Friday, May 31, 2013

Vijaya Kuveni: Paradigm for M mtDNA in South Asia

PCA (left) and Admixture Bar (right)  plot
All Sri Lankans know the story of Vijaya and Kuveni from the Mahavamsa and Rajavali.  The basic crux of the story is that invaders, predominantly male married local women.  The gist of what DNA research is saying is that in India (and for Sri Lanka*) our mothers ancestry (mtDNA) is the same, but our paternal lines (Y-DNA) can be different.  One paper found that 70%  of India including 26 tribal populations carried the M mtDNA haplogroup.   In the Harappa DNA project 50% of the few Sri Lankan participants (8) had M mtDNA.  Two of the four self identified Tamils and two of the four self identified Sinhalese.
(* my extrapolation)

Before I get to excerpts of the research articles a few words on the PCA (Principal Component Analysis) plot on this page.  Its one of the few plots that I have seen where PCA captures the geographic distribution without a geo position data in the PCA analysis.  What I am trying to say is the V shape of India's genetic Cline is evident in the in the PCA Plot.

 From Chandrasekar et al
Macrohaplogroup M is ubiquitous in India and covers more than 70 per cent of the Indian mtDNA lineages The lineages M2, M3, M4, M5, M6, M18 and M25 are exclusive to South Asia, with M2 reported to be the oldest lineage on the Indian sub-continent.

The deep rooted lineages of macrohaplogroup ‘M’ suggest in-situ origin of these haplogroups in India. Most of these deep rooting lineages are represented by multiple ethnic/linguist groups including tribals of India
From Discover Magazine
An interesting point though is that the mtDNA, the female lineage, does not seem to diverge from other South Asians much at all. I find it intriguing that this is the same pattern we see along the major NW-SE axis of variation. It seems that mtDNA lineages unite South Asians, while the Y lineages separate them (by caste and region). The generality has many exceptions, but it points to a peculiar sex mediated admixture process from both the northwest and northeast. Men on the move have reshaped the genetics and culture of South Asia, but the mtDNA lineages still point to an ancient Eurasian group with distant but stronger affinities to the east than the west. The mtDNA are likely the purest distillation of ASI (Ancestral South Indian)
From  Witas et al in PLOSone
Ancient DNA methodology was applied to analyse freshly unearthed remains (teeth) of 4 individuals. Dated to the period between 2.5 Kyrs BC and 0.5 Kyrs AD the studied individuals carried mtDNA haplotypes corresponding to the M4b1, M49 and/or M61 haplogroups, which are believed to have arisen in the area of the Indian subcontinent during the Upper Paleolithic and are absent in people living today in Syria . 
Studied remains were excavated at two archaeological sites in the middle Euphrates valley and dated between the Early Bronze Age and the Late Roman period. The obtained data enrich the as yet modest database of Mesopotamian ancient DNA and suggest a possible genetic link of the region with the Indian subcontinent in the past leaving no traces in the modern population.
Also see:
Sinhalese and Tamil DNA Admixture Analyis
My DNA 01: Heroin Addiction, Smoking etc
Sri Lankan Population DNA Genetics 01
Basic Primer on Population DNA Genetics
List of reference and excerpts

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sivalingam Sivanathan named a White House Champion of Change

Sivalingam Sivanathan,  Professor of Physics and Director, Microphysics Laboratory at UIC  has been named a White House Champion of Change .  He is a graduate of the University of Peradeniya (1980) and also  Faculty Adviser  of the Sri Lankan Graduate Student Association at University of Illinois at Chicago (SLGSA).

University of Illinois Press Release
Sivalingam Sivananthan, Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been named a White House Champion of Change. He was presented with the honor at a ceremony this morning at the White House.
Sivananthan’s work with a semiconductor material, mercury cadmium telluride or MCT, is at the heart of night vision technology and made the raid that took down Osama Bin Laden on a moonless night possible. Developing “technology that protects our protectors” has given him the opportunity to give back to his adopted country, said Sivananthan.
 Sivananthan is the founder of the high-tech, Bell-Labs-styled incubator, Sivananthan Laboratories, Inc. in Bolingbrook, Ill. The Laboratories’ focus is on infared technology, radiation detection, materials research and biosensors.

Because, at its most fundamental, MCT technology is about transforming light into electricity, Sivananthan is also leading an effort to develop next-generation solar power. To that end, he helped found InSPIRE (the non-profit Institute for Solar Photovoltaic Innovation, Research, and Edu-training), whose mission is training Illinois’s workforce and exciting Illinois undergraduate and high school students to create a renewable energy and solar eco-system in Illinois.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

β-Carotene for Ice Cream produced from Algae

May or may not really be made of people
β-Carotene is also used as a substance to colour products such as juice, cakes, desserts, butter, ice cream and margarine. It is approved for use as a food additive.  One of the many steps toward Soylent Green.

The photograph is of a β-Carotene alage farm in Kalbarri, Western Australia

About β-Carotene from wiki
Most of the world's synthetic supply of carotene comes from a manufacturing complex located in Freeport, Texas and owned by DSM. The other major supplier BASF also uses a chemical process to produce β-carotene. Together these suppliers account for about 85% of the β-carotene on the market. In Spain Vitatene produces natural β-carotene from fungus Blakeslea trispora, as does DSM but at much lower amount when compared to its synthetic β-carotene operation. In Australia, organic β-carotene is produced by Aquacarotene Limited from dried marine algae Dunaliella salina grown in harvesting ponds situated in Karratha, Western Australia. Cognis Australia Pty. Ltd., a subsidiary of the Germany-based company Cognis, is also producing β-carotene from micro algae grown in two sites in Australia that are the world’s largest algae farms. In Portugal, the industrial biotechnology company Biotrend is producing natural all-trans-β-carotene from a non genetically modified bacteria of the Sphingomonas genus isolated from soil.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Groundwater Depletion, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKDu) and Jaffna River Project

From Hidayathulla and Karunaratna
A recent research article by Thushyanthy Mikunthan and C.S. De Silva highlight the accelerating
depletion of the limestone groundwater aquifer in Jaffna peninsula. There are two serious concerns that need to be addressed because of this.

a) As the authors point out, with thousands of people returning to settle in the former war zone, groundwater extraction is bound to increase, resulting in  shortages of water supply in the Jaffna peninsula for agriculture and domestic use.

b) With pesticides and fertilizer runoff seeping into the groundwater  the main source of drinking water in the Jaffna peninsula, kidney and other health issues are going to become more common.  I think the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKDu) prevalent in Anuradhapura will be be a walk in the park, compared to what is probably in store for the Jaffna dwellers.   CKDu incidence in Jaffna has been low probably because agriculture and use of fertilizer/pesticides were minimal due to lack of access to markets in the South during the civil war.

