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Faiths get together to promote harmony

May 4 (UCAN) More than 2,000 people, including 20 Muslim, Christian Buddhist clergy and large number of Tamil estate workers gathered on April 30 for a celebration to promote ethnic and religious harmony. The meeting at a temple yard at Mangedara, Tulhiriya, a Buddhist majority hilly village in the diocese of Ratnapura. Addressing the different faiths, Anglican Bishop Shantha Francis of Kurunegala diocese said: “If church and temple unite we could build religious and ethnic harmony.” more..

Regulations activated to ensure melamine-free milk products

May 4 (DM) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday activated the ‘Food Regulations’ on milk and milk products in respect of melamine with immediate effect from yesterday and made it compulsory for all importers and distributors to produce a Health Certificate to confirm the products are melamine free. Dr. Ananda Jayalal said that the Health Minister Sirisena has determined to activate the regulations of the Food Act in respect of milk powder and more..

Number of accidents involving SLTB buses decreases

May 4 (Island) There has been a sharp increase in the number of accidents involving SLTB buses during the first three months of 2011, Ministry of Transport says. "Three hundred and eighty accidents have been reported during the first three months of 2011 causing nearly 23 deaths,". During the corresponding period in 2010, the number of accidents was 326. According to statistics, in 2010 for one million kilometres nearly 1,158 accidents were reported. more..

2 held for sending refugees to Lanka

May 4 (TOI) Police arrested two persons, including a Sri Lankan national for allegedly sending two Lankan refugees illegally to the island nation from coastal Rameswaram on Tuesday for a sum of Rs 40,000. One of the arrested persons had allegedly taken the two refugees in a country boat on the midnight of April 28 and left them in Kachchatheevu islet from where some Sri Lankans had reportedly picked them up. "We have arrested B Sekar (31), a native of Talaimannar more..

Ravi appointed as UNP nat. organiser

May 4 (DM) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake was appointed as the national organiser of the party at a working committee meeting held at ‘Sirikotha,’ the party head quarters, yesterday. He had been appointed by consensus at both the Advisory Committee meeting as well as the Working Committee meeting last evening. The advisory committee (which had been appointed to advise the working committee) met last afternoon prior to the meeting of working committee last evening. more..

All Saints' Church, Borella celebrates 3000th Novena to our lady of perpetual help

May 4 (Island) The well known shrine at All Saints Church, Borella, in the Catholic Archdiocese of Colombo, is scheduled to commemorate the three thousandth novena of devotion to Holy Mary, the Mother of Perpetual Help on Wednesday the 6th of July 2011. These novenas have been held every Wednesday, without a break, from the inception of the devotion on the 8th of December 1951. The novenas are collective prayer meetings. more..

On Sri Lanka, Araud of France says accountability is up to locals, unlike in Libya

May 4 (ICP) After the UN belated published its Panel of Experts' report on war crimes in Sri Lanka, Inner City Press asked the French Mission to the UN in writing for a comment on the report and what should happen next. While the French mission never answered in writing, a spokesman told ICP that a response would take time, and would come from Paris. But French ambassador Gerard Araud, taking over the UN Security Council presidency for May, brought up more..

Spouse to be added as beneficiary

May 4 (DM) The government has agreed to make changes to the proposed "Employees' Pension Benefits Funds Bill" by adding the living spouse of the employee as the beneficiary, the Attorney General informed the Supreme Court when the petition relating to the bill was taken up yesterday. Solicitor General W. P. G. Dep with Deputy Solicitor General Indika Demuni Silva appearing for the Attorney General made the submission before more..

'Interim Committee now living on borrowed brains'

May 4 (DM) Former head of marketing of Sri Lanka Cricket Charith Senanayake may have been rendered a non-entity to his employer, but interestingly a major project that he drew up and found the unanimous approval of the Interim Committee running the game could become the lifeline of the very establishment that chucked him out on flimsy grounds. Senanayake, a former Sri Lanka opening batsman with tremendous marketing skills, meticulously created the concept that more..

Denial of stalls at Peliyagoda Fish market complex - Notice issued on Fisheries Ministry Secy.

