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Thoughtless actions and fear of repercussions

Sept 24 (LG) The rampager in Sri Lanka, having intervened and stopped the sacrifice that devotees at Munneswaram wanted to perform seems to be in jitters fearing the effects on him from the dashing of coconuts by the angered devotees to invoke curse on those who obstructed the sacrifice. Supporters of the rampager are now launching 1500 Bodhi Poojas for his safety. Surely, it cannot be refuted that this is being done by the initiative of the fearing rampager himself. more..

Communal relations in Independent Sri Lanka- 3

Sept 24 (LG) Once again I welcome Ilaya Seran Senguttuwan’s response in ‘Two Sri Lankan Tamils –Two Perspectives (2) in Sri Lanka Guardian of 22nd September’2011. I had in my original article on the subject under discussion, provided a panoramic view of our post-independent history in terms of communal relations. I did so, to help see the forest instead of the trees, scrub, elephants and ants- the details. The details are no doubt ugly and question our culture, beliefs and quality as humans. more..

A new chapter opens in Lanka's aviation history

Sept 24 (SO) Air travel, which was once considered a luxury, has today been made available even to the middle class, with passengers being able to avail themselves of SriLankan Air Taxi services for less than Rs. 3,000. The launch of Mihin Lanka, the budget airline, brought international air travel within the reach of the common man while the easy payment scheme offered to Govt servants made it possible for them too to enjoy the luxury of experiencing an international more..

Overpriced Tuk Tuks

Sept 24 (SL) Tuk tuks (or three wheelers), even meter tuks, are overpriced. Just do the math. A meter tuk costs Rs. 30 a kilometer. Your average car covers the distance in about ten. Regular tuk tuks will fleece you for even higher amounts. Tuk tuk fares, like a lot of similar services, have not reached their optimum pricing. They are disproportionately high in comparison to income levels and costs of alternatives. The key figure would be something more than Rs. 10 but way less than Rs. 30. more..

The P-Word

Sept 24 (SL) When did politics become a bad word? Like the F and S words, the P-word is something we do every day (if possible) and yet will not say in public. Politics means “of, for, or relating to citizens”. It is how people make collective decisions. Too often, however, that decision is ‘kill them’ or ‘take their stuff’ and thus politics gets its bad reputation. It remains, however, just as necessary for the survival of the species as the other dirty words. The trouble is resources. more..

Suspension of visa on arrival for 84 countries on hold till January

Sept 24 (FT) Reluctant to undercut a booming tourism industry, the decision to end visa on arrival for 84 countries has been postponed till January. This means that the Cabinet-approved online visa system which was to be in effect from 30 September this year has been postponed till January due to online application processes being incomplete. The online visa system would be launched on 30 September but would be officially in more..

Editorial: UN reinventing the wheel

Sept 24 (Island) The UN is reported to be planning to set up an anti-terrorism centre to facilitate and combine global efforts to crush the scourge of terror, which continues to plague the world. Welcoming it, Sri Lanka has called for an end to hypocrisy on the part of the UN and leading world powers as regards terrorism. Isn't the UN trying to reinvent the wheel? There is no need for such a centre as the existing UN mechanisms are quite sufficient to meet the threat of terrorism, provided they are made the best use of. more..

Editorial: Spirit of goodwill for conflict resolution

Sept 24 (DM) In recent weeks the hallowed Hindu Kovil in Munneswaram has become a controversial talking point because of the annual sacrificial slaughter of animals and birds. An inter religious group of those concerned about this complex issue held a public meeting at the New Town Hall recently. They signed a petition and walked from there to Temple Trees to hand it over to the President. Since the President was busy with the campaign for next month’s election to 23 local councils, more..

US continues to support development in the North

Sept 24 (Island) U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Patricia Butenis, says the United States government is "pleased to support the recovering economy in the North and transit it into a place of hope and a place ready for innovation". She made this comment during a recent visit to the once war torn region. Recently-resettled farmers in Vavuniya North received a ten-ton lorry, water pumps and sprinklers from Ms. Butenis, in a handover ceremony on Thursday, September 22. more..

Pros and cons of moving to Hambantota

Sept 24 (ST) Business at the Colombo port is likely to go down further with vehicle imports expected to shift to Hambantota from next year. Authorities are keen on gradually shifting to Hambantota with ships made to call at the new port in the future. However, the necessary infrastructure vastly lacking due to transporting of these vehicles to Colombo and ensuring these are in good condition prior to providing the warranty, becomes a crucial factor. In the wake of the industry raising their voice over more..

