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LLRC invites expert for opinion on channel 4 video

May 3 (Island) The Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission has called Dr. Chatura de Silva, Senior Lecturer Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Moratuwa, to provide expert opinion on the Channel 4 Video. A spokesman for the LLRC told The Island that the Chairman of the LLRC invited Dr. de Silva by letter on April 20, 2011. more..

Police to file charges against Paba’s husband

May 3 (DM) The Mirihana police were yesterday directed to file charges against Mahesh Chaminda over allegations of having assaulted his wife – teledrama actress andUPFA parliamentarian Upeksha Swarnamalee popularly known as Pabha. Magistrate Anura Pradeep said a settlement could be arrived at after considering the medical report with regard to the injuries suffered in the attack. more..

'Evidence on match fixing to ICC'

May 3 (DM) Former Sri Lanka captain Hashan Tillakaratne said he would stand by the match fixing allegations he had made earlier but said that he would not expose the names of the involved people on legal advice, and instead said would submit the evidence to the International Cricket Council. He did not come out with any facts, alleging that there was a conspiracy to silence his exposure. more..

ITAK urges internationally supervised negotiations with GoSL

May 3 (TN) Two veteran ITAK politicians, C.V.K Sivagnanam and Mavai Senthirajah, on Sunday urged international supervision of a process that guarantees both a proper negotiation process and the implementation of results in the talks between the TNA and the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL). The two officials of ITAK, a key party of the TNA, in their address urged that both the governments of India and more..

Artistes to hold Adhishtana pooja

May 3 (DN) Local artistes yesterday requested all communities in Sri Lanka to join hands in a massive Adhishtana Pooja to seek divine blessings to protect the country against international forces who are trying to divide the motherland. The Adhishtana Pooja is planned for May 6 at 6.30 pm at the Independence Square. This massive Adhishtana Pooja will be attended by all religious dignitaries, artistes and intellectuals. more..

More strategic development deals coming

May 3 (FT) The Government is working on several more “strategic development” deals similar to the Shangri La project in a bid to boost Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows in 2011 to top the US$ 1 billion mark. “We are currently working on a pipeline of several initiatives that qualify to be treated under the ‘Strategic Development Projects’ Act,” Board of Investment Chairman and Director General Jayampathy Bandaranayake told the Daily FT. more..

Kadirgamar Institute under FM

May 3 (NN) The Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for Strategic Studies has been re-vested to the Ministry of External Affairs. The government said that the decision to re-vest the Institute was taken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Since the Cabinet reshuffle after the last presidential election in January 2010, the Institute had been turned over to the Presidential Secretariat. more..

'Retirees will lose benefits under new Bill'

May 3 (Island) It was unlawful to transfer money from ETF and EPF funds to other funds and when ten per cent of the annual interest was taken from the ETF, the employee would receive lower benefits at the time of retirement, Counsel Ronald Perera told the Supreme Court yesterday. He was supporting a petition filed by E. K. Vithana, Vice President of Ceylon Bankers’ Union, against the Bill to grant more..

Sri Lankan Tamil party to continue talks with gov't despite resignation

May 3 (Xinhua) TNA said Tuesday that they would go ahead with talks with the government despite the announcement of a pull out by a key minister from the government committee. Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, the former prime minister and a senior minister said he was pulling out of the government team in protest of TNA's recognition of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's advisory panel report calling for an more..

Diplomatic Missions in SL briefed on rehabilitation activities

May 4 (MoD) The Ministry of Defence today, (03 May) briefed Diplomatic Missions, United Nations and its specialized agencies accredited to Sri Lanka, on the actions /activities taken by the Defence Ministry to rehabilitate LTTE suspects. Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa chaired the briefing and explained a broad spectrum of activities being carried out to rehabilitate the LTTE suspect at rehabilitation centers. more..

