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Democracy-Deficit and All that

Oct 12 (DM) No discourse on the course of democracy in contemporary Sri Lanka is complete without a reference to ‘democracy-deficit’. The discourse itself is healthy and inevitable but it seems to mean different things to different people, leaving the nation confused and contradicting the self, every now and again. It is not without reason. Like most Third World democracies, Sri Lanka has inherited a colonial model, acknowledged by the elite but unsuited to the national psyche. more..

Dengue challenge

Oct 12 (NS) “Every time the cold dark shadow of a goodbye falls by my window, I want to draw the curtains and hide under the bed until it goes away, Like I did back then whenever ammi said there is a gonibilla coming our way. ” This poem by a Sri Lankan blogger on the web describes our childhood fears that lingers into our adulthood fuelling new fears about the future. When fears become real in adulthood we cannot hide under the bed like more..

Resettled families in Vanni suffer without adequate transport

Oct 12 (TN) The resettled families in Vanni are facing great difficulty without adequate transport facilities as Sri Lanka government had not done anything to meet the transport facility needs of the people resettled in villages in Vanni located far apart. The Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) had abandoned its depots in Vanni for the last twenty years and the limited number of buses allocated to Vanni after the war is more..

Sinhalese displaced from Jaffna and Tamils displaced from the rest of the island

Oct 12 (LP) Lanka, irrespective whether it is Jaffna or Hambanthota is a multi-ethnic multi-religious country since times known. A minority Sinhalese community lived in Jaffna before the escalation of hostilities in 1980s. Famous stories say they ran the bakery business there. Several university dons, namely Sucharitha Gamlath and Sunil Ariyarathna taught in the Sinhala Department of Jaffna University before 1983. more..

'No relief on wheat flour'

Oct 12 (NF) Following the price increase of wheat flour, the demand for wheat flour products was decreased rapidly. The All Island Bakery Owners' Association pointed out that as a result, their industry was faced with a severe crisis. The President of the Association N. K Jayawardena pointed out that the sale of bread had dropped by around 10 pe rcent. “With the increase in the price of wheat flour, the bakery industry faces a serious threat. more..

Cost of Living and delusionary promises

Oct 12 (DM) Sri Lankans often tend to delude themselves that the promises made of airy visions of utopian bliss by politicians will be soon realized at least if not now then in the near future. This naïve acceptance enables politicians to make the most profound statements and promises with never a concern about their veracity. Today we hear many politicians claim that though there is poverty yet that poverty does not diminish the quality of life of the people. more..

Restoring Anuradhapura

Oct 12 (SL) Mahinda Rajapaksa will assume the title of President for a second time in Anuradhapura, site of the last great kingdom. At the same time, the first ship will be berthed in the Hambantota Port. In this way Mahinda restores the glory of the ancient kingdom. He both controls the territory and does great works. The one threatening General has been jailed. Thus begins the official Chootivamsa, a predictable story, for now. more..

'UNP will reform as a victorious party'

Oct 12 (SL) As the crisis in the UNP appeared to have a ceasefire in place and tumultuous events replaced the UNP in the news, the mediator in the crisis of the oldest political party in Sri Lanka, Kabir Hashim (UNP Kegalle) spoke exclusively to The Sunday Leader. Speaking before he leaves for an assignment for the United Nations in Afghanistan he was forthright about the need for change. more..

Church-run orphanage gives children hope

Oct 12 (UCAN) A Church-run orphanage provides children from all faiths arts with crafts training, as well as technical and vocational skills to prepare them for the challenges of the modern world. Ladani is the name of the orphanage which stands for LAma DAya NIvasaya, or home of love and care for children. Ladani’s first home was founded in 1985 in Katuneriya, about 60 kilometers north of Colombo, by Father Neville Coonghe. more..

Unity is strength? No more

Oct 12 (SL) Even following the imprisonment of former Army Commander and DNA Leader Sarath Fonseka, the UNP seems unable to cast aside its petty political differences to fight for democracy. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was displeased with the formation of the People’s Movement for Democracy by Fonseka’s wife Anoma Fonseka together with the JVP and members of civil society. Feeling left out of the campaign to secure Fonseka’s release, Wickremesinghe has expressed his displeasure at the move, more..