Background on Chronic Kidney Disease (CKDu).
The majority of CKDu patients are from the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kebithigollewa, Girandurukotte, Padaviya, Vilachchiya and Ampara  areas. In the Anuradhapura area CKDu prevalence averages around 12% and affects more women (62%)  than men (32%).  The disease progresses slowly and majority of patients do not have any symptoms until they are in the late stages of the disease

Many causes have being attributed to CKDu excessive cadmium in the natural environment; high levels of fluoride in drinking water; using fluoride-rich water in low quality aluminium pots; “hard water” with higher than normal levels of minerals; and toxins generated by blue-green bacteria in the water and of course Arsenic.  My untested opinion is that dioxins too may be a cause (see Dioxin causes Kidney Disease: Alternative Explanation to Arsenic). If Dioxins are one of the causes of CKDu then not just the individuals exposed, but potentially the great-grandchildren may experience increased adult-onset disease susceptibility.

So what can be done
a) Better testing and monitoring of ground water (and blood).
b) Increased rain water collection and harvesting.
c) Controlled use of Fertilizer, Pesticide
Testing and Monitoring of Ground Water 
Ms. Thushyanthy Mikunthan has publications on water quality.  However, the analysis are for rudimentary components, e.g. chloride, iron and sulphate concentration, total alkalinity, total dissolved solids,  pH and Nitrate.  Let alone dioxins and dioxin-like product, metals or arsenic are not tested.  Most likely this is because the equipment and material needed for sophisticated testing (e.g. HPLC's) are unavailable in Jaffna and/or testing in Colombo is cost prohibitive.

So maybe its time to consider a project to test/monitor groundwater for metals, dioxins and dioxin-like chemicals.  Maybe donation of instruments, or a collaborative research project to link agricultural use, dioxin content in ground water incidence CKDu and effect of alleviation methods such as rain water harvesting.
Increased rain water collection and harvesting
The biggest project for Rainwater collection that has been proposed and partially completed is the Jaffna River project. The basic concept is to create fresh water lakes from the Elephant Pass, Vadamarachchi and Upparu lagoons, by preventing saltwater intrusions.  More details from D. L. O Mendis in the Daily News
As  Dr Rajasingham Narendran says
The ‘ River for Jaffna’ project, which is vital for Jaffna is stalled , although considerable work has been recently done. The Elephant Pass lagoon has been isolated from the sea on both sides. I was pleasantly shocked to learn yesterday at a seminar on water resources that this work was completed by the government in 2008, amidst the war. Further, after the war the Thondamanaru and Ariyalai barrages have been reconstructed. However, the construction of the Mulliyan canal to connect Elephant Pass reservoir with the Vadamaracchchi lagoon has not commenced. The bund of the Iranaimadu tank has been raised preventing a natural spill into Kanagarayan Aru and flow into the Elephant Pass reservoir. Mr. Anandasangari is leading the effort against Iranaimadu waters spilling over to fill the Elephant Pass reservoir. It is imperative that the government make the visionary river project for Jaffna of the Late Engr. Arumugam come true. There can be no greater blessing for Jaffna. This project if completed will make Jaffna bloom in every possible way – agriculture, tourism, inland fisheries, industrialisation fresh water availability, good quality ground water availability, greenery etc.,


Water Resources Development, Jaffna Peninsula by  K. Shanmugarajah, Fast Books, Australia, 1993

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rock The Past: Brian Knower and Christo Dhason

Its another Friday, Vesak in Sri Lanka, Memorial Day weekend in the US.

A few days back saw a post by/about Nirmalan Dhas and thought it was the same Dhas I knew many years ago.  My classmate Shantha Weerakoon set me straight.  It was Christo Dhasan.  It brought back memories of Kokos and the Colombo Rock scene in the late 70's.  The times that Aruna Batuwantudawe (passed away), Richard Simon and I were regulars at Kokos.  Maybe semi regulars,  I had to raise money by giving tuition for entry fees and other ancillary (hmm..) expenses.  I think Richard and Batu had similar issues. A couple of times we met another classmate G. H. T. de Silva who also played with a band and was featured at Kokos.  GHT was the youngest of the GH* de Silva brothers (GHT where the hell are you ?)

Back to Kokos.  Kokos was owned by Darup Peiris a Thomian, Brian Knower and Christo Dhason were also Thomians and  I think classmates of Darup.  So, think Kokos was let out at minimal cost for these occasions. 

Brian Knower's site:  and music
Please Check out 60's Top of the Pops  as well  some where they seem to have forgotten Kumar Navartnam who did the Havelock Park concerts before we were old enough to attend.

Adulterated Alcohol: Not just in Sri Lanka

TGI Friday., Moscow
Many New Jersey bars were found selling adulterated alcohol in sting named Operation Swill.  In  one bar, a mixture that included rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring was sold as scotch.

These were not run of the mill dilapidated ghetto bars.  They included 13 restaurants of the well known world wide chain  TGI Fridays (Thank God its Friday).  Thats a place where a cocktail averages around USD 9 and beer in NYC branch around USD 8.
As part of Operation Swill, investigators collected 1,000 open bottles of vodka, gin, rum, scotch, whiskey and tequila from the wells of the bars, state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said.
In January and February, investigators went to 63 establishments they suspected were scamming liquor customers. They ordered drinks neat — that is, without ice or mixers — and then covertly took samples for testing.

Of 150 samples collected, 30 were not the brand as which they were being sold.

US & UK Travel Warning to Sweden: 5th Day of Rioting:

Who would have thought this would happen in Sweden.  Generous cradle to grave benefits, you name it.   A country with 15% foreign born population. Norway has a little less 14% and having similar immigrant problems

Now schools, police stations and cars are being set on fire, but looting has not been reported. So far the army has not been deployed.

There is a lot of chatter on the Finance forums I read, that expect similar riots to occur in Europe during the summer. Specially, Greece, Spain, Italy where increasing  economic crisis and youth unemployment is over 25% is a tinderbox.  Wonder when they start to throw out the "rights" rule book.  Already this year Sweden implemented  a de facto  racial profiling with project REVA.  What's next.

