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Showing posts from August, 2009

Sri Lanka specially mentioned in press release issued by Reporters Without Borders to mark the 26th International Day of the Disappeared

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 (August 29, 2009 - Lanka Polity) In a press release issued to mark the 26th International Day of the Disappeared on 30 August, Reporters Without Borders has provided a grim reminder that nothing has been heard, sometimes for years, of scores of journalists, who have been kidnapped, arrested or simply kept “appointments” that turned out to be traps in many countries including Sri Lanka. Mexico, where eight journalists have disappeared since the year 2000, has been identified as the country most affected by this plague while Sri Lanka is mentioned next to that country. Press release says "In January 2009, The International Press Freedom Mission to Sri Lanka condemned the “culture of impunity and indifference” surrounding the disappearances of journalists in the country. Soldiers arrested Subramaniam Ramachandran, correspondent for Tamil dailies Thinakural and Valampuri, close to a military camp, Kalikai Junction, in the north of Jaffna, in the north of the country on 15 Febru

International Bar Association condemns death threats to Sri Lankan lawyer cum human rights activist

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(August 28, 2009 Lanka Polity) The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has condemned the death threat made to one of Sri Lanka’s leading human rights activists Mr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, the Executive Director of the Colombo-based think tank Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA).Concerned by this serious threat to Mr Saravanamuttu’s personal safety,the IBAHRI has today written to the Sri Lanka authorities urging them to protect his fundamental rights and physical security, and to conduct a full investigation into the anonymous death threat received by Mr Saravanamuttu at his home on 20 August 2009. The IBAHRI says it understands that the threat comes under a belief that Mr. Saravanamuttu divulged information to the EU Commissioner for External Relations which could cause the European Union to suspend the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus; preferential trading benefits to Sri Lanka due to expire in October. The death threat apparently stated ‘

New regulations to control misuse of polythene in Sri Lanka

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(August 16, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka government has made labeling compulsory for polythene products with effect from August 15. All polythene product manufacturers should label their products with information such as license number of the Environment Protection Authority, registration number, name and address of the manufacturing company, thickness in microns, length and width of the product in millimeters and the product’s generic name. Polythene production factories mushroomed in the island during the recent past. Before Sri Lanka imposed ban on less than 20 micron polythene in 2007, there were around less than 300 hundred factories. The number increased around ten fold after the ban as the polythene manufacturing became a cottage industry. According to the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA), there are only a very few eco-friendly bag producing factories in the country. Central Environmental Authority and the Consumer Affairs Authority are monitoring the polythene manufactu

Sri Lanka polity on the verge of the limit of bearing police atrocities

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(August 15, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Sri Lankan polity seems at the brink of the limit of the patience on the ongoing spate of police atrocities. On August 13, Angulana police station situated around 10 km south of Colombo was attacked by the residents of the area following the recovery of the bodies of two youths that were arrested the previous day in relation to an incident of indecency towards a woman. The two victims, Dhanushka Udaya Kumara (21) and Dinesh Tharanga (27) were the residents of houses close to Angulana Cooperative Shop. The mother of Dinesh Tharanga, Devika Vinifreeda says that she visited her son and his friend that were in police custody in the night of August 12th. However, when she went to visit them again in the following morning, the officers had told her that the suspects were released. The police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekara said that there are no entries regarding the said arrest in police files. A spokesman of Mount Lavinia police station said to Dinamina

Second Indian expert declines to be adviser to Sri Lanka President.

