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President claims it is the SLFP that respected women

Mar 8 (LG) President Rajapaksa has emphasised that it is only the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, which respects women. Despite incurring millions of losses, the government had rendered a valuable service to mothers of this country. The President said women have been afforded a good position since the inception of the party. SLFP is a party that recognised the importance of women. The first chapter of the Mahinda Chintana deals about women and children. more..

Travels in a Militarised Society 6 - Strolling along Ward Place, Colombo

Mar 8 (GV) It is 10th December 2007, Human Rights Day. I am taking a stroll along Ward Place from Boralla to Lipton Circus. To either side of me are new buildings that have been erected in the past 20-30 years. I am remembering my senior colleague, Reginald Mendies. Reg lost his hand reaching up to catch a bomb and protect the comrades ranked behind him during the mid-’50s language policy confrontations. more..

The Presidential commission's public inquiry process so far falls short of international norms and standards

Mar 8 (AHRC) In November 2006, H.E. the President of Sri Lanka appointed a Commission of Inquiry (the Commission) to investigate and inquire into 16 incidents of alleged serious violations of human rights that arose in Sri Lanka since 1 August 2005. The President subsequently also invited eleven persons of international repute to form the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (the IIGEP). more..

62 Indian fishermen detained by Sri Lankan Navy

Mar 8 (PTI) As many as 62 fishermen were taken into custody by Sri Lankan Navy when they were fishing in the sea off Kanyakumari on Friday, police said. The fishermen, all from Chinnathurai village near Thoothur in Kanyakumari district, were taken into custody by the Lankan Navy personnel at around 10 am, they said. This was the first time that such a large number of fishermen from Kanyakumari had been taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Navy, more..

Whose interests are these "Eminent Persons" watching?

Mar 8 (MB) I read with some interest the news that the so-called International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) are to exit Sri Lanka shortly, and noted also that the news was presented in dramatic fashion. My contact with these eminent persons has been brief but I believe revealing nevertheless. What I have seen and heard have made me question their credentials with respect to the terms 'independent' and 'eminent'. more..

Ethnic divide worsens as Sri Lanka conflict escalates

Mar 8 (NYT) There are no eyes on this war. A truce between the Sri Lankan government and the separatist LTTE is over, and gone are the Nordic monitors who kept watch over it. The government has refused entry to United Nations human rights monitors. Independent journalists are not allowed anywhere near the front lines. Only occasionally does a glimpse of the war’s damage surface, as when the Red Cross confirmed that in the first six weeks of this year alone, 180 civilians had been killed, a toll it called “appalling.” more..

Prabhakaran awards "Mamanithar" title to slain Jaffna MP

Mar 8 (LG) V Prabhakaran, Leader of the LTTE awarded the supreme title of “Mamanithar” to late Tamil National Alliance Member of Parliament, K Sivanesan today. According to LTTE Sources,"Sivanesan was assassinated by the Deep Penetration Unit of the Sri Lanka military near Mankulam yesterday around 1.20pm. His driver was also killed in the attack and a child on the road was injured. more..

Sri Lanka: The case against an international monitoring mission

Mar 8 (FI) A panel discussion titled ‘Sri Lanka: The case against an International Monitoring Mission’, was held today (Friday, March 07th) on the sidelines of the Seventh Session of the Human Rights Council in Room IX of the Palais des Nations from 13:20 to 14:45. It was attended by over 45 representatives from states, civil society organizations and the media. The discussion was moderated by Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations at Geneva H.E. Ambassador Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka. more..

ICRC draws attention towards disappeared male relatives on global Women’s day

Mar 8 (TC) The International Red Cross focus on International Women’s day (Mar 8th) this year will be on the phenomenon of “disappearances of male family members” Of women.This humanitarian tragedy is widely prevalent in most conflict ridden areas. This is an issue of crucial importance where the Sri Lankan Government is specifically accused of involvement in disappearances. more..

