Friday, April 27, 2012

Sri Lanka government pays income tax of six state enterprises, says COPE chairman

Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara, the Chairman of Committee of  Public Enterprises (COPE) of Sri Lanka says that state has paid the income tax of the employees of six state firms since 1999.

The six enterprises are Ceylon Electricity Board, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Water Supply and Drainage Board, Bank of Ceylon and People's Bank.

The employees of these six firms withdraw bigger salaries according to Minister and their income tax is also born by the respective firms.

Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara pointed out that the accumulated total of income tax of the employees if these firms in 2010 was Rs. 2.3 billion which was born by state eventually.

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Sri Lanka government to celebrate the third anniversary of the war victory

Sri Lanka government is to celebrate the third anniversary of the war victory against Tamil rebels while the Tamils lament about the lack of democracy and opportunity in participation in decision making in politics.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will declare the national month of war heroes on April 30th.

The President is to wear the first war hero badge on that day at a function held in the President's residence Temple Trees.

The President will observe the parade for the commemoration of war heroes of victory on May 18th at 10 a.m. at the Galle Face Green.

The national war hero commemoration will be held on May 19th at 4 p.m. at the war hero memorial situated close to the parliamentary complex in Battaramulla.

Defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam so far failed to commemorate their slain leader Velupillai Prabakaran both locally and internationally since the outfit remains a banned entity in many foreign countries. 

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Sri Lanka and cluster bombs

Sri Lanka government is really in trouble with the latest allegation of the UN that the military has used cluster bombs in the war against Tamil rebels.

The UN revelation came to light amid allegations against Sri Lanka over serious violation of human rights and committing war crimes.

The report has received wide international coverage. Visit this Google page to see.

Two kids that played with an unexploded ordinance in Jaffna died concurrently and the government cannot now sweep it under the carpet.

Government linked Colombo Page posted this news.

Extensive investigations into the death of two children in an explosion in Northwest Sri Lanka

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress to leave the government?

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) secretary Hasan Ali says that the party supreme council will meet on April 28 to discuss the issue pertaining to a mosque in Dambulla town in the Central Province.

The party officials says that the SLMC is on a firm stand that the mosque needed to remain as it is and it is not contented about the government stand on the issue.

SLMC is to discuss the issue on Saturday and the party will decide if it will stay in the government coalition, sources say.

However, the party has still not come to a decision regarding the breaking away from the government coalition, the SLMC secretary says.

Prime Minister of Sri Lanka D.M> Jayarathna said last week that the mosque would be removed and reinstalled away from the town where an ancient Buddhist temple is situated.

An extremist mob led by a leading Buddhist monk last week occupied this mosque demanding its removal.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sri Lanka university teachers to strike tomorrow

Sri Lanka Federation of University Teachers' Associations (FUTA) says that the university academic staff will launch a token strike tomorrow, April 26.

The university teachers have also planned to march from Colombo University to Public Library and hold a protest seminar there.

FUTA Vice Chairman Ven. Dambara Amila Thero said that the union would start a continuous strike uless their demands granted.

FUTA demands considering university teachers as a special service, increasing expenses of the government for education upto 6% GDP. stopping allocating millions of rupees for students' leadership training which they call useless, stopping politicization of universities and suspending the reforms carried out without consulting all sections.

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Establishment after activist Udul Premarathna in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka government is again after Udul Premarathna, an activist who is continuously followed by the establishment.

However, Colombo Magistrate Court yesterday rejected an appeal by Borella police to issue a warrant to arrest Udul Premarathna, former convener of Inter University Strudents' Federation and presently an activist of the Frontline Socialist Party and the Movement for People's Struggles.

Police charged that Premarathna was behind organizing mob violence that took place in Wanathamulla area which is famous as a lumpen proletariat settlement few days ago.

However, the magistrate said that no warrant is needed to arrest the person if he had committed an offence and police could do it without a warrant.

The residents of T-20 colony of Wanathamulla took to streets to protest police against an overnight operation in which a number of residents of the area were arrested under suspicion for links to crime.

Udul Premarathna, attorney-at-law, complained to the Human Rights Commission regarding the military styled operation in which 33 persons were arrested. However, police claims only 25 persons were arrested.

