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Role of the ministry of foreign affairs (Part II)

Mar 28 (LG) Economic diplomacy can also be defined as the use of a nation’s political influence and relations to achieve its commercial and economic objectives. One may appreciate the fact that economic diplomacy could be a long term potent instrument for prevention of conflicts, both interstate and intra-state. The formation of and the increasing degree of stability in the 27 member European Union is a manifestation of this premise. more..

Sri Lankan real estate holds up in tense times

Mar 28 (AP) "Resilient" is the word that almost everyone is using to describe Sri Lanka's housing market - and its economy in general. Despite a long-running armed conflict and the 2004 tsunami, "Sri Lanka is one of the best countries around in which to have real estate," said Lalitha Saleem, senior manager of Ceylinco Housing & Real Estate, which is developing one of the Sri Lankan capital's largest new developments. more..

Indian fishermen warned not to stray into Sri Lankan waters

Mar 28 (AT) Vice Admiral Ram Prem Suthan , Vice Chief of Naval Staff designate of the Indian Navy sternly warned all Indian fishermen not to enter the territorial waters of Sri Lanka. Vice Admiral Suthan said the Sri Lankan Navy has never fired at Indian fishermen inside the Indian territorial waters, referring to allegations that some fishermen have been fired at by the Sri Lanka navy. more..

Democracy or Demoncracy?

Mar 28 (FI) While the word ‘Democracy’ has only one meaning, in practice it has come to mean many things to many people. ‘Demos’ in Greek means ‘Common people’ and ‘Democracy’ is the rule by the common people. Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as, “The government of the people, by the people, and for the people”- a definition that cannot be surpassed for its precision, brevity and beauty. more..

Church unites children in face of religious, ethnic tensions

Mar 28 (UCAN) A Church-run children's movement brought Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim children to play together in this country where ethnic and religious tensions cross. The Anuradhapura diocese branch of Lakrivi, a children's apostolate, brought 120 boys and girls from various parts of Polonnaruwa district together on March 8 in Minneriya, 160 kilometers northeast of Colombo. more..

Indian Coastguard hands over 11 fishermen to Lankan navy

Mar 28 (CO) Eleven Lankan fishermen, who were taken into custody by the Indian coastguard at Karaikal last month, were today handed over to the Sri Lankan Navy at the International Maritime Boundary Line. Two boats belonging to them have also been handed over, officials said, adding the Island nation may release 12 Indian fishermen, who were in their custody, in a day or two. more..

Govt deploys military to suppress striking television workers

Mar 28 (wsws) In a major attack on democratic rights, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on March 17 instructed the military to suppress a strike by employees of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), the state-owned television network. Two days later, he appointed a retired army general to oversee the administration of the corporation. SLRC workers planned an indefinite strike from March 17 to protest against physical attacks and death threats more..

Sri Lankan Airlines to get treasury secretary as new chairman

Mar 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government has appointed treasury secretary P B Jayasundera as chairman of the national carrier SriLankan Airlines, whose management deal with Emirates Airline expires at the end of March. The government which owns 51.05 percent of the airline has also appointed Sunil Wijesinha, present chairman of tableware exporter Dankotuwa Porcelain, and two others, more..

Sri Lanka economy expands 6.8 percent in 2007

Mar 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka's economy expanded 6.8 percent in 2007 against 7.7 percent in 2006, but in the fourth quarter growth accelerated to 7.6 percent from 7.4 percent in the same period last year, government data showed. Head of Statistics Suranjana Vidyaratne said industry grew by 7.6 percent, services by 7.1 percent and agriculture 3.3 percent. more..

‘The danger of President’s Rule’

Mar 28 (LG) Now that President Rajapaksa has very clearly indicated that he will not proceed with the appointment of the Constitutional Council, thus depriving the people of their right for this Council, and which is a violation of the Sri Lankan constitution, which the President faithfully promised to uphold, what are the options now open to the people to see that they are not denied their basic rights under the constitution? more..

