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Editorial: Free speech starts with the right to express dissent

Feb 2 (DM) January was eventful for Sri Lanka with the visits of Indian Foreign Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna whose main item on the agenda was the discussion of the 13th Amendment with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It was followed by the visit of former Indian President Dr. Abdul Kalam to launch the trilingual initiative where Sri Lankans will be encouraged to learn the three main languages -Sinhala, Tamil and English. In the wake of these visits were those more..

Sri Lanka expressway may require roadworthiness certificates

Feb 2 (LBO) A large number of vehicles breaking down on Sri Lanka's first expressway may require motorists to get roadworthiness certificates to use the road, as traffic picked up steadily, an official said. Sri Lanka's first expressway to the South of the island., the E1 was opened on November 27. In the past two months the emergency vehicles operated by Sri Lanka's road agency has towed over 1,900 vehicles, B D K Bandara, operations director of the expressway said. more..

Japura Sarasavi Samantha Killing: A biography on murdered university student

Feb 2 (IL) The book “Japura Sarasavi Samantha Killing” a biography written on undergraduate Ovitigala Samantha who was killed at the University of Sri Jayawardhanapura in 2002 was presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Activist Samantha was studying in the Management Faculty of the Sri Jayawardenapura University at the time of his death. He was murdered by a group of fellow students for opposing ragging in the university during that time. more..

Jaffna gets a 15 storied Star Class hotel

Feb 2 (GDI) The rapidly developing Northern Province following the defeat of terrorism has become a springboard for local and foreign investors seeking investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. Construction of a 70-room, 15 storied star class hotel in the heart of Jaffna will be launched tomorrow. Mercantile Merchant Bank Ltd, and the Jetwing Group through an equally-owned joint venture will invest Rs. 700 million on this hotel project. Launching of the construction will be more..

Sri Lanka aim to rise above money worries

Feb 2 (SMH) New Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene is adamant his unpaid squad can put their money woes and off-field dramas behind them to turn around what's been a bleak patch of Test and one-day results. Since finishing runner-up to India at last year's World Cup, Sri Lanka's form has slumped, falling to series losses to England, Australia, Pakistan and most recently South Africa. The latest loss prompted the sacking of Australian coach Geoff Marsh just three months more..

Police to enforce Spot fine for for seat belt law violations

Fspondents here in a Jan 25 reception held at his residence, prompting a discussion of events in Sri Lanka since the end of the conflict against terrorism nearly three years ago. The reception was the first in 2012 of the National Press Club’s Foreign International Correspondents Committee’s “Embassy Nights,” more..

Police to enforce Spot fine for for seat belt law violations

Feb 2 (GDI) The cabinet of ministers on a proposal made by Mr. Kumara Welgama, Minister of Transport, gave its approval to amend Section 157 A(4) of the Motor Traffic Act, to impose spot fines against drivers and passengers traveling in the front seat of vehicles contravening the seat belt Regulations. At present the drivers and the passengers in the front seats of certain categories of vehicles that have registration numbers beginning with English letters shall essentially wear the seat belt. more..

North and East to get Tamil speaking accountants

Feb 2 (GDI) On proposal made by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Cabinet has decided to conduct a special competitive examination to recruit Tamil Speaking officers for 63 vacancies of Grade III posts in the Sri Lanka Accountants' Service in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. As per the provisions of the Service Minute of the service it’s mandatory to select a batch of officers with language proficiency to meet the expectations of the general public living in more..

Final decision on not presenting LLRC report not decided

Feb 2 (DM) The govt today said it had not taken a final decision on not presenting the LLRC report to UN Human Rights Commission in March this year. This is contrary to the statement made by External Affairs Minister Professor G. L. Peiris at a press conference last week that the report would not be presented to UN Human Rights Commission. Minister Anura Priyadharashana Yapa told the cabinet briefing that the government is yet to decide on the matter. more..

Sri Lanka shares end down 1.4-pct

Feb 2 (LBO) Shares closed weaker Thursday for the third straight day after a brief recent rally, with warrants in Environmental Resources Investments plunging 71 percent with the regulator imposing trading restrictions from February 03. The main All Share Price Index closed down 1.35 percent at 5,605.49, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 1.39 percent to close at 4,841.11. Turnover was 970 million rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures. more..

Sri Lanka tea trade mulls new standard

Feb 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea industry is considering developing an 'all-encompassing' standard to demonstrate compliance with a plethora of international criteria producers are faced with, an official said. Niraj de Mel, Managing Director of exporter Vanrees Ceylon, said the number of standards producers are compelled to comply with have been increasing in recent years in response to consumer demands. "Especially in the last decade or so more..