De Silva requests for Fonseka visit

May 4 (DM) Senaka De Silva the former secretary of Sarath Fonseka today requested the Colombo High Court for permission to visit Sarath Fonseka in Prison. However, High Court Judge Deepali Wijesundera directed him to request visiting rights from the Court of Appeal. Colombo High Court Judge Ms. Deepali Wijesundera today made this direction on Captain Senaka Haripriya De Silva after considering the submissions of Counsel Kelum Kumarasinghe and Senior State Counsel more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 03.05.2011

Tackling Ethnic Inequality in Sri Lanka

May 5 (BW) In April, after reading about a leaked UN report on alleged war crimes by Sri Lanka's army against Tamil civilians, a 23-year-old engineer from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu set himself on fire. His suicide note said he hoped the state's next government's leaders would help their fellow Tamils in Sri Lanka. There is no question that sensitivities persist over ethnic conflict between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority two years after more..

Lankan coach not worried with players arriving late from IPL

May 5 (PTI) After negotiations between the Sri Lankan Board (SLC) and the BCCI, the seven members of Sri Lanka's Test squad were allowed to play in the ongoing IPL, so they will make themselves available only for the second warm-up match of the tour of England on May 19-22 against England Lions at Derby. However, they will miss the opening tour match against Middlesex, starting from March 14. The three-match Test series starts on May 26. more..

'Ready to face UN charges'

May 5 (BBC) Former commander of the Sri Lanka army, Sarath Fonseka say that he is prepared to face allegations levelled against the military on the report compiled by United Nations Secretary General's panel of experts. Speaking to journalists from prison custody, former general said that he is willing to take responsibility for the actions of the soldiers under his command. "I am ready to face the allegations in Ban Ki Moon report against the armed forces more..

Firstsource to buy stake in Sri Lankan firm

May 4 (WSJ) Firstsource Solutions Ltd. has agreed to buy a majority stake in a Sri Lankan business process outsourcing venture in a bid to protect margins from competition, high staff turnover and rising wages at home. Firstsource will acquire a 74% stake in the business-process-outsourcing division of Sri Lankan mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata PLC, the company said in a statement to stock exchanges. It will spend a total of $1 million on the purchase and more..

National integration is still where it was when Prabhakaran’s body was found at Nandhikkadal

May 4 (TC) The Darusman Report has caused much embarrassment to us and made our motherland a target of international bickering. The legitimacy, the propriety, and the logic of the report are under scrupulous scrutiny. But I do not propose to enter that arena here. My purpose is to draw attention to the fact that things might not have come to the present catharsis if diligent attention was paid to the real problems of the Tamils soon after the end of the war. more..

'Panel report will hamper the progress of UN'

May 4 (DM) “We are once again reminded that America (USA) can do whatever we set our mind to,” President Obama was reported to have said it in his address to the nation when he publicly declared the US forces’ killing of the leader of Al-Qaida, Osama Bin Laden. However, this statement could not be taken as “end of the war on terror.” They have done partly what we had comprehensively achieved in May 18, 2009. The killing of Osama Bin Laden should be welcomed. more..

Open can of worms in Ki-moon’s office

May 4 (NS) The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon asked some individuals to advise him on issues pertaining to Sri Lanka. Such a move is not sanctioned by UN statutes. It amounted to a commissioning of an exercise that contravenes UN procedural regulations and moreover compromises the integrity of that multilateral body on a number of counts has been pointed out in a statement issued by ‘The Federation of National Organisations’ recently. more..

Trade deficit, remittances and balance of payments

May 4 (NS) The external finances of the country are deemed to be in much better shape now than at the time the war ended. In 2009 the country was facing a foreign exchange crisis with foreign exchange reserves at a crisis level. The foreign exchange reserves reached a nadir in March 2009 when it fell to US$ 1.2 billion. It has now risen to about US$ 7 billion that is considered a very favourable position adequate to finance five months of imports. more..

Army engineers begin de-mining the moat around Jaffna fort

May 4 (Cimic) On directives of Commander Security Forces - Jaffna (SF-J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, troops of the 1 Field Engineers Regiment last month commenced de-mining work of the moat around the historical Jaffna Fort which is being reconstructed by the Archaeological Department with financial aid of the Netherlands. The team of Field Engineer solders assigned to the task started removing the mines and UXOs in the moat on 20th April. more..

