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'Darusman Report, an unwarranted exercise'

May 5 (SO) Senior Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said that the Government has totally rejected the Darusman report and maintain the view that they are not competent enough to arrive at their decisions. Dr. Amunugama in an interview with the Sunday Observer said that the Darusman report is a concerted attempt made by some people who want to take revenge on Sri Lanka for having settled the ethnic issue by militarily defeating of the LTTE. more..

Editorial: Govt sharks at Peliyagoda fish market

May 5 (Island) Issues crop up at such a rate in this country that it is next to impossible to keep track of them. This editorial written a few days ago had to be put on hold in view of the latest developments in the Moon Panel controversy followed by the killing of Osama bin Laden. Even those who reject out of hand––quite rightly so––the unfounded allegations in the Moon Panel report cannot but accept as irrefutable the charges that the govt has failed, or does not care, more..

Editorial: Hashan’s catch

May 5 (DM) Cricket is in the news again. After a much debated ICC World Cup just behind us, former Sri Lankan Cricket Captain and a fine batsman that he was Hashan Thilakaratne has-or seems to have raised a hornet’s nest. Now, Hashan has given a statement to CID and says would take the matter to the ICC after about a decade. Ironically he had said that “that matches were fixed during his career.” But he did not reveal any evidence as he said due to legal advice and more..

Abhaya the little jumbo was lucky but what about others?

May 5 (ST) Last week, the Dehiwala Zoo welcomed a new baby elephant “Abhaya” who had lost his family to a tragic train/elephant collision. It was just another peaceful night in October last year for two elephant families roaming the jungles of Habarana. There were two baby elephants aged only a few months in their midst and grazing peacefully, they approached the railroad. It was only when the sound of the oncoming train disturbed the silence of the night that more..

UNSG playing his fiddle to a deaf elephant

May 5 (LG) There is much talk about Accountability these days – at UN level. Where was this Accountability problem when more than 60,000 Sinhalese youth disappeared and killed by the Sinhalese leadership just three decades ago? So now the United Nations came up with the report which is called “Darusman Report”, with lots of errors and is asking for credible investigation on Sri Lanka. Many of us find this amusing and we see someone laughing. Who? – None other than the more..

National disunity in time of peril

May 5 (SL) United we stand, divided we fall’, has not been an endearing belief among Sri Lankan leaders. If one flicks through the pages of our ‘glorious ancient history’ it will be revealed: Come what may, our ancient leaders have taken the chance, wittingly or unwittingly of ‘standing divided’ — not united. The fall of the Kandyan Kingdom to the British reveals it all. Even in our contemporary history there is only one unique personality that more..

UN System & the System in Sri Lanka

May 5 (LG) The UNP wishes to place its views on the Advisory Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka, before the House at this preliminary stage, when some critical decisions have to be made by the Govt. Let me briefly recap the background to the current problem. During the last phase of the North - East war a large number of civilians were displaced in Vanni. Despite the appeals by the Govt of Sri Lanka and the UN, more..

Fishermen reclaim land for new church

May 5 (UCAN) A lack of available space has forced Catholic fishing families in the north of the country to reclaim land from the sea to build a new and bigger Marian church. “We are going to build a much bigger church,” said a group of fisher folk as they unloaded rocks for a nearly completed dyke in Jaffna city. According to the fisherman their old church is too small to accommodate the number of devotees who want to pray there. However, there was no available land on more..

Religions in Mass for workers rights

May 5 (UCAN) Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists walked together at St Michael Church in capital Colombo to celebrate a workers Mass on May 1. “God is with the poor. Jesus the carpenter’s son was a laborer and the church is a laborers’ church. It should always be committed to the struggle of the workers and the poor,” said Anglican priest Father Marimuthupillai Sathivel, one of the concelebrants of the Mass. more..

Forex on your way home?

May 5 (FT) The Central Bank has initiated discussions to allow super market chains to engage in the lucrative money exchange business as a means of expanding the reach of this facility. Last year the money exchangers did US$ 138 million worth of business, but this was down from US$ 216 million in 2009. A top official said that this reduction was one of the reasons that spurred the Central Bank to consider alternative means of providing foreign exchange facilities. more..

