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Drugs, Crimes and Politics in Sri Lanka

Nov 7 (CT) While waiting at the airport lounge for Delhi bound flight, I was practicing a bad habit of eavesdropping to a conversation between two guys just sitting behind me. It appeared that they were from Negambo area as so much inside information not excluding rumors, half-truths and total lies had come out of their conversation. The focus or rather the starting point of the conversation was the search of a local politician Nimal Lansa’s house with more..

Army to delist over 60,000 deserters

Nov 7 (SL) The military is to delist over 60,000 troops who had deserted their ranks during and after the war. The army had given several amnesty periods since the war ended just over two years ago for the deserters to return to their ranks and not face punishment. Army spokesman Brigadier Nihal Hapuarachchi said that the army will now delist the soldiers who had not reported back to service. “These are soldiers who had deserted their ranks since 1982. more..

Sri Lanka blocks 5 news websites over 'insults'

Nov 7 (AP) Sri Lanka has blocked five news websites because they committed character assassination and insulted people including key political leaders, officials said Monday. Media groups criticized the moves as undemocratic, and the U.S. Embassy recently raised concerns about press freedom in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan laws do not restrict the press from criticizing leaders, but media can be charged for defamation. more..

Ex judges challenge Sarath N. Silva

Nov 7 (DM) A group of retired judges who introduced themselves as those victimized by retired Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva said today that they challenged the latter to prove his innocence if possible by appearing before the proposed parliamentary select committee which is meant to probe allegations against him. Ex district judge C.D.Kulatilake said that there are around 40 such judicial officers victimised during the tenure of Mr. Silva from 1999 to 2009, and some of them more..

Drama highlights plight of workers

Nov 7 (UCAN) Disenchanted Free Trade Zone (FTZ) factory workers have staged a play in Colombo to highlight what they say are the poor working and living conditions they endure. The play, Living Wage and Productivity, depicted their ongoing struggles and illustrated how the business community has neglected them and ignored their contributions to the national economy. According to the Free Trade Zone and General Services Employees Union (FTZGSEU), there are about more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 07.11.2011

Internationalising the ethnic issue – or, else?

Nov 8 (DM) It is unclear if the prevailing confusion over what the international community wants the Sri Lankan Government to do is intended or otherwise. Terms such as ‘human rights’ and ‘accountability’ are more in vogue than those like rehabilitation, reconciliation, or even colonisation. While the Tamils back home seem to be keener on the latter, and naturally so, the West as also the Diaspora Tamils in their midst seem to have all but more..

The Fundamental Problem

Nov 8 (SL) I recently saw a picture of a whole Chinese apartment building that just toppled over as the topsoil got a little loose after the rain. This might say a lot about China’s construction boom. Construction and infrastructure, while building infrastructure is useful to the economy in the long run, it has to obviously be of good quality. A lot of our big infrastructure is currently being built by the Chinese, go figure. The loans taken for these aren’t exactly chickenfeed more..

Pettah, the hub of fruit sellers

Nov 8 (SO) It was rare to witness a scene at the bo-tree junction , Pettah where foreign nationals were buying bags full of fruits. A group of Canadian nationals including three females were accompanied by a Sri Lankan. All of them were under the bo-tree, buying fruits. The white vehicle which the foreigners travelled was parked opposite the M.D. Gunasena Book Shop. As it was around 6.30 pm the area was deserted and there was no obstruction from the more..

CHOGM-2011: How diplomatic victories end in disgrace

Nov 8 (GV) The 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Govt Meeting (CHOGM) raised renewed concerns about the ability of the Commonwealth to tackle human rights problems concerning its 54-Member States. CHOGM-2011 is being hailed by Sri Lanka as another diplomatic victory. Amnesty International slammed the Commonwealth, calling it an ‘absolute disgrace’ that the countries agreed to hold the next CHOGM in Sri Lanka. There was a particularly interesting human rights issue which more..

Destroying monuments for those killed & disappeared: The Catholic Church and the Govt

Nov 8 (GV) On the evening of 26th October, Fr. Srilal Manoj Perera (appointed by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith to be in charge of land issues for Archdiocese of Colombo), Fr. Prasad Perera, Parish Priest of St. Cecelia’s Church, Raddoluwa (in the Colombo Archdiocese), members of the Parish Council and a lawyer representing them, took the unprecedented step of requesting that the Police destroy a nationally and internationally recognized monument for disappeared persons more..

