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Sri Lanka garners support against U.N. probe

Mar 12 (IPS) Sri Lanka, which won a grueling decades-long battle against one of the world's most ferocious terrorist organisations last May, has scored a diplomatic victory in its ongoing war of words with the United Nations. The largest single political coalition has, in a rare rebuke, lambasted Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his decision to appoint a panel of experts to advise him on "accountability issues" relating to post-conflict Sri Lanka, more..

Sri Lanka must curb state consumption, inflate less to raise incomes: economist

Mar 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka has to curb excessive state consumption, keep inflation low to encourage private savings, and improve governance to draw foreign capital to promote growth and incomes, a top economist has said. Higher savings were required to increase growth and achieve the targets of replicating the economic success of East Asia's newly industrialized countries and of doubling per capita income from 2000 US dollars today to 4,000 dollars by 2020. more..

Sri Lankan parliament again ratifies emergency powers

Mar 12 (wsws) The Sri Lankan parliament ratified President Mahinda Rajapakse’s extension of the country’s state of emergency for another month on Tuesday. As a result, Rajapakse retains his extraordinary powers to ban public meetings and protests, censor the media, outlaw strikes, sack workers, detain people without charge and mobilise the military in strike-breaking operations. more..

Sinhalese street vendors invade Jaffna town

Mar 12 (TN) The shops in Jaffna town shutting down before evening 6:00 p.m by its owners due to their bitter experiences during the war and the people of Jaffna peninsula remaining indoors in the night has become habitual until now when Sinhalese traders from the South have turned Jaffna town into night time street markets. This night trading has suddenly cropped up to cater to the needs of thousands of Sinhalese tourists pouring into Jaffna more..

UNP Jaffna electorate chief candidate releases election manifesto

Mar 12 (TN) The chief candidate of UNP for Jaffna electorate in the forthcoming general election, Ms. Vijayakala Maheswaran, said that her party is prepared to put forth a solution to the ethnic issue based on the Oslo Declaration that was considered in the talks held between UNP and the LTTE in Oslo, in a press briefing where she released her election manifesto Thursday at her party office in Thirunelveali in Jaffna. more..

World Glaucoma day today

Mar 12 (LP) World Glaucoma day falls today and this is also the third World Glaucoma (WGD) commemoration. This is a joint global initiative of the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) & the World Glaucoma Patient Association (WGPA). A World glaucoma week was declared from the 07th to the 13th of March 2010. Glaucoma is a disease in which the optic nerve is damaged, more..

Kaar, baar & soor

Mar 12 (LNP) Over 7,000 persons are engaged in an unseemly scramble for power whereas only 225 of them will succeed in entering Parliament. Ask them why they are killing themselves in a desperate bid to get elected and they will tell you they want to serve us. There are zillions of posters and cut-out all over the country with grinning mugs of politicos who want to be our servants and to turn this land into Shangri-la. They cannot fool the discerning masses. more..

Public Utilities Commission creates public awareness among power consumers

Mar 12 (LP) The Public Utilities Commission initiates a special programme to create an awareness among the public on safeguarding the rights of the Electricity consumers. The Public Utilities Commission has paid special attention to the problems faced by the electricity consumers, amounting to about 4.5 million in order to safe guard their rights. This has been done according to the Parliamentary Act of 2009, No 02 more..

President believes in improvement of the quality of education

Mar 12 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has emphasized that the Government’s next target is to improve the education of children. The President said assuring a better education and a future for the children of Sri Lanka is the responsibility of everyone. It is the school which should be responsible for grooming them as good citizens. He said he believed that the improvement of a school lies on the staff members including more..

Govt spends Rs 4,270m on roads

Mar 12 (MoD) The Government has constructed and renovated roads and bridges at a cost of Rs. 4,270 million in the Mannar District under the Uthuru Vasanthaya program, the Road Development Authority said. Under this program, the construction of the New Thalladi bridge in Mannar has been completed. The Government has spent Rs 2,460 million on this project, RDA Chief Engineer for Mannar and Vavuniya Joice Crooze said. more..

Rare ring-tailed lemurs at Dehiwala Zoo

Mar 12 (LP) Dehiwala Zoological gardens received another pair of rare animals (Unahapuluwa) belonging to the Monkey family from England. A pair of ring-tailed lemurs was brought to the Zoological gardens on Wednesday from the Rare Species Breeding Centre in London under the Animal Exchange prorgramme. Those who visit the zoo can now see the ring-tailed lemurs as they were on display since yesterday. more..