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One hand of Sri Lanka state destroy the other hand

Sri Lanka Postal Department trade unions say that the officials of the Department and Ministry of Posts have not taken any action when a building of the department was demolished with equipment and furniture worth millions of rupees.

State owned Urban Development Authority (UDA) demolished the building of the Inland Parcel Division of the Postal Department on April 20. The Department removed their property before the demolition.

However, the Ministry of Posts failed to remove their equipment before the deadline given by the UDA.

UDA had informed the Ministry of Postal Services regarding the decision to demolish the building to get space for the Lotus Tower that is to be built there.

The equipment destroyed in demolition is reportedly worth of Rs. 10 million.

This is clear destruction of public property. However, the offender is UDA which comes under powerful Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sri Lanka Minister vows to go to India to protest poaching

Sri Lanka Minister Douglas Devananda warns India that he will protest actions of Indian fishermen right within Indian territory.

The former militant Minister who hails from Jaffna said he would take 5000 fishermen to India in a bid to protest against poaching by Indian fisherman in the Sri Lankan waters.

He says the aim of the protest is to give a message to India that the poaching by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters has affected the livelihood of the local fishing community.

Devananda says that nearly 1000 fishing boats will engage in the journey from Mannar and Jaffna to India for the protest which is scheduled to take place in mid May.

Sri Lankan fishermen of north face severe difficulties due to organized poaching conducted by Indian fishermen. There is long time dispute between Sri Lanka Navy and Indian fishermen.

Sri Lankan fishermen also cross the border and commit the same offence in this narrow sea. Before the territorial waters were demarcated, the fishermen of both countries engaged in the industry in this zone.

However, with technological advancement, the sea is over-exploited causing severe environmental issues.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Lasith Malinga: a traitor or a patriot?

Cricket is more a business than game nowadays. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) sources say that pace bowler Lasith Malinga has declined to sign the agreement with for the upcoming year.

Malinga's present agreement is to expire on May 31, 2012.

SLC sources say that Malinga has declined to sign the agreement since the payment granted him was insufficient.

Lasith Malinga who earns around one million US dollars per a season of IPL cricket is agreed to pay 100,000 US dollars for the upcoming year.

However, he can claim only 60% of it since he does not play test cricket.

One might say Malinga is no patriot. He refuses to play for the nation while playing IPL. Yet he brings foreign currency that Sri Lanka badly needs for economic survival. He is a service exporter.

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Sri Lanka government's desperate attempt to make Hambanthota something give further pain to people

A costly (day) dream
Sri Lanka government is in a desperate attempt to make Hambanthota Mahinda Rajapaksa port a useful venture.  Since no ships are coming there, the government has decided to divert vehicle transport ships there. 

Associated Motor Ways (AMW) company, the agents of a range of light vehicles including Japanese Suzuki and Indian Maruti, says that the price of the motor vehicles will further go up with the government decision to shift disembarkation of motor vehicles to Hambanthota since May 31.

A company spokesman said that car careers will be used to transport motor vehicles to Colombo for the distribution and one career can carry only six cars. If they have a showroom and workshop there, the price of a car will be Rs. 25,000 less there. 

Perhaps, some day the local vehicle business centre might move to Hambanthota. Now, its mostly in Colombo, Kurunegala and Kandy, I think. But god knows if people will like to travel all the way close to Down Under to see vehicles. Yet, David Peiris has already shifted Bajaj assembly plants to Hambanthota. 

You can't make Hambanthota everything. But it needs to be made something. Unless the massive public money spent on it will go berserk. 

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sri Lankan Buddhist extremists' acts catch media attention of Arab

