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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sri Lanka commemorates the 5th anniversary of deadly tsunami

ColomboPage News Desk.

Sri Lanka today paid tribute to the thousands of people died from the devastating tsunami that hit the island on the Boxing Day of 2004.

The country observed a two-minute silence from 9:25 to 9:27 a.m. today to remember the more than 40,000 people died in the catastrophic tsunami five years ago which also destroyed over 130,000 houses and rendered nearly a million homeless.
Today is also marked as the National Safety Day. A ceremony was held this morning at the Kurunegala Provincial Council Auditorium under the patronage of Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka to mark the day.
Later in the day the Sri Lanka Disaster Management Centre will hold a tsunami preparedness drill at 3.00 p.m. in 10 districts.
Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message to mark the National Safety Day said the day is recognized to educate and sensitize the public about disasters, disaster mitigation, prevention, and early warning which will help them respond properly and strongly to disasters such as a tsunami.
The 2004 tsunami caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake under the Indian Ocean near the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra affected 13 districts in Sri Lanka on a bright sunny morning taking the beach goers, tourists, fishermen, and residents near the shore without a warning.
Ministry of Disaster Management says all the victimized families have been provided with homes now, 5 years after the disaster. The government has constructed over 130,000 houses with the financial and material support from foreign countries and many non governmental organizations, the Ministry said.
The government says it has provided all necessary facilities to the tsunami hit families to restart their livelihoods. All disaster hit hotels and schools have been reconstructed and functioning at present, the authorities say.
The Ministry recently installed a multi-million dollar early warning system along the country's beaches. The Disaster Management Center (DMC) of Sri Lanka held its first natural disaster drill in July this year. Sri Lanka also took part in the tsunami exercise organized by the UNESCO in October to test the tsunami warning system.
Read:http://www.colombopage.com/archive_091/Dec1261806738CH.html
Foriegn news
Father of pakistan's 133rd birth anniversary celebrated

The 133rd birth anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was celebrated across the country on Friday with the pledge to make the country a true democratic and welfare state.

The day started with special prayers in mosques for prosperity and progress of the country. The main function was held in Karachi where a smartly turned out contingent of cadets from Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul took over the guard duty at the Quaid’s mausoleum.

This was followed by the laying of floral wreaths by representatives of the three armed services. President Asif Ali Zardari visited the mazar, laid a floral wreath and paid homage to the Founder of Pakistan. The President was accompanied by Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan.
Pakistan Media tour -Part 1
VIST TO PAKISTAN


A group of journalists from Sri Lanka were afforded opportunity to visit Pakistan. The opportunity was provided by the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo.And sponserd the tour by Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) . Editor of SRI LANKA TODAY(http://www.newsonline24.blogspot.com/ ) Sumith Mayadunne participated in the visit.

This was a step in strengthening the friendship between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This article is the first in a series of articles on the visit to Pakistan.

MEMORIES OF A DISTINGUISHED LEADER (Quaid-i-Azam mausoLeam)

By Sumith Maydunne

Present Pakistan land has a long history which runs for Indu Valley civilization.
But, at that time the land was known as India. The Mohanjodaro and Harappa era which we read in the history had created the above civilization thousand and thousands years ago.

Then, Pakistan was not a separate country. In 1947, when Pakistan was identified and recognized as a separate country, the above said land which had a great civilization was passed to new country Pakistan.

Sindu River is the closest natural gift for the Indu Velley civilization. It floats over 1600Kms and joins the Arabian Sea in Karachi in the southern part of Pakistan allowing the expansion of that civilization.

Great and Historic land

Sri Lankan media team got a chance to visit this great and historic land recently and the tour had been organized by the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo and host by Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) . The media team was provided opportunity to visit the major important places of the county and study on those places. This is the first of a series of articles written on the tour.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah who was a lawyer by profession is the founder activist to have a separate county named Pakistan in the world map. gratefully remember his name.

It was 1858; the British rulers took Indian region under their .
Control.
Supported and led by Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and a group was leading the campaign against British rulers to receive the independence for India.

Birth of Pakistan
Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru represented the India’s Congress Party and Ali Jinnah represented the India’s Muslim League. The Muslim league which asked the same recognition for the Muslims in India later developed the idea to an Interdependence regime for Indian Muslims.

Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru represented the India’s Congress Party and Ali Jinnah represented the India’s Muslim League. The Muslim league which asked the same recognition for the Muslims in India later developed the idea to an Interdependence regime for Indian Muslims.

Later Jinnah requested for a separate land for the muslims of India.

British rulers had to work on the request and the area where majority of Muslims lived in India was named as Pakistan.The area included present Pakistan and Bangladesh. The date was August 14, 1947. India was given independence a day after Pakistan was given separate administration powers on August 15, 1947.

Distinguished Leader
As we earlier mentioned it was Muhammad Ali Jinnah who is the founder of Pakistan. Without his efforts, there would not be a Pakistan on the world map today.

Pakistani citizens even today after 63 years of independence gratefully remember his name. They consider that founder of the nation should be respected from tradition to tradition.

The fact is proven by the Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s memorial in Karachi where Pakistan’s commercial city. His remains are there and the place has bean named as Quaid -i-Azam Mauso-Leum. People respect it as a national asset and daily meritorious activities are conducted under the supervision of relevant appointed officials.

As Pakistan was setup, Ali Jinnah was appointed as the first Governor General of the country. From that date, he had spent all his time to have a meaningful independence for the Pakistan people. But unfortunately, he died with T. B after a year of independence in the country. Ali Jinnah who was born as an Indian on December 25th, 1876, died on September 11, 1948 as a Pakistan citizen. (Picture: Alli Jinnah with Mahathma Ghandi)

He was named the as the Founder of Pakistan and the Father of the Nation. Pakistani citizens treat him as their Great Leader. In their language (Urdu) they say “Quaid-i-Azam” which means the Great leader. Even after 63 years of his demise, Pakistani citizens still treat him.

