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Govt finally realises gravity of the UNHRC resolution

Apr 22 (SL) Almost a month after the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, the government has commenced work on preparing an action plan to implement the recommendations of the LLRC. A joint committee has been set up to coordinate the formulation of the action plan. The task has been assigned to the Defence Ministry, External Affairs Ministry and the Attorney General’s Department. The visit of the Indian parliamentary delegation to the country last week and External Affairs more..

5th column: A damaging game of one- upmanship

Apr 22 (ST) My Dear Karunanidhi, I thought I must write to you after hearing you say that your ‘dream’ was an Eelam in Sri Lanka and that you were calling upon the United Nations to hold a referendum to decide whether an Eelam should be created or not. Your comments don’t surprise me, Karunanidhi, because you are always fighting with your arch rival, Jayalalitha in a bid to gain popularity in Tamil Nadu and we know that this is another gimmick in that contest. more..

Malinga refuses to sign central contract with Sri Lanka Cricket

Apr 22 (ST) Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who is back in the island for treatment for his back injury, is the only national player who has refused to sign the annual central player contract with Sri Lanka Cricket. Back spasms sidelined Malinga, who is turning out for the Mumbai Indians. Now he could miss up to two weeks of the IPL as a result. Malinga last played for the Mumbai Indians against the Rajasthan Royals on April 11 and missed the more..

India win Indo-Lanka Carrom Test championships

Apr 22 (Island) India thrashed Sri Lanka in the Indo-Lanka Carrom Test Championships as they won both the Women’s and Men’s Divisions which were conducted by the Carrom Federation of Sri Lanka and concluded in Colombo on Friday. The Test series which got underway in Panadura on April 16th concluded at Hilton Hotel on Friday. Sri Lanka weren’t able to produce a rousing display, but the exposure they obtained during this Test series will help them perform better at the more..

Oman oil samples being tested at refinery

Apr 22 (ST) Sri Lanka, preparing for a breakdown ahead in Iranian crude oil supply, is testing samples of crude oil from Oman to assess its compatibility with processing at the aging Sapugaskande Refinery, officials said. The country is racing against time to scale down imports from Iran before the June 28th deadline for the US imposed-sanctions takes effect. Although Oman Light is not the same as crude imported from Iran, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is exploring more..

Muslims unhappy over Dambulla incident

Apr 22 (CT) Western Province Governor Alavi Mowlana has said the attack on the Masjidul Khaira in Dambulla was the work of professional extremists. A group of over 1000 protestors led by Buddhist monks gathered at the mosque on Friday (20) preventing the obligatory Jummah prayers. Protestors threw stones and chanted slogans claiming the area is sacred to Buddhism and therefore cannot tolerate the mosque’s religious activities. more..

'Part of cleaning activities in Jaffna will be handed to private sector'

Apr 22 (Island) Minister Douglas Devananda at a discussion at his Ministerial premises in Jaffna on April 14 concerning the administrative activities of Jaffna Municipal Council, said that though the cleaning activities within the administrative limits of the city so far had been carried out by the Municipality, the overall performance was not at all satisfactory. He has, therefore, decided to hand over half of the cleaning activities to a private sector more..

Rescued SL fishermen tell their ordeal to EU officials

Apr 22 (ST) The six Sri Lankan fishermen rescued from their Somali captors in a Spanish naval operation on Wednesday, are being housed at the European Union Mission in Tanzania pending repatriation to Sri Lanka, External Affairs officials said yesterday. EU officials are holding discussions with the group, who were grabbed on the high seas some six months ago, to get information regarding their ordeal and the modus operandi of the pirates. “Officials from the Sri Lankan mission in more..

‘Anti-Lanka’ Sun TV crew stopped at BIA

Apr 22 (ST) A South Indian TV crew was prevented from reporting on the visit of the Indian delegation after their equipment was impounded by the Customs shortly after arriving at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Tuesday. The four-member crew from the Chennai-based ‘Sun TV’ was told they would not be allowed to cover the visit of the Indian delegation since they were anti-Sri Lanka and therefore a security threat to the country. more..

Repairs to Lanka-Maldives cable link to begin Wednesday

Apr 22 (SO) Maldives Telecom giant Dhiraagu has revealed that the work to repair the damage to the submarine cable installed between Maldives and Sri Lanka would commence on Wednesday. Dhiraagu further said that the damage to the cable was inflicted by a vessel’s anchor 26km off Sri Lanka at a depth of 40 metres. The Internet service was cut off at about 10.30 last Wednesday night from various areas of the Maldives and had slowed down the internet connections after the incident. more..

