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Africa, OIC back Lanka

May 31 (NN) African and Islamic members of the 47-nation Human Rights Council moved to quell any attempt to reopen the debate on Sri Lanka’s conduct at the end of the war, the Associated Press (AP) reported. “The international community must support national efforts to win the peace in Sri Lanka,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador Zamir Akram, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council today on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which has a powerful presence in the council. more..

Oman Air Daily Flights from June

May 31 (GDI) Oman Air has announced operation of daily flights to Colombo from Muscat commencing 01 June. Oman Air Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives Gihan Karunaratne said the increase in Oman Air’s flights from five per week to daily flights is a welcome decision. This move would be a great boost for the large number of tourists Oman Air will bring into Sri Lanka and Oman Air has managed to dominate in various competitive markets while providing unmatched products and services. more..

Private sector pension scheme suspended

May 31 (NN) The government has decided to suspend the private sector pension scheme, the government information department said this evening. The government has also decided to close the Katunayake Free Trade Zone tomorrow to maintain peace after the workers clashed with the police over the pension scheme today. The decision to suspend the proposed pension scheme was taken following an SLFP central committee meeting this evening. more..

Editorial: The last will of the unknown warrior

May 31 (LG) Nanthikadal lagoon was silent. The odor of the wind from the sea side stabbed the lungs of a survived warrior who was looking for the fallen. A craw was hovering above with an eagle eye yoked to the ground. He glided down, circled, and perched. Slowly hopped towards where my unknown warrior was resting in peace. His face had a gentle smile. Eyes still open, yet no breath to warm up his heart that was filled with a heavy last will few hours ago. more..

Editorial: Movable property as collateral for bank lending

May 31 (BL) It was reported in the media that according to a ruling by the Ministry of Finance machinery, furniture, vehicles, electrical or electronic appliances regarded as movables in banking parlance and which were not accepted as security for loans, could be furnished as collateral from June 1. A gazette notification is being prepared for this purpose compelling banks to accept movable property. Currently only immovables like house and property are accepted as collateral while more..

Ranaviru Real Star finale staged on grand scale

May 31 (MoD) The rousing finale of the world's first ever "Ranaviru" reality show staged on grand scale at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium on Sunday evening. The President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the guest of honour of the grand finale of the Ranaviru Real Star talent show. Five servicemen, two officers from Sri Lanka Navy and three soldiers from Sri Lanka Army competed in several rounds showcasing their hidden talents in the final event. more..

On Indian ‘grants’ and Chinese loans

May 31 (LB) Political commentators are predictable and I am sure I am too. For example, Dayan Jayatilleka can be counted on to scream or in the very least imply that Sri Lanka should do what India wants her to do. He wrote last Sunday (in three newspapers) about Zimbabwe, arguing that if that country has gone off the international human rights radar it’s because of its big neighbour, South Africa. He doesn’t have to say ‘the world will get off Sri Lanka’s back if more..

Colombo targets Nalloor for Sinhalization of Tamil North

May 31 (LG) The Sinhalese government targets Nalloor, the former capital of the Kingdom of Jaffna, for focusing its agenda of Sinhalisation of the Tamils areas in the island, news sources in Jaffna said. The occupying Army passed curfew-like orders last weekend prohibiting the movement of people in the locality of the Nalloor Kanthasaami Temple, while engaging in bringing in Sinhala traders and investors to occupy the surroundings of the temple. more..

Wesak, notes and observations

May 31 (SL) There is little room for ambiguity in the message displayed on the half wall in front of the immigration counter for in-bound passengers at the Bandaranaike International Airport. A rough translation of the writing, which is only in Sinhala, would read “So as the night seems long to the insomniac, to the fool Sansara (the endless cycle of birth and death) will appear endless.” I wondered why this spiritual exhortation, more..

High drama over UN report

May 31 (DM) My dear Mahinda aiyah, Ayubowan, vannakum, assalamu allaikum and best wishes as we move into June which is traditionally associated with brides, but the government may find its wedding dress turning black unless it pulls itself out of an international crisis over alleged war crimes. Addressing the massive Victory Day celebration at the Galle Face Green on Friday, you vowed the Rajapaksa regime would not allow Sri Lanka to be brow-beaten by foreign powers. more..