While Indonesia became the world’s most Muslim populated country, Pakistan is the second largest Muslim populated country.

Highst respect and care
Sri Lankan media team’s tour begins at the memorial erupted for the commemoration of the Pakistan Great Leader Ali Jinnah. The memorial has been set up on a small hill in Karachi in a place where considered as the heart of Karachi town. The place is maintained with highest respect and care.

Karachi is very famous for this memorial as it has been nicely erupted and preserved. Although the Karachi town has also been invaded by the urbanization, this memorial has been maintained adding an extra interesting to the town. Anyway, the memorial is 10 kilometers far from the busy town of Karachi. It is a peaceful area. Being at a high ground it can be viewed from very far. Islamic culture is well displayed in this area.

The memorial which has bean built using white marbles is 75 feet tall. The length is 75 feet. Great leader Ali Jinnah’s remains lie here. The decorations here sometimes are donations from other countries. A beautiful chandelier /Fascinating lamps inside have been donated by the Chinese government.

The Pakistan citizens who come to visit the place engage in a small pray, keeping their hands on their chests. The memorial is a multistory creation and guests are allowed to come and respect the great leader being in the top floor.

Tri-forces salutation to the memorial takes place all 24 hours. Forces personal have been kept in four sides and salutation teams are changed in every four hours. This special salutation process takes pace from the date of memorial was erupted there. First four months of the year, salutation is conducted by the Pakistan Army, next four months by the Air force and next four is by the Navy are conducted.

Twenty four hour salutation on Quaid-i-Azam Mausoleam

The significance is whatever the regime in power in Pakistan; all the governments have allowed and facilitated the tradition of Salutation to the memorial of Ali Jinnah. They have taught other world that Political parties have nothing to do when they are to respect a national leader. This message is conveyed to the entire world in this fashion.

This historic creation has been designed by architect Yayiha Merchan. The construction works have begun in 1966 and the memorial has been completed on June 1971.
The project manager Major S Arther Mir speaking to the Sri Lankan journalists said that the king of Iran; H.E. Shah graced the opening ceremony. He also said that strengthening the relationship of both counties he donated precious tiles from Iran to fix in the walls of the memorial.
(Picture:Left Side-Major Arther Mir speaking to the Media team)

The place is also used to hold several national festivals. Among them, Pakistan National day, Independence Day, Great Leader’s birth anniversary and death anniversary.
Further Pakistan citizens also respect Ali Jinnah’s younger sister as the Mother of the Nation. Her birth and death anniversaries are also held here.

The memorial is situated in an area of 61 acre land. The museum in the memorial has Ali Jinnah’s some used dresses, vehicle and number of equipments used by him.


Ali Jinnah’s memorial is one of the major places which foreigners never forget to visit. Though he died over 63 years ago, still he lives in the hearts of Pakistan people. We felt that the respect which the Pakistan people offered to him will remain in the future too.


















Merry Crismas


Christmas and New Year wishes for peace and joy.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Birth anniversary on 25th December
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah – Man of great vision in South Asia


We have, undoubtedly, achieved Pakistan and that too without war and practically by moral and intellectual force and with the power of pen which is no less mighty than the sword and so our righteous cause has triumphed.” These are the words of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and Father of the Nation, broadcast from Lahore on 30th October, 1947 after the creation of Pakistan. These words not only sum up the entire history of the Pakistan Movement, but are also an indicator to the personality and finding philosophy of the ‘Great Leader’ without whom this new sovereign state would not have come into being on the 14th August, 1947.

The Quaid-i-Azam or the ‘Great Leader’, as the nation called him to show their reverence and gratitude, transformed politics into statesmanship by bringing into play the elements of sincerity of purpose, truthfulness and indomitable courage in standing by the high principles of moral integrity and a wisdom which is granted only to those whom destiny makes immoral. His mind and heart were clean and therefore he never adopted devious means even in the face of treacherously dicey situations or while dealing with difficult and slippery adversaries wherein persons with lesser faith in their principles and a weaker commitment to their cause would have been tempted to ‘stoop to conquer’, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was not the one who could be tempted, persuaded or pressurized to deviate from his righteous path. He was a selfless leader. His people knew fully well that worldly gains or personal benefits had no place in his scheme of things. After all, he was the man who, in his will, gave over his entire poverty in India to a Bomby school and to a hospital.

On becoming the first Governor General of Pakistan, he made it known to one and all that he wanted to build Pakistan into a modern, forward looking democratic state based on the concept of equality, fraternity and social justice. He unfortunately did not live long to guide the Pakistani nation and to shape the destiny of the newly born state in accordance with his own ideals and dreams. Already tired, exhausted and sick, he, much against the advice of his doctors, was unwilling to take rest or minimize his responsibilities. He knew that his people and country needed his guidance and he was ready to lay down his life in their service. The long and strenuous struggle for the creation of Pakistan had drained out his entire energy and it was only his strong will which was carrying him through.

The author of the book ‘Freedom at Midnight’ says, “ He made on effort, whatsoever , to follow his doctor’s advice . He was not going to let his rendezvous with death cheat him of his other rendezvous with history. With extraordinary courage, with an intense and consuming zeal that sent his life’s candle puttering out in a last harsh burst of flame, Jinnah longed for his life’s goal.” The great leader departed on the 11th September , 1948 after fulfilling his mission of creation of Pakistan.