395 males rounded up in Wanathamulla; 25 arrested

Apr 22 (LB) A 1000 strong STF and police contingent unleashed excessive force and dished out collective punishment as they rounded up 395 male residents of T 20 Watta, and Seewali Patumaga, Wanathamulla, yesterday. Police say that the operation was carried out to capture seven drug traffickers who escaped arrest on April 14. However, 25 persons have been arrested. “The police know the seven men by person and even acknowledged that only 3 out of 25 more..

As rupee plunges, Govt. decides to take IMF loan

Apr 22 (ST) The govt has ended its dilly-dallying over seeking further assistance from the IMF, just as the rupee closed this week at more than Rs130 a US dollar, a near 20% depreciation since January. It has agreed to take the final instalment of US$ 400 million (in July) of an ongoing loan. A decision on this would be taken after another review mission by the IMF. Earlier in the year, the Central Bank had been undecided on more..

UNP contemplating moves on the govt

Apr 22 (SL) The UNP is considering presenting a ‘substantive motion’ in Parliament on President Mahinda Rajapaksa or the govt, party officials said. According to sources the move to bring a motion will be proposed at the UNP group meeting scheduled for early next month. The UNP feels that the President or the govt must be held responsible for the spate of abductions taking place in the country. If at the UNP group meeting it is agreed to bring a motion on the President or the govt more..

Lankan expats condemn barring of Muslims from Jumma prayers

Apr 22 (AN) Sri Lankan expatriates in the Kingdom yesterday condemned a protest at a mosque in the Sri Lankan city of Dambulla where worshippers were barred from performing their Jumma prayers. A group of Buddhist monks with the support of a large group of hooligans had staged a mass demonstration there. Syed Hamid, marketing executive in a food supplying company in Riyadh, told Arab News that although this is the work of a few misguided people from the majority community, more..

'Expecting govt. to move troops out of North unreasonable'

Apr 22 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday asserted that it would be unreasonable to expect his govt to move troops out of the Northern Province in spite of the conclusion of the conflict in May three years ago. The Commander-in-Chief emphasized that troops had been deployed across the country and it wouldn’t be feasible to shift troops currently deployed in the Northern Province. "Can I send them to India," the President queried in response to more..

Eastern IDPs not visited - TNA MP

Apr 22 (CT) Batticaloa District TNA MP P. Selvarasa slammed the Indian Parliamentary delegation for not visiting the internally displaced civilians in the Eastern Province. He said the Indian delegation, which visited the Batticaloa District on Friday had only attended two public events and they were not bothered about difficulties faced by the IDPs in the Eastern Province. “When they departed from India they said that they would visit the displaced civilians. more..

Iran offers to help get around US sanctions

Apr 22 (LB) Iran embassy sources suggest the country can invest in Sri Lanka, buy securities, and go through Asian Clearing Union (ACU) as a way to meet the US sanctions, and continue supplying crude oil to Sri Lanka. Iran Ambassador for Sri Lanka Dr. M.N. Hassani Pour said that Oman oil for Sri Lanka’s refinery is going to cost a fortune. “All the problems come from the illegal sanction and Iran in this regard is ready to give oil while the US warns not to buy from us. more..

President again pledges 13 Plus to India

Apr 22 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will enforce provisions of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and “go beyond it,” India’s Opposition Leader Sushma Swaraj said yesterday. She told a packed news conference the re-assurance was given when the Indian parliamentary delegation met the President at “Temple Trees” earlier yesterday. However, presidential spokesperson Bandula Jayasekera, declined to comment on Ms. Swaraj’s statement. more..

Seven suspended over museum theft

Apr 22 (SL) The National Heritage Ministry has suspended seven employees over the recent theft at the national Museum in Colombo. Secretary to the Ministry Kanthi Wijeytunga said that the seven include members of the security division of the Museum which operates under the Ministry. Wijeytunga said that the security staff had not carried out their duties properly and that is why they have been suspended. She said the police are investigating the incident. more..

No snap elections as speculated

Apr 22 (CT) The Elections Department yesterday rebutted speculations of snap elections in the North Central, Eastern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. Deputy Elections Commissioner, M.M. Mohamed said the department has not received any information from the government to hold a snap election in the country in September or of dissolving these Provincial Councils by July as reported in the media. “We have not received any such information. So these speculations are completely false. more..

