Jun 17-23:

Displaced Sampur residents file fundamental rights petition against demarcation of heavy industries zone in their lands

A number of residents of Sampur, in the Trincomalee District filed a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition in the Supreme Court on Friday 15 June 2012, challenging the demarcation of a Special Zone for Heavy Industries (SZHI) through Gazette Extraordinary No. 1758/26 issued on 17 May 2012. [DBSJ]

Sequence of events relating to editorial crisis at ‘Ceylon Today’ newspaper

By Lalith Allahakkoon

(This is the full text of a public statement issued to the media by Lalith Allahakkoon the Editor in Chief and Editorial Director of “Ceylon Today”about recent events that have caused an Editorial crisis in the English newspaper published in Colombo)

1. At around 7 p.m. on the night of Wednesday June 13, Executive Director of Ceylon Newspapers Mr. Dushyantha Basnayake summoned me to his office and said there were several issues to be discussed. Firstly, he informed me that the management had decided to terminate the employment of Senior Cartoonist at Ceylon Today Wasantha Siriwardane. [DBSJ]

My special relationship with The Sunday Leader

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Former British Prime Minister and statesman Winston Churchill is credited with the phrase “special relationship” in emphasising the time-tested bonds and enduring affinity between Great Britain and the United States of America.

I can think of no better phrase other than those famously Churchillian words to describe my longstanding links with The Sunday Leader as the newspaper celebrates its 18th anniversary.

My special relationship with the Leader began with the birth of the newspaper itself in 1994 and has continued ever since. It consists of four different phases. [DBSJ]

‘The Road I had Chosen of my own Free Will Became a Less Lonely path to Follow’

by Aung San Suu Kyi

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Dear Friends,

Long years ago, sometimes it seems many lives ago, I was at Oxford listening to the radio programme Desert Island Discs with my young son Alexander. It was a well-known programme (for all I know it still continues) on which famous people from all walks of life were invited to talk about the eight discs, the one book beside the bible and the complete works of Shakespeare, and the one luxury item they would wish to have with them were they to be marooned on a desert island. [DBSJ]

Jaffna Like The Rest of The Island Held a Warm Vibe

by Gunvanthi Balaram

From the magnificent stupas at Anuradhapura to the street food of Colombo, from the Cave of Celestial Maidens to the beach at Galle, Sri Lanka offers many changes of scene.

Stories apart, what did I remember best about Sri Lanka, my mother asked me when I got home. “The lotus ponds of Anuradhapura and the lagoons of Jaffna,” I replied. “And, mmm, the egg-hoppers in Colombo’s cubby-hole eateries.” [DBSJ]

‘Work is worship’: The work ethic success of the Sri Lankan Tamils

by Hemantha Warnakulasuriya

I have often wondered why we, as a nation, cannot progress as rapidly as our neighbour – India. Any political analyst would of course heap the blame on the politicians and the political authority. I have pondered whether in fact this was true.

All politicians are voted to power by us and we sometimes condone their activity. When Monnekulama was convicted for bribery by the Talgodapitiya Commission and disfranchised for seven years, he re-contested the Kurunegala seat and won again. [DBSJ]

Jaffna Public Library: Painstaking construction and painful destruction

by Charles Santiapillai

Although the Jaffna man’s mind is preoccupied with money and matrimony, yet the thing that he treasures most above everything else is education and scholarship. For a Jaffna man, it’s the books, and not dogs, that are his best friends. He would pay more attention to a good book than to his dissatisfied wife.

Books keep him company both in times of happiness and distress. They are one of the main sources of his knowledge. The best and inexpensive place for easy access to books has always been the library. [DBSJ]

Sri Lankan Investment Board Signs $4Billion Industrial Zone Deal with Indian Industrial Firm

Sri Lanka has signed its largest foreign direct investment (FDI) deal valued at $4 billion with an Indian company.

Gateway Industries, an Indian venture, will oversee operation and management of a special industrial zone for heavy industries in Trincomalee district.

Board of Investment (BOI) chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando Friday hailed the signing of this landmark project by BOI as an indication of the growing investor confidence in Sri Lanka. [DBSJ]

University academics are now campaigning with the slogan “6% of GDP for Education”

By Camena Guneratne and Harini Amarasuriya | Open University of Sri Lanka

Almost one year ago, we wrote an article suggesting that there were signals from the academic community that it was waking up from a long slumber.

We wrote about the fact that the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) was moving away from, primarily a battle for salaries, to addressing a range of issues affecting not just higher education, but education in general. [DBSJ]

Why malign Lasith Malinga alone for allegedly putting self above country?

by Edward Gunawardene

The story of Lasith Malinga is the story of a poor rustic, who because of his rare talents in cricket, has shot to stardom. Another log cabin to White House or a Dick Whittinghton story. He is today one of the most sought after and one of the highest earners in international cricket.

In fact, today he enjoys celebrity status in the world cricket arena. It is, indeed, an achievement to be admired. [DBSJ]

Katuwana Killings: Remove Gotabhaya and appoint career Administrator as Defence Secretary

by Mangala Samaraweera

Police spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana accepted that two persons including a woman died due to an unarmed gang shooting at a Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) local meeting held in Katuwana in the Hambantota district on 15 June (2012).

