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Reconfiguring regional power

Feb 1 (NS) Tuesday night found me in a television studio. The discussion programme I was invited to, TNL’s Ellchchi (which means light or awakening), is an exemplary one – conducted both in Sinhala and Tamil, its aim is to broaden the understanding of issues that Tamils face, by directly addressing the Sinhala people. Dayanandan and Sudath Jayasundara who anchor it, together, but also in Tamil and Sinhala respectively, are very good. I am not a regular of course; this was only my second visit. more..

Crab Fattening Project with former combatants, soldiers

Feb 1 (NS) The Civil-Military Coordination Unit has initiated a Crab Fattening Project in Kayts that would provide jobs for former combatants. The project was organised to assist the rehabilitated former combatants to integrate into society. Jobs would be provided to these former combatants and their close relatives in Jaffna. Commander SF-J Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe on Thursday (19) made a progress review tour to the site with SF-J senior officers and more..

'Laws' delays - a major concern'

Feb 1 (SO) "Although Sri Lanka's judicial system is of a high standard compared to other countries in the region, law reforms need to be introduced to to meet present day challenges, the newly appointed Secretary to the Ministry of Justice Kamalini de Silva said." We are still observing archaic laws of our colonial masters. We need good infrastructure and good management skills to step into the modern legal systems", she said. more..

Accountability and Universal Values in Development

Feb 1 (GV) Something is of universal value if it has the same value or worth for all, or almost all, people. This claim could mean two importantly different things. First, it could be that something has a universal value when everybody finds it valuable. This was Isaiah Berlin‘s understanding of the term. According to Berlin, “…universal values are values that a great many human beings in the vast majority of places and situations, at almost all times, do in fact hold in common, more..

Longing and Belonging series: From London to Jaffna for the first time

Feb 1 (GV) The Nallur festival was in full flow. Kavadi drummers played for the crowds of devotees that swelled around Jaffna’s famous temple. Dotted around me were visitors from abroad. It was wonderful to see they were back, tracing lost roots and reconnecting with family and friends. I wanted to meet them and to understand what it was like being back. One of these was a young Tamil family from London. For the two daughters, it was their first time in Sri Lanka, more..

The quest and the redemption

Feb 1 (Himal) A new report finally allows Sri Lanka’s Northern Muslims to tell their story. Before Sri Lanka’s war, there was a noteworthy Muslim presence in Chavakachcheri, a well-known town in the Jaffna peninsula that was completely destroyed in a major battle in 2000. The town’s name comes from the expression chaavaka cheari, meaning the camp of the Javanese, the people known today as Malay Muslims. Both at Chavakachcheri and Jaffna town, more..

US may be having evidence on alleged Sri Lankan war crimes

Feb 1 (TC) The extrajudicial killing of civilians, surrendering soldiers and dissident journalists under the direction of the Sri Lankan government has been alleged by a former general in the Army who was extremely well-placed to comment on military activity during the island nation’s bloody civil war. The source, whose name is withheld for reasons of safety, had high-level security clearance and access to the flow of orders during the final days of the conflict. more..

No problem solving without frist accepting problems do exist

Feb 1 (TC) The govt’s approach to problem solving after the end of the war has been two fold. One is to set up mechanisms that would give a different perspective on the problem. With the overall improvement in the country’s post-war situation evident to both citizens and foreign visitors alike, the govt has its own story to tell. The govt established the LLRC to deal with the mounting international pressure on it on account of alleged war crimes in the last phase of the war. more..

AIDS and VD prevention programme for newly resettled civilians in Thalaiady

Feb 1 (IL) Sri Lanka Army 55 Division Headquarters of Veththalaikerny organized a one day medical workshop recently to educate newly resettled civilians in the Thalaiady area on AIDS, HIV and other venereal diseases (VD). The programme was aimed at civilians and school children in Thalaiady area. Nearly 375 civilians, large number of school children and 400 soldiers attended the workshop. more..

The worm beginning to turn!

Feb 1 (Island) A few letters in the recent past have begun to create hope that thirty years of indescribable torment have led to some "Lessons Learnt". The letters of the 68 Tamil speakers, Sebastian Rasalingam from Canada and, the letter by several prominent Sinhala speakers did kindle some hope that certain antiquated views and entrenched fears are hopefully on the way out. Durand Appuhamy, who normally writes very reasonably and well, has disappointed by his piece. more..