Haj festival celebrated worldwide

Nov 8 (SO) At the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah, the Muslims all over the world will celebrate Eid al-Alha (Festival of Sacrifice) according to the sighting of the moon. Millions of Muslim devotees have thronged in Holy Makkah from various parts of the world. Thousands of Sri Lankan pilgrims are among them. Islam teaches the unity of mankind and secondly of the unity of the followers of Islam. The Hajj pilgrimage depicts this concept strongly. more..

Occupy Colombo?

Nov 8 (SL) Since Occupy Wall Street, protests have spread all over the world. The basic gripe is social and economic inequality. In Colombo, people attempted an occupy protest, which did not really pan out. Why? Well they were not part of that bigger movement. They were actually part of an almost counter movement called Occupy Yourself. Rather than calling for more access to the system, they were calling for checking out entirely. The Occupy Yourself movement is much smaller, much more radical more..

Fonseka-Sampanthan pact shows up Butenis’ slip

Nov 8 (NS) A few days ago, broke the news that Sarath Fonseka had signed a secret pact with R. Sampanthan, the leader of the TNA. It was always known that the Fonseka camp had come to some agreement with the TNA during the 2010 Presidential Campaign. What was not made public was the full text of the pact. The key member parties of that coalition, the UNP and the JVP have remained silent about these revelations, culled from Wikileaks files, more..

Dying for love

Nov 8 (NS) Kosala may never know or ever be able to comprehend the magnitude of what he inspires. Because he represents a parents’ heartfelt wish - he would be a useful and productive member of the society and not a burden to others when his parents are no longer there. “When he was a baby, Kosala found it difficult to suckle milk. He started losing weight fast. He became so lean, his skin hanged from his bones like an old person. I was alarmed and more..

Desire, Violence and Leadership

Nov 8 (GV) It is the human being that should be the primary concern of any development programme. After all, it is for the benefit of humanity that all development programmes are mooted. Although often portrayed as an economic and social entity, the human being is primarily a biological entity composed of myriads of interconnected cells and organs. The ideal state of this biological entity is when it is free from any harmful or injurious input, provided with nutrition and more..

Editorial: A Trojan horse?

Nov 8 (Island) The Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets (RUEUA) Bill has become something like the proverbial elephant whose shape a group of blind men tried to figure out by touching different parts of its anatomy. It is being commonly referred to as the Expropriation Bill and given various interpretations. It is being claimed in some quarters that the RUEUA Bill will render all commercial ventures vulnerable regardless of their scale and more..

Thou shallt not oppose the ruling family: New First commandment for Sri Lanka

Nov 8 (TC) ‘Either you are with us or against us’: that was the Rajapaksa leitmotiv during the Fourth Eelam War. According to this credo, only those who supported and obeyed the Rajapaksas, uncritically and unquestioningly, were considered ‘friends’ by the Ruling Siblings. Everyone else was castigatingly-categorised as ‘national enemies’, irrespective of their stance on the LTTE. more..

Diplomatic double standards of Sri Lanka and The West

Nov 8 (SL) While some Sri Lankans have shed copious tears over the assassination of Mummar Gaddafi, there is not even a whimper of protest on reports of a recent wave of self immolation of many Tibetans in desperation against what has been described as the hardening of Chinese repression. Tibetan exile groups have reported a 34-year old Tibetan nun Palden Choetso set herself on fire on Thursday. She was from the Takar Geden Choeling nunnery. Before her death, more..

Economic growth can ride through inflation

Nov 8 (BL) “Although recent fuel price hike is expected to have a stepped up effect on inflation, the local economy can manage with inflation levels around 7%-8% without floundering growth, having been accustomed to a high inflationary environment in the past where inflation hitting well above 20%”, a recent research ‘Sri Lanka Economic Update’ prepared by TKS Securities (Pvt) Ltd pointed out. According to the research, the annual average inflation is to be 7.5% in 2011, more..

