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Pastor gives hope to prisoners

Sept 13 (UCAN) An evangelical pastor is conducting a campaign to help people in jail because they are unable to pay small fines. Pastor Kumar Rasaiya from the Assembly of God church in Kandy says he is looking to win the release of at least 50 prisoners. The pastor, who is also a director of the FRIDSRO Children’s Home in Kandy, today handed over 25,000 rupees to the govt for the release of five prisoners, currently serving sentences of 3-5 years. Today is Prisoners Welfare Day more..

Heated exchange at the Human rights session

Sept 13 (DM) A heated exchange of words took place at the United Nations Human Rights Council Session in Geneva a short while ago, pertaining to Sri Lanka. Head of the Sri Lankan Delegation Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe criticised the action of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay, while the High Commissioner used Sri Lanka as an example for the failure to uphold human rights in a context of combating terrorism. more..

Sentenced for harassing Japanese woman

Sept 13 (DM) A man who pleaded guilty for sexually harassing a Japanese woman while she was travelling in a bus at Union Place, Colombo 2 was sentenced to eight months suspended rigorous imprisonment by a Colombo Court today. While imposing an eight months rigorous imprisonment suspended for seven years on the accused, the Colombo Fort Magistrate further imposed a fine of Rs.1,500 and police were ordered to obtain his finger print. When the accused Abdul Amanullah of more..

Sri Lanka: Need of the hour, India should make fresh initiatives

Sept 13 (ER) Sri Lanka is at the cross roads today. Will President Mahinda Rajapakse, with his massive electoral mandate, turn his back on Sinhala majoritarianism and initiate immediate steps to apply the healing touch and introduce far reaching reforms to usher in a new political order with respect to ethnic diversity and pluralism? Will the TNA, the most representative organisation of the Sri Lankan Tamils, revitalize itself at the grass roots level, and carry on the democratic more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 12.09.2011

Canada calls for Sri Lanka boycott

Sept 13 (BBC) The Canadian prime minister has called upon heads of state to consider Sri Lanka's human rights record before attending the Commonwealth leaders' summit (CHOGM) to be held in Colombo. Answering a question by a journalist in Toronto, PM Stephen Harper said he has expressed his reservations on Sri Lanka hosting the 2013 summit. "I intend to make clear to my fellow leaders at the Commonwealth that if we do not see progress in Sri Lanka in terms of human rights and more..

Sri Lanka govt mulls listed tourism firm

Sept 13 (LBO) The Sri Lankan govt plans to set up a listed company to manage 'rest houses' - state-owned budget tourist hotels often sited in scenic locations, according to its new tourism strategy. It said it was considering "greater involvement" by government agencies in investing in and managing the rest houses, which are currently leased to the private sector. "A government company with some shares issued to the public will be formed to manage these properties," more..

Mendis out of third Test

Sept 13 (CI) Ajantha Mendis will play no part in the Test series against Australia, having been ruled out of the final match in Colombo because of a back complaint, captain, Tillakaratne Dilshan, has said. However, left-arm spinner Rangana Herath is on course to recover from a knock to his spinning finger and play at the SSC Ground. Viewed by Australia as one of their chief threats entering the series, Mendis has been afflicted by back trouble since more..

Naufer to attend daughter’s wedding

Sept 13 (DM) Mohamed Niyas Naufer who is sentenced to death over the killing of High Court Judge Sarath Ambeptiya filing a motion through his instructing attorney sought the court’s permissions to attend the wedding of his daughter. He sought this permission from High Court Judge Sunil Rajapakse in connection with a pending case before the Colombo High Court. In this case he is indicted by the Attorney General for unlawful assembly to commit the murder of Mohamed Faruk in April 1999 more..

Private bus pre-paid card system

Sept 13 (DM) Private bus owners today expressed their disappointment in the Private Transport Ministry’s lack of support in introducing the new pre-paid card system which cannot be implemented without the full support of the ministry, the Private Bus Owners Association said today. PBOA President Gemunu Wijeyratne said that plans are set to launch a pilot project on a pre-paid travel card for private bus travellers on September 24, the association’s 10th anniversary, but more..

President, Blake discuss LLRC

Sept 13 (DM) Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake during his meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa today discussed the report by the LLRC. Minister G.L. Peiris stated that Mr. Blake had inquired about the LLRC report and that the President assured him that the report would be out mid-November and that the govt would decide on its next course of action based on this report. more..