Sri Lanka Tamil journalist arrested: rights group

Mar 8 (AFP) A Sri Lankan Tamil columnist was detained by police Friday while the authorities were also trying to arrest another media activist, a rights group said. J. S. Tissanayagam, columnist of the Sunday Times newspaper here, was taken in for questioning by police Friday after the arrest of two more journalists on Thursday, the local Free Media Movement (FMM) rights group said. more..

Prabhakaran, Karuna blacked out in east Sri Lankan elections

Mar 8 (IANS) Elections in the eastern Sri Lankan Tamil-speaking district of Batticaloa are being fought without any mention of two militant leaders who held sway over the area till the other day. In the campaign for the local bodies elections of March 10, no party has mentioned Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the LTTE or Karuna, the local LTTE commander who had broken away and founded the now powerful TMVP. more..

Inside story of fall of Parappakandal

Mar 8 (SLW) Soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA), backed by artillery and MBRL fire, captured the northern Parappakandal area (Northwest of Mannar) today morning amidst heavy LTTE resistance. Parappakandal is an area of high strategic importance which is bordered by the Giant's tank (Yodha Wewa) and Uyiankulam-Andankulam road. Ever since the army captured the Southern Parappakandal around two months ago, the SLA advance further north had been slowed down due to stiff rebel resistance. more..

Sivanesan's death and related questions

Mar 8 (SLW) According to the latest reports received by us, TNA MP Sivanesan has been traveling in and out of Mallavi LTTE controlled area undisturbed until now to attend Parliamentary sessions in Colombo since his election as an MP. He had crossed Omanthai SLA checkpoint at around 12.30pm as usual yesterday after attending Parliament the day-before-yesterday. The first notice of the attack had come 30 minutes to 1 hour later. more..

LTTE spy-network takes a beating

Mar 8 (LG) With the arrest of several top leaders and informants of the LTTE from Colombo and its suburbs, the Colombo intelligence network of the Tigers has been exposed and curtailed. Two main intelligence groups directly under the LTTE’s spy unit chief Pottu Amman’s purview has been paralyzed with the latest exposure by the coordinated intelligence units of the armed forces and police in Colombo. more..

INGO’s hypocrisy

Mar 8 (LG) The surprise would have been if the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) had not issued its latest statement, charging that the Sri Lanka Government is one of the world’s worst perpetrators of enforced disappearances and accusing the Security Forces and Pro-Government militias of association with the adduction and disappearance of hundreds of people “mostly Tamils” since 2006. more..

Communal amity in civil society

Mar 8 (LG) Civil Society "pertaining to the individual" that’s you and me - Civil Society "pertaining to the community", that’s all of us, black, white, brown, all shades in between. The NGOs - they are an integral part and the presumption is they individually and as a group are selfless. In the cry of affirmation there is hope they would restrain political parties - politicians - presumed the selfish from going berserk. more..

Batti Poll: Faltering Moves Towards Pacification

Mar 8 (LG) There is growing consensus today that what drives the forthcoming local government elections in the Batticaloa District is the need for at least a veneer of legitimacy for the government's military pacification in the East. And, if the words of Provincial Councils Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon are to be taken seriously, the government aims to hold provincial elections too if the local polls are completed successfully. This will help consolidate legitimacy. more..

Sri Lanka Ambassador for Kuwait betrays country and housemaids for Rs. 2.5 milllion

Mar 8 (LeN) Sri Lanka Ambassador for Kuwait has reportedly betrayed the country and the poor housemaids to a corrupt foreign employment agency and a similar legal firm there to obtain Rs. 2.5 million to celebrate the Independence Day. Kuwait Sri Lanka Ambassador S.A.C.M. Suheli hosted the Independence Day party for 300 guests on the night of February 04. 'Lanka-e-News' learns that Sri Lanka government has not allocated money for the celebrations. more..

President suspends Kohona's anti-Palestine actions

Mar 8 (LeN) President Mahinda Rajapkse has suspended an action by Dr. Palitha Kohona, the Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to take over the office of the Palestine embassy violating the policies of the President who was the Chairman of the Palestine Solidarity Movement for a long period since its inception. Dr. Kohona, a university colleague of Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe, is a graduate of an American university. more..