Human Rights, Credibility and Accountability

May 31 (DM) The decision of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to have veteran members of the higher judiciary to probe specific cases of violations in the war-ravaged North-East may have been an after-thought on the Govt’s part. It may have even come a day too late in the context of the Darusman Report. If taken to the logical conclusion it can still provide a basis for Colombo to address the genuine and not-so-genuine concerns of the international community on this score. more..

Weweldeniya cries out for a resurgence

May 31 (SO) The great poet Rabindranath Tagore said it’s great when anybody extends a helping hand to another when needed. But, most people in society think only of their own comfort and not of others. They never help others. There are just a few who think of their own comfort as that of others. Sunday Observer met a section of people in a remote village at Radawadunna in Weweldeniya who need a helping hand from the Govt to uplift their business activities. more..

Fighting for their fortunes

May 31 (SO) This article was written several months ago, but the dangers it heralds are still present, given the calls for more international intervention in Sri Lanka. I should note that, setting the seal as it were on this account of the sybaritic existence of foreign so-called aid workers in Sri Lanka, was a sign I saw outside a building on the road east from Kilinochchi, very near the turnoff to Prabhakaran's underground fortress. It proclaimed in English that foreign liquor was available. more..

With much gratitude to Dr. PBJ for a better job than JVP

May 31 (SL) A few days ago, “YouTube” had a two and a half minute video clip that spoke volumes about the present mood of the wage earners and their strength, when galvanised. Police sources had told the media, there were well over 25,000 and may have even been 30,000 workers from the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (FTZ), out on the streets that day, Tuesday, May 24. The Colombo protest the same afternoon, also had a significant increase in numbers over all the previous more..

UN role in Sri Lanka: We are agreed

May 31 (LG) I wish to commend the constructive manner in which you, Mr President, have been conducting the work of the Human Rights Council. Our deliberations have been guided by you with sagacity and sensitivity, aimed at achieving the objectives of our agenda in a fair and equitable manner. You have the fullest cooperation and support of my delegation for the work of the Council. Mr. President, Consequent to the liberation of our people from more..

Editorial : Aluminium pipes, yellowcake and war crimes

May 31 (Island) Several human rights groups have called upon the US to slam Sri Lanka in Geneva over the allegations in the Moon Panel report, as we reported yesterday. Their aim is said to be giving a turbo boost to the on-going war crimes offensive against this country. It is unfortunate that these human rights knights on a crusade against a small country, based on a flawed advisory panel report, have turned a blind eye to prima facie evidence of war crimes more..

Editorial : More honourable to fail than to cheat

May 31 (DM) Philosophers have told us that an educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but does not teach them how to make a life. The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think – rather to improve our minds so as to enable us to think for ourselves and transform ourselves rather than to load the memory with negative thoughts about other people. One of history’s greatest more..

'Policies of GoSL are solely based on ensuring the welfare of its people'

May 31 (TC) My delegation is perplexed to note the High Commissioner’s reference as stated, to the report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on accountability in Sri Lanka. It is widely known that the said report was borne outside of an intergovernmental process. It is a report which was initiated solely by the UNSG to advise himself on the modalities, applicable international standards and comparative experience more..

Apparel exporters seek diversification of markets

May 31 (F2F) Considering that over 90 percent of Sri Lankan apparel exports are consigned to just two regions in the world; the US and EU, the industry is trying to make forays in to other markets like China, Brazil, India, Russia and Japan. In order to diversify and make a mark in these overseas markets, the clothing sector is seeking free trade agreements (FTAs) with these countries, which will help the sector boost exports. For instance, apparel exports stood at more..

Rugby: Will Sri Lanka avoid demotion?

May 31 (LB) Tournament Operations Manager of the 2011 HSBC A5N tournament Sean Moore says that the issue pertaining to an ineligible player, Scott Kerr (No 8) being fielded by the UAE in their game against Sri Lanka on April 23 at Colombo, has been forwarded to the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) Tournament Committee for further investigation and resolution. The match which was the lung-opener of the HSBC A5N tournament ended in a 13-all draw at a waterlogged Longden Place. more..