 Another aspect I find puzzling is that there is very little reporting of the riots in the US and UK.  As of Friday, The NY Times World Section does not have a word on the riots.

Update: Apparently this is not the first time this has happened.
In 2010, up to 100 youths threw bricks, set fires and attacked the local police station in the immigrant-heavy suburb of Rinkeby for two nights. \
And in 2008, hundreds of youths rioted against police in the southern Swedish town of Malmoe, sparked by the closure of an Islamic cultural centre in the suburb of Rosengaard that housed a mosque.
The news from the horses mouth
US & UK Travel Warning to Sweden: 
5th Day of Rioting:

Chinas Bird Flu is Airborne

A follow up to the nCoV post with update on on the Bird Flu in China.  Apparently the H7N9 virus can be also transmitted by airborne exposure.  More disturbing is that it takes a while before symptoms can be seen.  That mean it can be transmitted to many by a infected person who travels or  is in busy crowded places.

A similar virus the H1N1, the Spanish Influenza 1918 of killed more soldiers than the World War I.

More at:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Four days of rioting in Stockholm, Sweden

Apparently sparked by the killing by police a 69 year old armed man.  Sunday night's disturbances according Rami Al-Khamisi a youth organizer said in a statement started as a "reaction to police brutality against citizens, our neighbors"

From one of the comments learned of project REVA where Stockholm police stop people who dont look ethnically Swede (i.e. don't have blond hair) in public transport, and take them for interrogation if they don't have their papers/ID.

Anyway Excerpts from  Financial Times on Riots
Rioting in Stockholm spread to as many as a dozen suburbs in a third consecutive night of unrest that has reopened the debate about how well integrated immigrants are in Sweden.

Cars were set on fire all over the Swedish capital on Tuesday night and early on Wednesday, while in several suburbs police and other emergency services were pelted with stones, Swedish television reported.

“It is very similar to what we have seen in London or Paris but not yet on that scale. But it is a sign of a similar problem; it is a sign of failing integration,” said Per Adman, associate professor at Uppsala University, before the latest unrest.

Experts say that while the Nordic country successfully integrated its immigrants in the 1960s and 1970s it has struggled to do so in the past decade, with many blaming a lack of jobs for low-skilled workers. Youth unemployment was 25.1 per cent in March, above the EU average, even as the overall rate was 8.4 per cent and below the average.
More here:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Unlikely Allies in Eurozone Trade Wars: Germany and China

One would think that Germany would be the first to support  tough tariffs/duty on Chinese solar panels being imported into the Eurozone. Specially given that Bosch Solar Energy AG and the Siemens Solar unit are dire trouble being unable to compete with cheap Chinese solar panels.

So here is another example of no friends only interests
Companies in the US and Europe complained about these cheap imports, and anti-dumping proceedings were initiated. In Europe, it started last summer. And last week, reports surfaced that the European Commission was ready to act. On June 5th, if no solution materialized, the Commission would slap Chinese-made solar panels, cells, and wafers with punitive import duties of on average 47%.

Last week, the Commission fired another shot, launching an investigation into anti-competitive behavior by Chinese telecom equipment makers Huawei and ZTE, China’s high-tech crown jewels. But the 47% punitive duties on solar panels were the harshest measure yet in the trade war, hitting €21 billion worth of Chinese imports.

On Sunday, it was German Economy Minister Philipp Rösler, who warned of a trade war with China and lambasted the European Commission for its decision to start an anti-dumping procedure against Chinese telecom equipment makers. A “grave mistake,” he called it.

That’s the European dilemma. With many countries mired in recession, and some sinking into depression-like conditions, the Commission wants to protect certain industries. While it can’t protect Spanish companies from German competition, it can protect them from Chinese competition. Given how much German solar-panel makers have suffered under Chinese pressure, and how many billions in subsidies and investments have gone up in smoke, the Commission might have counted on German support.

But for Germany Inc., China is one of the two big economic engines that are still pulling. Exports to the Eurozone, particularly to top trade partner France, have stalled, and the industry is looking to China for growth. Chinese money is also flowing into Germany as Chinese companies are on a shopping spree, paying top euros for 98 firms in 2012, including Putzmeister, a world brand for concrete pumps [article on the aftermath]. Germany Inc. sees in China an escape route from the economic mayhem of the Eurozone; it sees a booming market with over twice the population of the EU. For Germany Inc., China is the future – and Europe a drag. One more treacherous rift across Europe.


Sri Lanka: still difficult to ‘bell the cat’

In all a reasonable assessment of the situation in Sri Lanka by Dr Alexander (Sandy) Gordon.  Dr Gordon has a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He has worked as an academic and senior public servant. He retired from the Australian National University in 2011, where he was a professor in he College of Asia and the Pacific. He is the author of a number of books on India and the Indian Ocean region.