Kohona's denial

Mar 8 (LeN) Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka says that the government had not taken steps to take over the office building of the Palestine embassy and measures are underway to provide a new house to the Palestine Ambassador at the expense of Sri Lanka government. The Ministry made this statement in response to the news story of 'Lanka-e-News' posted yesterday (07) more..

Rupavahini employees threaten general strike

Mar 8 (LT) All Ceylon Trade Union Federation (ACTUF) has warned the Government that it would have to face a general strike if it failed to initiate an immediate investigation into attacks on Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation employees, bring the culprits to book and also take action against Minister Mervyn Silva and his goons who, on December 27th, last year stormed the SLRC and assaulted its News Director. more..

Police arrests JHU monk under fraud charges

Mar 8 (LD) The Mirihana Fraud Investigation Bureau has released a JHU affiliated monk, Ven. Denipitiye Dhammadinna on bail after arresting him under the charge of causing a huge cash fraud under the pretense of appointing people for foreign employment, reports the ‘Ravaya’. The Buddist monk had also contested for the 2004 General Elections under the JHU for the Kaduwela electorate, it adds. more..

Missing Fmr. deputy minister found

Mar 8 (LD) Former deputy minister, Jayasundare Wijekoon, who was reported missing since Mar. 05th, has been admitted to the Kalubowila hospital after being released by his abductors last night (Mar. 07th). On being released, he has gone to the Maharagama Police around 10.00p.m. last night. His abductors who were traveling in a jeep, released him near the Kottawa junction, he said to the police. more..

Sri Lanka brands needs make-over: branding guru

Mar 8 (LBO) Local brands will have to boost their image to compete against experienced and focused international manufacturers, who now having a larger market share in Sri Lanka, a branding expert has said. International manufactures are well focused and equipped to provide the goods that will have high appeal among consumers. "International manufactures are very aware of the importance of local demands particularly in the food fields," more..

Sri Lanka resurrected savings bank gets state guarantee

Mar 8 (LBO) State-run Sri Lanka Savings Bank, started to take over operations of defunct Pramuka Bank, will get a 1.5 billion rupee government guarantee to meet minimum regulatory capital, officials said. "The capital requirement is met out of government funds, we are in a comfortable position to offer capital of 1.5 billion," treasury secretary P B Jayasundera said. "The letter has already been issued to this bank." more..

President's message for the International Women's Day

Mar 8 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a special message to mark the International Women's Day, said that much progress has been made in terms of recognition of women and the enshrining of rights, but cautioned that much more still needs to be done. The full text of the President's message is as follows: I am pleased to send this message on International Women's Day 2008, which more..

IIGEP quit-decision hasty and regrettable – Human Rights Ministry

Mar 8 (GDI) The Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, responding to the decision of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) to wind up its operations at the end of the month, stated that it is a regrettable move especially since public inquiries have started and are ongoing on two important investigations. The complete statement is as follows: more..

Watch closely, HRW – Foreign Ministry

Mar 8 (GDI) Despite the ample explanation given by the Government of Sri Lanka to Human Rights Watch (HRW) of the measures the Government has taken to uphold human rights in an extremely difficult situation of fighting a ruthless terrorist group to rid innocent civilians from the clutches of subjugation of this outfit, the recently issued annual report of the Rights group has only distorted a one sided picture of the situation in Sri Lanka which has many factual errors, the Foreign Ministry states. more..

Govt. may appoint new IIGEP

Mar 8 (SAMN) The government Friday expressed regret at what it termed was a hasty decision taken by the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) to quit Sri Lanka but said it would not hesitate to appoint a fresh observer mission. The Ministry of Human Rights in a statement said the IIGEP had in November last year informed President Mahinda Rajapaksa of its decision to end its mandate by the end of this month. more..

A country bereft of art like a desert

Mar 8 (SAMN) The country’s art should be modernized without tarnishing its oriental image and it should not be an adoption of Western or any other type, said Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka. Prime Minister Wickramanayaka stated this at the ceremony held Friday for awarding scholarships to the successful candidates of the first year students of Diploma in Drama and Theatre conducted by Tower Hall Theatre Foundation. more..

