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IUSF Convener remanded till Nov. 12

Oct 31 (SL) The Fort Magistrate ordered that Convener of the Inter University Students Federation, Udul Premaratne be remanded till November 12. Acting IUSF Convener, Sanjeewa Bandara told the media that the Federation could not be intimidated by Premaratne’s arrest. Bandara says that the IUSF was expecting Premaratne’s arrest by the government as a way to disrupt the protest campaigns launched by the IUSF. more..

NTUC threatens to join student protests

Oct 31 (SL) The National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) while condemning the arrest of Inter University Student Federation (IUSF) Convener, Udul Premaratne warned that the trade unions would join the students in their campaign. NTUC President and JVP politburo member, K.D. Lalkantha said that if the government continued in its suppressive actions against the university students, the working masses would be compelled to join with the university students to help win their demands. more..

Australia v Sri Lanka, one-off T20: A warm-up for bigger things

Oct 31 (CI) Sri Lanka's limited-overs team is peering towards the World Cup and Australia's players are trying not to think about the Ashes starting next month. A Twenty20 and three one-dayers have been squeezed in to shine some light on the start of the Australian cricket season, but both outfits are concerned more about the bigger challenges on the horizon. more..

Danno danithi! (Those who know, know!)

Oct 31 (SHN) Foreign commentators on the internal affairs of other countries often seem to forget – or deliberately choose to ignore – the cardinal principle of decent journalism which is that, whilst comment is free, facts are sacred. It is easy to identify a number of causes of this curious behaviour. The writers may not be entirely free agents. If they value their jobs, then, on the principle that he who pays the piper calls the tune, they may have no option but to more..

The echo of Neanderthals on the streets of Colombo

Oct 31 (LG) Around 400,000 years ago, some human looking animal whose muscular strength nowhere near other predators like lions and tigers asked a very important question that the other animals didn’t dare to ask often. “Is there a better way?” – a better way to hunt without having to struggle with the prey like Lions and Tigers. Neural networks that started to throw spikes at each other kept on assigning affordances to things he saw around him. more..

'Army’s role towards community in Jaffna commendable'

Oct 31 (IL) “It is a great pleasure to receive a donation from the Security Forces Headquarters-Jaffna (SF-J) and we thank the Security Forces Commander and his staff for their commitment to uplift the medical standard of the peninsula”, said Dr. A. Ketheeswaran, Regional Director Health Services Jaffna receiving a donation of 36 medical beds Friday at Civil Affairs and Public Relations Office of the SF-J. more..

Handcuffs for sit-ins: Govt’s panacea for unruly university undergrads

Oct 31 (LG) In 1975, my alma mater, Holy Family Convent in Jaffna had the most number of students qualifying to study A/L’s in the science stream in its history. Ergo two excellent chemistry and physics teachers from my brother school St Patrick’s College, the late Mr Sam Alfred and Mr Gnanapragasam, offered to teach us these subjects free of charge. But the nuns decided we should pay a monthly fee of Rs20.00 apart from the facilities fees towards their tutoring. more..

Snowballing of university crisis has taken its toll

Oct 31 (LG) The university system is in crisis again but it is not a new phenomenon by any means. The current crisis is generated through a series of events occurred concurrently over the last couple of months. It peaked with the horrific physical attack on the Vice-Chancellor of the Ruhuna University Professor Susirith Mendis by some students. This is no mean offence by any human standard and it should be condemed unreservedly not only because he is a distinguished more..

Decay & Deadlock in our universities

Oct 31 (LG) Name a country that has developed successfully without first rate universities, or at least one? Not a single! Sri Lanka has, man-for-man, a world class military, but it once had world class schools and universities, which is no longer the case. If we are to be strong, defeat our enemies and compete with our rivals, we need our first rate military to be supplemented with a first rate education system producing globally competitive more..

Parallel Governments ( Part Four )

Oct 31 (LG) Nordstrom (2004) describes the ground zero of the (shifting and fluid) front-line intersections of war and invisible economies that ultimately extend worldwide … at the highest levels of power, they may control national concessions, transport the goods, and oversee the profits. This might be called corruption if it stopped at the national level, but these systems of profit are international. In the shadows, beyond public scrutiny, more..

