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'Allegations against LTTE Must also be investigated'

Apr 24 (TC) The Sunday Leader’s Faraz Shauketaly spoke to Head of the Global Tamil Forum, Father Emmanuel, asking him to comment on the UN Advisory Panel Report. Excerpts: Q: What is your reaction to the UN Advisory Panel’s report to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon? A: We have seen a leaked report. We are at the first stage. It is an opportunity to find out the truth and to start a process of true reconciliation. more..

Editorial: Big bucks, politics and rhinoceros hides

Apr 24 (Island) A deadly cocktail of big bucks and politics together with the rhinoceros-thick hide of many of those who are and have been in charge of national cricket in our country have now combined to send a limping Lankan team on a tour of England next month. After reaching the World Cup finals and coming tantalizingly close to the crown, we are now in the process of shooting ourselves in the foot for reasons of greed on the part of some players, a hopelessly more..

Editorial: Clinically shred war crimes allegations

Apr 24 (ST) The Minister of External Affairs reacting to the UN Secretary General's panel report on Sri Lanka asked how one could respond to the voluminous document so quickly. That may well be so, but had he and his Government activated the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of Foreign Relations and Strategic Studies, the brainchild of one of his illustrious successors, the task at hand would have been far easier, and quicker. For quite some time now, this newspaper more..

President Rajapaksa is an authoritarian leader but not a dictatorial ruler

Apr 24 (TC) The dispute that has arisen between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the UNO over the alleged human rights violations presumed to have been committed during the military operations launched by the GoSL against the LTTE appears to be growing out of proportion. Even personal factors seem to have influenced to an extent which is highly unnecessary in exacerbating the problem. more..

MR takes brunt of problem

Apr 24 (NS) The challenge before Sri Lanka today, is to resolve the immediate problem the country is facing, in the aftermath of the report submitted by the United Nations expert panel on alleged war crimes. It is the view of many and respected intelligentsia that Sri Lanka should move cautiously and more prudently, through diplomatic channels to offset the adverse impact caused by the said expert panel report on the final phase of the Eelam war. more..

UN report: UNP inviting the ‘traitor’ label

Apr 24 (NS) The political firmament which was destined to plunge into darkness with the conclusion of the local government elections has suddenly lit up with some diplomatic fireworks - the release of the report of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s panel on the conclusion of the Eelam war. The panel - which incidentally has virtually no official sanction from any of the UN agencies, only being personally appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon more..

In the steps of Gagarin

Apr 24 (ST) 3 is Vladimir Lyakhov’s lucky number – for the 3 Soyuz missions he flew, for the 3 space stations he stepped into, for the 3 times he left the station to walk into the icy vastness outside. Then another figure, 333 – the total number of days he spent in space. Lyakhov even has a joke about it – which doesn’t translate too well – and he tells it in thickly accented Russian, his eyes twinkling and his thining white hair gleaming under the light. more..

Instead of releasing officially Ban-Ki-moon got the help of Mahinda to leak the report

Apr 24 (TC) Mahinda regime claims that the economy is expanding at a rate of 8%. In the context of economies world over struggling to keep even 1 % expansion, Lankan performance is considered to be a miracle. Recent IMF reports claim that they are highly impressed by the performance of Mahinda regime. They have pledged to support the regime continuously. However the plantation workers, who are mostly Tamil, live with a daily wage less than 400 rupees. more..

The Moon Hysteria

Apr 24 (LG) World Cup hysteria is over and now the Moon hysteria is in full swing in our resplendent isle. The mass media is letting go its full throated cry against the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon who handed over to our government the report of the three member panel appointed by him on alleged war crimes committed by Sri Lanka’s armed forces on civilians during the final phases of the war against LTTE terrorism. People do not seem to be as more..

'Ban-Ki-moon is against us but the UN is with us'

Apr 24 (TC) The United Nations (UN) is being used by Western imperialist powers which have been acting in an acrimonious manner against Sri Lanka, Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara charged last week. "They are scheming to put Sri Lanka and the Government into difficulty by making baseless war crimes allegations", he said. These Western imperialist powers want the Sri Lankan Govt to be submissive so that they could unduly influence a country so more..