Indian Dilemma

Mar 28 (LG) History says that native Sri Lankans are descendants of a group of Indians migrated from Eastern India, led by a prince called Vijaya in the sixth century B.C. They have colonized the north central region of Sri Lanka and a lineage of kings of the same clan was able to achieve the highest level in economic, social and cultural development of Sri Lanka during a period of more than a millennium. more..

Grievances of Tamil political parties

Mar 28 (LG) V. Prabhakaran formed the Tamil New Tigers (TNT) with 10 students in 1972, a year after the JVP insurrection in the South. The organisation was renamed LTTE in 1978, a year after UNP came to power with J. R. Jayewardena, as its leader. As the name suggests, the LTTE was not a political party, though its primary objective was to attain autonomy for the North and East. Certain events between 1972-78 gave the new organisation some popular support and even moral justification. more..

Independent groups pay deposits for East polls

Mar 28 (LD) Reports from the Eastern Province election authorities say 09 independent groups have by now paid their deposits for the Eastern Provincial Council elections, although no recognized political party or independent group has yet handed in nominations for the 10th May polls. Nominations will close at 12.00 noon on 03rd April, which is also the closing date for applications for postal voting. more..

Govt. in bid to remerge North & East

Mar 28 (LT) The APRC in its meeting held on the 24th has unanimously adopted a proposal to demerge the Northern and the Eastern provinces that were demerged by a Supreme Court order and establish a Muslim administrative unit in the that territory say reports. According to information the proposal has been forwarded through its president Prof. Tissa Vitharana by lawyer Nisham Kariappar, who represents SLMC in APRC. more..

TNA Parliamentarians meet Ranil

Mar 28 (LT) Parliamentarians of TNA had a long discussion with UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe on Provincial Council election to be held for the Eastern Province. TNA Parliamentarians have enlightened the UNP Leader regarding their party’s decision not to contest at Eastern PC election. The UNP leader has told the TNA Parliamentarians that his party had requested the Commissioner of Elections to get foreign observers to monitor the election. more..

Summary of Cabinet Decisions

Mar 28 (GDI) Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to enact legislation to protect victims of crimes as well as witnesses to the same. The proposed legislation will be designed to ensure that the rights of victims and witnesses are safeguarded in accordance to internationally accepted norms, standards and frameworks. Further, it was decided to set up an authority to ensure that these measures are implemented fully and satisfactorily and more..

Excise Department earnings soar in Jan-Feb '08

Mar 28 (GDI) The Excise Department has earned Rs. 26 million as court fines imposed on illicit liquor sellers, heroin dealers, cannabis traffickers and peddlers arrested by the department over the last two months, Excise Department Commissioner General Wasantha Hapuarachchi said yesterday (27). This revenue was earned from 7,000 court cases, he said, adding that the suspects had been taken into custody from various areas. more..

'Human Rights Council should examine matters holistically'

Mar 28 (GDI) Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations speaking at the Seventh Session of the Human Rights Council said that the Council must not give up the responsibility to examine human rights in a holistic manner. He further stated that this includes discussing the roots and context in which violations of human rights take place. more..

UN apprised of Sri Lanka s human rights situation

Mar 28 (LNP) Ambassadors and Representatives at the United Nations in New York are being apprised of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe is in New York for meetings with UN member states. He had already held discussions with several representatives including John Holmes, the Special UN Representative on Humanitarian Assistance. Elections to extend the membership of the UN Human Rights Council for next year are due to take place in May. more..

Shameful political sham

Mar 28 (LNP) 'If you tell the truth,' said Mark Twain, `you don t have to remember anything.` Those who utter untruth, fibs, falsehoods, half-truths and lies, have to have a great deal of grey matter to remember them and repeat them consistently later on. The trouble is more serious when a collective of persons resorts to lying, for each and every member of the group has to be careful enough to avoid lapsus calami and lapsus linguae. more..

UNP to disrupt House

Mar 28 (SAMN) The main opposition UNP Thursday vowed to launch a series of daily protests in Parliament if a government ‘henchman’ is appointed to the Parliamentary Secretary General’s post after Secretary General Priyani Wijesekera retires Monday. UNP frontliner Lakshman Kiriella said the new Secretary General would have to be nominated by the Constitutional Council (CC). more..