Are the residents running the mental asylum?

May 4 (SL) Recent headlines in an English-language daily newspaper to which I subscribe have really, as that old expression has it, “given me pause.” My response to your obvious question, dear reader, as to why, is that the titles, the content and the tone of the stories that, increasingly, appear in it seem to make the question I have posed a more than relevant one. In most English-speaking jurisdictions, a newcomer to the kind of journalistic scribbling more..

Blake: SL’s discarded war partner

May 4 (DM) The Assist. Secretary of State Robert Blake had arrived in Sri Lanka with a secret message which he says cannot be revealed until he has discussions with the Govt. Blake is noted for his ‘take it easy approach’ which he pursues pertaining to SL. The ICP website posted the foreign policy responses to the UNSG report – discussion document , there the responses in relation to America are mentioned thus :‘there are two standpoints that will affect the USA stand on Sri Lanka.’ more..

Divided they stand for workers’ rights

May 4 (NS) The UPFA’s May Day rally scheduled to commence at the Town Hall grounds at 4 pm today is expected attract the largest gathering for any May Day rally in Sri Lanka. Organisers said they expected at least 10,000 people to attend the rally from each electorate. “Shed a drop of sweat for the country and protect it,” is the UPFA’s May Day theme. The May Day procession is scheduled to start at the Campbell Park at 1.30 pm and would proceed through Borella, more..

Mahinda’s story has no legs

May 4 (SL) There’s a lot of discussion on the UN Report on Sri Lanka. Short version: there may be blood. Most of the discussion, however, is academic. Malinda Seneviratne talks about the realistic effect of the panel and its jurisdiction. Lahiru Pathmalal talks about the legal pointlessness (though he does later get around to the point). That point being, the government did bad stuff and people died. And we should probably at least think about it. Instead everyone’s talking about bureaucratic niceties. more..

Importance of Darusman’s report and India’s Pound of flesh

May 4 (SL) Is the Marzuki Darusman led Advisory Panel Report handed over to UN Secretary General, anything more serious than the immediate socio political needs of Sri Lankans? What’s all this raucous around the “Darusman Report,” lately termed so? There are two subjectively different answers to these questions. One is about the survival of the Rajapaksa regime. The other is about the survival of a human society, decent enough to be called a human society. more..

652 Sailors pass out at SLNS Parakumba in Sampoor

May 4 (MoD) 652 recruits belonging to the 202nd, 203rd Intakes of the Regular Naval Force of the Sri Lanka Navy and Artificer sailors of 2nd Direct Entry batch-2010, passed out in a colourful Passing Out Parade held at SLNS Parakumba in Sampoor on 30th April 2011. Director General Logistics Rear Admiral Dhushyantha Molligoda graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and took the salute. Commander Eastern Naval Area Rear Admiral Jayanath colombage, more..

Stock market seen as funding option for hotels

May 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's hotels, enjoying a boom after the end of a war, can seek expansion funds from the stock market, with banks having difficult history of lending to the sector, a report said. However, unlisted firms which form the bulk of the hotels, may face difficulties in using the stock market, RAM Ratings said in a report on the island's hotel sector. Tourist arrivals hit record levels in 2010 after the island's 30-year ethnic war ended in May 2009 but more..

Editorial: Trade needs adequate notice on policy changes

May 4 (BL) The private sector engaged in business needs to know with certainty the conditions applicable to trades and transactions that apply at the time they enter into any business relationship. These transactions are based on contracts and cannot be repudiated. So, motor vehicle importers whether for private use or for trading should know the conditions that apply to such imports at the time they enter into such contacts whether the contracts are backed by a Letter of Credit or not. more..

'SL govt will not repond to the UN expert's report'

May 4 (DM) Q: Will the Government respond to the UN Panel report? If so, what will be contained in this response? A: No, the govt has no intention of responding to the report. Because the report has been prepared and submitted to the Secretary General by three persons he has nominated on his own personal initiative, therefore to describe the report as a UN Panel report is a misnomer—it is not a formal UN document at all. more..

