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Sri Lankan govt boasts about low level of strikes

Mar 11 (wsws) A workshop in Colombo last week organised by the International Labor Organisation (ILO) underlined the degree to which the Sri Lankan government and corporate elite rely on the trade unions to suppress growing anger among workers over falling living standards and rising unemployment. In a pitch to foreign investors, Labour Relations and Manpower Ministry secretary Mahinda Madihahewa boasted that the number of strikes in the country’s more..

Govt. castigates EC in Sinhala but goes begging to Brussels for GSP+

Mar 11 (LT) Government ministers and MPs in Parliamentary debates and on the election platforms excoriated the European Commission for temporarily abandoning the GSP+ facility given to garments and other industries in Sri Lanka. The European Commission had stated that they would reconsider granting the facility in another six months after a review of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka then. more..

The legend of two third, India & New Constitution

Mar 11 (LT) According to the General Secretary of UPFA, Mr Maithreepala Sirisena, the Government will take measures to present a new Constitution, establish Constitutional Council and Independent Commissions acquiring two third majority at the forthcoming General Elections. The Government will also abolish the Executive Presidency under this stable rule. Mr Maithreepala Sirisena made these statements at a media briefing held yesterday. more..

Tourism industry upbeat with influx

Mar 11 (LNP) The country's tourism industry will take off quickly as it shows improvements in tourist arrivals. We need to concentrate on high spending tourists as Sri Lanka has a reputation of giving facilities at cheaper rates. With the introduction of the minimum room rate, the industry will progress well, Grand Oriental Hotel Chairman Dr. Buddhi Kaluarachchi told Daily News Business. more..

CAFFE on Election Violence

Three hearty cheers!

Mar 11 (LNP) It will warm the cockles of many hearts to hear that India`s Upper House has overwhelmingly passed a progressive bill that would reserve 33 per cent of legislative seats for women. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the Rajya Sabha vote `a historic step forward towards the emancipation of Indian womanhood`. We could not agree with him more! One may argue that women deserve not just one third of seats but many more as they constitute nearly one half of India`s one billion people. more..

'UNP manifesto focuses on vital sectors'

Mar 11 (UNP) Addressing the UNP party Colombo District convention yesterday, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said ,the UNP manifesto for the April 8th General elections will focus specially on the education sector, healthcare and joblessness which are the most vital, yet most neglected by the Govt. Being people oriented, it will primarily address all issues of the people rather than those elected to Parliament on people’s votes. more..

Contraband fags to go up in smoke

Mar 11 (DN) Customs officials yesterday handed over a consignment of 4.2 million cigarettes seized in February to Ceylon Tobacco Company to be destroyed at the Puttalam cement factory. These cigarettes will be put into the Puttalam Cement factory burner in the presence of Tobacco Company and National Authority for Tobacco and Alcohol officials. The total value of the cigarettes is Rs. 31.5 million. more..

Sigiriya wasp clearing project runs into storm

Mar 11 (DM) Those residing near the famous Sigiriya Rock alleged that officers of a project launched in the area to keep tourists from getting stung by bees had tried to get rid of these creatures in an unethical manner by either burning or using chemicals on them. They pointed to the ashes of wasps, remnants of wasp hives and burnt matches at the base of the rock as proof of their allegations. more..

Sri Lanka is ageing

Mar 11 (DN) People over 60 years comprise nine percent of the population. This will reach 25 percent by 2041. Coverage of pensions is small. Ten percent to 15 percent of the population have access to any form of pension scheme - and, most pension schemes provide benefits that are well below the poverty line, Social Services and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Lionel Premasiri said. The Government has taken a policy decision to pay pension to all Sri Lankan citizens above 65 years, more..

Probe into SPC 'Group's' artificial drug shortage

Mar 11 (DN) The Bribery and Corruption Commission has launched two investigations on artificial drug shortages created by an organized group within the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC). The investigations have been launched on a Ministry request. The ministry had discovered recently that a well-organized group attached to the SPC had launched a conspiracy prior to the Presidential Election to create artificial drug shortages in state health institutions. more..

‘Customs duo took money from Prabhakaran to clear lethal cargo’

Mar 11 (Island) Two Customs officers now in custody for their alleged involvement with the LTTE have revealed that they got millions of rupees from the LTTE to clear without checks the outfit’s lethal cargo. Those Customs men had secured the support of some lower rankers in the department and the police believe that they shared the spoils at the expense of national security. more..

Hakeem tells Rao only MR can solve Tamil problem

Mar 11 (Island) SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem has told Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao that if there is anybody who could solve the problems of Tamil speaking minorities it is President Mahinda Rajapaksa, because he has won the confidence and trust of the Sinhala majority, Deputy General Secretary of the SLMC Nizam Kariapper says. more..