Peiris going to US with secret Action Plan

Apr 22 (ST) Minister G.L. Peiris, made a colossal diplomatic blunder last Monday. To use his own words: "Your Excellency Dr. Riyad-al-Maliki, Foreign Minister of the State of Israel, Your Excellency the Ambassador of Israel, Deputy Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka, Secretary to our Ministry, Ladies and Gentlemen of the media. I am very happy to extend on this occasion a very cordial welcome." more..

California ladies gift supplies to Cancer Hospital

Apr 22 (Island) A "Mystique Evening" for Ladies was held last year at a Los Angeles golf club raised funds to buy urgently needed medicines for the National Cancer Institute, Maharagama and the medicines were presented recently. The Organizing Committee spearheaded by Chairperson, Zahariya Shariff, Nuzkiya Junaideen, Fathima Buharie, Imrose Salihue, Sha Jayah, Azra Zuhair, Farina Hashim, Minza Sufi Ismail, Azmara Sourjah, Mumtaz Saleh, Ruzna Mantara, and Dolly Musafer more..

Despite signs of resistance elsewhere, malaria not a threat in Sri Lanka

Apr 22 (LB) Malaria, which is caused by parasites which are spread by infected mosquitoes, claimed an estimated 655,000 lives in the year 2010, of mostly young children and pregnant women, according to the World Malaria Report 2011. According to the April 5 issue of The Lancet, a group of British and Thai specialists, as part of a decade long study, have discovered that Plasmodium Falciparum, one of the deadliest species of malaria parasites, has become resistant to more..

UDA fines SAITM Rs. 30m. for unauthorised building

Apr 22 (ST) The UDA has granted only Preliminary Planning Clearance subject to several conditions to the Malabe private medical college to build a teaching hospital and has fined it Rs. 30 million for unauthorized constructions, a top source said. If buildings continue to be constructed, more fines will have to be paid for unauthorized constructions, the source said. The ‘Preliminary Planning Clearance’ valid for more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Apr 22 (ST) It was Dental Health Deputy Director Jayasundera Bandara who invited Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena to beat the traditional drums during Avurudu celebrations held at the Ministry premises in Colombo. Dr. Bandara asked Sirisena whether he could beat a good rhythm (raban padhayak). The Minister replied "owa podi kale gahapu raban pada. Mang me Avuruddata panividayak denna puluwan raban padayak heduwa. more..

President’s fund to pay for JJ’s bypass in UK

Apr 22 (Island) Senior UNP parliamentarian Dr. Jayalath Jayewaradena who collapsed at the Gatwick Airport while in transit to Rome last week is expected to undergo bypass surgery at St. George’s Hospital in London. Faced with the prospect of meeting the costly medical bills, which sources said now stands at more than five million Sri Lankan rupees, the Gampaha district opposition MP has sought money from the President’s Fund. more..

Tea industry divided over importing Tea for blending

Apr 22 (SL) Sri Lanka’s globally recognised tea industry has been hit by a major controversy with the industry divided over a proposal by the Tea Exporters Association to import cheap tea for blending with local tea. Merrill Fernando, former chairman of the Tea Council of Sri Lanka and founder of Dilmah Tea, strongly opposed this move claiming it would result in a loss of sales and the eventual downfall of the industry. more..

Minister in denial Programme to catch killer crocs from Nilwala stalled

Apr 22 (LB) The programme launched to catch killer crocodiles in the Nilwala River in Matara has been temporary halted although the Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Services, S.M. Chandrasena claims that the government had at no stage stopped the programme. He said such false stories are spread by certain people and that those involved in the programme had taken leave in view of the Sinhala and Hindu New Year. more..

Politicians invade forests

Apr 22 (NS) Environmentalists allege that nearly 20,000 acres of protected forest land located inside the Ruhunu National Park in Buttala has been encroached, and claim that the Department of Forest Conservation (DFC) continues to turn a blind eye to the entire episode. According to the Environment Conservation Trust (ECT), the forest areas have been divided into sections ranging from 10 to 300 acres, and large scale Chena cultivation and gem-mining more..

MR asks coalition partners for their stances by tomorrow

Apr 22 (SL) The coalition parties in the governing UPFA are to submit in writing tomorrow the position of each party on the implementation of the LLRC recommendations. The 14 coalition parties in the People’s Alliance government have been directed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to hand over in writing to the Presidential Secretariat their stance on the recommendations of the LLRC and its implementation. more..

