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Religious observances held for Fonseka

Apr 25 (DM) Several religious observances were performed by Mrs. Anoma Fonseka and a large group of participants at the Sripada summit and the Nagavihraya in Nallathanniya in anticipation of freedom and recovery from illness for the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. Colombo District MP Jayantha Ketagoda, retired military personnel and a large number youth participated in these religious activities organized by the Democratic Party Yovun Peramuna, Abimanawath Lak Diyaniyo, more..

'Slain LTTE leaders wanted to surrender'

Apr 25 (EB) The report of the UN expert panel on war crimes in Sri Lanka says that in the last days of the war against the LTTE in May 2009, three top LTTE leaders had approached the Lankan army’s lines carrying a white flag intending to surrender, but they were reportedly shot dead by the Lankan troops. “While there is little information on the circumstances of their death, the panel believes that the LTTE leadership intended to surrender,” more..

Release SF to defeat UN report – Sajith

Apr 25 (DM) A senior leader of main opposition said that the challenge by the United Nations SG Report could only be defeated by concerted effort of all political parties along with the release of former army commander Sarath Fonseka. UNP co-deputy leader, Sajith Premadasa said that these issues did emerge due to unscrupulous and unprincipled foreign policy of the government. "As a result the whole country has plunged into a pathetic situation for which the government is solely responsible," more..

Govt to re-open 97 rural hospitals

Apr 25 (DN) The government is set to re-open 97 rural state hospitals that had been closed down for years due to lack of manpower and other resources. These include 80 hospitals in the Northern and Eastern Provinces which were non-functional during a large part of the last 30 years, due to terrorist activities. In addition 17 other dilapidated rural state hospitals in Kandy and Hambantota districts are to be renovated and equipped to serve the public, according to a more..

India playing double game: Sri Lanka

Apr 25 (EB) At the top echelons of the Sri Lankan government there is a belief that India is playing a ‘double game’ in the UN war crimes panel issue. The belief stems from the fact that India has been observing an intriguing silence on the issue when the UN, backed by the US and its Western allies, seems to be bent on pillorying Sri Lanka on war crimes charges. The silence intrigues Sri Lankans because India has greater political, strategic and more..

Sri Lanka postal service losses increase; letter use falls

Apr 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run postal service lost 3.0 billion rupees in 2010 up 22 percent from a year earlier, while revenues fell 6.8 percent to 4.3 billion rupees amid lower letter usage. Data released by the Central Bank shows that expenses rose 3.1 percent to 7,330 million rupees in 2010. Revenues had fallen despite efforts to get into banking services and sell pre-paid phone cards. Letters per inhabitant fell to 17 in 2010 from 21 in 2009, more..

UNP looks into university issues

Apr 25 (DM) The UNP has appointed a special committee to probe into issues faced by the academics and prepare a detailed report on the matters, party sources said. The committee, which includes MP Kabir Hashim, MP Lakshman Kiriella, MP Wijedasa Rajapaksa and MP Akila Viraj are due to prepare and submit a detailed report to party leader Ranil Wickramasinghe on the salary issue as well as other issues faced by local academics following a discussion with more..

Sri Lankan monk among Royal Wedding invitees

Apr 25 (Island) A Sri Lankan Buddhist monk is among the special guests invited for Friday’s Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Buckingham Palace announced yesterday. Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera, the Director of the London Buddhist Vihara Monastry, is among the dignitaries in the special guests list that includes several Royal families of Europe, British Prime Minister David Cameron, more..

Casualties of war: Helping female soldiers get back on their feet in Sri Lanka

Apr 25 (TIME) Right through our one hour interview, she kept twitching her fingers nervously. A blue handkerchief, neatly folded when we sat down, was a crushed mess by the time the we stopped talking. She did not want her real name used; instead, she wanted me to call her Selvi. A former member of the women's wing of the LTTE, Selvi is, for the first time in her adult life, unsure about what she will do next. more..

Going beyond the LTTE: University students to be trained by military

Apr 25 (SL) University students’ unions have voiced concerns over the government’s move to introduce a compulsory ‘leadership training programme’ under the military to all new entrants from this year. The IUSF says there were doubts over the govt’s move, as military leadership skills could not be applied to civil society. IUSF Convener, Sanjeewa Bandara said that university students had doubts as to more..