May 4 (Island) The Court of Appeal yesterday issued notice on the Secretary to the Ministry of Fisheries, returnable on May 26, 2011, pertaining to a Writ application filed by seven petitioners, who were earlier stall holders at St. John’s Fish Market in Kotahena. J. V. Nandawathi of Ganemulle and six others had complained to the Court of Appeal that the fish market had been shifted to Peliyagoda recently and they had not been allotted stalls there. more..

Govt. to write to Ban

May 4 (DM) The government has decided to write to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon notifying him of the accomplishments made locally and internationally up to date in the post war period, Minister G.L. Peiris told Parliament yesterday. Making his remarks in the House for the first time after the report by the Advisory Panel to the Secretary General was released, the Minister said he had a telephone conversation with the Secretary General on Sunday more..

Inland fishing reservoirs to be increased to 8,000

May 4 (Island) Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Rajitha Senaratne plans to develop the inland fisheries sector by increasing the number of inland fish reservoirs to 8000 by 2014. The main objective behind this project will be to make more fish available for consumption. In Sri Lanka malnutrition is posing a grave threat, but in the near future to counter that threat, Sri Lanka will reach self-sufficiency in fish, Senaratne said. more..

How to nullify UN's Sri Lanka report? Ask TN politicians

May 4 (Sify) For the first time in recent years, the United Nations is showing some signs of its intention to act against Sri Lanka, which has so far managed to go scot-free with its rampant human rights violations during the war with Tamil militants in 2008-2009. A report submitted by an expert panel appointed by the UN's Secretary General has enough material to prosecute President Mahinda Rajapakse on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. more..

CA asks why SF not in Court

May 4 (DM) The Court of Appeal yesterday issued notice on the Commissioner General of Prisons to be personally present in Court on May 9 to show cause as to why the Petitioner Sarath Fonseka was not produced in Court. The Bench comprised Justices R.L.Ranjith Silva and A.W.A.Salam. Counsel for the Petitioner sought the permission of the Court to add DNA Parliamentarian Jayantha Ketagoda as the 9th Respondent in the case more..

Power devolution to minorities in Lanka

May 4 (SG) The devolution of power to the minorities is not something Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has stressed himself over since defeating the Tamil Tigers in battle. With the rebels gone and the state firmly in control of all territory, the notion of sharing political authority has become, well, passé. It could have been different. The elimination of the Tigers gave President Rajapaksa a fine opportunity to more..

Grade V scholarship exam to end soon

May 4 (Island) Deputy Education Minister Vijith Vijithamuni Soyza says the government will do away with the Grade Five Scholarship examination in the near future. He said that once the government implemented a programme to develop 1,000 schools country, there wouldn’t be a need to continue with the examination. He was responding to a query by UPFA MP Shantha Bandara in Parliament on Tuesday (3). more..

Top players approached for Sri Lankan T20 league

May 4 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket is organising a Twenty20 league in July and August 2011 featuring their top players as well as internationals from India, Australia, Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa. The tournament, which will have five regional teams led by senior Sri Lankan cricketers, is the latest in a series of Twenty20 leagues, with some degree of international participation, that have been created over the past few years. more..

Sri Lanka to bid for 2018 commonwealth game next week

May 4 (GDI) After an eventful 19th Commonwealth Games in India last year, the CGF is all set to receive bids for the 2018 edition's hosting rights from Australia and Sri Lanka during a series of meetings from May 6 to 11. "The Commonwealth Games Federation will hold a series of meetings in Kuala Lumpur this week, the highlight being the formal lodgment of bids by 2018 candidate cities, Gold Coast (Australia) and Hambantota (Sri Lanka)," more..

People should rise against Govt. that deceives and torment them – JVP

May 4 (LT) The present govt is tormenting the masses by increasing the prices of essential commodities, denying salary increases and relief people deserve and imposing various taxes states the JVP and calls upon the masses to rally against the government that is tormenting the people and the socio-economic that is unable to provide any relief to the masses. This is stated in a media statement issued by the JVP yesterday more..

