August 29, 2014
Vehicles without number plates terrorize Uva

Vehicles without number plates terrorize Uva

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Details  Created On Friday, 29 August 2014 02:20 Category: General
Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) observers report that a large number of vehicles without number plates or with garage numbers are roaming Moneragala and Badulla engaging in electioneering. This is not only a violation of election laws but also the motor traffic act and shows the extent of the breakdown of law and order in Uva.
CaFFE has urged the Commissioner of Elections and the IGP to take immediate action. Attached herewith are several images of such vehicles, including one used by UPFA’s Sendil Thondaman.

Illegal recruitment at Survey Department - 

CaFFE writes to EC

 Friday, 29 August 2014 
sl-serveyCampaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) has learnt that the Survey Department has sent letters to over 300 persons, most of them from Uva province, asking them to come for interviews for the post of trainee surveyor between September 2 and 3 at the Survey Department head office.
This is a violation of election laws as recruitments, transfers and promotions of government servants are prohibited during the election period. CaFFE has written to the Commissioner of Elections regarding this election law violation.
Attached herewith are the letter sent by the Survey Department and CaFFE’s letter to the Commissioner of Elections.

August 29, 2014
Hindus need not join Bodu Bala Sena to protect Hinduism – ACHC

Hindus need not join Bodu Bala Sena to protect Hinduism – ACHC

Vipulanandarday
Sri Lanka Brief[ACHC - A file photo]-29/08/2014 
The All Ceylon Hindu Congress has sent the following letter with reference to news item that appeared in the newspapers and websites: We have been receiving enquiries in respect of news reports and website news of what have been said by “All Ceylon Hindu Federation”.
We are unaware of existence or commencement of any organization by the name “All Ceylon Hindu Federation”. We have no connection whatsoever with them. It is improper for them to seek to act as the voice of the Hindus.
All Ceylon Hindu Congress has not only been functioning as the Federation of Hindu Religious Associations and Temple Trusts in Sri Lanka since 1955, but also as the umbrella organization and as the voice of the Hindus of this Country.
This organization (“All Ceylon Hindu Federation”) has also levelled unwarranted false allegations such as “Bishop of Mannar is converting Thiruketheeswaram Sivapoomi into a Christian Poomi” against the Bishop of Mannar who has always been raising his voice for Tamil people. We condemn those allegations.
We also wish to point out that the Hindus need not join Bodu Bala Sena to protect Hinduism.

August 29, 2014
Severe shortage of drugs in State hospitals

Severe shortage of drugs in State hospitals 

By Skandha  Gunasekara-
 August 29, 2014

Health sector trade unions yesterday revealed details of a severe shortage of drugs in the country, while drugs issued by OPDs in government hospitals gradually ground to a standstill.
Speaking to Ceylon Today, Secretary of the Society of Government Pharmacists, Ajith Tilakaratne said no OPD patient was receiving drugs from State run hospitals while the drugs issued by Osu Sala was adequate for three days at the most. “Although the government said that drugs can be bought from Osu Sala, it is untrue, and misleading. The Osu Sala outlet in Colombo 7 is issuing drugs to patients that will last only three days. Patients in need of drugs for a longer period are in a grave situation,” he noted.
 
He said only patients in hospitals, in critical condition were receiving drugs while the Out-Patient Department (OPD) does not issue drugs as a result of an ongoing strike of health sector officials.
"As a result of the authority’s inaction in resolving our issues, those who are in serious need of medication are being forced seek treatment in private hospitals and purchase their drugs at exorbitant rates," he stressed.
With regard to the Osu Sala, Tilakaratne said the National Hospital Pharmacy usually has a staff of 80 pharmacists issuing drugs while the Osu Sala in Colombo 7 only has 10 pharmacists who would be responsible for the issuance of drugs.
 
"If the authorities are able to meet our demands, we can end the strike and resume work at State hospitals islandwide within an hour," he added.
Meanwhile, several attempts to contact Director General of Health Services,
Dr. Palitha Mahipala failed and Dr. Kamal Jayasinghe, Director General of Medical Supply Division declined to comment.

