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Stem the tide towards Military-Fascist Dictatorship!

Sept 29 (LG) Although the CCP-M has irreconcilable ideological and theoretical differences with the New Left Front, we fully endorse the candidacy of Com. Bahu for the Dehiwela-Mt Lavinia Urban Council, and urge all progressive forces to vote for him. Com. Bahu has consistently stood in the frontlines of the struggle to defend democracy and freedom, with the defense of the liberation struggle of the Tamil nation as a core principle. Sri Lanka is being engulfed by a deepening organic crisis and more..

Sri Lankan critics and path to reconciliation

Sept 29 (LG) The 10th anniversary of the shocking terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York was on September 11th, 2011. The very next day (12) I was sitting in a side-event of the Human Rights Council in Geneva listening to the ranting of the American Ambassadress to the United Nations in Geneva, A. Donahue, threatening Sri Lanka for the way it ended the terrorist war against the LTTE, terrorist group banned by 32 nations, including USA. During the time she was attacking Sri Lanka a question more..

Writing and truth:The instance of Niromi de Soyza’s Tamil Tigress

Sept 29 (ST) What follows is not a review of Tamil Tigress (hereafter, TT) but an attempt to use it to raise and share some questions about issues such as writing, veracity and the “reception” of a text. The word “text” signifies “that which is woven” and suggests the coming together of different strands to form a composite, a whole, with its own shape and design, as in a carpet. “Context”, made up of “con” (or “with”) plus “text”, is that which surrounds and accompanies a text. more..

Editorial: Silence of HR watchdogs

Sept 29 (Island) More than 200,000 Libyan civilians are believed to be trapped in Bani Walid and Sirte. NATO has admitted that their lives are in great danger due to heavy fighting between the pro-Gaddafi forces and their enemies. All pockets of resistance are in the throes of a huge humanitarian crisis with men, women and children starving, unable to escape. But, the so-called rebels are stepping up attacks with NATO carrying out air strikes, in a bid to wrest control of the besieged cities and more..

Editorial: Dilapidated diplomacies

Sept 29 (DM) Representing one’s country at any level is considered a privilege only to a few who are elegible to do so. Often, among many other essential ingredients to make a worthy diplomat, it is this privilege and responsibility that mould an ordinary Sri Lankan citizen to cross the seas and respond to his call of duty. However, the recent communiqué issued by the Ministry of External Affairs assuring Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva’s diplomatic immunities and privileges raises a few questionable more..

$ 500 m boost for SriLankan Airlines

Sept 29 (FT) SriLankan Airlines is to get a better lift with the Govt approving $ 500 million investment over the next five years encouraged by improved performance and strong future prospects in tandem with post-war revival. “The Cabinet has approved the investment of a sum of USD 500 million for the development of SriLankan Airlines over the next five years,” national carrier’s Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe said yesterday. more..

The private university debate misses the point

Sept 29 (LB) Much heat is vented on the private medical college debate most of which, apart from being verbose and repetitive, misses the real point. On September 19 alone, as I write, two full page articles appeared (YW Abeywichrama in Island Financial Review and Shenali Waduge in Daily Mirror); full page but the meat could have been compressed into one-third as many column inches. The argument in the English press, all in favour of the private medical college, makes reasonable points, more..

Devolution: let’s go with facts, not conjecture

Sept 29 (LB) A few weeks ago Rajpal Abeynayake referred to something I had said at the launch of some books published by SIPOS (Strategic Initiatives for the Protection of Sri Lanka) and the Federation of National Organizations. It might be correct to say that he mentioned me only in passing. The article covered among other things the issue of devolution. By way of response, I observed that Rajpal had conflated ‘devolution’ with ‘power sharing’, the latter being a term I had not used but more..

Govt to conduct census on uncultivated lands

Sept 29 (DN) The govt will conduct an islandwide census on uncultivated lands and initial arrangements have been made to carry out the survey through the Agrarian Development Department, Prime Minister D M Jayarathna said. He made this statement while participating in a ceremony to inaugurate renovation work at the Bowala canal which carries water to Bowala paddy fields in Gampola. He pointed out that under the Agrarian Development Act the govt could take over more..

Geneva HRC meeting ends on a flat note

Sept 29 (Island) There was anticipation, and on the side of the government trepidation, that the Human Rights Council gathering in Geneva in mid-September would produce some fireworks. The outcome so far has been tame (writing on 20 September) though not without moments of theatre – for example HRC Commissioner Navi Pillay’s opening remarks that, "For three decades, not only has that country (Sri Lanka) suffered the brutal effects of terrorist acts, but the response of successive govts over more..