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(August 13, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Internationally renowned Indian agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan, who is considered the father of the Green Revolution that radically improved India's food output in the 1960s, has decided not to accept Sri Lanka President's offer to be adviser for the agricultural development in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.  Swaminathan, 84, visited Sri Lanka and met President Mahinda Rajapaksa in June after the Sri Lankan state forces defeated the Tamil nationalist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) confining the entire 280,000 some population of Wanni in refugee camps. "I don't plan to go immediately (to Sri Lanka) unless there is some kind of political settlement," Swaminathan told IANS. "There are people who feel that unless Tamils in Sri Lanka can live in dignity, other things are subsidiary. This is their viewpoint. I have no plans to go to Sri Lanka in the immediate future. There are a lot of people who have been

Sri Lanka to get more loans from international financial market at high interest rate

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(August 12, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka is planning to issue $500 million of five-year dollar bonds, aiming for a coupon rate of around 7 percent. This is the second such loan after Sri Lanka's debut five-year, $500 million sovereign dollar bond, which was oversubscribed 300 percent when it was issued in October 2007 with a coupon rate of 8.25 percent. The government is in close contact with the HSBC and JP Morgan with regard to the loan subject.  Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal recently said the central bank would decide by August whether to pursue a $500 million sovereign bond, a syndicated loan or extend existing bills and bonds open to foreign investors. A a Sri Lanka central bank official said to Reuters on August 11 that it had accepted $190 million in bids for two-year Sri Lanka development bonds at auction. The bonds will are priced at six-month LIBOR plus 4.50 percent.

KP - Gota joint operation to suppress the remnants of the LTTE

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(August 12, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Reliable sources reveal that KP, a.k.a Selvarasa Pathmanathan or Kumaran Pathanathan who was captured in Malaysia and brought to Colombo by Sri Lanka government is now assisting the government to crack down on the remnants of his organization locally and internationally. KP was appointed the General Secretary of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) after his leader Velupillai Prabakaran was killed by government forces on May 18, 2009 at a location in Mullaithivu district of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. KP is the senior-most remaining leader of the LTTE. The brother of the President Mahinda Rajapakse, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who excelled in defeating one the most sophisticated and long lasted guerrilla movement, had one to one talks with KP immediately after he was brought to Colombo, reliable sources say. Unconfirmed reports say that KP was captured and brought to Colombo following an undisclosed understanding between h

British Tamils Forum says KP arrest is illegal abduction

(August 11, 2009 - Lanka Polity) British Tamils Forum says that the Sri Lankan Government has once again exposed its arrogance as a ‘democratic state’ apparently unbound by international law and order, extending their practice of illegal abductions, kidnap, disappearances and violations of human rights with impunity, this time across international borders. The military establishment’s disrespect and disregard to international law and order in Sri Lanka is now being permitted internationally, it seems, the British Tamils Forum says . Through the statement issued, British Tamils demand: •        UK Government to, along with other governments, demand from the Sri Lankan Government that Mr Pathmanathan must be produced immediately in a court of law and charges made against him as soon as possible •        The ICRC must be given access to Mr Pathmanathan immediately and Article 3 Convention against torture must be followed to protect Mr Pathmanathan’s human rights and safeguard his wellb

Amnesty International launches "Unlock the Camps in Sri Lanka" campaign

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(August 11, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Amnesty International has launched a campaign called "Unlock the Camps in Sri Lanka."   The campaign also includes a Facebook application and a 34-page briefing paper, both of which can be found at:  http://blog.amnestyusa.org/ asia/unlock-the-camps-in-sri- lanka/ .  An online letterwriting action for the campaign can be found at http://takeaction.amnestyusa. org/siteapps/advocacy/index. aspx?c=jhKPIXPCIoE&b=2590179& template=x.ascx&action=12651 .   Please consider taking action, through the Facebook application and/or the online letterwriting action, to help the displaced civilians in Sri Lanka, AI appeals. "These (camps) are effectively detention camps. They are run by the military and the camp residents are prevented from leaving them; they are denied basic legal safeguards. The government's claim that it needs to hold people to carry out screening is not a justifiable reason to detain civilians including entire fam

How can the archaeological sites in Sri Lanka be saved from the treasure hunters?

