Rajapaksa's Vesak message

In a Vesak message released Saturday, the president, Mahinda Rajapaksa said , “We had great joy in seeing Sri Lankan Buddhists giving emphasis to the principles of Buddhism with the dawn of the Sri Sambuddhathva Jayanthi at the last Vesak festival." "With the immense pleasure of contemplating on the Buddha, we recall the great religious awakening of devotion and wisdom that spread throughout Sri Lanka during this year , as we now see the end of the Sambuddha Jayanthi commemorations on this Vesak Day. It is our wish that this joy in the Buddha and his teachings would abide in the minds of all Sri Lankans ." "The teachings of the Buddha are the best way to lead a life that is free of confusion . These teachings show us the path to lead a life free of the four-fold evils and achieve success in this world and the next." " We must be aware that all who are of wrongful mind and thinking cause many divisions and clashes that close the doors to our progress ." As it is stated in the Dhammapada:

Beware the fake Buddhists - SL prime minister

Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapaksa has commenced a programme for the "propragation" of Buddhism to countries that do not currently practise it announced Sri Lanka's prime minister, D. M. Jayaratne on Saturday. Warning of the "uncertainty" caused by people pretending to be Buddhists, Jayaratne emphasised the "constitutional guarantee" the president had for the protection and foster of Buddhism. The comments were made at Jayaratne's Vesak message delivered on Saturday: “I seriously believe that in a country where the majority are Buddhists by birth we are passing through a period of uncertainty where we are confronted with the task of differentiating between the genuine Buddhists and pretenders .

Media should 'put country first' - Media Ministry

The Acting Media Minister and Acting Cabinet Spokesperson, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena instructed the media to "put the country first" on Friday. Citing the recent controversies at Dambulla and over milk, Abeywardena stated that those who had publicised these issues had wanted to bring such issues to an international arena in order to create problems for Sri Lanka. Abeywardena said , “The media should give publicity to incidents and they should also mention the fact that such incidents are not doing any good for the country and people . Some people cast aspersions at the state owned television...

Canadian Tamil found murdered in Vanni

The body of Anthonypillai Mahendrarasa, 53-year-old Canadian citizen, was found at Kanchipuram Lane near Paranthan Junction in the Kilinochchi district of Vanni, Tamilnet reports. Mahendrarasa was reportedly visiting the area to reaffirm his ownership of land he owns in the Kumarapuram - currently occupied by the Sri Lankan military. His body was found naked with a slit across the throat. See here for report by Tamilnet, and here for report by The Sunday Times.

Former LTTE cadre commits suicide in military run camp

Suganthy Sivalingam, a former senior LTTE cadre, committed suicide by self-immolation on Thursday night at a military run 'resettlement' camp in Vadamaraadchi, Tamilnet reports . She had been subjected to severe mental torture during her detention at the military's 'rehabilitation' camp. Following an injury in 1999, she served with the LTTE medical services until the final stages of the armed conflict in 2009 when she was detained by the Sri Lankan military.

2 SLA soldiers dead after shots fired in Jaffna

Two soldiers from the Sri Lankan Army were found dead after exchanging gunfire with each other in Jaffna, early on Friday. The two soldiers were attached to the 51 Division and were on duty at a sentry post situated on Stanley Road. A dispute arose and one of the soldiers shot the other before turning the gun on himself. The incident between a Private and Lance Corporal, took place in the militarised Jaffna town centre, at an expansive sentry point adjacent to a Buddhist vihara.

Chinese lanterns flood Sri Lankan markets for Vesak

As the Buddhist festival of Vesak is observed on Saturday, Sri Lanka’s traditional lantern market, which usually flourishes during this period, has found itself under competition from a new rival; the Chinese. Cheaper, readymade and easier to store, demand for Chinese-made lanterns has taken off in Sri Lanka, leaving the domestic market in the lurch. The recent influx of the foreign goods has led to traditional lantern traders calling for the Sri Lankan government to intervene and protect them against their Chinese rivals. Bandula Perera, a local lantern maker, said , "I have around 100...

Sampanthan attempts to defend himself

Commenting on recently taken photographs of waving the Sri Lankan flag with UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe, the leader of the TNA R. Sampanthan defended his actions to Charles Haviland, BBC correspondent for Sri Lanka. According to tweets posted by Haviland on Saturday, Sampanthan dismissed concerns regarding his actions stating that it was the national flag. Haviland's tweets have been reproduced below: "TNA's Sampanthan: Some concerned that #lka [Sri Lankan] flag design didn't take in minority consent, but it's nat [national] flag & I'd no difficulty in holding it." "TNA Sampanthan...

US official reviews demining efforts in North-East

Walter D. Givhan, US State Department official on political-military affairs reviewed demining efforts in the North-East over the past week. Discussing the situation with local NGOs, Givhan reviewed the challenges faced and ongoing support needed. During his visit to the island, Givhan also visit senior military officials in Colombo, incluing, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Army Commander General Jagath Jayasuriya and Navy Commander Vice Admiral D.W.A.S. Dissanayake. In a statement released by the US embassy, 'military bilateral relationship and support towards demining' were...

Press in Sri Lanka remains ‘Not Free’ - Freedom House

The annual press freedom report from US-based NGO Freedom House, has found that media freedom in Sri Lanka has fallen, with the country continuing to be classed as “Not Free”. Sri Lanka remains ranked just one place above Afghanistan in the Asia-Pacific rankings and behind states such as Iraq in the global rankings. Classified as “Not Free”, Sri Lanka joins countries such as China, Iran, North Korea and Somalia. See the full rankings here . Last month a report from the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Sri Lanka as the 4th in its global impunity index, stating the country had made...