Sri Lanka’s energy security vulnerable

Apr 25 (BL) Sri Lanka’s energy security is reportedly at grave risk with the outdated pipeline network run by the state-owned oil utility-Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) facing three major leaks in a week. Sources said that if not addressed immediately a major leak could not only cause irreparable damage to the obsolete pipelines and result in huge further losses for the CPC but also severely threaten the energy security of the country. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines to fly additional flights for Sai devotees

Apr 25 (PTI) Sri Lankan Airlines, the country's national carrier, will fly additional flights to India for the devotees want to pay last respects to Godman Sathya Sai Baba, who died yesterday in Puttaparthi. "The airline will have additional capacity on their daily flights to Bangalore from April 26 onwards in order to accommodate all devotees who wish to pay final homage to their spiritual leader," more..

'Use State funds, don’t touch EPF, ETF'

Apr 25 (Island) If the government is serious about introducing a pension scheme for private sector employees, it should do so with government funds and not by drawing monies lying in the EPF and ETF, the UNP says. The UNP will not permit the government to lay its hands on the monies in the Employees’ Provident Fund and Employees’ Trust Fund to set up the proposed pensions scheme, UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said. more..

TNA gets access to TID data base

Apr 25 (DM) A TNA delegation would be granted access to the data base of Tamil detainees at the TID office in Vavuniya today to verify facts for themselves, TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said yesterday. The government officials also would accompany the TNA delegation. During talks between the two parties, it had been requested to give details of these detainees on behalf of family members and relatives. more..

Emergency regulations to be relaxed

Apr 25 (DM) The govt would scale down the emergency regulations some more next month, after consulting the judiciary and other relevant parties, said Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne yesterday. The state of emergency was re-imposed in Parliament in August 2005 following the assassination of then Foreign Affairs Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. Since then, it has been extended every month through a majority vote in the House. more..

Sri Lanka raises taxes on imported vehicles

Apr 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka has raised import duties on several categories of petrol-engined cars and three wheelers with steeper increases seen in larger hybrid vehicles, which had exceptionally low taxes earlier. A senior Treasury official said there were revisions on several categories of vehicles. On petrol cars with standard engines with capacities below 1,000 cubic centimeters the effective total tax rate will go up from the current 95 percent to 120 percent. more..

UK, US behind UNSG’s War Crimes Report

Apr 25 (Island) Contrary to the UPFA government accusing UNSG Ban Ki-moon over the hotly disputed ‘war crimes’ report, exclusively revealed by The Island, the UK and US are widely believed to be behind the sordid operation, now gathering momentum, with the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), pushing for an independent war crimes probe. Sources told The Island that the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), which had been pushing for an international war crimes probe targeting Sri Lanka, more..

UNP to probe NGOs

Apr 26 (NN) The UNP has begun an investigation into the possibility of some NGOs funding a split within the party. UNP MP John Amaratunga said that there was an outside hand in the recent rift in the party resulting from a tussle for the leadership post. He said that there was information the rift was funded by some NGOs and the party was now investigating the matter. When contacted UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera however said that if there was such an attempt by an NGO then more..

Dilshan seeks early IPL exit

Apr 26 (AFP) Sri Lanka's new skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan, one of the stars of the Indian Premier League, has said he wants to leave the event early to travel with the national team to England on tour. Dilshan is keen to join the Sri Lankan squad when they fly to England on May 10, which means he would have to abandon his Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL side three weeks before the tournament ends. Sri Lanka are set to play three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 international during the tour. more..

Sri Lanka intensifies anti-UN campaign after war crimes report

Apr 26 (DPA) Sri Lanka's ruling party and its supporters stepped up its campaign against the United Nations on Monday over a report on alleged war crimes committed during the final phase of the military operations against Tamil rebels two years ago. Anti-UN posters sprung up in various parts of the country and the JHU, which supports the government, protested in the central Kandy district against the UN report. more..