The Darusman (UN) Report was inevitable due to colossal failure by the Rajapaksas

Apr 24 (TC) The mysterious leaking in Colombo of the Darusman (UN) Report was accompanied by a carefully choreographed outbreak of patriotic-hysteria. The President, in a hyperbolic-excess, declared his willingness to brave the electric chair (unaware that capital punishment is rejected by the International Criminal Court!). He also indicated his desire to turn the UPFA May Day demonstration into an anti-UN melee (does this explain the timing of the leak?). more..

Make foreign policy right - Sajith

Apr 24 (BBC) A senior leader of Sri Lanka's main opposition says that the challenge by the United Nation's Committee report could only be defeated by concerted efforts of all political parties along with the release of former army commander Sarath Fonseka. UNP co-deputy leader, Sajith Premadasa told BBC Sandeshaya that these issues do emerge due to unscrupulous and unprincipled foreign policy of the government. "As a result the whole country has plunged into a pathetic situation for more..

Attempts by some to make Ban Ki-moon panel report credible

Apr 24 (Island) Sri Lanka says a section of the international community, Tamil Diaspora and a section of the international media are now trying to substantiate allegations made by a three-member panel appointed by UNSG Ban Ki-moon to investigate what the former South Korean foreign minister called accountability issues in Sri Lanka. An authoritative military official says their strategy basically hinged on the number of civilians killed in more..

Sajith threatens to quit

Apr 24 (SL) Newly appointed Co Deputy Leader of the UNP, Sajith Premadasa has threatened to quit from posts held by him in the party and the Working Committee if the party’s Advisory Committee that is to meet on May 2 fails to do justice to the pro-reform-members of the party. The party’s Advisory Committee is to decide on the new Working Committee members on the 2nd and Premadasa says that he would resign if the party leadership fails to appoint the party parliamentarians more..

UN and UNP: Same same same

Apr 24 (LB) Was the Rajapaksa administration caught flat-footed last week when the so-called UN Sec-Gen’s panel report was released? Very likely, as earlier the government had sent its emissaries including the attorney general Mohan De Silva and former army front line commander Shavendra Silva to do some work with the panel. Apparently, whatever they did, did not work, and when the panel came out it contained a frontal attack on the Sri Lankan government, more..

UN report: Mass protests, fireworks ... but no official govt. response yet

Apr 24 (LB) On Thursday, contrary to much speculation, the UN, at the eleventh hour, decided to postpone the release of the much delayed —and already leaked — report of the UN panel on the final phase of the conflict in Sri Lanka. Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson of the UN secretary-general told reporters that Sri Lanka had been given another chance to submit its response. Earlier on Thursday, Haq said that the report would be issued within last week itself. more..

UNSG’s report: The thin end of the wedge in Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process?

Apr 24 (ST) There are no major surprises in the leaked report by the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka, going by the sections of it that have been published in a newspaper. The bias in it was entirely predictable, considering the manner in which the Panel was set up and the circumstances in which it worked. The report commences with an admission that the allegations it speaks of, are not proven. (“The panel found credible allegations which, if proven, more..

Give us a break, we’re No. One!

Apr 24 (ST) My dear Ban Ki moon, I thought I must write to you because you seem to be the most talked about person in our country these days, though I won’t go so far as to say you are the most popular. Why, some are even enquiring about your maternal relatives! I guess all this fuss is about that report which the panel you appointed, to inquire into the last days of the Eelam war has been submitted. And just to add some spice to the story they say the report has been leaked! more..

'Highly paid PR firms have fallen flat on their faces'

Apr 24 (Island) The UNP says those overseas PR firms hired by the UPFA government to defend the country in the face of growing international criticism over Sri Lanka’s successful war against Tigers have failed to fulfill their obligations. UNP frontliner Ravi Karunanayake, MP, in an interview with The Island said that the government should explain the role played by Bell Pottinger and two or three other PR agencies in Sri Lanka’s strategy. more..

