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In eastern Tamil areas 80% public servants Sinhalese, says rights group

Mar 17 (TN) Problems faced by Tamil people cannot be solved by deploying 80% of public servants from Sinhala community in government departments located in areas where one hundred percent of the population is Tamils, said Mr.M.M. Zarook, Kalmunai Regional Coordinator of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) while addressing a public awareness discussion on Human Rights (HR) held at Vellaveli DS division. more..

Sri Lanka impressed by security cover

Mar 17 (GN) The Sri Lankan team was shocked to receive security cover much more than what they get in their own country. Ever since the team reached Mumbai on Sunday night, special security men have been around every player and their team bus like bees. Bullet proof terror combat vehicles, which the Mumbai police now have following the terror attack in this city in 2008, follows the team bus always. The Sri Lankan team bus entered the Wankhede Stadium with combat vehicles more..

Japan likely to review Development Assistance

Mar 17 (Island) Massive losses suffered by the economy, due to Friday’s earthquake, tsunami and the ongoing nuclear crisis, will force the Japanese government to review its Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). As one of the major recipients of ODA, Sri Lanka will be among the countries affected by the decision, official and diplomatic sources say. A senior spokesperson of the Embassy of Japan yesterday told The Island the ODA wouldn’t be affected at this moment. more..

Fears mount as Japan takes desperate steps to cool reactors

Mar 17 (Reuters) Operators of a quake-crippled nuclear plant in Japan again deployed military helicopters on Thursday in a bid to douse overheating reactors, as U.S. officials warned of the rising risk of a catastrophic radiation leak from spent fuel rods. While officials were scrambling to contain the nuclear crisis with a patchwork of fixes, the top U.S. nuclear regulator warned that one reactor cooling pool for spent fuel rods may have run dry and another was leaking. more..

All set for today’s LG polls

Mar 17 (Island) Elections to 234 local government bodies will be held, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, at 7,402 centres island wide, according the to Elections Department. It said that 9,444,445 voters would be eligible to exercise their franchise to elect 3,036 members to three municipal councils, 30 urban councils and 201 Pradeshiya Sabhas. It said that 80,000 government servants have been deployed for election duties and 70,000 Police, Army and STF personnel for security. more..

How India kept pressure off Sri Lanka

Mar 17 (Hindu) India played a key role in warding off international pressure on Sri Lanka to halt military operations and hold talks with the LTTE in the dramatic final days and weeks of the war in 2009, confidential U.S. Embassy cables accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks showed. The cables reveal that while India conveyed its concern to Sri Lanka several times about the “perilous” situation that civilians caught in the fighting faced, more..

Dengue deaths declining

Mar 17 (IRIN) For the first time in two years, reports of dengue fatalities and infections in Sri Lanka are falling, which officials attribute to aggressive island-wide public awareness campaigns and measures to wipe out mosquito breeding grounds. As of 10 March, there were 2,261 dengue infections and 24 deaths reported this year, according to the Health Ministry’s epidemiology unit. In 2010 there were more than 9,600 infections and 64 deaths in the first two months of the year alone. more..

Ali Zahir assaulted in Eravur

Mar 17 (DM) The chief candidate of the UPFA for the Eravur Urban Council at today’s Elections Ali Zahir Moulana had been assaulted in Eravur yesterday, sources said. Moulana was admitted to Eravur district hospital with severe injuries. Later he was transferred to Batticaloa Teaching Hospital. He entered parliament in 2000 and 2004 elections under UNP ticket. Following the split of former LTTE leader Karuna from the LTTE, he went into self exile in the US as it was more..

Karuna’s saviour on UPFA ticket at Eravur

Mar 17 (Island) UNPer Syed Ali Zahir Moulana, who lost his National List seat in June 2004 for helping renegade LTTE field commander Karuna Amman to flee Batticaloa and take refuge in Colombo, is contesting LG polls today on the UPFA ticket for the Eravur Pradeshiya Sabha. Moulana’s move helped the military to exploit the split within the LTTE to demoralize the entire group, intelligence sources say. more..