Bharathi Dasan arrest, political action?

Oct 31 (LG) Not satisfied with having Sarath Fonseka and a huge number of Tamil political prisoners from the NE, the government has locked up Bharathi Dasan of the Democratic Peoples Front. The arrest of Bharathi Dasan at this juncture is clearly a political action of the government against Mano Ganesan’s political stand. Bharathi contested as a candidate from Mano Ganesan’s party, the DPF, in Nuwara Eliya district under UNF in the last parliamentary elections. more..

'I will to abolish caste structures if I am elected leader'

Oct 31 (LG) Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne! Welcome to the Straight Talk forum of the Sri Lanka Guardian. You are one of the longstanding and a well-known politician in Sri Lanka. You are also a physicist and writer. Q: So let us start with some personal questions. You started your political carrier when you were a student at the University. You were kicked out of the University, because of your role in politics there. more..

Like Sarath Fonseka, Rizana Nafeek also needs justice

Oct 31 (LG) Paul Laurence Dunbar, an outstanding African American poet, wrote the above poem titled ‘Justice’ in 1898 following the lynching of Richard Coleman, a black man who allegedly killed his employer’s wife. It was a time in the United States when blacks enjoyed little human rights; without even a semblance of a fair trial, they were being lynched and burnt to death in mob violence. more..

Sarath Fonseka is not a special case but just another convicted prisoner

Oct 31 (TC) A politician has said that the government has ignored the request for an exercise machine made by Sarath Fonseka. This news item appeared on 20.10.2010 in The Island. He may be considered a special case by the politicians. But the Prisons Department would consider him just another convicted prisoner. Prior to 1957, there were two categories of convicted prisoners, the star class and the normal prisoner. Star class prisoners had separate clothing, more..

'Mahinda Chinthanaya has moved to Mahinda Hinsanaya and Mahinda Vindanaya'

Oct 31 (TC) Reputed Economist and UNP Member of Parliament Dr. Harsha de Silva, while talking about the crony capitalism in the country, warns that the situation is only going to get worse within the new set up, where economic management has been completely concentrated among a very few people. Dr. de Silva, who is known for voicing his opposition to the economic policies of the Rajapaksa regime, more..

Editorial : JVP shows its true colours

Oct 31 (SO) Leaders of the JVP insinuated a few months ago that they would launch several campaigns to make their presence felt. True to their word, today, thousands of innocent undergraduates and the entire country are witnessing the stark reality of what the JVP predicted. As spotlighted in our editorial last week, the masses still recall how the JVP exploited innocent students and undergraduates in 1971 and 1988/89 to achieve their extremist political agendas. more..

Editorial : Saner counsel needed in varsity issue

Oct 31 (NS) In recent weeks, there has been a plethora of incidents involving our halls of higher learning. Campuses throughout the country are in a frenzied state, there are student protests by the dozen, more undergraduates are being detained and vice-chancellors are taken hostage and some are even assaulted. Clearly, all is not well with our universities. The government accuses Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) of fomenting the unrest. more..

The last Sinhalese to run a business in Jaffna is back

Oct 31 (TC) Anula Meier Radalage has the distinction of having been the last Sinhalese to run a business in Jaffna before the conflict with the LTTE ended in May 2009. Her guest book lists special envoys Erik Solheim and Yasushi Akashi, many ambassadors, heads of missions and other VIPs who had stayed at her place- Anouk Swiss Chalet. In the Sunday Times of July 20, 2003, I wrote of my first trip in late May 2003 to Jaffna, when I stayed at her guest house in Urelu. more..

Why is there no elected council for the Northern Province?

Oct 31 (TC) TNA has reminded the country a long forgotten matter that is highly important in respect of the ethnic problem and national reconciliation. The TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah who is also the General Secretary of ITAK known as the Federal Party has complained to the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the two Bills relating to the local authorities cannot become law since they had not been referred to the Northern Provincial Council, an almost forgotten entity. more..

Rifana Nafeek case is a wake-up call for Sri Lankan Govt

Oct 31 (TC) TNA has reminded the country a long forgotten matter that is highly important in respect of the ethnic problem and national reconciliation. The TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah who is also the General Secretary of ITAK known as the Federal Party has complained to the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the two Bills relating to the local authorities cannot become law since they had not been referred to the Northern Provincial Council, an almost forgotten entity. more..