Staggering power crisis ahead

Mar 28 (SAMN) The unprecedented increase in power tariffs this month, due to spiralling cost of thermal power generation, has not deterred the government from reaching yet another USD agreement, this time with West Coast Power (Pvt.) Limited, to purchase power. The Rs. 30 billion project to build a 300 MW Combined Cycle Power Plant at Kerawalapitiya, is expected to be completed in about 20 months. more..

Food import bills: threat to BOP

Mar 28 (SAMN) The Balance of Payments (BOP) in Sri Lanka is threatened by increasing food import bills, National Agribusiness Council Chairman Sarath De Silva said adding that although Sri Lankans consider petroleum imports as the major drain on the country’s foreign exchange resources, he believed it was the food import bill that burdens the future, even threatening inflation and causing an unbearable cost of living. more..

Authorities blind to corruption

Mar 28 (SAMN) Consultants at the Colombo Eye hospital are alleged to be receiving huge commissions from drug and laboratory scanning centres. The All Ceylon Government Medical Officers Association (ACGMOA) Thursday revealed that the consultants direct patients to particular scanning centres, and added that patients needing cataract operations are told to purchase specific brands of lenses from particular private medical companies. more..

No 'Mystery' illness in Anuradhapura

Mar 28 (DN) Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has rejected news reports of a "mysterious" illness sweeping the Anuradhapura area saying the disease has been detected as Dengue and Chikungunya."It is dengue and Chikungunya and not a mysterious disease stated by some media", Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. The spokesman said that Dengue and Chikungunya hit Padaviya, Welioya and the front lines of the Armed Forces and these two diseases are rarely reported from villages and other areas of the district. more..

Jordan PM promises to look into Lankan workers' woes

Mar 28 (DN) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka on the third leg of his tour of the Middle East held talks in Amman on March 26 with his Jordanian counterpart Nader Dahabi. The discussions centred on bilateral relations and the two leaders agreed that bilateral relations between the two countries were extremely healthy. The Lankan Premier discussed with his counterpart problems faced by Sri Lankan workers in Jordan, particularly domestic workers. more..

Teacher unionists accuse govt. of attempting to rig polls

Mar 28 (Island) Teacher trade unionists alleged that the unions which are led by the political parties in the ruling coalition are trying to rig the Education Department Co – Operative Society elections through violence. The election is scheduled to be held tomorrow in 85 education zones islandwide. General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers Service Union Mahinda Jayasinghe told a press conference yesterday that more..

Worm treatment puts children in hospital

Mar 28 (Island) A number of students attending the Hikkaduwa Maha Maya Balika Vidyalaya were hospitalized following their being given worm treatment by the local health authorities. The children took ill after being administered the treatment in school by health workers from the Director of Health Services office in Hikkaduwa. 14 were admitted to the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital, sources said. more..

UNICEF consultant fined for drug offence

Mar 28 (LT) Ms Lisa Woods, a UNICEF consultant and a US passport holder was fined Rs. 8000 by a Colombo Court for being in possession of 80mg of heroin. She had been found unconscious in her room at Renuka Hotel in Colombo. She had been admitted to the intensive care unit where a routine check of her clothes by the hospital staff had resulted in the recovery of 80 mg of heroin. It had been in one of the pockets of her denims. more..

LTTE wants exchange to release sales rep.

Mar 28 (DM) An LTTE pistol gang abducted a sales representative attached to the Ceylinco Insurance Company at Pandarikulam area in Vavuniya, days after Police rescued an area manager of the company from the LTTE. Sources said the pistol gang had promised the relatives of the abducted person, the victim would be released if the area manager handed himself over to them. more..

Magistrate allows CID to file another report

Mar 28 (DM) The Colombo Additional Magistrate allowed the CID to file a further report on June 11 in the case of deported French Citizen and former Executive Director, ICES Dr. Rama Mani where it was alleged she had attempted to create ethnic tension that would threaten the freedom and integrity of Sri Lanka. The CID reported to court on Thursday they had recorded the contents from the computers of the former Executive Director more..

