Friday, June 21, 2013

Asia Pacific Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2013 exposed as Moonshine seller by Sri Lanka Police

Sri Lanka Excise Department officials yesterday raided an office what they call an illegal online liquor outlet.

The liquor outlet has been running since eight years based on Kapruka website that ran a service of delivering of gifts to locals on behalf of expatriates and foreigners.

The business belongs to Dulith Herath, son of a former secretary of the Ministry of Buddhist Affairs .

Police say that the web based liquor shop had been run without the impact of any legal restrictions prevailing in the island and sans a license to sell liquor too. They had delivered liquor to houses 24 hours 365 days, even on Poya days through online orders, police say.

The illegal liquor store was in Kirulapona area in the Colombo city.

ICTA (Information Communication technology agency of Sri Lanka ) adjudged  Kapruka as Sri Lanka's best e-commerce application at e-Swabhimani.

Dulith Herath has won the Asia Pacific Young Entrepreneur of The Year Award in 2013.

Excise tax is a major source of income of the government and it is always hard on poor man's moonshine, Kasippu sold bypassing taxes.

It is not selling liquor the issue but selling them without license. License means tax. Why Dulith Herath did nor apply for something he could easily get god knows.  

The raid in TV news:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sri Lanka's female journalist under threat of Buddhist extremists

Dilka Samanmali
Sri Lanka's Derana TV journalist Dilka Samammali has complained to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that she is receiving constant death threats following a recent TV interview with a Buddhist extremist leader.

Samanmali interviewed the secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organization Buddhist monk Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero  in Derana 360 Degrees  programme this week.

As Gnanasara Thero was stating that BBS was vehemently against alcohol, the conductor of this programme Dilka Samanmalee pointed out that the Gnansara Thero had been charged and fined in courts for an accident caused after drunk driving. The monk failed to provide a decent clarification and unsuccessfully tried to say that he was impersonating to save face of a military official who he claims was with him. Definitely, an insult to court. He appeared as the driver, OK, then, did he appear as the drunkard too? How did he blow that alcohol test balloon to prove that he was the drunk driver?

This Buddhist monk was video recorded few months back in a camera phone at Kottawa exit point of the Southern expressway scolding police officers on duty in extremely filthy language as they stopped their vehicle for a traffic offense. After involvement by some higher authorities, the monk and his crew escaped from punishment.

Meanwhile, another Buddhist monk whose name was mentioned by the BBS secretary at this interview as a person who engaged in monetary frauds using the goodwill of the BBS, held a press conference today and denied the allegations. He urged the Gnanasara Thero to return the equipment robbed from his possession after harassing him. Thiis monk Mahamithawa Pannarathana Thero was earlier introduced by the Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero as a Investigative Chief of BBS.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A blog blocked in Sri Lanka for the first time

For the first time in Sri Lanka in my perception, the government has blocked access to a blog in the country.

The blog is which apparently is run by a Sinhala Muslim person.

The blog is written mainly in Sinhala language and it was discussing a lot of controversial issues.

The major focus of the blog was safeguarding Muslim rights and promoting Islam.In the recent times, the blog was highly critical on the government.

The blogger Ahmad Anver Manatunga says that the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission contacted via his lawyers has informed him that the blog was blocked under an order of the Ministry of Defense.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Buddhist extremist kangaroo court Ravana Balaya excerts hatred on evangelical Christian group

Sri Lanka's Buddhist extremist Ravana Balaya organization which is raising its head as a kangaroo court style terror squad today rounded up a group of evangelical Christians that were distributing a religious magazine in the outskirts of Colombo city and handed over them to the police.

The group of persons that came under the threat of the Buddhist monks of the Ravana Balaya was Jehovah's Witnesses who were distributing the Sinhala version of an international magazine called 'Awake!.

Although there was no law to arrest such persons, police summoned to the scene by Buddhist monks took them to Mulleriyawa police station and held them there. They were released after the involvement of officials from the headquarters of the religious organization and news videos showed in television the leader of the Ravana Balaya Ittekande Saddhathissa Thero severely warning them right inside the police station.

Ravana Balaya involved in a number of similar kangaroo court  trials in the last week. They forcibly entered as a mob into the Met Department to question the officials regarding failure to forecast . Rushed into Sri Lanka Cricket to inquire why a Hindi song was played as lion flag was carried to the ground at the inauguration. In another incident, which I actually did not read but one of my friends reported, Ravana Balaya bullied a bucket maker who had used some discarded paper with Buddhist symbols for making Vesak lanterns.