Not a single well-known Tamil in audience for Colombo lecture by Prof.G.L.Peiris

Oct 31 (TC) There’s a marked similarity in the mellifluous flow of words of American President Barack Obama and our own Prof. G. L. Peiris. Their oratory serves as a wonderful wrapping paper to cover the cracks beneath. In the case of Obama the cracks are his own creations but with our ‘professori’ the cracks are the makings of: you know who. On Tuesday in an ornate room of the old Colombo Club, the Professor delivered the more..

Internal fight among Noraichchoalai Chinese workers leaves one injured

Oct 31 (TN) One Chinese worker sustained serious injuries following a clash between groups of Chinese workers deployed by Chinese sub contractors in constructing the Noraichcholai Thermal Power Plant in Kalpity, sources in Trincomalee said. Five Chinese sub-contractors have undertaken the construction of the thermal power plant and have employed their own staff of Chinese workers. One Chinese sub-contractor had failed to pay his workers salary for eleven months. more..

Sri Lanka depositors took path that increased losses: legal expert

Oct 31 (LBO) Investors in Sri Lanka's failed high-yield financial firms have lost more money than they should have by delaying liquidation and pressuring someone else to put additional cash to cover their losses, a legal expert has said. Neomal Gunewardene, partner of Nithya Partners, a law firm, said depositors in failed financial firms have acted on some fundamental assumptions which turned out to be wrong. more..

Former LTTE cadre plays lead role in 'Selvam'

Oct 31 (NF) After 30 years of brutal war, the people living in Jaffna have been given an opportunity to enjoy a novel experience with the commencement of the shooting of movie 'Selvam'. Shanthalingam Kogulraj, the main character in the movie, was once a member of the LTTE, who has now been rehabilitated. “I joined this venture with a lot of happiness because the theme of this story revolves around two communities coming together. more..

Editorial : A mess up

Oct 31 (SL) During the war, President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed Lt. General Sarath Fonseka to ruthlessly put down the LTTE and take control of the north and east. In the process, many say that he ignored real Tamil grievances and simply pushed ahead with profitable business in his newfound domain. Now, post-war, the headlines are dominated by clashes over education — in Sri Jayewardenepura, Rajarata, Ruhuna, and Kelaniya. more..

Editorial : One issue and non-issues

Oct 31 (LB) Before the usual culprits get their predictable ideas into their heads, here is a clear caveat offered at the outset of this comment to the effect that torture in police stations has nothing to do with the so-called ethnic issue, the LTTE, or national post-war reconciliation and peace. Torture in police stations, or torture in general by the police, is just that — it is the inhuman and degrading treatment of persons by so-called officers of the law, more..

New technology to help rescue fishermen

Oct 31 (SO) The Hi-tech Vessels Monitoring and Navigation system operated by GPS and satellite technology will be introduced by the Fisheries Ministry shortly to monitor poaching and help rescue fishermen in danger in international waters. This technology to be bought from a foreign body will also have the capacity to monitor fishing vessels in lucrative fishing zones on a daily basis, Minister Rajitha Senaratne told the Sunday Observer more..

Editorial : Constructive criticism

Oct 31 (Island) UNP National List MP Harsha de Silva went on record last week rightly saying that constructive criticism is very much a part of the job of the opposition. He is absolutely right in this regard. In fact we might add that the opposition, certainly in parliament, is paid by the taxpayer to not only constructively criticize but expose the acts of omission and commission of the government and keep it on its toes. more..

Driving for reforms

Oct 31 (NS) As the government prepares in earnest for the commencement of the second term of office of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a few weeks, the UNP appears to be intent on self-destruction, with its crisis nowhere near resolution despite months of much publicised discussion and debate. Officially, the party’s disputes do not seem to exist. The party hierarchy maintains that reforms, aimed at revamping the party, have received the approval of its working committee and more..

Rush for Union Place units even before BOI agreement

Oct 31 (Island) Word leaked out almost three weeks ago that the John Keells group was planning to launch its third residential apartment complex at Union Place, Colombo 2 following the success of two other projects on the grounds of the Cinnamon Grand Hotel. "There was a clamor of interest and people came round and put their names down," a senior JKH executive said yesterday. "The pricing is very attractive." more..