Hands off our snakes, for heaven’s sake!

Oct 12 (LB) The Sri Lanka Export Development Board’s partnership with German Pet Trade and Industry Association (ZZF) to set up reptile farms for the export of non venomous snakes to the European Union (EU) is a breach of national law and a precursor to an ecological catastrophe, warn environmentalists. The ZZF plans to become the middleman who would buy non venomous snakes from selected local suppliers and sell them in the European market. more..

Tiger who led attack on bia meets DEW

Oct 12 (NS) Prison Reforms Minister, DEW Gunasekara had recently met with the man who led the devastating LTTE attack on the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in July 2001. The Minister met Kennedy, when he had visited the rehabilitation centre in Omanthai, where the former hardcore LTTE cadres are being rehabilitated/awaiting trial on September 30. Gunasekara was the first government minister to visit the hardcore cadres who are being rehabilitated. more..

Editorial: Politics of Peace

Oct 12 (Island) China is breathing fire at the Nobel Committee (NC) for having awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, a dissident serving an eleven-year jail term for subversion. The NC says, in its citation, that Liu has been honoured 'for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China'. The issue has led to a diplomatic row as the NC has added insult to injury by severely criticising China's human rights record. more..

The enigmatic relationship of Anoma and Sarath Fonseka

Oct 12 (TC) The wives of some army officers might be forgiven for expressing surprise at the anguish Anoma Fonseka today shows over the government’s treatment of her husband, Sarath. They remember the former army commander to have been cavalier towards her and say there was a time Anoma wanted to live abroad as long as she could, just to be away from him. It was an open secret in the military that Sarath Fonseka liked women. more..

After SSC fiasco, scheduling a Test for Khettarama has its risks. . .

Oct 12 (Island) Tours have an unerring habit of levelling a team’s ability to adapt to conditions. Sri Lanka’s last tour of England, in 2006, is an example, Yahaluweni of how success can breed success. It also has as much to do with leadership as anything, and understanding the needs of the team. It was also a series which the now retired Muttiah Muralitharan helped level the series with eight wickets in England’s second innings on a more..

Editorial: Focus – From General to Children

Oct 12 (DM) The absence of war has shifted the public focus to hitherto neglected areas and creating a wholesome environment for younger generation has become one of the most hyped topics in the post-war era. Prominence has been given to crimes against children as the media debate on the measures to be taken to protect children from anti-social elements continues. It is this debate which got a further push on the world children’s day and also more..

Drugs authority warning on ‘illegal cosmetics’

Oct 12 (NS) The Cosmetic Devices and Drugs Regulatory Authority has warned the public of certain harmful unregulated Chinese cosmetics and devices that are circulating in the market. Officials urged consumers to carefully examine the product labels to avoid being harmed by them. Most of these products bear Chinese lettering which makes it difficult for consumers to identify the content of the product or even its expiry date. more..

Red labels on all houses early next year for the general census

Oct 12 (LP) The first census covering the whole country in over 30 years will be completed by the 3rd quart of the year 2011, Director General of Department of Census and Statistics Suranjana Vidyarathna stated. The Director General presented this view while in attendance of a media briefing, where she said that the mapping of the census will be done in the coming weeks, while the red labels for listing will be pasted on houses early next year. more..

Sri Lanka tourism industry should focus on niche

Oct 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tourism future lies in focusing on niche products and not in the mass market, given its small size and excess capacity in competing destinations, industry officials said. The country's target of attracting 2.5 million visitors and adding 25,000 rooms by 2016 might not be achievable nor desirable, they said. "Sri Lanka is a small country, densely populated, with lean infrastructure," said Malin Hapugoda, more..