The Article
Sri Lanka is a small country of about the population of Australia. Its location astride the major energy sea lanes of communication (SLOCS) of the Indian Ocean and just south of behemoth India, however, puts it in a strategic box seat for the forthcoming struggle for influence over the liquid energy requirements of the East Asian economic giants, including China.
Until about a decade ago, the island was a Western-leaning democracy, but one with a generational civil war involving human rights violations on both side. The denouement of the war in May 2009 saw the death of the head of the Tamil Tigers, Vellupillai Prabhakaran. Few who were not Tamil Tiger loyalists would have mourned the passing of the homicidal head of the feared organisation. Fewer still would have regretted the ending of a civil war that had lasted since 1983 and caused an estimated 80,000 deaths.
But the war ended amidst concerns about serious human rights violations involving deaths of civilian Tamils that the Tigers had used as a ‘human shield’ against the final onslaught of the Sri Lankan army. The US and other Western powers sought a pause in the fighting, threatening to withhold a much-needed IMF loan. But President Rajapaksa was able to cock a snook at Washington because of support from China, Iran and Pakistan. China is also involved in developing a massive port at strategically-located Hambantota, on the southern tip of the island. The ability of the Rajapaksa government to withstand Western blandishments signalled an important game-change, in which the West could no longer use its financial clout for human rights objectives.
But the human rights issues won’t go away. Channel Four, which had levelled the initial charges of a civilian massacre, recently published footage that seemed to suggest that the Sri Lankan army had executed Brabharakaran’s twelve year old son. The Financial Times also reports that at least 39 media workers have been killed or disappeared over the last seven years and that Reporters without Borders places Sri Lanka 163 of 179 countries assessed in terms of press freedom.
After the war, the head of the armed forces, General Sareth Fonseka, split from Rajapaksa and fought him in presidential elections. He lost heavily to the popular President, who was riding a wave of economic and military success and who had assumed many of the levers of democratic power. Fonseka was subsequently jailed but has now been released.
Recently Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice was also removed on alleged grounds of impropriety. She had challenged an important law designed to increase the hold of the central government over the provinces and seemingly entrench military rule of the Tamil areas. The new Chief Justice, a former Attorney General, is being boycotted by the Bar Association.
More seriously for the long-term, the government has shunned any peace and reconciliation process or any move toward autonomy for the Tamil minority, arguing that the best way forward is to reintegrate the Tamil majority areas into the Island’s general pattern of strong growth and development.
President Rajapaksa is meanwhile forging ahead to turn Sri Lanka into an ‘Asian tiger’ – a model that is not only being emulated on the economic front but also on the democratic, given the emerging authoritarian overtones. After a sharp fall during the GFC, economic growth, which had typically been in the region of 6% throughout the 2000s, rose to about 8% over 2010-11 (but has fallen to 4.8% in the latest quarter of 2012).
Sri Lanka’s human rights issues and its forthright approach to the Tamils have triggered a range of reactions.
India is struggling to contain China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean Region and New Delhi’s predilection would be to go soft on human rights. But it is also facing a national election, and the plight of the Tamils has triggered a political response in Tamil Nadu. This has caused India to vote against Sri Lanka on the human rights at the UNHCR.
The West, while its media might continue to seek to expose abuses, can do little, for reasons stated above. Australia’s dilemma is acute. Already in receipt of Tamil boat people fleeing alleged persecution, the last thing Canberra would want is a recrudescence of the guerrilla campaign, which would see rising human rights abuses and larger numbers of asylum seekers. On the other hand, Australia needs the Sri Lankan government’s assistance to ensure that boats do not leave the Island. So here we have it: the old Asian dilemma. How is growth and stability to be set against human rights and fully functioning democratic institutions? How should an ever-weakening West (at least in comparative terms) intervene in what has become the new great game – one in which it is no longer necessarily the central player?
Sri Lanka encapsulates all these issues and provides a fascinating glimpse into an otherwise opaque future.
One of the comments
James Smith - April 7, 2013 “excruciating human rights abuses of Tamils” sounds like an exaggeration given that it has been proven by a number of international agencies that the situation in the north and east of Sri Lanka has stabilised and is peaceful. Sorry, I cannot agree with such a sweeping statement on a number of levels.
It is also the responsibility of the Tamil political parties, as much it is Sinhalese parties, to engage in meaningful dialogue and not lobby for a separate state. Australia will thankfully not endorse any movement that will endanger India’s internal stability, nor endorse a movement that aims to undermine the region’s cohesion. South Asia is not South Sudan. Its important this be understood very clearly.

Monitoring Annoying Link Comments on Blog

For those of you who maintain a blog an easy way to monitor and delete those innocuous comments
to link back to a product web page being promoted.

First an example from this blog.
In the comment box you can see that that there is a comment
thanks for share<a href="http://ladies.creditbox.o... - Anonymous
The link above goes directly to the comment on this blog.  On first appearance there appears to be no link. But if you hover the mouse over the full stop (.) after the word share the link to the ladies.... site a Chinese website can be seen.

I can delete the comment now that it is visible, but will leave it as an example.

I enabled the comment the gadget/widget for the recent comments by
a) Inserting the Feed gadget/widget
b) Setting feed URL to
c) Couple of other simple configuration
Voila, I can monitor comments easily.

For a more complete step by step description to install recent comments/feed widget see

Russia: Four warships in Mediterranean (Syria)

 From ZeroHedge
A few days when reporting that the Russian Pacific fleet had crossed the Suez canal for the first time in decades in order to form a Mediterranean task force parked in Cyprus for obvious symbolic reasons (in close proximity to Syria and the Israel-parked Kearsarge), some observed that while the submarine support was adequate, the actual warship fleet designated to support any potential escalation in Syria would be largely insufficient. Perhaps the Russian Navy heard these complaints, and several hours ago RIA reported that two extra warships from the Russian Black Sea fleet had joined the Mediterranean task force, citing Capt. First Rank Vyacheslav Trukhachyov, has said. None of these recent deployment should come as a surprise: in March Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said a permanent naval task force in the Mediterranean was needed to defend Russia’s interests in the region. Read Syria, Cyrpus (where the task force will be on anchor indefinitely), and, of course, any and all western offensive involving Iran. And slowly but surely said task force is nearing completion.
 More at

Monday, May 20, 2013

Was the first person to Travel round the world Malay

Enrique of Malacca was Ferdinand Magellan's slave and friend from Malacca. Enrique traveled to
Portugal with Magellan from Malacca in 1512.  He then accompanied Magellan on the 1519 expedition to find the "Indies" by sailing toward the West from Spain.  After passing through the southern most tip of South America Magellan arrived in Cebu (now part of Phillpines) .  Magellan was killed in Cebu/Mactan in 1521.  It appears Enrique escaped and also spoke the language.
If Enrique managed to get to Malacca before the surviving ship Victoria from Magellan's expedition  arrived in Spain in 1522, Enrique would be the first person to circumnavigate the world.

From the wiki
Enrique accompanied Magellan on all his voyages, including the voyage that circumnavigated the world in 1519-1521. He was left in Cebu on May 1 and there is nothing more said of Enrique in any document. Historians and trivia buffs have often speculated that Enrique was the first to circumnavigate the world. The official and generally accepted view is that Elcano and his sailors were first, but there is still much debate on the matter. De Malaca is only documented to have traveled with Magellan from Malacca to Cebu, 2500 km and 20 degrees of longitude short of completing the circumnavigation. It is not known if he ever had a chance to complete it.
In Harun Aminurrashid's novel Panglima Awang, it is said that Enrique's real name was Awang, and that he was one of the Sultan warriors (Panglima). The story states that Magellan told him to change his religion, or at least to change his name, in order to avoid bad treatment from the ship's crew for being a Muslim. Magellan himself gave him the name Enrique. The book also describes how Magellan treated Enrique not as a slave but as a friend, and defended him from the prejudice of other sailors. Enrique repaid this kindness with loyalty, and followed Magellan until his death. After Magellan's death, Enrique decided to stop sailing with the Spaniards, but continued to sail with other ships such as traders, and eventually landed in the northern part of Borneo (now Sabah). He was confident that he could sail around the world and reunite with friends that had become refugees of the Portugal-Malacca War. He then completed his circumnavigation of the world, and landed at Malay Peninsula.