August 29, 2014
Boniface who takes chairmen for rides now in hot water!

Boniface who takes chairmen for rides now in hot water!

Friday, 29 August 2014 
bonifes deepalBoniface Silva, deputy general manager of the People’s Bank which knows the woes of the public, is endangering his job due to his machinations that victimize all chairmen appointed to the bank, says trade unions of the bank. He is in charge of the operational aspects of the bank that has more than 700 branches. Due to his machinations, DGM – operations is known among trade unionists as DGM – surgery. His operations are intended to safeguard his position, not for the betterment of the bank.
He has been able to have all chairmen, from the late W. Karunajeewa to the incumbent Gamini Senarath, under his spell, by claiming that he has the ability to dictate terms to the trade unions. He is having incumbent general manager Piyadasa Kudabalage dictated similarly with a promise that he would be made chairman after Gamini Senarath.
Recently at Kollupitiya Cricket Club Boniface has had several rounds of drinks with his friends, and told them, “Without me, the People’s Bank will collapse within 24 hours.” It is this Boniface Silva who carries tales to the chairman and board of directors of the bank against the marketing chief Deepal Abeysekara about his swindling. It is him who prints and distributes 700 branches island-wide the articles posted in websites against Deepal.
Getting to know the person, incumbent chief Gamini Senarath is making plans to centralize the responsilbilities of the operational responsibilities of Boniface, say TU sources. Accordingly, the operational post is to be divided into several segments. Under that, the chairman is making plans to form a separate position for IT. Deepal is ecstatic that Boniface is in hot water. He is working tirelessly in this project these days, say TUs. Anyhow, both Boniface and Deepal are of the same ilk, say the sources further.

August 29, 2014
தம்புள்ள பள்ளிவாசலுக்கு செல்ல அனுமதி மறுப்பு: அதிருப்தியில் பாக்.கிரிக்கெட் வீரர்கள்

[ வெள்ளிக்கிழமை, 29 ஓகஸ்ட் 2014, 01:50.31 PM GMT ]
இலங்கைக்கு விஜயம் மேற்கொண்டுள்ள பாகிஸ்தான் கிரிக்கெட் வீரர்கள், தம்புள்ள பள்ளிவாசலில் தொழுகைகளை மேற்கொள்ள அனுமதி மறுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.
சர்வதேச ஒருநாள் போட்டித் தொடரின் இறுதிப் போட்டிகள் நாளை தம்புள்ளையில் அமைந்துள்ள ரங்கிரி சர்வதேச விளையாட்டு மைதானத்தில் இடம்பெறவுள்ளன.
இப்போட்டிகளில் பங்கேற்கும் நோக்கில் பாகிஸ்தான் கிரிக்கெட் அணியினர் இன்று தம்புள்ளைக்குச் சென்றுள்ளனர்.
இந்த நிலையில், இன்று மாலை தொழுகைகளை மேற்கொள்ள தம்புள்ளையில் அமைந்துள்ள மஸ்ஜிதுள் ஹய்ரா பள்ளிவாசலுக்கு பாகிஸ்தான் கிரிக்கெட் அணி வீரர்களும் ஏனைய அதிகாரிகளும் முயற்சித்துள்ளனர்.
எனினும் பாதுகாப்பு தரப்பினரால் அங்கு செல்ல இவர்களுக்கு அனுமதி மறுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.
இந்த நடவடிக்கையினால், பாகிஸ்தான் அணி வீரர்களும் அதிகாரிகளும் கடும் அதிருப்தியை வெளியிட்டுள்ளனர்.
பாகிஸ்தான் கிரிக்கெட் அணியை இலங்கை அதிகாரிகள் அவமரியாதை செய்துள்ளதாக சில பாகிஸ்தான் வீரர்கள் கருத்து வெளியிட்டுள்ளனர்.
இந்த சம்பவத்தின் பின்னர் பாகிஸ்தான் கிரிக்கெட் வீரர்கள் கலேவல பள்ளிவாசலுக்கு சென்று, தமது வெள்ளிக்கிழமை மாலை தொழுகைகளை மேற்கொண்டுள்ளனர்.
கடந்த இரண்டு ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்னர் தம்புள்ளை பள்ளிவாசலை இடிப்பதற்காக பல பௌத்த குழுக்கள் ஆர்ப்பாட்டத்தில் ஈடுபட்டனர்.
குறித்த பள்ளிவாசல் புனிதப் பிரதேசத்தில் அமைந்துள்ளதாகவும் அதனை உடைக்குமாறும் தற்போதும் சில பௌத்த அமைப்புக்கள் கோரிக்கை விடுத்து வருகின்றமை குறிப்பிடத்தக்கது.