Lankan expats condemn barring of Muslims from Jumma prayers

(Arab News)
Sri Lankan expatriates in the Kingdom yesterday condemned a protest at a mosque in the Sri Lankan city of Dambulla where worshippers were barred from performing their Jumma prayers.
A group of Buddhist monks with the support of a large group of hooligans had staged a mass demonstration there.
Syed Hamid, marketing executive in a food supplying company in Riyadh, told Arab News that although this is the work of a few misguided people from the majority community, he found the involvement of the Buddhist clergy really disturbing.
“This is definitely against the teachings of their widely respected spiritual leader Lord Buddha,” Hamid said, adding the inaction of law enforcement forces was also a disappointing factor.
Nihal Gamage, the former president of the Sri Lankan Expatriates Society who is a practicing Buddhist, told Arab News that this was an unfortunate incident engineered by a group of people with vested interests.
“As Sri Lankans we have to co-exist with other communities in the island. We have already proven this concept at the Kataragama sacred area where one can find mosques and Buddhist and Hindu temples in the same quarter,” Gamage added.
Gamage said the incident was the work of a few who should be brought to justice without any delay.
Mohammed Mackeen, who works in the medical profession, said that he was worried since his family was living in the same Dambulla district where the incident happened.
H.M. Rafeek, president of the Sri Lankan Expatriates Society in Jeddah, said all Sri Lankans believe in communal harmony
“We have just finished an ethnic conflict and the government has been trying to bring all communities under one umbrella for its progress and prosperity,” Rafeek said, adding those who have personal grievances should report them to the concerned authorities.
Another community member, Mohammed Hashim, said these incidents would strengthen the claims made by the Tamil diaspora at various levels.
“Dambulla may be an unknown town on the world map but not any more. The mosque attack in this sleepy town was widely publicized in all the international media. It is now the responsibility of the right thinking leaders of the majority community to act and act fast,” Hashim said.
“Sri Lankan Muslims who stood by their motherland with all their might to protest again at the US resolution in the UNHRC in Geneva are disappointed by the gratitude paid by some unruly elements,” community member Ahmed Lebber Mohammed Sabir said.
“The world community and especially the Arab and Muslim world are watching with all eyes open. The Sri Lanka government should not treat this lightly. This is the time for it to prove to the world how it safeguards minority rights,” said a Sri Lankan worker, who wished to remain anonymous.

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Kelanitissa power station of Sri Lanka remain switched off

Sri Lanka Ministry of Power and Energy sources say that several days will be needed to reinstate generation of the the Kelanitissa Power Station situated in Colombo.

The power station went inactive as a fire broke out early morning yesay. The fire was distinguished immediately.

A Ministry spokesman said that the fire occurred in main fuse board of the power station. The faulty fuse board has been sent to the supplier for repair, sources further say.

An investigation is underway regarding the fire, sources say.

Kelanitissa is a diesel powered station with capacity of 163 megawatts.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Buddhist extremists' attack against a mosque in Sri Lanka shatters harmony with Muslims

Sinhala Buddhist extremists in Dambulla, Sri Lanka reportedly have demolished Masjidul Khaira mosque which has been in Dambulla for over 50 years. However, no photo of the demolition was available in internet. 

Ada Derana website reported that the Divisional Secretary of Dambulla Lakshmi Senevirathna promised the mob led by Buddhist monks that was occupying the mosque that the mosque would be demolished on April 23 since it was an illegal construction, a fact challenged by other persons and organizations. She has reportedly prevented religious observances there. 

According to Daily Mirror, the All Ceylon Jammiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) sent an urgent letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to bring normalcy and restraint in the Dambulla area after the tense situation which arose following an incident involving a Mosque and prevention of Friday prayers.

Opposition United National Party (UNP) MP Kabir Hashim blamed the government for abetting the mob and said that the government had forgotten the Muslim leaders that rallied to support of the Middle East nations to vote against the resolution against the country at the UNHRC. 

Muslims are a small minority in the town which is claimed by Buddhists as a sacred area. The temple in the town has historical value and a booming tourism business. 

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Can Major General Daya Rathnayaka, the new President of Sri Lanka Athletics Association change athletics scenario?

Sri Lanka's athletics has deteriorated and the number of players qualified for London Olympics this year looks like to be only three. Like all the other sports, athletics also has politicized. The persons that take the helm of the sports today do al except sports. The country lacks vision in sports and not only sports. Failure in the part of sports means lot of things related to health, mentality, education etc. of a nation. Sports ail severely in outstations. Hope t the persons who have come forward to take the Sri Lanka Athletics Association (SLAA) will be able to make a change. 

Major General Daya Rathnayaka has elected to the post of President of SLAA yesterday without competition. He is a war veteran and has experience in rehabilitating former combatants of LTTE as well.

The nominations for the posts of the SLAA was accepted on April 19 under the patronage of Director General of Sports Ranjanee Jayakodi.

Fourteen persons contest for the six posts of Vice Presidents. Olympic medalist Susanthika Jayasinghe and renowned athlete Sugath Thilakarathna also contest to the posts.