Born in Karachi merchantile family on 25th December 1876, he received his early education in the city of his birth. Later, he joined the Lincoln’s Inn to become the youngest Indian barrister to be called to the bar. Quickly he rose to a position of great prominence and became an outstanding lawyer. Believing firmly in freedom and independence, he joined the Indian Congress, a political party professing to struggle against the alien rule. Later, getting disillusioned with its unjust policies towards Muslim, he left the Congress, joined Muslim League, in 1916, and became president of the All India Muslim League, a political party dedicated to the independence of India and the welfare of Muslims. Initially, he endeavoured to bring the Congress and Muslim League together to ensure Hindu – Muslim unity and was instrumental in signing of Congress-League Pact in 1916, a joint scheme for post-war reforms. For a long time, he considered a Hindu-Muslim settlement as a precondition for Indian freedom. To achieve this he participated in several unity conferences, formulated the famous “Fourteen Points” in 1929 as minimum Muslim conditions for any constitutional settlement and attended two Round Table Conferences called by the British Government in 1930 and 1931 to devise a new constitution for India.

The decade from 1920 to 1930 was a decade during which Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah saw many ups and downs. Faced with chronic Muslim disunity. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was despaired and thought of quitting politics. He went into self exile in 1931 in London only to return three years later at the persuasion of Indian Muslims to take command of the reunited Muslim League.

From then onwards there was no going back for him. During the next few years he organized the Muslims of the sub-continent, brought them on one political platform and broadened his mass support base. Gradually Muslims of India became a power to be reckoned with and by 1939 he had become their sole spokesman.

In 1940, he spelled out the concept of Muslim nationhood, asserting that: “We are a nation, with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of value and proportion, legal laws and moral code, customs and calendar, history and traditions, aptitudes and ambitions, in short, we have distinctive outlook on and of life. By all canons of international law we are a nation.” And on that basis he demanded the setting up of an independent Muslim homeland in the predominantly Muslim northwestern and eastern India.



Despite the vehement opposition of the Congress and the antipathy of the British to his demand, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah organized his movement so adroitly that the Pakistan Movement continued together momentum. Within seven years of the demand, Pakistan was established as a sovereign independent state and Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, then 70, became its first Governor General on 14th August, 1947.

His last message to the nation on the 15th August, 1948, on completion of the first year of his Governor Generalship was-----“Nature…has given you Everything. You have got unlimited resources. The foundation of your state have been laid and it is now for you to build as quickly and well as you can. So, go ahead and I wish you God-speed.

Colombo stock exchange reach

Colombo stocks reach another

Colombo stocks hit another record high 24th Dec. at the Colombo Bourse due to domestic purchases of blue chips by local investors looking for profitable returns.
The All Share Price Index reached an all time high of 3,292.76 at the end of the trading day up by 0.82% from yesterday's close.
The highly volatile Milanka Price Index closed at 3,777.24 up by 0.88% from yesterday's value of 3,744.33
Total turnover ended at 868 million rupees with 15.9 million shares trading, nearly 13 million shares of domestic purchases.
The market has gained over 110% this year with most growth experienced after the decades-long civil war coming to an end in May 2009.

Shut up-Elections commissioner

Shut up

Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake has instructed senior government officials including Ministry Secretaries not to make media statements advantageous or disadvantageous to any of the candidates in the fray, officials said.
The instruction has also been issued by the Commissioner in a gazette notification to the Central Bank Governor, commanders of the three armed forces and the IGP as well. According to the regulations, none of these officials could participate in TV programmes and talk shows as well.
The copies of this circular had been sent to Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and all the Ministry Secretaries.
The decision has been taken amidst allegations that some government officials are making media statements in favour of the ruling coalition.
Earlier, the Commissioner issued guidelines for the media to be followed in the run up to the election while exploring the possibility of appointing a Competent Authority for the State media.
Besides, he has taken measures to bring several teams of foreign election observers from the Commonwealth Union and the UN to ensure a free and fair election. He also made a request from the European Union in this regard. However, the EU has ruled out the possibility of sending election observers due to budgetary and time constraints.
Meanwhile, JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said yesterday that the Commissioner had given instructions to the authorities concerned not to reduce the security of Opposition Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka.
Mr. Dissanayake said that the Commissioner had ordered not to reduce the number of vehicles provided for Gen. Fonseka

no political party has taken any action to protect the voting rights of the IDPs in the North-CAFFE

No political party has taken any action to protect the voting rights of the IDPs in the North-Keerthi tennakoon-CAFFE.



Media spokesman for Campaign for Free and Fair elections (CAFFE), Keerthi Tennekoon regretted that no political party has taken any action to protect the voting rights of the IDPs in the North.

Not only the Elections Commissioner and the govt. officials, but the political parties too have a grave responsibility to safeguard the voting rights of the IDPs in Jaffna and the Wanni Districts.

These parties who are representatives of the people should take crucial measures to provide the IDPs with the right to vote. Yet, a majority of the candidates who are contesting the Presidential elections are indifferent to this need.The deadline for the IDPs in the North to register for polling expires 24th December.Until 22nd Dec. only 2600 had handed over their application forms for the voting in Jaffna. In Wanni only 13, 000 have handed over.

Accordingly, lakhs and lakhs of IDPS in the North will be deprived of their franchise for the upcoming Presidential elections.CAFFE insists that the candidates and political parties must take decisive steps to ensure that these IDPs in the North who have after 30 years got the opportunity to vote shall somehow be secured the right of franchise. Signs of lakhs of IDPs losing their franchise: All the 22 Candidates, political parties silentMedia spokesman for Campaign for Free and Fair elections (CAFFE), Keerthi Tennekoon regretted that no political party has taken any action to protect the voting rights of the IDPs in the North.Not only the Elections Commissioner and the govt. officials, but the political parties too have a grave responsibility to safeguard the voting rights of the IDPs in Jaffna and the Wanni Districts.

These parties who are representatives of the people should take crucial measures to provide the IDPs with the right to vote. Yet, a majority of the candidates who are contesting the Presidential elections are indifferent to this need.

