Study reveals there are no Islamist jihadi groups in Sri Lanka

There are no Islamist jihadist groups in Sri Lanka, said a study commissioned by the Colombo-based International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), The Hindu newspaper reported.The study had gone into an accusation, made both from within and outside the Muslim community in recent years, that a “jihadist” movement was being formed in the Eastern province, where Muslims constitute around 37 per cent the population. Muslims account for 9.67 per cent of the country’s population, according to the 2012 census, Discussion with representatives of Thablighi Jamaat, Thawheed and Sufi groups revealed that “while there is [a] talk among discontented youth about espousing ‘jihadi’ practices, these are just idle youth responding to the global trend in Islam, but with no motivation or the means to make this a reality. Local organisations such as mosque federations are also keeping tabs on the community and nipping such ideas in the bud,” said the study. While focusing on “purifying Islamic practices,” they had faced several conflicts with traditional Sufi groups.“However, the emergence of Saudi-based movements in Sri Lanka such as the Thawheed Jamaat has transformed the conflict into Wahabism [Thawheed] versus Sufism,” the study said. Quoting Tamil writer and intellectual M.A. Nuhman, the study refers to two reformist movements — Jamaat-e-Islami and Thabligh-i-Jamaat, both of which arrived in Sri Lanka during the 1950s. read more

Pothole menace angers motorists creates business for repair shops

MONTREAL – An annoying sign of spring — the dreaded pothole — is testing the patience of Canadian drivers this year while also creating a financial bonanza for auto repair shops.Extreme fluctuations in early spring temperatures along with lots of rain have unearthed a high number of potholes that are exposing motorists to hefty repair bills.“It’s probably the worst year I’ve seen in the last 10 to 15 years,” Ben Lalonde, president of My AutoPro service centres in Ottawa, said in a recent interview.Business is up as customers are showing up with bent wheels, punctured tires, misalignments and wrecked suspensions. Repair bills can range between $200 and $500 depending on the force of impact and the type of damage, Lalonde said.Spring is a lucrative period for repair shops, says Jack Bayramian, owner of Montreal’s Decarie Garage, who adds that repairs stemming from pothole damage makes up about 30 per cent of his year’s revenues.There’s no tally for the cost of dealing with the aftermath of potholes in Canada, but a poll of U.S. motorists by the American Automobile Association suggests they spend an average of US$3 billion a year dealing with pothole repairs. The Canadian Automobile Association is in the process of conducting its own poll.While repair shops welcome the extra business, they also say it can cause customers to pare back spending on preventative maintenance.“I know having bad roads is good for business but I think it’s (temporary) … because a lot of people end up neglecting their cars, and at the end it could be a safety concern,” James Bastien, manager of an OK Tire in the nation’s capital.Most motorists tend to pay for repairs out-of-pocket unless damage is well above insurance claim deductibles, or they can beat the odds and win a claim from a municipality.Several large Canadian municipalities are struggling this year to keep up with the menace that is consistently among the top sources of angry complaints from residents.“This year has been fairly bad,” says Bryden Denyes, area manager of core roads for the City of Ottawa.The city has filled 51,000 potholes so far this year, up substantially from 20,200 at the same time in 2015, but down slightly from two years ago. Compared to last year’s almost relentless bone-chilling cold, Ottawa has faced 28 freeze-and-thaw cycles versus just 11 a year ago.The capital spends $5.4 million a year filling potholes and repairing roads, compared to the nearly $7 million to fix major and arterial roads in Montreal. Toronto spent $6 million in 2014 to fix 360,000 potholes.Lionel Perez, a councillor responsible for Montreal’s infrastructure, said it’s a constant struggle to plug the holes, especially because of decades of under-investment.The challenge is even bigger in Edmonton, which over the last nine years has faced an average of 455,000 new potholes a year. A warmer winter and less snow has given the Alberta capital somewhat of a reprieve this year.In addition to filling potholes, municipalities have to contend with damage claims submitted by residents.Very strict rules limit compensation in Quebec. Payouts are also low in other provinces.Ottawa paid out only 10 per cent of claims last year, while Edmonton’s annual payout ratio is about 16 per cent. Toronto, meantime, paid out about half the 2,376 claims filed in 2014, the city said in its latest report. Pothole menace angers motorists, creates business for repair shops A pothole is seen on St. Paul street Friday, March 18, 2016 in Montreal. An annoying sign of spring — the dreaded pothole — is testing the patience of Canadian drivers this year while also creating a financial bonanza for auto repair shops. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Mar 28, 2016 2:00 am MDT Last Updated Mar 28, 2016 at 7:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more