A veteran former secretary of the SLAA Prema Pinnawela contests with former vice president Rear Admiral Shamal Fernando for the post of secretary.

Three persons contest for the post of treasurer of SLAA.

The election is scheduled to be held on May 03 in the auditorium of Sri Lanka Sports Institute.
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Who is the Sri Lankan actress to be arrested for attempting to smuggle drugs?

Sri Lanka police is to arrest a famous actress under suspicion of drug trafficking, Sri Lanka media reported quoting narcotic police sources but without disclosing the name. 

A gossip website reported the actress's name  and accordingly, she was one time the wife of a late king of Sinhala cinema. However, the woman has political links that touch the highest echelon. 

The suspected actress has received a bundle of magazines by post with hashish hidden inside them. The packets of drugs were hidden inside the subtly cut grooves inside the magazines.

Central Mail Exchange handed over a foreigner who came to collect the magazines to police. He told that the actress had sent him to collect the magazines with another person who escaped.

The magazines have been mailed from India to the name of the actress.

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Sri Lanka alerted of A1H1

Sri Lanka health sector is alerted on New Influenza (A1H1) with a death reported from Mahamodara hospital in Galle.

A patient who had not responded to ICU treatments given to pneumonia died in Mahamodara hospital yesterday. Health authorities suspect the patient sufered from A1H1.

However, the matter has not been confirmed and the investigations are underway, hospital sources say. A time of a week is expected to verify the cause of death of the patient.

Meanwhile, Kamala Jayasinghe, the Director of Medical Supply Unit, said that the Ministry of Health has sufficient stocks of medication needed in case of a sudden eruption of A1H1.

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Indian parliamentary group to meet Sri Lanka President tomorrow

The Indian parliamentary group that is visiting Sri Lanka now will meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the President's official residence Temple Trees tomorrow (20th) President's office sources say. They are to meet Sri Lankan President over breakfast.

The Indian parliamentary group led by Opposition Leader Sushma Swaraj comprises of 12 MPs and they are touring in Sri Lanka for six days.

They visited settlements of IDPs, development projects funded by India, met representatives of Tamil political parties and organizations and held talks during their stay.

The MPs have scheduled to hold talks with the Opposition Leader of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickramasinghe also.

They held talks with the Sri Lankan government Tuesday on the post-war development in the conflict-affected North. The delegation met with Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris and the Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa on 17th at the respective ministries.

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Lightning causes more deaths in Sri Lanka; read this to save you life

Three persons died yesterday evening in Sri Lanka's Southern Province due to lightning, police sources say.

The dead persons were two women who were plucking tea and a farmer ploughing the paddy field, police say. The deaths occurred in inland Akuressa area in Mathara district.

Sri Lanka Meteorological Department said that so far 15 persons have been killed in Sri Lanka due to lightning. Galle Municipal Council building also was damaged yesterday in lightning.

Death by lightning attack may be the way of death a Sri Lankan man dislikes mostly due to cultural reasons. "May lightning attack you!" is a worst kind of curse in Sinhala culture.

Here are some tips on protecting yourself and your property from lightning.

Protection From Lightning: Unplug Your Electronics The most reliable way to protect your home and belongings from lightning damage is to unplug everything in your home. Lightning can travel along power, phone, and cable lines for over a mile; the resulting power surge can wreak havoc on sensitive electronic equipment. Appliances, computers, home theaters, even phones could be ruined, or set on fire, from a lightning strike a mile away. Unplugging every device that is plugged into an outlet - including your cable line - will ensure that your electronic devices are safe. (Source)

When thunder roars, go indoors

- Once you see lightning or hear thunder, prepare to take shelter indoors and protect yourself immediately. Stay away from doors and windows

- Avoid being near isolated trees, masts, in the open or flagpoles, and do not touch any electric conductor or stand near tall objects.