The deadline for the IDPs in the North to register for polling expires tomorrow 24th December.Until 22nd Dec. only 2600 had handed over their application forms for the voting in Jaffna. In Wanni only 13, 000 have handed over. Accordingly, lakhs and lakhs of IDPS in the North will be deprived of their franchise for the upcoming Presidential elections.CAFFE insists that the candidates and political parties must take decisive steps to ensure that these IDPs in the North who have after 30 years got the opportunity to vote shall somehow be secured the right of franchise.
India beats Sri Lanka by seven wickets in 4th one day international
AP News
Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli struck a century each to guide India to a seven-wicket victory Thursday in the fourth one-day international against Sri Lanka.

The victory clinched the series for the hosts who now hold a 3-1 lead in the five-match tournament.
Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat first, reaching 315-6 but could not hold off India's pursuit of the target. The hosts eventually reached 317-3 in 48.1 overs.

India was forced to fight off an early onslaught when openers Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar were dismissed with just 23 runs on the board but Gambhir and Kohli rebuilt the innings with a 224-run partnership for the third wicket.
Gambhir finished the match on 150 not out, a knock that included 14 boundaries, and Kohli scored 107 with 11 fours and a six.
It was the highest run chase in a one-day international at Eden Gardens.
Earlier, Sri Lanka opener Upul Tharanga scored 118 and Kumar Sangakkara 60 as Sri Lanka set the hosts the imposing target of 316 runs in its 50 overs.
Mahela Jayawardene and Thissara Perera also chipped in with 33 and 31, respectively.
The hosts struck early when Ashish Nehra removed opener Tillakaratne Dilshan for nine as he went for a big hit and was caught by Virat Kohli.
Sanath Jayasuriya was also dismissed cheaply, for just 15, when he was caught by Tendulkar off Zaheer Khan, before Sangakkara came in to steady the ship.
Together with Tharanga, Sri Lanka's captain put on 126 for the third wicket before Sangakkara was stumped by Dinesh Karthik off the bowling of Harbhajan Singh.
Tharanga was finally bowled by Khan in the 43rd over after smashing 14 boundaries and two sixes.
Play was held up for 26 minutes when the floodlights failed with just four balls remaining of

Monday, December 21, 2009

HIV/AIDS among Top 10 crises of the year

HIV/AIDS among Top 10 crises of the year

By MICHAEL ASTOR (AP) –

NEW YORK — Dwindling funding for HIV/AIDS threatens to leave an estimated 10 million infected people without treatment in the developing world, making it one of 2009's Top 10 humanitarian crises, according to Doctors Without Borders.
Other crises that made the list released by the medical humanitarian group Monday were: governments blocking access to lifesaving assistance in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Sudan; a lack of respect for civilian safety and aid efforts in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia; and inadequate international funds to fight neglected diseases and malnutrition.
The executive director of Doctors Without Borders' U.S. section, Sophie Delaunay, said the group wanted to alert policy makers not to let down their guards in the fight against HIV/AIDS, which continues to be a crisis despite the advent of life-sustaining treatment.
"When there are concerning signs of a retreat for access to treatment, it's important to state that HIV/AIDS is an emergency," Delaunay said.
Her international humanitarian organization, also known as MSF for its French name, Medecins Sans Frontieres, began issuing its annual list in 1998 after a devastating famine in southern Sudan went largely unnoticed by the U.S. media.
The list, which does not rank the crises by order of importance, seeks to foster greater awareness of crises that may not receive adequate attention in the press.
Since pledging to support universal AIDS treatment coverage by 2010 at the G8 Summit in Scotland in 2005, many countries, including the United States, have announced plans to reduce or limit funding, Delaunay said.
"In some countries doctors are turning patients away, advised to wait until other patients die," she warned. "What's going to happen is that patients are going to show up at the door of our clinics and there is a high possibility of us getting overwhelmed."
In Sri Lanka, battles between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels left tens of thousands of civilians trapped with only limited medical care this spring after aid groups were banned from the conflict zone.
In Somalia, where 42 relief workers have been killed since 2008, the ongoing civil war forced 200,000 people to flee the capital, Mogadishu, in the first months of 2009.
In Yemen, shelling during fierce fighting between government forces and rebels forced MSF to close the only hospital serving an entire district.
And in the Democratic Republic of Congo, civilians gathered with their children at an MSF vaccination site in the Kivu province were attacked by government forces — a move the group says severely undermined the trust necessary to carry out independent medical humanitarian work.
In Pakistan's Swat valley, MSF was forced to suspend operations due to violence that saw its hospitals struck by mortar fire and two of the group's workers killed.
The group also flagged the international community's continued neglect of diseases such as Chagas, leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness and the Buruli ulcer that mostly affect the poor in developing nations.
Malnutrition, which causes the deaths of between 3.5 million to 5 million children a year, also was called a crisis. The group said that while the international community spends $350 million each year to fight malnutrition, an estimated $11.5 billion was needed.
"Our teams on the ground are witnessing the very tangible human consequences of these crises directly, either in war zones or in the AIDS and nutrition clinics in which they work," MSF International Council President Dr. Christophe Fournier said in a statement. "We're therefore compelled and obligated to speak out."
MSF provides emergency medical assistance to populations in danger in 70 countries.

Sri Lanka seizes Tiger rebel ship: navy

Sri Lanka seizes Tiger rebel ship: navy
(AFP) –

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka's military said Monday it had seized a cargo ship suspected of being an arms smuggling vessel used by the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels at an undisclosed foreign port.
Navy spokesman Captain Athula Senarath said the 90-metre (300-feet) long Princess Christina had been captured at a foreign port but refused to reveal the location or identify the country.
"We can't say from where we seized the ship, but we deployed our own crew and brought it to Sri Lankan territorial waters," he said.