Saudi Religious Police: Anyone Using Twitter Will Go To Hell

 Straight quotes, nothing to add
The head of Saudi Arabia’s religious police has warned citizens against using Twitter, which is rising in popularity among Saudis.

Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh said anyone using social media sites – and especially Twitter – “has lost this world and his afterlife”.

Twitter was the platform for those who did not have any platform, he said.

His remarks reflect Riyadh’s concern that Saudis use Twitter to discuss sensitive political and other issues.

The conservative kingdom is believed to have seen the world’s fastest increase in the uptake of Twitter, says the BBC’s Sebastian Usher.

The sheikh’s comments echo those of the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in April who used his sermon – seen by millions on TV – to warn that Twitter was a threat to national unity, our correspondent says.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, the kingdom’s most senior Muslim cleric, had dismissed Twitter users as “fools”.

These rhetorical attacks are part of a concerted offensive by the Saudi establishment on the social network site, our correspondent says.
From BBC via

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Myanmar-China Pipeline: Opportunity for Hambantota Harbor ?

The 2,800 km Sino-Myanmar pipeline is about to be operational. The gas lines are scheduled to be opened in July 2013. The parallel oil line is scheduled to open at the end of the year (2013).

The gas is to be pumped from offshore wells near Kyauk Phyu.  The oil arriving from the Mid-East will be pumped into the pipeline from the deep water port at MaDay Island.  China now will be able to get Mid-East oil without having to go through the Straits of Malacca.  That means not having to go past Singapore.

Now for the million dollar question.  Will the tankers traveling from Mid-East to Myanmar have to refuel. If they need to refuel then the only place that can occur is at Hambantota.  Did the Rajapakses foresee this opportunity.?

I think Singapore is worried about peace and development in Sri Lanka and the loss of shipping and other business to Singapore. Former Prime Minister (1954-1990) Lee Kuan Yew whose family runs Singapore as their fiefdom has called Sri Lankan policies racist.  That is quite a statement from   LYK who has publicly said that  Chinese are smarter than Indians/Malays and who runs a country that the Human Rights Watch says is a "Text Book" case of a Repressive State.

Background Info/Links on Sino-Myanmar pipeline
NY Times Article
Opposition to Pipeline

Diabetes: Reverse with 800-calorie diet for eight weeks

People of South Asian ancestry are up to four times more likely than Europeans to develop type 2 diabetes. The risk of type 2 diabetes is approximately 2-fold higher in African Americans than in European Americans.
Type 2 diabetes could be reversed by following a daily 800-calorie diet for eight weeks.

When our bodies are deprived of normal amounts of food they consume their own fat reserves, with the fat inside organs used up first. The idea of Taylor's diet is to use up the fat that is clogging up the pancreas and preventing it from creating insulin, until normal glucose levels return. With my GP's blessing and a home glucose-testing kit, I began my experiment.

The diet was strict: three litres of water a day, three 200-calorie food supplements (soups and shakes) and 200 calories of green vegetables. Thanks to my doctor's dietary guidance, and running three times a week, I had already lost a stone. Yet my glucose levels were still above 6mmol/L (millimols per litre), the upper limit for a healthy person without diabetes. According to Taylor, I had to lose a sixth of my pre-diagnosis bodyweight

On the first full day, I weighed 9st 7lb with a healthy body mass index of 21. After reaching my target of 8st 12lb, I would be able to build myself up through exercise, as larger muscles use more energy, soaking up excess glucose before it is converted and stored as fat.

It wasn't easy. Yet water staved off the worst hunger pangs. "If you feel hunger, celebrate the fact with a glass of water, even fizzy water," Taylor said. By the third day, I weighed 9st 5lb.

On day four, my glucose levels had dropped to 4.6 after fasting for 10 hours overnight. It was the first time I'd ever scored a 4. But on day six, I felt really cold. It was mid-July but in the morning my fingertips were white and I had to wear a T-shirt, shirt, jumper and jacket to work. I was hungry, and just walking around the office was tiring. But I was down to 9st 3lb.

By day eight, I was being called the "disappearing man", and began to feel a bit detached from my colleagues. While my energy levels were fine and glucose levels were 4.3mmol/L, constipation had set in, as a result of not drinking enough water. Thankfully, laxatives cured this. Taylor emailed to say my progress was so good, I  could come off the liquid diet and go back to normal foods.

By day 11, my glucose was 4.1, the lowest yet, and I was down to just 8st 13lb. The next day I treated myself to my first full evening meal of rice and fish, plus a chocolate shake to celebrate.

I waited two months to be sure, but on 24 September last year it was confirmed. Following a fasting glucose test at my surgery, my doctor declared: "The diabetes has resolved itself." My glucose level was 5.1mmol/L, well below the diabetes mark of 6.

I had stuck to the diet for just 11 days and reduced my blood sugar to a healthy non-diabetic level. It has remained that way for the past seven months.

Canada: Dangerous game of "Diaspora Politics"

To quote:
Obviously not all of Canada’s foreign policy decisions are the result of diaspora politics but many of the important ones, including the likely boycott of the next Commonwealth meeting in Sri Lanka, are. As we have argued before, this “dangerous game of diaspora politics” is mostly about short-sighted, self-interested politicians. We believe Canadians need to wrestle the diaspora political agenda away from our elected officials as it is far too important to be left in their self-serving hands. (summary)

It would be enough for us to argue that there was no principled policy at play here, if being principled means abiding by and enforcing a commitment to basic standards of human rights and rule of law; and especially when violations of those rights are egregious and self-evident. One expects a government espousing “principles” as a cornerstone of its foreign policy to at least understand and apply these basic and fundamental tenets of international diplomacy through thick and thin.

