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UNP to study report

Apr 27 (NN) The opposition UNP has appointed a committee to study the UN panel report, which was made public yesterday, and give its observations on it. A statement by the UNP said that the committee will be headed by Bradman Weerakoon, former Secretary to the Prime Minister under the UNP regime. Once the committee makes its observations on the report the UNP will announce its stand and issue an official response, the UNP statement said. more..

Sri Lanka stall attracts large crowds in London: book publishers

Apr 27 (LBO) A Sri Lanka stall at the London Book Fair this month had attracted large numbers of visitors while several British authors had made inquiries about publishing their books in the island, participants said. The Sri Lanka Publishers Association, The Booksellers and Importers Association of Ceylon and the Export Development Board have organized the stall at the 2011 London Book Fair, a statement said. Recent publications of Sri Lankan publishers more..

Indian housing project on track

Apr 27 (NN) India says the housing project to build 50,000 houses for IDPs in the North and East under grant assistance from the Govt of India is on track. The Indian Embassy in Colombo rejected reports that the project has stalled saying such claims are baseless and misleading. A statement by the Embassy explained that the Govt of India has appointed M/s Hindustan Prefab Limited and M/s RPP Infra Projects Limited as Project Management Consultants and more..

Short of veggie seeds

Apr 27 (NN) There is a severe shortage of vegetable seeds in the country, the All Ceylon Farmers Federation said today. Former JVP MP and member of the federation Samantha Widyaratne said that seed production in Sri Lanka is very low and so the authorities are being forced to import seeds at a high cost. He said that with the shortage of seeds in the country, farmers are in dire straits being unable to grow vegetables to sell in the market. Widyaratne said that the authorities are more..

UN report finds both sides liable

Apr 27 (IRIN) The government of Sri Lanka has criticized the UN for releasing a report alleging war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by both sides during the country's decades-long civil war. "The UN Panel report is completely baseless and lacks credibility," Keheliya Rambukwella, the Minister of Mass Media and Information and government spokesman, told IRIN on 26 April in Colombo, rejecting all allegations of war crimes against the government. more..

Channel 4 to air 'horrific' Sri Lanka footage

Apr 27 (Guardian) Channel 4 is to air "probably the most horrific" footage it has ever shown in an investigation into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. A day after UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon announced he is considering whether to investigate "credible allegations" that Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes in the closing weeks of the civil war in 2009, Channel 4 has revealed it will screen what it calls "harrowing and dramatic footage" more..

India should help form Tamil Eelam: Ramadoss

Apr 27 (IANS) PMK leader S. Ramadoss on Tuesday demanded that India should start work on forming an independent Tamil Eelam state in Sri Lanka. Citing the formation of Bangladesh out of East Pakistan in 1971, Ramadoss said: "India should take preliminary steps for the formation of Tamil Eelam, carving out the areas where Tamils live." He said as per a UN report, more than 40,000 Tamils have been killed in the final phase of the war between Sri Lankan military and more..

UN releases Lanka report, India studying it

Apr 27 (HT) India was studying the report of the UN secretary general's panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka and would soon engage with the Lankan government about issues raised by it. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had called up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh soon after receiving a copy of the report o n April 12. "The government has seen the Report of the Panel of Experts appointed by the UN Secretary General to advise him on accountability-related issues more..

Malinga upset about reports he faked injury

Apr 27 (AP) Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga is upset by reports suggesting he faked injury in order to avoid playing for his country and continue playing in the lucrative IPL. Malinga made himself unavailable for Sri Lanka's three Tests against England this year, citing a knee injury. With Malinga continuing to play in the IPL for Mumbai Indians, Sri Lanka chief selector Duleep Mendi conceded the situation was "awkward." more..

Rat fever and dengue on the rise

Apr 27 (DM) The Health Ministry today warned of the high possibility of Rat fever (Leptospirosis) and Dengue spreading as a result of the prevalent heavy rains. According to the latest reports 32 deaths related to Dengue have been reported while 31 deaths have been reported due to Rat fever. Health Ministry spokesman W.M.D. Wanninayake told Daily Mirror Online that there is a high possibility of the diseases rising with the continuing rains. more..

