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US spreads rumours against Lanka: SL diplomats

Feb 23 (DM) The United States has spread rumours in diplomatic circles here in Geneva that Sri Lanka has agreed with them to draft the resolution to be presented at the next session of the UNHRC with regard to the country’s human rights situation, diplomatic sources said. According to sources, the US has resorted to such an action in its lobbying spree to discourage the member countries from taking a stand in favour of Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lankan World Cup Cricket team rise above off-field challenges

Feb 23 (DM) It is said an army can't run on empty stomachs. However, the Sri Lankan team has learned to march ahead with nearly empty wallets, an unstable coaching structure for the national team and political interference. With two wins on the trot and a tie, the Lankans have overtaken India in the points table for the tri-series on account of their bonus point against Australia. Though Sri Lanka have not won any major series over the past year, their Test and more..

UK Minister gives Lanka a boost at debate

Feb 23 (SL) The British govt gave the Sri Lankan govt a significant boost during a debate at the House of Commons today on the human rights situation in the country. British Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Alistair Burt, in a statement at the debate said that the British government still supports a domestic mechanism to probe the human rights allegations in Sri Lanka as opposed to an international mechanism. more..

Ranil faults govt for by-passing Parliament

Feb 23 (Island) UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday in Parliament found fault with the govt for by-passing the House to circulate a Sri Lanka National Action Plan, for Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, among the members of the international community in Geneva. He demanded to know why the government had not briefed the House on the National Action Plan before circulating it among the international community. more..

Chronicles of displaced Sri Lankans

Feb 23 (MSN) Here's another offering on the diaspora. But this time it's a diaspora from another country. Roshi Fernando has written a wonderful not-quite-novel about the Sri Lankan community living in England. This is a collection of short stories featuring the same people in chronological disorder-which somehow makes them more compelling-about the diverse communities of the little island nation off the tip of India who fled their country during the decades of civil war more..

GMOA wants free fuel or allowance hike

Feb 23 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association yesterday demanded that their members be granted 120 litres of fuel a month as a substitute for the transport allowance and Rs.8,000 as Disturbance and Availability allowance. If the govt did not want to grant 120 litres of fuel free of charge, the GMOA would ask the govt to provide Rs. 29,000 as Disturbance, Availability and Transport Allowances. In 2008 President Mahinda Rajapaksa had agreed to pay Rs. 29,000, but more..

'Rajapaksa Govt. betrayed the country not UNP'

Feb 23 (Island) The govt was making baseless accusations against the UNP, after assuring the UNHRC that war crimes allegations against the security forces would be investigated and those found guilty punished, General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake said. He told a news conference that when President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his ministers go abroad, they play a completely different tune to the one they are used to while in Sri Lanka. more..

Lanka capable of solving its internal issues - Russian envoy

Feb 23 (DN) Russia yesterday said that Sri Lanka's situation with regard to human rights does not in any way call for an external intervention and the Sri Lankan govt is capable of solving its internal issues including human rights. According to Russian ambassador to Sri Lanka, Vladimir P. Mikhaylov Russia strongly views that powerful nations do not have any right to dictate terms to other countries on how these countries should be governed and what kind of leaders should be in power. more..

S.Korea to assist in tapping 3500 MW of hydro electricity

Feb 23 (Island) Plans are underway to tap 3,500 MW of electricity with the help of Pumped Water Storage Technology. Minister Champika Ranawaka has sought and obtained pledges from the South Korean Govt to implement the new power generation scheme. Nine places have been identified for pilot projects which would commence in May. Deputy Director General of the Sustainable Energy Authority Dr. Harsha Wickremasinghe said that the sky was the limit as more..

National Census: Ensure you are counted

Feb 23 (DM) The Census and Statistics Department yesterday asked the people to ensure that they get counted at the countrywide population census between February 27 to March 21. The department said that all citizens are legally bound to provide accurate information and allow access to their homes for the enumerators. The department’s Director General D.B.P Suranjana Vidyaratne said that according to the provisions of the Census Ordinance the department more..