New Kalladi bridge to boost Eastern economy

Mar 12 (MoD) The Government has embarked upon a massive construction project of building the new Kalladi bridge in Batticaloa to boost the economic and social activities in the East by enhancing the connectivity in the region. The new Kalladi bridge spanning the Kalladi lagoon lies on the Pottuvil- Batticaloa road. It is built at a cost of Rs. 3,806.8 million with JICA funding. This is a very important bridge located on the Pottuwil-Batticaloa main road more..

As the sun sets on the dominant paradigm of development...

Mar 12 (DN) The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet-style systems in Eastern Europe for people was seen as a triumph of one political and economic system over another, that of capitalism over communism. Even today very few people recognize that the two systems are essentially two versions of a single paradigm called ‘modernism’, which flows from a largely Euro-Centric understanding of the world and consequent extrapolations. more..

Over 7200 Jaffna youth join marathon organized by Jaffna security forces

Mar 12 (MoD) Jaffna Peninsula, remained paralyzed for so many years, owing to cycle of LTTE terrorism is back in full spirits now as more and more private companies also have begun to extend their support for rejuvenation of the civil society. Jaffna town and its suburbs sprang into life during the weekend when the biggest ever Nestle sponsored Marathon Race, competed by record 7200 runners of all areas more..

A wanderlust tourist's perspective on post-conflict Sri Lanka

Mar 12 (MoD) For a small country, the sheer number of places of historical and natural interest was amazing, and knowing that we could not fit in everything Sri Lanka has to offer in one 3-week trip we decided that we didn't have time to visit the east coast as well as the north. A Swiss gentleman had previously told us that tourists still experienced difficulties travelling to the North, more..

ICTA strengthens Mahinda Chintana forward vision

Mar 12 (DN) The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) has launched several projects to implement the Mahinda Chintana Idiri Dekma. National e-Literacy Project is aiming to bring out 100,000 citizens in the rural community to ICT literate within 18 months. This is one of the projects tasked to run for Instant Global Village envisaged in the Mahinda Chintana Idiri Dekma ensuring 75 percent island-wide ICT literacy by 2017. more..

UNP leaders, who bragged only they could save General, have abandoned him!

Mar 12 (LT) The UNP leadership, after deciding to contest the general election of its own under the 'elephant' symbol and when their attempt to get Gen. Sarath Fonseka to join the UNF by stating that only the UNP could save Gen. Fonseka failed, has now completely withdrawn from the process of getting Gen. Fonseka released. Former UNP MP Wijedasa Rajapakse, when he visited the cell where Gen. Sarath Fonseka more..

Kumar Sangakkara on ESPN

Professionals for change in Sri Lanka electoral system

Mar 12 (LNP) The electoral system of the country under the preferential vote system should be changed. It had created unhealthy rivalry, more divisions and confusion not acceptable in the 21st century, Attorney-at-law Kalinga Indatissa said. He said the 1981 Act of Parliament of J. R. Jayewardene government had contributed to more conflicts and confusion by dividing people with more divisions like caste, religion and ethnicity. more..

Pirated ship's captain confirms: Lankan crew safe

Mar 12 (DN) The captain of the merchant vessel, held by Somali pirates Al-Nisr Al-Saudi has been allowed to talk with the shipping company. He has affirmed that the 13-member Sri Lankan crew on board are safe and in good health. Al-Nisr Al-Saudi was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden with a 14-member crew on board, which include 13 Sri Lankans and the ship's Greek captain, Georgios Skalimis. The hijackers have demanded a $20 million ransom. more..

'If the General is produced before the Military Court , Civil Court action will be filed against it'

Mar 12 (LeN) The Democratic National Front (DNF) vehemently stated that they would file action in the civil court, if the General is produced before the military Court under the Army Act, as legally such a Court cannot be constituted nor judges appointed to try Gen. Fonseka, JVP Ex M.P. Anura Kumara Dissanayake addressing a media briefing on the 11th made this point very clear. more..

Northern IDP resettlement expedited

Mar 12 (GDI) The Government has resettled a total number of 182,946 Internal Displaced Person’s temporarily housed in welfare centers in North as at March 10, 2010 and the resettlement of civilians in Mullaitivu and Killinochchi has commenced, Minister oMahinda Samarasinghe said. He further noted that there are 64,849 IDPs remaining in welfare centers in Vavuniya and Jaffna and 28,974 are on free movement. more..

Royal in control on day one

Mar 12 (LNP) Captains of Royal and S.Thomas Bhanuka Rajapakse (68 off 60 balls) and Dinesh Walpita (4 for 51 off 18 overs), came out with some brilliant individual performances on the opening day of their 131st Battle of the Blues three-day cricket encounter begun at the SSC grounds, Colombo yesterday. In reply to Royal s modest first innings total of 283 for 9 declared, S.Thomas were struggling at 20 for one at stumps. more..