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(August 11, 2009 - Lanka Polity) On August 09, an unknown group of treasure hunters exploded a stone bed in 'Mihindu Guhava' caves in historic Mihinthale archeological site in Sri Lanka. Buddhists believe this bed was used by Arhath Mahinda Thero, the monk who is believed the person that introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka in 3rd century BC. The treasure hunters damaged three of the four circular carvings at the four corners of the stone bed, site sources say. The officials of the Archaeological Department point out that there are not sufficient watchers to guard this site. An entire Army will not be sufficient to guard the archaeological sites that are scattered all over Sri Lanka including forests. These archaeological sites can be protected only by educating public that these places are not the treasure caches or the items that can be sold to foreigners for a lucrative income. Instead the public should be motivated to identify them as heritage from the past that should be

Sri Lanka ruling party defeated among Tamils liberated by the government

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(August 10, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Nobody seems astonished with the massive victory of the ruling united People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) at the Uva Provincial Council election. The 'democratic'way the Rajapakse regime conducts election campaigns manipulating public property as unlimited party resources is a blatant daylight robbery of public consent. However, it is unequivocal that the UPFA is popular enough to register a landslide victory in an election in south in the aftermath of the defeat of the Tamil Tigers even if the elections are conducted actually democratically. Government needs not only victory but also the destruction of the opponents. Writing to the The Island today, Dr. Dayan Jayathilaka says, "While a municipal election does not usually qualify as historic, the elections to local authorities in Jaffna and Vavuniya certainly are. They are the first elections to be held in the centers of Tamil political life after the end of the Thirty Years War

Sarah Palin Capitalism and future of mankind

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Naomi Klein The following was adapted from a speech on May 2, 2009 at The Progressive’s 100th anniversary conference and originally printed in The Progressive magazine, August 2009 issue.  We are in a progressive moment, a moment when the ground is shifting beneath our feet, and anything is possible. What we considered unimaginable about what could be said and hoped for a year ago is now possible. At a time like this, it is absolutely critical that we be as clear as we possibly can be about what it is that we want because we might just get it. So the stakes are high. Bailout works I usually talk about the bailout in speeches these days. We all need to understand it because it is a robbery in progress, the greatest heist in monetary history. But today I’d like to take a different approach: What if the bailout actually works, what if the financial sector is saved and the economy returns to the course it was on before the crisis struck? Is that what

Will Sri Lanka follow Gambia?

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(August 08, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka that boasts to be a great nation, especially following the defeat of the Tamil Ealam nationalist movement Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) is trying to be example to world in many other phenomenons as well other than 'defeating terrorism.' But some other more backward nations are more forward in some points and Sri Lanka has to follow them, at least for some time until this 'big miracle' overtake them. This news highlights what can happen in Sri Lanka in recent future. DAKAR, 7 August 2009 (IRIN) - Rights groups have criticized the two-year jail sentences meted out in the Gambia to six journalists for publishing a statement criticizing President Yahya Jammeh. The journalists, working for The Point and Foroyaa newspapers, were sentenced on charges of sedition and criminal defamation for publishing a 11 June press union statement criticizing the president’s comments on the unsolved murder of Deyda Hydar

Civilian life of Sri Lanka's Northern Province normalizing slowly after military defeat of rebels

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(August 07, 2009 -Lanka Polity) More than 100,000 of people reportedly flocked into the Duraiappa esplanade in Jaffna in Northern Province of Sri Lanka to see the Sri Lankan and Indian Tamil singers perform after a long time in the cultural capital of Sri Lankan Tamils.Duraiappa was a mayor of the city who was gunned down by the rebels, marking the beginning of the bloody civil strife that took around 80,000 lives in a span of three decades. The musical show was organized by the government parallel to the elections for the Jaffna Municipal Council.The residents of Jaffna have limited freedom for cultural activities since the peninsula is under curfew in each night for years. Government has deployed 40,000 military personnel, 99% Sinhalese, to guard the Tamil dominated city. The Army to civilian ratio is one tenth there, sources say. Government media say that the tight security has been eased now for the benefit of the residents. Following the military defeat of the Liberation Tig

