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Sri Lanka’s tryst with reconciliation: Where are we today?

Feb 1 (GV) The dominating narrative is dichotomous: at one end of the spectrum is the view that reconciliation has been achieved with the conclusion of the armed struggle and at the other end is the contention that reconciliation has not even begun to take place since the end of the war. The perceptions are equally remarkable. International interest in the imperative is in no small measure. The impact on domestic stability remains uncontested. Whichever viewpoint is more..

Kilinochchi on the road to recovery but still a long way to go

Feb 1 (NS) Mobile health units, an integral part of civilian life, in Kilinochchi, since resettlement, have reduced their services limiting them to rural areas of the district, following developments in the health sector in the past three years. Though people resettled in the once war-affected region breathe are freed of guns and fear, their struggle with numerous health issues both physical and psychological, called for an immediate and intense healthcare framework. They recovered fast thanks to the mobile more..

We built these houses

Feb 1 (CT) The Rs 34.4 billion Indian Govt project to build 50,000 houses for IDPs in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, and for plantation workers of Indian origin in the Central and Uva Provinces, is proceeding apace with the Indian authorities confident of completing the task by 2 Oct 2015. The first phase of the scheme started in 2011 with a 'pilot' project to construct 1,000 houses for those with no land or housing more..

Southern underworld enlists army deserters

Feb 1 (NS) The underworld gangs of the Southern Province led by a politico of the Galle District was able to recruit some of the notorious hands of criminal gangs from Colombo including one of the top sniper marksmen of the Army Special Forces, known as ‘Ado’ among his colleagues and mates. After having deserted the Army he first came to work for an organized criminal gang in Colombo headed by Nihal. The criminal gangs were only too pleased to recruit a top marksman of the caliber of more..

Another US resolution on Sri Lanka: The road to nowhere?

Feb 1 (GV) So it looks like the US will bring another resolution on Sri Lanka at the next session of the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva this March. Quite frankly – I am shocked. US foreign policy as it relates to Sri Lanka has been confusing and is replete with complications and contradictions. One can’t help but wonder: Where is all of this heading? Is this a road to nowhere? I really wish I knew. But at this point, I’m not sure that anybody does. If the US goes ahead with another more..

Tragic fate of seven TRO employees at the hands of the TMVP seven years ago

Feb 1 (DBS) It was in January 2006 that some employees of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) were abducted and later killed by members of the breakaway faction of the LTTE led by V Muraleetharan alias Karuna. While the Karuna faction later became known as the TMVP Karuna himself along with a section of his loyalists has joined the SLFP and is now a vice-president of that party and a Deputy minister in the govt. more..

The Muslims are the new Tamils

Feb 1 (CT) Are we, the Sinhala people, so addicted to war, that we cannot do without one? Or are the Rajapaksas trying to manufacture a new threat and a new conflict as camouflage for their dynastic project? A well organised and financed anti-Muslim campaign has burst into destructive life over the last several months. Organisations, manifestly conceived in the same pathological-womb, are trying to outdo each other in spreading anti-Muslim vitriol. In the name of Buddhism, the most non-violent more..

Perched on their pinnacles of triumph

Feb 1 (CT) World War I was a global war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. It involved all of the great powers of the world, as at that time, which were grouped into two opposing alliances: The Allies, based on the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom and the British Empire, France and Russia on the one hand and the Central Powers, originally the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria, Hungary and Italy. But, as Austria and Hungary had more..

'No disciplinary action against me'

Feb 1 (CT) Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, the govt’s nominated MP and adviser to President Rajapaksa, has refuted media speculation over possible disciplinary action against him over the decision to abstain from voting in favour of the impeachment of CJ, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. The former academic reiterates his stance to abstain from voting and contends that there is no culture of sycophancy in the ruling party. more..

Editorial : Relieve the sick of toll

Feb 1 (Island) The Southern Expressway (EO1) has proved to be a boon to the public, though some of them grumble about the toll which they consider quite high by Sri Lankan standards. Even its worst critics cannot do without it today and some of them have been booked for speeding, according to media reports. It has also become a goldmine for the govt which is laughing all the way to the bank. Besides convenience, the expressway’s value became patently clear some moons ago when more..