Religious leaders meet

Apr 26 (NN) Religious leaders and representatives are meeting at the President’s office this afternoon to discuss action to be taken against a UN panel report on Sri Lanka. The Reverend Sarath Hettiarachi, Religious Affairs Coordinator for President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that leaders from various religions in Sri Lanka will attend the meeting. The religious leaders have already expressed opposition to the UN panel report and they will now meet and decide on more..

Burmese fisherman handed over

Apr 26 (NN) A group of fishermen from Myanmar were seen adrift in Sri Lankan waters last week and were rescued by a group of Sri Lankan fishermen, were handed over to the Trincomalee harbor police this afternoon. The three fishermen from Myanmar were seen by Sri Lankan fishermen and rescued last week just days after 11 others, also from Myanmar, were rescued in Sri Lankan waters and brought ashore. The latest group of fishermen to be rescued were handed over to the Navy more..

UN 'could have prevented' civilian deaths

Apr 26 (BBC) The United Nations should have done more to prevent civilian casualties at the last stage of the war in Sri Lanka, a former UN spokesman said. Gorden Weiss, the UN spokesman in Colombo during the peak of the conflict, said the UN should have exerted pressure on the Sri Lankan government to stop attacks on civilians. "I believe that the UN should have used greater pressure in order to assuage the kind of assaults that more..

'Investigate' international support to Lanka

Apr 26 (BBC) Governments that provided weapons to the Sri Lankan military during the last stages of the war should also be investigated, says a former UN spokesman. Gordon Weiss told BBC Sinhala service, Sandeshaya that there were high civilian casualties when the Sri Lankan military moved in to overtake the Tamil Tigers in May 2009. UK, USA, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Israel are some of the countries that provided military assistance to Sri Lanka. more..

Susanthika's husband in courts

Apr 26 (DM) Dhammika Ranasighe, husband of Olympic Silver medalist Susanthika Jayasighe, was released on personal bail of Rs. 50,000 and cash bail of Rs.5000 after he appeared before the Horana Magistrate in relation to a family dispute this afternoon. According to the police Dhammika had come to the Horana Magistrate with his lawyer. Susanthika Jayasinghe has also lodged a complaint this morning with the Police Women and Child’s Bureau, police source said. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 25.04.2011

Sri Lanka car prices set to rise after duty hike

Apr 26 (LBO) Prices of several models of imported cars in Sri Lanka will rise after a government import duty increase, senior officials of motor vehicle importers said. The price of a Viva car imported from Malaysia with an engine capacity below 1,000 cc, which had become popular recently, could rise by 150,000 rupees, said a senior official of United Motors, which imports the vehicle. "We sold about 1,800 Viva cars in the last financial year, after the government slashed import taxes," more..

Provide for workers on May Day -UNP

Apr 26 (DM) The main opposition UNP today called on the government to come up with a package for the workers on this year’s May Day, without using the UN Panel report to gain political advantage on that day. The party therefore called on the government to announce the Rs 2,500 salary increment, re-introduce the salary increments given to workers every three years with the arrears, and the Rs 2.50 given to workers for each unit of the cost of living index for the May Day this year. more..

Tamil detainees should be released - CJ

Apr 26 (BBC) The Attorney General and the police have been ordered to release all Tamils in custody for longer periods without charges says Sri Lanka's Chief Justice. CJ Asoka de Silva said he has taken measures to provide relief to the Tamil detainees during his two-year tenure in the office. "We have considered and offered relief whenever an application has been lodged seeking bail for Tamil detainees in custody for long periods or who have being detained more..

Indian tuk tuks to cost more in new Sri Lanka tariff structure

Apr 26 (PTI) Indian-made three-wheeler taxis, better known as tuk tuks, are set to become more expensive as a result of a new import tax regime that will come into force in Sri Lanka with immediate effect, officials said. The three-wheeler taxis would now be taxed at the point of import under an import tariff band of 50 per cent, up from the existing band of 38 per cent. The Indian three-wheelers are the most popular mode of passenger transport in Sri Lanka. more..

Oman against UN report

Apr 26 (NN) Oman has assured Sri Lanka that it will request the U.N Secretariat not to proceed with the publication of the panel report on Sri Lanka at this time. The assurance was given at a meeting in Oman between Minister of External Affairs Professor G.L. Peiris and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the External Affairs Ministry said this evening. Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah expressed the view that more..