Gene smuggling: Prof to be punished

Mar 8 (SAMN) Envionment Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka vowed that the professor who was involved in the gene smuggling racket will be brought to book irrespective of his social status. The Minister has given instructions to the Wildlife Conservation Department to take necessary action in this regard. Media on Wednesday broke the news on the multi-million dollar gene smuggling racket that had been carried on for over a decade, by more..

Protecting Parliamentarians A Dire Necessity

Mar 8 (AT) The killing of Parliamentarians must be halted and government should probe the mysterious killings that have occurred frequently. That plea is heard over and over again. So far, three parliamentarians were killed this year and another died in a motor accident when the jeep he was travelling skidded and crashed into a tree. He died while being admitted to the hospital. more..

65 pc of women harassed in public places - LAC Chairman

Mar 8 (DN) Sixty five per cent of women are harassed in public places, Legal Aid Commission (LAC) Chairman S.S. Wijeratne said. Wijeratne was speaking at an anti-women commuter harassment poster campaign launched at the Pettah public bus-stand yesterday. The LAC and the Women and Children’s Bureau organised the campaign. Wijeratne said women should be treated with dignity and honour. more..

Gemidiriya striving to empower women

Mar 8 (DN) Giving equal opportunity to women in resource allocation for development and progress to face the global challenges and paving path for equal opportunities are priority on the Women's Day, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Nation Building Dr.Gamini Batuwitage said. Addressing the media Dr. Batuwitage said as the International Women's Day falling on March 8, it's to be celebrated worldwide on the theme of 'Shaping the Progress'. more..

Batticaloa women want their abducted children back, not elections – CSG

Mar 8 (Island) Women in the Batticaola District are not interested in elections, but want all children abducted by armed groups returned, said Nimalka Kannangara, who heads the Civil Society Group that is monitoring the March 10 polls for nine local bodies including the Batticaloa Municipal Council. "Mothers are pleading with some of the candidates who have abducted their children to release them in return for votes. more..

12,900 students train for foreign hospitals

Mar 8 (Island) A total of 12,900 students are undergoing training in 19 Nurses Training Schools in the country, Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. Steps have been taken to recruit 10,000 more student nurses during year 2008 and 2009. Five thousand will be trained this year, Minister Silva said at a ceremony to hand over letters of appointment to new instructors. The Ministry has recruited 25 instructors for the nurses training programme. more..

Hakeem tells TNA: Save democracy in East

Mar 8 (DM) The SLMC said yesterday the TNA should not give another opportunity to government-backed forces to destroy democracy in the East by deciding to keep away from future elections in the Eastern Province. SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem told a public gathering at Valachchenai he had discussed this matter with TNA members recently. “Important decisions must not be taken impulsively but after much thought and taking into consideration the pulse of the people,” he said. more..

Prabhakaran 'hale and hearty', says Tamil MP

Mar 8 (PTI) Tamil Tigers chief V Prabhakaran is "hale and hearty and ruling skillfully", a lawmaker of pro-LTTE party has said, rejecting claims that the elusive rebel leader was injured. "Incorrect statements are being made saying Prabhakaran is injured in an air-attack," MP Selvarajah Gajendran of Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the LTTE proxies in parliament, said. "He (Prabhakaran) is quite healthy and ruling skillfully," more..

Tigers honour slain Tamil legislator

Mar 8 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels on Saturday awarded one of their highest honours to a slain Tamil legislator and accused government forces of "terrorism". The LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran said MP Kiddinan Sivanesan, 51, was killed in a roadside blast carried out by Sri Lankan security forces who had infiltrated an area under rebel control. "This planned, brutal assassination is the latest cruelty in the ongoing ethnic genocide of the Tamils," Prabhakaran said, more..

Fighting kills 16 Tamil separatists, 1 soldier dies in bomb blast

Mar 8 (AP) At least 16 Tamil separatists died in gunbattles with government troops in northern Sri Lanka, while a roadside bomb killed one soldier in the government-controlled south, the military said Saturday. Troops attacked Tamil Tiger bunkers and killed seven rebels Friday in the northern Vavuniya district, just south of the rebels' de facto state in the north, said military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara. more..