Highway robbery: 5.3% of economy lost!

May 5 (Island) Sri Lanka’s land transportation system is costing its economy more than 5 percent of GDP; Around 3.3 percent of GDP, or Rs. 185 billion, through wasted time, accidents, congestions and supply chain losses, while healthcare costs caused by road related accidents are estimated at 2 percent of GDP. The government’s budget deficit this year is expected to be 6.8 percent of GDP, last year it was 7.9 percent. University of Moratuwa Senior Professor and Transport and more..

Govt. asked to resolve issues faced by SL workers in Jordan

May 5 (SL) The JVP backed Ethera Api organization requests the External Affairs Ministry to intervene to resolve a dispute involving Sri Lankan workers in Jordan. Convener of the organization, MP Ajith Kumara has sent a letter to the External Affairs Ministry calling for intervention to resolve a dispute related to Sri Lankan workers at garment factories in an investment zone in Jordan. Kumara has said that the dispute had arisen when foreign workers in the factories including more..

M. D. Dayananda

Buses damaged during shooting at Matara

May 5 (NF) The police said that several buses belonging to a private bus owner in the Dideniya area in Mawarala, Matara have been damaged during an incident of shooting carried out by an unidentified group. It is reported that six of the seven buses which were parked outside the bus owner's residence have thus been damaged but no casualties have been reported as a result of this incident which occurred at dawn today. 'Buses from Matara, Pitabadamulla, Akuressa and more..

Tele-medicine comes to Sri Lanka

May 5 (Island) Sri Lanka’s first tele-medicine centre was launched in Colombo yesterday. The centre is a joint venture between Afro-Asia’s largest hospital network, headquartered in Chennai and Serenity Health Referral Services. Telemedicine is the term used for the process, where healthcare services are provided when the patient and the doctor are far apart. Chief guest at the launch Deputy Health Minister Lalith Dissanayaka said Sri Lanka, being a technology driven country, more..

'Hedging deal worse than UN report'

May 5 (DM) UNP MP Kabir Hashim in Parliament warned that the hedging issue could become a worse crisis than the UN advisory panel report if not properly handled. Speaking during an adjournment debate on the issue in the House yesterday, Mr. Hashim said the country will have to suffer dire consequences if the government fails to make the due payments to the banks which it signed the hedging deal with. Stating that these banks are based in countries such as more..

Two more witnesses added to White Flag Case

May 5 (SL) The counsel appearing for former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka in the controversial “white flag” case has added two more witnesses to the case. The new witnesses are External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunathileka Amunugama and MP Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha. It is said that the report by the panel of experts appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sri Lanka is to figure in the white flag case. The case was taken up at the Colombo High Court yesterday. more..

Is counter terrorism exclusive right of super powers: Athauda

May 5 (DM) A senior minister yesterday called on the visiting US Under-Secretary on South and Central Asian Affairs, Robert 0’ Blake to explain whether successful counter terrorist operations were a luxury exclusively enjoyed by US and allies alone. Senior Minister Athauda Seneviratne said that he does not understand why US, its ally Norway and the UN attempted to save the LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran and his close associates and transfer them to a safe location when more..

SriLankan Airlines’ fleet grows to largest in history

May 5 (FT) SriLankan Airlines said yesterday its fleet is now the largest ever in its history, following the receipt of an Airbus A320 aircraft recently. The airline now has a fleet of 17 aircraft, which include five A320s, five A330s, five A340s, and two De Havilland Twin Otters. This surpasses the 16 aircraft that the airline possessed between 2005 and 2007. With plans to acquire four or perhaps even five more aircraft by the end of 2011, more..

Northerners have shown World they can stand on their own - Wimal

May 5 (Island) Minister Wimal Weerawansa says that the people of the North who had lost their homes, due to the three decade-long war against the Tiger terrorists, have built their own homes with State loans together with their savings and labour. He said they had shown the world that they can stand on their own feet and meet any challenge. He made this comment when handing over the ownership of houses, constructed by the NHDA in the Araviyal Nagaral more..