But we have other concerns. As the Conservatives work assiduously to court diasporas from regions of the world deeply immersed in conflict, one must ask if these immigrants are fleeing oppression and long for freedom or are moving here because of business opportunities. With diaspora politics probably the most salient political issue of the 21st century, we are seeing the emergence of a more conservative society that fits perfectly into Harper’s Conservative agenda. If previous generations of immigrants brought in their suitcases issues such as human rights, democracy and the like, now we see a different kind of interests at play: business success perhaps at the expense of human rights, rule of law and justice.
Complete Article here:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

YaliniDream: Marian Yalini Thambynayagam

This was from 2009 which I saw via SepiaMutiny.  Looked it up again.
Comment on SepiaMutiny
what I appreciate about her is her refusal to be categorized. So much of the polarization of politics in Sri Lanka and the diaspora hinges on the desire to categorize. One is either considered pro-Tamil or a patriot. One either loves Sri Lanka or is considered a traitor. By refusing to be categorized, she reminds us that such political tactics silence most experiences and therefore need to be destabilized and questioned.
Based on the website looks like not around since 2011.

Malini's Hip Hop Kitchen (my choice)


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ganja good to control Diabetes and become thinner: American Medical Journal

These are the kinds of studies I like.
People who regularly smoke marijuana may have better control of their blood sugar and may be skinnier than non-marijuana users, according to a new study.
The research, published in the American Journal of Medicine, shows that people who reported regularly using marijuana had a lower risk of insulin resistance and had lower fasting insulin levels, compared with people who never used marijuana. Researchers also found an association between using marijuana and having a smaller waist circumference and higher levels of "good" HDL cholesterol, compared with non-users. The research was conducted by scientists from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the University of Nebraska and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cooking While Brown: FBI investigates Saudi Student

I guess a warning to to Sri Lankan students out in the US, dont cook with pressure cookers.

A Saudi student living in Michigan was questioned in his home by FBI agents after neighbours saw him carrying a pressure cooker and called the police.
Talal al Rouki had been cooking a traditional Saudi Arabian rice dish called kabsah* and was carrying it to a friend's house.

The Saudi journal, Oukaz reported on the story of the Saudi student who had FBI agents come to his home, following a tip-off from neighbours that he was seen moving about with a pressure cooker bomb.
While armed agents surrounded his apartment block, other agents, asked a 'nervous' Mr al Rouki if they could come in to question him.

The young student showed them his pressure cooker and explained to them he used to make a rice dish.
An FBI agent said: 'You need to be more careful moving around with such things, Sir'

kabsah*: Is known as machibus in Sri Lanka and is popular dish among returning gulf country workers.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

US: Student arrested for writing song about bomb.

Hope you can see any parallels to recent events in SL.
In late April, Cameron D’Ambrosio, a high school student and amateur rapper in the town of Methuen, outside Boston, posted a rap on his Facebook page that made a musical, non-specific reference to making a bomb bigger than the Boston Marathon bomb. He didn’t do anything, didn’t make a bomb, didn’t attempt to get the materials for a bomb, and by all accounts didn’t know how to make a bomb. He just wrote and sang about the idea. No matter, he was arrested by Methuen’s Finest, and is now in jail on — get this — $1 million bail — awaiting arraignment on state “terrorism” charges that carry a potential prison sentence of 20 years. The kid has the misfortune of being 18, so he’s being treated as an adult, though he clearly is not one.
The chief of police of Methuen, exhibiting that incredible mentality of police these days in 9-11 all-the-time America, explained the arrest of an over-the-top wannabe songwriter saying, “When we’re just recovering from what occurred in Boston, to make a threat and use what occurred in Boston to enhance your threat, is extremely alarming for us.”
Good thing they are not scrutinizing M.I.A's lyrics at the moment


DBS Jeyaraj: Being Selective with Links, Credits and Titles

DBS Jeyaraj is a great journalist with a lot of insight, connections and knowledge of history. A fantastic combination. In very recent past, with the advent of online journalism he used to edit transCurrents,com and continues maintain and write to
I have just one gripe he does not credit online sources with a link even though he reproduces the article verbatim.  So if you want to see the original source, links comments and all, you better be a good google searcher and also have some time on your hands.  I assumed that this might be because DBSJ did not know how to make links, i.e. give him the benefit of the doubt.

Then I saw that article about a Tamil in Australia Tortured and Raped. That had the proper link to the Australian source at the bottom of the page.

Not having a proper link to the original source may appear trivial. However often there is a lot of ancillary information in the form of links, comments and authors background that gives a larger perspective.

Say for example this article at titled
    Canada May be Alone Among Commonwealth Leaders in Adopting a Decision to Boycott CHOGM Summit in Sri Lanka"

However the orginal article by Natalie Brender is titled
    Stephen Harper government ‘pandering to diasporas’? Not so fast, pundits: Brender
    Obviously the original title is is quite different from the title given by DBSJ to the same article he reproduces verbatim.

Natalie Brenders article is a reply to  Huffpost Article written by Althia Raj
Stephen Harper To Skip Commonwealth Meeting In Sri Lanka, Citing Human Rights Abuses
The article basically implies that political needs have made PM Harper decide to boycott  Commonwealth Meeting. To quote
David Carment, a professor of international affairs and a fellow at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, said Harper’s decision to boycott the event is an effort to get the Tamil community — which has historically voted Liberal — on side.
I don’t think it has much to do with a principled foreign policy that the government claims to be advancing here,” Carment said. “This is pretty much pandering to a domestic audience.”

Then there is the Comment from disillusioned 2010
Back in Opposition in 2005, Minister Jason Kenney stood in Beijing and called China a “totalitarian one-party state, he criticized Paul Martin for soft-pedaling human rights abuses in favour of trade. Stephen Harper promised he would not “sell-out to the almighty dollar” by allowing human rights cases to be overshadowed by the prospect of improved trade... Who believes these jokers anymore...Commonwealth values, does this government even know what that means.... Once they find something to trade with Sri Lanka it will all go out the window.
So I think DBSJ is being disingenuous at best when he changes title and does not link to article he reproduces.

Abi Sampa (Gnanasampanthan): Great Performance at Voice of UK

Abi Sampa (Gnanasampanthan), grand daughter of a 70's Jaffna MP, Thiagar  .
Practicing dentist, graduated from Barts and The Royal London University in 2010.
More info as I find out.  (tip from Chanaka Atukorale)

Friday, May 10, 2013

2004 Trip to Jaffna thru then LTTE territory: Part 2

See here for 2004 Trip to Jaffna thru then LTTE territory: Part 1
Day 3: Invitation to LTTE exhibition. Locate place to stay in Jaffna
Hotel Jaffna Town
Day 4:  Kayts to Pungutivu:  Nagadipa (Nainathivu), Kobbekaduwa Memorial. Beer Dinner, 
Day 5:  Dry Fish at Check Point:  LTTE exhibition. A9 Restaurant.

