is in the process of informing the world community and more..

March of folly by S.B. Dissanayake down the path of I.M.R.A Iriyagolla

May 10 (TC) Faced with the threat of trade union action by the university teachers, the Minister of Higher Education S. B. Dissanayake and Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Prof. Gamini Samaranayake instead of making an effort to find an amicable solution to the issues raised by the university teachers, seem to be engaged in confrontational strategy deploying threats, intimidations, misinterpretations and absolute lies. more..

Sri Lanka must follow India in increasing university teacher salaries

May 10 (TC) “One of the critical factors affecting the quality of universities and institutions imparting higher education is our inability to attract and retain young and talented persons to the teaching profession.” This was a statement made by the junior minister in charge of higher education in India, in December 2008, as reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Every bit of that statement would apply to universities in Sri Lanka today. more..

Net foreign inflow tops Rs. 2.6 b so far in May; Positive start for Bourse

May 10 (FT) The Colombo stock market began a fresh week on a positive note but more importantly foreigners have become net buyers to the tune of over Rs. 2.6 billion so far in May.Analysts said the latter development was significant given the successive net outflow until May. Thanks to the net inflow in the first five market days of May, the year to date outflow has been reduced to below Rs. 6 billion. more..

Editorial: Pay them more; make them work harder

May 10 (Island) Universities are perennially in crisis in this country. There seems to be no end to the countless number of boycotts of lectures and other forms of protest. It looks as though students, academics, non-academics and most of all, the government were making a concerted effort to ruin higher education. University dons are currently on the warpath demanding a pay hike which the government promised many moons ago. more..

Editorial: Mr. Politico check your ego or it will destroy you

May 10 (DM) On May 7 the world commemorated the 150th birth anniversary of one of Mother India’s most illustrious sons -- Rabindranath Tagore, an author, poet, mystic, teacher, painter and Nobel Laureate in Literature. One of the best ways of remembering him is by emulating his life of humility, simplicity, sincerity and selfless service. Among the subjects he wrote and taught about was the one on the dangers of cultivating an Ego. more..

RAILWAY HAVEN blocked by squatters

May 10 (LB) The illegal encroachment of railway land by political henchmen of successive governments has stopped several expansion projects of Sri Lanka Railways (SLR). The situation has been obstructing the development of the train service which would benefit Sri Lankans economically, environmentally and save man hours by minimizing traffic on the road. Also the environmental advantages of the modern train are now quite considerable. more..

Osama captured; locals caught to sign petitions; and real issues diverted on workers’ day

May 10 (SL) Menika returned from a jaunt on Monday (or was it Tuesday? Days are getting all jumbled with May Days and Royal Weddings and signature collecting that ole Menik’s head is spinning like the Mussalman’s thoppiya). Well anyway, as Menika was saying, she returned from a jaunt when Dingiri, her old domestic, literally pounced on her and mumbled something, so great her excitement that she was incoherent. more..

How sane is this world with Bin Laden gone?

May 10 (SL) Barack Hussein Obama Jr., President of the United States of America, announcing the killing of Osama bin Laden the popularly accepted leader of Al-Qaeda, said to those families who have lost loved ones to Al Qaeda’s terror, “justice has been done.” In his well rehearsed statement, that phrase came linguistically close to underworld pride and talked about “the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.” more..

Majoritarian tourism and Sinhala language imposition in Jaffna

May 10 (TC) Its been two years since the war came to an end. Soon after, exultant southerners began visiting Jaffna in busloads and van loads to ‘see it with their own eyes’ and to celebrate the end of the protracted war. To most, Jaffna is like a war memorial, a once exotic place that remained the theatre of war and hence inaccessible. Two years and the travel urge is still strong. The Jaffna citizens are getting used to hundreds of tourists- some foreign and more..