CTTU wants equal status in education to Vanni students

May 5 (TN) The Ceylon Tamil Teachers Union (CTTU) in its May Day message said that Colombo should take immediate steps to provide equal status in education to affected students in Vanni region, and also to provide relief and other assistance to teachers who were reported killed and disappeared in the conflict. CTTU General Secretary Mr.T.Mahasivam in the May Day message said compensation, pension and other financial assistance should be provided to the families of more..

Private bus owners demand fare hike: No way says government

May 5 (Island) In the wake of the recent diesel price increase, the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) is demanding a 15 per cent increase in bus fares. Gemunu Wijeratne President of the LPBOA told The Island that they would campaign for a fare revision effective July 1. The LPBOA has given the National Transport Commission time until May 31 to revise the fares. If it failed to do so the LPBOA would take legal action against the NTC, more..

Yesterday Pakistan, today Sri Lanka, tomorrow who?

May 5 (Roar) I usually keep myself away from controversies, especially match-fixing in cricket. I leave that to News of the World and other papers who relish printing such items. However, when a former Test captain says there was match-fixing, I stop burying my head in the sand, ala an ostrich, and look up. I refer to Hashan Tillakaratne’s claim that match-fixing has been going on in Sri Lanka for two decades. “Tillakaratne, who led Sri Lanka in ten Tests between 2003 and 2004 said more..

Moragoda: Snr. Presidential Advisor

May 5 (DM) Former minister Milinda Moragoda has been appointed as Senior Advisor to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Presidential Secretariat confirmed today. Additional Secretary to the President, D.S Gunaratne said that the appointment was made this week. It is reported that Mr. Moragoda will be an advisor on foreign policy matters. However Mr. Gunaratne said that he has still not been given an area to cover as advisor by the President Rajapaksa. more..

International Criminal Court confirms filling on Kohona

May 5 (AD) International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has said that he would not even read the UN report on Sri Lanka as Sri Lanka is not a member state of the ICC. However he added that the ICC is checking the filing on Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN Palitha Kohona as he is a dual citizen of Autralia. The ICP reported today that in a interview with International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo at the UN on Wednesday, more..

Tamils to protest on University Avenue again

May 5 (G&M) Tamils are planning a large demonstration in Toronto on Friday to support a United Nations panel’s call for a probe of alleged war crimes committed near the end of Sri Lanka’s conflict with the separatist Tamil Tigers two years ago. In a recent report, the three-member UN panel cited “credible allegations” that both sides violated international humanitarian and human-rights law during the final months of the 26-year conflict, which ended with the more..

Govt. seeks Rs. 16Bn supplementary allocations

May 5 (SL) The govt has sought parliamentary approval for supplementary allocations of Rs. 16.88 billion for several ministries, five months after the 2011 budget was approved. The supplementary allocations have been requested under 50 heads of various Ministries and was tabled in parliament yesterday. According to reports, Rs. 100 million of the supplementary allocations was meant for the initial capital for the company established to bid for hosting more..

US wants dialogue between SL and UN

May 5 (DM) Robert O. Blake, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, said yesterday that the UN report on Sri Lanka ‘underscored the importance of a durable political solution’ and the necessity for a dialogue between the UN and the govt of Sri Lanka. Addressing the media during his two-day visit to Sri Lanka, he said the report favoured a political solution that would ‘forge a prosperous, democratic and united Sri Lanka.’ more..

Signature campaign seeks prosecution of Rajapaksa

May 5 (Hindu) Communist Party of India leader R. Nallakannu here on Wednesday inaugurated a signature campaign demanding the prosecution of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the international court, “for his role in the genocide in the island nation during its war against the LTTE.” The campaign, an initiative of the Tamirabharani Panpaattu Arangam, is being conducted in the wake of the United Nation's revelations of “war crimes” by Sri Lankan armed forces. more..

Census Dept. to recruit 65,000 officials

May 5 (Island) The Department of Census and Statistics is planning to recruit 65,000 officials to carry out the census scheduled for this year, the Department’s Director H. R. Gunasekara said. "The officials will be appointed by the Divisional Secretaries of the respective areas. Instructions have been issued to recruit persons who have sat the GCE A/L exam," Gunasekara said. He said that the officials need not be government servants but should be from the areas concerned. more..