Sri Lanka seeks N. American market access through Mexico

Apr 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka is seeking to access North American markets under the NAFTA trade deal through partnerships with Mexican businesses, minister Rishad Bathiudeen said. "Joint business partnerships between Mexican and Sri Lankan companies will help accessing the difficult North American markets," he was quoted as saying in a statement. The comments were made at a meeting with Jaime Nualart, Mexican Ambassador to India, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 26.04.2011

The Problem with Democracy

Apr 27 (LG) This article is not intended to denigrate the genuine, erudite and substantial statesmen in a democratic political system. It is, however, meant to point out the ominous dangers of the use of “democracy” by those who are absolutely unaware of the true meaning of the word. The initial problem with democracy is its self serving parochialism and the monotonous regularity in which it has evolved as a condescending social construct between the affluent elite and the poor masses. more..

Maximum national unity imperative to face challenges

Apr 27 (LG) As it generally happens in this country, appeals for national unity have emanated from political and religious leaders, and from various sections of people in the country. Maximum national unity, obviously, is what the current situation demands more than anything else. It is incumbent upon all those who really love this land and its people to unite and cooperate in formulating a common national approach to the situation that has now arisen from the more..

Art exhibition by ex-LTTE combatants at National Art Gallery

Apr 27 (LG) Exhibition of paintings by former LTTE combatants, presently undergoing comprehensive rehabilitation program, was commenced yesterday (25) at the National Art Gallery in Colombo. A wide range of creations by these ex-combatants including arts, paintings, handicrafts, sculpture, embroidery and needlework, were on display at the exhibition, bringing out their hidden talents that lied dormant all these years. more..

Facts & Truth

Apr 27 (LG) I respond to the article ‘The Departure of Satya Sai Baba’ by Farzana Versey, published in Sri Lanka Guardian. To me it is no coincidence that during this morning’s meditation I was thinking about how people miss out on the real by focusing excessively on the apparent. To me, Columnist Farzana Versey is an extreme example of someone driven by the ‘seen and the heard’, towards a quick credit. As I keep stressing in relation to the UN Report – what happened and Truth are not the same. more..

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

Apr 27 (TC) 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..

National Hospital to be a centre of excellence

Apr 27 (SO) The National Hospital, Colombo caters to people from all walks of life. Rich or poor, almost everyone has been there, at least once in their lifetime, visiting a loved one or as a patient. Not long ago the atmosphere and the experience there sent chills up the spine. But the place is on the way to a great transformation, into a tranquil haven, a trusted healer, as the head of the institution Dr. Hector Weerasinghe reveals more..

UNimportant Party?

Apr 27 (DM) Coupled with the presidential polls and subsequent parliamentary elections early last year, the results of those for the Local Government bodies recently are remarkable for a few insights that they have thrown up. One, of course, is that the ruling SLFP-UPFA is still on its winning streak, which had commenced with the early military victories for the Government against the LTTE in 2007. Two, the JVP has been reduced to near-nothing, thus reducing the manipulative more..

Are workers the pawns of political whims?

Apr 27 (DM) It appears that all and sundry who believe that they are persons of importance feels obliged to make announcements over the electronic media, the radio news channels and the print media of their profound views of the report by the UN panel appointed by Ban Ki-moon. As is usual in our country all other issues are forgotten in this mania to be in the limelight regarding a panel report which one wonders whether many of them have read or studied. Certain other politicians claim that more..

BIA to become regional hub

Apr 27 (SO) SriLankan Airline history would be rewritten by the end of next year when passengers from all over the world would be able to fly direct to any destination in Jaffna, Trincomalee and Hambantota without coming out of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Colombo. By next year, a passenger would be able to purchase a Toronto-Jaffna return ticket; an investor could book a Colombo-Hambantota return ticket; or a tourist would more..