Read More:http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gA_Syl5VfjdoQE2LdxDKNSxYi6RA

Monday, November 30, 2009

Five Sri Lankan artists honoured
with BUNKA (CULTURAL) AWARDS
The 16th Bunka (Cultural) Awards organized by the Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund was held on Sunday 8th November 2009 at the Lionel Wendt Theatre Colombo 07. Picture:L to R : Ms. Jayani Senanayake, Mr. Lakshman Joseph de Saram, Mr. Kasun Kalhara Jayawardhana, Mr. Abdul Rahim Noorul Ameerkhan, Mr. Prasannajith Abeysuriya, Hon. Mr. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Minister of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage, Mr. Kaoru Shimazaki, Chargé d’ affaires, Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka and Mr. Yoshiaki Kato, Co-Chairperson of the Selection Committee of the Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund The Bunka Awards are presented annually by the Fund, which was established in 1993, on the initiative of the Japanese Solidarity Association and the Japanese Commerce and Industry Association in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan. For the past fifteen years 88 such awards have been presented to mid-career individuals and organizations on the basis of their creative activities in culture and the arts, in order to encourage and promote individual and collective talent in these fields in Sri Lanka.

This year the following five mid-career Sri Lankan artists received the prestigious Bunka (Cultural) Awards.

· Mr. Prasannajith Abeysuriya - Drama & Film
· Mr. Abdul Rahim Noorul Ameerkhan - Music
· Mr. Kasun Kalhara Jayawardhana - Music
· Mr. Lakshman Joseph de Saram - Music
· Ms. Jayani Senanayake - Drama & Film

Hon. Mr. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Minister of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage graced the occasion as Chief Guest while Mr. Yoshiaki Kato, Co-Chairperson of the Selection Committee of the Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund, Mr. Kaoru Shimazaki, Chargé d’ affaires, Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka and a distinguished gathering of invitees including several Sri Lankan cultural artists were also present on this occasion.

Apart from the performances and presentations by the award winners, the highlight of the ceremony was a special guest performance by the Sri Lanka-Japan Joint String Quartet featuring Sri Lankan and Japanese musicians, Mr. Ananda Kithsiri Dabare, (Violin), Mr. Satish Casie Chetty (Violin), Mr. Shogo Kanamori (Viola) and Mr. Shinichi Murata (Violoncello), who entertained the audience with some fabulous Western and Japanese music.
More: http://www.lk.emb-japan.go.jp

People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE)

PLOTE to Back Rajapaksa in Presidential Election

By Anuradha K. Herath for http://www.srilankanewsnetwork.com/
The leader of the People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) will support President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the upcoming presidential election.
PLOTE leader Dharmalingam Sithadthan made the official declaration to support Rajapaksa in an exclusive interview at the PLOTE headquarters Thursday evening.
“We will be working with (the president) for elections,” says Sithadthan. “One thing is the political experience. Personally I believe (President Rajapaksa) is going to win. A large number of people believe that he is going to win.”
There were indications early on that PLOTE would be supporting the government. But Sithadthan made the official statement only after learning that the working committee of the United National Party (UNP) endorsed former general Sarath Fonseka as its common presidential candidate early Thursday afternoon.
More:http://www.srilankanewsnetwork.com/
Sri Lanka denied next Commonwealth summit

Sri Lanka has lost its bid to host the next Commonwealth heads of government meeting after members raised objections over the treatment of its Tamil minority. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Commonwealth nations agreed Sri Lanka should not hold the biennial meeting in 2011, but could host in 2013.
Australia will host the 2011 meeting of the 54 Commonwealth nations. Harper told reporters today at the meeting in Trinidad and Tobago that the delay will give Sri Lanka time to improve conditions.
Read More:http://www.zeenews.com/news583235.html

LTTE carders fleeing Sri Lanka via India

LTTE carders fleeing Sri Lanka via India

New Delhi:www.dnaindia.com report
The decimation of the LTTE in Sri Lanka has given a big push to illegal immigration involving Sri Lankan Tamils in India. There is a sudden spurt in Sri Lankan Tamils illegally crossing over to India to take a flight abroad. Agents have kept apace by doubling fees for passports and visa.

Investigators believe most Sri Lankans trying to cross-over to western shores via India are LTTE cadres or sympathizers. Airport authorities have caught at least 40 Sri Lankan Tamils trying to take such flights from Indian airports.
In a latest case at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport on November 16, Rajan Kumar was stopped from boarding an Air India flight to New York, after the US visa on his passport drew suspicion. The regional passport office in Hyderabad had purportedly issued the passport.
But close scrutiny showed the passport was fake. It would have gone down as another case of illegal immigration had Rajan not told investigators he was a Sri Lankan Tamil who had illegally crossed over to India.
Read More:http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_ltte-cadres-fleeing-sri-lanka-via-india_1318172

Sri Lanka Inflation Accelerates, Leaving Less Room for Rate Cut

Sri Lanka Inflation Accelerates, Leaving Less Room for Rate Cut
(Bloomberg) --
Sri Lanka’s inflation accelerated to a six-month high, suggesting the central bank may have less room to keep cutting interest rates.
Consumer prices in the capital, Colombo, rose 2.8 percent in November from a year earlier after gaining 1.4 percent in October, the statistics agency said on its Web site today.
Faster inflation may scuttle the central bank’s plans to boost credit demand and drive the economy’s recovery after the end of the island’s 26-year civil war. Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Nivard Cabraal has slashed interest rates to a five- year low to spur spending and make up for slowing exports.
“We expect policy makers to keep rates on hold through 2010 as inflationary pressures mount,” said Samantha Amerasinghe, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Colombo.