'Economic revival in full swingin North'

Mar 17 (Island) The economic imperatives were recognized immediately by the government once the conflict ended and the economic revival is in full swing in the North, stated Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona, at a discussion on Sri Lanka's post-conflict rebuilding at the Asia Society in New York on March 14. He said that resettling the displaced was the immediate priority and more..

No foreign companies to manage Lankan airports: Govt.

Mar 17 (DM) Offers from various foreign companies to develop Sri Lankan airports were being looked into and approval will be given only to such offers that are attractive, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said yesterday. It confirmed offers had been received from many foreign companies including those in India, China, Singapore and the United States but the government would not hand over the management of any Lankan airport to a foreign company. more..

Defense Secretary rejects calls for reducing the Security Forces

Mar 17 (AT) Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that a number of measures have been taken in international arena to prevent the LTTE raising its head again. He has disclosed that legal actions have already been taken against some pro-LTTE groups in foreign countries. He pointed out that it is the responsibility of all Sri Lankans to leave no room for terrorism to re-emerge. more..

Arsenic in water placing ‘whole nation at risk’ says scientist

Mar 17 (Island) While there is a relation between arsenic in water and the high prevalence of a Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology (CKDu) in some parts of Sri Lanka’s Dry Zone, the spread of ailments associated with arsenic poisoning, such as, cancers, ischaemic heart diseases, cerebro vascular diseases and diabetes mellitus, could mean that such poisoning is placing "the whole nation at a risk", more..

Sri Lanka: A Trilingual nation to remove mistrust among people

Mar 17 (GDI) Sri Lanka government aims to build a trilingual nation to remove mistrust among communities and ensure that terrorism will not raise its head again, Sri Lanka's Senior most Public Officer said. Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratung in an interview with Swarnavahini Wednesday night said one of the causes for terrorism was the lack of communication between people belonging to different communities. more..

Asoka de Silva dropped from crucial matches

Mar 17 (CI) Asoka de Silva, whose decision-making has come in for intense criticism during the World Cup, will not officiate in a couple of key group games that he was originally marked for. de Silva is the only umpire among the 18 deployed whose success percentage in reviewed decisions is less than 50%. He was supposed to have been one of the on-field umpires for Thursday's crucial match between England and West Indies, and more..

Sri Lanka investors get fast track to settle in Britain

Mar 17 (LBO) New visa rules will allow investors and entrepreneurs who invest large sums of money or create jobs and "exceptionally talented migrants" to settle permanently in the UK faster. The move is an effort to lure the wealthy and brainy from other countries like India to help the UK's economic recovery. "Yesterday, the UK govt introduced visa rules to fast-track settlement for high value investors and entrepreneurs," more..

O/L results much better

Mar 17 (DM) Anura Edirisinghe, the Commissioner General of Examinations, said yesterday that 58.79 per cent of school candidates who sat the G.C.E. Ordinary Level Examination had qualified for Advanced Level studies this year, an increase over the 48.51 per cent of the previous year. The percentage of students who passed in Mathematics had increased from 50.17 per cent in 2009 to 61.61 2010, in Science from 44.31 to 59.80 per cent and in English from 37.35 to 41.41. more..

UK readout of Des Browne (Special Envoy for Sri Lanka) visit to India

Mar 17 (Hindu) UK Special Envoy for Sri Lanka Des Browne visited New Delhi May 6-7 to consult with Indian officials on possible collaboration on the humanitarian and political situation in Sri Lanka. Browne briefed diplomats on his view of the situation in Sri Lanka, and a UK High Commission colleague briefed Poloff later on Browne's meetings with GOI officials. Browne received the message that India was under more..

Japan rushes against time to avert nuclear plant meltdown

Mar 17 (Reuters) Japanese military helicopters dumped water on an overheating nuclear plant on Thursday while the United States expressed growing alarm about leaking radiation and said it was sending aircraft to help Americans leave the country. Engineers tried to run power from the main grid to start water pumps needed to cool two reactors and spent fuel rods considered to pose the biggest risk of spewing radioactivity into the atmosphere as more..

