Monday, November 30, 2009

Five Sri Lankan artists honoured
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.

People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE)

PLOTE to Back Rajapaksa in Presidential Election

By Anuradha K. Herath for
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.
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.
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LTTE carders fleeing Sri Lanka via India

LTTE carders fleeing Sri Lanka via India

New 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.
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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

Space shuttle Atlantis returns to Earth
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...