Day 3:
We get the invitation to the LTTE exhibition   Say we will have a look on the way back,
Leave early morning as in 6:00 pm.  There is no real food around.  I was hoping to get thosai.

Get to Pallai (I think)  check point.  Long lines, its around 7:00 am in the morning. The bus crowd was the reason for the lines.  Got thru the lines in about 45 minutes.  Then drove to Jaffna town.  Drove around checking out various places for quite a while.  There was this place on the KKS road, old house, attached outdoor bathroom all what I would like but for whatever reason decided against. Finally checked into place. I cant remember the name. It was just north of the Bus stand, on one of the cross streets off Kasturiya or KKS Road.  If anyone recognizes the place from the photo please comment.
Hotel Jaffna Town

Cant recall much of the rest of the day, and no photos to jog the memory either.

Day 4:
After breakfast left to go to Nagadipa (Nainathivu). Basically drove thru Kayts, and in Pungutivu (Punkudutivu) stuck to the southern coast roads and on the return journey the northern coast roads. Went thru very small villages and ended up at Kurikadduwan.  I am surprised I dont have photos, probably a combination of having to drive, and the gallery comments from companion, who knows.

Pungutivi and Nainativu (Nagadipa)
Anyway end up at the jetty to Nagadipa.  Just beautiful , reminds me of Greece/Mediterranean photos I have seen.  Why go to Greece when you can go to Jaffna/Pungutivu. Windsurfing, Kite surfing, flat water I would have put down money to buy beach front property in Pungutivu if was not scared about land mines (remember this was 2004)

Inside Ferry to Nagadipa

The ferry ride was fantastic, just wondered when it would sink.  There was a something that looked like a cannon on the top of the of boat. Walked to the Nagadipa Buddhist Temple, 0.5 km or so.  The Head of the temple was not there, so no real historical viewpoint. The Buddhist temple appeared to be very modern (rebuilt).  Reminded me of Catalina Island (off LA).  (Note to self: Do Delft by Bus some day)

Approach to Nagadipa
Spent a hour or two. Then headed back to the ferry.  We had to wait a hour or so for the ferry to arrive.  Back at Kurikadduwan/Pungutivu.  Just off the ferry landing, there were a couple of stalls selling dried fish.  Got to chatting, and one stall owner said he was from Matara originally, married locally and was considered a Tamil.  Apparently the pilgrimage ("Vandana") buses would also arrive on the way to Nagadipa and on return and buy dried fish.  I think it was around LKR 100/kg r and we bought about 10-20 kg.   Spent a pleasant half hour  or more chatting.

Drove back on the northern side of Pungutivu and stopped at Denzil Kokkekaduwa memorial.  Arrived back at the place we were staying. Had a shower and inquired about a place to have a beer or two.

Located this place about a kilometer from where we were staying.  Dont know the name of the hotel (again if someone recognizes from photo please comment). Had dinner, a couple of beers and apparently the locals had never seen a woman before, at least the way they behaved (That outlook seems to have changed when I went around in 2011).  Normally dont drink and drive but somehow managed to find my way back.
Nagadipa Temple

Day 5:
Left after breakfast. I think we got to the Pallai (?)  LTTE checkpoint/immigration.  Had to deal with why we had 5-10 kg of Dry Fish, were we doing business.  Convinced immig that this was to be distributed to friends and family. Was given the ok and headed  toward Kilinochi.
Went and had a look at the LTTE exhibition.  Various arms, simplistic figures showing tactics as to how positions had been won.  I think Elephant Pass was a big one. Most were happy/proud to see we were even interested in looking at the exhibits.  I asked if we could take photos and they were happy, no different from any other Sri Lankan.  Then a supervisor (or something like that) said they needed to check and it turned out I we were not allowed to take photos within the exhibition.   Walked back to the gate and asked again if I take photos.  I was told that I could take photos out of the grounds. I hope those whom I spoke to have survived. They were normal average people living in a time and space that was beyond their control.

Headed to the A9 restaurant. The front was parked with UN etc SUV's.  Many tables full of people, including some female Tiger cadre in uniform.  Now that I think about it, there were no male Tiger cadre in uniform to be seen during the whole trip.  Managed to take a photo while pretending it was a photo of someone I was talking to.  The food was good, cant recall if it was vegetarian. What I recall was no tip was accepted. Headed back to Apura around 2 pm.
Nagadipa Temple
Causeway Nagadipa to Pungutivu
Approach to Ferry, Nagadipa
Approach to Ferry, Pungutivu
Denzil Kobbekaduwa Memorial, Pungutivu
Denzil Kobbekaduwa Memorial, Pungutivu
Restaurant in Jaffna Town
LTTE Exhibition
LTTE Exhibition
A9 Restaurant Kilinochi. Note Tiger cadre
A9 Restaurant, Kilinochi

2004 Trip to Jaffna thru then LTTE territory: Part 1

Day 1: Anuradhapura, Tissawewa Resthouse, Nightmares
Day 2:  Omanthai Check Point. No Vehicle book.  Trouble at LTTE "immigration". Kilinochi Bar
Tissawewa Resthouse
This a story of a trip to Jaffna in 2004 during the ceasefire.  Went thru the LTTE "immigration", visited a LTTE exhibition and visited Nagadipa.  The trip was done in a rental car, which becomes relevant to one of the incidents of the trip.

Day 1: Arrived in Anuradhapura and stayed at the Tissawewa Resthouse an Old colonial building, Some  reviews of the place are not flattering, but I loved the place and seemed reasonably priced in 2004. The one unusual thing for me was that I had some rather nasty vivid dreams.  I normally dont dream, specially at night when I am asleep.  When awake, I dream or more like wishful thinking.  Anyway the dream was really scary. I hear people being chased around, screaming outside the resthouse. Then many footsteps running up the stairs and starting to batter down my room. As the door gets knocked down I scream and woken up.   I wonder whether it was the many beers and lots
Tissawewa Resthouse
of meat/bites in the evening that triggered these dreams. Or were there memories of gory deeds of a two thousand year history lingering in the area.