Efficient and honest politicians deserve support

Mar 11 (Island) Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said he was not interested in ‘manapes’ but wanted the votes for the betel leaf symbol. Addressing the inaugural rally of UPFA Katugampola election campaign, he predicted the UPFA would get a two-thirds majority. This would help remove the barriers for the progress under a new progressive constitution, he said. more..

Vajira won’t desert UNP

Mar 11 (Island) Despite the close friendship and understanding he had with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he had not been invited to join the UPFA, said Vajira Abeywardena, the UNP’s Galle District leader. Addressing a press conference in Wekunagoda, Galle he said that except for two years, he had been in the Opposition for 23 long years and pledged that under no circumstances would he leave the UNP. more..

Intra-party violence in Ampara

'Education sector crashes due to politicisation'

Mar 11 (DM) The main opposition UNP charged yesterday that the education sector in the country had crashed due to politicisation that went to the extent of using school teachers for election campaigns. Former UNP MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told a news conference that all school teachers in Negombo were asked to come for a UPFA political meeting which was held at Negombo Town Hall yesterday. more..

Mistakes in books on Buddhism to be minimized

Mar 11 (GDI) President Rajapaksa has issued instructions to the relevant authorities to adopt a streamlined strategy to minimize faults in the publication of books related to Buddhism. The President made this statement speaking during a meeting with the All Ceylon Sasana-Rakshaka Balamandalaya. The Maha Sangha stressed the need to bring to a halt the publication of books and other documents which distort the Dhamma. more..

Israel to bolster ties with Sri Lanka

Mar 11 (DM) Israel supported Sri Lanka throughout in its war against terrorism and now that the war is over the Israeli Government is determined to go for a robust economic co-operation agreement with Sri Lanka, Israel’s Ambassador to Delhi and Colombo Mark Sofer told the Daily Mirror yesterday. He said this would further bolster the ties between the two countries. more..

Detention camps under police

Mar 11 (DM) When the fundamental rights violation petition filed on the gazette notification in question, specifying new places of detention controlled by the military came before the Supreme Court yesterday, the Attorney General gave an undertaking that the although the IGP has specified new places of detention other than outside the police stations, the detention would be under police custody. more..

NAM flays Ban’s move on Lanka

Mar 11 (DM) The Non Aligned Movement (NAM) has expressed concerns over moves by UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon to appoint a panel of experts to advice on accountability issues on Sri Lanka. The Chair of the NAM Coordinating Bureau in New York, in a letter to the UN Chief, has said that the appointment comes without taking into consideration the domestic situation in Sri Lanka and without consulting the government of Sri Lanka. more..

FM requests British Govt to support Sri Lanka’s efforts to rebuild the country

Mar 11 (LP) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama indicated that Sri Lanka encourages the international community, including the UK, to channel development assistance through the Sri Lanka Government at this decisive phase in the country’s development process following the end of the conflict. The Foreign Minister made these observations during his meeting with Sir Peter Ricketts, more..

'No more presidential polls'

Mar 11 (Island) The electoral system would definitely be reformed after the forthcoming general election, SLFP General Secretary, Minister Maithripala Sirisena told the media in Colombo yesterday. The UPFA, the Minister said, also expected to give more powers to the Independent Commissions which would be established under the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. The Minister said the election held on Jan. 26 to elect the 6th President was the last presidential poll in the country. more..

10 senior officers dismissed on false charges

Mar 11 (LT) IGP Mahinda Balasooriya has dismissed Chief Inspectors of Police from duty and sent on compulsory leave a Senior Police Superintendent and a Police Superintendent on orders from the Secretary of Defense The orders are to be effective immediately. SSD Noel Chandana Kudahetti who was in charge of administration and development section of Police Headquarters and SP J.R Jayawardene have been sent on compulsory leave. more..

Minister receives Rs. 38 lakhs per year as Salaries : But some of them have spent Rs. 300 million on cutouts

Mar 11 (LeN) The salaries collected by a Minister of the Cabinet is Rs. 38 lakhs per year, but some of them have spent as much as Rs. 300 million to display cutouts and paste posters. Even as of today, these candidates have spent Rs. 300 million on cutouts and posters. It is best the people try to probe why these candidates are wasting so much money to win elections. more..

Family fears for missing Sri Lankan cartoonist

Mar 11 (AFP) Six weeks ago Sri Lankan political writer and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda went missing, and his fate has raised further concerns about the island's culture of violence against the media. Eknaligoda, who contributed to the pro-opposition website, did not return home after work on January 24, two days before the island's presidential elections. more..

