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Two weddings at New Magazine Prison

Apr 5 (AD) In a true display of humanity and pluralism two marriage ceremonies were held at the New Magazine Prison in Welikada. The two weddings were held where a former LTTE cadre married a Sinhalese girl from his hometown and a person convicted in a drug related incident married a Muslim girl. A former LTTE cadre Shakthiwel Ilangeshwaran(34) tied the knot with Gunasena Sudarshini(32) a resident of Vavuniya. more..

Vehicle tax to ease congestion

Apr 5 (CT) The govt said that the tax for vehicle imports has been imposed to ease traffic congestion due to the high number of vehicle imports. Cabinet Spokesperson Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said the recent tax impositions have attracted many criticisms and added that despite the criticisms the govt imposed it because of the heavy congestion in the roads. “In 2009, the people’s demand for vehicles began to grow after the conclusion of the war. The govt then relaxed the more..

US submits factual supplement to Congress on Sri Lanka

Apr 5 (SM) The US State Department has submitted a factual supplement to the report to Congress on measures taken by the govt of Sri Lanka and international bodies to investigate and hold accountable violators of international humanitarian and human rights law. Text of the factual supplement: Factual Supplement to the Report to Congress on Measures Taken by the Govt of Sri Lanka and International Bodies To Investigate and Hold Accountable Violators of more..

Hirunika lashes out at the CID

Apr 5 (SM) Hirunika Premachandra the daughter of slain Baratha Lakshman Premachandra expressed her disappointment on the conduct of the CID in relation to the Magistrates court inquiry involving the murder of her father. “I am really disappointed at what happened yesterday. The Judge on the previous hearing ordered the CID to inform the court as to the whereabouts of Duminda Silva and to inform the court as to why he has not been arrested as yet. more..

Rs.1000 spot fine for violation of seatbelt rule

Apr 5 (NF) The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a law to impose a spot fine of Rs.1000 rupees as the penalty for not wearing a seat belt. Under the new regulation it is mandatory for the driver and the passenger travelling in the front seat to wear seat belts. This was revealed to the media by the Acting Minister of Mass Media Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. According to the Acting Minister the proposal had been presented to cabinet by the Minister Kumara Welgama. more..

Human rights body protests atrocities on Lankan Tamils

Apr 5 (IANS) Rights group Human Rights Defence International (HRDI) Thursday protested near the Sri Lankan High Commission here against what they termed as the Sri Lankan Army's "war crimes" and "atrocities" on the Sri Lankan Tamil community. The group of protestors, led by M.N. Krishnamani, president of Delhi Tamil Sangam, and HRDI secretary general Rajesh Gogna, carried placards reading "Rajapaksa investigate war crimes", "Boycott Sri Lanka" and more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 05.04.2012

Near-misses in the ‘Battle of Ceylon’

Apr 6 (CT) Few among us have personal memories of the Japanese air raid of Ceylon that happened on the Easter Sunday, 5 April 1942. Yet the event’s 70th anniversary, falling this week, is a good occasion to reflect on how timely gathering and sharing of information can change the course of history. Although technology has advanced by leaps and bounds since, fundamental lessons can still be learnt. The Colombo air raid took place exactly 119 days after the Pearl Harbour attack. more..

The need of judiciary to remain the guardian of the people

Apr 6 (DM) From a fairly long time, people have lost their confidence and faith in the Executive and the Legislature. Mostly expressed public opinion is that they are corrupt, inefficient and sluggish and serve only to secure the interests of the high and the mighty, ignoring the aspirations of the people. Notwithstanding the dilapidated condition of the said organs, the Judiciary has maintained its integrity and independence as the guardian of the people, more..

'Attitudinal change vital in energy conservation drive'

Apr 6 (SO) Electricity is a basic need of modern human beings. The Government of Sri Lanka is in a position to satisfy this basic need at an affordable price mainly due to 40 years of untiring efforts of a person who lived during the first half of the 20th century. This person is none other than D.J. Wimalasurendra, the father of hydro power in Sri Lanka. He started by demonstrating a technical option he believed in. He initiated the first mini hydro power plant more..