The TNA, armed forces and Tamils in North

Feb 1 (SL) I thought of responding to the article published in The Sunday Leader on 16th Dec 2012 titled “Plight of resettled IDP’s, striving make ends meet” which mentions the “concerns” of the TNA MP’s Sumanthiran and Premachandran. What has been implied by their allegations was that IDP’s in North are not properly looked after, continuous harassment of Tamils by the Army, land mine story is a bluff, presence of “unnecessary” large cantonments of army in the north etc. more..

All set for ICC Women’s World Cup

Feb 1 (Hindu) The ICC Women’s World Cup 2013 brings an array of top stars who have dominated the 50-over format by their sheer consistency. In recent times a handful of them have proved to be game-changers with blistering knocks and clever bowling. The 10th edition of the competition will be inaugurated here on Thursday with a Group A day/night match between India and the West Indies at the Brabourne Stadium. more..

Unilever Sri Lanka, SLIM launche Professional Selling Diploma

Feb 1 (Island) Unilever Sri Lanka in association with the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing launched a Professional Selling Diploma for sales representatives employed by the company’s distribution business partners and service providers who operate in all areas of the country. The launch event was attended by Mr. Surith Perera, Customer Development Director of Unilever Sri Lanka and Mr. Gamika De Silva, Vice President of the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing as well as other more..

Lanka banking system credit risk high, space for some expansion

Feb 1 (Island) Loose monetary policy and rapid credit growth have increased the credit risks of banks in the Asia-Pacific region. While Sri Lanka’s banking system is grouped among the high risk category, Fitch Ratings says a relatively lower Credit-to-GDP ratio partially justified rapid credit growth as credit penetration increased and where the need for infrastructure investment was greater. Rising banking system leverage in Asia-Pacific is increasing rating pressure for banks in the more..

Boston Lanka News: January 31, 2013

Drive to monitor beauty parlours runs out of steam?

Feb 1 (Island) The Cosmetic Devices and Drug Authority (CDDA) said that inspection of beauty parlors was still underway. Chief of the CDDA, Dr. Hemantha Benaragama said that the programme had been initiated in 2011 to monitor the quality of products being sold in the country. He said that the allergic reaction to a chemical application and the subsequent death of a school teacher at a beauty parlour in Negombo had prompted the Health Ministry to initiate the project. more..

'Islam rejects extremism'

Feb 1 (DN) Muslims should never give into extremism. There is no extremism in Islam. The Holy Quran tells us to follow the middle path which is described as Ummathaun Wasathan, the followers of the middle path, said Member of Parliament Council MP Alhaj A H M Azwer. He was participating as chief guest at the Sama Sri Award Ceremony conducted by the United Organization of all Communities at Tower Hall recently. Foundation President Samasiri Mallawarachchi presided. more..

SL’s January inflation at near record high

Feb 1 (Reuters) Sri Lanka’s year-on-year inflation rate in January accelerated to a near record high due to a spike in vegetable prices after floods but the central bank said inflation would start to ease after March, govt data showed. Annual inflation in January hit 9.8%, its highest since January 2009 when it hit a record high of 10.4% year-on-year under a new index. It gained from 9.2% in December, data released by the more..

Unexpected shock for two CEB workers

Feb 1 (Island) Two Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) maintenance workers, attached to its Ingiriya CEB depot, were injured yesterday morning, when they were about to begin repairing power lines at Polgas Junction, Arakawila. They had gone there thinking that the power was disconnected as they were sent by their senior officers. The victims had gone there with some colleagues around 9.50 a.m. He said that the victims had been admitted to the Ingiriya and Horana hospitals and one of them in more..

Schoolgirl dies running marathon

Feb 1 (Island) An 18-year-old schoolgirl collapsed and died, near the Chilaw town yesterday morning, while taking part in a school marathon. R.D. Kaushalya, a resident of Kanukatiya, Illippadeniya and student of Ananda National School, Chilaw had been participating in the race ahead of the annual inter-house sports meet, when she collapsed, SSP Prishantha Jayakody said. He said that the A/L Arts stream student had died before admission to the Chilaw District hospital. more..

Pavithra denies Power Ministry plum a reward

Feb 1 (Island) Newly appointed Power and Energy Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi yesterday denied the Opposition’s allegation that she had been rewarded with a top ministerial portfolio for her role in the high-profile campaign to impeach Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. Addressing the media, Wanniarachchi said the impeachment process hadn’t influenced the reshuffle of portfolios in any way. more..