Duminda Silva released

Oct 12 (DM) The case against UPFA MP Duminda Silva and Hansil Ishar for the alleged sexual abuse of an underage girl was withdrawn yesterday after the lawyer representing the victim, claimed that the case was causing ‘emotional distress’ to his client. High Court Judge Sunil Rajapakse acquitted and released MP Silva and Ishar from the charges and consequently finding that the two accused were innocent for the charges. more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka's future holds promise

Oct 12 (VoA) Sri Lanka's future holds promise. So said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake. In May 2009, the Sri Lankan government achieved a milestone few though possible, by defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, ending nearly 3 decades of conflict that had cost tens of thousands of lives. The end of Sri Lanka's conflict has brought impressive dividends, said Assistant Secretary Blake. more..

Sri Lanka e-alerts to warn banks of defaulters

Oct 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Credit Information Bureau (CRIB) is to launch an 'e-alert' service using mobile phones and email to warn banks of defaulters who have borrowed from more than one bank, an official said. The service using mobile phone short-message service and electronic mail will be launched by the end of October, CRIB general manager Gamini Karunaratne told, our sister news website. more..

150,000 of Sri Lanka’s population are blind

Oct 12 (LP) Close to 150,000 of the 20 million people in Sri Lanka suffer from blindness, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Health Dr. Palitha Maheepala stated, saying that 6,250 million of the 45 million people in the world are also blind. Dr. Maheepala stated as such at a workshop held today (11th) for journalists at the Health Education Bureau in accord with the World Sight Day to be held on the 14th of October. more..

Rupee must not be overvalued

Oct 12 (Islnd) The rupee is under pressure to appreciate and Central Bank intervention is preventing it from gaining too much against the dollar which could hurt exporters if left unchecked. Last month the dollar was trading around the Rs.111 range in the spot market, after trading as high as Rs. 120 last year, just before the IMF approved the US$ 2.6 billion standby facility. A strong rupee makes imports cheaper and less costly for more..

Garbage: Court tells police to double check

Oct 12 (DM) The police environmental unit was yesterday directed by a Colombo court to carry out a proper investigative procedure before taking legal action against those found dumping garbage on roadsides. Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne gave this direction when two cases on garbage dumping came up for hearing. Defence counsel Jayantha Dias Nanayakkara who appeared on behalf of Pathmanathan Wijeya said his client was arrested by the Kompanna Veediya police while more..

North crying out for more private investment

Oct 12 (IRIN) More private investment, especially in agriculture, is urgently needed in Sri Lanka’s former conflict zone in the north to lift the local population out of dependence, say experts. "Private investments are very important to wean away the people from over 25 years of dependence on relief and welfare handouts from the government, NGOs, donors, et al, and steer them towards self-sustenance,” more..

Peace dividend perks up economy

Oct 12 (IPS) The Taj Samudra, the flagship property here of Taj Hotels India, sits on what is arguably the best location in Sri Lanka’s capital. Overlooking the Indian Ocean, it is the only five-star hotel in this city from which guests can walk out straight into the largest sea-fronted green esplanade in the country. Yet up until recently, this and its elegant rooms failed to keep the Taj Samudra’s cash registers ringing. more..

Beach seines to trigger fish price drop

Oct 12 (DN) Fish prices are expected to go down with more people getting involved with beach seine (Ma-del) fisheries in the Northeast with the seas in the region being fully liberated for fishing activities by the Government. Fisheries Ministry officials said they expect the revival of beach seine fisheries in the Northeast to contribute considerably to national fish production starting January next year. more..

Sri Lanka poised to send more pilgrims this year

Oct 12 (AN) A senior official from the Sri Lanka Haj Committee visiting the Kingdom said Colombo would send more pilgrims this year after the country’s government reduced pilgrimage costs. “Each pilgrim in the island was charged more than Rs500,000 for the journey. Now the new Haj committee has reduced it to Rs325,000 so more pilgrims from the lower middle classes could participate in the pilgrimage,” more..

Sri Lanka set to import gas oil from UAE

Oct 12 (AB) Sri Lanka's Ceylon Petroleum Corp (Ceypetco) is expected to sign a deal to import 720,000 tonnes of gas oil for a year from a UAE-based firm, industry sources said on Monday. The UAE's Al Ain International Petroleum Derivatives Trader LLC gets its products from Russia, Egypt and Iran as they are cheaper than in parts of the Middle East, the sources said. A Russian producer would possibly supply Al Ain if the deal goes through, they added. more..