Media groups to defy new policy

Mar 8 (DM) Leading media rights groups yesterday said the government’s attempt to introduce a national media policy was not the need of the moment but instead it had to create a solid legal framework for a free media culture. Condemning the government’s move to introduce such a policy Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association President Sanath Balasuriya said it was not the government’s responsibility to introduce policies for the media but the responsibility of the media itself to formulate such matters. more..

Govt. to introduce media policy

Mar 8 (SAMN) The government Friday said it would introduce a national media policy to create a “responsible media culture” in the country. But media groups rejected it while the main opposition UNP charged it was a move to restrict media freedom. “The establishment of a national media policy has been finalised after months of research and collecting opinions by an expert panel,” more..

TN CM wants Coast Guard, Navy to be more vigilant

Mar 9 (PTI) Drawing the attention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the recent incidents of alleged firing by the Sri Lankan Navy on Tamil Nadu fishermen, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Saturday urged for more surveillance on the state's coastline bordering the International Maritime Boundary. In a letter to the Prime Minister here, he said the frequent firing incidents had created a sense of insecurity and unrest among the fishermen in the state. more..

GoSL lacks will to bring justice – IIGEP

Mar 9 (TS) A lack of will on the part of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) was one factor in the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) terminating its operations in Sri Lanka, Prof. Sir. Nigel Rodley, representing Britain in the IIGEP, told BBC Tamil service in an interview Thursday. “It was I think a lack of will ... they certainly didn’t have the money in order to have full servicing from the private bar,” more..

Indians dominate overall but Lankans hold sway in sprints

Mar 9 (IANS) Indian athletes dominated the 3rd South Asian Athletics Championship even as the Sri Lankans made their presence felt in the shorter events at the Maharaja College Grounds on Saturday. As India grabbed nine more gold medals in addition to the 12 they won on the first day, Sri Lanka added four more, all from sprint events and relays, to the three they won on the first day. Pakistan managed just one more gold on the second day. more..

Karunanidhi seeks protection for fishermen from “unprovoked firing”

Mar 9 (Hindu) Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to instruct the Coast Guard and the Navy to carry out effective patrolling and surveillance to protect Tamil Nadu fishermen from “unprovoked firing” by the Sri Lankan Navy. Expressing “anguish caused to him and to the people of Tamil Nadu” by the two shooting incidents near Katchatheevu on March 5, resulting in the death of one fisherman and bullet injuries to another, more..

Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

Mar 9 (FI) Last week I dealt with the internal failure of the Serbian State that led to Kosovo’s declaration of independence and placed this failure in the context of the overall disintegration of Yugoslavia. Here, I turn to the external side of the Kosovo conflict that has caused some exercising in Sri Lankan political circles. The government has expressed unreserved opposition to Kosovo’s declaration of independence, while more..

Battles of the Blues in the Sizzling Sixties

Mar 9 (TC) Sitting down at the computer to write an article for the special “Battle of the Blues”supplement put out by the “Nation” revived pleasant memories of Royal - Thomian cricket matches and their related activities. The cheering, jeering, shouting, running on to the grounds for the flimsiest of reasons, picking new fights, settling old scores,flicking flags and souvenirs, hooting the Royal tent prefects walking in front of the Thomian tent, more..

Fraud of Rs.80 million in Education Ministry

Mar 9 (LG) The Education Minister who promised to provide schools for all children before the year 2007 is out, has still not fulfilled his promise even after the New Year 2008 is fast becoming old (nearly three months gone!) with over 10, 000 children without School admissions roaming the streets with their parents staging demonstrations wasting their precious time which should have been utilized in studies. more..

President looks to the stars as political problems mount

Mar 9 (SL) The government is now in the process of finding solutions to the many problems it faces. President Mahinda Rajapakse and brother Basil Rajapakse are said to be having discussions almost every day to sort out the hurdles. The main problem faced by the government is the failure of the military campaign launched by the Rajapakses' last year to prop up the regime. more..