BoI agreements pave way for wheat flour price hikes

Apr 24 (SL) BoI agreements entered into by Serendib Flour Mills (Pvt) Ltd. and Prima Ceylon Ltd., during President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s regime have given them the right to determine the selling prices of wheat flour and its byproducts, a highly placed government official speaking on the grounds of anonymity told The Sunday Leader. This also covers the retail prices of such products, the source said. This bombshell comes in the backdrop of the state regulatory authority for more..

Would Chinese veto come to rescue?

Apr 24 (LB) The Sri Lankan government is banking on China and Russia to shield itself from possible UN action, aimed at implementing the recommendations of the UN panel report. None other than powerful defence secretary Gotaabhaya Rajapaksa warned that Sri Lanka would move towards China and Russia to seek protection. Last week, the two countries opposed discussing the UN panel report on Sri Lanka, which was listed in advance as a topic of the Security Council briefing by more..

Sri Lankan image maker from LA

Disallowed try and two missed penalties sink Sri Lanka’s hopes

Apr 24 (ST) A disallowed try and two missed penalties cost dearly for Sri Lanka and their glimmer of hopes in remaining in the top division of HSBC Asian Five Nations Tournament 2011 almost faded away last evening at Longdon Place in front of packed house. Sri Lanka were held to 13 all draw (two tries and one penalty) by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) At the short breather the scores were nil all. The game was played under heavy rain and ball handling was more..

Thieving employees involved in massive Rs. 17 million fraud

Apr 24 (ST) Three people have been arrested in connection with a Rs. 17 million fraud at a firm importing chocolates and energy drinks in Pettah, a senior officer at the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) said yesterday. These three employees of the firm had allegedly defrauded the owner by pilfering stocks from the stores and later selling them in their own shops, thereby causing financial losses as well as attracting customers to their shops, Assistant Superintedent of more..

Strong support for SL from Russia and China

Apr 24 (Island) Both China and the Russian Federation are extending strong support to Sri Lanka on her demand that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon desists from publishing the damaging report of his advisory panel on accountability issues relating to the final phase of Sri Lanka’s 30-year war against terrorism, Minister G.L. Pieris said yesterday. Ambassador Vladimir. P. Mikhaylov Friday met Pieris and conveyed his government’s position to more..

India to the rescue on Moon report

Apr 24 (LB) Sri Lanka has handed over the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon’s Advisory Panel report on Sri Lanka to India for studying and ‘advising’ as appropriate thereafter. Meanwhile, India has appointed a committee led by National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon to study the same, senior diplomatic sources say. “Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa spoke with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a few days back about the report and more..

JHU wants President to visit Russia, China, India

Apr 24 (NS) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) will recommend to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to personally visit countries with veto powers in the Security Council to explain Sri Lanka’s position regarding the last stages of the war. JHU legal advisor and Western Province minister Udaya Gammanpilla said the JHU was planning to officially write to the President regarding the party’s latest decision on the Ban Ki-moon’s panel report. more..

UN Panel report: Much at stake for Sri Lanka

Apr 24 (ST) Ministers have been "grounded". A directive from President Mahinda Rajapaksa says they should all be in Sri Lanka on May Day. 'Manufacturers' are busy turning out scores of effigies of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Some are depicting him as a 'bakamoona' punning on his name. Placards decrying him and his organisation are coming off in hundreds at printing presses. Floats depicting the UN headquarters are being built. more..

Sangakkara, Mahela support Malinga's decision

Apr 24 (CI) Former captains Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene have backed fast bowler Lasith Malinga's decision to quit Tests on account of a degenerative knee condition. Malinga announced his retirement last week, when the Sri Lankan board questioned his participation in the IPL after withdrawing from the upcoming England Tests citing fitness issues. Sangakkara pointed out that Malinga's decision was best for the team, while Jayawardene said it was the more..

'It is Jayalalithaa who should apologise over Sri Lankan Tamils issue'

Apr 24 (Hindu) Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Saturday stated that it is All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa, not he, who had to apologise over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. Reacting to Ms Jayalalithaa's demand for the apology, the DMK leader, in a statement, gave an account of his position on the Tamils question over the years and questioned the locus standi of Ms Jayalalithaa to make such a demand. more..