Sri Lanka Says 19 Killed in Fighting

Mar 28 (AP) A series of battles along the front lines in northern Sri Lanka killed 17 ethnic Tamil rebels and two government soldiers, the military said Friday. The violence was part of a heavy increase in fighting in the country's civil war in recent months. The government has vowed to crush the rebels by the end of the year, but diplomats and other observers say the army is facing more resistance than it expected. more..

Supreme Court rulings ignored

Mar 28 (UPI) A man who alleged that he was severely beaten by the police in Sri Lanka after he refused to pay a bribe of three valuable gems was granted leave to appeal by the Supreme Court. He complained that his constitutional right to be protected from illegal arrest, illegal detention and torture were violated by the police. Within the last few months, the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has made three decisions against police officers for similar violations of more..

Take up Sri Lankan Tamils issue with Centre, Ramadoss urges DMK

Mar 28 (Hindu) The DMK government should take up the Sri Lankan Tamils issue with the Centre, Pattali Makkal Katchi founder-leader S. Ramadoss said here on Thursday. Addressing PMK and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) volunteers, Dr. Ramadoss said the DMK should take a cue from the Communist Party of India, which had passed a resolution at its national conference in Hyderabad, demanding immediate intervention by the Centre on the issue. more..

ICRC oversees safe passage of nearly 25,000 civilians

Mar 28 (ICRC) Additional security measures introduced by the Sri Lankan government at the Medawachchiya checkpoint in Anuradhapura and the Omanthai crossing point in Vavuniya slowed down the movement of civilians between areas controlled by the government and those held by the LTTE, and left many commercial vehicles stranded. The ICRC responded to a government request to help clear the tailback of trucks waiting to cross at Omanthai by more..

Sri Lanka economy to weather US, EU slowdown

Mar 28 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's economic growth should not suffer significantly from a possible U.S. recession and an anticipated slowdown in the European Union, the country's central bank said. Soaring global commodity prices, however, will keep the island's double-digit inflation high, a senior central bank official said late on Thursday. "A slowdown in advanced economies, especially the U.S. and the EU, will not have a significant impact on Sri Lanka," more..

Coast Guard retrieves Indian fishing boat

Mar 29 (Hindu) In a swift operation for a humane cause, a Coast Guard ship on Thursday crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line and rescued a stranded Indian fishing boat near Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. Commandant K. Janardhanan, Commanding Officer, Coast Station, Mandapam, said the operation was carried out based on the request of the Sri Lankan Naval ships. Coast Guard ships had never crossed the IMBL for such an operation in the past. more..

Sri Lankans prefer Indian rice

Mar 29 (PTI) Sri Lankan traders will import one lakh tonnes of rice from India even though Pakistan is all set to supply unrestricted quantity of the commodity to the Island country. "We are grateful to Pakistan to offer rice exports to Sri Lanka. But Sinhala and the ethnic Indians prefer par boiled rice from India rather than raw rice from Pakistan," a spokesman of an apex commodities importing body said.

Sri Lanka's tour game scrapped due to flight problems

Mar 29 (CI) Sri Lanka will have no practice game ahead of the second Test in Port of Spain from April 3 after the cancellation of their scheduled fixture against West Indies A in Tobago. The match was to be a three-day affair, starting on March 29, but the West Indies board said "flight problems" had led to it being scrapped. The visitors will instead practice in the nets at Tobago's Shaw Park. more..

Gayle and his struggle against Vaas

Mar 29 (CI) "It's no secret. Yes, he has got me out the majority of times in Test cricket whenever I play against Sri Lanka." This was Chris Gayle's honest admission after West Indies lost the first Test against Sri Lanka in Guyana. The bowler he was referring to was Chaminda Vaas, who won the Man-of-the-Match award in the game and was probably the reason why Gayle dropped down to No. 6 in the batting order in the second innings. more..