Steep journey to World's End

Feb 23 (NZH) The track to Baker's Falls, in Sri Lanka's hill country, was an "undulating" walk, according to our guide Thushara. I reminded him of that adjective as I hauled myself up an almost vertical and very muddy hillside. "If this is undulating," I muttered, pausing to grab another tree branch for support, "I'd hate to see what you consider steep." Thushara grinned. "Yes perhaps, that description needs revising." Undulating was, however, a fair description for the rest of more..

Sri Lanka’s trade to boom, says HSBC

Feb 23 (Island) Global banking giant HSBC says Sri Lanka’s trade index is expected to perform better than the world’s average over the next five years on deepening trade ties with developing nations, offsetting loss of demand from traditional markets in developed economies, with the apparels and agriculture export sectors expected to show strong growth. International trade growth is expected to accelerate from 2014 and grow by 86 percent in the next 15 years. more..

Road from Geneva to Nanthikadal

Feb 23 (Island) Had the LTTE heeded President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s call to return to the negotiating table in the immediate aftermath of his victory over UNP candidate, Ranil Wickremesinghe, at the Nov. 2005 presidential polls, there wouldn’t have been a confrontation between the Sri Lankan government and a section of the international community, at the UNHRC. With the stage set for the US to move a resolution targeting Sri Lanka at the 19th sessions more..

Politicos get crisis update at President’s meeting

Feb 23 (FT) Govt politicians yesterday at a Presidential forum got a special update and explanation on the current crisis following the devaluation and fuel hike as well as upcoming UNHCR sessions. The forum held before the weekly Cabinet meeting was attended by MPs, heads of local govt bodies and Ministers. Ministers Susil Premjayantha, Champika Ranawaka, Rajitha Seneviratne along with Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal had explained more..

Health workers make six demands

Feb 23 (Island) The All Ceylon Health Workers’ Union (ACHWU) demonstrated yesterday making six demands. President of the ACHWU T.H. Somaratne said that they had held discussions on their six demands for over two years with the authorities without any results. He said: "There are over 30,000 minor employees serving in major hospitals and they strive to maintain services amidst numerous difficulties. Substitute and casual minor employees have been serving for more..

UCG to put protesting Uni staff on no pay

Feb 23 (Island) The University Grants Commission yesterday said it would act according to the govt circular No. 890 which ordered that those who neglect their duties and participate in protests be put on no pay on such days. The University non-academic staff has decided to stage a token strike today and tomorrow in protest against the govt’s delay to rectify the anomalies in their salaries, as promised earlier. more..

Private contractors for E01

Feb 23 (CT) The dearth of employees in the Road Development Authority (RDA) has compelled the government to assign the maintenance work of the Southern Expressway to private contractors. The sources in RDA told ‘Ceylon Today’ these contracts are available in two stages of the expressway from Kottawa to Welipenna and Welipenna to Pinnaduwa. The steel fence along the expressway inclusive of its colour signals and cropping of grass will be entrusted to private contractors for maintenance. more..

Attempt to kill doc and family: Analyst confirms presence of poison in water

Feb 23 (Island) The govt Analyst has confirmed that the water samples taken from the tank of the District Medical Officer of Sevanagala Hospital, Dr Chaminda Vitarana, contains poison. The chemical used to poison the water supply had been identified by the Analyst as MSPA, used in the manufacture of pesticides. Early this month a labourer engaged to clean the water tank was confronted by Dr Vitharana when he found him smelling the water after cleaning the tank. more..

UN committee bars Sri Lankan general linked to atrocities

Feb 23 (AFP) A top UN peacekeeping committee on Wednesday barred a Sri Lankan general accused of carrying out a military onslaught against civilians. But Major General Shavendra Silva still attended the first meeting Wednesday of a special advisory panel to UN leader Ban Ki-moon. He sat in the room but no other member spoke to him and no documents were given to him, diplomats said. Silva's nomination to the panel by Asia-Pacific countries at more..