Playing for time must not become a strategy when time is not on one’s side

Sept 29 (TC) It was just weeks ago that I raised with ‘policy wonks’ in Paris, the possibility that Western over-assertiveness in North Africa, chiefly Libya, would carry the price tag of heightened threat perceptions in Russia and impact upon domestic politics there. I may have been right. Prospects of a greater assertion of multi-polarity and greater resistance to ‘liberal humanitarian interventionism’ have been enhanced with the ruling United Russia party unanimously approving a proposal more..

Schools closed for teachers to attend political events – JVP

Sept 29 (Island) The Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union (CTSU) claims that some schools were closed earlier in the Hambantota District on Tuesday so that teachers could attend a political meeting organized by the ruling UPFA in view of elections to the Hambantota Municipal Council and Pradeshiya Sabha. CTSU General Secretary, Mahinda Jayasinghe said that all 23 schools in the Hambantota and five schools in the Ambalantota had been closed at 12 noon on Tuesday by more..

Kalutara to have first wildlife sanctuary

Sept 29 (DN) The Kodigahakanda forest in the Olabouwa North Grama Niladhari division in Horana will be declared a sanctuary in November under the Forest Conservation Department, MEDEF President K.Munagama told the Daily News. "This is the first wildlife sanctuary in the Kalutara district," he said. Kodigahakanda bio-diversity centre at Gonapola was opened by Kalutara district Parliamentarian Vidura Wickramanayake on Sunday. Kodigahakanda Conservation Society and Mihithala Mithuro Environmental Development Foundation (MEDEF) with more..

CAA earns Rs 58.5 m from raids

Sept 29 (DN) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has earned over Rs. 58.5 million through fines in island-wide raids conducted from January to date. Co-operatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando said that the CAA investigation officers conducted over 22,875 raids on deceptive and unfair trade practices by errant traders during the period. A bulk of the fines was imposed on traders for failing to display prices, selling products over the maximum retail price, sale of expired products, non issuance of the guarantees, more..

The Fortress scoops prestigious global luxury hotel award

Sept 29 (FT) Sri Lanka’s iconic The Fortress Resort and Spa based in Koggala was again thrust into the global spotlight when it won a brace of trophies at the coveted World Luxury Hotel Awards 2011 held in Croatia last week, which included the accolade for ‘World’s Best Luxury Coastal Hotel’. It also walked away with the premier ‘Luxury Coastal Hotel in Sri Lanka Award’ at the star-studded event. more..

Drastic drop in GCE (O/L) second shy applicants

Sept 29 (Island) The number of students, sitting the GCE (O/L) for the second time, as school candidates, had dropped by 50,000 this year. This is the first time in history that such a lrge reduction in the numbers had been recorded. Commissioner General of Examinations Anura Edirisinghe said that they had received only 95,000 applications this time from second time school candidates while 150,000 second time school candidates sat for the examination last year. more..

SJGH director’s pay queried: Unregistered doctor on staff

Sept 29 (Island) The Accountant and Internal Auditor of the Sri Jayawardenepura General Hospital have reported lapses on the part of the hospital’s administration with regards to payments made to SJGH Director Dr. S. A. K. Gamage. Sources of SJGH told The Island that the Board of Management had requested the accountant and internal auditor to forward a report on the emoluments paid to Dr. Gamage. The report was submitted on September 26. more..

Postal voting today and tomorrow

Sept 29 (DM) The postal voting for the October 8 mini local government polls will take place today and tomorrow. Deputy Elections Commissioner W.P.Sumanasiri said that 5,926 public servants had applied to vote by post and 4,505 had been registered, while 1,421 were rejected. “Postal voting will be mainly held at state establishments such as educational offices, SLTB depots, armed forces’ camps, divisional and district secretariats and government offices,” he said. more..

Govt. deviates from compulsory retirement age

Sept 29 (DM) The Govt’s compulsory age of retirement was ignored when appointing two Zonal Education Officers alleged Joseph Stalin from the Ceylon Teachers’ Union. “When the vacancies were called it was said all the candidates have to be below the age of retirement. However two persons appointed for the vacancies are older than the retirement age,” Mr. Stalin said. According to him these two persons have filled the vacancies that existed in the Batticaloa and Ampara districts. more..

Buddhist temple being erected in the place where there was Pillayar Hindu Kovil

Sept 29 (LG) In Kokilai district, Mulaitivu where there was a Hindu Kovil (temple) which was damaged during the war is being demolished and a Buddhist Temple is being erected in that place, according to reports reaching Lanka e news. Buddhist monks have arrived there and the construction has begun. Part of the land of the Hospital in Kokilai and part of the land of a post office are being used to construct this Buddhist Temple. Earlier, it was the Arasadi Pillayar Kovil that was there more..