BTI bacteria aerial spraying in Colombo by March 15

Feb 1 (DN) Aerial spraying of BTI bacteria will take place in Colombo by March 15 if the relevant paper gets Cabinet approval. The Cabinet paper is to be presented by Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena shortly. Minister Sirisena held a special discussion with Cuban Ambassador Indira Lopez recently in connection with importing of BTI bacteria from Cuba. Last year, over 56% of Dangue patients were reported from the Colombo district and especially from Colombo city limits. more..

Luxury beggar earns Rs. One lakh a month

Feb 1 (DM) A woman engaged in begging and said to have earned over 100,000 rupees a month was arrested when she was begging on a train bound to Colombo from Negombo. While questioning the 62-year-old woman it was revealed that she earned over 3,000 rupees a day by convincing passengers and commuters to part with their money. At the time of arrest she had around 1800 rupees in her possession, which according to an official, was earned after an hour of begging. more..

Best performers at 2012 GCE A/L

Feb 1 (Island) The Rajapaksa Central College, Weeraketiya and Devi Balika Vidyalaya Colombo have produced the best performers at the GCE (A/L) exam 2012. R.S.P. Kasun and Rusiru Rangika of Rajapaksa Central College topped the results in the Bio Science and Mathematics streams respectively. Upeksha Sewwandi, Seshani Gunathilake and Samali Liyanage of Devi Balika Vidyalaya Colombo had topped the Arts, more..

Mervyn’s secy. to make confidential statement

Feb 1 (DM) Minister Mervyn Silva’s Parliamentary Affairs Secretary had made a request from court to make a confidential statement in camera before the Mahara Chief Magistrate over the recent killing of Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha member Hasitha Madawala. Mahara Magistrate allowed the request made by Parliament Affairs Secretary Sarath Kumara Edirisinghe and the fifth suspect Saman Nishaman to make the confession in camera considering the request made by more..

Sri Lankan refugee to unite with relatives after 25 years

Feb 1 (TOI) It was a dream comes true for RonatVeniReeta, a 30-year-old Sri Lankan refugee and a mother of three children, when she learnt that her relatives are still alive in Sri Lanka. It has been 25 years since Reeta, an inmate of Vembakottai in Virudhunagar district, came to India with her parents father and mother. Life is full of misery for Reeta. Within a couple of years after reaching Tamil Nadu in 1988, she lost her mother Mary and was living with her father Susai who also expired more..

Tamil Sun Sea migrant faces deportation in 2 weeks

Feb 1 (CBC) The case of a Tamil migrant whose refugee claim was denied reveals a key problem with Canada's new refugee law, his lawyer says. The migrant, who can't be named for fear of reprisals against his young family in Sri Lanka, is now blocked from two key avenues of appeal. At the Toronto construction site where he worked until recently, the migrant (who we'll call John), described how he's been affected more..

Differently-abled girl creates history at A’Levels

Feb 1 (DM) For the first time in Sri Lanka a girl whose arms and legs do not work due to a weak nerve condition, has passed the GCE A/L Exam with flying colours by giving oral answers at the 2012 A/L exam. U.G. Thilini Nimesha a student of the Ambanpitiya School for Children with Special Needs in Kegalle had made her parents proud by passing the A/L exam with flying colours. She had obtained two A passes, one B pass and a C pass in the Arts stream. She had got through her O/L exam more..

SriLankan Airlines progressing well to fly with oneworld by year-end: Chairman

Feb 1 (FT) SriLankan Airlines said it was progressing well in its preparations to officially join the global aviation industry’s leading grouping oneworld alliance. “We are making very good progress with a capable team leading the initiative,” the carrier’s Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe said on the sidelines of a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur heralding Malaysian Airlines’ official entry into the oneworld alliance. “We are targeting to complete the requirements and preparations by October. more..

Colombo Outer Circular Highway given to Chinese company

Feb 1 (FT) The first Cabinet meeting since the reshuffle appeared to be a lowbrow affair, with approval given only for two large-scale infrastructure projects. The Outer Circular Highway Project consisting of a loan of Rs. 66.7 billion was awarded to a Chinese company named Metallurgical Corporation. The company, which is listed on both the Shanghai and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges, is also engaged in copper and nickel mining more..