Asking the UN not publish the report was as silly as asking Ban-Ki-moon not to wear any underwear

Apr 27 (TC) Sri Lanka can crush the Ban Kin moon-ies (includes Tamil Diaspora, International NGO community, remnants of the UN system, ‘white’ western nations and Sri Lanka’s elite civil society) comfortably but not by living in isolation like a Robinson Crusoe on an island. We need a helping hand from friendly countries, as on the last occasion when an effort to stricture was made before the Human Rights Council during the war. more..

The impunity afforded to those making allegations of rape in Sri Lanka

Apr 27 (TC) The last extract from the Report of the Darusman Panel that I read referred to rape. The panel begins its discussion of this factor by stating that ‘Rape and sexual violence against Tamil women during the final stages of the armed conflict and, in its aftermath, are greatly under-reported’. They go on to indicate that their Report is based on ‘indirect accounts’ and explains this by talking about many ‘photos and video footage, in particular the footage provided by Channel 4’. more..

FEDERALISM: Sweet yesterday, sour today

Apr 27 (NS) Sweet when Sinhala leaders advocated Federalism: Sour when Chelvanayakam yearned for it. S.J.V. Chelvanayakam’s 34th death anniversary falls on April 26, 2011. He passed away in 1977. G.G. Ponnambalam was the leader while Chelvanayakam was the Deputy Leader of the Tamil Congress. As Tamil Congressmen, they never supported a federal system of govt. They adopted a policy of ‘responsive co-operation’ within a framework of a unitary system. more..

Editorial: The cat is officially out of the bag

Apr 27 (Island) So, in the end the UN had to release the Moon Panel report on Sri Lanka over one week after we revealed its salient points. That document is being wrongly referred to as a UN document by a section of the international media, though it is only a report prepared by an advisory panel appointed by UNSG Ban Ki-moon under pressure from some INGOs, the LTTE activists and a few western governments hostile to Sri Lanka. If it had been an official UN document, more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka Cricket at sixes and sevens

Apr 27 (DM) Have the alarm bells been sounded on Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC)? This is the question millions of cricket fans will want answers to. Irrespective of how the team will perform on the upcoming tour of England, the bureaucrats running the game in the “Permanent Committee” posing as an interim one, have messed up so much that cricket has become more about making money than playing the game well. That captain Kumar Sangakkara quit his role just two days after the more..

'New pension scheme will rob the employess in broad day light'

Apr 27 (NF) The United Federation of Labour (UFL), which consists of 26 Trade Unions, assembled in Colombo today, to object the proposed pension fund for the private sector. UFL organized a seminar at the Jayawardene center. “In Sri Lanka there are funds collected by employees after working for 30 or 40 years. This is an attempt by the government to collect the money in the ETF and EPF, put it into one account to invest and fall into trouble.” more..

Taxing aspirations

Apr 27 (FT) THE momentum of car imports will slow down following the Govt’s decision to increase taxes. At this juncture it is relevant to analyse the thought process behind the reversal of taxes to understand whether there are any positive points in the inconsistent policies practiced by the Govt. Less than a year after vehicle taxes were slashed by a remarkable 50%, which created an almost euphoric environment for the motor industry, the situation has almost made a U-turn. more..

WTC occupancy rate may reach 85% by year end

Apr 27 (BL) Sri Lanka’s premier property development and investment holding company, Overseas Realty Ceylon Plc (ORC) says that occupancy levels at the World Trade Centre (WTC) in Colombo is expected to reach 80 - 85% at the end of 2011 from about 72% level maintained at the end of year 2010. According to the firm’s Annual Report for the year 2010, the company during the year 2010 had benefited from increases in both occupancy at WTC and average rental rates, more..

Calls for Commerce Dept. Chief’s head over Indo-Lanka CEPA

Apr 27 (FT) Heads of several top companies have requested that the Director General of Commerce be removed and another person appointed to continue discussions regarding negotiations with India on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). The new twist in Sri Lanka’s preparations to finalise the controversial deal with India came after Director General of Commerce Gomi Senadhira had allegedly suppressed more..