In policy shift, Stephen Harper presses Sri Lanka on human rights

Sept 29 (G&M) Stephen Harper’s govt, which alienated many Tamil-Canadians in the last days of the Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009, is aggressively campaigning to pressure Sri Lanka on human rights and political reconciliation. It’s a dramatic shift in the Conservative approach to Sri Lanka’s fractured politics. For years they vilified the separatist Tamil Tigers as terrorists, and didn’t vocally criticize the Sinhalese-majority govt for discriminating against more..

MAS opens new factory in Kandy

Sept 29 (DM) Sri Lanka’s garments manufacturer MAS Holdings yesterday opened a new factory in the country’s hill capital, Kandy, becoming an integral part of company’s US$ 300 million intimate wear manufacturing division, to manufacture licensed apparel solely for US giant Limited brands. The facility was named as Linea Intimates and it will manufacture licensed apparel for the Pink Collegiate collection for Victoria’s Secret. Jonathan Mugler – Vice President, Terrence Kramer – Associate Vice President and more..

Elephants do as they please: Monaragala villagers can only watch

Sept 29 (DM) Several villagers including Minipuragama, Buruthagola, Helagama and Pahalagama are facing the threat of wild elephants and people in more than 1000 families are living in constant fear. They pointed out that a herd of about 30 wild elephants from the Yala National Park roam into the villages at dusk and destroy home garden crops, chena cultivations, paddy fields and chase after people. They said several villagers have been trampled to death and more than 100 more..

Somawansa faction probes dissidents’ ‘RAW’ links

Sept 29 (Island) Loyalists of JVP leader Somawansa Amerasinghe allege that their rival faction was being backed, most probably, by the Indian intelligence agency ‘Research and Analysis Wing’ (RAW). JVP trade union wing leader K.D. Lal Kantha said that the party had launched a probe to ascertain whether ‘RAW’ or any other foreign intelligence outfit was behind the JVP dissidents. Lal Kantha sought to dismiss the strength of the dissident group as a miniscule faction more..

AG says no interviews till FR petition listed

Sept 29 (Island) The Attorney General informed the Supreme Court that the Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ravindra Ruberu, had, by letter dated September 27, 2011, informed that an undertaking could be given to the effect that no interviews will be held to select a person to the post of Director General, National Hospital, until the fundamental rights violation application filed by Deputy Director Dr. Sujatha Senaratna, is listed for support before the Supreme Court to obtain leave to proceed. more..

Bribery Comm. petitioned to probe Mahroof’s Rs. 01 bn contribution

Sept 29 (Island) A resident of Piliyandala yesterday petitioned the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption against UPFA Candidate for the Colombo Municipal polls Mohamed Mahroof. The petitioner Leeson Perera requested the CIABC to inquire as to how Mahroof obtained the Rs. 01 billion he claimed he had contributed towards UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe’s two election campaigns. The former UNP stalwart from Colombo Central who crossed over to the SLFP after more..

Lanka exports 250 tonnes of rice to Kenya

Sept 29 (DM) In what appeared to be a boost to the paddy cultivation industry, Sri Lanka yesterday exported a stock of 250 tonnes of rice to Kenya, officials said yesterday. Trade Ministry secretary Sunil S. Sirisena said that the decision to export rice was taken because Sri Lanka had now achieved self sufficiency in rice. He said that the government’s fertilizer subsidy and the declaration of a stable purchasing price had encouraged people to cultivate paddy. more..

CID search home of dissident JVP MP

Sept 29 (DM) The Madiwela residence of JVP MP Ajith Kumara, who had joined the JVP dissident group, had been searched by the CID yesterday. The CID had taken into custody two desktop computers, one laptop and some documents. The building was used by the MP as a temporary residence as well as an office when he was in Colombo. He said the CID officers had searched the office for about two hours. They had arrived with a search warrant around noon. more..

STF seizes 102,782 kilos of refuse tea

Sept 29 (DM) The elite Special Task Force (STF) seized 102,782 kilos of refuse tea by raiding four warehouses that were used to stock refuse tea and by searching a lorry that had been transporting refuse tea without a licence in the Davalagala and Kadugannawa areas recently. They discovered 77,582 kilos of refuse tea in 209 sacks when the lorry was stopped in Kadugannawa by a team from the Ambakote STF Camp. The lorry driver and his assistant were subsequently handed over to the police. more..

Last-minute court order halts Sri Lankan deportation

Sept 29 (C4) Frantic efforts by lawyers in London to prevent an aircraft, chartered by the British govt, from forcibly returning failed asylum-seekers to Sri Lanka have succeeded in delaying the plane’s scheduled departure. Immigration lawyers have been seeking last-minute stays on the grounds that returnees – many of whom have claimed past links with the banned LTTE, risk interrogation and torture on arrival back more..