He said, a group of unidentified men on motorcycles had opened fire at the meeting killing and injuring people. Police sources said, around 100 JVP supporters had attended the meeting and the gunmen had arrived on 03 motorcycles. [DBSJ]

President’s London Visit: ‘Our Side of the Story’

President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga last week summoned a press conference at the old parliament now serving as the presidential secretariat to tell “our side of the story’’ of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent London visit.

As is well known, LTTE supporters succeeded in getting a session of an event organized by the Commonwealth Business Council cancelled as the president was due to make the keynote address there. External Affairs Ministry Monitor Sajin Vas Gunawardene, External Affairs Secretary Karunatillake Amunugama and High Commissioner Chris Nonis were associated with Weeratunga at this briefing called to place what happened in London in the proper perspective in the context of the propaganda mileage the LTTE was able to derive from the cancellation. [DBSJ]

Facebook loses face as share prices plunge $42 Billion in 10 days

by Selvam Canagaratna

“On Wall Street, he and a few others – how many? – three hundred, four hundred, five hundred? – had become precisely that . . . Masters of the Universe. There was . . . no limit whatsoever!” – Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987)

In the midst of an unprecedentedly precipitous share-price plunge wiping out social networking giant Facebook’s value by over $42 billion in just ten days, the Wall Street Journal, which inevitably mirrors its owner Rupert Murdoch’s unbridled corporate greed, caught the crummy essence of the street it’s named after when, on the third day of the IPO (May 21) it observed matter-of-factly:

“Investors that shoot for IPO allocations needn’t worry that a high stock price overvalues the company if they are confident they can find a ‘greater fool’ willing to pay more.”

Jayalath Jayawardena writes to Pope Benedict about Mannar Bishop

Senior UNP parliamentarian, Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena has appealed to His Holiness Pope Benedict the XVI to use his good offices to dialogue with the Sri Lankan Government to ensure that the Bishop of Mannar continues his mission without threats, intimidations and false allegations.

In a letter to the Pope, the MP says: “Since the beginning of 2012, adverse comments about the Bishop by some chauvinistic and communal minded Government Ministers, and media owned, controlled and sympathetic to the Government have intensified. Meaningless accusations were made that the Bishop aspires to be the Cardinal of “Tamil Eelam”, that he is involved in a conspiracy against the government supported by the INGOs and that he is disturbing Muslim – Tamil harmony. [DBSJ]

Dudley Senanayake: Unchallenged integrity and loyalty

By Ilica Malkanthi Karunaratne

Dudley Senanayakes’ 101st birth anniversary is on June 19th

The birth anniversary of the late Dudley Senanayake, is always tinged with nostalgia. It is inevitable, that the thoughts of those of us who knew him, should linger on all that he was and what he did during his lifetime. He was far above the usual norm of politician and was a statesman extraordinaire, even known as such, far beyond our shores.

As media headlines today reek of violence of one sort or another, of rape, of murder, of abductions; which all speak of a total breakdown of law and order, one is reminded time and time again, of the late Dudley and all he stood for. [DBSJ]

‘I have no illusions about the basic selfish thrust of all foreign policy’

by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha MP

To cite the preamble to this dialogue between Asian and European Liberals, we agree that, ‘from a liberal standpoint, it is mutually beneficial for countries to engage in trade, and free trade is one of the means to lift countries out of poverty.’

Unfortunately this ideal is under attack for a variety of reasons, and most of the attacks come, it should be noted, from powerful countries. Thus we need to worry – and I hope Liberals in the West will help us to overcome this worry, given their own ideals – as to whether, again to cite the preamble, ‘trade, instead of forging a mutually beneficial partnership between developed and developing countries, has been a mechanism to subject the latter into a dependent relationship.’ [DBSJ]

Full-fledged Hospital at Mullaitheevu Functions at Full Capacity

By Shanika SRIYANANDA in Mullaitheevu

It was 11 am, the OPD of the District General Hospital Mullaitheevu was crowded. People from all walks of life and all corners of the district get treatment from the hospital. Located close to the A-34 Highway, the hospital, damaged by the LTTE, has now turned into a fully-fledged hospital with the latest medical equipment and more treatment facilities. [DBSJ]

Foreign policy challenges: Diplomatic honeymoons or unbridled engagements?

By Salma Yusuf

A widely held belief among the populace is that the discourse on foreign policyremains the sole prerogative of those in the highest echelons of political power – that is, until presented with a statement by the likes of well-known American political activist, Ron Silver, who declared: ‘I can’t talk about foreign policy like anyone who’s spent their life reading and learning foreign policy. But as a citizen in a democracy, it’s very important that I participate in that.’ [DBSJ]

Co-existence with Crocodiles: Learning to Live Together

by Charles Santiapilai and S. Wijeyamohan

One of the surest signs of ecological richness and diversity of a country is the number of predator species it supports.

Larger the number of predator species, the greater is the biodiversity. The existence of predators carries the implication of the presence of a much larger and more complex ecological community and millions of years of evolutionary struggle. [DBSJ]

‘Work is worship’: The work ethic success of the Sri Lankan Tamils

by Hemantha Warnakulasuriya

I have often wondered why we, as a nation, cannot progress as rapidly as our neighbour – India. Any political analyst would of course heap the blame on the politicians and the political authority. I have pondered whether in fact this was true. [DBSJ]