Dilshan attributes bad batting for series loss

Nov 8 (Island) Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan attributed poor batting form of his team as the reason for three back to back series losses. Sri Lanka drew the third and final Test against Pakistan here in Sharjah yesterday, but lost the series after being beaten in the second Test in Dubai. Prior to this series defeat, Sri Lanka were beaten by England and then by Australia at home. In England they lost a three Test series 1-0 after being bowled out for 82 runs in more..

Special awards for school traffic wardens

Nov 8 (DN) 400 school traffic wardens from 12 schools in the Nugegoda Police Division were presented with awards for their volunteer service to reduce the number of highway accidents occuring daily in urban areas. The awards ceremony organized by the Mirihana Police Traffic Division was held at the Lyceum International School under the patronage of Senior DIG Asoka Wijethilake. ‘This type of awards ceremony is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, where traffic wardens were felicitated, more..

More benefits for Samurdhi officers'

Nov 8 (DN) ‘The govt has decided to grant full pension rights as well as several other benefits to Samurdhi Development Officers who steered the country’s economic development drive by taking the Samurdhi Movement to the people’s doorsteps,’ said Deputy Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena. He was addressing a meeting of Samurdhi development officers attached to Seethavake and Padukka Divisional Secretariats, at Kosgama recently. The meeting was organized by more..

Hit and run vehicle kills a leopard in Yala

Nov 8 (ST) The carcass of a young leopard was found near Patanangala on October 22, around 6.a.m. by a group of wildlife enthusiasts who had set out early to get a glimpse of the morning wildlife. The body had not been touched by predators and was still warm at the time it was found with a wound visible on its side, raising suspicion that it could have been killed by a wild boar attack. However, the carcass was sent to Udawalawe for a post-mortem and more..

Galgamuwa tusker in sanctuary for now

Nov 8 (ST) Blind, confused and used to being near people without creating a commotion, the Galgamuwa tusker which hit the Kekirawa town and ran amok last week is now being treated at the Kala Wewa Sanctuary. “We managed to push him into the sanctuary protected by an electric fence and begin treating his cuts and bruises as well as gunshot wounds by Wednesday,” said the Deputy Director of Wildlife Health, Dr. Tharaka Prasad of the Department of Wildlife Conservation more..

Fuel price hike not due to world market?

Nov 8 (NS) The petrol price increase by Rs.12, diesel by Rs.8 and kerosene oil by Rs.10 per litre recently by the CPC was said to be due to the increase of crude oil prices in the world markets. Nevertheless, the actual reason was the decreased crude oil prices due to the national debt crisis faced by a number of European nations especially Greece, recent international financial reports revealed. The reports said Brent Crude Oil prices in Asia had come down by 0.5% to more..

The Struggle within the JVP

Contaminated ice-cream at large in Colombo

Nov 8 (NS) Manufacturers of contaminated ice-cream and spices will be given closure orders this month under the Municipal laws without prior notices. “The number of contaminated spices on sale has trebled recently,” Dr. Preadeep Kariyawasam, medical officer Colombo said. Due to the price increases of herbs and spices such as cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves as well as safe food dyes, unscrupulous manufacturers are resorting to using toxic dyes and diluting their products with more..

Mannar to host major agro expo, investor forum

Nov 8 (Island) Mannar, a district inaccessible for nearly three decades is now emerging as a district of opportunities for agribusiness development and also as the district with rich natural resources including natural gas. Agriculture is one of the key economic sectors in the district providing livelihood for over 15000 families. It is encouraging to state that since the dawn of peace to the country, cultivatable land in Mannar area has substantially increased, more..

Coming soon: Modern, spacious articulated buses in the city

Nov 8 (FT) Modern, spacious and world class type articulated buses each carrying 275 passengers could be a reality soon in the city under an initiative spearheaded by the Ministry of Transport. A pilot run is slated for early next year with the importation of the first ever articulated bus at a cost of $ 400,000. If and when deployed the articulated bus, widely used internationally, will uplift public passenger transportation in Sri Lanka to a new level. more..