- Avoid using telephones, computers, washing your hands or touching water pipes while in the house

- Postpone outdoor activities during the storm

- The long-term measure is to apply lightning arresters on each building. (Source)

How lightning kills someone

Lightning delivers a massive pulse of electricity. It can kill or injure a nearby person, either by striking her directly, causing gigantic currents to surge through the body, or by striking something connected to her, such as a pipe carrying water to her shower or a wire conducting electricity to an electrical appliance she is holding. She then completes the circuit to ground, and huge currents flow through her body. Lightning kills, primarily, by interrupting the heart's rhythm. The heart stops, or perhaps beats erratically, and breathing may cease. The heart can start up on its own, but breathing does not. If no one is there to help the victim, the lack of oxygen and possible nerve damage can cause the heart to stop, permanently. (Source)

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Sri Lanka's Southern Railway re-opens; trains from Solombo to Mathara

The renovated Southern railway of Sri Lanka will be commissioned by the Minister of Transport Kumar Welgama today (April 19), government sources say.

The visiting Indian parliamentary group led by Opposition Leader Sushma Swaraj and Indian High Commissioner will also take partAshok K. Kantha will also take part in the opening ceremony, sources say.

Minister of Transport Kumar Welgama will commission the Southern railway at 1.30 p.m. at Aluthgama railway station and the distinguished guests will travel from Kaluthara South to Aluthgama before that.
Southern railway was renovated under an Indian credit line.

Sri Lanka Railway says that trains will be operated from Colombo to Mathara after a lapse of nearly an year since April 19.

However, several trains ran on the new track from Colombo to Mathara and the other way for the benefit of the persons who went to villages for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Price of used vehicles gone down in Sri Lanka

Chairman of Sri Lanka Motor Vehicle Importers Association Yoga Perera says that the price of reconditioned vehicles will go down by around 20% with the latest relax of import restrictions by the government.

Sri Lanka government has decided to relax the restrictions imposed on the imports of used motor vehicles following a discussion between the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the vehicle importers yesterday.

Accordingly, the restriction for used commercial vehicles has been relaxed from 3 1/2 years to four years. The restriction for other vehicles has been relaxed from one year to two years.

The government increased production tax of the vehicles since March 31 and the price of small brand new cars went up by about 50%.

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Sri Lanka relaxes import restrictions on used motor vehicles

Sri Lanka government has decided to relax the restrictions imposed on the imports of used motor vehicles.

The President directed the officials to relax the restrictions following a discussion with the vehicle importers. The discussion was held in the Temple Trees yesterday.

Accordingly, the restriction for used commercial vehicles has been relaxed from 3 1/2 years to four years. That means that commercial vehicles used upto four years can be imported to Sri Lanka now.

The restriction for other vehicles has been relaxed from one year to two years.

The delegation of the vehicle importers' association was led by Yoga Perera. Deputy Minister of Finance Geethanjana Gunawardhana, secretary of the Ministry of Finance P.B. Jayasundara and a number of other state officials participated in the discussion.
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Sri Lanka needs to follow Nepal in earthquake sustainable building construction - National Building Research Organization

R.M.S. Bandara, the chief of the earth slips research section of the National Building Research Organization, says that time is ripe to Sri Lanka to study the building reinforcement methods followed by the other countries that were not considered as threatened with earthquakes.

He said that there were no programmes in Sri Lanka to reinforce buildings so as to bear the shockwaves of the earthquakes. Sri Lanka awoke for the threat only after the shocks of the recent earthquake was felt by many parts of the island.

He said Sri Lanka needs to consider the sustainability in earthquakes in building construction.

The official highlighted Nepal as an example. What Nepal does is worth to study. I found this piece from a paper that was available in internet. "For safe and affordable housing, less material and hence, less dead load and appropriate technology, should be the criteria. Pre-cast slabs, pre-stressed hollow core slabs for horizontal structural members and high strength R.C. columns and wall elements of light weight concrete blocks for vertical members, without loosing aesthetics of the building and of simple configuration may be the answer." (Sustainable Building Design and Construction in Nepal with reference to Urban Housing: Issues and Proposed Measures. - Manohar Rajbhandari, Nepal)

These sites may also contain some valuable information.
National Society for Earthquake Technology - Nepal 
Earthquake risk reduction and recovery preparedness programme for Nepal
Straw houses for poor countries : cheap and earthquake prepared

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Sri Lanka focus to Russia to increase numbers in tourist arrivals

Sri Lanka's embassy in Russia has compiled a tourist guide book in Russian language to promote Sri Lanka among the Russians as a tourist destination.

The tourist guide book contains the country profile, places to visit in Sri Lanka, information about accommodation facilities, available leisure activities and emergency numbers etc., Sri Lanka Tourist Authority sources say.