'Osama's killing akin to LTTE chief's death'

May 4 (EB) Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese and those sections of the minority Tamils who are opposed to the terrorism of the LTTE feel vindicated by the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by the United States military. They feel that, at least now, the US should stop criticising Lanka for the way its military forces did away with the LTTE and its leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, in 2009. “The killing of Osama by the US was akin to the killing of LTTE leader more..

UNP putting country first, says Ranil

May 4 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament yesterday that the present situation was perhaps the most difficult phase the country ever faced since the Indian airdrops in 1987, and therefore the UNP, as a responsible party in the opposition , was committed to putting the country first. Mr. Wickremesinghe told the House in a statement that he did not intend to make political debating points on a partisan basis at this hour. more..

US blueprint for accountability in SL judiciary: Project may cost the US $4.5 mn

May 4 (Island) Amidst a controversy over a war crimes probe call by the US and its allies, Sri Lanka is seeking US help to enhance accountability in the judiciary. The Justice Ministry and the USAID have reached an agreement on the project, which could lead to significant changes in the legal system, according to sources. Govt officials said that the project estimated at $ 4.3 to 4.5 mn was scheduled to be completed in two and a half years. more..

'Darusman report based on material shut from scrutiny of human eye for 20 years'

May 4 (Island) Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris told Parliament yesterday what has been made out to be credible evidence of war crimes in the Darusman report was based on representations that would be shut from the scrutiny of the human eye for a period of 20 years. There was an impenetrable wall of two decades and he had yet to come across any process which had so flagrantly and cynically violated the basic norms of rudimentary justice, more..

President to declare open Inter-faith Conference

May 5 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will declare open the two day conference on Inter-Faith Dialogue on ‘Building World Peace - Role of Islamic Buddhist Dialogue’. The conference will be held at Hotel Galadari today (4th). This was announced by the Chancellor of the Sabaragamuwa University, Professor, Venerable Kumburugamuwe Vajira Thero participating in an Inter-faith Conference on 2600th Sambuddhathva Jayanthiya held in Colombo yesterday. more..

CEB could serve public better by streamlining internal structures

May 5 (Island) Minister Champika Ranawaka says that the Ceylon Electricity Board could do a lot better towards customer satisfaction by being more productive and streamlining internal structures and activities. "This will help us to be at the forefront of well managed institutions in our country even above the private sector," he told the CEB Senior Management. He was introducing a Balanced Score Card System to assess the success of the organisation. more..

Ranil dictator says Sajith

May 5 (NN) UNP co-deputy leader Sajith Premadasa has accused UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe of acting as a dictator following the appointment of Ravi Karunanayake as the national organizer of the party. He said that he had no issue with the individual appointed to the post but only at the way the appointment was made. Premadasa said that Ravi Karunanayake’s appointment as the national organizer is illegal and as such he will take his opposition to it to the UNP working committee. more..

Lawyer nabbed by CID

May 5 (NN) A Lawyer in Puttalam was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) today over allegations he issued fake deeds to sell land in Colombo. Investigations had revealed that the lawyer had carried out the illegal work with the support of two other suspects who are already in police custody. The two suspects were remanded by the Court and the lawyer was to be produced in Court later today, officials familiar with the case said. more..

UK envoy to Sri Lanka on climate finance

May 5 (LBO) Climate change is a burning issue under discussion today. As a small island nation, Sri Lanka is vulnerable to serious threats of climate change, causing both humanitarian and health hazards, as flooding in recent months has shown. British Foreign Secretary William Hague has described climate change as “perhaps the twenty-first century’s biggest foreign policy challenge”. He has stressed that “a world which is failing to respond to climate change is more..

.US urges Sri Lanka to address abuse allegations

May 5 (AP) A U.S. diplomat Wednesday asked Sri Lanka to address allegations of possible war crimes toward the end of the country's civil war and to share political power with an estranged Tamil minority for a lasting peace. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake told reporters that Sri Lanka has promised to address these issues and many others raised by him during official meetings. But he said the "proof lies in results, not in promises." more..