Rs. 11.2 million wasted to remove illegal publicity materials in five elections - Sri Lanka Election Commissioner

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(August 07, 2009 -Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dishanayaka said at an election-eve press conference that his department spent Rs. 11.2 million to remove the illegal publicity material like posters, banners, hoardings etc. in five past elections in vain. He said further allocations would not be granted to police since they did not perform the job well and the department funds were wasted. The Election Commissioner leveled a scathing attack at the election system of the country that he said the people with money and muscle power are advantaged. Political ethics would not improve until the current election system was changed, he added. Sri Lanka is to hold elections for the Uva Provincial Council, Jaffna Municipal Council and Vavuniya Urban Council tomorrow.

Sri Lanka police officer abducts and tortures an IT student due to enmity with his son

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(August 06, 2009 - Lanka Polity) A student of Sri Lanka's IT campus in Malabe says that he was tortured by police due to an enmity with an offspring of a senior police official. The offspring is also a student of the same campus. The victim Nipuna Ramanayaka of Rathnapura says that a police team abducted him and took him to the house of the Director of the Colombo Crime Division Vaas Gunawardhana. Ramanayaka said while being treated for injuries in National Hospital that he was beaten by the wife of the above mentioned police officer, the son of the police officer who is also a student of the university and by others. They even uprooted his hair and beard and made him to eat them, the student said. A similar act took place in the incident of abduction and assault of the Working Journalists' Association Secretary Poddala Jayantha. Later, the parents found the student in Dematagoda police station. The victim says that police threatened him to link him to the underworld and to

Dialog and Airtel competing to buy Tigo

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(August 06, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Telecom Malaysia that owns Sri Lanka's largest mobile communication network with 5.8 million subscribers and Bharathi Airtel that has invested $125 million and boasts about one million mobile connections within the launch of its operations in Sri Lanka are competing to buy the Tigo. Tigo, owned by Luxembourg-based Millicom International, has a network with over two million subscribers. Tigo  is Sri Lanka's third largest mobile operator and it is worth $150-200 million. India's Bharathi Airtel, Malaysia's Axiata Group, Russia's Vimpelcom and UAE's Etisalat are competing for Tigo. Axiata Group owns 85% of Dialog Telecom. Last month, Millicom said it had received expressions of interest for its Asian assets and that it had appointed Goldman Sachs as advisor for the transaction. The company said it may either break up its Asian assets and sell them separately or may consider selling them together.

Pressure mounting on Sri Lanka government to hold the operation against underworld

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(August 05, 2009 - Lanka Polity) The operations of Sri Lanka state against the underworld goons has come under severe pressure from the government politicians as the hand has stretched 'too far' to the official staffs of the Ministers. A prominent Minister who is eying to the foreign affairs job is now talking about human rights following one of the members of his personal staff was taken into custody with weapons due to links with the underworld. Another Minister who is ill-famous for his notoriety had to accompany a well known drug dealer via VIP exit to board in a flight to England and had to stay in the aeroplane till it was ready to take off to save the life of his companion. Sources say that the Ministers are pointing out to the leaders that they will need these underworld goon to run election campaigns. However, reliable sources say that the leaders are unable to hold the operation since they cannot get the officials that lead it bowed to political influence. Mea

Sri Lanka to have a true census after 30 years

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(August 05, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka Statistics Department is preparing for a country wide population census in 2011. This is the first time in 30 years the Department is to hold a complete and accurate island wide census. After the 1981 census, the government failed to conduct census in most parts of the Northern and Eastern Provinces that were under influence of the Tamil Tiger guerrillas who were militarily defeated in May 2009. The population figures the state has now are inaccurate due to theese incomplete census. This was clearly displayed with the government's calculations on the number of people in the uncleared areas during the last leg of the siege against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). There are around 280,000 internally displaced persons in refugee camps now although the government calculated far less number of people in the no-fire zone during the last stage of the war. Sri Lanka Statistics Department projects the population is above 20 millio