This is an interesting phenomenon and recalls the kangaroo courts of the People's Liberation Front (JVP) in the 1987-89 insurrection period. But the JVP's campaign was bolder and bloodier. They touched all social evils and succeeded in banning things like heroine though temporarily. JVP banned lottery tickets as well. But interestingly, this Buddhist extremist group is totally dumb before the rise of casino in Sri Lanka under the patronage of the top level government officers.

Teachers of Sri Lanka already knelt before politics made further kneel down by politico

A ruling party politician of Sri Lanka made a Sri Lankan lady school teacher kneel down inside the school to counter punish her for reprimanding his daughter on disciplinary grounds.

The incident has outraged the polity but in reality the teachers have been kneeling down before the politicians since decades. Almost everything in the school system has been politicized and the teachers have helped it immensely at least through their silence.

Ceylon Teachers' Union says that stern trade union action will be initiated unless the government takes action to punish the politician. The teachers' union has not clearly expressed the demand. The Provincial Council member Ananda Sarath Kumara has been arrested and remanded. Teachers unions must demand sacking him from the Provincial Council.

Ceylon Teachers' Union secretary Joseph Stalin Fernando said that the Provincial Councillor had followed the example of Minister Mervin Silva who tied a public official of Kelaniya into a tree and escaped without punishment for the breach of ethics.

A lady teacher of Nawagaththegama Navodya School of Puttlam district has complained to Nawagaththegama police that Northwestern Provincial Councillor Ananda Sarath Kumara made her kneel down in school as a punishment.

The teacher says she faced the situation as she had warned the daughter of the Provincial Councillor who was wearing a shorter school uniform.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Beware! Sri Lanka's Sapugaskanda refinery producing low quality petrol

A gas station featuring five en:Octane ratings, somewhere near the Missouri/Iowa border (can't remember...). Photo taken by Bobak Ha'Eri. September 3, 2006.
Sri Lanka's Sapugaskanda petroleum refinery is giving enough troubles and it is to be closed again since Monday, this time due to drop Octane rating of refined petrol.

The petrol refined there now is Octane 88 and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation cannot issue them to the local market since the Octane numbers of the locally marketed petrol are 90 and 95.

The Octane rating of petrol tells you how much the fuel can be compressed before it spontaneously ignites in the engine cylinder. Usually, the air and petrol mixed compartment in the engine is compressed to one eighth of capacity by the piston before the spark plugs ignite the mixture. Low Octane petrol may self ignite before the spark plug ignites. When gas ignites by compression rather than because of the spark from the spark plug, it causes knocking in the engine. Knocking can damage an engine,

Our studies showed that the lowest Octane number used in some countries is 87. However, high performance engines require high Octane petrol.I don't know if the engines of the most of the cars used in Sri Lanka can withstand a low Octane rating such as 87.

Ceylon Petroleum Corporation sources say that the reason for the loss of quality is using crude oil imported from Oman. The refinery used to refine petroleum imported from Iran before US embargoes against Iran disturbed the supply.

Reports say that the refinery has stored 3500 metric tons of low Octane petrol without issuing to the market.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sri Lanka Minister Wimal Weerawansa, unregistered website and the Buddhist extremist Bodu Bala Sena

Wimal Weerawansa
Sri Lanka's Buddhist extremist organization Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has sought police headquarters support to locate the owner of LankaCNews website which the BBS claims linked to Minister of Housing, Construction, Engineering Services and Common Amenities Wimal Weerawansa.

BBS officials Vitharandeniye Nanda Thero and Dilantha Withanage complained that the Lanka C News website had posted derogatory news stories affecting their reputation. They cited a news story posted in the website that reports about a brawl which it says took place among two BBS officials.

They said that the website had not been registered under the Ministry of Information and Media as stipulated recently by the government.

The plaintiffs also say that the State Engineering Corporation and the National Housing Development Authority which come under the Ministry of Housing, Construction, Engineering Services and Common Amenities have provided financial assistance to run this website. Two flash banner ads displayed right below the master head of the website links to the websites of the above mentioned public corporations.

Monday, June 10, 2013

No regret from Sri Lanka's Met Department as death toll rises

Sri Lanka Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources released a list of names of 42 fishermen killed in the rough seas in Saturday night.

The report was based on information received as of 2.30 p.m. today and further 22 affected persons were being treated in hospitals.

43 fishermen are still missing with 24 boats. A Ministry spokesman said that the death toll might rise by tomorrow and a number of persons might remain disappeared. The highest number of deaths were reported from Balapitiya in the Southern coast.

Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources criticizes the Met Department for not issuing strong warning timely to the fishermen.

However, the Met Department insists they had issued warnings ahead of the disaster. No regret and apologizing from the weather body that depends on the public money.

