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Commonwealth Games: Waste or ‘few billions like in war?’

May 30 (LB) The govt’s bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games has been widely criticized by its political opponents and praised to the same extent by the regime’s supporters. A few weeks ago media reported that the authorities have paid PMP-Legacy, an arm of the Sports Marketing Division of Chime Communications in Britain to be the lead advisor and project manager for Sri Lanka’s bid. Although $2.5 million cannot be termed exorbitant, more..

The hunter becomes the hunted

May 30 (CI) New beginning, same old ending. England's cricketers may have embarked on a new four-year cycle of international commitments, but on the batting front at least, certain facets of their play have scarcely changed since the end of 2010. Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott still bat with the rigidity of guardsmen at the Royal Wedding; Ian Bell still exudes the air of a man whose repertoire is wasted at No. 5. And Kevin Pietersen still succumbs to left-arm spinners with more..

Sri Lanka face bowling conundrum

May 30 (CI) "Change" has been the buzzword in Sri Lankan cricket over the past few months, and the Cardiff Test was the first serious cricket for its reconfigured squad. With four days done with and plenty of rain predicted on Monday, the visitors have learnt precious little about the identity of their best bowling attack. If the Lord's pitch is one on which they can play only one specialist spinner, should it be the highly rated offspinner Suraj Randiv, the all-sorts spin of more..

Trott's double hundred builds England lead

May 30 (CI) This Test is unlikely to linger long in the memory but that won't bother Jonathan Trott who continued to satisfy his insatiable hunger for runs with a second international double hundred. Ian Bell, meanwhile, ended the day unbeaten on 98 after the pair added 160 for the fifth wicket to take England into a 91-run lead, from where they may be able to put pressure on Sri Lanka during the final day although the forecast is again poor. more..

Some areas in Kegalle District out-of-bounds

May 30 (DM) Some areas in the Kegalle District had been declared to be dangerous and have therefore been demarcated as no-go zones by the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) from Friday. The areas declared dangerous were the Kegalle town, Bulathkohupitiya D.S area, Galigamuwa D.S. area, Dehiovita D.S area and Deraniyagala D.S. division. Heavy rains experienced last Friday had claimed the lives of five persons, including two members of the same family who were buried alive when more..

Sri Lankan team unfazed by Tharanga dope charge

May 30 (AFP) Sri Lanka’s Farveez Maharoof insisted on Sunday that reports Upul Tharanga had failed a dope test had had no impact upon the squad touring England. The Sri Lankan Sunday Times said left-handed opening batsman Tharanga, not selected for the tour of England, had failed a random dope test during the recent World Cup. Tharanga has already retained a lawyer to defend himself at an upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) inquiry, more..

UNP slams UPFA economic policies at meet with IMF Resident Rep

May 30 (Island) The UNP is exploring the possibility of compelling the IMF to take up contentious economic issues with the Rajapaksa govt. The main Opposition party believes that urgent intervention is required to tackle what economist Dr. Harsha de Silva, MP, called rapid deterioration of ‘economic governance’ in Sri Lanka. Responding to The Island yesterday in the wake of last Thursday’s meet with IMF Resident Representative more..

‘Commando’ Snowy succumbs to injuries sustained in battle with Tigers

May 30 (Island) The Sri Lanka Army last Tuesday saluted one of its much-loved brave tracker dogs, Snowy (S/080) who died while recuperating from an LTTE grenade attack, sustained in Kambilioya, Welioya on March 15, 2008 during the Vanni campaign. Snowy was seven years at the time of its death.vIt was airlifted to Anuradhapura for medical treatment. The Golden Labrador of 4 Commando Regiment had been with its handler, Corporal D. H. P. Sampath since late 2004. more..

Eknaligoda’s wife appeals to First Lady for help

May 30 (DM) In a letter to First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Sandhya Eknaligoda, wife of missing journalist and cartoonist, Prageeth Eknaligoda, pleaded with her to help find her husband who has now been missing for nearly 500 days. Mrs. Eknaligoda, in the letter stated that the disappearance of her husband who has been missing since January 24, 2010 has left a devastating impact on her and especially her children. more..