Lady flees abductor

Mar 18 (NN) A lady and a child who were abducted in Panadura two days ago have managed to escape from their abductors in Chillaw, the Cillaw police said. The lady identified as Chamila Piumali Jayasingha and her five year old daughter were abducted in Panadura by a four member gang for ransom. The abductors had reportedly taken the lady and her child to an unknown location in Chillaw and demanded over Rs. 1 million in ransom from the lady’s husband who is in Korea. more..

People burn votes in Dimbulagala

Mar 18 (NN) An entire village in Dimbulagala set fire to their polling cards today in protest over the failure by the opposition and government to develop their area. The villagers of Weeralanda in Dimbulagala numbering over 80 families piled up their polling cards and set fire to it. According to the villagers they had been demanding for electricity to their village for years but their demands have gone unheard. Voting for the local government elections, more..

Media enters booth

Mar 18 (NN) The media today were given access to enter the premises of a polling center in Kelaniya to cover Minister Mervyn Silva casting his vote for the Local Government Elections despite strict instructions issued by the Elections Department yesterday. Minister Mervyn Silva was seen entering the premises of the polling center with his security and police officers of the area followed by a crew from both the private and state media. more..

Maharoof signs for Lancashire

Mar 18 (CI) Lancashire have signed the Sri Lanka allrounder Farveez Maharoof for the 2011 domestic season and the club expect him to be available for the whole summer after he drifted out of the national side. Maharoof, 26, played the last of his 94 ODIs last June against India and missed out on a place at the World Cup. He has also appeared in 20 Tests, but the last of those was in 2007 so he's unlikely to come into consideration for Sri Lanka's tour of England. more..

Sri Lanka moves against child labour

Mar 18 (LBO) The Sri Lankan govt plans to allocate more funds to a campaign to eliminate the worst forms of child labour by 2016, a statement said. "The funds will be used to train duty bearers, raise awareness and promote behavioural change amongst communities vulnerable to the worst forms of child labour." The ministry had earmarked about a third of its budget allocation of its decent work country programme for the programme to eliminate child labour. more..

Low turnout as local elections poll close in Sri Lanka

Mar 18 (DPA) Only about one in two eligible voters cast their ballots Thursday in local elections in Sri Lanka that are seen as a test for President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government, one year after his presidential victory. Election officials estimated turnout after polling closed at 4 p.m. at around 55 per cent. The figure is lower than usual turnout at a parliamentary or presidential elections, which normally averages 75 per cent, more..

Person stabbed near President’s Carlton House

Mar 18 (LT) A group of UPFA supporters have injured a person by stabbing him near President Mahinda Rajapakse’s Carlton House at Tangalle say reports. Abdul Rahuman, a UNP supporter who had transported UNP voters to the polling booth at Muslim Street near Carlton House has been stabbed by supporters of the UPFA. UPFA supporters who had come in a vehicle of UPFA candidate having preferential number 18 had threatened Muslim voters not to go to more..

'Taking the momentum to the next stage is important'

Mar 18 (Hindu) Kumar Sangakkara’s fluency at the crease is on par with fluency with words off it. Very much in charge, he wants to carve his own path as captain amidst high national expectations. “We look it at certain times and learn things but at the same time we have to look at the future,” the Sri Lankan captain replied about inspiration from the 1996 World Cup win. “We are proud of that victory. At the same time to do greater honours as well (is our focus).” more..

Sri Lankans returning from Japan can check for radiation

Mar 18 (NN) The Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Authority says that Sri Lankans returning from Japan can undergo a complete check for radiation if they wish to do so, Chairman of the Authority Dr. W. Abeywickrema said. Dr. Abeywickrema said that additional information on the radiation check can be available on the Authority’s hotline number – 0112547332 – and anyone who wishes to conduct the test can visit the Authority. more..

'Fishermen issue needs to be resolved quickly'

Mar 18 (HT) Recent skirmishes between Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen could escalate into a bigger showdown on the high seas if the issue of trespassing was not resolved, minister for traditional industries and small enterprise development said on Wednesday. Douglas Devananda, an influential Tamil leader from J affna, said repeated incursions by Indian fishermen into Lankan waters had affected the livelihood of their counterparts from Jaffna and other coastal regions. more..