Legal expert team led by Former CJ to counter Fonseka allegations

Mar 11 (AD) A team of legal experts including Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva are working towards legal countering the allegation against Rtd. Gen. Sarath Fonseka and his detention, JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said at a press briefing today. At the same press conference Anoma Fonseka said that the visiting hours for Fonseka which was one hour previously has been increased to two hours. more..

Fonseka court martial on March 16 at Navy HQ

Mar 11 (MoD) On recommendations of the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, His Excellency, the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has appointed two Courts Martial to try former Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army General Sarath Fonseka, now in military custody, so said Military Spokesman Major General Prasad Samarasinghe at a special media briefing, more..

Debrief News - 11.03.2010

High Court gives TN govt two weeks to decide on Nalini’s plea

Mar 12 (Hindu) The Madras High Court asked the Tamil Nadu government to take a decision within two weeks on a plea for premature release by Nalini, serving a life term in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. “Positively two weeks,” a Division Bench said when Advocate General P.S. Raman sought two weeks’ time to furnish the government’s decision on the report of the Prison Advisory Board (PAB) on the pleas of 44-year-old Nalini and two other convicts. more..

Dengue spread slows in north

Mar 12 (IRIN) The spread of Dengue fever has eased in Sri Lanka's conflict-affected north, but health officials warn continued vigilance is necessary. Since the beginning of this year, more than 2,000 cases of the mosquito-borne infection have been reported in Jaffna and Vavuniya districts, fuelled largely by late monsoon rains at the end of 2009. According to the Ministry of Health's Epidemiology Unit, 22 cases were reported in Jaffna in the first 10 days of March. more..

'Stop overkill of cricket on TV'

Mar 12 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara has called for several changes to increase the popularity of five-day cricket, including paying Test players significantly more and not broadcasting the game in the city hosting the game until a large crowd turns up at the ground. He also said every country should have an iconic series like the Ashes to draw spectators to the stadiums. more..

Indian signs MoU with Colombo Univ. for Visiting Chair

Mar 12 (Hindu) On Thursday, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the University of Colombo, for the establishment of a Visiting Chair in Social Sciences at the University of Colombo, was signed at the University Senate Hall by the High Commissioner of India, Ashok K. Kantha and Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama, Vice Chancellor of the University. more..

President Rajapaksa proposed as next G15 Chairman

Mar 12 (LP) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s name is being considered for the next Chairmanship of the G 15. According to well informed diplomatic circles, the members of the G 15 comprising 17 countries will decide on the next Chairman to be elected at the next G 15 Summit scheduled to be held in May 2010. The Group was originally founded by 15 developing countries. more..

Transparency International calls for protection of civil society organisations in Sri Lanka

Mar 12 (TI) Transparency International (TI) is alarmed by the intimidation tactics and public allegations threatening civil society organisations in Sri Lanka, and in particular those against the TI chapter, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL). TI is gravely concerned about the safety and reputation of TISL Executive Director J.C. Weliamuna and more..

Sri Lanka rupee hits 1-yr high; shrs up on bargain hunting

Mar 12 (Reuters) The Sri Lanka rupee LKR hit a one-year high on Thursday as a state bank, through which the central bank directs the market, reduced its dollar trading band, currency dealers said. The stock market ended 0.82 percent firmer ending its two straight losses. The rupee hit 113.95/114.05 in early trade, its highest since March 24 last year, Reuters data show. The dollar trading band, was reduced to 113.95/114.35 from 114.05/45, dealers said. more..

Sri Lanka gets Malaysian motorcycle plant

Mar 12 (LBO) Malaysia's DNC Asiatic Holdings is to set up a plant to make motorcycles in Sri Lanka mainly for export with an investment of 16 million US dollars, the island's investment promotion agency said. The Board of Investment said in a statement the venture, Demak Manufacturing Lanka, will provide employment for a workforce of 200 people initially. “The production would be mainly targeted for the export market while the products would also be available locally,” more..

Reveal your constitution to the people – New challenge from Anura to government

Mar 12 (LT) The national list candidate of DNA Anura Dissanayake challenges the government to produce, if they can, the constitution they say they have compiled by now. Speaking further Mr. Dissanayake said the government has no programme to present to the people for the general election ; all they do is to sling mud at the General and ask for 2/3rd majority he pointed out. more..

Dictators in National Clothing

Mar 12 (LG) The late Gunadasa Liyanage was a senior lawyer in Mount Lavinia who practiced mostly civil law. In the mid-1970’s, he was also the leader of the United National Party (UNP) supporters in the Ratmalana area. He was the choice of the local UNPers for the 1977 elections. In the days when the nominations were being prepared, he received an invitation from JR Jayawardene, the leader of the UNP, to come and visit him. more..

