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Victor Koppe on the Channel 4 documentary Sri Lanka's Killing Fields

June 22 (RNL) Sri Lanka denies targeting civilians while crushing Tamil Tiger rebels but said action would be taken if war crimes allegations contained in a new British documentary were true. The Channel 4 documentary, “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields”, contained footage of what it said were prisoner executions. The programme also provided evidence to suggest that the Tamil Tiger fighters had also committed war crimes. Two UN investigators have confirmed the video as authentic, but more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 21.06.2011

A Sri Lankan scandal

June 22 (Guardian) Disgrace. What a tediously familiar word; stripped of significance by its overuse, shorn of force by its frequent repetition. Read it again. Roll it around your tongue. Feel its heat and taste its weight, because I am about to use it and I do not want to do so lightly. In the next seven days England are due to play two games against Sri Lanka which will be used as valedictory matches for Sanath Jayasuriya, who has been recalled to the squad at the age of 41. more..

Selection of Jayasuriya is a triumph for Sri Lanka

June 22 (DM) First I must congratulate the new national cricket selectors headed by the highly respected Duleep Mendis for taking the bold decision to pick the experienced Sanath Jayasuriya to the One Day International team to play England. Jayasuriya has been a proven talent and his feats are legendary to put it briefly. It is true that a section of Sri Lanka fans would now be calling for his blood as the former Sri Lanka captain decided to enter politics and once again more..

Probe urged into Sri Lanka TV star 'execution'

June 22 (AFP) A New York-based media rights organisation Tuesday called for an international inquiry into the death of a Sri Lankan television presenter who was allegedly executed by government forces. A documentary by Britain's Channel 4, "Sri Lanka's Killing Fields", contained footage of what it said were prisoner executions in the final days of fighting between government troops and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009. more..

LLRC uncertain of response from Channel 4

June 22 (DM) The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) said it was uncertain as to whether Channel 4 would provide information on the video which was aired recently stating that the channel refused to give textual information on a previous video which allegedly gave evidence of war crimes in Sri Lanka. LLRC Spokesman, Lakshman Wickremasinghe said the Commission had decided to analyse the video broadcast on Channel 4 on June 14 but the nature of the probe was yet to be worked out. more..

Sri Lanka fined for slow over-rate

June 22 (CI) Sri Lanka have been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the third Test against England, at the Rose Bowl. There had been significant rain delays during the game but even after allowances for interruptions were taken into consideration, Sri Lanka were found to be two overs short of the number they should have bowled. They bowled 92.4 overs in 435 minutes of game time. Under ICC regulations, Kumar Sangakkara, who was stand-in captain for more..

'Sri Lanka not afraid'

June 22 (NN) The Sri Lankan govt says it is not afraid to “confront the world” as it continues to face mounting international pressure to address allegations of human rights violations. Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris told reporters today that there is an attempt to scuttle Sri Lanka’s economy which is beginning to rebuild after a 30 year war. “The politically motivated campaign launched against Sri Lanka will fail. more..

Prospects of thirteen plus and its forerunner 13th amendment ( 13A)

June 22 (LG) Almost quarter of a century has passed since the infamous 13th amendments (13A) to the Sri Lankan constitution were made under heavy Indian pressure. It had the Indian sign for failure, some would say, from the beginning following the signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord in July 1987 between President JR Jeyawardene, and Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi. Those believe in superstition are certain that they could have foretold its fate at the instant a more..

Of a liberating visionary leadership and Reconciliation

June 22 (LG) Some years ago, two associates in the old Lanka Sama Samaja Party, Sydney Wanasinghe and Wesley Muthiah collaborated in producing a series of books recording some significant events from the Sri Lankan Left’s distinguished history. One of the books, to which they had invited Selvy Thiruchandran also to be joint-editor, was on the Socialist Women of Sri Lanka, They had selected twenty women, from all walks of life, who were pioneers of women’s liberation. more..

51 division installs water purifying system for civilians

June 22 (Cimic) Fulfilling a long-felt requirement, a water purifying machine was installed for the use of villagers of Selvapuram in Kopay area recently. The project became a reality with initiative of General Officer Commanding (GOC) 51 Division Major General Janaka Walgama who declared open it on 15.06.2011. Impure water is a main factor that causes illnesses among people. As a measure to minimize water-borne diseases in the area, more..