However, the senior officials of the Met Department apologized before an NGO last week and made an offering under the NGO's order for naming a cyclone after an ancient king called Mahasen who built many reservoirs.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Breakthrough of CCTV evolution of Sri Lanka

We are in an age of Closed-circuit TV or CCTV, yes, in Sri Lanka too. Big Brother is looking at you.

Last week saw a major breakthrough in CCTV evolution in Sri Lanka.

In one incident a Chicago type Rs. 7.5 million robbery was filmed in Hollywood style by CCTV camera. Sadly, the 55-year-old  victim passed away days after of a heart attack. The money he had withdrawn was to be used for his daughter's wedding.He was followed right from the bank and the story of the bank's CCTV camera is yet to be revealed.

The other incident was treacherous. A man contracted to kill another man whom he was indebted millions of rupees. They ate together and drove off to the trap laid by killers. The contracted killers took the victim away. The man who gave the contract drew the car off to desert it somewhere. Later he was posing as desperately looking for his friend. He was caught red-handed when a CCTV camera of a house near the roadside where he deserted the car showed him slip away after parking the car there.

Interestingly but essentially not unexpectedly, the contract killers have been the members of  security staff of a senior Deputy Inspector General.

Friday, June 07, 2013

He is one of us (A man on the roof top of the Welikada prison of Sri Lanka)

This man is on the roof top of the Welikada prison of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo since Wednesday. He is not visible to the Baseline Road which runs in front of the prison. I captured him from the second floor of Nagarodaya Hall where I am participating in a training.

He seems a convicted man who has something to say to the world. But only a few local media reported the story even though very carelessly without digging into find the man's voice. 

He is one of us. He has a story to tell. He wants the world listen to him. That's why he is on this roof top.

Read the full story in Sinhala

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Sri Lanka government should produce evidence for disappeared journalist's existence in France

Sri Lanka government today announced that the journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda claimed to be disappeared lives in France.

The statement in this regard was made by a back bench MP Arundika Fernando but in the parliament, if it is not a place meant to lie. In an earlier occasion  present Chief Justice Mohan Pieris then the head of Government’s delegation to the UN Committee Against Torture claimed that Prageeth was living abroad. When Prageeth's wife challenged him to produce evidence he simply retracted his statement to the UN Committee Against Torture and said he was unaware where Prageeth is.

MP Arundika Fernando expressed this observation as he was addressing the debate on bill to amend the Press Council Act. The MP argued that the opposition is making false allegations that the government is suppressing media.

Journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda disappeared hours before the 2010 Presidential election which was held on January 26. He supported the Presidential campaign of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka.

I have met him once and I have written about him in Sinhala.  He was a writer with passion and drew interesting cartoons which you can see here.

The government repeatedly claims that Prageeth lives. Then why can't it produce proof?

Thanks Lal Kantha!

A series of agitations against the increase of electricity tariff has been scheduled in Sri Lanka this month by three fronts.

It is remarkable the way the People's Liberation Front (JVP) is conducting their agitations. They launched a general strike as their first step on May 21, mass agitation in Colombo on May23 and now they have come to cities. The next stage may be the work place or village level. A complete new strategy and it clearly appears a way of killing or ebbing a mass discontent in a way no damage is occurred to the system.

JVP has planned to hold a series of agitations against the increase of electricity tariff on June 05 at several places of the island. JVP says that protest marches, demonstrations and petition signing campaigns will cover all the districts.

Most of the agitations are scheduled to be held at 4 o' clock in the evening and a few are to be held later in the evening. The venues of the agitations are Nugegoda, Avissawella, Gampaha, Kaluthara, Anuradhapura, Mawathagama, Galgamuwa, Alawwa, Galle, Rathnapura, Pelmadulla, Kandy, Hatton, Chilaw, Bibila, Wellawaya, Ampara and Kaduruwela.

Meanwhile, the major opposition United National Party (UNP) has also planned to re-commence the agitations against the electricity tariff hike since June 13. The UNP agitation will be held at the Kandy city. The trade union coalition against the increase of electricity bill has also scheduled to hold three mass agitations in Kandy on June 06, on June 11 at Galle and on June 16 at Anuradhapura.

Probably, this will be the end of the road. The people have now received the electricity bill and they have clearly understood that mo relief will come their way. They did not participate in the premature general strike and they have lost the trust on the so called leaders of the masses if they still had any.

They will work harder to pay the bills and to lead the unavoidable miserable lives ahead of them.  

The agitations will have some really, really good photos at which the government will glance with their tongues in cheek. Thanks Lal Kantha!

White handkerchief marks protest against forcible cremation by the government of Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan civil society is silently but strongly marking their protest against the government's inhuman  forcible  cremation of a 20-da...