September 11 also changed Sri Lanka

Sept 13 (AN) President Bush's war on terror was “cunningly and selfishly” employed and exploited by the govt of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, against the Tamil rebels and their political opponents. This is the opinion of A.R.M Imtiyaz, associate professor of the Department of Political Science at Temple University, on the changes in Sri Lanka following the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, September 11, 2001. Yesterday the United States celebrated its more..

Three Sri Lankans in ICC ODI Team of Year

Sept 13 (CI) Four members of India's World Cup-winning squad have been named in the ICC's ODI team of the year. India's captain MS Dhoni was named captain . Yuvraj Singh, player of the tournament in the World Cup, Zaheer Khan, its leading wicket-taker, and Virender Sehwag are also in the team. The ICC also picked three Sri Lankans in the XI, including the World Cup's highest run-scorer Tillakaratne Dilshan, former captain Kumar Sangakkara and fast bowler Lasith Malinga (12th man). more..

Catching itself young

Sept 13 (IPS) When Sri Lanka extended the age of retirement for government workers from 55 to 57 years it defied criticism that the island’s public sector was overstaffed and needed serious downsizing. Yet, few opposed the move in May because Sri Lanka’s ratio of working age population to non-working age had peaked in 2005, according to the World Bank. Since then it has been on the decline. Over nine percent of Sri Lanka’s 21.5 million people are above 60 years more..

LLRC report was not main feature at TNA – Blake meeting

Sept 13 (DM) US Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake who is on a visit to Sri Lanka met with TNA leader R. Sambanthan and MP M. Sumanthiran at the Hilton Colombo today. Issues pertaining to the national question was discussed at the meeting. Blake was accompanied by the United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Patricia Butenis and the Political Secretary to the Embassy Paul Carter. A whole gamut of issues were discussed and views were exchanged during the meeting. more..

Support for Lanka in Geneva: G.L

Sept 13 (DM) The Sri Lankan delegation to the UNHRC in Geneva has garnered a “very positive response” from 39 countries after meetings on Friday, Minister G.L. Peiris said. “We met with 29 countries in the afternoon and 10 countries in the evening at a special event organised by the Lankan delegation in Geneva. These countries from the Middle East, Latin America and Africa gave us a very positive response for the good work we have accomplished in a very short period of time. more..

Sri Lanka against UN sending probe report to rights body

Sept 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Monday took issue with a planned UN move to forward a damning report on the country to the Human Rights Council, complaining that Colombo was not notified about the action. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe claimed that at a briefing on 9 September UN human rights chief Navi Pillay "had informed a group of countries that a decision had been taken by the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General to transmit the report" to more..

A united Tamil community, dividing Tamil Leaders and the losing vision of the Tamil cause

Sept 13 (LG) To lead the Tamil struggle we need a George Marshall, a Winston Churchill, a Mahatma Gandhi, an Abraham Lincoln, a Benjamin Franklin, a Theodore Roosevelt, a Nelson Mandela, a Martin Luther King, all in one. What we need is Team Leadership. There will never be a better time than this to achieve our freedom, the world opinion is on our side, morality is on our aside, free world is on our side but our so called leaders are not on our side. Sad indeed! more..

Name boards in Sinhala and Tamil

Sept 13 (LG) Apropos Mrs. Ann Abesekera's letter in The Island of Sept. 09 under the caption, "How insensitive can the govt and army be to the feelings of the Tamil people when, for instance, Omanthai is re-named "Omantha" according to the new name board at the railway station which was opened some months ago?" I am afraid she has NOT looked at the railway signboard at all. The Tamil sign says Omanthai, and the Sinhala sign says Omantha (where it should more correctly be Omanda). It is NOT a renaming, but a more..

Wijayananda Dahanayake -politician extraordinary

Sept 13 (LG) If SWRD Bandaranaike had ushered in the age of the common man, W Dahanayake who followed him as prime minister on his untimely death, was surely the common man himself. Or so he looked at first glance. Dressed always in the white national dress – not necessarily always spotless or immaculately cut like Mr. Bandaranaike’s – with a rustic homespun touch about him, a non-smoker and teetotaler at the time I first met him, Dahanayake could easily have fitted the bill. more..

A Verbal Joust between a Tamil Nationalist and a Thuppahi Mongrel

Sept 13 (LG) Early in September I circulated an item describing efforts mounted by private enterprise in cooperation with the Sri Lankan state (military as well as govt agents) to alleviate the life world of Tamil people being re-settled in the northern Vanni – a continuation of efforts in the IDP camps at Menik Farm in 2009 – through the establishment of psycho-social units working on the mental health of children in particular. Clearly, this note and its documents were part of more..