My abducted brother found in Colombo National Hospital

Mar 29 (GV) An armed group abducted my younger brother this month. He was 25 years old. They came in a van in early February at around 8.30 in the night. I am the eldest son in my family and I returned to Mannar after my marriage. After one year I told my parents to come down to Sri Lanka since a ceasefire agreement was signed between LTTE and the government. They returned to Mannar after 12 years from India. more..

Lal Kantha alleges internal conspiracy to destroy JVP

Mar 29 (LD) Anuradhapura JVP MP and trade union leader K.D. Lal Kantha has said that the party does not gain anything by having persons in its politburo, who do not respect the majority opinion. Speaking at a party meeting at Rattota today (Mar. 28th), he said that the JVP should have persons who agree with the majority opinion. He alleged a conspiracy within the party to divide and destroy it and said that he would expose those responsible in due course. more..

Employees Unions files FR petition to save Lake House

Mar 29 (LD) The Lake House Employees’ Union filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court yesterday (Mar. 27th) against Lake House workers being compelled to work to the whims of political forces who ignored implementing of the Lake House Provisions Act for nearly 35 years. The main objective of this action is to protect the people’s right to information, calling for the implementation of the Lake House Provisions Act, more..

This is not a story of a movie; A true story of Sri Lanka's war

Mar 29 (LeN) Media reported that three fishermen were killed and a few more were injured in Army gunfire at Omanthai East forward defense line as 14 fishermen were fleeing from LTTE after being kept in custody for more than a year. Even for the organizations that raise voice against the state security keeping innocent Tamils without charges in custody paid less attention to this incident while an English newspaper that appears as liberal also reported this incident in its provincial news section. more..

Bangladesh High Commissioner behind scholarship scam

Mar 29 (LeN) Human Rights organizations urge the Bangladesh state to correct the undiplomatic inclusion of two names to a list of medical scholarships to replace the five students selected by the Ministry of Higher Education. D.S Attalage, K.S. Gamage, T. Sashanthan, A.P.K. Jayasuriya and B.D.S.C. fernando were chosen for the scholarships by the Ministry of Higher Education and their names were sent to the Bangladesh High Commission via Ministry of Foreign Affairs. more..

President 'not above the law'

Mar 29 (BBC) The Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA) of Sri Lanka has appealed President Mahinda Rajapaksa to refrain from appointing senior public officials before appointing the Constitutional Council (CC). In a letter to the president, OPA President Elmore Perera says his organisation was 'heartened' of Mr. Rajapaksa's move to resolve the disputes in appointing senior judges in a legal way. more..

'Secret agenda' to discredit Lanka

Mar 29 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government has accused 'interested parties' of working on an agenda to discredit Sri Lanka's international image. "Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other interested parties" are accused of trying to impress upon the international community that there is no mechanism in the island to implement international treaties on human rights. more..

Sri Lanka deposit rate ceiling to fall in April

Mar 29 (Reuters) Central bank said on Friday it was lowering the ceiling on deposit rates offered by finance companies to curb lending rates effective next month. The maximum rate on a time deposit with a maturity period of 12 months or less will be the maximum rate of 364-day Treasury Bills issued during the immediately preceding quarter, plus 2.5 percent. For deposits with a maturity period of more than 12 months the maximum return will be 5 percent plus 364-day T-Bills. more..

Tea, the tree of life

Mar 29 (TMG) There is nothing like a nice cup of tea more than 2,000m up. Just a few steps from the summit of Sri Lanka's most famous mountain Adam's Peak, I think I had the best cup of tea of my life. I had just climbed 5,000 steps, it was freezing cold (even after a month of sweating in the tropics it is unpleasant to feel a chill), the cloud had just come down and we still had 200 steps to go. more..

Protection urgently needed for the family of a rape victim

Mar 29 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the case of the rape of a 17-year-old girl after her abduction allegedly by a politician on 17 December 2007. While the Biyagama police have commenced an investigation into this case they have failed to secure the family's safety despite the fact that they are receiving threats. In addition, the victim and her family are entitled to know the progress of the case however, the police have not provided any information to them. more..