Sri Lanka launches 'ozone friendly', GI tea logos

May 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka has launched new logos for Ceylon tea to protect the island's best known brand under the Geographical Indicators (GI) international trade regime and promote it as ozone friendly. The 1.5 billion US dollar Ceylon tea industry aims to use the new logos to market the tea as a premium product just like French champagne, Scotch whisky and Basmathi rice and use certification to prevent its misuse. "Due to the premium price received regularly for Ceylon tea, more..

Probe on CPC claims

May 5 (NN) Petroleum Resources Minister Susil Premjayantha informed Parliament this afternoon that a probe will be launched over allegations raised against the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). The Minister said this after JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake alleged in Parliament that vehicles belonging to the CPC were being used for the private work of some CPC union leaders and Sri Lanka Freedom Party members. Dissanayake also charged that security staff attached to the CPC were posted more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 04.05.2011

UN report is an even-handed, devastating account of atrocities committed during the war in Sri Lanka, but a more thorough account is needed

May 5 (TC) An independent report on the conduct of the final months of the war in Sri Lanka that so many people have long asked for has finally been released by the United Nations. It is an even-handed and devastating account of how Tamil people were brutalized by Sri Lanka’s government and its military on the one hand, and the Tamil Tigers who claimed to be protecting them on the other. more..

Eelam Plot: Sri Lanka torn between India & the West

May 5 (LG) The present scenario that prevails is opportune to reflect. Eelaam still remains the key stratagem. While India may have created the concept of Eelaam to prevail in Sri Lanka, India would never allow Eelaam to see fruition in either Tamil Nadu or Sri Lanka though the West is attempting to revive the Eelaam cause. For the West an Eelaam in Sri Lanka becomes a perfect ploy to destabilize India. What Tamils on both sides of the Palk Straits need to remember is more..

Army & RMAO-Jaffna organize mine risk education programme for the public

May 5 (Cimic) Subsequent to the International Mine Action Day that fell on 4th of April, a two day mine risk education programme was organized by the Regional Mine Action Office (RMAO) Jaffna in collaboration with Sri Lanka Army on 20th and 21st of April at Jaffna Hindu College. The workshop included a variety of programmes such as lectures, discussions, dramas and exhibitions to give a comprehensive knowledge on mine risks to schoolchildren, teachers and more..

Bedrock – whether it is there or not is the question

May 5 (LG) A good opportunity seems to be emerging for our people to get at the truth relating to the supposed existence of bedrock that prevented ships from sailing into the newly constructed Magampura Mahinda Rajapksa Harbour. This question gained currency since the steady arrival of ships at the Harbour, as expected, did not materialize since the ceremonial opening of the Harbour. The opposition parties, following the practice of picking holes in more..

Report of the Secretary General's panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka

May 5 (LG) The report of the panel of experts commissioned by United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Ban Ki- noon on Sri Lanka was officially released on 25th April 2011. Almost two weeks before the office of the UNSG handed over a copy of the report to the representative of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) to the United Nations on 12th April 2011. In Sri Lanka the report was leaked to a pro- government English daily The Island within 24 hours. more..

Into the valley of death marched the 600

May 5 (ST) He lives in retirement in Gampaha, reading, writing, gardening and listening to bird calls but although he has had a colourful career in the Police Force of old during its "best of times" which gradually became the "worst of times" there is a quest burning within him. A compelling duty yet to be fulfilled. Justice and due recognition for a group of "forgotten heroes", is retired Senior Superintendent of Police Tassie Seneviratne's quest. more..

Nalin Swaris – As I saw him

May 5 (LG) Nalin Swaris passed away on 17th April 2011 while he was on a tour in China. Although Nalin’s health had not been that good lately the news of his death came as a shock mainly because for many of us, including Nalin, life is an unfinished job, and the all too abrupt halt to things disorients one. Anyhow, once it happens, death is not the problem of the one who is dead, but it is something to be coped with by those who have been left behind. more..

War crimes accountability in Sri Lanka

May 5 (GV) The report of the three-member panel of independent experts, appointed by the UN Secretary General to advise him on the issues of legal accountability arising out of the brutal final stages of Sri Lanka’s war, has finally been published. The panel has found ‘credible’ a large number of allegations of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by the military protagonists in the conflict, the Sri Lankan security forces and the LTTE, more..