Editorial: Diplomats as buyers

Feb 1 (Island) The US Department of Justice announced in August, 2006 that four LTTE members caught in an undercover sting operation shopping for surface-to-air missiles in the New York arms black market had conspired to bribe some US State Department officials to remove the LTTE from the State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organisation list. The LTTE had offered a huge bribe including a $ 1 million up-front payment for that purpose, we were told. more..

“Undercover Princes”: With Jaffna Prince Remigius Kanagarajah

Feb 1 (CT) “Undercover Princes”: If the title makes you think of dashing Hohenzollerns trading secrets in romantic locales, think again. For one thing, the reality dating seriesof this title, beginning on Tuesday on TLC, is set not in Venice or Gstaad or even London but in the chip shops and seaside pubs of Brighton, England, which looks a lot closer to “Jersey Shore” than Buckingham Palace. And then there are the princes themselves, more..

Conviction under The Torture Act

Feb 1 (AHRC) On January 26, 2012, the former OIC of Polpithigama Police was convicted under the torture Act by the High Court of Kurunegala. Wijeratne, the former OIC of Polpithigama Police Station, was sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment and was ordered to pay Rs. 25,000/- as compensation to Sujith Priyantha, torture victim. On July 29, 2003, Wijeratne, the OIC of Polpithigama Police Station arrested and tortured Sujith Priyantha, a seven years' old boy who was more..

Southern Expressway nets over Rs.151 m

Feb 1 (DN) Sri Lanka's newly opened Southern Expressway netted over Rs.151 million as toll charges from over 530,997 vehicles within its first two months of operation. There is a massive rise in the number of vehicles plying the Southern Expressway, Deputy Minister Nirmala Kothalawala said. Additionally, on average, 8,000 vehicles used the Expressway daily. He said the highest number of vehicles - around 181,212 had entered the Expressway through the Kottawa interchange to more..

‘We should not consider demands of the TNA as those of the Tamil people’

Feb 1 (TC) Deputy Minister of Resettlement and Vice President of SLFP Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan says that priority should be given to address the immediate needs of the Tamil people. In an interview, Muralitharan blamed the TNA for making impracticable demands while ignoring the basic needs of the affected people. Q: What is the latest situation of the resettlement process? A: There are around 7,000 people remaining in Menik Farm to be resettled. more..

BASL presidential candidate vows to fight obnoxious legislation

Feb 1 (Island) President’s Counsel Tirantha Walaliyadde, who is aspiring to be the new President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka yesterday vowed to play an active role with the assistance of institutions like the Attorney General’s Department, the Legal Draftsman’s Department, the Ministry of Justice and other connected institutions to fight against obnoxious Bills and Amendments passed by parliament. "BASL is made up of active politicians of various parties, more..

Post- Graduate scholarships for studying in India

Feb 1 (DN) The High Commission of India Colombo announces the offer of the following ICCR scholarships: Nehru Memorial Scholarship Scheme: 60 additional slots are being offered under this scheme which covers all undergraduate courses, except Medicine. Total slots available under the Nehru Memorial scheme is now 100. Maulana Azad Scholarship Scheme: 50 scholarships for Masters Degrees, including 10 in Agricultural Science, 20 in Science and 20 in Engineering. more..

PCs likely to give land powers to Govt.

Feb 1 (DM) Provincial Councils are expected to give their consent to the proposed Town and Country Planning Ordinance Amendment before February 8. The Amendment empowers the central govt to acquire land within municipal and urban areas for economic, social, historical, environmental and religious purposes. It was announced at the Western Provincial Council party leaders’ meeting that the provincials should give their consent before the mentioned date and more..

Wellawatte market complex, four-storeyed car park opened

Feb 1 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa opened the Wellawatte Municipal market complex and the first four-storeyed car park yesterday morning. The market complex is equipped with 83 stalls, of which 53 are for vegetables and fruits and 21 for fish and meat stalls. The car park can accommodate 95 vehicles at a time. The entire project had cost Rs 240 million. A special memento was presented to the President by members of the Wellawatte Public Market more..

Election for office bearers is fair -UNP

Feb 1 (CT) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake claimed yesterday the election held in December to appoint office bearers of the Party was fair and independent. He noted that the fairness of the election was admitted by the very candidates who contested the election which was held on the 19 December 2011. His comment on the election comes in the wake of the Court case which was filed in the Colombo District Court on Monday by UNP Southern Provincial Councilor Maithri Gunaratne. more..