Horrible rise of disappearances in post-war Sri Lanka continues unabated

Apr 6 (GV) Twenty nine disappearances (including an attempted abduction) have been reported in Sri Lankan media between February and March 2012. There have been fifteen in March and fourteen in February. This brings the total number of disappearances reported in the last six months to fifty six. Nineteen cases were reported while the sessions of the UN Human Rights Council were in progress in Geneva from the 27th of February to the 23rd of March 2012. more..

Distressingly for Rajapaksa administration ‘Accountability’ will be the elephant in the room

Apr 6 (DBS) Minister G.L. Peiris, has recently given one additional reason for the passage of a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva: “collective commitments.” Evidently, Mr. Peiris had been informed by one of his European counterparts that certain members of the European Union (EU) were unsupportive of the resolution, but were compelled to vote in favor of it, since a group decision had been taken by the EU. more..

'Hang us, please'

Apr 6 (SL) Those condemned to death, living on death row in the Welikade Prison in Borella are asking for a better life. “Hang us, if you cannot treat us better,” urged a section of the prisoners, appealing to The Sunday Leader to plead their case and get them a better life. “There are about 200 who have been condemned to death. But we are five people living in a space, 7’ by 9’. Our cry is a cry for all of us inmates in here. We are kept locked inside and in here. more..

Lanka, a repository of endemic flowers

Apr 6 (SO) Flowers; they are with us throughout our life - in joy and in grief. We choose them to express our feelings and flowers have neither complained nor shown their joy over our decisions. Be it on the Mal Asana of a temple or among the garbage, flowers are beautiful to the human eye wherever they may be. A bouquet of flowers would always heal the sick and a grieving heart. A place with brightly coloured flowers, beautiful trees and abundant greenery is a paradise, for us. more..

Lawless Sri Lanka

Apr 6 (SL) Last week the Rajapaksa brothers saved the life of a man. And by doing so demonstrated, again, that they are the progenitors of the white van pestilence; and the driving force of Sri Lanka’s state of lawlessness. Sagara Senaratne, businessman and former provincial councillor, was abducted on March 26th. His abductors assaulted him, demanding Rs. 50 million. Fortunately for Mr. Senaratne, his brother-in-law is a person of some consequence: Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga. Informed of the abduction, more..

The Buddha’s second visit to Sri Lanka

Apr 6 (Island) Today is the Full Moon Poya Day of Bak, in the Buddhist year 2555. In accordance with the text of the great chronicle Mahavamsa, the Sakyamuni Siddhartha Gauthama Buddha arrived at Nagadeepa in Sri Lanka for the second time on the Amavaka Poya Day of the month of Bak (April) 2595 years ago to settle a dispute between two Naga Kings – Mahodara and Chulodara, uncle and nephew who were about to wage war with each other, more..

Editorial: Many a duplicitous contradiction

Apr 6 (Island) There is nothing more pleasurable to the ordinary public than seeing estranged politicians bash and rat on each other. In Parliament on Wednesday, UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera took a swipe at his erstwhile buddy and current bete noire President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Taking part in an adjournment debate on the Geneva resolution, the former accused the latter of being the first Sri Lankan to internationalise the country's internal problems by going to Geneva more..

UNHRC vote in Geneva shows that Muslim countries were Sri Lanka’s sincere friends

Apr 6 (DBS) In times of crisis in Sri Lanka, Muslims countries have always come to the island’s rescue with no strings attached. This friendly gesture was demonstrated once again by Muslim countries when they voted against the US sponsored UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka. While the European countries as a whole sided with the US, almost every Muslim country either supported Sri Lankan or abstained. For example Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bangladesh Maldives, more..

Good Friday: A Sombre day in the Christian calendar

Apr 6 (Island) To understand the message of Good Friday one must pose the question ‘after death, what? Do we die into nothingness? After death do we have only a big black blank or do we die into something? Is there some reality after death, even though unlike our reality, which some may call nirvana, some heaven, some moksha and others something else? This is the fundamental and perennial human query any thinking woman or man will ask more..

