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'Lankan team convinced delegates at UNHRC'

Sept 17 (DM) The Sri Lankan team to the UNHRC prevented moves to bring in a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC annual session and the delegates of the member countries accepted Sri Lanka’s presentation that countered allegations, team member and Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said. Minister De Silva who returned from Geneva yesterday told the Daily Mirror that the Sri Lankan team was able to convince the 40 delegates of the UN member countries who participated in the UNHRC sessions that more..

Huge land grab in Kalpitiya with political backing

Sept 17 (DM) Large scale land grabbing running up to some 165 acres in a prime tourist location in Kalpitiya, Puttalam allegedly by politically influential persons has come to light following complaints by the opposition and residents of the area. In a block of 442 acres of state land, 165 acres have been encroached by some persons allegedly backed by a deputy minister. Of them, 25 acres are private lands, and the rest are state prime lands. It is learnt that some of the lands more..

'Lanka better without US advice'

Sept 17 (DM) Western Province Environment Minister Udaya Gammanpila has said the advice given by US Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake to Sri Lanka during his recent visit was unnecessary and that the various communities are now living in peace. He said the request to have Tamil policemen in the North and disarm paramilitary groups was uncalled for and added that in the United States the minorities were not adequately represented and asked why the US govt did not look into these matters. more..

Fearing defeat in Colombo, govt. disseminates lies, says Muzammil

Sept 17 (Isand) In the run-up to the LG polls, govt propaganda hacks have swung into action to discredit him and his party but they lack credibility, UNP Colombo Mayoral candidate A.J.M. Muzammil says. "Desperation has set in and the govt is all out to avoid a crushing defeat in Colombo," Muzammil said. He said the govt had proved it did not look after the interests of the ordinary people through the forcible eviction of the urban poor and the illegal sale of land to foreigners. more..

Scholarship high-fliers meet President

Sept 17 (DN) The three students who came first obtaining 195 marks each in the Year Five Scholarship examination called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday evening. The President congratulated the three students and presented gifts to them. Oshadhi Fonseka of Kalutara Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Nethmi Ranaweera of Miriswatta National College in Dodangoda, Kalutara and Naleem Ahamed of Kekirawa Muslim Maha Vidyalaya obtained 195 marks each. more..

From temple to breaks: Surfing in Sri Lanka

Sept 17 (MW) The waves were breaking at Whisky Point. But by the time we arrived, the wind was up and the sun was blazing down. Not ideal conditions, but the water was turquoise–warm, inviting. Only a handful of other surfers were in the water. I watched the waves for a few minutes before paddling out in the channel, right beside the rocks. The typical anxiety that usually plagues me while surfing at a new spot seemed to have no effect on me that day. more..

Sinharaja road: UNESCO calls for report

Sept 17 (DM) UNESCO has called for a report from the Environment Ministry on allegations that a road is being built through the Sinharaja Forest Reserve endangering its natural habitat and eco system, a UNESCO official said. UNESCO’s Sri Lanka National Commission Secretary General Preethi Viraj Perera said that UNESCO, which is the world body committed to protect and maintain world heritage sites, should have been informed about the plan to build the road. more..

Alleged money launderers released on bail

Sept 17 (DM) Three suspects who were remanded for allegedly laundering Rs. 84 million violating the Banking Ordinance were released on a Rs.1 million personal bail by a Colombo Magistrate. The three suspects - S. P. Dixon, N. B. Sivarajan and S. Ilangovan were arrested by the Colombo Fraud Bureau and remanded till Wednesday on the orders of the Additional Magistrate of Colombo Prashantha Alwis. more..

Weerawansa accuses UN of seeking revenge on Sri Lanka

Sept 17 (Island) DNF leader Wimal Weerawansa said the intention of the UN to send an officer, claiming to review the actions of the UN in Sri Lanka during the ‘Humanitarian Operation’, was to take revenge on Sri Lanka. He said that Thoraya Obaid, the former head of the UN Population fund who is scheduled to be sent here by the UN, would eventually claim in her report that war crimes had been committed in Sri Lanka and submit it to the HRC in Geneva to be held next June. more..

Reservoir water levels increase

Sept 17 (Island) Water levels in reservoirs used for generating hydro electricity have recorded an overall increase of 35 per cent, due to rains being experienced in the catchments, the Systems Control Division of the Ceylon Electricity Board says. A week ago, the hydro capacity was less than 20 per cent – one of the lowest in the recent past, according to Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka. The rate of hydro power generation could now be increased to 20.3 per cent and more..