Sri Lanka Human Rights Minister's coordinating secretary abducted; suspected of being an underworld leader

(August 04, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Shan Jayasinghe, a coordinating secretary of Sri Lanka Minister of Human Rights has been abducted by a an unknown group that came in a white van. The fate of the victim is yet to be known. The person is known as an underworld gang leader in his residential area, Mathugama in the Kaluthara district despite his being a coordinating secretary of the minister of Human Rights. Sri Lanka government has launched an operation against the underworld.

LTTE re-organizing among Diaspora Tamils; elections for a transnational government in April 2010

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(August 04, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), the movement that fought for a ethnic Tamil dominated separate state in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka for three decades is silently re-organizing among the Diaspora Tamils following Sri Lanka Government militarily uprooted their forces within the island. Sources say that the new LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP is consolidating power within the structure. Sri Lankan intelligence wings recently focused attention towards the involvement of a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP who is now abroad on leave to strike a compromise between KP and the LTTE's Diaspora Affairs leader Castro who was not in good terms with the new leader. LTTE is trying to give it a democratic face in restructuring. However, the sources say that it has become very difficult for the movement to adjust to democracy following decades of militant politics. Meanwhile, US resident Viswanathan Rudrakumaran, an offsprin

Net polythene usage gone up after Sri Lanka's ban

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(August 03, 2009 - Lanka Polity) A study in markets of Sri Lanka revealed that the laws introduced by the state since the beginning of 2007 to curtail the use of polythene had completely failed and it had caused rapid increase of net usage  this environmentally hazardous material. Although the manufacturing, sale and use of less than 20 micron thickness of polythene is illegal in Sri Lanka, they can be easily acquired from all the nooks and corners of the country including the IDP camps. All the rhetoric of the then Minister of Environment Maithripala Sirisena to introduce alternates to 'shopping bags' led the country to nowhere and the packaging industry moved to use more polythene and plastic after the introduction of these regulations. Even the curd manufacturers that traditionally used earthen pots for packaging have begun to use plastic now. Although there were around 300 polythene manufacturing factories by the time the laws were introduced, the number has escalated b

Come to courts tomorrow, appeals Lanka-e-News

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(August 02, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Following the abduction of Poddala Jayantha, the Secretary of the Working Journalists' Association of Sri Lanka, the police arrested Lanka-e-News journalists Sandaruwan Senadheera and Benet Rupasinghe. They were produced in court in relation to the abduction. The reason for the arrest is Rupasinghe who got the information about the abduction taking action to inform about it to the authorities and the family of the victim. Later, Poddala Jayantha appealed from the hospital bed not to put the fellow journalist under pressure for an incident they are no linked to in anyway. Following is an appeal by the Lanka-e-News team. Dear friends, The unreasonable court hearing against Lankaenews regarding the deliberate assault of fellow journalist Poddala Jayantha will begin tomorrow, The editors of Lankaenews have to face charges after being wrongfully linked to this assault, whereas the authorities have no intention whatsoever to bring the real offende

Sri Lanka's new Minister of Tourism to show "big miracles"

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(August 02, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka's new Minister of Tourism, Nandana Gunathilaka has decided to give up the recently launched tagline "Sri Lanka; Small Miracle." The Minister has made the President aware that the use of the word "small" is not suitable for a great nation like Sri Lanka. However, Gunathilaka's clan earlier opposed power sharing on the basis that Sri Lanka is a small island. Lakbima News reported that a promotional documentary film on Sri Lanka Tourism (for marketing purposes) produced by a company named Red Ice, Bombay, claimed a staggering Rs.29 million while Phoenix Ogilvy (Phoenix O&M Pvt Ltd.) the advertising company was paid a thumping Rs.40 million for creating the brand name and producing promotional material, such as brochures and posters. The minister had pointed out that the brand launch at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) cost Rs.17.7 million. The Minister sees that this as an extrava