Canada aids in Thai arrest of Tamil migrants

Oct 12 (G&M) Thai authorities have arrested more than 150 Tamil migrants in an immigration sweep that Canada had a hidden hand in, according to one security expert. “You can say that Canada has pre-empted one of the vessels,” said Rohan Gunaratna, a Singapore-based security expert, asserting these migrants were likely destined for Canada aboard a smuggling ship. The ongoing Tamil boat crisis, he said, has prompted a host of countries “to launch a new strategy” more..

Sri Lanka leader to be guest at close of Commonwealth Games

Oct 12 (Guardian) Mahinda Rajapaksa, the controversial president of Sri Lanka, is set to be the guest of honour at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in India, on Thursday night. Diplomatic sources and protocol officials in Delhi today confirmed that Rajapaksa had accepted a "joint" invitation from the Indian government and the event organisers, and would be flying to India on Wednesday. more..

Funds for cancer, kidney patients

Oct 12 (DN) The Government will allocate money under a separate expenditure account in the Budget for treatment of cancer and kidney patients. The Health Ministry spends around Rs.9.1 million for one cancer patient. There are 20,000 cancer patients in the country. According to the spokesman Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena took this decision considering the requirement of additional funds to take care of cancer and kidney patients. more..

NCPA to cancel 60 child marriages

Oct 12 (DM) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) said yesterday it would cancel 60 underage marriages in the districts of Badulla and Polonnaruwa because the couples were below the age of 18. NCPA Chairman Anoma Dissanayake said they had received reports of 300 underage marriages but 240 of the couples had now reached the required age limit, and as such their marriages would be reregistered. more..

Farmers banned from burning hay

Oct 12 (Island) The government has imposed a ban on farmers burning hay after paddy harvests. They have been told to use the hay along with organic fertiliser. Those who defied the ban would lose their fertiliser subsidy, government sources said. The ban is aimed at reducing paddy farmers’ dependence on chemical fertilisers, the government says. Rs.15 billion has been spent on chemical fertiliser imports for this year’s Maha harvest alone. more..

Renewal of restaurant licenses: CMC lays down strict conditions

Oct 12 (Island) The Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council has laid down strict conditions for the renewal of licenses for hotels, restaurants and eateries in the city from next year. The Chief of the Public Health Department, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said that those conditions also applied to those seeking new licences in the food industry. Currently the food industry made between fifty and seventy percent profits – especially in the Colombo city. more..

External degree courses in universities suspended

Oct 12 (Island) All external degree courses, conducted by the University Grants Commission, at Sri Lankan Universities, are to be discontinued temporarily until further notice. A circular to this effect had been sent to all universities" said Deputy Director of Education W. M. Balasooriya. He said that according to that circular students should not be registered for external degree courses by universities. more..

PM plans to ordain 2600 boys next year

Oct 12 (Island) In his capacity as Minister of Buddhasasana, Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne has taken steps to ordain 2,600 boys next year because 2011 marks the 2600th anniversary of the Buddha’s attaining Enlightenment. Ven. Kodigamuwe Dhammadassi Nayake Thero, the Chief Advisor of Kurunegala District Dhamma Schools, told The Island that about 300 boys would be ordained from the Kurunegala District to mark that noble event. more..

Bus operators ready to move SC to obtain timetable

Oct 12 (Island) The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association plans to move the Supreme Court against the Government if the latter fails to provide timetables for the operation of private buses within one month. The Association has written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa seeking his intervention to grant its demand. The Transport Authority had defied a Supreme Court order to prepare time tables, more..

MR orders re-survey of state land

Oct 12 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday directed the Survey Department to re-survey all state land in the country. The President issued these directions to the development committee of the North-Western Province at the progress review meeting of the Province held yesterday in Madampe. The President's orders came as it was revealed that some state-owned land had been acquired by squatters. more..