SriLankan Airlines launches flights to Moscow today

Sept 17 (FT) Establishing a landmark in Sri Lanka’s aviation history, SriLankan Airlines’ makes its maiden flight to the historic city of Moscow, commencing a twice-weekly scheduled service between Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport and Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport on Sept. 17. Religious observances by dignitaries of the four religions in Sri Lanka will invoke blessings on the new service before UL 531 departs the BIA at 0720hrs. more..

Lankan team `astonished` Dengue mosquitoes, eggs found in hospitals

Sept 17 (Dawn) The visiting Sri Lankan team of doctors found a huge number of dengue transmitting mosquitoes and their eggs on the premises of two major public health facilities of the city on Friday. The head of the Sri Lankan team showed his astonishment at the presence of flowerpots having water near admin office of the teaching hospital at a time when dengue virus has hit the provincial capital hard, a health official, who accompanied the team, told Dawn. more..

Now, racket in parking tickets also

Sept 17 (DM) Questions are being raised as to how private individuals and companies were issuing parking tickets, instead of the usual green uniform clad traffic wardens in several public parking lots in the Colombo City. Individuals were seen issuing tickets under a private name near the Town Hall area. A ticket for Rs.30 was issued to the driver of a bus, which had brought. group of visitors from Anurdhapura to Sathutu Uyana Children’s Park. Several three-wheeler drivers also said they had seen such individuals on more..

Govt-TNA talks resume

Sept 17 (Isand) Despite all the grandstanding and a hiatus of more than one and a half months the TNA yesterday resumed talks with the Govt as predicted by visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake early this week. At the last round of talks held on August 02, the TNA virtually issued an ultimatum to the govt to respond to its proposals on finding a solution to the ethnic question by August 18. TNA Leader R. Sampanthan said that the return to discussion table was a positive change and more..

Cultivation of potatoes encouraged with support from private sector

Sept 18 (Isand) The Agriculture Ministry has taken steps to encourage farmers cultivate potatoes with the support of private sector institutions, a Ministry spokesman says. Recently, the import tax on big-onions, potatoes and garlic had been increased with the aim of providing reasonable market prices to the local farmer, he said. Import tax had been increased by Rs. 5 for a kilo of potatoes, Rs. 10 for a kilo of big-onions and Rs. 15 for a kilo of Garlic. more..

Obstructers of national mosquito control programme beware

Sept 18 (Isand) Action will be taken against all those who obstruct the mosquito control programme scheduled for next month. The Police and the armed forces have been issued instructions by the Defense Secretary to observe the Mosquito Control Act to the letter – especially on those who hinder the house to house inspections. The spokesman said that the mosquito control week will be initiated parallel to the National Health Week (NHW) from October 3. more..

Sri Lankan Movie Makers jailed in Belize

Sept 18 (NB) Exactly three weeks ago we introduced you to 11 Sri Lankans who came all the way to Belize to get caught up in the middle of a big controversy. They freely told us that they were here to make a movie featuring Belize's blue hole. Still, there were legitimate concerns that the 11 were trying to traffic through Belize, presumably to get to the USA or Canada. First off, they came on one way tickets. That's usually enough to get anyone more..

Tourism Industry –New Version of Fantasy Marketing

Sept 18 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa entered his second term at an exceptional juncture; at the end of a thirty-year war. As his predecessor, JR Jayewardene, President Rajapaksa also looks forward to a new liberalized economy and believes that ending the war has benefited him to complete the unfinished business initiated by JR, with an open economy. In other words he is prepared to play the second innings of JR’s game. The reality is, in spite of an aggravated more..

Safety should not be an illusion

Sept 18 (DM) There may be many newspaper editorials dedicated to children whose childhoods were blotched by the unpardonable acts of adults. Their tears must have provided inspiration for countless stories and given strength to many activists to take to the roads. Yet, the numbers keep reaching the sky. The stories keep flooding newsrooms. For those who are not directly involved with the incident, it is just a piece of disturbing news in the morning paper. But, the incidents we keep hearing from rural areas where, more..

Sri Lankan northern Jaffna gets hi speed broadband connectivity

Sept 18 (GDI) Sri Lanka telecom will launch phase 1 of i -Sri Lanka project under the theme “One nation one sound” in Jaffna on 19th Monday to provide hi-speed communication facilities. Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya will inaugurate the launch of stronger communication links between the North and South. SLT intends expanding its coverage of fixed line network to the North bringing even more customers within the reach of more..