August 29, 2014
James Foley Murder, The British And Biafran Story

James Foley Murder, The British 

And Biafran Story

| by Osita Ebiem writes from NYC
( August 28, 2014, New York City, Sri Lanka Guardian) The recent inhuman murder of the American journalist James Foley by the Islamic terrorists in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL (they are also called ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is just too revulsive to all human sensibilities. It is altogether bestial and condemnable. Such acts should never have been contemplated by real human beings anywhere in the world in the name of whatever religion or other convictions.

August 29, 2014

Stunning video captures erupting Icelandic volcano

Iceland’s meteorological office raises its aviation alert level to maximum after an eruption in the Bardarbunga volcano system.

FRIDAY 29 AUGUST 2014
Channel 4 NewsIn 2010, an ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, in a different region of Iceland, closed much of Europe’s air space for six days, causing travel chaos.
Air traffic controllers in Iceland have closed the air space above the volcano up to 18,000 feet because of the risk of ash, but as things stand, we are not in line for a repeat of 2010.
Icelandic officials said in a statement: “No volcanic ash has been detected with the radar system at the moment. Seismic eruption tremor is low, indicating effusive eruption without significant explosive activity.”
The eruption is at the tip of a magma dyke around 40km from the main Bardarbunga crater, and seismologist Martin Hensch said it was impossible to say how it would develop.
"One of the concerns is that the fissure opens into the glacier, but presently there is no sign of that happening," he said.

Aircraft hazard

Professor Nick Petford, a volcano expert at the University of Northampton in Britain, said fissure eruptions were often spectacular, but relatively low key and often died out in a couple of days.
"If it carries on like this, it is very unlikely it will constitute any major hazard to aircraft," he said.
Why air travellers needn’t fear another 2010. Read Science Editor Tom Clarke’s blog.
But Prof Petford said the situation could change, as it did in 2010. “Exactly the same thing happened in 2010 with the Eyjafjallajokull volcano. The main eruption was in April, but in March there was a fissure eruption which was a precursor to the much larger eruption.”
The Eyjafjallajokull eruption was particularly disruptive because it pushed ash up to just the elevation used by transatlantic aircraft, while winds propelled the cloud into European air space.
The aviation alert level has now been raised to red.

August 29, 2014
Why Israel’s bombardment of Gaza neighborhood left US officers ‘stunned’

Why Israel’s bombardment of Gaza neighborhood left US officers ‘stunned’

Analysis: Military sources say Pentagon’s assessment of Shujaiya shelling alarmed even Secretary of State John Kerry
by  -August 27, 2014
Al Jazeera AmericaThe cease-fire announced Tuesday between Israel and Palestinian factions — if it holds — will end seven weeks of fighting that killed more than 2,200 Gazans and 69 Israelis. But as the rival camps seek to put their spin on the outcome, one assessment of Israel’s Gaza operation that won’t be publicized is the U.S. military’s. Though the Pentagon shies from publicly expressing judgments that might fall afoul of a decidedly pro-Israel Congress, senior U.S. military sources speaking on condition of anonymity offered scathing assessments of Israeli tactics, particularly in the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City.
Why Israel’s Bombardment of Gaza Neighborhood Left US Officers ‘Stunned’ by Thavam

August 29, 2014
Israeli Company Targeted by Oakland Blockade Imports Ammunition Into US

Israeli Company Targeted by Oakland Blockade Imports Ammunition Into US

2014 828 bloc fwActivists in Oakland picketed the city’s busy port for five days starting August 16, preventing longshore workers from unloading the Zim Piraeus, one of 89 ships in the Zim fleet. Oakland, CA, August 16, 2014. (Photo: Alex Chis)
By Darwin BondGraham, Truthout | Report-Thursday, 28 August 2014 
TruthoutIsraeli-owned shipping company Zim, the target of recent port blockades organized by Palestinian solidarity activists in California, is importing millions of rounds of small arms ammunition into the United States each year.