Val Daniel’s introduction of Ben Bavinck & Ben’s diary over the years of conflict in Lanka

Sept 13 (LG) Modern warfare, by any measure, is a display of excess; but the excesses just before the end of wars—the excess of inhumanity, indiscriminate use of force, a frenzy of unmatched cruelty, wanton destruction and devastation, blind firepower, unworldly carnage followed by gratuitous torture as well as generalised infliction of pain—exceed everything that comes before. If this was true at the end of the American Civil War and at the end of the Second Battle of the Marne, more..

Problems of Northern Islanders to be addressed

Sept 13 (SO) The three-decade conflict in the North and the East deprived citizens of their basic needs. The people in the North and the East were the most affected. A segment of the Northern community underwent agony in a different way as they were isolated from the main peninsula in Jaffna. The people living in islands had to lead a miserable life unnoticed by authorities. Lack of drinking water, transportation, livelihood, healthcare and more..

Enforcement of new regulations under PTA

Sept 13 (DM) After the Emergency Regulations were relaxed, Parliament met for the first time this week. Everyone concerned was eagerly waiting for this week’s sessions because it was anticipated that the govt would clarify some of its actions taken in the post emergency period. The enforcement of new regulations under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the deployment of the army, the navy and the air force for duty in all the districts for the maintenance of law and order under the more..

Why do sports stars fall prey to doping allegations?

Sept 13 (DM) The issue surrounding the use of banned substances and steroids has raised its head again within Sri Lanka’s sports sphere. Subsequent to Olympic Silver medalist Susanthika Jayasinghe being accused of using performance enhancer Nandrolone, during the world championship in 1997 many Sri Lankan athletes have fallen from grace. Despite Jayasinghe being cleared during the time, many Sri Lankan sports stars during the past year have been charged and found guilty of offences more..

'To a man they back me'

Sept 13 (LB) UNP mayoral candidate for Colombo Municipal Council MJM Muzammil says he has the support of the entire party. Speaking to Jatila Karawita, he quashed claims that the party hierarchy is divided over his candidacy. Excerpts: Q: Colombo has proved to be a stronghold of the UNP over the decades and years irrespective of the sort of election that had been conducted. Hence, are you confident of winning the latest battle for the CMC mayorality in October from the UNP? more..

Reconciliation, a Political Settlement and the Grease Devil

Sept 13 (GV) Extremist Sinhala nationalists within the parliament and outside who do not believe that the minority communities have or ever had any grievances see no reason why there should be a political settlement. As Basil Rajapaksa has pointed out if the TNA thinks it has a mandates for devolution of power, then the president has a bigger mandate from the South not to devolve power. The Defence Secretary, Gothabya Rajapaksa, the most important policy maker in the country today has more..

13th Amendment: Plus? Or Minus?

Sept 13 (GV) Leader of NFF and the Minister Wimal Weerawansa delivered a public lecture on the 7th of September 2011 on the ‘13th amendment plus? Or Minus? at the Youth Services Council, Maharagama. The following commentary is a summary of the key points he made during his lecture. The international community and their local supporters are attempting to reverse the victory Sri Lanka achieved after defeating the separatist terrorists. Now they have commenced a dialogue on ‘13th amendment plus’. more..

Marking the Mahinda moment in Lankan politics

Sept 13 (GV) Perhaps never before has there been so wide a gap, so clear a contradiction, between the views of our country held by the West and the Western dominated international media on the one hand, and the opinions demonstrably held by the citizens of our country on the other (even according to impeccably Western sources). The gulf between these views is of a magnitude that pressure from the West will not generate the conditions to close it by influencing domestic opinion; more..

Editorial: Hypocrites in the crosshairs

Sept 13 (Island) In what is described as a fresh embarrassment to the British govt, prima facie evidence has surfaced that Britain sold sniper guns and other lethal weapons to Gaddafi weeks before the commencement of a popular uprising against his repressive regime. Arms that Libya procured through a deal facilitated by the British envoy in Tripoli at that time were used against the rebels, according to media reports. Gaddafi incurred the wrath of the international community and condemnation more..