'Colombo must persuade TNA to join talks'

Apr 22 (Hindu) Noting that talks to find a negotiated political solution to the Tamil ethnic question are deadlocked, the Indian parliamentary delegation, which wound up its six-day tour of Sri Lanka, has emphasised to the govt that the stalemate has to be ended. “We told [Sri Lankan] President Mahinda Rajapaksa that this stalemate has to be broken,” said the leader of the delegation, Sushma Swaraj. “He [Mr. Rajapaksa] said we can't bring them [the TNA] by force. more..

Congress MPs see improvement in condition of Sri Lankan Tamils

Apr 22 (Hindu) The four Congress MPs from Tamil Nadu, who were part of a Parliamentary delegation which concluded its five-day visit to Sri Lanka on Saturday, said here on Saturday that they could see some improvement in the life of Tamils there, but there was also lingering fear among them. E.M. Sudharsana Natchiappan, M. Krishnassamy, N.S.V. Chitthan and Manicka Tagore were speaking to reporters immediately more..

Sri Lanka rejects call to withdraw army from north

Apr 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president has rejected a call by Indian legislators to withdraw soldiers from the island's former war zone in the north where minority Tamils are concentrated, his spokesman said Sunday. President Mahinda Rajapakse told a delegation of visiting Indian lawmakers that troops could not be pulled out despite the end of the decades-long Tamil separatist war in 2009. more..

Lankans’ hunger stir enters 6th day

Apr 22 (EB) More than 10 inmates of the Sri Lankan refugee camp at Chengalpattu in Kancheepuram district are on an indefinite hunger strike seeking a transfer to ‘open camps’. ‘Q’ Branch and Revenue Department sources told Express that the refugees were on the sixth day of their hunger strike. The sources said the demands have been forwarded to the collector, who will later forward it to the govt. Interestingly, apart from those seeking to shift to open camps from more..

Focus Sri Lanka publication launched by SL mission in US

Apr 22 (GDI) The Embassy of Sri Lanka, in Washington DC launched Focus Sri Lanka, a quarterly publication of the Embassy of Sri Lanka devoted to trade, investment and economic relationships between Sri Lanka and the US. The first copy was presented to minister Sarath Amunugama, minister Susil Premajayanth, Central Bank Govenor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, and Dr. Alysa Ayres, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Mr. Thomas Devenport, more..

Gunaratnam blacklisted from entering the Country

Apr 22 (SL) FSP leader Premakumar Gunarathnam alias Kumar Mahathya has been blacklisted by the Sri Lankan govt. According to the Department of Immigration and Emigration, Gunarathnam is being blacklisted from entering the country on the basis that he came to Sri Lanka recently using an Australian passport with a different name. Sources said that Gunarathnam will not be permitted to re-enter Sri Lanka even as a Sri Lankan citizen. more..

Siyambalapitiya denies involvement in robbery

Apr 22 (DM) Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya in a letter to Police Chief N.K Illangakone has denied his involvement in the recent robbery at the National Museum. The CID said they had not found any information to prove the Cabinet Minister’s involvement in this regard. “There were media reports that Minster Siyambalapitiya was involved in the robbery but the Minister had clarified the matter and informed the IGP about such media reports and that they were baseless allegations,” more..

FSP to probe war crimes charges

Apr 22 (CT) Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) will establish a mechanism to probe alleged human rights violations during the last phases of civil war, Party Leader Premakumar Gunaratnam said. “We will establish a mechanism, not only to probe the war, but to investigate abuses done by various parties since the island obtained independence in 1948,” Gunaratnam added. He said the mechanism should stem from within Sri Lanka, and should not be imposed by an outside country. more..

'Some trying to protect killers'

Apr 22 (NS) Daughter of slain giant of the SLFP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, alleged that certain influential forces try to protect those who were behind her father’s killing. She said her main focus for the moment would be to ensure the case of her father’s assassination proceeds on the right track. Following are excerpts of the interview: Q. Are you satisfied with the progress of the investigations with regard to your father’s assassination? more..

Cabinet reshuffle is a gimmick to get down crowds for UPFA May Day celebrations

Apr 22 (LT) It is reveled that the news spread regarding a cabinet reshuffle is a gimmick to draw crowds to the UPFA government’s May Day celebrations. The ministers are attempting to avoid the responsibility of getting their supporters to the May Day rally and the demonstration of the govt as there is massive displeasure towards the President and the govt and the talk regarding the reshuffle of the cabinet is being spread to stimulate ministers and more..