The Ban Ki Moon panel report - Part 7

Apr 27 (Island) We continue today, our serialization of verbatim excerpts from the Ban Ki Moon report. What follows are sections of the report pertaining to the legal case being made against Sri Lanka by the panelists. D. Alleged violations by the Govt of Sri Lanka 192. Chapter III identified five categories of credible allegations concerning conduct by the Sri Lankan Govt. This section lays out the Panel’s assessment of each category of allegation for the underlying legal violation. more..

The Ban Ki Moon panel report - Part 8

Apr 27 (Island) We continue today, our serialization of verbatim excerpts from the Ban Ki Moon report. What follows are sections of the report pertaining to the legal case being made against Sri Lanka by the panelists. 2. Shelling of hospitals and humanitarian objects (a) Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions 206. The credible allegations of attacks on hospitals and humanitarian objects discussed above, in spite of their distinctive emblems and locations known by the Govt, more..

An ancient therapy full of eastern promise

Apr 27 (IT) In the past 10 years, Sri Lanka has seen the number of tourist-oriented ayurveda centres multiply. What began in the 1970s as a handful of luxury hotels offering massages and meditation has grown into a million-dollar industry with dozens of dedicated resorts and many smaller day centres and spas. Clients come from across Europe – particularly Germany, Austria and France – but also from the Middle East and Russia, with a small, but more..

Canadian Srilankan community rejoices together

Apr 27 (LG) The Tamil and Sinhala New year celebration was celebrated by the Canadian Democratic Tamil Cultural Association in Toronto at Agincourt Collegiate in a grand manner at a critical time when the UN Panel report has been published. The overwhelming Canadian Srilankans came to this function to show the world, that the Srilankan community is united in Canada and a show of Solidarity to the Government and the people of Srilanka. It was a moment of rejoice to the Canadian more..

First systematic AIDS survey in SL

Apr 27 (DN) For the first time in Sri Lanka a complete survey and study on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) is to be conducted on the instructions of Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena. The main objective of the study is to gather data on STDs, especially HIV/AIDS to uplift facilities and services available for patients, a Health Ministry spokesman said. According to the spokesman this study will be the first ever complete scientific study on the subject. more..

Boston Lanka News: April 26, 2011

Kaaththaankudi UC defends Arabic usage in name boards

Apr 27 (TN) The president of the Urban Council of Kaaththaankudi, a Muslim dominated town in the Eastern Province, has defended the use of Arabic on par with English in the name boards following protests from certain quarters in Colombo and in the provincial council in the East. Mr. S.H. Mohammed Anzar, the president has said it was a decision solely within the authority of the urban council. Tamil, Sinhala, English and Arabic were used in name boards that have been put up more..

ITAK chooses Colombo to observe SJV's 34th death anniversary

Apr 27 (TN) The ITAK, main constituents of the TNA is scheduled to hold the thirty fourth death anniversary of its founder leader Thanthai S.J.V.Chelvanayakam on Tuesday in Colombo-Bambalapity New Kathiresan Hall, projecting the topic of the memorial event as "finding lasting peace through power sharing". The event is being keenly watched by Colombo political circles at a time when the country is in tension with the leaking of the UN Experts Panel report more..

Law student goes underground

Apr 27 (SL) Law student Thushara Jayaratne fears for his life. In order to contact him, The Sunday Leader was required to create a special Skype account. Speaking from an undisclosed location, Jayaratne said that though he had asked numerous people for help, no one had assisted him. Jayaratne’s story was splashed all over the newspapers and was taken up by the Asian Human Rights Commission. Jayaratne claimed that one of the law exam papers was leaked, more..

Dr.Jayalath Jayawardena awarded Guiness World Record

Apr 27 (BBC) Parliamentarian Dr.Jayalth Jayawardena has won the Guinness book of World Record for his TV medical programme ‘Vaidya Hamuwa’ He received his certificate on Tuesday at the Guinness book of World Record LTD in London. Guinness book of World Record awarding the certificate says “The longest – running medical advice programme on television hosted by Dr.Jayalath Jayawrdena has been regularly broadcast for 14 years 7 months as of April 2011” more..