Prison reforms to see the light of day

Oct 31 (SO) Health facilities in prisons will be improved soon, said Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera. It is vital to improve health facilities in prisons under the proposed prison reforms. The prisons Department was set up in 1844. Prison reforms were never implemented despite the recommendations by four Prison Commissions, he said. The Minister said that he had called upon the Health Minister to appoint a high-powered committee of more..

UNP’s internal conflict persists as Karu takes off on ‘Grama Charika’

Oct 31 (NS) UNP’s leadership aspirant Sajith Premadasa intensified his onslaught on the party hierarchy last week, firing a barrage of accusations and opening up a new battlefront when the crucial party convention was only a few weeks away. Although changes are on the cards, the rebel group and Premadasa were harbouring some doubts as to whether the convention would take place as scheduled. The rebel group discussed at length the possible options available for more..

Govt 'not acquiring' Tamils' land

Oct 31 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government has no plans to acquire land owned by the Tamil people in Vanni, a junior minister has said. Minister Vinayagamurthy Muralitharan (Karuna Amman) also denied reports that the government has seized Tamils’ land especially in Puthukudiiruppu and Murukandy areas. The deputy minister for resettlement made the remarks at a meeting held in Mullaitivu more..

Cultivation loans for villagers in Unnichchai

Oct 31 (LB) Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal handed over cultivation loans to farmers, milk cattle to female-headed families, school bags and school books to children and sports goods at Unnichhachi, in Batticaloa District, yesterday. Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank together initiated a Sarvodaya project to repair houses for resettled IDPs in Unnichchai. Unnichchai is a very remote underdeveloped village which was once an LTTE camp run by more..

Sri Lanka keen on UDRS for West Indies series

Oct 31 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket is keen on using the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) for this month's series against West Indies. SLC Interim Committee secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said the board was working closely with the ICC and Ten Sports, who have the television and broadcasting rights, to make the necessary equipment available for the series. According to the ICC's regulations, the decision to use the UDRS for a series lies with the hosts but more..

Hope for Manju

Oct 31 (NS) Head of the Sports Ministry Medical Unit Dr Geethanjana Mendis is confident that disgraced Commonwealth Games boxing gold medallist Manju Wanniarachchi can be proved innocent and that he would be able to retain his medal he won beating Welshman Sean McGoldrick in the bantam weight final at New Delhi. Dr. Mendis told The Nation that his medical team could prove Wanniarachchi is innocent despite the boxer been tested positive for the drug. more..

Student politics in Unis: Whodunnit? JVP or government?

Oct 31 (LB) A day before he was arrested by the police, Udul Premaratne, convener of the IUSF told this newspaper that the government suppression of student activists had reached its zenith and that Rajarata University looked like a war zone after the police occupied university buildings. Police were deployed in Rajarata University after student activists of the student union affiliated to Udul Premaratne’s IUSF assaulted five female students who more..

No mobile phones allowed at Korean language exam

Oct 31 (Island) A large number of candidates who yesterday presented themselves for the Korean language examination conducted at 13 leading Colombo schools were not permitted to carry mobile phones into the examination halls. There was a strong police presence at the examination centres where officials of the Department of Examination supervised the answering of question papers, a spokesman for the Sri Lanka Bureau for Foreign Employment (SLBFE) said. more..

Sri Lankan Muslims urged to pray for Rizana

Oct 31 (AN) Muslims in Sri Lanka have been asked to conduct special prayers in mosques seeking Allah’s mercy to rescue Rizana Nafeek, who has been sentenced to death, from the hands of the executioner. “We have requested the 1.5 million Muslims spread throughout the country to conduct special prayers to save Nafeek from the gallows,” Alavi Moulana, governor of the island’s western province, told Arab News from Colombo Saturday. “ more..

SL rep to Saudis: Extend visa over-stayers’ amnesty to illegal workers

Oct 31 (ST) The Sri Lankan missions in Saudi Arabia have appealed to the local authorities to extend the amnesty granted to visa over-stayers to illegal workers as well, a senior diplomat said. Lanka’s head of mission in the port city of Jeddah, Sabaraullah Khan said that some 1,000 Sri Lankan illegal workers had already registered for a passage back home. He was optimistic of a favourable response from the Saudi Government in this regard, more..