No major polls related incidents reported

Sept 29 (Island) Police Elections Secretariat yesterday said that the majority of polls-related violence had so far been reported from the Kolonnawa, Nugegoda and Mt. Lavinia areas. Head of the Secretariat Senior DIG Gamini Navaratne told The Island that there were no major incidents but they had received 75 complaints. "We have arrested 80 persons who were involved in violent acts and violating the elections laws," he said adding that 11 vehicles were also taken into police custody. more..

JVP dispute ends up in Court

Sept 29 (Island) A bitterly fought battle between two JVP factions over the ownership of the party propaganda organ, the Lanka newspaper, has led to a legal wrangle. Members of the Somawansa faction and dissident group have been ordered to appear in the Gangodawila Magistrate’s Court on Nov. 07. The Mirihana police have informed the editor of the Lanka newspaper, Chandana Sirimalwatte and Lal Tennakoon, a member of the Board of Directors, that the matter was referred to Court as no compromise was possible more..

No more political alliances, says JVP

Sept 29 (DM) Amid charges by the JVP rebels that alliance politics had eroded the party’s political culture, the crisis-ridden party said yesterday that it had taken a policy decision not to forge political alliances with any other party, but to carry forward its political struggle based on Communist principles. The JVP was instrumental in forming the UPFA in 2004, and it supported the candidacy of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa for the presidency in 2005. more..

Bogus employment provider operated from prison, say Police

Sept 29 (DM) Investigations have been initiated by the Kurunegala police special crime unit, on a man who had allegedly deceived people and obtained money from them promising jobs in Japan and Italy, while he was in remand custody, Police said. Following complaints made by two persons from Alawwa and Wariyapola, investigations made by the unit had revealed these frauds, the special crime investigation unit OIC Police Inspector (IP) Wilwalarachchi said. more..

Thirty-day tourist visas free for all

Sept 29 (Island) Immigration and Emigration Chief Chulananda Perera said that the govt would issue free tourist visas for 30 days under newly introduced Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) scheme with effect from tomorrow (30). Perera said that those wanting to visit Sri Lanka could obtain ETA via established at the Department of Immigration and Emigration. He said that those having ETA could confirm their visas on their arrival at the BIA. more..

Southward bound! Colombo – Galle in 55 minutes

Sept 29 (SL) On par with other countries in South Asia – albeit stymied by a 30-year break in development – is the spanking new, partially completed, Southern Expressway. Many times over its envisaged cost, steeped in financial and technical controversy, leaving many questions on the cost factor and the integrity of its safety in the open, the Southern Expressway – which cost Sri Lanka Rs. 110 Billion – is nevertheless, on the verge of being declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Muslim shrine demolished, and even Defence Secretary is angry!

Sept 29 (LB) It could have been Sri Lanka’s shameful episode of Ayodya (Babri Masjid), unleashed in the sacred Buddhist land of Anuradhapura. (In 1992, in India, over 2,000 people died in ensuing religious violence after an ancient mosque built in a disputed site in Ayodya was destroyed by Hindu mobs.) Early this month, a rampaging mob led by a Buddhist monk demolished a Muslim shrine in Anuradhapura. The attackers alleged that the shrine was erected within more..

Sri Lanka envoy warns of smuggling pipeline after High Court ruling

Sept 29 (TA) Sri Lanka's high commissioner to Australia, Thisara Samarasinghe, has warned that people-smugglers will exploit the recent High Court ruling outlawing offshore processing as a way of reviving a smuggling pipeline that has lain dormant for almost two years. As authorities intercepted another asylum boat yesterday carrying 75 people, the fourth to arrive since the High Court ruling last month, Mr Samarasinghe warned that more..

Biotechnology conference opens today in Colombo

Sept 29 (USE) The U.S. Embassy in Colombo, in cooperation with the National Science Foundation & the Ministry of Environment, is organizing a biotechnology conference September 29-30 at the Taj Samudra hotel in Colombo. In the workshop experts will share experiences from America, Europe, Africa and Asia relevant for Sri Lanka and analyze international models of biotechnology policy. Biotechnology significantly increases agricultural productivity and more..

Profs., Lecturers take sabbatical leave to work at Malabe PMC

Sept 29 (Island) A number of professors and senior lecturers, who were attached to the Medical Faculty of the University of Sri Lanka, have either joined the permanent staff of the Malabe Private Medical College or lecture at the institute during the weekends. Among them are 16 Professors and 12 senior lecturers. Seven professors have taken sabbatical leave from the university and are teaching permanently at the private medical college while more..