House dissolution no bar to members’ privileges

Mar 12 (LNP) Deputy Chairman of Committees, Ramalingam Chandrasekaran, MP has taken back three vehicles, including a Prado he had handed over to Parliament immediately after the recent dissolution of Parliament. The JVP National List MP said that he had the authority to use two vehicles as the Deputy Chairman of Committees. He said his private secretary, media secretary and the media officer were authorised to use a vehicle each. more..

'NGOs should be accountable to Parliament'

Mar 12 (DN) Certain European countries that savour the LTTE, including USA, UK, and Norway are supplying funds to certain Non Governmental Organizations in Sri Lanka, to topple the Government at any time which they felt necessary. They have funded 200 million US Dollars to these NGOs, said Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. Even though foreign finance will come they should present details of such to Parliament. more..

The largest heroin haul seized in Kalpitiya

Mar 12 (MoD) The largest heroin haul has been seized. The Kalpitiya Police succeeded in seizing the haul of heroin. Police Media Spokesman SP Preshantha Jayakody said that the stock of heroin weighed 40 kilos and 812 grams. He said that the recovery was made from the Muthupanthi area at Nalladarankattuwa in Chilaw. The value of the heroin is 240 million rupees. more..

Two more UPFA Ministers in violent battle

Mar 12 (UNP) Because of a violent clash between UPFA Minister Arumugam Thondaman and Deputy Minister Vadiwel Suresh, four people at least were injured yesterday morning. These Ministers who come to Parliament promising peace and prosperity to the people are themselves guilty of breach of peace –the innocent people of the area are in panic following the clashes with several hartals being staged in many plantation areas. more..

'This Govt. by holding corrupt elections has defeated the purpose of it'

Mar 12 (UNP) UNP Ex MP Range Bandara said, the Govt.‘s unending elections malpractices and frauds had defeated the very purposes of holding elections , and by ignoring the directives of the Elections Commissioner it has not only disgraced him, but is also trying to demonstrate to the people that in SL under this Govt., election results are not a true reflection of people’s choice based on their votes. more..

Politicians and their Promises

‘Reveal corrupt colleagues or change Mawbimay Panchayudaya slogan to Mawbimay Pacha-udaya'

Mar 12 (Island) UNP Colombo District candidate A.J.M. Muzammil has challenged NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa to expose corrupt politicians, who had received nominations from the ruling UPFA to contest the upcoming parliamentary election. Muzammil said now that Weerawansa had publicly acknowledged that corrupt politicians were on the UPFA list and perhaps the National List as well, he should reveal them before the election. more..

Going gets tough in Matara for Mangala

Mar 12 (Island) Mangala Samaraweera, during his days with the SLFP, held sway in the Matara district. Even after quitting the party, many believed that he could hold his own against any opposition there. But all that seems to be changing now. Samaraweera, who formed the SLFP (M) and together with the JVP, TNA and other minor parties joined the UNP to form the UNF, seems to have antagonised the voting population of Matara. more..

'Govt. cuts agricultural budget by 35 %'

Mar 12 (Island) Public Investment in agriculture was reduced by 35 per cent last year, despite the Mahinda Rajapaksa government’s much touted Api Wawamu Rata Hadamu policy, the UNP said yesterday. Economist and UNP National List nominee Harsha de Silva said that the government had actually cut investment in agriculture from Rs. 23 billion in 2008, to Rs. 17 billion in 2009. more..

Uniform allowances to nurses after Treasury allocation of funds

Mar 12 (Island) The Health Ministry refuted allegations levelled by the Government Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) regarding nurses’ uniform allowance. Another circular had been issued on Wednesday to the administrators of all Health Institutions under the Ministry to list nurses’ request for uniform allowance under ‘common 36 voucher (a voucher for special payments),’ and pay the uniform allowance this month. more..

No change in IDP identity stance at April 8 polls

Mar 12 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Elections Commissioner to ensure that the identification documents allowed for voters during the last Presidential election should be adhered to at the forthcoming Parliamentary elections too for the IDPs. The Bench also directed that if the temporary camp identity cards of the IDPs were used as valid identity for voting at the recently held Presidential elections, the same documents too should be included for more..

SC wants State media to be balanced

Mar 12 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday (11) directed the Rupavahini and the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation to ensure a balance of coverage in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections.The Bench comprised Chief Justice Asoka de Silva, Justices Jagath Balapatabendi and Chandra Ekanayake. The application for leave to proceed was refused. more..

‘30 key Bills were not passed’

Mar 12 (DM) A senior Parliamentary official yesterday claimed that the lackluster attitude on the part of both the government and opposition members of parliament had contributed to the failure to pass some 30 significant Bills that would have had a direct positive impact on the country at large if passed before the dissolution the last Parliament. A number of important Bills with direct impact on public life, the economy, politics and good governance have lapsed more..