Editorial: India welcomes Osama’s death

May 4 (Island) No sooner had President Barack Obama announced the killing of Al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, on Sunday than Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh welcomed it as a 'significant step forward'. Then, he got on his hobby horse; he urged Pakistan (and the international community) to 'work comprehensively to end the activities of all terrorist groups'. Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram lost no time in taking a swipe at Pakistan; more..

Editorial: Media freedom: Don’t allow truth to remain silent

May 4 (DM) As thousands of jubilant flag-waving Americans and others continued to celebrate the reported killing and sea buriel of elusive Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, we yesterday marked World Press Freedom Day. What we know about Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden is largely what Western governments and often deceptively biased Western media tell us. The killing is likely to give a boost to President Barack Obama’s bid for re election, while more more..

Sri Lankan Tamil girl elected to the Canadian Parliament

May 4 (NN) A Sri Lankan Tamil girl has been elected to the Canadian parliament following federal elections (parliament) held yesterday. Rathika Sitsabaiesan, 29, a Tamil-Canadian community activist from Malvern who contested for the New Democrats was elected to Parliament today from Scarborough-Rouge River. "It's the entire community coming together," she told reporters as she emerged from a crush of supporters after her victory was certain. more..

Trade unions to complain to the ILO about proposed private sector pension plan

May 4 (SL) Trade unions have decided to lodge complaint with the International Labor Organization (ILO) about the government’s proposed pension scheme for the private sector. Private sector unions have objected to the proposed pension scheme stating it was not beneficial to the private sector workers and that the government was using the workers’ funds to set up the proposed scheme. Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) head Wasantha Samarasinghe says the unions did not more..

Jaffna witnessing construction boom

May 4 (DN) ‘Jaffna district which is returning to normalcy in the post war era is experiencing a rapid construction boom. To cater to the needs of the internally displaced families due to the prolonged war, Jaffna’s civil administration is vigorously expediting the construction of new houses. This was stated by Jaffna GA Imelda Sukumar. She said that in addition to the houses constructed in the High Security Zone in Jaffna, about 17,000 displaced persons were also resettled. more..

President’s fund spends Rs.1.52 bn without Board consent

May 4 (Island) The President’s Fund has spent a sum of Rs. 1,520 million, during the years 2008 and 2009, without obtaining the consent of its controlling board, the Auditor General says. The AG’s report on the President’s Fund for 2009 points out that a sum of Rs 843,846,792 was spent in 2008. Another sum of Rs 678,904,489 was expended without the approval of the controlling board of the fund in breach of Clause No 6 of the 1978 PresidentFund Act No 07. more..

Some songs disgrace Lanka - MR

May 4 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said that songs disgracing the country could help those who want to divide the motherland. “I have heard a song which says ‘May Rate minissu thanikara kellinne pissu’ but the songs composed in the days gone by said ‘loken Uthum rata Lankawai’, such patriotic songs have served a great deal in our fight for the freedom of the country. Please remember songs disgracing the country could help those who want to divide the motherland,” more..

Railways to extend services from BIA

May 4 (Island) The Department of Railways intends to extend luxury train services from the Bandaranaike International Airport terminal to the Fort Railway Station. Currently the train operates between the BIA and the Colombo Secretariat station. A shuttle bus service operates every 15 minutes from the BIA terminal to the station for the convenience of the passengers. "We are in the process of conducting a feasibility study to facilitate the expansion of more..

No freedom at 'Sunday Leader'

May 4 (IT) Both the editor and the journalists of Sri Lankan newspaper, the Sunday Leader , are working under death threats, and its former editor has already been murdered, a public meeting heard yesterday. Lal Wickrematunge was addressing a meeting organised by the Press Council of Ireland to mark World Press Freedom Day. His brother Lasantha, the paper’s previous editor, was killed in January 2009 by four men riding military-style motorbikes more..

‘Is UN report an obstacle to reconciliation?’ Sri Lankans ask

May 4 (UCAN) A group of Sri Lankan Christians are questioning whether a United Nations report into the nation's civil war is in fact an obstacle to reconciliation as the government has claimed. 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. more..