Britan proposes Sri lanka to host Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)-2013

Britain proposes Sri Lanka to host Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)- 2013

Sri Lanka as the host for Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 was endorsed on a proposal made by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the CHOGM held in Trinidad & Tobago from 27 – 29 November 2009. Since Australia and Mauritius had also offered to be host, Prime Minister Brown had pointed out that all three countries are equally qualified and it was decided by the Commonwealth Heads of Government that they host the 2011 and 2015 CHOGMs respectively. The endorsement of Sri Lanka by the entire membership of the Commonwealth singularly demonstrates the recognition of Sri Lanka’s adherence to the Commonwealth values and principles with the country being one of the most vibrant democracies.
Sri Lanka has been associated with the Commonwealth from its very inception by being a signatory to the London Declaration of 1949. Sri Lanka has been actively involved in the activities of the Commonwealth and therefore is no stranger to the hosting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Meetings and workshops. It would be recalled that in the recent past Sri Lanka has hosted the Commonwealth Ministerial Meetings on Finance and Youth.
Sri Lanka was closely engaged with the process of compiling the final Communiqué. In this context, its contribution in the areas of terrorism, climate change, reform of international institutions, illegal migration, disarmament etc were adequately reflected in the final Communiqué.
Sri Lanka has been a member of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) since 2003 unprecedentedly serving three terms. The primary objective of the CMAG is to ensure that member states uphold the Harare Commonwealth Principles. During Sri Lanka’s tenure in CMAG the situation in Pakistan and Fiji were examined.
Climate change received major focus of the CHOGM this year. With regard to climate change, Sri Lanka not being an emitter of green house gases advocated the need for additional incentives including financial flows for developing countries to make commitments to enhanced action on mitigation and adaptation based on common but differentiated responsibilities. Sri Lanka further emphasized the need for a proper financial mechanism to face the challenge as the fund under Kyoto Protocol is inadequate for the efforts of adaptation of developing countries.
Sri Lanka’s delegation to CHOGM 2009 was led by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake and the pre-CHOGM Foreign Ministerial delegation by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. On the sidelines of the meetings the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister met a number of foreign heads of government which included Hon. Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia, Hon. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, Hon. Patrick Manning, Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, Hon. John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, Hon. Murray McCully, New Zealand Foreign Minister, Hon. Stephen Smith, Foreign Minister of Australia, Hon. David Miliband, Foreign Secretary of the UK and also the Hon. Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary General. They used the occasion to discuss issues of bilateral importance and on matters relating to the Commonwealth. This is in keeping with Sri Lanka’s policy of maintaining and enhancing bilateral relations through extensive engagement. The Commonwealth provides a platform for networking both within and outside the Grouping

Chicks from France suspended in Sri Lanka owing to bird flu

Chicks from France suspended in Sri Lanka owing to bird flu


Acording to daily mirror report Sri Lanka has suspended importing live chicken from France owing to the threat of bird flu, the Animal Production and Health Department said.
The Animal Production and Health Department said that chicken imported from France has been suspended following a warning that had been issued by the World Animal Health Organization (WAHO), due to the spread of bird flu in the country.
General Manager at the Animal Production and Health Department Dr. Swarna Herath speaking to Daily Mirror online said that following the warning issued by the WAHO Sri Lanka had stopped all orders placed for the next three months.
She went on to say that if within the next three months bird flu was not been effectively curbed by France that it was likely that importing chicken from the country would be further suspended.

Sri Lanka imports live fowl from a number of countries for breeding including the Netherlands, China, New Zealand, England, Australia and India.

Space shuttle Atlantis returns to Earth

Science
Space shuttle Atlantis returns to Earth
NOT READY UNTIL 2015
The new ships also will enable NASA to fly astronauts to the moon and other destinations in the solar system, in addition to the station. They will not be ready until 2015 at the earliest, however.
Until then, Russian, European and Japanese cargo ships will take over the job of flying food, fuel and supplies to the outpost, though none can handle the bulky station spare parts that fit in the shuttle cargo bay.
NASA also is hoping to turn over cargo deliveries and possibly crew transport to commercial U.S. companies.
Joining the six Atlantis astronauts for the ride back to Earth was space station flight engineer Nicole Stott, who has been aboard the outpost for three months. Stott is the last station crew member scheduled to catch a ride on the shuttle.
The Russian Soyuz capsule now becomes the station's exclusive taxi, a service that costs the United States about $50 million a seat.

India eye top spot in final Sri lanka test

India eye top spot in final Sri Lanka test

MUMBAI (Reuters) -
India will reach the top of the ICC test rankings for the first time if they win the third and final test against Sri Lanka starting Wednesday.
India lead the series 1-0 after thumping Sri Lanka by an innings and 144 runs in last week's second test in Kanpur and have been given an added incentive to make it 2-0.
India are currently third on the world rankings behind South Africa (first) and Sri Lanka (second) but are close enough to leapfrog them both with a victory in Mumbai.
Climbing to the top spot would undoubtedly represent a major milestone in Indian cricket but captain Mahendra Dhoni has tried to play down the significance, warning his players just to concentrate on the match and forget about the rankings.
"It will be an added responsibility," he said.
"Becoming the number one side is not important, we've got to maintain our performance level."
India's chances of beating the Sri Lankans have already suffered a blow with in-form opener Gautam Gambhir, the world's top-ranked batsman, pulling out of the match to attend his sister's wedding.
The left-handed Gambhir has played a significant role in India's great start to the series, scoring centuries in each of the first two tests and sharing in a 233-run opening stand with fellow centurion Virender Sehwag in Kanpur. Continued...http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE5AT10N20091130

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Id Ul Alha (Hadji Festival Day)






Id Ul Alha (Hadji Festival Day)









Eid ul-Adha (عيد الأضحى), or the Festival of Sacrifice is a public and bank holiday in Sri Lanka.


Muslims all over the world celebrate this holy day.
Hadji or the Festival of Sacrifice (Turkish: Kurban Bayramı) is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims in Sri Lanka and worldwide in commemoration of the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God.