Three teenagers arrested for stoning vehicles

Feb 23 (Island) Three teenagers were arrested on Monday by the police for stoning vehicles plying on the Colombo–Galle Expressway. According to police headquarters, when the suspects were produced before Galle Magistrate the 19 year old suspect was remanded at the Galle prison till Friday, while the two juvenile suspects aged 15 and 16 were sent to the Kithulampitiya Children’s Home. They were also ordered to be examined by a psychiatrist. There have been a series of stoning more..

Instant love leaves woman without her jewellery and cash

Feb 23 (Island) A 45-year-old married woman, who developed an instant relationship with a 27-year-old man, while travelling in a bus to Galle, was left alone in a cinema without her jewellery worth around Rs. 100,000 plus cash to the tune of Rs. 2,000 at the end of the day, according to a complaint made to the Ambalangoda police by the victim. While travelling both of them had sat next to each other in a Galle-bound bus from Colombo. When nearing Ambalangoda they had more..

Mega land-grabs by politicos in power

Feb 23 (LB) The two Special Police Units set up within the CID recently have received nearly 2000 complaints with regard to illegal acquisition of lands and properties through thuggery and intimidation, using political influence and issuing death threats in addition to using other unlawful means. One such unit has received over 1500 complaints while another unit has received around 500 complaints – as cases of illegal and more..

Hitch-hiking dengue mosquitoes

Feb 23 (DM) Dengue mosquitoes have spread to other parts of the country from Colombo by the mosquitoes hitching rides on vehicles that come to Colombo city and are left parked for some time, a health ministry study has revealed. “Dengue mosquitoes get the opportunity to enter buses, trains and motor vehicles when they remain parked in the city for several hours and travel to many parts of the country with the vehicles on their return journey,” more..

DNA accuses Govt of violating basic freedoms enshrined in Constitution

Feb 23 (Island) A dangerous trend of using police and armed forces to suppress the people’s voice against the govt violating the Constitutional rights of citizens was visible, the DNA said in Parliament yesterday. DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake making a special statement said that the govt had now turned to bringing about new laws and to reinterpret the existing laws to meet its narrow political objectives. more..

Farmers to go on strike

Feb 23 (CT) Paddy farmers countrywide are to take action if the govt fails to provide subsidies by the end of this month, the Progressive Farmers Union (PFU) told Ceylon Today. PFU President K. Jayatissa said if fuel subsidies are not provided by the end of this month, all farmers trade unions would launch a joint campaign against the recent fuel hike. “The govt does not think about the plight of the paddy farmers in the country. more..

Maldives president appreciates Sri Lanka's stand

Feb 23 (Xinhua) Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed Hassan sent a letter to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa appreciating the neutral stand Sri Lanka has taken on the Maldives issue, a Maldivian official said on Thursday. The letter was handed over to the Sri Lankan president through Maldivian Vice President Mohamed Waheeduddin who is on a visit to Sri Lanka, Ananda Kumarasiri, an advisor to the Maldivian government told Xinhua. more..

Sri Lanka outraged over purported U.S. e-mail

Feb 23 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka expressed outrage over an e-mail purportedly sent to member states of the human rights council by the U.S. Mission in Geneva seeking support for a resolution on Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry said in the statement that the e-mail dated Feb. 21 purporting to have originated from the Mission of the United States to the United Nations and other International Organizations at Geneva, was signed by one Miriam Shahrzard Schive. more..

Sri Lankan poor hit by triple whammy

Feb 23 (IPS) First the govt devalued the Sri Lankan rupee by three percent in November. Then interest rates were hiked. And to cap that U.S. sanctions hit Iran, which meets 90 percent of this country’s oil needs. Earlier this month, the govt limited its intervention in the foreign exchange market where it had been selling billions of dollars to prop up the local currency. February began with the rupee trading at 109 per dollar, but two weeks into the month and it had slipped to 120 a dollar. more..

Committee appointed to probe Norochcholai breakdowns

Feb 23 (DM) A four member committee to probe into the continuous breakdowns and fires breaking out at the 'Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant' (LCPP) at Norochcholai, has been appointed by Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika. The committee is headed by the Moratuwa University Electrical Engineering Department head Prof. Ranjith Perera, a spokesman of the Power and Energy Ministry said. more..