UN here not seeking extra security

Apr 24 (ST) The United Nations (UN) Office in Colombo is closely monitoring the developing situation in the country with the impending release of the ‘war crimes’ report but has stopped short of seeking additional security from the Govt. UN Spokesperson Tom Hockley said that as of now they were comfortable with the current security being provided to the UN and its staff and therefore it was not necessary to seek additional protection from the state. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Apr 24 (ST) Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Dr. Palitha Kohona, a former Foreign Secretary, wined and dined with the panel that probed alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. The panel hints that Dr. Kohona even agreed for them to visit Colombo to meet Government officials besides members of the LLRC. This is whilst the Government in Colombo berated UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for appointing the three-member team violating more..

Indian guru Sai Baba dies, mourners gather

Apr 24 (AFP) Sathya Sai Baba, one of India's most famous gurus, died in hospital on Sunday, triggering a global outpouring of grief and tributes from devotees across politics, sport and entertainment. He was 85 and finally succumbed to heart problems after being in a critical condition for more than three weeks, his doctors said. Thousands of Hindu followers massed at the Institute of Higher Medical Sciences hospital where Sai Baba more..

India’s 50,000-house project at standstill amid blame game

Apr 24 (ST) The project by the Indian government to build 50,000 houses for the displaced people of the north has been further delayed because of a dispute over the bids for the construction, a cabinet minister told the Sunday Times. The initial project for 1,000 houses is also at a standstill. Minister Douglas Devananda said two Indian companies had bid for the project to build the houses at Rs. 500,000 each, but more..

Colombo vegetable prices drop Rs 10 to Rs 20 per kilo

Apr 24 (LB) Colombo’s retail price of vegetables dropped by Rs 10 to Rs 20 per kilo last week at the new emerging Pettah FOSE Market adjoining the age-old Manning Market. Pensioner Sirisena Cooray 64, in his bid to extend the value of the falling Sri Lanka rupee, and surveying the two Pettah markets before making his twice-a-week greengrocer purchases, said this. Cooray, from Punchi Borella, Colombo, more..

MR will not meet Blake

Apr 24 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is not expected to meet United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake who is expected to visit Sri Lanka on May 3. Blake’s visit will be to discuss the US country report in which the US State Department has severely accused Sri Lanka of human rights abuses, war crimes and family bandyism. The human rights report for the year 2010 on Sri Lanka released on April 8 more..

'Is it wrong to defeat a deadly terrorist outfit?'

Apr 24 (NS) In May 2009 when the Sri Lankan military defeated the LTTE, Sri Lanka became the first country in the 21st century to have successfully defeated a terrorist outfit. Yet, almost two years into that historical day, various allegations have forced Sri Lankans to wonder whether defeating a terrorist outfit is an ‘acceptable’ phenomenon to the international community. Even Americans can’t boast of a successful counter-terrorism campaign more..

'Govt. mishandles the issue, shows it’s immature'

Apr 24 (LB) A: What’s your opinion of the UN Panel of Experts report - the Executive Summary of the report on the internet and the serialization of the report in The Island? Q: When the allegations of war crimes first appeared we were shocked and concerned because we realized that this could easily escalate and have an adverse affect on the people of the country. The UN can impose embargos and can initiate other measures that more..

Use LLRC antidote - Diplomats

Apr 24 (LB) Some prominent retired diplomats advised the govt to immediately release the LLRC report to counter the UN panel report on Sri Lanka without wasting time on protests. Former United Nations Under Secretary Jayantha Dhanapala opined “the LLRC report has to be swiftly made available in an effort to effectively counter the report compiled by Moon’s advisory panel.” Some quarters in govt have launched various protests campaigns by collecting one million signatures more..

UN report due tomorrow despite Lanka’s plea

Apr 24 (ST) Sri Lanka and the United Nations are locked in a bitter row over the release of the UN Panel report on alleged crimes in Sri Lanka. Minister G.L. Peiris told govt leaders including President Mahinda Rajapaksa that he had obtained an assurance from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that the report would not be released publicly. Hence he was of the view that the UN had reneged on that assurance. more..