Hard lessons in roughing it out

May 30 (ST) Wild elephants, snakes and ravenous mosquitoes are some of the natural challenges that university students have had to face in their first week of leadership training at Army camps around the country. Hardly five days into their training and students, followed by their parents, are complaining about inadequate facilities and other problems at training camps. “At the training camp in Trincomalee, there were only two toilets for the use of more..

SLMC wants to be third party at ethnic talks

May 30 (DM) The SLMC insists that it must be given an opportunity to represent the Muslim community at discussions on ethnic issues which were now underway between the Government and the TNA. SLMC Chairman Basheer Segu Dawood said that the Muslims in this country had the right to demand representation at the talks which at present only featured the government and the TNA. However, TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that the SLMC can talk to the TNA leadership, more..

Report not likely at HRC

May 30 (DN) The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is unlikely to review, or hold discussions on the controversial Darusman Report during its 17th regular session in Geneva from today to June 17. Defense Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday said the Govt has adequately dealt with the Report and added that the Report, as unsubstantiated, falsified and biased as it is, is very unlikely to be taken for discussion at the sessions of the UNHRC. more..

'Raggers will no longer hold sway'

May 30 (DN) ‘The government will let no parent worry over the safety of an undergraduate’s life in future. Raggers will not be allowed to harm freshers. State educational institutions will be freed of ragging soon. The common law of the country will be implemented in State universities, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. He said that the main objective of the raggers is to completely destroy the self-confidence and personality of freshers. more..

IOM in unique project to assist ex-LTTE cadres

May 30 (Island) Ex-LTTE combatants can now benefit from a unique project executed by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) with the support of international donors. The scheme launched in the aftermath of the conclusion of the war in May 2009, provides assistance to those who once fought for the LTTE. Richard Danziger, Chief of Mission, IOM Sri Lanka, told The Island that they had designed and implemented a more..

Rupavahini new Chairman Mohan

May 30 (GDI) Veteran journalist Mohan Samaranayake has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporaton with effect from today. The appointment letter in this respect was handed over to Mr. Samaranayake by the Minister of Mass Media and Information Mr. Keheliya Rambukwella this morning. Mr. Samaranayake acquired an Economics (Honours) Degree from the University of Peradeniya. more..

Five foreign universities to come here

May 30 (DM) Five foreign universities including the Manipal University of India had finalized their agreements to set up branch campuses in Sri Lanka, and they were awaiting the necessary legislation to be enacted in parliament soon, an official said yesterday. A Higher Education Ministry said the Manipal University Vice Chancellor would hold talks with the ministry this week. more..

Soon after GL, India invites Ranil for talks

May 30 (DM) Two weeks after External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris visited that country, India had invited Leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe for talks on the situation that had arisen in the wake of the release of the United Nations Experts’ Panel report, party sources said. They said Mr. Wickremesinghe was to leave for New Delhi yesterday and would hold talks with Indian leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna. more..

Woes continue at Sri Lanka Cricket but sports minister keeps mum

May 30 (IC) It has been almost two months since the end of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, and the World Cup Secretariat in Sri Lanka, who were earlier given one month to settle their accounts, have failed to do so. Twenty-nine million rupees from the sale of World Cup tickets has still not reached SLC headquarters. Close to one billion rupees needs to be paid to the contractors, suppliers and construction companies, more..

HR groups urge US to bash SL in Geneva

May 30 (Island) Several international organisations at the behest of the LTTE rump want the US to rap Sri Lanka at the 17th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, in Geneva, beginning today. The sessions continue till June 17. A senior security official told The Island that among the NGOs gunning for Sri Lanka at the Geneva meet are the Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group. more..

Army preparing report on war

May 30 (DM) The Sri Lanka Army is preparing a comprehensive report on the war with testimonies from those who fought on the frontlines, army sources said. A senior army officer who served in the war front during the final stages said the army was of the view that the report could be used by the govt to counter allegations of human rights violations. The report is being prepared by a committee comprising more..