The devil tempted Ibrahim by saying he should disobey God and spare his son. As Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son, God intervened and instead provided a lamb as the sacrifice. This is why today all over the world Muslims who have the means to, sacrifice an animal (usually a goat or a sheep), as a reminder of Ibrahim’s obedience to God. The meat is then shared out with family, friends (Muslims or non-Muslims), as well as the poor members of the community (source: wiki)

It falls approximately 70 days after Eid ul-Fitr (end of Ramadan) and is celebrated in honor of the prophet Abraham willingness to sacrifice his son as a proof of his loyalty to God. Celebrations usually include presenting an animal (usually a cow or a sheep) sacrifice, and the meat is shared with family, friends and those in need. The festival also marks the end of the Pilgrimage or Hajj to Mecca. During the Hajj, male pilgrims are required to dress only in a garment consisting of two sheets of white unhemmed cloth, with the top draped over the torso and the bottom secured by a white sash; plus a pair of sandals.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Obama sends letter to President Rajapakse for Tissainayagam’s release

Obama sends letter to PresidentRajapaksa for Tissainayagam’s release

U.S.Presidment Obama has sent an urgent letter to the President Mahinda Rajapakse for the release of Senior Journalist Tissainayagam who was sentenced to jail some months ago by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.
Tissainayagam was sentenced under the Terrorist investigation Dept. charges in the misdst of a huge storm of protests locally and internationally.

President Obama’s letter has urged the release of Tissainayagam based on human rights considerations.
Read More:
http://releasetissa.blogspot.com

http://http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/2150

http://www.thecolombotimes.com/political-news/7745-tissanayagam-gets-20-years-ri-.html

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Third presidential candidate enters race

Third presidential candidate enters race

A third candidate entered the race of Sri Lanka's presidential election on Wednesday while the election date is yet to be announced.

Wickramabahu Karunaratna of the Left Front called himself the common left candidate pitted against incumbent President Mahinda Rajapakse and the main opposition candidate yet to be named.

"Both the two sides have failed to resolve the Tamil minority issues and both have been responsible for suppressing them," Karunaratna charged.

The election date is expected to be announced by end of this week by the Commissioner of Elections.

The incumbent Rajapakse said on Monday that he opted for a snap poll two years ahead of schedule.

It is widely expected that former Army Commander General SarathFonseka will contest the presidential poll as the common candidate of the opposition parties.

Pakistan FM urges India to allay domestic pressure, resume dialogue

Foriegn news -Pakistan
Pakistan FM urges India to allay domestic pressure, resume dialogue

Foreign Minister of Pakistan Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi has urged India to overcome its domestic political pressure and resume composite dialogue process with Pakistan as time is running out.
He said that the message has already been conveyed to India that delay in the resumption of bilateral dialogue process could change the situation in Pakistan. He said that if India is not ready to talk, then Pakistan should not press for the talks.Fortunately enough a significant number of Indians are convinced that the dream of making India an economic power could not be materialized without settling issues with Pakistan, he said.He said indeed, there is a significant constituency of peace preachers both in Pakistan and India.

The FO of Pakistan holds that in present scenario it seems that India is not serious in resumption of dialogue, on different bilateral issues including Kashmir. The Prime Ministers of both countries had agreed at a summit in Egypt that terrorist acts, would not affect the negotiations between India and Pakistan in future. Pakistan has categorically denied any links with Bombay incident, instead its agencies made efforts to collect all related facts about that incident. But Pakistan has not got good signals from India, and there was need of sincerity and seriousness for settlement of all issues including Kashmir dispute, Commenting on Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s remarks about Jammu and Kashmir in an interview with CNN, Foreign Office reminded India that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory awaiting settlement in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The spokesman said, “India is only one of the parties to the dispute; it cannot, therefore, unilaterally change the status of the dispute or place preconditions in open contradiction to the right of self-determination of Kashmiris.”

Rather the intentions of India can be well understood by the recent remarks of Indian Army Chief on offensive nuclear doctrine.

Terming Indian Army Chief’s remarks about nuclear war as reflection of India’s offensive nuclear doctrine, Pakistan on Tuesday said it was fully capable of safeguarding its national sovereignty and defending its borders. In response to a question regarding the reported remarks by India’s Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor on Monday warning that ‘a limited war under a nuclear overhang is still very much a reality at least in the Indian sub-continent’, Foreign Office Spokesman on Tuesday said that these remarks only reaffirm India’s dangerous and offensive nuclear doctrine. “India has long been working on the so-called ‘Cold Start’ strategy and preparing for a limited war against Pakistan. General Kapoor’s statement confirms the hegemonic thrust of India’s nuclear doctrine”, the spokesman added. The Spokesman said that the international community should take notice of General Kapoor’s remarks and India’s long-term intentions. He said that major powers have a particular responsibility in this regard, adding, they should refrain from steps that in any manner negatively affect the strategic balance in South Asia. The Spokesman added that “Pakistan is fully capable of safeguarding its national sovereignty and defending its borders. As a responsible country, we will continue promoting peace and stability in South Asia on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sri Lankan migrants to leave Australian ship off Indonesia

Sri Lankan migrants to leave Australian ship off Indonesia

Jakarta -
A group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers were to leave an Australian customs ship moored off Indonesia's Bintan island Wednesday after a three-week standoff, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry said. The 56 migrants are the remainder of a group of 78 Sri Lankans who were picked up by the Australian ship Oceanic Viking in international waters one month ago while on their way to Australia, claiming persecution in their homeland.
They were taken to port off Bintan but they refused to disembark, demanding they be sent to Australia.
Last week, 22 migrants agreed to go ashore and enter an Australian-funded refugee centre in Tanjung Pinang on Bintan, after being promised speedy processing for their refugee claims by the UN refugee agency UNHCR, but the others remained adamant in their refusal.
Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said the 56 Sri Lankans had now agreed to leave the ship.
"A team from related departments have met them and will send them to the detention centre in Tanjung Pinang," Faizasyah said.
"They would be detained for one month after their claims are processed by the UNHCR before they could be sent to a third country willing [to take them in], possibly Australia," he said.