Day 2: Left Anuradhapura, stopped over at the Army war memorial just in the outskirts of town. Arrived at Omantahi checkpoint at 3:00 p.m. The Army guys said if I needed to go thru I had to have a "Vahane  Potha", i.e Vehicle book.  This is in effect the title registration in the US, but differs in being a book with a history of the owners of the vehicle owners being recorded.  Obviously being a rental car  there was no "Book".  Explained to the Army guy as such and they were very corteous and said that if I got a waiver from the SP (Superintendent of Police) in Vavuniya I could go thru. Another bombshell, was that the checkpoint closes at 5:00 pm, apparently common knowledge, but not for me.
Army Memorial

Raced back to Vavuniya, but the SP had gone out and was due around 4:00 p.m. He was back and was able to see me at around 4:10 pm. The SP asked questions as to why I wanted to go to Jaffna?, just see the place etc.  I explained about the rental car issue and the SP asked if the car owner would mind me taking the car to Jaffna. Replied I dont think Prassanna would mind. The SP asked for the phone number and luckily I had it with me. The SP calls and Prassanna say its fine with him and for me to be safe.  The SP calls the checkpoint and asks them to allow me to pass thru. As I am about to leave I give him a visiting card of place in Dodanduwa/Berathuduwa I wanted to run as cottages and eventually retire (Remember the dreaming, wish full thinking while I am awake).   It turned out the SP's hometown was from the next village, Pinkanda and his father had been in the Police force and the two sons were both SP's.

Drive like crazy to Omanthai Checkpoint.  I am no fan of driving fast on Sri Lankan roads.  You are more likely to collide with organic entities like people on bicycles, people/dogs/cats/cows crossing roads. Colliding with a another metal conveyance other than a three wheeler/tuk tuk is to some extent a match of equals.
Anyway get to the Army checkpoint.  Its about 4:55 pm and they are kind of reluctant to allow me thru. Do a bit of pleading and am allowed to go thru.

The fun (in retrospect) begins.  I had to drive very slowly from the Sri Lankan check point to the LTTE checkpoint. Probably separated by about 200 meters, the width of two school (Sri Lankan) grounds.  Sandbags, sentry posts on either side.  Reminds me (now) of World War II movies.  Too bad I couldn't do the Tourist photos.

Drive very slowly and arrive at the LTTE barricade, I think there were two one for buses and the other for vans cars  and the like.  Get to the "Immigration" counter and have to fill in some forms. Move to the next counter, a table in a Cadjan shed.  As an aside I think cadjan sheds are better places to wait compared to a cement block, asbestos roofed oven.

The next table was when the trouble began. I was questioned as to why I was allowed to go thru the checkpoint just before closing and not having a "vehicle book". My companion was taken to a separate place and questioned as well. Then they found I had a laptop and CD's.  The CD's were empty and were back up in case I ran out of digital camera space, 1GB or less.  LTTE immigration had got into their head I was planning to sell porno in their territory.  I am sure there was "questionable" stuff on my laptop.
When against the wall, self preservation kicks in. So dropped my last name, which was well known  in Jaffna apparently in the last century.  This was a name no longer recognizable among the current Tamil generation. Anyway after two hours we were allowed to leave.

It was around 7:00 pm when we left the LTTE immigration point.  It was dark drove up slowly for about half mile and there was a small store on the right side of the road.  On the left side of the road was row of lorrys (trucks).  I was dying for a cigarette and  had started smoking again in 2003 after stopping in 1990; divorce and all that kind of thing.  Walked into the store, bought a 20 pack or two of Gold Leaf, which used to be one of the best cigarettes.  Better than the Dunhills of the past, and no question better than the Dunhill of the last decade..

Just as I paid for the cigarettes, this young guy walks in and asks me in fluent Sinhalese to have a chat with him in back shop.  I have seen too many southern smooth talking con artists to be caught in that trap.  This had to be someone from the trucks parked on the side of the road. I used to be sent at times Galle for my school holidays, against the protestations of my father who wanted me sent to the more structured northern relatives who lived/worked in Chilaw, Beruwala, China Bay.  So knew the con artists of the south personally.

The guides would take the tourist who had made arrangements to stay Beatrice House in Galle Fort.  A co-conspirator would travel fast and  stand in front of Beatrice House and pretend to be the owner, and that say the place is full. End result, Tourist is sent to another guest house where the guide gets a kick back.  Beatrice House gets a bad name for over booking and looses a guest.

So now I have a smooth talking young Sinhalese trying get me to chat to him in at the back of a dubious shop. Plus I have about 30K in my pocket. I get my cigarettes and get into the car.  Young guy follows me to the car, says I should talk to him.  He adds if I dont speak to him he will stop me at the next check point.  Really, and I say "Puluvannam Karanna", (If you can, do it).

I drive up and at the next barrier stopped and the young guy comes up on an trail motor bike. He gets into the back of the car. Asks me for ID.  I give him my Sri Lankan ID the NIC (National Identiy Card).  Young guy asks, how were you allowed to go thru without a "vehicle book".  All this conversation is in fluent Sinhalese  My companion and I are really scared. Then Mr. Young Guy says what is your purpose traveling to Jaffna (note its Mr. now).  Mr. Young Guy keeps on questioning and threatening as to our reasons to traveling without having a "vehicle book".  Mr. Young Guy points out he is LTTE by pointing out his suicide necklace.  Mr. Young Guy asks why didnt I talk to him in the shop.  Mr. Young Guy, puts his hands into his pants into his pants and pulls out a metal object. I am frozen, thinking its the end of the line, thats a gun.  Thats when the companion kicked in, she said I had just returned from the the US. Then asked why I didnt stop, she volunteered that I had lot of money in my pocket and I was scared.  The object pulled turns out to be flashlight, and Mr. Young Guy uses it to look at my US Driving license.  Mr. Young Guy says I have nothing to worry about and if I have any trouble I should say to contact Anbu at Omanthai checkpoint. As he leaves he says "Take Care now". Thats not common SL salutation, but very common in the US.
Bar in Kilinochi 2004

Get in the car and drive to Kilinochi at around 8 pm in the night.  the roads are wide, people walking around the sides.  The original plan was to get to Kilinochi and stay in the A9 (more on that later) hotel.  When we get to Kilinochi the place is crowded.  No vacancies in A9.   Find accommodation in place of a side street,  Then we go looking for a place to have a beer.  Found that place.  Plain front end, the interior was say run of the mill for middle class Sri Lanka. i.e. Fountain, small pond. That said they had booze, Old Arrack and above, beer, wine. No tips excepted.  I think there were a couple of Europeans as well.

Next day morning, while looking for breakfast we (more like my companion)  was invited to visit the LTTE exhibition in Kilinochi. Promised we would have a look on our way back.

See here for 2004 Trip to Jaffna thru then LTTE territory: Part 2