Key nations skip Sri Lanka's 'terrorism' seminar

May 30 (AFP) Sri Lanka is to hold an international seminar starting Tuesday to share lessons on its bloody defeat of Tamil rebels, but major nations have declined to send delegations amid war crime allegations. The island's government said the massive military offensive that finally defeated the Tamil Tigers two years ago was a victory over terrorism, and that other countries could benefit from studying its success. more..

UN expert: Video proves Sri Lanka war crimes

May 30 (AP) A U.N. human rights expert says gruesome new footage from the final days of Sri Lanka's civil war is authentic and proves war crimes took place there, challenging the government's claim that videos showing the army executing captured rebels in May 2009 are faked. The U.N.'s independent investigator on extrajudicial killings says the five-minute video obtained by Britain's Channel 4 corroborates an earlier, more..

Malu Malu Resort and Spa declared open .

May 31 (GDI) The Tourist Hotel “Malu Malu Resort and Spa” was declared open by the Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa this morning. Malu Malu Resort consist 40 chalets designed with a typical Sri Lankan touch in the east coast of Sri Lanka on the bay of Pasikuda 300 km. from Colombo. All Chalets and public areas are designed in a tropical backdrop to blend with the natural environment, midst the elegance and luxury. more..

Police block protest

May 31 (NN) The police removed a group of protesters who had blocked the Karuwalagaswewa road this morning at the 17th mile post to press for some demands. The protestors were agitating over the failure by the authorities to provide compensation to the families whose land was acquired to expand the Puttalam-Anuradhapura main road. Over 500 people took part in the protest where demands were also made for the authorities to address a teacher shortage at the Karuwalagaswewa Dutugemunu Vidyalaya and more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 30.05.2011

Jaya & India’s Lanka Policy

May 31 (ENS) In her first interaction with the media, soon after unprecedented electoral victory, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa assured the people that she will exercise pressure on the central government to revise its Sri Lanka policy not only to expose the heinous crimes committed by the Sri Lankan government during the last stages of the fourth Eelam War and bring the guilty to book, but also to ensure that justice is done to the Tamils in the island nation. more..

Sri Lanka to get twice weekly ferry service to Tuticorin

May 31 (LBO) A passenger vessel that can carry up to 1,044 people is to be used to launch a transport service between Sri Lanka's Colombo port and the south Indian harbour of Tuticorin. The ‘Scotia Princess’ ferry will initially do two voyages a week, said Classic Travels, a subsidiary of Expolanka Holdings, which was appointed principal sales agent for the Indo-Lanka ferry service. The voyage between the Colombo and Tuticorin ports would take 8 – 10 hours. more..

'Sri Lanka 'pension' law not to apply to export workers'

May 31 (LBO) A proposed controversial 'pension' bill to strengthen state control over forced retirement savings of private sector workers will not apply to export zone workers, the government said as workers and police were injured in protests. In Sri Lanka state workers and rulers get pensions without contributions and rulers have thwarted an earlier attempt to create a contributory pension fund. more..

Sri Lanka keen on tourism ties with Goa

May 31 (IANS) Sri Lanka is keen on reviving links with Indian states, particularly Goa, Colombo's ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam said Monday. Speaking at a seminar here, Kariyawasam said Sri Lanka was looking to jointly promote tourism between his country and Goa. 'Sri Lanka has re-emerged and is now able to reach out to the world and the world is reaching out to us. We are keen to revive our links with the Indian States with which we have had links in the past,' he said. more..

Ranil to raise Fornseka issue in India

May 31 (HT) A number of issues including the imprisonment of former army chief Sarath Fonseka are likely to come up for discussion during UNP leader Ranil Wickeremesinghe’s ongoing India visit. Former Prime Minister Wickeremesinghe is expected to ask the Indian leadership to urge the Lankan government to release Fonseka. He is also expected to meet external affairs minister, SM Krishna. The former Lankan general was first in military custody and is now in jail on charges of corruption and more..