Interdicting cops will affect polls adversely: PAFFREL

Mar 12 (DM) The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) yesterday said the removal or interdiction of Police officers prior to the general election would play an adverse role on the election process and cause serious issues in future. PAFFREL Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said a number of police officers were interdicted recently and this would affect the election process. more..

Juxtaposing the past with present Injudicious!

Mar 12 (LG) It is disheartening to read the arguments of some of the so called intellectuals , some self-proclaimed and others who are accepted for their known academic achievements or professional brilliance, on the subject of the governance of Sri Lanka, particularly in the light of the past presidential election and the forthcoming general elections. more..

Politicization of law enforcement bodies

Mar 12 (DM) A country which has an independent military and a police service with country’s interest as their sole goal is indeed truly blessed. Unfortunately not every country is fortunate to have governments which allow the forces and the police to carry out duties independently. Undue meddling always ends up killing the professionalism and discipline among the members of the forces and police and more..

'We won’t listen to Navaneethan Pillai'

Mar 12 (Island) R. Duminda Silva says that the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Navaneethan Pillai and the Human Rights activists are once again inflicting pressure on Sri Lanka. He stated that certain individuals were pretending to represent Human Rights internationally and inserting pressure on independent countries with the intention of obtaining petty gains. more..

TNA releases election manifesto

Mar 12 (TN) Federal solution based on shared sovereignty and right to self-determination in a contiguous north and east of Sri Lanka was the highlight of the TNA manifesto released Friday. While irreversibly committing on federal solution, the manifesto is ambiguous on the nature of the sovereignty of Eezham Tamils and their right to self determination, said Tamil political circles in their immediate responses. more..

Canada asks Sri Lanka to start talks with Tamil groups

Mar 12 (IE) Canada has asked Sri Lanka to start talks and the reconciliation process with the Tamil groups, saying such a step is crucial for lasting peace in the country. "After 30 years of war, reconciliation is crucial for lasting peace in Sri Lanka. Canada awaits to see what steps the Government of Sri Lanka will take towards this reconciliation," Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, told more..

'The working community will not let the motherland down'

Mar 12 (GDI) The President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the working community is not ready to let down the motherland in the face of narrow political advantages. Some parties boasted on many election promises during past few years. The President requests working community to lend their maximum support to form a stable parliament to develop the country for the future generation by eliminating corruption. more..

'This govt throws challenges in Sinhalese but kneels down in English'

Mar 12 (LT) The present government conceals everything from masses, howl abuse in Sinhalese but kneel in front of foreign states and carry out their agendas in a dastardly manner says General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. He said, "The JVP unconditionally opposes interventions in affairs of our Motherland which jeopardizes its sovereignty. more..

Rajapaksa to appoint committee on ethnic conflict

Mar 12 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has decided in-principle to appoint a committee to study the root cause of the ethnic conflict, lessons learnt by the island-nation since sections of Tamils took to militancy in a bid to gain their rights and aspirations, and the challenges faced by the country since the military defeat of the LTTE last May. more..

Debrief News - 12.03.2010

Tamil asylum seekers sent back

Mar 13 (Age) The federal government has begun returning Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, amid signs that the threat to minority groups there and in Afghanistan is easing. Last night immigration officials were preparing to deport three Tamils from Christmas Island to Sri Lanka. Three have already gone and more are expected to follow, with 35 others from a range of countries with cases now before a merits review. more..

Sri Lanka trade union makes headway in fight for wage increase

Mar 13 (WW) The FTZ&GSEU, a leading campaigner for workers' rights in Sri Lanka's free trade zones (FTZs), mobilised thousands of workers to push for private sector wages to be increased to levels in line with those in the public sector. In recent years the wages of Sri Lanka's 250,000 private sector workers have fallen well behind their public sector counterparts. Currently the minimum wage for the private sector is RS 6,700 per month (approximately £37), more..

Sunday Leader in 'contempt of court'

Mar 13 (BBC) The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka has issued notice to the editor of a pro-opposition English weekly to explain the reasons for publishing an article regarded as contempt of court. Frederica Jansz, the editor of Sunday Leader, is accused by the Supreme Court on contempt of court by publishing an allegedly defamatory article referring to acting Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranaike. more..

Sri Lanka shares hit new record high; foreigners exit

Mar 13 (Reuters) The Sri Lanka share index hit a fresh all-time high in high volume trade on Friday led by local buying in hotel shares, but foreigners continued to exit the market, despite post-war economic optimism. The All-Share Price Index of the Colombo Stock Exchange rose 23.82 points to hit a new record high of 3,856.12 points, surpassing its previous all-time high of 3,849.23 hit on Monday. It closed 0.33 percent or 12.54 points firmer at 3,844.84. more..