Sources further says that the embassy has also compiled two audio CD’s regarding 21 unique places in Sri Lanka, which the visitors can explore.

Sri Lanka promotes tourism among non-Western European nations as the country has politically failed to attract the high spending tourists of the developed Western nations.

The operators in the tourist industry lament that the tourists that come from lesser developed countries spend very little. They blame the government for chasing the number instead of quality of the tourist market.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sri Lanka's Upcountry Tamils beg a university established by India in Nuwaraeliya

Sri Lanka's Colombo Tamil party Democratic People's Front leader Mano Ganeshan says that the Sri Lankan Upcountry Tamils' will appeal a university established by India for them in hill country city Nuwaraeliya.

Ganeshan said that the they would use the permission given by the Ministry of Higher Education of Sri Lanka to establish private universities to make this request.

He further said that the Upcountry Tamils will also demand another hospital set up by India in addition to the one that is being built in Hatton with the assistance of the Indian government.

Mano Ganeshan said that these measured would strengthen the equality of the Upcountry Tamils among other communities.

Upcountry Tamils hail from estate workers brought to the island by the British Colonial rulers in 19th century for tea plantations. They belong to the most oppressed masses of present Sri Lanka.

The 15 member Indian parliamentary group tours in Sri Lanka for six days. They are scheduled to meet local Tamil political parties this evening.

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Sri Lanka MP Duminda Silva in Mount Elizabeth Hospital of Singapore

Slain official of the President
At the hearing of the multiple murder case in which Sri Lanka President's official Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was killed, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Sri Lanka Police today informed Colombo Magistrate Court that murder suspect MP Duminda Silva was being treated at Mount Elizabeth Hospital of Singapore.

CID further said that a statement had been recorded from the suspect MP's father regarding the situation of MP Duminda Silva.

The counsels appearing for the rights of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra requested to issue a warrant to arrest M{ Duminda Silva  and produce him in court.

However, Colombo Additional District Judge Prasanna Alwis said that the a warrant was not necessary to arrest the suspect since the judge had already issued an order to arrest him.

CID was ordered by the Magistrate to show cause for failing to produce the suspect MP in courts. Duminda Silva also sustained injuries in his skull and he was taken out of Sri Lanka with the support of the government despite he was needed to be under arrest.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Wish you a Happy Sinhala and Tamil New Year!

Lighting Nila by Editor

Next update on 17th April

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Sinhala and Tamil New Year - an opportunity to help build a prosperous, democratic nation defined by tolerance and respect for human rights

US has sent a New Year Greeting to Sri Lanka while some cabinet Ministers are publicly spreading anti-US ideas and urging boycott of US products and services.

There is a saying in Sinhala folklore that both the one who is beating while the other is pleading mercy and the one who is pleading mercy while the other is beating are fools.

It is not clear who is beating and who is pleading mercy. But it is good to read the US statement without beating about the bush.

“On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to Sri Lankans around the world as you celebrate Sinhala and Tamil New Year. This celebration brings people together to renew bonds of friendship and family.

It also gives Sri Lankans of all backgrounds, living inside and outside the country, an opportunity to help build a prosperous, democratic nation defined by tolerance and respect for human rights. As a partner and friend of Sri Lanka for more than 150years, the United States looks forward to supporting your efforts to foster national reconciliation and development, and to build even stronger ties between our people.

Congratulations and best wishes for a safe and happy holiday and a prosperous New Year.”

I have two questions.

  1. Does Sri Lanka really accept US as a partner and friend of Sri Lanka for more than 150years?
  2. Why is Sri Lanka so shy to accept the US support extended in its efforts to foster national reconciliation and development?

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Over 1.5 million Sri Lankan families are recipients of less than 12 $ poverty allowance

Sri Lanka government says steps have been taken to increase the poverty allowance of the low income groups with effect from April 01.

The poverty allowance Samudhi has been increased by 33% in line with a budget proposal of the government, says the Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa.

He said that the allowance will be granted in three categories. Accordingly, the category of Rs. 250 to 615 has been increased to Rs. 750, (Less than 06 $) per month. The category of Rs. 900 has been increased to Rs. 1200 (little over 09 $) per month . The category of Rs. 1500 remains same (less than 12 $).

There are 1,583,961 recipients of Samurdhi allowance and the government spends over Rs. 45 billion per month for Samurdhi.