August 29, 2014
Islamic State kills 150 captured troops in Syria, say activists

Islamic State kills 150 captured troops in Syria, say activists

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on social networks alleged captured soldiers being marched barefoot along a desert road. Photograph: -/AFP/Getty Images
An image grab taken from a video uploaded on social networks alleged captured soldiers being marchedThe Guardian homeThursday 28 August 2014
Islamic State militants killed more than 150 of the troops captured in recent fighting in north-eastern Syria. It is the latest mass killing attributed to the extremists, activists said, with the violence coming during a 24-hour period. The troops were either shot or slashed with knives.
In southern Syria, meanwhile, the United Nations said gunmen detained 43 UN Fijian peacekeepers during fighting on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, and another 81 peacekeepers from the Philippines were trapped in the area by the heavy clashes between rebels and Syrian troops.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said many of the soldiers killed were rounded up on Wednesday in the arid countryside near the Tabqa airfield, three days after Islamic State fighters seized the base. The government troops were among a large group of soldiers from the base who were stuck behind the front lines after the airfield fell to the jihadi fighters.
The Observatory said around 120 captive government troops from Tabqa were killed near the base. Islamic State fighters killed at least another 40 soldiers, most of whom had been taken prisoner in recent fighting for other bases in the Hamrat region near Raqqa city, the group’s stronghold.
A statement posted online and circulated on Twitter by supporters of the Islamic State group claimed the extremists killed “about 200” government prisoners captured near Tabqa. It also showed photographs of those it said were the prisoners: young men stripped down to their underwear marching in the desert. The photos could not immediately be verified.
A video showing the same also emerged online, followed by another video posted later showing more than 150 men lying motionless – apparently dead – in a row in the sand.
While the videos could not be independently confirmed, they appeared to illustrate the claims made online by Islamic State group supporters and Syrian activists about the mass killing. There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government.
In its rise to prominence over the past year, the extremist group has frequently published graphic photos and videos of everything from beheadings to mass killings.
In Iraq, for example, the group killed nearly 200 men – most of them Iraqi soldiers – in late June near the northern city of Tikrit, human rights groups and Iraqi officials say. It published photos online showing dozens of men dressed in civilian clothes lined up or lying face down as militants aimed rifles at their backs. A final set of photos showed their bloodied bodies.
Such killings have not been limited to Iraq. Earlier this month, Islamic State fighters shot and beheaded hundreds of tribesmen in eastern Syria who had risen up against the group.
A UN commission accused Islamic State on Wednesday of committing crimes against humanity in Syria – echoing UN accusations against the group in Iraq.
Islamic State’s surge is one aspect of Syria’s multi-layered civil war, a bloody conflict that has killed more than 190,000 people and destabilised the region.
The office of UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon did not identify the armed group holding the 43 UN peacekeepers in the Golan, where fighting has raged this week between Syrian rebels and government forces.
Several rebel groups operate in the Golan, while Islamic State has no known presence. The UN said another 81 peacekeepers were “currently being restricted to their positions” in the vicinity of Ruwaihaniyeh and Burayqa.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the 81 trapped troops were from the Philippines and the 43 seized ones from Fiji, Reuters reported
The Philippine army said in a statement that militants and had surrounded the Philippine contingent’s encampments with Fijian hostages in tow and demanded that the Filipino troops surrender their firearms.
"The Philippine peacekeepers held their ground and demonstrated their resolve to defend their positions," it said. "They did not surrender their firearms as they may in turn be held hostage themselves."
The Syrian government denounced the “kidnapping” of the UN peacekeepers. In a statement issued by the Syrian foreign ministry, the government said it held “the terrorist groups and those who support them fully responsible for the safety of the UN peacekeepers, and calls for their immediate release”.
The statement from Ban’s office said the UN was “making every effort to secure the release of the detained peacekeepers,” who are part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (Undof), the mission that has been monitoring a 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after their 1973 war.
As of July, Undof had 1,223 troops from six countries: Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands and the Philippines.
Fijian army commander Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga told Reuters on Friday he would not recommend to his government that Fijian forces should abandon the country’s commitment to peacekeeping in Syria.
"If I was to make any recommendation, I would increase our forces in Syria … If we don’t want to do this, then who else in the world would want to do this?" he said.
Heavy fighting has engulfed the Syrian side of the Golan since Wednesday, when rebels captured a crossing on the disputed frontier with Israel. A rebel spokesman said the opposition is focused on fighting President Bashar Assad, and poses no threat to Israel.
On Thursday, government warplanes targeted several rebel positions in the area, including in the village of Jaba, the Observatory said. The Local Coordination Committees, another activist group, also reported the air raids.
The Observatory said heavy clashes were raging between the rebels and the Syrian military in Jaba and the surrounding countryside.
White plumes of smoke set off by exploding mortar rounds could be seen on Thursday from the Israeli side of the Golan. The sound of small arms fire could be heard echoing in the background.