He said the verification process would take a week.
Australia has seen a fresh influx of undocumented migrants from conflict-hit countries such as Afghanistan and Sri Lanka this year.
Most Australia-bound asylum seekers arrive on small boats from Indonesia, where they have paid smugglers to arrange their passage.

Sri Lanka signs agreement with SSTL for space capability

Sri Lanka signs agreement with SSTL for space capability

The Director General of the Sri Lankan Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, Priyantha Kariyapperuma and Professor Sir Martin Sweeting of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited ( SSTL ), signed a landmark agreement today.

This agreement starts a Sri Lankan national space capability by providing an SSTL Earth Observation satellite and commencing the definition and design of Sri Lanka's first communications satellite. Peter Hayes, the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka recognised the value of the agreement, saying "This project is exciting for the development of telecommunications in Sri Lanka and will strengthen the ties between the two countries."The programme, including a training and development programme and collaborative activities between the University of Surrey and leading Sri Lankan academic institutes, will promote academic, industrial and socio-economic development. The project has been approved by the Sri Lankan government under the personal direction of His Excellency, President Mahinda Rajapaksa.Professor Sir Martin Sweeting, who also chairs the Space Centre of the University of Surrey, said "Sri Lanka has already demonstrated a keen interest in space based technology, supported through numerous programmes within the country's universities and other academic organisations such as the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies. Our close partnership will allow Sri Lanka to fully embrace the benefits of space technology through training and education while stimulating industrial development. The economic benefits resulting from space based communications including TV, broadband services and earth observation applications are substantial and will positively contribute to the country's development as a "high-tech" trading nation".
More:http://media-newswire.com/release_1106185.html

Pakistan Air Chief meets President Rajapaksa

Pakistan Air Chief meets President

Commander of the Pakistani Air Force Air Chief Marshal Rao Kamar Suleman met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday morning at the President’s House in Kandy.

The Air Force Commander is on a 7 day official visit to Sri Lanka. The President thanked him for the timely action taken by the Pakistani Air Force when the Sri Lankan Cricket team was attacked in Lahore.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani Air Force Commander met his Sri Lankan counterpart Air Chief Marshal Roshan Gunatilake yesterday evening. The meeting took place at the Air Force Headquarters. A Guard-of-Honour was also held.

At this occasion the two Commanders exchanged souvenirs. The Pakistani Air Force Commander also met with the Air Force Chief of Staff as well as other senior Air Force officers.
Defend adviser of Pakistan high Commission office of Colombo, Kol.Khuram shake hands with the presidnet Rajapakse

Pakistan Foriegn minister urges India to allay domestic pressure, resume dialogue

Pakistan Foriegn Mininister Qureshi urges India to allay domestic pressure, resume dialogue

ISLAMABAD, (APP):

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday urged India to overcome its domestic political pressure and resume composite dialogue process with Pakistan as time is running out.In an interview with Dunya News he said, the message has already been conveyed to India that delay in the resumption of bilateral dialogue process could change the situation in Pakistan.He said that if India is not ready to talk, then Pakistan should not press for the talks.

Fortunately enough a significant number of Indians are convinced that the dream of making India an economic power could not be materialised without settling issues with Pakistan, he said.

Responding to another question he said Indeed, there is a significant constituency of peace preachers both in Pakistan and India.

Serious efforts on part of India needed for resumption of dialogue: FO Spokesman

Serious efforts on part of India needed for resumption of dialogue: Foriegn Office Spokesman in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, (APP):

Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit said on Friday that India is not serious in resumption of dialogue, on different bilateral issues including Kashmir. Talking to PTV, he said that Prime Minsters of both countries had agreed at a summit in Egypt that terrorist acts, would not affect the negotiations between India and Pakistan in future. The Spokesman said that Pakistan has no link with Bombay incident, istead its agencies made efforts to collect all related facts about that incident.To a question, he said that Pakistan has not got good signals from India, and there was contradiction, between statements of Indian Prime Minster and the Minister.Foreign Office Spokesman said Pakistan does not believe in anybackground diplomacy, and there was need of sincerity and seriousness for settlement of all issues including Kashmir dispute.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pakistani Air Chief shares views with Army commander




Pakistani Air Chief shares views with Army commander








A Warm Welcome was extended to Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Chief of the Air Staff Pakistan Air Force at the Army Headquarters (AHQ) Colombo this morning (14) when he visited Army Headquarters to meet Commander of Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya.
Commandant Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force and Colonel of the Regiment Sri Lanka Artillery Major General Jammika Liyanage received the visiting Pakistan Air Chief on his arrival at the entrance to the AHQ. Then the troops of Sri Lanka Artillery accorded a Guard Turnout and a Guard of Honour to Air Chief Marshal Suleman.
Later, he was welcomed by the Army Commander who introduced his Principal Staff Officers to Pakistan Air Chief at the entrance to the Commander's Office complex.
During bilateral discussions that subsequently took place at Army Commander's office, Air Chief Marshal Suleman shared views with Army Commander on issues related to mutual security developments and concerns in the region.
At the end of the official meeting, two military chiefs exchanged mementoes. Air Chief Marshal Suleman placed his signature in the Visitors' Book to mark his visit to Army Headquarters.
Defence Attach‚ of the Pakistan High Commission in Sri Lanka Colonel Syed Khurram Hassnain Alam, Military Secretary Major General Milinda Pieris and few senior officers were present on the occasion.
Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman who arrived in the country on Thursday (12) is scheduled to meet several senior military officers during his brief stay in the island.