Independence and freedom of the Press: The Sri Lankan experience

Sept 24 (SL) If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had power, would be justified in silencing mankind.’ -John Stuart Mill in his essay ‘On Liberty’ (1859) Dheeraratne J in the case of Thilak Karunaratne v. Sirimavo Bandaranaike and others quoted this statement with approval and said: ‘passage of time has not staled the force of John Stuart Mill’s statement.’ more..

Switzerland will open a war crimes investigation if Jagath Dias comes back to Switzerland

Sept 24 (Trial) On 13 Sept, media reports already announced that Mr. Dias, former Deputy Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Germany, Switzerland and the Vatican, had been stripped of his diplomatic status because he was strongly suspected of having committed war crimes. During the last phase of the internal conflict in Sri Lanka he was the major general of the 57th Division of the Sri Lankan Army, which is accused of more..

PMB achieves Yala purchasing target

Sept 24 (DN) The Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) has achieved the government's target of purchasing 75,000 metric tons of paddy during the Yala season. The stock of paddy purchased from Polonnaruwa district topped 21,366 metric tons. The PMB has purchased 3,726 metric tons from North Western Province, 10,171 metric tons from Ampara, 6,383 metric tons from Anuradhapura and 4,757 metric tons from the Southern Province. It has also purchased 221 metric tons from the Northern Province and more..

Lanka-China ties get stronger day by day - envoy

Sept 24 (DN) Bilateral ties between Sri Lanka and China have strengthened more during the last decades as both countries treated each other as equals with sincere mutual support and assistance as well as maintained amicable consultation and coordination in the international arena, Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka Yang Xiuping said. She was addressing a seminar organized by the Sri Lanka -China Friendship Association to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the more..

Colombo records decrease in rabid dogs

Sept 24 (Island) The Veterinary Department of the Colombo Municipal Council was determined to eliminate rabies from Colombo in three years. Chief Veterinarian of the CMC, Dr. S. D. Illeperuma,. told a media briefing on Tuesday (20), to announce the CMC’s programme for World Rabies Day on Sunday (25). He said that with the widespread sterilization and vaccination of dogs the number of rabid dogs in the city had decreased within the last few years. more..

Special delivery of Poll cards on Sunday

Sept 24 (DM) There will be a special delivery of poll cards this Sunday for the October 8 mini local government polls, a senior source of the Elections Secretariat said yesterday. Delivery of poll cards started on the 21st but eligible voters who have not received their poll cards by Sunday are advised to go to their respective post offices and obtain their poll cards by establishing their identity with the Post Master, Deputy Elections Commissioner W.P. Sumanasiri said. more..

TNA MP left in the lurch by colleagues

Sept 24 (DM) Parliament sessions came to an abrupt end yesterday as there was no one present to second an adjournment motion moved by TNA MP A. Vinayagamoorthy. Mr. Vinayagamoorthy moved a motion for debate on the issue of land in the north, but after completing his speech noticed there was no one to second it. None of the other MPs of his party were present in the chambers at the time. This prompted presiding member UPFA MP A.H.M. Azwer to adjourn the sessions. As a result sessions ended around 5 pm yesterday.

GMOA demands Rs 300 mn from SB for defaming its head

Sept 24 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers Association has decided to demand Rs. 300 million from Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayaka, claiming that he has defamed its president Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya. GMOA General Secretary Dr. Chandika Epitakaduwa said that Minister had falsely claimed that Dr Padeniya had failed his MD and thereby was not qualified to be an acting Consultant Paediatric Neurologist at Lady Ridgeway Hospital. more..

Nearly 300 important archeological sites identified

Sept 24 (Island) The Dept of Archeology says that nearly 400 places of archeological importance have been identified in the Northern Province. "A recent study carried out by the department has revealed this," the Commissioner General of the Dept, Dr. Senerath Dissanayaka said. He said that the dept has identified 87 such places in Mulativu, 110 places in Vavuniya, 40 in Mannar and nearly 50 in Jaffna district. Research teams are in the process of identifying the rest of the places in the province, more..

26 students fall ill after drinking soup

Sept 24 (DM) 26 grade-two students of the Warakapola Bauddha Maha Vidayalaya were yesterday taken ill after having drunk the soup served to them at school and are being treated at the Warakapola Base Hospital. Hospital Director Upul Wijenayake said the children showed symptoms of vomiting and fainting but were now out of danger. Meanwhile Public Health Inspector Namal Wijesekara said inquiries had revealed that the soup had been prepared at the home of another student in a copper pot and more..