According to Central Bank of Sri Lanka GDP per Capita at Market Prices is Rs. 271,259 or US$ 2,399 in 2011.

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Imported dismantled vehicles nabbed by customs at Colombo harbor

Sri Lanka Customs is now extremely vigilant regarding import of vehicles as parts. A container included vehicles worth of Rs. 20 million without taxes was arrested by Custom Department was seized on April 10 at Colombo harbor.

The importer, a vehicle businessman in Kurunegala attempted to get the container released after paying import taxes for vehicle parts that is lower than the tax on vehicles.

However, the container that had been shipped from Nagoya included four vehicles of Misubishi, Suzuki and Toyota brands dismantled. They were more than five years old and needs special permission to be imported.

These businessmen re-assemble these vehicles with old chassis numbers to be used as vehicle earlier registered. They find massive profits from this business.

Sri Lanka government recently increased the taxes on imported vehicles sharply.

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More talks about crocodile farms as man - crocodile conflict intensifies in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Dallas Alahapperuma says he has initiated a programme to establish country’s first ever Crocodile Park in Matara to terminate crocodile attacks on human and also to promote the tourism in the country.

He held a special discussion in this regard at the District Secretariat, Matara on Monday (09). Several state officials including District Secretary of Matara, K.Athukorala participated in the discussion.

River Nilwala that flows across Mathara district is famous for crocodiles and two weeks ago a school girl was killed in a crocodile attack as she was washing her body in the river at Akuressa.

Sri Lanka Ministry of Wildlife had a plan to establish a crocodile park in Muthurajawela wetlands but it is in the balance now since the land allocated for the park has been encroached by squatters.

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Palestine President to visit Sri Lanka

Palestine President Mohammed Abbas will arrive in Sri Lanka for a three day visit, Sri Lanka Ministry of External Affairs says.

He will arrive in Sri Lanka on April 15 and and stay in the country until 17th.

During his stay, the Palestine President will hold bilateral talks with President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sri Lanka Minister of External Affairs G.L. Peiris.

The visiting President will accompany Palestine Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and a group of Palestine representatives.

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Abducted activist of Sri Lanka's Frontline Socialist Party not fined for violating visa regulations

The leader of the Frontlie Socialist Party (FSP) Premakumar Gunarathnam has not been fined for overstaying in Sri Lanka for over six months violating visa conditions.

The Immigration and Emigration Department does not say he was deported.

However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs later announced that he was deported.

Pubudu Jayagoda, a politburo member of the FSP says that the government released Gunarathnam from the abduction due to international pressure.

Gunarathnam has entered the country in last September on tourist visa under an Australian passport bearing the name Mudalige Noel. His wife says he changed name after getting the citizenship of Australia.

Sri Lanka Ministry of External Affairs further say that Gunarathnam married his wife Champa Somarathna under the name Wanninayaka Mudalige Daskon and later left the country under a Sri Lankan passport bearing name Wanninayaka Mudiyanselage Dayalal.

Gunarathnam has reportedly used at least four names.

He was claimed abducted on April 06 and police say he surrendered to the Colombo Crime Division on April 09.

Later, he was handed over to the Australian High Commission and he left the country in the morning of April 10 with an Australian official.

He is expected to address international media today in Australia.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Abducted activist of Sri Lanka's Frontline Socialist Party speaks to media following release

Abducted activist of the Frontline Socialist Party of Sri Lanka today described her ordeal today at a special press briefing.

She said she was abducted in April 06 evening close to her house in Godagama by a group that came in a white van. She said she was blindfolded and gagged.

"I was questioned and when I remained silent they attacked me. They took me while questioning to a far away place that I suppose a place linked to military. They took me to  an upstairs. Questioned about two hours about the international relations of the Movement for People's Struggles, about the bank accounts of the passbooks that were in my bag, about the activists of the party and later put me into a room both hands and legs handcuffed.

"Later in the early morning, I was taken to a room and questioned. There was Kumar Mahattaya also. They questioned both of us. They wanted to know about armed wing, future plans and party convention scheduled on April 09.

"We were questioned for around two hours and I was put back to the room.

"In the night of April 07th, they took me in a van to another place close to a main road in a residential area, I suppose. They brought Kumar Mahattaya also in the van as I perceived. We were kept their until I was freed.