Clinical Pietersen turns heat on Sri Lanka

Apr 6 (CI) "The likelihood is I'm in a position now to go and score some runs." That was Kevin Pietersen before the first Test in Galle. It wasn't the brash statement it may appear - Pietersen had also admitted he could score four ducks in the series - but after a difficult time in the Tests against Pakistan he was feeling back to his best. Those who watched his magnificent innings at the P Sara saw batting at its most clinical. Throughout this game England have played much more like the side that reached No. 1 in the world. more..

Small hydro power developers yearn for long term credit

Apr 6 (Island) The Small Hydro Power Developers Association, the official collective voice of the small hydro power industry in Sri Lanka which presently contributes 6 % of the national electricity demand, this week implored the govt to provide long term project lending for the industry. "The govt should step into mobilize long term project lending for the small hydropower sector, especially from the state banks, with loan tenures of 15 years and longer more..

Boston Lanka News: April 5, 2012

Emirates invests in own premium lounge at BIA

Apr 6 (FT) Award-winning carrier spends Rs. 200 m on plush dedicated facility for First and Business Class passengers and Skywards Gold members. Emirates has opened its own dedicated passenger lounge at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake (BIA), becoming the first international airline to invest in such a facility at the BIA. Completed at a cost of Rs. 200 million, the Emirates lounge on the second floor of the Arrivals Terminal is exclusively for the use of more..

The blame game and accountability

Apr 6 (FT) The Daily FT on Thursday featured on page 1 a story based on some startling comments and allegations by UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva and young business leader Dilith Jayaweera. The headlines and the contents wouldn’t have been a good read for President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the Minister of Finance and Planning, his Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera and Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal. The underlining message from the comments of both Dr. De Silva and more..

On collision course with the United Nations

Apr 6 (ST) So now the truth is plain to see, unvarnished and appalling in its consequences for Sri Lanka. The LLRC, says the Govt at a press briefing this week, has exceeded its mandate and therefore only those recommendation that are 'feasible' will be implemented. We will return to this question of what is meant by 'feasible' later on in these column spaces. Little would prove to be as distasteful as the sight of these Govt Ministers, from the Minister more..

President launches Divi Neguma third phase

Apr 6 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa planted a murunga sapling at the auspicious time of 9.10am to mark the inaugural ceremony of Divi Neguma third phase, Economic Development Ministry Additional Secretary R R K A Ranawaka said. The inaugural ceremony of the Divi Neguma third space programme was held at temple Trees under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Around 2,000,000 saplings were distributed to mark the Divi Neguma Programme. more..

'Parliament to decide LLRC implementation'

Apr 6 (BBC) Government is committed to implement LLRC recommendations deemed acceptable to Sri Lanka but will not give in to undue pressure, says cabinet spokesman, acting Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abyeywardena. He said that there is a process government has been following, a Sri Lankan policy not dictated by any one. The government has already implemented some of the recommendations of the LLRC and it might continue with some others said the Minister. more..

Central Bank cautions govt.

Apr 6 (Island) The Central Bank has increased policy interest rates in a bid to curb credit growth so as to contain pressures on the balance of payments. With credit to the govt from the domestic banking system growing substantially, the bank says the govt needs to consolidate the budget deficit further. Releasing the Monetary Policy Review for the month of April, the Central Bank said the Monetary Board, at its meeting held on 5th April, decided to raise more..

PMB buys over 50,000 tonnes of paddy

Apr 6 (Island) The Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) has purchased over 50,906 tonnes of paddy at a cost of Rs. 1,432 million from the Maha harvest up to April 3. The highest purchase of 13,595 tonnes was from Ampara district followed by 13,500 tonnes the Anuradhapura district and 6,200 tonnes Polonnaruwa district. Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Johnston Fernando said that the Opposition was attempting to discourage farmers from selling their produce to the PMB more..

University dons claim new circular violates academic freedom

Apr 6 (Island) University teachers yesterday accused the govt of violating their academic freedom through a new circular prohibiting State sector officials from attending additional meetings, seminars and lectures without prior approval from the relevant ministry. President of the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that they received a circular from Higher Education Secretary Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne in this regard. more..

Expo 2012 garners $ 66,000 worth global orders

Apr 6 (FT) The recently-concluded Expo 2012 was a successful event, coming after a lapse of 15 years. “Expo 2012 garnered confirmed orders to the value of US$ 66,090 and currently orders under negotiation amount to US$ 12,110,315. There were also sales leads to the value of US$ 14,830 and inquiries valued US$ 2,566,442, which would turn into business in the near future once the required follow-up is done,” more..