President's address at the UN

Duo found guilty of killing child to get his gold bracelet

Sept 24 (Island) Negombo High Court Judge Shiran Gunaratne on Wednesday (21) found G. Asiri Prasanga Silva (25) and W. Jude Napolean Fernando (29) guilty of abducting seven-year-old Varuna Nishhan Sanjeeva Thamal and killing him after robbing his gold bracelet, on January 1, 2005, at Thaladuwa, Negombo. Judge sentenced the convicts to 30 years RI each and fined them Rs. 20,000 each. The Court was told that Silva and Fernando had abducted the child while he was playing after returning from church. more..

Govt. has still to pay over Rs. 10.67 bn in compensation

Sept 24 (Island) The govt has to pay a sum of Rs 10,670 million as compensation to people who lost their lands due to the construction of roads during the last 20 years, Parliament was told yesterday. Deputy Highways Minister Nirmala Kotelawala said that interest, too, would be paid on the delayed payments of compensation, to those whose lands had been acquired for constructing highways. An answer tabled by the deputy Minister said that during the last 20 years an extent of 3,020 hectares had more..

Massive development in power and energy

Sept 24 (DN) The govt yesterday said that the country will witness massive development in the power and energy sector by 2014 with the completion of the Lak Vijaya power project and the Upper Kotmale hydro power project adding more than 1,000 MW of power to the National Grid. Construction of Lak Vijaya Coal Power Plant Phase II to add another 300 MW to the National Grid is to be completed by January 2013, 10 months ahead of the scheduled time of the contract, more..

Sri Lankan HC meets Shahbaz to discuss dengue

Sept 24 (ITN) Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Pakistan Air Chief Marshal (retd) Jayalath Weerakkody met Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif on here Friday. Matters of cooperation in dengue control were discussed in the meeting. The chief minister thanked Sri Lankan president, govt and people for their cooperation and sending a medical team to Lahore to cope with the dengue. The chief minister said he would visit Colombo to thank the Sri Lankan president, govt and the people for this help. more..

Negligence causes grave pain for family

Sept 24 (DM) The severe negligence of an industrial gas company altered the lives of a family at a recent wedding anniversary party when a suspected oxygen cylinder used to pump air into the balloons burst unexpectedly causing grave damage. Sharmila Cassim Captain a resident of Colombo 5 said that the services of the company were hired to put up helium and normal balloons to decorate a hotel hall for the party. The man from the company who had been hired to put up the balloons had brought with him a helium cylinder as well as an oxygen cylinder to fill more..

UNP launches policy document for Colombo city

Sept 24 (TC) The UNP candidates group for the CMC, led by their mayoral candidate A.J.M. Muzammil, today (22) launched their policy document at the office of the leader of the opposition. He said he would work to transform Colombo into a better city. He said ‘Purawara Dekma’ has been formulated after considering views of the city dwellers from all walks of life. The UNP mayoral candidate stressed that the policy statement contained only proposals which could be implemented and more..

Rajitha to construct 11 fisheries harbours in North

Sept 24 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne plans to construct eleven fisheries harbours in the North. He plans to construct harbours in Mannar, Selawathurai, Pesalai, Gurunagar, Point Pedro and Myliddy. The Canadian govt will provide financial assistance for the projects, and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) will undertake to construct them. The FAO also will construct ferries, fish markets, civic community centers, fishing net mending factories, more..

LG members to be educated about their duties

Sept 24 (Island) The govt has decided to go ahead with its programme to educate all 4,191 newly elected members of local bodies, on handling local govt activities efficiently so that they may keep up to expectations of the people who elected them, Secretary to the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Govt Dr. Nihal Jayatilleke said. Asked whether this training would be similar to Indian community based rural development programme the ‘Pancahyat system’ or Sri Lankan ‘Jana Sabha System’, more..

JVP battle over newspaper

Sept 24 (Island) The JVP’s intraparty dispute took a turn for the worse yesterday with the dissidents, known as the Premkumar Gunaratnam group, resorting to violence against the loyalists of JVP leader Somawansa Amerasinghe. The Gunaratnam group set upon one of Amarasinghe’s loyalists at a JVP safe house in Madiwela injuring him badly. The victim, Kamalaratne Rajapaksa (40), revealed the identities of his assailants to the Mirihana police, who immediately arrested more..