Samanera training centre in India

May 5 (DN) A discussion to establish a Samanera Bhikkhu Training Centre at Buddhagaya, India to mark the 2600th Sambuddhathva Jayanthi was held at Charikaramaya under the patronage of Most Ven Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thera. The Thera said that Indian Maha Bodhi Society General Secretary Ven Dodamgoda Rewatha and the Indian Mahabodhi Society are working to protect the heritage of Buddhists in India. more..

Israeli Agriculture Minister here

May 5 (DN) Israel's Agriculture Minister Orit Noked, accompanied by a top level Israeli agro-business delegation is on a visit to Sri Lanka until May 7. This visit, is expected to enhance cooperation between the two countries in the agriculture field. Noked is scheduled to meet Prime Minister D M Jayaratne and other Ministers. During her meetings with government officials and farming and business communities, Minister Noked will more..

Sri Lanka gets Indian cruise liner

May 5 (LBO) An Indian cruise ship owned and operated by a Chennai-based AMET Shipping India will start calling at Sri Lankan ports in May offering cruises starting at 10,000 Sri Lankan rupees a night, officials said. The cruise service is being launched not only to cater to tourists but also to train cadets of the maritime university, AMET university group, which owns AMET Shipping India. more..

Sajith Group vows to fight ‘illegal’ procedure in appointing UNP National Organiser

May 5 (Island) Ranjith Maddumabandara, who lost out to Ravi Karunanayake in the race for the UNP’s National Organiser post, said yesterday, that he was considering legal action or calling for an Emergency National Convention, to challenge what he termed ‘illegal procedure’ adopted in making the appointment. He said that many UNPers had urged him to challenge in court the disregard for constitutional requirements in more..

‘Maximum support needed to defeat panel report’

May 5 (DM) The Govt and Opposition of the Western Provincial Council yesterday unanimously resolved that the External Affairs Ministry should get the support of other countries to oppose the UN Secretary General’s advisory report on Sri Lanka. Western Provincial Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunge said it was vital to have the cooperation of the Opposition and to garner further support from other countries to more..

'Commit yourselves to serve the country with true patriotism and loyalty'

May 5 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his address at the 162nd Prize Giving Ceremony of Royal College urged students to emulate the past Royalists, such as Anagarika Dharmapala and Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, in committing themselves to serve the country with true patriotism and loyalty. He said as a school comprising children of all communities, they had an opportunity to set an example in building unity among students more..

Saudi Arabia agrees to increase Haj quota

May 5 (DN) Saudi Arabian authorities have agreed to increase the quota of Haj pilgrims granted to Sri Lanka to more than 8,000 during the forthcoming pilgrimage season, said Environment Deputy Minister and Member Sri Lanka Haj Committee A R M Abdul Cader. The deputy Minister who was a member of the Haj Committee which visited Saudi Arabia to negotiate with Saudi Arabian Authorities at diplomatic level said their Saudi counterparts treated them more..

ECB struggling to get in crowd for first Test against Sri Lanka

May 5 (IANS) A thin crowd would welcome England's Ashes heroes, in their first appearance on home soil since beating Australia, when they take on Sri Lanka in the first Test in Cardiff starting May 26. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is anxious about the attendance because Cardiff and Swansea could meet in the Football League -Championship play-off final at Wembley over the same Bank Holiday weekend. more..

Computer expert chooses evidence in camera

May 5 (DM) Computer expert, Dr. Chathura de Silva invited by the Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to ascertain whether the video clips telecast by Britain’s Channel 4, that showed Sri Lankan soldiers committing alleged war crimes were genuine or not, said that he wished to give evidence in camera. Dr. de Silva, who is an Engineer and lecturer at the Moratuwa University Department of Computer Science, more..

Amendment to limit CJ’s term

May 5 (DM) The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, to limit the term of office of the Chief Justice and to give the President the power to appoint the secretary to the Judicial Services Commission, is to be presented in Parliament soon. Amendment to Under the proposed amendment, the term of the Chief Justice is to be limited to five years. At present the age of retirement of the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court judges is 65 years. more..