Teams hunt for momentum before quarter-finals

Mar 18 (CI) Two days before this match, Mumbai witnessed, at 41.6 degrees celsius, its hottest March day in 55 years, and second-hottest overall. The match itself doesn't quite promise to be as hot as the matches between big teams in the Group B: New Zealand are going easy, not risking either Daniel Vettori or Kyle Mills; Sri Lanka, the pre-tournament favourites, are yet to put up a performance to match that billing. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 17.03.2011

Ranil sends a letter

Mar 18 (NN) Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe has written to Parliament Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa urging him to set aside some time to condole with Japan when Parliament convenes next month. Wickramasinghe, who had called on the Japanese Ambassador in Colombo yesterday to express his condolences over the lives lost following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, told the Speaker that the time should be set aside before public business when more..

Police jeep set on fire after shooting kills one at Ahangama

Mar 18 (ST) An angry mob set fire to a Police jeep in Ahangama this eveneing during a mini riot that took place after one person was killed when army personnel opened fire at a motor cycle that failed to stop at a check point there, Police said. The pillion rider of the bike was also injured in the shooting. Following the incident, angry mobs took to the streets to protest against the shooting. When the Police attempted to control the mob, the protestors turned on more..

Beruwala poll tensed

Mar 18 (NN) An armed masked gang is threatening voters in the Beruwala area and has threatened and attacked polling agents who are on election duty in the booths, the UNP said a short while ago. UNP MP Eran Wickramaratna said that the armed gang had arrived in black defender jeeps in the Beruwala town and had assaulted and threatened voters from casting their votes today. The armed gang had also attacked the house of UNP candidate and more..

Saving the Foreign Service

Mar 18 (LG) The first three named in the subtitle indicate the type of persons who were recruited to the Foreign Service in the era of Prime Minister S.W.R.D Bandaranailke, and the Hardware merchant was one who contacted me to ask if he should accept the diplomatic post offered to him in Singapore under President Kumaratunga govt and the Nadagam Mudalalis are in the current list. I did not enter the recent media discussion on recruitment to the Foreign Service though more..

Api Wawamu Rata Nagamu – On reverse gear

Mar 18 (LG) It does not require the services of a rocket scientist to identify the single or major cause of the decline and division of the country since Independence. If a census is held – without the suspect hand of the Election Commissioner soiling it, it will simply be our unprincipled politicians. From more than a single governing party – I hasten to add. Their interest has primarily been to fatten themselves and their immediate families and friends – without exception. more..

Subash Hotel given back to owner; Victoria road opened; No more HSZs in Jaffna

Mar 18 (Cimic) The famous Subash Hotel on the Victoria road in Jaffna town was officially handed over to its owner by the Sri Lanka Army on Thursday (17). On instructions of Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the hotel building was handed over to Mr. H. Hariharan by the Commander Security Forces – Jaffna (SF-J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe paving way for remaining private properties occupied by the Army to be sused by their legitimate owners. more..

The US Senate resolution and the UN Expert Panel report on Sri Lanka

Mar 18 (DM) Earlier this month the US Senate unanimously passed a resolution that among other things called for an independent international accountability mechanism for Sri Lanka and commended the actions of the UN Secretary General in appointing his panel of experts to advise him on accountability issues in Sri Lanka. This unanimous view of the US Govt or at least of its powerful Senate is in stark contrast and in direct opposition to the firm position of more..

How decent a society are we?

Mar 18 (DM) Avishai Margalit the Israeli philosopher wrote a treatise on the Decent Society from which I have quoted often. In it he defines a civilized society as one in which people do not humiliate each other and a decent society as one in which institutions do not humiliate people. My reason for frequently citing this is that throughout the yet to be resolved conflict in Sri Lanka and in parts of the country that were not direct theatres of armed conflict, more..

Path to profit: How CEB was made profitable entity

Mar 18 (DM) Q: The announcement of a possible nuclear disaster in Japan by an international news channel raised fears in the minds of the people earlier this week. As the Minister under whose purview the Atomic Energy Authority comes, how concerned are you of such a situation? A: We have to understand the workings inside a nuclear plant to help us realize that, the chances of that happening in this scenario are not so strong. more..