Galle UNPer’s polls petition dismissed

Sept 24 (Island) The Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed the election petition filed by Nishantha Pushpakumara (Raththaran), a UNP candidate, who contested the 2010 parliamentary poll from the Galle District. The petitioner had requested the Court to order a recount of the UNP preferences, claiming that the election of Manusha Nanayakkara and Gayantha Karunathilake, was undue and should be voided by the Court. J. C. Weliammuna appeared for petitioner Pushpakumra. more..

Sri Lanka to set up first technology incubator

Sept 24 (DM) Sri Lanka is to set up the first technology incubator for its electrical and electronic industry. “Sri Lanka’s Electrical and Electronic industry (E&E) has been identified as a thrust industry. We believe that with the $90000 outlay from our Ministry, E&E industry will start its journey towards ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ brand niche”, said minister Rishad Bathiudeen. The MoU between the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC) and the University of Moratuwa (UM) to set up the first more..

Now, govt. mulls social security system as in US

Sept 24 (Island) The govt, having been forced to drop the pension scheme for the private sector, early this year, is mulling over a social security system. Under the new initiative, Sri Lanka Social Security Board (SSB) will introduce a new social security system. General Manager of the SSB, K.N.J. Cooray said that under the new plan, the plantation sector and those who were employed in foreign countries would be eligible for a retirement scheme of their choice. more..

Liquor licences earned Govt. over Rs. 6.5 bn

Sept 24 (Island) The Government had earned Rs 6,586,722 million in revenue by issuing liquor licences during the last two years, Parliament was told on Friday. A document tabled by Finance and Planning Deputy Minister Geethanjana Gunawardena said that the revenue earned by the issuance of liquor licences in 2009 stood at Rs 2,340,446 million and the corresponding figure for the year 2010 was Rs 4,246,276 million showing a notable increase in the revenue. more..

India hands over grant assistance to Eastern University

Sept 24 (Hindu) The Indian government has handed over a host of equipment to the Siddha faculty of the Eastern University here as part of its efforts to assist Sri Lanka in promoting traditional medicine forms. Sri Lanka has a long history and tradition in practicing Ayurveda and Siddha medicine. The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Ashok K. Kantha, who handed over the assistance here, said that the Eastern Province had been receiving support from India for more..

Karate pensioner floors competitors half his age

Sept 24 (SC) A pensioner has defeated competitors half his age by winning gold at a world karate tournament. Sri Lankan Sellathurai Ganeshalingam, known to his vanquished foes as Ganesh, carried home the award from the 22nd International Karate Championships in Indiana. The 62-year-old retired financial adviser, said: “I never thought I would win gold. I thought I would be retired by this age. more..

The Black Pirate

Sept 24 (SL) In a candid interview with The Sunday Leader, EPDP Leader and Traditional Industries and Small Entrepreneur Development Minister Douglas Devananda says that although the EPDP has been blamed for many incidents that take place in the North, the accusations are false and baseless. He notes that it is part of a campaign to politically tarnish his image. According to Devananda, the EPDP members did not carry arms in the North as accused. more..

Tempering the sting of spices with fruit in a tiny Sri Lankan kitchen

Sept 24 (National) Flying to Colombo, I took the rattling train south to Galle. Here, I walked on the fort ramparts under a bright sun. The sea lapped the fort walls and a strong breeze minimised the heat. Three boys offered to jump in the sea if I paid them. Rail thin, they called themselves the flying angels, and showed me newspaper clippings with photographs of them soaring from the ramparts into the deep blue sea. more..

Stay order on Sinharaja Road

Sept 24 (DM) A Ratnapura Court has issued a restraining order on the widening of the five-kilometre footpath linking Illubukanda and Bambumale in the Sinharaja forest reserve. The road was to have been widened to allow motor vehicles to travel through this forest reserve. The Additional district judge H.M. Farikdeen said the restraining order was valid till September 27 and ordered the respondents to file objections on this date. more..

750,000 hectares of paddy land come under plough

Sept 24 (Island) The govt has made advance preparations to bring 750,000 hectares of paddy land under the plough in the forthcoming Maha season and plans to export 7000 tonnes of hybrid varieties of rice this season, additional Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture Shantha Ametiyagoda said. He said realizing the damage caused to the health of the people as well as to the environment by using chemical fertilizer, more..