"Last night, a new official who had not questioned me earlier came and said to me that Kumar Mahattaya would be deported to Australia. He further said to me that I would also be released after that after observing if Kumar Mahattaya would behave as they asked him to do. They asked me to get ready to go last night also but I noticed they would not take me.

"In the morning, they took me in a van and asked me not to try to trace them or the vehicle number. They dropped me on a by-road in Thalapathpitiya. I came to this office in a three wheeler.

"They always highlighted that they had no links with the government or military. They repeatedly questioned about armed activities, links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), about Lalith and Kugan etc. They also highlighted that they had no links with Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

"The last official that questioned me said that they had understood that FSP had no link with the LTTE and it is not receiving funds Tamil Diaspora.

"Answering questions of the journalist, she said that she saw two persons with blue uniforms as she was arrested. She also said that She added that two persons got down on the way from the vehicle who spoke pro-JVP. They said that this was the punishment for me for breaking away from JVP."

She said that it was clear for her that this (abduction) was a (part of an) official and non official process to suppress activists who work against the government.

Dimuthu Atigala said she joined the JVP in 1988 as a student of Bandarawela district. Later she worked as an English teacher for sometime and joined the JVP as a full time activist after 1994.

She said that the abductors told her that JVP was providing them information to suppress FSP.

Dimuthu Atigala said she would continue politics.

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Abducted political activist arrived in Sri Lanka under the name Mudalige Novell

Premakumar Gunarathnam
Lanka C News, a website run by  People's Liberation Front (JVP) former Propaganda Secretary and present Minister of the government of Sri Lanka Wimal Weerawansa said that the Australian High Commission had informed the government of Sri Lanka that abducted Premakumar Gunarathnam arrived in Sri Lanka under a passport issued to the name Mudalige Novell.

The website also said that Gunarathnam had married his wife Champa Somarathna under another name.

The photo that goes here was originally posted by Wimal's website.

Wimal Weerawansa and Premakumar Gunarathnam were colleagues who were in same politburo of JVP before Wimal split.

Gunarathnam was not involved in any subversive activity in the recent past and he had no clear reason to use a number of different identity documents. Everybody in his party also knew who he was.

Some JVP activists like to show they do not to respect the 'capitalist' law and to be anti-system although they live very normal lives, according to our observations.

He should be brought to book for violating immigration and emigration regulations of both Sri Lanka and Australia.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

The central committee of Sri Lanka's Frontline Socialist Party

Sri Lanka's latest political party, Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), held its inaugural convention today and appointed the central committee.

The central committee comprises Premakumar Gunarathnam and Dimuthu Atigala that were abducted hours ahead of the convention and remain disappeared so far.

Many former internal leaders of the People's Liberation Front (JVP) such as Senadheera Gunathilaka, G. Kularathna and Champika Sudasinghe are in the FSP central committee.

Shantha Wijesinghe, Pubudu Jayagoda, Chameera Koswatta, Duminda Nagamuwa, Ravindra Mudalige, S.K. Subasinghe (former MP), Sunil Jayarathna, Sujith Kuruvita, Jude Silva Pulle, Indrananda Silva (former Provincial Councilor and an eyewitness to the killing of JVP founder Rohana Wijeweera), Samansiri Fernando, Indika Weerakoon and Jaminda Siriwardhana are the rest of the central committee.

Galle district MP Ajith Kumara of the Democratic National Alliance is a notable absentee here, perhaps because of legal issues pertaining to the parliamentary seat.

The central committee is to meet today to appoint the politburo, party Chairman and General Secretary etc.

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Ceylon Electricity Board employees to strike on New Year eve

Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Joint Trade Union Committee member Ranjan Jayalal says that the employees of the CEB will definitely report sick on April 11.

He said that the government would have to take the responsibility of delay in repairing breakdowns.

The CEB Joint Trade Union Committee says that the government has ignored the common employees of the CEB by granting a special salary increase only to the engineers and other executives creating a massive anomaly.

CEB employees were given a 25% salary hike and later the executives were granted another increase.

Joint Trade Union Committee says that the increase for the executives amount to 50%.

CEB Joint Trade Union Committee has membership of 15,000 and the committee says they will meet again on April 18 and a half day strike will be launched as a precursor of an upcoming continuous strike.

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