Judicial Depression

June 22 (LG) Last week we Australians learnt through the media that our “NSW MPs voted against sacking a Sydney magistrate accused of bullying and treating defendants unfairly, saying while the complaints against her were justified, removing her was not.” The Magistrate herself claimed that she was suffering from depression at the time of the events on the basis of which complaints were made against her to the Judicial Commission. It is reported further than another member of the Judiciary more..

Rajapakse’s Tamil stooges condemn and reject the UN Report

June 22 (LG) As pressure mounts on the Rajapaske regime following the UN Report, the regime has increased its pressure on its Tamil stooges to condemn the report. Minister Douglas Devananda began May Day by taking busloads of his supporters who were supplied money and meals to accompany him Colombo. Not only did they participate in the anti-UN rally there, the Minister issued a statement that there had been zero casualties at Mullivaikaal. more..

Furore over arsenic shakes agri sector

June 22 (NS) For decades, researchers have attempted to find the cause for the kidney diseases faced by a large number of people in the North Central province, in what was called the Rajarata Chronic Kidney Disease (RCKD). Several hypotheses were given, and some remained while others were scientifically debunked. Then a team of scientists headed by Prof. Padmini Paranagama, Head of the Chemistry Department at Kelaniya University, ventured out to find more..

People of righteousness ‘pursue campaign against Sri Lanka with missionary zeal’

June 22 (TC) The war crimes accusations levelled against the Sri Lankan govt at the moment are driven by a complex coalition of forces. Though the principal engines are Tamil migrants in the Western world bent on vengeance, there are Western people of righteousness in the vanguard as well. Such a man is Gordon Weiss. His demeanour as he addresses television audience is that of a crusader. The iconic picture of himself adopted in his very own website more..

Serious cultural – behavioral issues prevalent in Sri Lanka and not a conspiracy against the country

June 22 (TC) The Sri Lankan security forces are without doubt, one of the best fighting forces in the World. At the height of the conflict, an officer from a British security agency informed this writer, that the Sri Lankan security forces are far more efficient in fighting suicide terrorism, than their British or American colleagues. This was before Rajapakse came into power. But today, this proud and effective terrorist fighting machine has been brought into disrepute and more..

Chinese project loans at high interest rates

June 22 (ST) China is Sri Lanka’s leading lender at present, providing loan facilities amounting to around US$ 3 billion so far but at interest rates higher than that of multilateral agencies for the country’s infrastructure development and other mega projects, with the repayment period running up to 20 years, govt officials said. They noted that long term borrowing from China at interest rates ranging from 2-3% and 6-7% under strict conditions more..

Governance and Development: Lessons from Post-Genocide Rwanda

June 22 (GV) For many of us in Sri Lanka the only thing we’re really likely to know about Rwanda is that a genocide happened there in 1994. We probably don’t know who killed whom, for what reason or even how many people died. While the Genocide is a watershed moment in Rwanda’s history, in this article my interest is in highlighting some thoughts on Rwanda’s present and future in order to suggest some ideas for Sri Lanka’s post-war progress. more..

Right to Food: Ecologically based agriculture

June 22 (GV) “We” said the villager holding his dying child in that unspeakable agony only parents in such situations know, “don’t want the right to vote, just the right to live”. In that statement lies the truth that seems to elude most development work. There is a deeper human need than democracy or the right to vote, the right to life. The more we look to science to validate modern society, the more evident becomes the conclusion that we humans share the same evolutionary more..

Sri Lanka development bonds rake in US$ 126.5mn

June 22 (Island) A Sri Lanka Development Bonds (SLDB) issue amounting to US$ 100 million was oversubscribed yesterday with the govt deciding to accept US$ 126.5 million of the total bids received which amounted to US$ 134.5 million, the Public Debt Department of the Central Bank said on Tuesday. These funds will be used to settle maturing SLDBs amounting to US$ 125.8 million, it said. Foreign and local commercial banks were offered the bonds through more..