August 29, 2014
Found: The Islamic State’s Terror Laptop of Doom

Found: The Islamic State’s Terror Laptop of Doom

Buried in a Dell computer captured in Syria are lessons for making bubonic plague bombs and missives on using weapons of mass destruction.

Abu Ali says the fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which have since rebranded themselves as the Islamic State, all fled before he and his men attacked the building.
Found the Islamic State’s Terror Laptop of Doom by Thavam

August 29, 2014
Putin likens Ukraine’s forces to Nazis and threatens standoff in the Arctic

Putin likens Ukraine’s forces to Nazis and threatens standoff in the Arctic

Russian president hits back at invasion accusations as Nato accuses Kremlin of ‘blatant violation’ of Ukraine’s sovereignty
Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. Photograph: Itar-Tass/Barcroft Media

Vladimir PutinA satellite image showing what Nato claims are self-propelled Russian artillery units inside UkraineThe Guardian home
 in Mariupol,  in Moscow,  and agencies- Friday 29 August 2014
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has hit back at accusations that he has effectively invaded Ukraine, accusing Ukrainian forces of behaving like Nazis in the conflict in the east and ominously threatening to take his standoff with the west into the disputed Arctic.

August 29, 2014
Thai army sues human rights activist over torture claim

Thai army sues human rights activist over torture claim

Thai army sues human rights activist over torture claim
By  Aug 29, 2014 
Asian CorrespondentThe Association for the Prevention of Torture has the following blurb on Pornpen Khongkachonkiet:
Despite growing intimidation from authorities, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Director of the Cross Cultural Foundation, continues to assist marginalised communities, especially torture victims and their families in Southern Thailand, to access justice. She also supports the communities’ efforts to address the widespread culture of impunity. 

August 29, 2014
India’s growth speeds up in after-glow of Modi’s triumph

India’s growth speeds up in after-glow of Modi’s triumph

A labourer works at the construction site of a residential complex in Kolkata August 29, 2014.

A labourer works at the construction site of a residential complex in Kolkata August 29, 2014. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri
Reuters



BY RAJESH KUMAR SINGH-NEW DELHI Fri Aug 29, 2014 
(Reuters) - The after-glow of Narendra Modi’s election victory nearly four months ago helped India’s lumbering economy register its fastest growth in two-and-a-half years for the quarter ending in June.

Gross domestic product grew a faster-than-expected 5.7 percent year-on-year, a government data showed on Friday, sharply higher than a provisional 4.6 percent expansion in the previous three months.

The last two years marked the longest spell of growth of less than 5 percent in a quarter of a century, and Modi must spur the economy to far faster growth to provide jobs for increasing numbers of youth joining the work force, and to lift millions out of poverty.