Editorial: Democracy vital to build solid economy

Sept 13 (DM) It is the 1978 Constitution that governs us today along with the highly controversial 18th Amendment which many analysts see as giving more power to an already powerful executive presidency. Both the 1972 and the 1978 Constitutions were to a large extent politically motivated and intended to serve the interest mainly of the party in power though eventually both backfired on those who pushed them through. The 1978 Constitution was largely the work of J.R Jayewardene, with the expertise of more..

Why no one hears the call for conservation

Sept 13 (ST) Save the whales! Save our forests! Save our elephants! We biologists have been bleating these refrains for over three decades. Our rhetoric remains the same broken record, played over and over again: we are stripping the Earth of its riches, we are poisoning the waters, we are polluting the air and we are overheating the Earth. Yet, the threats remain; the ravaging of the Earth continues. We have only a quarter of the extent of forests left on our island – one third less than more..

Promises to keep as LG polls nears

Sept 13 (ST) With four weeks left for local elections to 23 councils and the focus mainly on Colombo, the public are calling for urgent attention to some of their outstanding issues. Despite development programmes within the Colombo city aimed at its beautification, the ratepayers of Colombo North and Central are facing difficulties for their basic common amenities, environmental pollution and other issues. Householders are hopeful that the prospective councillors would be able to resolve their problems. more..

Gateway Graduate School unveils two new Study Centres in Colombo and Negombo

Sept 13 (ST) Gateway Graduate School unveiled two new facilities in Colombo and Negombo, in a bid to provide new study opportunities to Sri Lankan youth. Gateway has joined hands with the University of Canterbury; New Zealand's prestigious University that is ranked among the top 200 in the world, to provide structured pathways to students to begin their Undergraduate Degrees in Sri Lanka and graduate in New Zealand. Having strengthened their positions in the Primary and Secondary sectors, more..

Govt PR stinks: Expected post war FDIs below expectations

Sept 13 (Island) More than two years after the end of a bloody conflict which saw the defeat of a terrorist outfit, bringing peace and stability to the economy, Sri Lanka continues to struggle in attracting foreign direct investments (FDI), which was US$ 413 million for the first six months of this year. A seminar organised by the Institute of Policy Studies last evening (12) brought this issue in to the forefront and was made clear that authorities have made a mess of promoting more..

Moragoda seeking to end Colombo North’s woes

Sept 13 (DN) CMC UPFA candidate Milinda Moragoda visited 15 neighbourhoods of Colombo North and met residents from all communities, including a fishing community in Mutwal. He visited several community centres which were badly dilapidated and left abandoned. Some of these were only half finished and had never been completed. Moragoda visited several playgrounds which were in ruins. Many residents told him that undesirables and criminals frequented these areas posing a threat to the community. more..

Credit boom continues

Sept 13 (FT) Credit boom to private sector continues unabated with the amount extended in the first half topping Rs. 200 billion and the end June cumulative figure surpassing the Rs. 1.7 trillion mark. The estimated Rs. 209 billion lent in 2011 first half nearly three times the amount disbursed between end December 2009 and June 2010 worth Rs. 73 billion. In comparison to end the 2010 figure of Rs. 1,495 billion; the June 2011 amount reflects a 14% increase whilst year on year (YoY), the growth was a high 34.4%. more..

Forest Dept. to halt road adjacent to Sinharaja

Sept 13 (Island) The Forest Department said that they will go all out to stop a road that is to be constructed adjacent to the World Heritage site of the Sinharaja Rainforest. The Department’s Conservator Operations K. P. Ariyadasa said that such construction would lose the World Heritage site status; however, he said it comes under the purview of the Land Reforms Commission. According to him, the Department is going all out to acquire the land from the LRC. more..

Budhadasa lashes out at Weerawansa

Sept 13 (Island) Mayor of Kaduwela G.H. Budhadasa has lashed out at the Minister Wimal Weerawansa claiming that the minister has given false promises to Kaduwela residents that new houses will be provided for the needy. He said that during the previous elections Weerawansa had distributed nearly 14,000 housing applications among the residents of Kaduwela, but so far no steps have been taken to construct the houses. Budhadasa said that under his authority, as the Mayor of Kaduwela, more..

Four women remandees found drunk

Sept 13 (Island) Jail guards, at the Welikada Remand Prison, yesterday nabbed four women remandees under the influence of liquor. They were admitted to the Prison hospital. The authorities are investigating as to how liquor was smuggled into the prison. A Prison officer said that on a number of occasions the guards had detected frozen liquor cubes in polythene bags thrown over the wall of the prison, from the road adjoining the premises, by bootleggers. The officer said they were also investigating more..