Colombo second worst stock exchange in the world

Feb 1 (Island) The Colombo Stock Exchange has seen a dramatic reversal from being the world’s best performing stock exchange to the second worst ahead of the Dhaka exchange in Bangladesh. According to country stock exchange data based on year-to-date performance of leading indices as of January 26, 2012, Sri Lanka had the second worst performing stock exchange which fell 7.94 percent, ahead of Bangladesh more..

Planters welcome Govt. decision to lift ban on RPC timber harvesting

Feb 1 (FT) The Planters Association (PA) of Ceylon yesterday welcomed the Govt’s last week decision to lift the prohibition on Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) from harvesting timber from forestry cultivations. “This move will ease pressure on fuel costs and RPCs finances,” the PA said. “The Government has decided to lift its previous restrictions on timber harvesting. RPCs can now harvest timber/fuel wood from their commercial forestry cultivations. more..

Cameroon PM welcomes stronger ties with SL

Feb 1 (DN) "The new thrust in Sri Lanka's foreign policy, giving greater weight to relations with countries in the African continent and enhancing mutual benefit from this focus, is exceedingly welcome, Prime Minister Philemon Yang of Cameroon told Minister G.L.Peiris at their meeting on Monday. Minister Peiris, who was on a two day official visit to Cameroon, explained to the Prime Minister of Cameroon the eagerness of the govt of Sri Lanka to reorient the country's more..

'People will decide what’s best for SL'

Feb 1 (DN) “Sri Lanka is not going to make decisions to make NGOs and other countries happy; what is best for our country and our people will be decided by the people of Sri Lanka” Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Karunathilaka Amunugama told Daily News. He said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has made this clear on many occassions in the past. Referring to criticisms by Western countries, INGOs and the TNA that the LLRC does not adequately more..

In January alone 170 deaths due to road accidents

Feb 1 (AHRC) On January 28 alone there were 17 deaths due to road accidents. This led to the police issuing a notice that the 28th was the date on which the most number of fatal accidents had occurred. Despite of the usual claim by the police that they will take stern action against errant drivers their incapacity to control the roads was manifest when an SSP allegedly released the 22 year-old nephew of a Deputy Minister who caused two deaths and injured several other persons more..

Maritime security dominates Indo-Lanka Defence Dialogue

Feb 1 (Island) Matters related to maritime security and international cooperation in the Indian Ocean dominated the inaugural meeting of the India-Sri Lanka annual Defence Dialogue held here today. Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa led his team at the talks with his Indian counterpart Shashi Kant Sharma. Rajapaksa was assisted by Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam and senior officials of the Sri Lankan Army, Navy, Air Force and Police. more..

CEB engineers seek huge surge in management grade salaries

Feb 1 (Island) The CEB Engineers Union yesterday expressed confidence that the Treasury would soon take a decision on proposal that the CEB’s management grade be given a pay hike six times higher than that given to the lowest grade. A senior engineer told The Island yesterday that currently, with the 25 per cent salary hike granted last month was not enough. Although the engineers spelt out their demand to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at more..

Plans afoot to set up new industrial zones

Feb 1 (Island) Plans are afoot to establish new industrial zones in the country to strengthen the economy while promoting certain industries, seen as potential contributors to the national economy. "Relevant authorities have been asked to perform need assessments in the areas where the need for such zones has been identified," Secretary to the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise, V. Sivagnanasothy, said. Currently, Sri Lanka has nearly 18 industrial estates in areas such as more..

'Dengue prevention not our duty'

Feb 1 (DM) Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena said that dengue prevention does not necessarily fall within the ambit of the Health ministry. “The prevention of dengue is not within the scope of duties of the Health Ministry, in countries like Singapore dengue prevention is within the purview of the Ministry of Environment, the prevention of dengue extends the duties of the Ministry of health,” he said. The Minister made these observations at a meeting of The Presidential Task Force on Dengue Control held today more..

Smugglers dump Canada-bound Tamils in Togo

Feb 1 (BBC) Some two hundred Sri lankan refugees stranded in the tiny West African state of Togo have told the BBC that they fear for their life if they are deported back to their country. They are detained at an open stadium, in the country’s capital Lome, which they say belong to the Military. “We have been arrested and detained here on charges of over staying our visa period since 24th October last year and have been told that unless we voluntarily return to Sri Lanka, more..

