Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mahinda Tells Mano Ganesan That he will let Jaffna University Student Issue be Handled by Higher Education Minister SB Dissanayake

Struggle of JVP was an insurgency that did not demand the division of the country but the struggle of LTTE wanted division of country. President wanted DPF leader Mano Ganesan to explain this fact to the Jaffna University students who had alleged to have commemorated the later.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa made the above view responding to Ganesan’s appeal to the President to directly intervene in the matter of the Jaffna University students and prevent the country from slipping back into the old abyss of disunity.
The conversation occurred yesterday when President Rajapaksa telephoned to wish DPF leader Ganesan on his birthday which fell on Monday 17th.
Ganesan said that the President admitted that he has not been fully briefed about the Jaffna university issue since that minister of higher education S. B. Dissanayake is not in the country at the moment. President has assured Ganesan that he would direct minister Dissanayake to intervene in the Jaffna university students row once he returns home shortly.
Ganesan said that both JVP and LTTE took up arms against the state of Sri Lanka. JVP did not demand separation but wanted whole of Sri Lanka through armed struggle in 1971 and 1989. It amounts to separation or even more.
During the rebellion JVP cadres formed their own administration in certain pockets in the southern parts of the country in 1989. They even conducted kangaroo court proceedings during their days. Can JVP cadre turned minister Vimal Weerawansa deny this?
We are a democratic party. Taking up arms against the elected state and the people is not acceptable to us. Separation is not acceptable to us. But we respect the rights of the people to commemorate the dead of both south and north.
Therefore the known difference to us is that JVP fighters were not Tamils and LTTE cadres are Tamils.
Today the Jaffna university student issue is no longer an issue of the higher education ministry. It has taken different turns after the arrests of the students. Thus, it has effectively become a matter that should be handled by the President as the defense minister.
But however, Ganesan said that, President responded him by saying that the issue has been inflated by political elements and therefore he will still direct the higher education minister to handle it.
President has also said during the telephone conversation that he looks forward to solve the national question during the period of TNA leader Sampanthan.

Cell busted but LTTE men still in TN: Cops

By A Selvaraj, TNN | Dec 21, 2012, 05.04 AM IST
CHENNAI: Three more LTTE men are moving around in Tamil Nadu, investigators questioning the four LTTE operatives arrested on Wednesday have learnt.

One of the three, as part of a plan to revive the organisation in Sri Lanka, is said to be in Madurai, trying to bring together sympathisers of the outfit that had been destroyed by the
Sri Lankan army in 2009.

On Wednesday, based on information provided by the Sri Lankan army, Tamil Nadu Q branch sleuths raided a house at Pozhichalur near Pammal in suburban Chennai and arrested LTTE operatives S Suresh Kumar alias Chera Suresh, 34, D Udaya Doss, 39 , T Maheswaran, 33, and K Krishnamurthy, 29. Suresh Kumar, an electronics expert who lost his legs in an explosion during the Eelam war and now moves around on a wheelchair, told investigators that "three more LTTE operatives were roaming around in the state and one of them was in Madurai."
Though Suresh Kumar didn't reveal their names, police teams have been formed to nab the three operatives. A 'Q' branch police officer said the "operatives planned to attack many places in Sri Lanka to create a law and order problem there." Investigators said Krishnamurthy, who supplied water cans in the locality, befriended Udaya Doss and Maheswaran and took them to Suresh Kumar. The former LTTE operative trained them to make improvised explosive devices ( IEDs) and electronic circuits for a variety of bombs and planned to send them to the island nation.

"Two of the four arrested men came to Tamil Nadu as refugees in 2001 and 2003, while the others managed to sneak into the state in 2009 when the Eelam war was in its final stages," the officer said. During questioning, the arrested men said they had taken the house in Pammal on rent more than two months ago. Doss was a carpenter and Maheswaran a photo editor.

Sri Lanka beggar with Dh58,000 bank balance He is the owner of a van, two three wheelers and has Rs2m in bank

By Correspondent
Beggars are an eye sore and menace in every society. In Sri Lanka, they are a common sight in buses and trains when people embark on long distance journeys. Most sing for their supper entertaining commuters, then there are the disabled and destitute mothers pleading for help to feed their infants. However, people are wary of tricksters who have made begging a profession.
During a crackdown by security officers recently at a railway station in Ragama, a suburb of Colombo, 18 people begging inside train compartments were taken into custody.

More significantly, one of the poor souls turned out to be a rich beggar, according to a report in sinhala daily Lankadeepa.

It was discovered that he was the owner of a van, two three wheelers (auto rickshaws) and had Rs.2 million (approximately Dh58,000) in his bank account.

At the time of his arrest he had collected over Rs4,000 (Dh114) within two hours, the Railway Security personnel said.

This wealthy beggar has rented out his two three wheelers and earns a daily income.

Although he is disabled, he travels to Ragama railway station in his van and enters the station for his job.