On Sri Lanka, 216 Pg UN report obtained by Inner City Press, put online

Apr 26 (ICP) With the UN still not having released its Panel of Experts report on war crimes in Sri Lanka, Inner City Press on Monday morning in the UN's North Lawn building obtained from two separate sources identical scanned copies of the report, 216 pages including the exhibits, and as a public service puts one online here. The UN initially gave the Sri Lankan government a 36 hours head start. This turned into more than a week, more..

Is the report of the UNSG’s panel of experts a conspiracy and obstacle to reconciliation?

Apr 26 (LG) In the past weeks, we as Christians have been reflecting on the torture, killing of Jesus by the rulers of that time, with complicity of high priests of the time, due to Jesus’s efforts to stand by the poor and oppressed and bring them good news of liberation. Our reflections had been taking into account the situation in our country today and we had noted the controversy surrounding the report of the panel of experts of more..

Panel Report: Moon's baby out of wedlock

Apr 26 (DM) Many people were under the impression that because Ban Ki-moon was the Secretary General of the UN, his panel to probe and report of ‘human rights violations’ and ‘war crimes’–as considered by some parties–was with the approval of the UN. But a trillion dollar query looms at this point: did the UN vest any powers on its Secretary General to appoint such a committee without the approval of the UN General Assembly or the Security Council? Apparently such formality more..

Second segment of Army 'Colours Night' awards colours to SLAC recipients

Apr 26 (MoD) The second segment of the 'Army Colours Night' that recognizes sports talents of the troops of the Sri Lanka Armoured Corps (SLAC), one of the leading Regiments in the Army with a record history, had its colours awarding ceremony in a glittering ceremony, held at Kotelawala Defence University auditorium on Saturday evening. During the event, twenty-seven more veterans of the SLAC received colours, more..

The UN Panel’s report on Sri Lanka

Apr 26 (SL) I read a bit of the UN Panel’s leaked report on Sri Lanka. It’s a bit of an un-report in that it tells you nothing that a scan of TamilNet or even Groundviews wouldn’t tell you, but it’s good that it’s written down. TamilNet is an LTTE organ, by the way, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day. There were civilian casualties, the government killed its way to victory, IDPs were treated badly and media was repressed. The Sri Lankan LLRC commission is also a farce. more..

A UN report and war crimes probe

Apr 26 (SL) A Time magazine conducted poll saw President Rajapaksa being voted as the fourth most influential person. This influential position could not prevent the Ban Ki-Moon report. The government in an organised manner handled a massive campaign to bring Mahinda Rajapaksa into the fourth place via email voting and followed up with a publicity thrust through the government owned as well as the private media. But wait, Time magazine was not kind to Mahinda in the fine print. more..

Dance of the Sri Lankan Kaffirs

Apr 26 (ST) They had come all the way from the village of Sirambiady in Puttalam to perform their traditional dance the “kaffiringa” and songs in Portuguese Creole - a mix of Portuguese and Swahili. The troupe comprising around 20 Kaffir men, women and children, three of them disabled, were led by their Chief, Peter Louis. Two drums (dolak), a tambourine, two sets of metal spoons, a pair of coconut shells placed on a wooden box and an empty bottle with more..

Brutal misuse of hospitals by LTTE

Apr 26 (SO) Over the last couple of years we have had repeated assertions that Sri Lankan forces attacked hospitals with heavy weaponry. This is taken up in a very strong statement by the Panel, appointed by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, which states that “The Government systematically shelled hospitals on the frontlines. All hospitals in the Wanni were hit by mortars and artillery, some of them were hit repeatedly, despite the fact that more..

TNA reiterates complicit with terrorism

Apr 26 (AT) The TNA has issued a statement welcoming the report submitted by an advisory panel appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The TNA statement was predictable. To begin with there’s no questioning of the legality of the panel or its status within UN operations. There’s no contextualization of the process, i.e. no mention of the fact that Ki-moon appointed this advisory body after Sri Lanka won an appreciative vote for defeating terrorism and more..