Lanka’s fiscal notoriety wanes

Nov 8 (Island) In a global research paper titled, ‘Sri Lanka – 2012 budget – Higher spending again’ Standard Chartered Bank takes a look at the Appropriation Bill for the upcoming budget. Excerpts of the report follows: "The Appropriation Bill (the first reading of the budget), tabled in parliament on 18 October, signals that growth remains the government’s top priority. Building on the fiscal consolidation achieved in 2011 and providing a credible path towards more..

Vavuniya fastest growing economy in post war period

Nov 8 (Island) The Vavuniya district is experiencing an accelerated post war economic boom in terms of agriculture, small and medium scale industries and inland fisheries, Vavuniya District Secretary, Mrs. P.S.M. Charles said. "Vavuniya district is one of the fastest growing post war economies in the Northern Province," she told The Island. Last year 20,000 more acres of abandoned lands had been added to the existing 30,000 acres for paddy cultivation and 10,000 more abandoned more..

Only 100 foreign students apply to Lankan universities

Nov 8 (Island) Only about 100 foreign students have applied to study at local universities though the Higher Education Ministry provided opportunities for more than 1,000 students to do so, officials said today. The ministry had taken a policy decision to increase the annual foreign-student quota to enter local universities from one per cent to five per cent. The annual course fee for Medical and Dental Sciences is US$12,000 more..

UNP expects Govt. to withdraw Bill

Nov 8 (FT) The UNP yesterday expressed confidence that the Govt would be forced to withdraw the contentious takeover Bill as pressure was mounting against its ill effects. At yesterdays UNP Parliamentary Group Meeting, the Revival Of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilised Assets Bill came under discussion as it will be tabled on Wednesday. UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said there was wide agreement that the UNP should oppose the “Expropriation Bill” in principle as more..

Cardiff security company Sea Marshals takes on pirates

Nov 8 (BBC) Taking on the threat of Somali pirates is proving to be good business for a company based in Cardiff Bay. Sea Marshals employs 50 armed security officers but says it could probably double in size. It provides protection teams for vessels in the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean and the Malacca Straits. Last month Prime Minister David Cameron backed the use of armed guards on British-registered ships passing through dangerous waters. more..

‘Rajapaksa Co. strong point of the govt.’

Nov 8 (Island) Rajapaksa Company, a derogatory term referring to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his son and two brothers in Parliament, another brother who is the powerful Defence Secretary, and other members of the family and friends in top posts within the broad state institution, is the strong point of the present govt, says minister Basil Rajapaksa. "I have heard some refer to us as Rajapaksa Samagama (company) and I must say that this is the strong point of more..

Ranil chided for going abroad at a time of crucial Bill

Nov 8 (Island) Strong Sajith Premadasa group supporter and SPC UNP member Maithri Gunarathne yesterday blasted his party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for leaving the country on the eve of controversial Expropriation bill coming before Parliament. Gunaratne said Wickremesinghe left for London in order to attend a meeting of the International Democratic Union. "If Wickremesinghe had been a responsible leader he should have more..

Three arrested by CCD over money extortion

Nov 8 (DM) Three persons including ‘Wanathe Ranjith’ were arrested by the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) for extorting money several times from an owner of a foreign job agency. The main suspect was given the contract by a group of men to take the money owed by the victim who had taken Rs.1.6 million from the men by promising them with foreign jobs. The three men had gone to the victims house in Himbutana last Thursday by claiming that they were from the CID)and had taken him away more..

Karu says the controversial Bill will enable even takeover of religious institutions

Nov 8 (Island) If enacted, the cost of provisions of the proposed take-over bill, would have to be borne by none other than the innocent tax payers in the country, UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya said. He said that the govt had planned to introduce the new bill disregarding requests from Buddhist monks, business community, commerce chambers, experts etc. "If this bill becomes law, the govt can take over any property owned by those who are against it," more..

Sri Lankan delegation arrives for election 2018 Commonwealth Games

Nov 8 (GB) A 60-strong Sri-Lankan delegation has arrived in St. Kitts and Nevis to learn if Hambantota will be elected host city of the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The conference began Monday, with the crucial vote from the 71 Commonwealth nations and territories to take place Friday. According to a Hambantota 2018 press release, 87 per cent of the Sri Lankan population is backing the bid, and in Hambantota it rises to 99 per cent. Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Hambantota 2018 more..