"We are at the starting point of the pickup in the growth cycle in India," said Sonal Varma, an economist with Nomura. "This data gives us the first sign into that."

She expects the economy to expand 6 percent year-on-year in the fiscal year to March 2015, higher than 5.5 percent estimated by the Reserve Bank of India and faster than a near decade-low of 4.7 percent last year.

India’s new prime minister has promised to make it easier to do business through speedier clearances and stable tax policies, giving investors in Asia’s third-largest economy hope of a rosier future after years of low growth and high inflation.

That hope has led to a marked increase in foreign capital inflows to the country - even before the election - making Indian shares the best performers in Asia this year.

Even though Modi is yet to launch big-bang reforms needed to propel the economy back to a near double-digit annual growth, his three-month-old administration has received a big thumbs-up from Indian corporates.

An overwhelming majority of CEOs in two polls, published by two national dailies on Thursday, credited Modi for reviving business confidence.

Aiding the sentiment, the global economy is showing signs of strengthening and is expected to lift overseas demand for Indian merchandise and underpin the recovery.

"We believe economy is definitely on a path of improvement," said Shubhada Rao, chief economist at Yes Bank in Mumbai. "For the full year, we could see a 60 to 80 basis points improvement from the last year."


STRUCTURAL REFORMS

However, without an overhaul of India’s strained public finances, stringent land acquisition laws, chaotic tax regime and rigid labour rules, economists say, a broader and sustained economic revival will likely remain elusive.

Modi was expected to replicate his success as head of Gujarat state in breaking the political logjam in New Delhi that had blocked efforts to push these structural changes.

But a lack of majority in the Rajya Sabha means some of these measures cannot be carried out without bipartisan support. That has already delayed plans to increase foreign ownership caps in the insurance and pensions sector and revamp labour laws.

"For India’s better economic performance to be sustained, the government will have to follow through on politically costly measures," said Bill Adams, senior international economist for PNC Financial Services Group.

The improvement in the latest GDP figures is in large measure due to the steps taken by the previous government to kick-start investments and spur consumer demand, which have led to a revival in manufacturing and mining activity.

Year-on-year growth was also helped by a favourable statistical base because of weak economic activity last year.

A wider economic recovery is still some distance away. Soaring prices of essential food items have squeezed India’s consumers.

With private spending accounting for 60 percent of the economy, that bodes ill for a faster turnaround. It grew 5.6 percent on year in the June quarter compared with an 8.2 percent rise three months ago.

A weak consumer demand is also weighing on capital investments, which barely grew in the past two years. The sector, which contributes little over 32 percent to India’s GDP, posted an annual growth of 7 percent, helped largely by a favourable statistical base.

"A strong recovery is not on the cards until … greater efforts are made at reducing structural bottlenecks," said Shilan Shah, an analyst at macro-research firm Capital Economics.


(Additional reporting by Zeba Siddiqui in Mumbai; Editing by Robert Birsel and Alison Williams)

August 28, 2014
Echo chamber symphonies

Echo chamber symphonies

August 28, 2014 

With repeated reassurances by side players in the international arena, it is no wonder the Government was  surprised by the TNA’s visit to New Delhi and its audience with the Indian Premier

 
 The TNA delegation with Prime Minister Modi at his office in New Delhi-Subramanian Swamy
Subramanian Swamy is the new celebrity in Sri Lanka.
In the capital, he travels in tinted jeeps with a security detail, presumably because he has been a vocal critic of the LTTE. Swamy is mobbed by reporters eager to hear his views on Indo-Lanka relations and the Tamil issue. He is afforded lengthy television and print interviews, in which he never minces his words. He is vociferously anti-Tamil Nadu and Tamil diaspora, purports to be an expert on the Narendra Modi Government’s positions on the Sri Lankan issue and using silky tones, criticises the Tamil National Alliance and its continuing struggle for maximum devolution and a permanent political solution to the ethnic issue. Naturally, everything he says is music to the Sri Lankan Government’s ears.

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