Tamil police 'hurt' after parade exclusion

May 31 (BBC) An ethnic Tamil policeman from northern Sri Lanka has said he feels hurt that he and 25 colleagues, also Tamils, were excluded from a big parade by the country’s security forces last week. He said they were pulled out at the very last moment with no reasonable explanation. After decades of ethnic tension and militant separatism, members of the Tamil minority, some 15 percent of the island’s population, are under-represented in state institutions. more..

India-funded railbus service flagged off in Sri Lanka

May 31 (PTI) A new railbus service funded by India commenced in Sri Lanka's eastern province with the flagging off the fifth railbus. The service was inaugurated at Galoya Railway station by Mr Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, Chief Minister of Eastern Province. The Government of India had undertaken to supply five rail buses for the Eastern Province. Four such railbuses are already running between Trincomalee and Batticaloa since last year. No direct rail service more..

Religious schools in prison to rehabilitate prisoners

May 31 (AN) Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms wants to set up “religious schools” in all of the country’s prisons in order to educate, rehabilitate and prepare prisoners for the outside world. Officially unveiled on 13 May, the plan includes courses on Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism in 33 prisons and correctional facilities for young offenders. The country’s religious and spiritual leaders have praised the initiative but warn that the task transcends more..

Police launch attacks on protesting FTZ workers

May 31 (NF) The Chairman of the Inter Company Employees Union Wasantha Samarasinghe says that steps were taken by the police to disperse the employees of the Free Trade Zone in Katunayake who were protesting against the proposed private sector pension scheme. He further said that a clash erupted at around 1pm, when the police launched an attack on the employees of the Free Trade Zone who were engaged in the protest. more..

Trade unions issue threats

May 31 (NN) Trade unions have threatened to go on a general strike at several Free Trade Zones in the country if the police fail to release some garment factory workers arrested today following a protest. Trade union activist and JVP member Wasantha Samarasinghe said that the police will be given a deadline to release all those arrested by tomorrow and the government should also withdraw the proposed private sector pension scheme. He said that if those arrested are not released then more..

Govt. attempts to repress FTZ employees to carry out agenda of IMF & imperialists – JVP

May 31 (LT) The JVP condemning the brutal police attack on FTZ employees at Katunayake today states “the 'Employees Pensions Fund Bill’ the government is attempting to pass in the Parliament, claiming it is for the benefit of the employees, is really brought due to the bidding of the IMF and the imperialists and also to pilfer the funds of the employees as a solution for the financial debacle the govt is confronting. more..

UN urged to probe Lanka war crimes

May 31 (BBC) Senior UN officials and sections of the international community have called for an international body to investigate alleged rights violations during Sri Lanka's civil war. Some other countries including China have opposed the call. Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) annual session Navi Pillai, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said she supported special UN panel's recommendations. more..

Panel to probe Tharanga dope case

May 31 (HT) A three member panel has been appointed by the Ministry of Sports to investigate the alleged doping charges against opening batsman, Upul Tharanga. The panel was appointed after Tharanga became the first Sri Lankan cricketer to fail a dope test after a random check during the cricket W orld Cup, the country's sports ministry said on Monday. Two doctors with experience in sports medicine are part of the panel to be headed by sports ministry secretary Udaya Seneviratne. more..

Sri Lanka accuses Pillai

May 31 (NN) Sri Lanka has accused the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay of having ignored the relevant rules of procedure of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) by attempting to legitimize the report of the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on accountability in Sri Lanka. The External Affairs Ministry, in a statement this evening, quoted Kshenuka Seneviratne, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, as telling the UNHRC today that more..

England seize dramatic victory over Sri Lanka

May 31 (CI) Graeme Swann and Chris Tremlett bowled England to an extraordinary innings-and-14-run victory as Sri Lanka collapsed in a barely believable 24.4 overs on the final day in Cardiff. The pair shared eight wickets before Stuart Broad bounced out the last two batsmen to secure one of more remarkable wins considering the amount of time lost to rain. Sri Lanka's batsmen were shell-shocked and couldn't handle the pressure, losing eight wickets in more..