Attempt by govt. to appoint principals illegally prevented

Sept 18 (LT) The Public Services Commission has rejected the proposal by the govt to make permanent 4000 acting principals. The Minister of Education had presented a cabinet paper to make the appointment permanent and had obtained the cabinet approval as well. A ministerial subcommittee too had been appointed regarding the matter. The committee comprising of the Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardene, and Ministers Dinesh Gunawardene and Maithripala Sirisena had more..

Sri Lanka gets new Treasuries dealer

Sept 18 (LBO) Central bank said it had appointed Wealth Trust Securities Limited as a primary dealer for government securities. The firm is promoted by Sri Lanka based Finco Holdings Ltd, SAFE Investments and Sierra Holdings. The primary dealer will start operations on September 21 to sell and deal in Treasury Bills and Bonds. The firm is chaired by Anura Ekanayake a former head of Sri Lanka's Chamber of Commerce head, Mangala Boyagoda, a senior former banker and more..

SL v Aus, 3rd Test: Sangakkara guides solid Sri Lanka

Sept 18 (CI) There are few things Kumar Sangakkara has failed to achieve in Test cricket. As he walked off the SSC ground on the second afternoon of his 100th Test, he would have felt that one of those unfulfilled goals - playing in a win over Australia - was one step closer. Sangakkara has tasted victory against every other Test nation, and while plenty of work remains in this match, it could be his best chance to complete the set. more..

Tamil school children on stage to promote peace

Sept 18 (AN) “We were born with the war. We only saw and heard one thing, that was sounds of firing. We did not have a childhood but with the peace dawn we could see our childhood”. This is the story told by a group of Tamil school children in the district of Batticaloa (eastern province), after they had taken part in a development programme run by a Christian aid and development organisation called World Vision. Between 1983 and 2009 Sri Lanka was the scene of more..

Two killed, 30 injured in train crash at Alauwa

Sept 18 (ST) At least two persons were killed and 30 others injured, many critically when a Polgahawela bound train from Colombo Fort rammed into the rear of another train heading in the same direction for Kandy, Railway officials said a short while ago. They said the incident took place around 5.00 pm at Alauwa Junction close to the signal lights. Among the dead were the driver of the ill-fated train and an unidentified foreign national, the officials said. more..

Renowned Tabla artist Wijeratne Ranatunga passes away

Sept 18 (LT) Renowned ‘Tabla’ artist Wijeratne Ranatunga passed away today (17) morning. Mr. Wijeratne Ranatunga is a senior lecturer of the University of the Visual & Performing Arts and has done a yeoman service to the development of music in the country. He has contributed to a large number of popular songs in directing music and among the hits he had directed are ‘Galana Gangaki Jeewithe’, ‘Mitin mudahara Baluwemi’and more..

Our consciences and the defence of the rule of law

Sept 18 (LG) In 1992, a mob of Hindutva fanatics destroyed the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, India claiming that it was built on the sacred spot of Rama’s birthplace. Many liberal minded Indians condemned that action but were unable to reverse the action of the mob who not only took the law into their own hands but also instilled feelings of deep hurt and insecurity in a religious minority. The critical comments quoted above are from Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen’s thoughtful more..

Is Mahinda courting trouble again by a useless tamasha visit to new york

Sept 18 (LG) There is hardly any reason, likely to benefit the country, for the President to undertake a visit to the UN in New York at a time when the country is mercilessly assailed in Geneva and elsewhere on grounds of many incidents related to bad governance. The consequences of the desecration of the Muslim mosque in Anuradhapura by a gang of thugs lead by a Buddhist priest - while the backboneless Police watched idly – requires firm Presidential action before matters more..

Sinhala Buddhist rationale in an omnivorous society

Sept 18 (GV) My new neighbour, a quiet middle class, young Sinhala Buddhist professional from beyond Matara, who started constructing his own house, brought down a “Kattadi mahathtaya” from his village to evoke blessings on the property, the new construction and on himself and his young family, before the foundation stone was laid. The ritual went on with loud chanting and drumming through midnight, a public nuisance, but tolerated in silence, more..

Elara famous for his justice bell was not a Tamil

Sept 18 (Island) A friend of mine who spotted the headline of this article on my computer screen jumped out her skin: "Are you joking about such a serious matter?Are you claiming that he was a Sinhala?" No! He was not a Sinhala either. Nor was he destructive. Elara was noble and just —-just even to animals. In fact, Mahavamsa has an adulatory tone in the part dealing with King Elara’s Justice Bell; even animals which had lost their offspring due to man’s cruelty could more..