'Politicians should also get leadership training'

May 31 (DM) While leadership training is being given for university students at several military camps, a UNP Central Provincial Council member has proposed that all MPs and members of local councils be also trained in political leadership. CPC member Sanjeewa Kaviratne said he would present a motion on June 7 calling for such a training programme. He said politicians should be trained to handle the important issues of the country professionally and more..

Slow progress for Jaffna businesses

May 31 (FT) Industrialists in Jaffna are still struggling with finance issues says a top business expert from the formerly war torn region. Despite the war ending almost two years ago Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Yarlpanam (CCIY) President K. Poornachandran admitted that the progress in the region has been very slow. Lack of financial assistance and investment were highlighted by him as the main issues. He made these statements at an event to sign a MoU more..

GKCC depositors still left in the lurch

May 31 (LG) The year 2009 bears much significance to the 7,000 plus GKCC depositors as it is to the rest of the country “liberated” in May of that year. While Prabakaran was inflicting his own dosage on his own people and the rest of the country, Lalith Kotelawala, inebriated with the self-inflicted belief he is yet another Avatar come to serve the country, was all set to destroy the lives of over 7,000 well-do-do families with his fanatical dream of turning the more..

CA issues Interim Order restraing Varsity Heads

May 31 (DM) The Court of Appeal yesterday issued an Interim Order restraining the Heads of Department of three universities from ceasing to function until the final determination on the Writ Applications filed by students. The Bench comprising Justices Sathya Hettige (President) and Upali Abeyrathne issued another Interim Order restraining Vice Chancellors and Council Members of the respective universities from accepting their letters of resignation and more..

Exploiting tourist visa: Foreign Bureau gets tough

May 31 (DN) The Sri Lankan Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) will take stern action against those who migrate to Malaysia for employment by exploiting tourist visas, a bureau spokesman told the Daily News yesterday. The SLFEB had conducted several discussions with the Malaysian Embassy in Sri Lanka. It was agreed to launch a web system to exchange data pertaining to the Sri Lankans who travel to Malaysia, to prevent illegal migration for employment. more..

England v Sri Lanka: More overseas woe for Sri Lanka

May 31 (CI) At around 2pm, with dark clouds still blanketing the sky, the press box greeted the announcement that there would be 55 overs of play with hoots of derision. When it was mentioned that there would be a minimum of 15 overs in the final hour, even more laughter followed, prompting the announcer to defend himself. "I'm just conveying the message, don't shoot the messenger." The press pack weren't the only ones expecting a dull draw. more..

England v Sri Lanka: Shocked Dilshan urges regroup

May 31 (CI) If the first Test match played at Cardiff is now remembered for some over-my-dead-body batting on the final day, the second will be remembered for an extraordinary collapse. Dilshan was at a loss to explain how Sri Lanka slumped to defeat on a day which began with the odds of an England win twice as long as it was in the famous Headingley Test of 1981. "I can't believe we got out in just 25 overs with such a good batting line-up like we have," more..

England v Sri Lanka: Belief allows England to win from nowhere

May 31 (CI) You know you've witnessed an extraordinary sporting achievement when even the protagonists admit they've been shocked by the turn of events. When Andrew Strauss drew back his hotel curtains this morning to be greeted by that familiarly bleak shadow of drizzle that has been Cardiff's daily wake-up call this week, not even he could have predicted the epic denouement that played out on Monday afternoon. Despite the offer of free entry, barely 300 punters more..

Leadership training for new students will be extended: S.B

May 31 (DM) As the leadership training being given to the new entrants to universities is inadequate, it would be extended to two or three months, Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake said yesterday. A ceremony was held at the South Eastern University yesterday to issue certificates under the chairmanship of the Vice Chancellor of the university, Dr S.M.M Ismail. Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. more..

Mihindu Seth Medura: Defence Ministry builds new centre for disabled war heroes

May 31 (IL) “Mihindu Seth Medura”, a new shelter for the gallant soldiers who dedicated their services for the victory of the motherland was ceremoniously opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning on 30 May. The two storied new building is located in Attidiya, Dehiwala on an area that spans across 46 acres of land at a cost of 140 million rupees. The 4th Engineering Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army has provided the more..