Editorial: When refugees return

June 22 (Island) Sri Lanka is one of the countries blamed for the huge influx of refugees the West is struggling to curb. A few months ago Sri Lanka's Boat People grabbed international headlines and became grist for the mill of critics of this country. Interestingly, the UNHCR has revealed that Sri Lanka is now attracting refugees and asylum seekers, albeit in small numbers, as we reported yesterday. Sri Lanka is one of the countries whose refugees are slowly returning, more..

Editorial: Liberty, where are thy friends

June 22 (DM) A strong school of thought is emerging in Mother Lanka as to where our country is heading and whether there are trends towards militarization. The presence of the Army and Police in large numbers on the streets of Colombo gives red light signals. Recently Prof. Jeevan Hoole who was invited by the President to return to his country to live and work has gone public with his fear. Dr. Hoole has stated that at the last meeting of the Friends of the Jaffna Library held in Jaffna, more..

'Professionals key to development'

June 22 (FT) Development in Sri Lanka is in the hands of professionals, said Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera yesterday, insisting that this would be the crucial factor to take commercial success to the global level. Praising the profession of accountancy in Sri Lanka, Dr. Jayasundera called for practitioners in all commercial fields to follow what he called the success story of accountancy in Sri Lanka in order to take the country through more..

Shipping lines sidestep Colombo

June 22 (ST) The Port of Colombo has dropped its throughput in the first four months of this year by about 6% owing to route changes adopted by major shipping lines, an official said. The overall drop in volumes has been mainly due to certain shipping lines changing their routes without calling at the Colombo port, an official at the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) said. At least one shipping line, Maersk extended its route through Chennai contributing to the overall drop in more..

School Text Books before December Vacation

June 22 (GDI) The Department of Educational Publications of the Ministry of Education is to spend Rs. 3 Billion for printing of school text books for next year. It is estimated that around 35 million books will be required for distribution among students next year. The Commissioner of Educational Publications W.M. Pushpakumara said the aim of the Department is to provide the relevant texts for next year to each student before the forthcoming December vacation. more..

CCTV helped book crook

June 22 (Island) The CCTV camera installed in Fort was instrumental in finding a suspect in a theft case, the Fort Magistrate was informed yesterday. In this case a three wheeler driver, with the name board ‘Budget Taxi’ was charged with the theft of a bag containing Euro 2,000 from a passenger. SI Chaturanga of the Colombo Fraud Bureau, prosecuting, said that Sahil Sumathipala, the complainant and the passenger of the three wheeler, more..

Triposha production doubles

June 22 (Island) The Sri Lanka Triposha Company Ltd. has doubled its production capacity and caters to around 300,000 women who are either pregnant or breast feeding. The company, owned by the Health Ministry, expects to further increase its production to cater to over 800,000 women by next year, the company’s chairman Sarath Chandrasiri Vithana told The Island yesterday. He said that all mothers were expected to breast feed their children up to 5 years. more..

'If Govt. officials work properly Ministers could answer queries in Parliament'

June 22 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament that if the govt officials, including the secretaries to the ministries, act duly and properly the ministers would be able to answer the questions raised by the Opposition in the House. Negligence and procrastination on the parts of these officials result in the minister’s asking for more time to answer questions raised in Parliament. The questions meant for oral answers are entered in more..

War crimes: UK playing politics at SL’s expense (part III)

June 22 (Island) In a statement issued on May 31, 2011 to promote the controversial documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’, Channel 4 head of News and Current Affairs Dorothy Byrne said: "The footage is probably the most horrific the channel has ever shown. The decision to show it at length was made only after serious and careful consideration. We believe this dossier of visual evidence combined with harrowing eye-witness testimony represents more..

Insurance for victims of elephant attacks

June 22 (DM) An insurance scheme will be introduced to compensate people attacked by wild elephants and for damage caused to property and cultivation, Wildlife Minister S.M. Chandrasena said yesterday. The insurance scheme is to be jointly implemented by the Wildlife Trust Fund and the Agriculture Insurance Board. The minister said when the insurance scheme is implemented compensation will be paid for loss of life and injuires, loss of property, and the destruction of cultivation. more..