Pakistan - Sri Lanka organizing a joint seminar

Feb 1 (AT) Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa will deliver a keynote address at a joint seminar on “Political and Diplomatic Challenges Faced by Nations During and After Conflicts Confined to Borders.” The Joint Seminar is expected to be organized by the High Commission of Pakistan in collaboration with the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies on the 11th of February at the more..

'Sri Lanka ban on maids abroad excludes Lebanon'

Feb 1 (DS) Sri Lanka’s plan to ban women travelling abroad to work in menial jobs excludes Lebanon, a Sri Lankan govt minister said Thursday in Beirut, as the two countries draft an agreement over the issue. “[There is] no ban on the travel of domestic workers and Sri Lankan labor to Lebanon, on the contrary we are working to better the conditions of their experiences here and raise the age of those with the right to travel from 21 to 23,” Sri Lankan Minister Dylan Pereira told reporters. more..

Navi wants to send more rapporteurs

Feb 1 (DM) United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay has sought to dispatch ten special rapporteurs to Sri Lanka to assess the implementation of the recommendations by the LLRC, the Daily Mirror learns. This is in addition to last year’s visit of three officials from the High Commissioner’s office to Sri Lanka. Hanny Megally and Oscar Solera are the two officials who came to Sri Lanka in September last year. more..

Britain undecided on Commonwealth

Feb 1 (HN) British Foreign Secretary and Commonwealth Affairs Minister Alistair Burt says that the British Govt has so far not taken a decision with regard to participating in the Commonwealth Summit. The British Foreign Secretary and Commonwealth Affairs Minister said that discussion had been held on the subject with top representatives of the Sri Lankan Govt. The British Foreign Secretary and Commonwealth Affairs Minister toured the North today. more..

'Special plan to eradicate drug addiction this year'

Feb 1 (FT) Minister Basil Rajapaksa says the Police Department has a great responsibility ahead since a special plan has been drawn up to eradicate drug addiction in Sri Lanka before the end of the year. According to him, the President is currently focusing on giving the department a new vision. Minister said this when he attended the opening of the new police station complex, Kochchikade, as the Chief Guest. The fully-equipped police station complex has been established on the lines of the Japanese more..

Australian intelligence links govt. official close to President Rajapaksa to smugglers

Feb 1 (TA) A senior Sri Lankan govt official is suspected by Australian authorities of being personally "complicit" in the people-smuggling trade, directly undermining Canberra's attempts to stop the surge in asylum-seeker boats. The Australian can reveal that Australia's intelligence agencies have identified the official, who has a high profile and is known to be close to President Rajapaksa. The agencies believe he is more..

Freedom from selfishness and greed

Feb 1 (DM) As February dawns, the focus is on the 65th Independence Day which will be celebrated with the usual pomp and pageantry on February 4 in the strategic Eastern Port City of Trincomalee. However the Anglican Church has called on its members to commemorate February 4 as a day of lamentation for the breakdown of the rule of law and the end of constitutional democracy in the aftermath of the illegal and unconstitutional impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. more..

Sri Lankan Mother Courage

Feb 1 (DM) If anyone asked Kumbhakarna to name one contemporary Sri Lankan woman who qualifies to be called ‘great,’ he would unhesitatingly name the mother of Rizana Nafeek who was recently executed in Saudi Arabia for a crime she did not commit. Why does this destitute, problem-ridden, utterly undistinguished woman from a very remote, backward part of the country deserve to be called that? Well, she had the incredible moral courage to turn down the compensation money more..

The unknown Rizanas

Feb 1 (SL) Sri Lanka expressed outrage at the tragic death of young Rizana Nafeek. Her story was highlighted as if it were uniquely unjust. Yet the truth is that there are many Rizana Nafeeks out there – young men and women who go overseas in the hope of a better future, only to find themselves trapped in a nightmare and unable to return. These people get little publicity, but they languish in prisons and embassies, longing more..

Hygiene comes last at eateries islandwide

Feb 1 (ST) Polluted water, contaminated food and a general lack of hygiene are nationwide issues. Food handlers in general are indifferent to the wellbeing of consumers – and even themselves. In Kandy, poor food hygiene continues to be a problem, although health inspectors periodically inspect eateries, said former Kandy Mayor and Opposition Municipal Council member, Kesara Senanayake. “We conduct one raid more..