Editorial : Foreign universities: Higher degree of thinking

Oct 31 (ST) The rumpus in the campus is hot news these days; though one might ask what's new insofar as Sri Lanka's Universities go. It is a well-known fact that obtaining a degree from a local University would normally take one to three years longer than it ought to. That is because of continuing student un-rest and campus closures, often caused by the 'tyranny of the minority'. The protests are sometimes justified, sometimes not, sometimes in-between. more..

'Make Grama Charika a journey of reconciliation'

Oct 31 (Island) The UNP’s Grama Charika program began at Horana yesterday under the leadership of Mr. Karu Jayasuriya with party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe due to be present today (Sunday). Jayasuriya and fellow activists stayed on Saturday night at the homes of party supporters with the deputy leader saying that they must get over their present disunity and forge ahead to victory. more..

Army shedding weight, proves critics wrong

Oct 31 (NS) Despite various accusations against the government of attempting to increase the military strength, the Army is to restrict its recruitment as they are now mainly engaged in development activities with military operations coming to an end, a highly-placed military source said. He said that the army already had a strength of 203,000 personnel and therefore, recruitments would only be made for crucial posts falling vacant due to more..

JVP challenges SB for debate

Oct 31 (NS) The JVP yesterday challenged Higher Education Minister S B Dissanayaka for an open debate on the present crisis in the university system and the alleged suppression of student movements. DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake told The Nation that though the government is pointing a finger at the JVP for intimidating students, the real situation is that the mounting terror on student unions by the government has more..

'Viagra mafia' stangalehold on drugs

Oct 31 (LB) The Health Ministry reveals a drug mafia operating in the country, and that counterfeit drugs produced in neighboring countries are being smuggled in, with connivance of Customs officers. “Lives of patients were at risk while those involved were minting millions” a source close to the Health ministry said. Mafioso style businessmen travel to neighboring India, Pakistan, Bangladesh for example, and more..

For the first time in 30 years: Jaffna varsity accords rousing welcome for Southern students

Oct 31 (SO) 72 students from the South who gained admission to the University of Jaffna were given a rousing welcome and not ragged by the senior students of the university. Senior Co-ordinator of Civil Affairs in Jaffna, Major Lal Nanayakkara said that the University of Jaffna has an unblemished history with regard to its functions. Even during the height of the turbulent days in the North, the activities of the University of Jaffna continued uninterrupted. more..

Billboards to come under Defence Ministry

Oct 31 (ST) Those who wish to put up billboards or cut-outs in public spaces in the city of Colombo will have to get approval from the Ministry of Defence. “Billboards have been mismanaged, and the Defence Ministry has therefore decided to monitor the placing of billboards and cutouts in the city,” said Media Centre for National Security Director-General, Lakshman Hulugalle. Billboards have been mismanaged because the CMC has not been functioning, more..

JVP courts UNP over govt. crackdown on campus activists

Oct 31 (Island) Will the UNP and the JVP be forced to lend a hand to each other amidst mounting UPFA pressure ahead of the inauguration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second term on Nov. 19? Political sources say Friday’s meeting between the Inter University Students Federation affiliated to the JVP and the UNP at Sirikotha points to a possible alliance in the making. more..

Mega sideshow rocks reality show finale

Oct 31 (ST) Police teams were rushed to the Sugathadasa indoor stadium late last night as pandemonium broke out at the end of the popular Megastar reality show conducted by Swarnavahini,TV station. Plastic bottles and other objects were thrown at the stage after the finalists were announced during the awards ceremony. Kurunegala district UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara who contested was awarded second place though three of the judges more..

Plans for MR show reign supreme

Oct 31 (ST) The UPFA has embarked on an elaborate programme to erase the remaining scars of the separatist war that ended last year and give Sri Lanka a 'new face'. Gone are most of the Military and Police checkpoints in the City of Colombo, an eyesore that belied normalcy. Those in the outer city and principal towns face closure in the coming days. Most troops who held assault rifles to ward off threats to national security will now engage in development projects. more..