President should confirm Attorney General's invitation for exiled journalists

Mar 12 (LG) Media reports say, Attorney General Mohan Pieris had met with delegates from the Committee for Protection of Journalists (CPJ) and had assured them the Sri Lankan journalists in exile,now totalling around 35, should return home and they would be safe. He had asked the journalists to return and work to strengthen the system. He claims the government would also back him on that. more..

2009 Human Rights Report: Sri Lanka

Mar 12 (USDS) Sri Lanka is a constitutional, multiparty republic with a population estimated at 21 million. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, elected in 2005, and the parliament, elected in 2004, both for six-year terms, share constitutional power. The government is dominated by the president's family; two of his brothers hold key executive branch posts, defense secretary and senior advisor to the president. more..

UNF candidate arrested, UPFA supporters clash

Mar 12 (CT) Incidents of election law violations and violence are on the rise, police said. In one of the latest incidents, former UNP MP for Ratnapura and UNF general election candidate Dunesh Gankanda has been arrested on the charge of assaulting a police team. According to reports, three policemen have been admitted to hospital following the assault. The incident has reportedly taken place this morning (Mar. 11) as police attempted to remove a cutout of Mr. Gankanda on display by the roadside in Pelmadulla. more..

Latest Sri Lanka Parliament Joke; two new MPs for two days

Mar 12 (LP) There is no end to the 'Parliament(ary) Jokes' in Sri Lanka. (Parliament Jokes is a comic movie created by Ranjan Ramanayaka who is now contesting in the 2010 general election seeking an integral place in this joke.) In the latest episode, two candidates of the 2004 general election nominations of the Sri Lanka’s major opposition UNP are likely to take oaths as MPs as the parliament meets on April 06 for the extension of emergency for another month, more..

Sri Lanka: Checkpoints in Paradise

Mar 12 (NYT) Everybody out, the military officer ordered us, as we pulled off the bumpy road linking the Tamil-dominated eastern province to Sri Lanka’s hill country. My driver motioned to the back seat, where a police officer we picked up a few miles back was sitting. His presence lent an air of authority, and we were promptly waved through. But the busload of European shutterbugs in front of us – unloading their suitcases and filing out in a single column – was not so lucky. more..

SL Supreme Court: Voting rights of IDPs should be ensured

Mar 12 (TN) Sri Lankan Supreme Court Thursday directed that the rules and regulation laid down by the SL Elections Commissioner pertaining to the voting rights of the IDP during the presidential election be implemented fully. The three member bench comprised Chief Justice Asoka de Silva and Justices Jagath Balapatebendige and Ms Chandra Ekanayake made the order when it took up the Fundamental Rights violation petition of more..

ITAK engaged in setting up offices in Jaffna peninsula

Mar 12 (TN) Ilangkai Thamizh Arasuk Kadchi (ITAK) is actively engaged in opening its offices in various parts of Jaffna peninsula and the first office was opened Thursday in Pa’ndaitharippu, sources in Jaffna said. Meanwhile, it is reported that Tamil National Alliance (TNA) stands split into two factions - one which constitutes of former TNA Jaffna MPs and the other which includes new comers to the election arena, more..

Kudu Lal requests for political asylum in the UK

Mar 12 (LNW) It is reliably learnt that a well known thug in Sri Lanka, Lal Peiris alias Kudu Lal, has requested for political asylum from the UK Home Office. In order to fulfill the requirement of the Home Office to prove as to why living in one’s country was a threat to life, Kudu Lal had presented the list of underworld kingpins who were killed by the Sri Lanka Police during the clean up operation. more..

Chinese representatives discuss road development projects in Jaffna

Mar 12 (TN) Two Key representatives of Chinese government who visited Jaffna Thursday met Jaffna Government Agent, K. Ganesh at Jaffna Secretariat and discussed the projects of broadening five main streets in Jaffna peninsula with Chinese aid. The representatives, along with the GA and the Director of Planning, inspected the Pa’n’nai causeway bridge located on Jaffna-Oorkaavattu’rai road which had not seen maintenance or repair in the last 30 years due to war. more..

New Cistercian Abbey for Sri Lanka

Mar 12 (CNA) After completing their training in an Austrian Abbey, four newly trained monks will return to Sri Lanka next week to found a Cistercian Abbey in their homeland. In 2001, three young candidates for the monastic life from the Archdiocese of Colombo had arrived in Austria with the Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey, to prepare for the Cistercian life along with the Austrian community, Fides reports. At the request of their Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, they will now return to their country more..

3D with Minister Dinesh Gunawardhane