CMC understaffed by over 4000 personnel

May 31 (Island) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is understaffed. Although it should have a cadre of 12,000, the CMC employs only 7,900, which is 4,100 less manpower for numerous duties being performed for the rate payers. Special Commissioner of the CMC Omar Kamil, himself a former Mayor of Colombo, told The Island that the last recruitment to the Council was made in the middle 1980’s and only ad hoc recruitment has been made since then. more..

Sri Lankan diocese gets a new bishop

May 31 (UCAN) Pope Benedict XVI appointed Father Raymond Wickramasinghe as the new Bishop of Galle, a diocese hard hit by the 2004 tsunami. Father Wickramasinghe, 48, is a moral theology professor at the National Seminary of Our Lady of Lanka. He succeeds Bishop Harold Anthony Perera, who was named Bishop of Kurunegala about two years ago. The bishop-designate was ordained priest in 1989 and holds a doctorate in Moral Theology from Rome. more..

Sri Lanka March exports surge 54-pct

May 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports surged 54 percent in March to 1,057 million dollars, topping a billion dollars for the first time helped by a steep increase in industrial goods as well as rising commodity prices. Textile and apparel, the country's key industrial export rose 68.3 percent to 473 million US dollars, rubber products rose 75.6 percent to 79.1 million US dollars and food beverages and tobacco rose 30 percent to 58.4 million US dollars, more..

400 Muslim families in north forgotten-Jaffna MC member

May 31 (DM) The Muslims who were IDPs in the Northern Province blamed the Jaffna Divisional (DS) Secretariat for not issuing tin sheets to all the Muslim families that had resettled in the peninsula during the last few years. The President of the Peoples Secretariat and Member of the Jaffna Municipal Council, Moulavi B.M.A. Sufiyan told Daily Mirror yesterday that the 400 Muslim families in Jaffna were ignored by the DS office when they were distributing the tin sheets. more..

City without walls

May 31 (DM) Walls surrounding government buildings in Colombo will be demolished to make the buildings more people-friendly and eco friendly, Colombo Municipality Special Commissioner Omar Kamil said. He said as a first step the walls surrounding police stations were being demolished and added that these steps were taken under the garden city concept of Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Earlier it was reported that the Colombo Municipality was promoting the growing of vegetables on road more..

'Central Bank is twisting statistics, misleading public'

May 31 (Island) The Central Bank is being accused of twisting statistics to project an unrealistic picture of economic development. MP and Economist Harsha de Silva said yesterday that the Central Bank was a respected institution from which people expected an unbiased and truthful account of economic realities. But attempts at misleading the public will only add to the "deteriorating credibility of the now completely politicized institution." more..

Polls to remaining LG bodies on July 23

May 31 (Island) Elections for the remaining 67 Local Government bodies will be held on July 23, the Elections Department says. In the first round, the UPFA secured 205 bodies. Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchchi (ITAK) came in second winning 12 while the United National Party (UNP) managed to secure 09 LG bodies. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) won 04, National Congress 02, the Up-Country People’s Front (UPF) 01 while an Independent Group secured 01 LG body.

Nine police officers, many employees injured

May 31 (DM) Nine police officers including DIG Ravi Wijeyagunawardena, two ASPs and an OIC were injured yesterday during the clash with the Katunayake FTZ employees who were holding a massive demonstration against the introduction of the controversial private sector pension scheme. Police said among those injured were 15 FTZ employees. Police media spokesman Prishantha Jayakody said the injured were admitted to the Negombo General Hospital. more..

Katunayake EPZ turned into battlefield

May 31 (Island) Over a dozen police personnel, including DIG Ravi Wijegoonewardene and many garment workers were injured in clashes between the police and the Katunayake Export Processing Zone (EPZ) workers yesterday. The police alleged that they had no option but to use force after hundreds of garment workers targeted the Katunayake police station demanding that the government abandon its controversial Private Sector Pension (PSP) Bill. more..

'Govt. behind attack on Udayan journalist'

May 31 (LT) The government is behind the attack carried out against the ‘Udayan’ journalist S. Kavidharan states Media Movement for Democracy. The govt could prove it otherwise by bringing in the perpetrators of the crime that occurred in a High Security Zone before the law emphasizes the Media Movement for Democracy. In issuing a statement against the attack on S. Kavidharan the Media Movement for Democracy points out that ‘Udayan’ newspaper, its journalists and more..