Nearly 60 pc road accidents in WP

June 22 (DN) According to statistics of the National Council for Road Safety (NCRS), 59 percent of road accidents in the country occur in the Western Province especially in A1,A2,A3 and A4 roads within 50 kms of the city limit due to heavy traffic. The rapid increase of vehicles and the shifting of public transport to private transport is a main cause for this. Speeding, overtaking at unsuitable places and turning without signals are also reasons for over a half of the accidents. more..

Jordan rape orgy of Lankan girls gets uglier

June 22 (LB) A recent report into working conditions at Classic Fashion, an Indian-owned clothing factory in Jordan has exposed shocking allegations of routine sexual abuse and repeated rape among Sri Lankan women employed there. On June 08, the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights released a disturbing report titled ‘Sexual Predators and Serial Rapists Run Wild at Wal-Mart Supplier in Jordan’ documenting how “scores of young Sri Lankan women more..

Indian arrivals boom with over 55%

June 22 (ST) Sri Lanka’s two key markets, the UK and Germany brought in fewer numbers in May due to a combination of lack of promotions, good weather in Europe and rising airfares with a fuel surcharge. The UK recorded a -0.4% growth last month with arrivals recorded at 4,452 this year compared to 4,469 in 2010. In addition, arrivals from Switzerland and the Netherlands also recorded negative figures of -25.8% and -6.5% respectively. Newly appointed Managing Director of Sri Lanka Tourism more..

Colombo denies water to paddy crops of Batticaloa Tamil farmers

June 22 (TN) Irrigation facilities are denied to about 30,909 acres of paddy fields in several Tamil villages in the Batticaloa district as the Sri Lankan Mahaweli ‘Development’ Authority has stopped issuing water for the last one month and the livelihood of 8,580 families who are solely depending on the farming has been severely affected, according to complaints made by farming community sources to the District irrigation Authority and Agricultural Authority. more..

Thai doctors here for battle against dengue

June 22 (DM) Thai medical experts attached to the World Health Organization (WHO) have arrived in Sri Lanka to train local doctors on improved methods of treating dengue patients as the island wide death toll rose to 69 so far this year with 8,547 confirmed cases of dengue. “The doctors from Thailand have specialized in dengue prevention and treatment and have been sent on a request made by Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena. more..

Teachers unions to launch protest in East against transfer scheme

June 22 (TN) Four major teacher trade unions Monday announced that they would launch token sick leave protest in the eastern province against the implementation of a controversial teacher transfer scheme. Under this scheme the provincial education ministry has been transferring excess teachers from schools. 540 Tamil medium teachers and 110 Sinhala medium teachers have been served transfer orders. Following the failure of talks held between representatives of teachers’ trade unions and more..

Fish market complex for Trincomalee too

June 22 (Island) A state-of-the-art fish market is being constructed in Trincomalee for the benefit fishing communities in the Eastern and Northern Provinces. The cost is estimated at Rs. 90.30 million. In collaboration with Post-Tsunami Coast Rahabilitation and Resources Management Project, the Fisheries Ministry would fund the construction, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Rajitha Senaratne said during his tour of the construction site recently. more..

Rubber growing goes North

June 22 (Island) The Rubber Research Institute says that in a bid to expand the rubber industry, nearly 2,000 rubber saplings have been planted in the Northern Province, which was a non-traditional rubber growing area. "Six acres of land have been used for planting rubber saplings in the Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Mulative districs, mainly in the Madukanda and Ottusudan areas," Director, Rubber Research Institute, W. M. G. Senevirathne said. more..

No clue on missing hard disks

June 22 (DM) Police informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate Court yesterday that their efforts to identify and arrest the suspects who had stolen two hard disks that contained the particulars of the sale of tickets of the 2011 ICC World Cup at the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) headquarters were not successful. The Cinnamon Gardens Police said they investigated the incident consequent to a complaint made by the IT Manager Vajira Parakrama Bandara Dissanayake of SLC on June 13. more..

Sirisena lashes out at doctors over qualifications

June 22 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that some doctors in Sri Lanka were against foreign medical graduates working here, but the same doctors would prefer to obtain their post-graduate qualifications in foreign countries. It was unfair to discriminate against professionals in a developing country, he said at the farewell function for Dr. Hector Weerasinghe at Abyeasinghearamaya in Narahenpita on June 19. Minister Sirisena said that Dr. Weerasinghe, more..