Rajapakse regime has been ducking and diving for too long

Sept 18 (TC) This week, the UNSG advisory report, unfortunately and disparagingly referred to in Sri Lanka as the “Darusman” Report was formally sent to the UNHRC. The consequences for Sri Lanka are enormous, as it struggles to put behind it the events leading up to May 2009. The UNHRC will have to decide what action that it will take after considering the report and Sri Lanka’s representations. In recent months the UNHRC has ordered international investigations into Libya and Syria. more..

The old are taking their lives

Sept 18 (ST) The figures are down but a “worrying” trend seems to be taking shape with more elderly men and women hitting the depths of despair for which tragically they see no other way but taking their own lives. Although Sri Lanka has quietly but surely lost its dubious reputation of being No. 1 in the world for suicides with its interventions, the increase in the numbers of the elderly (those over 60) thinking that they have no other recourse but more..

U.S. Govt gives two $100,000 grants to local organizations working on women’s issues

Sept 18 (TC) In support of two critical issues – women’s entrepreneurship and the prevention of gender-based violence – the U.S. government recently awarded $100,000 grants to the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce (HDCC) and the national NGO Women in Need (WIN). The grants, funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the USAID, will support training and start-up funding for budding female entrepreneurs in the South, and training and more..

Sixteen non-governmental groups write open letter to President of the HRC

Sept 18 (TC) A coalition of non-governmental organisations has, by open letter of 16 September, called on the President of UNHRC H.E. Laura Dupuy Lasserre of Uruguay, to issue a President’s Statement inviting the Government of Sri Lanka and the UN Secretary-General to present to the Council the Panel of Experts report and the Government’s own investigations during the 19th regular session of the Human Rights Council in March 2012. more..

'Public administration to be streamlined'

Sept 18 (SO) Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister, W.D.J. Seneviratne said that Western democracies talk about accountability and transparency with regard to Sri Lanka but these are openly violated by the West in Egypt, Libya and various other countries in the Middle East. The Minister said there are so many instances in these countries where human rights are blatantly violated and torturing and indiscriminate killings are resorted to. more..

Editorial: Misfits sully good name of international bodies

Sept 18 (SO) The transparency and sincerity of some officials holding top positions in key international organisations are highly questionable, especially after last week's developments at the 18th regular sessions of the UNHRC in Geneva. It seems that certain countries and international bodies are still reluctant to come to terms with the reality that Sri Lanka was the only country to eradicate terrorism. Hence, they are making a shameful attempt to penalise more..

Editorial: Enough helping Hambantota

Sept 18 (SL) With all the hulabaloo about Colombo’s next Mayor, it is easy to forget where the President’s heart lies. Home, in Hambantota. Ancient Kings (and modern Burmese dictators) would simply pick up populations and shift their capitals wherever whim and astrology dictated. Different feudal capitals variously ebbed north and south depending on prevailing warfare. In modern times, people have simply migrated up the coast to Colombo, making it the hub of commerce and government. more..

'X-ray machines lead to big time racket'

Sept 18 (NS) A notice by the Atomic Energy Authority recently published in leading state newspapers in all three languages, has listed all the institutions that have obtained licenses from the AEA to use X-ray machines for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures , while advising the public to visit only these institutions. The AEA has further noted that such institutions should also display their licenses prominently at their premises for the public to see. more..

Editorial: ‘Nine-Eleven’ versus 30 years of terrorism

Sept 18 (NS) There was, many years ago, a time when the United States of America treated Sri Lanka with dignity and respect - and as an equal, if not in terms military might or superpower influence, at least with due regard to its sovereignty and national integrity. Indeed, President Richard Nixon entertained Sirimavo Bandaranaike in the White House while J.R. Jayewardene had the distinction of making a state visit there as a guest of President Ronald Reagan, where he was more..

Editorial: Stringent action needed against stock market manipulators

Sept 18 (BL) The SEC has rightly come down hard on market manipulators in the stock market. Our stock market is small and high-net-worth individuals in cahoots with traders in broker firms can manipulate the market. According to theory, stock markets are supposed to be efficient in the sense that all available published information is already factored into the prevailing share prices. So, an investor can make unusual profits by way of capital gains, only if more..