Sri Lanka heading for a soverign bond issue

(August 02, 2009 Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka state is reportedly planning to sell sovereign bonds to raise funds possibly US $ 500 million soon, government sources say. In 2007, Central Bank of Sri Lanka  sold $500 million of bonds due in October 2012, at a yield 397.2 basis points higher than U.S. Treasuries of similar maturity. HSBC, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Barclays Capital had arranged Sri Lanka’s debut overseas bond sale.  Investors placed orders for more than three times the amount of debt sold. The government has already in touch with the HSBC and JPMorgan to arrange meetings with investors in the U.S., India, Hong Kong and Singapore to highlight prospects in the island nation after the end of its civil war.

A movie competition: The Put it On Picture Show Contest

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(August 02, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Have you always dreamed about studying at The New York Film Academy ? This is your opportunity, regardless of where you live, work and film. The Put it On Picture Show Contest is awarding just that: a free scholarship to the New York Film Academy and a cash prize of $5,000 USD for the first prize in Best Feature, Best Short, and Best Achievement in Acting categories. Second prize in Best Feature and Best Short is an HD Prosumer digital video camera. Put it On is a brand new web showcase and gallery for artists in four different areas: fashion, film, music and art. Artists get 1 free GB of virtual storage space, and can chose to make their work available for download or purchase at whatever price they chose. The site is available in 10 different languages through automated translation. To enter the competition, just submit one film showing your best work. Any topic from any part of the world is acceptable for entry. Videos can be in any lan

De-listing of the armed forces deserters of Sri Lanka; a positive step of post-civil war demilitarization

(August 01, 2009 - Lanka Polity) The government has taken a wise decision to de-list the deserters of the armed forces. It can be considered a positive step towards de-militarization of the society in the post-civil war era. They can formally retire from service between August 24 and September 14 at centers set up by their respective regiments after producing the necessary documents, Army spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said. It is believed that there are around 70,000 armed forces deserters throughout the country. Their access to normal life is restricted and some of them are compelled to illegal activities due to this reason. Thousands of deserters have left for foreign employment and they should also be given this opportunity.   Government is burdened with millions of rupees that cost to coffers to take legal action against these deserters. 

Former Sri Lankan President talks highly about what she herself had failed to do

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(August 01, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Press Trust of India reported that the former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga had strongly favored reservation for women in Sri Lanka's Parliament.  Speaking on women’s vote in politics in India she had said “Sri Lanka is one of the countries in the whole world that has the lowest representation in Parliament, we have only about 13 per cent representation and is not satisfactory". Actually, the women’s representation in the cabinet is less than 2%. Chandrika was the President of Sri Lanka since 1994 to 2005 and did next to nothing to change the situation.  Chandrika Kumaratunga had contended that women by nature were more caring and better negotiators in matter of state and governance, said the PTI report. However, she is known among her one time associates as a personality with none of the above mentioned qualities. She lost all her luster all of a sudden she had to vest in her powers to her s

Beware: mosquito repellents cause lung cancer

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(August 01, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Although Sri Lanka, a country near equator that suffers immensely due to mosquito-born diseases, widely uses mosquito coils as a repellent, no proper scientific research has never been conducted about the side effects of the chemicals used in them. The sale of mosquito coils have excalated sharply in recent years in Sri Lanka. We have observed that the companies that market mosquito coils spend lavishly to stop researches regarding the side effects of the mosquito repellents. On the other hand, the media is also highly dependent on the advertisement income of these companies and the voice against the mosquito coils is internally suppressed.  Doctors do not recommend any mosquito repellent but the mosquito net, but the low income groups have no other option to use coil in slums and refugee camps etc., there are no proper sleeping places to use a mosquito net. The scientists – Bob Krieger, Travis Dinoff and Xiaofei Zhang of the department of entomo