Important decisions on Friday: UNP

Oct 12 (DM) The main opposition UNP said yesterday important decisions would be taken at Friday’s working committee meeting with party reforms having now reached the final stages. Galle district parliamentarian and UNP spokesman Gayantha Karunatilleke told a news conference among several important decisions would be the ‘Grama Charika’ programme designed to take the party’s message to grassroot levels. more..

'JVP campaigned to tarnish my image'

Oct 12 (DM) The Sunday Leader Editor Federica Jansz giving evidence in the white flag trial-at-bar yesterday said the JVP had carried out a campaign aimed at tarnishing her image claiming that Sarath Fonseka never made such a statement. Ms. Jansz told the trial-at-bar comprising Judges Deepali Wijesundera, W.M.P.B. Warawewa and M.Z. Razeen that Mr. Fonseka did not deny or withdraw what he said at his first interview but only clarified some of what he had said. more..

'Sri Lanka expecting bank margins to tighten'

Oct 12 (LBO) The efficiency in Sri Lanka's banking system can be improved with interest margin tightening at least 150 basis points over the next nine months to 5.0 percent with banks remaining profitable, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. Profits are needed to build capital to buffer deposits. "About a year ago the overall intermediation cost was as high as 10 percent, one of the highest in the world," more..

Tsunami Drill tomorrow

Oct 12 (DM) Sri Lanka will join several other countries and conduct a Tsunami drill tomorrow, Wednesday October 13, to mark the International Disaster Management Day. The drill would take place at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Director General of Disaster Management Centre Major General Gamini Hettiarachchi said. The drill would last for about one and a half hours. “The drill would be conducted in districts of more..

‘Sinhalese families cannot be resettled immediately’

Oct 12 (DM) Ninety-seven Sinhalese families that had been displaced from Jaffna during the war between the security forces and the LTTE and had gone to resettle in their original places last week are faced with a serious problem of proving their ownership to the properties they claim to be theirs. These Sinhalese families seeking residency in Jaffna do not have deeds or any other legal documents to establish that more..

'Release Sarath Fonseka before the masses come onto the streets'

Oct 12 (LT) The JVP leader Mr Somawansa Amarasinghe asked to release Sarath Fonseka before the masses come onto the streets. He made this statement at the end of protest march near the Welikada prison. The protest march organized by the Movement for Democracy started from Hyde Park yesterday. A large crowd including the leaders of political parties participated in this event. The 'black protest' was organized demanding more..

Kandy man Manju boxes for sweet success

Oct 12 (AFP) Manju Wanniarachchi may have already earned his place in Sri Lanka’s boxing hall of fame but is determined to carve his name in gold by winning the Commonwealth Games bantamweight final against Sean McGoldrick of Wales in New Delhi on Wednesday. “I’m confident of winning the gold medal and bring glory to the country,” said the 30-year-old pugilist who is on the threshold of creating history by becoming only the second Sri Lankan to capture a boxing gold medal at these Games. more..

UNP asks government to act quickly on Saudi job crisis

Oct 13 (ST) The UNP said today the government must take quick remedial action to avert the possible loss of thousands of jobs for Sri Lankans seeking to work in Saudi Arabia. “The government has so far been silent on this matter. It must tell the country what it's plans are to handle this situation,” UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayaka said. The crisis began after the Saudi Arabian National Recruitment Committee said the country should stop recruitments until more..

Sri Lankan president to meet Indian PM

Oct 13 (Xinhua) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later this week, Sri Lankan officials said here Tuesday. Rajapaksa will be traveling to the Indian capital New Delhi on Wednesday to be the Guest of Honour at the closing ceremony of the commonwealth games on Thursday. Officials from Sri Lanka's external affairs ministry said the Sri Lankan and Indian leaders would hold bilateral talks thereafter. more..

SC takes up FR petition filed against interim committee of SLC

Oct 13 (NF) The Supreme Court decided yesterday to take up the fundamental rights petition filed against the Interim Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket based on corruption charges. The petition was taken up before the Chief Justice Ashoka N. De Silva, and justices Saleem Marshoof and Chandra Ekanayake. The petition has been filed by Chairman of the United South Cricket Club, M. S. A. Mendis. more..