Prabha knew US agenda-Champika

Apr 6 (DM) Slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in an interview given to an Indian newspaper had warned about United States attempt to perpetuate and escalate the war in order to establish a base in Trincomalee, Minister Champika Ranawaka said today. Addressing a meeting in Piliyandala he read out the extracts from Prabhakaran’s interview to Cochin based weekly, ‘Week’ published on March 23, 1986. “The US objective is to perpetuate and more..

Govt. wants to accommodate IMF-Kabir

Apr 6 (CT) The policies of the present govt are unfavourable to the masses as they are keen on accommodating the IMF and not the masses, the UNP asserted yesterday. Senior Vice President of the UNP, Kabir Hashim, stated that in June 2010, when the IMF and the govt signed a letter of intent, the IMF told the govt to reduce the budget deficit. He said the IMF subsequently recommended that the customs duty of motor vehicles be increased so that the govt revenue on imports will increase. more..

Govt. failed post war SL –TNA

Apr 6 (CT) The Tamil community in Sri Lanka should be integrated into the Sri Lankan nation and not be assimilated, said TNA Leader R. Sampanthan. Participating in the parliamentary debate, Sampanthan charged that the government has not made a tangible move to achieve reconciliation in post-war Sri Lanka. He said successive governments maintained an insensitive and a callous attitude when it came to solving the issues faced by the Tamil community. more..

Lanka commissions first Int’l lethal chemical team

Apr 6 (Island) Having successfully initiated its first Chemical Plan in October 2011, Sri Lanka has now moved to commission its first international level Lethal Chemical Monitoring and Response Team. "With the support of Hague based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and my Ministry, we have now begun to implement last year’s Chemical Plan" said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce. Minister Bathiudeen announced this on April 5th more..

Women make up 55.5 pc of cancer patients

Apr 6 (Island) Lanka annually, Director of the Cancer Control Programme (CCP), Dr. N. Paranagama said yesterday. She said that the programme initiated in collaboration with the Education Ministry to screen school teachers in the Badulla District for the two types of cancers - breast and cervical - was conducted after all schools in the Badulla District were covered. According to Dr. Paranagama, the CCP still carried out those programmes although not in a similarly organised way. more..

MV Sun Sea human smuggling suspect Thayakaran Markandu arrested in France

Apr 6 (NP) The suspected organizer of the MV Sun Sea, the human smuggling ship that brought almost 500 Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Canada in 2010, has been arrested in France. Thayakaran Markandu was being held in custody by French authorities, police said, adding extradition proceedings were underway to bring him to Canada, where he could face life imprisonment and a $1-million fine. more..

Buddhist Stupa to become ‘cultural landmark’ of Jaffna harbour

Apr 6 (TN) A massive Buddhist Stupa that is being constructed at the Beach Road of Jaffna harbour by the occupying military will be the new ‘cultural landmark’ of Jaffna city for vessels coming towards its harbour. The Stupa with pre-fabricated parts and statues, brought from the South, is being built day and night by the Sinhala soldiers. The Stupa is built in the locality of a Saivite Amman temple, between Jaffna Fort and Kurunakar, known as Aluppaanthi, meaning the wharf of the harbour. more..

Bandula making arbitrary decisions - Stalin

Apr 6 (CT) The Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) yesterday (05) accused the Education Ministry of making arbitrary decisions with regard to education. CTU general secretary Joseph Stalin, speaking to Ceylon Today, said Education Minister Bandula Gunewardena had made an individual decision to change the method of O/L examination. He said that prior to making any changes in the syllabi or in any of the education system, all relevant parties should be consulted. more..

French push to pursue probe

Apr 6 (DM) The French Embassy has taken fresh diplomatic initiatives in pursuing the case regarding the killing of 17 workers attached to the French branch of the international aid agency called ‘Action against Hunger’ in August, 2006 in Muttur, informed sources said. The Daily Mirror learns that French Ambassador Ms. Christine Robichon met the Attorney General to discuss the present status of investigations despite the lapse of six years since the incident happened. more..