During the course of investigations it was revealed that while begging, he dresses up in dirty clothes and late in the evening he relaxes at home in a clean outfit. A resident of Narammala from Kurunegala, is situated in the North Western Province, he has been in this 'profession' for a long time.

The raid took place when passengers complained of beggar menace.

Each beggar was fined Rs2,000 (Dh57) by a Colombo magistrate. If they could not afford to pay the fine, they face six months imprisonment suspended for five years.

Five free things to do in Sri Lanka

2012-12-20 14:46
When Lonely Planet announced its top 10 destinations for 2013 earlier this year, it was refreshing to find the little tear-drop shaped island of Sri-Lanka at the top of the list.
Although the well-loved travel site dubbed it a cut-price paradise, a lot of budget travellers seem to disagree, citing exuberant prices to enter some of the country's most famous attractions. So, while we do suggest that you splash out on at least one or two extravagant spends (perhaps a visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Sanctuary, which will cost about R200 or entering the famous citadel of Sigiriya for about R216), here are five awesome things to enjoy without spending a cent.
1. Visit the pretty village of Ella
Surrounded by tea plantation-covered hills as well as burgeoning jungles, the highlands village of Ella is located 23Km from capital city, Colombo at a Elevation of 1041m and provides the perfect spot from where to explore Sri Lanka's natural bounty. Walk all along the railway line, through lush vegetation, and discover hidden waterfalls and temples or spend some time finding out more about the way your 11 o'clock brew comes into being.
While you could make it a cheap and pretty easy day trip, you may want to stay on for a day or two in one of the numerous guesthouses run by locals.
2. Climb Adam's Peak
Adam's Peak is a mountain located a few hours from Colombo in the south-central hill district. What makes it special, however, is the fact that it's considered to be a ‘holy mountain' and also a religious pilgrimage site for Hindus, Christians and Buddhists. Between December and May every year, thousands of pilgrims make their way up the mountain after dark, with the idea of watching the sun rise from their and witnessing the legendary sri pada shadow, which forms a perfect triangle. Visitors are welcome to join in the annual trek.
While you could also climb up during the day, sticking to the way locals do it is probably best - as you avoid the heat of the day, and also get to experience the picturesque procession of lights. The climb takes about 3 hours, and warrants a bit of effort.
3. Visit some of the old colonial buildings
Colonised by both the English and the Dutch at different times, Sri Lanka still carries the vestiges of these European cultures in various forms. One of the most pleasing ways to explore this part of the country's past is to check out some of the beautiful old, colonial buildings dotted around Colombo, the hill district and the south west coast.
Many of them are currently being used to hotels, giving visitors the opportunity to explore free of charge. Galle Face Hotel in Colombo and The Grand Hotel in Nuara Ellia are two examples of grand British colonial architecture.
4. Hike to Lipton's Seat
Lipton tea has become something of a household name in tea drinking countries across the world, however, what many may not know is that it has its humble origins in the hills of Sri Lanka.
The original plantation can be found close to Haputale and still produces and sells a variety of teas. While you may be charged to do a tour of the plantation, visitors can hike up to the spot where mr. Lipton himself used to sit and look out over rolling green terraces free of charge. The hike takes between two and three hours and has been described as somewhat strenuous. The hike takes you up along steep back roads, through fragrant tea bushes and right among the plantation workers.
5. Bum around on the beach
Like one would expect from any island worth its salt, Sri Lanka is rimmed by a treasury of incredible beaches.
As with most coastal areas, some have become overly commercial in the past few years, while others are known as a paradise for laid-back surfers and sun-seekers.
If you want to experience Sri Lanka's coastal living at its best, head to the town of Unawatuna in the Galle District. A huge variety of beaches, coral reefs and mangrove forests are easily accessible from here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sri Lanka's Jan-Nov tourist arrivals hit record high

Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:57pm IST
COLOMBO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals hit a record high in the first 11 months of 2012, surpassing its annual peak recorded last year,  government data showed on Tuesday.

The number of foreign visitors has jumped 16.5 percent on year to 883,353 in Jan-Nov, higher than the island nation's record high arrivals of 855,975 hit in 2011.
The arrivals in November rose 20.1 percent to 109,202.
The number of visitors has risen year-on-year in the past 43 months since a 25-year civil war ended in May 2009.
The following table shows tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka:   

                                              2012                                      2011                        Change 
                                                                            (in %) 
      November                       109,202                90,889                   20.1  
      Jan-Nov                          883,353                758,458                 16.5
      Jan-Dec                          855,975          
The tourism board expects over one million tourists in 2012, yielding revenue of more than $1 billion, up from last year's record $830.3 million.

Revenue from tourism rose 22.1 percent to $790.1 million in the first 10 months of 2012 from the same period last year.

Tourism is one of the main foreign exchange earners for   Sri Lanka's $59 billion economy, along with remittances from expatriate workers, garments and tea.
($1 = 128.550 Sri Lanka rupees)

 (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil Nair)