SB vows to bring back Private Uni Bill

Feb 23 (CT) The govt would re-present the Private Universities Bill and facilitate the setting up of private universities, despite whatever opposition against the move, a fiery Minister S.B. Dissanayake said yesterday. “Doctors can oppose, but I will start private medical colleges. Let any organisation or any individual oppose, I will allow private universities to start here,” he added. He made this remark at the opening of a new higher educational institute – WCMT Campus in Mount Lavinia, affiliated to Bolton University more..

GoSL won’t negotiate with US on HR Resolution – GL

Feb 23 (Island) Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris yesterday stressed that the govt wouldn’t negotiate with the US on the proposed resolution, which the Obama administration intended to move against Sri Lanka during the 19th sessions of the UNHRC scheduled to begin on Feb. 27. The sessions will continue till March 23. Asked whether the Sri Lankan delegation now in Geneva would reach an agreement with the US regarding the strongly-worded resolution, more..

Editorial: Deaf ears and loud cries

Feb 23 (DM) When the war was concluded in May 2009, people thought peace was spontaneous to any war-torn territory where they were trying to put together the pieces of their shattered lives. However, going into the third year in the post war Sri Lanka, the question remains as to whether the people are reaping the dividends of peace that came at the expense of so many lives. Looking at the current scenario where the country is fighting the demons of the skyrocketing more..

John Abraham to star in a film based on the LTTE

Feb 23 (NDTV) After acting in experimental films like No Smoking and Kabul Express, John Abraham is all set to walk the same path again. John is set to produce and star in Shoojit Sircar's next movie titled Jaffna, a political thriller based on the LTTE activities in Sri Lanka. In fact, in order to prepare for his role, the actor will also have to travel to Sri Lanka several times to understand the political situation there. According to the director, John is very excited about the project. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

'Anglo-Saxon' conspiracy against SL

Feb 23 (CT) The government called on the people of Sri Lanka today to rally up against an “Anglo-Saxon” conspiracies to destabilize the government and drive the island into anarchy. Minister Champika Ranawaka said that the US-backed uprisings around the world have left several countries in a state of disorder. “Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and even the Maldives have been left in tatters after US-backed uprisings in them have managed to bring down strong leaders,” Ranawaka said. more..

IGP takes steps to minimise difficulties faced by public

Feb 23 (DM) IGP N.K. Illangakone has taken steps to minimise the difficulties faced by the public especially at police stations when they seek to take copies of certain documents filed by the police. A number of complaints have been made that the police delays giving copies of complaints lodged by the public due to a person loses their National Identity Card, vehicle registration papers, passport, licence or when a minor road accident occurs. more..

Sri Lanka to ensure on time procurement of Pharmaceuticals to all hospitals

Feb 23 (GDI) The Health Authorities have decided to setup drugs review committees to formulate drug policy for each health institution and promote evidence based prescribing. On a recommendation by the Minister Maithripala Sirisena the cabinet decided to introduce a systematic procurement process to ensure timely delivery of medical supplies to hospitals in the country. According to the task entrusted to these committees should regularly discuss more..

Rs. 1603 million for the accelerated development in Ratnapura District

Feb 23 (GDI) Ratnapura district will receive Rs 1603 million for various development projects to be carried out in the entire district in the year 2012. Of this Rs.575 million will be allocated for the One-Task-for-One–Village Project, Rs. 628 million for the ministry’s second project for community development and improving people’s livelihoods and another Rs. 400 million for the Town Development Project of the Local and Govt and Provincial Councils Ministry. more..

Suspected smuggler detained under PTA

Feb 13 (BBC) A court in Sri Lanka has granted permission for the police to detain a suspected smuggler under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. It is alleged that Arunagirinathan Jeyaruban, a resident of Vavuniya has smuggled hundreds of Sri Lankans to the Togo. He was recently arrested by police fraud investigation bureau in Wellawatta on suspicion of smuggling 269 Sri Lankan Tamils to Togo. Some victims who returned from Togo earlier told the BBC that more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 23.02.2012