Suicide vest is five years old- Govt Analyst

Feb 1 (DN) Explosives experts confirmed that the suicide vest that was found by Police at a rest house in Kataragama yesterday was made five years ago. Police Spokesman Superintendent of Police Ajith Rohana said, the suicide kit was defused after it was examined by the Govt Analyst's Department. Govt Analyst W A R Fernando reportedly told the Police after checking the ammunition that the device had been planted there by LTTE cadres for some action several years ago. more..

Fresh criminal case against a Ceylinco subsidiary

Feb 1 (DM) The CID yesterday filed a fresh criminal case at the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court against another Ceylinco group company - Ceylinco Profit Sharing Investment Corporation Ltd - for allegedly cheating and committing criminal breach of trust involving Rs.76.7 million of depositors’ money. Twelve complainants including a Ratnapura gem merchant making complaints to the CID alleged that their money deposited at Ceylinco Profit Sharing Investment more..

Rajapaksa does a U-turn on 13th Amendment

Feb 1 (Hindu) After promising to go beyond the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution to find a solution to the Tamil ethnic problem, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has done a U-turn and said the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) would now have to suggest a solution. At an interaction on Monday with the country's editors at Temple Trees, the President's official residence, Mr. Rajapaksa “denied that he ever told India [this],” more..

Complaints on NCPA hotline sees sharp increase

Feb 1 (DM) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) yesterday said that the number of complaints received by the NCPA hotline 1929, had increased sharply from 1,391 complaints in 2009 to 3,811 complaints in 2010. According to the NCPA data, the number of complaints received on child abductions in 2009 was five and it increased to 31 in 2010. Complaints on the lack of care and protection of children rose from 166 complaints to 642 complaints. more..

Rajapaksa's appeal to Jayalalithaa

Feb 1 (Hindu) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has a message for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa: “Take care of our people who go there. Ministers, our relations etc.” Commenting on the attack on his relative and industrialist, Thirukumar Nadesan, he said that he was attacked only because he was married to Deputy Minister Nirupama Rajapaksa. “He is a Hindu, he is a Tamil from north not from south…Even the Indian fishermen are protesting [against the attack on him],” the President said, more..

Basil blasts Harsha over China ‘hit man’ charge

Feb 1 (FT) Minister Basil Rajapaksa is charging that UNP MP and its Chief Economic Spokesman Dr. Harsha de Silva’s outburst and criticism over growing economic cooperation between Sri Lanka and China was in bad taste and made with dangerous political twist. “He (de Silva) is trying to pit China against Sri Lanka’s friendly nations such as India and those in the West as well as scare China away from Sri Lanka,” Minister Rajapaksa told the Daily FT. more..

Remembering Upali

Feb 1 (Island) The 29th anniversary of the disappearance of Mr. Upali Wijewardene, the Founder Chairman of Upali Newspapers (Private) Limited Group, falls on February 13th Monday. The Upali Group, its employees and sales agents countrywide have made arrangements to commemorate the anniversary with religious ceremonies such as Bodhi Pooja, Almsgiving, Pahan Pooja and Blood Donation Campaigns. A special Bodhi Pooja will be held at the Kelani Rajamaha Viharaya at 6 p.m. on more..

Gen. Fonseka’s appeal against unseating on May 2

Feb 1 (Island) The Court of Appeal yesterday fixed for hearing on May 2, 2012, the Writ Application, filed by General Sarath Fonseka, challenging his dismissal from Parliament, consequent to the penalty of 30-month rigorous imprisonment imposed on him by the Court Martial II. The petitioner applied for the next date to be beyond three months. The Court Martial II convicted Gen. Fonseka of disgraceful conduct pertaining to chairing a tender board, while he was the Commander more..

Look who says please IMF!

Feb 1 (LB) The rupee need not be devalued to please the IMF. Neither should it be fixed to please political masters like Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal. The market does not dance to anyone’s tune. If there is mounting pressure on the rupee in the market it will depreciate under normal circumstances. But, don’t forget we are not ‘normal’. We are the ‘Wonder of Asia’ and ‘normal’ laws of economics do not apply to us. more..

Formal dialogue needed at UNHRC to discuss both the LLRC and UN reports on Sri Lanka

Feb 1 (DBS) Louise Arbour is a distinguished Canadian whose name is not unknown to many in Sri Lanka. She served as a Judge on the Canadian Supreme Court and also the Ontario court of Appeal. Louise Arbour was the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in Hague. more..