Sri Lanka tea trade mulls new standard

Feb 2 (NF) The Supreme Court ordered the Court Registrar today to issue notice on the respondents in the Fundamental Rights petition which had been filed calling for the results of the G.C.E. A/L Examinations to be annulled. This order was issued when the Fundamental Rights petition was taken up before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranaike. The Commissioner General of Examinations, the UGC, more..

Kevin Rudd must up the ante on Sri Lanka

Feb 2 (TA) As nations such as Canada and Britain weigh in on accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka, it's time for Australia to add its voice. After all, promoting human rights is a crucial part of foreign policy, as Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd is keen to say. A month ago the Sri Lankan govt's LLRC issued its long-awaited report. The commission was established by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in May 2010 to deflect mounting international pressure on accountability for more..

Brother of Chairman of Kolonnawa UC abducted

Feb 2 (NF) brother of the Chairman of the Kolonnawa Urban Council has been abducted. According to the Police Media Spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana a group that arrived in a van had carried out the abduction in the Meethotamulla area this afternoon. A complaint has been lodged in this regard with the Wellampitiya police by the mother of the victim who has been identified as Janaka Prabath Dodampegama. Police noted that around six individuals had arrived in the van to carry out the abduction. more..

UNP will support govt. to overcome international pressure

Feb 2 (DM) The UNP said today it was prepared to support the govt to overcome any pressure from the international community in the future. But the govt should establish an independent Attorney General’s Department, an independent Judiciary and an independent Police Commission as soon as possible. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said that the UPFA govt which assured the international community of implementing the recommendations of more..

Czech Ambassador meets Minister Basil Rajapaksa

Feb 2 (GDI) Hon. Basil Rajapaksa, Minster of Economic Development met H.E. Miloslav Stasek, Ambassador of Czech Republic for Sri Lanka, at Ministry of Economic Development 1st of February 2012. The discussion focused on improve economic cooperation between two countries, on going Czech Republic funded projects and investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. Ambassador of Czech Republic pointed out that Sri Lanka has become an attractions place for foreign direct investments. more..

JVP & Australian Labour Party meet

Feb 2 (LT) Mr. Mathew Marozzi, the representative of Alex Galacher, the Member of Senate of the Australian Labour Party has had a discussion with JVP MP Vijithe Herath at the JVP head office today (2). Mr. Herath said the workers’ movements in Sri Lanka and the JVP activities in the trade union sector were discussed. The representative of the Australian Labour Party has been specially interested in the govt’s responses towards trade union struggles in the state more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 02.02.2012

Thread Works sets up new garment unit in Sri Lanka

Feb 2 (F2F) Thread Works Pvt. Ltd. has established a new garment manufacturing facility at Angulana near Moratuwa city in southwestern Sri Lanka, with an investment of SL Rs. 75 million. The new unit has enhanced the production capacity of Thread Works, and is expected to help the company not only retain its lead in the domestic garment sector but also to compete in international markets. Thread Works is a vertically integrated company that undertakes fabric knitting and more..

Sri Lanka allows foreign firms to lend to equity investors

Feb 2 (Reuters) Sri Lanka on Thursday allowed foreign-owned companies registered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to lend money to investors in the island nation's stock market, the central bank said on Thursday. The bank's decision comes after the Colombo Stock Brokers Association in December made that request to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to help boost flagging trading. "This move would help develop the business of margin providing, and also more..

International mediation urged in Somalia

Feb 2 (BBC) A deputy mister has called upon international powers to intervene to secure the release of six Sri Lankan fishermen from Somali pirates. Deputy Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratna who was elected to parliament from the Negombo district told BBC that the release can be secured ‘only with the mediation of powerful states’. Rights activists have urged the govt of Sri Lanka to intervene without delay to save the fishermen lives. more..

68 plead guilty for gambling

Feb 2 (DM) The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) today produced 68 people including a police sergeant in court on charges of betting and assisting to operate an unlawful gambling centre in Union Place, Colombo 2. When the case came up before Colombo Fort Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne, 56 people who were produced on charges of having committed unlawful gaming at a gambling centre in Colombo 2 were ordered to pay Rs.500 each as state cost. Meanwhile, twelve persons who more..

Teddy bears to Deyata Kirula 'stranded'

Feb 2 (BBC) Families involved in cottage industries in Sri Lanka's eastern district of Trincomalee say that they have suffered financial loss due to being disallowed from Sri Lanka’s Independence Day exhibition. Hemanthi Kumari from Kanthale says that a truck load of soft toys and women’s accessories produced for the Deyata Kirula exhibition has been turned back by local authorities. “We were told that no stalls are available” she told Sandeshaya correspondent RG Dharmadasa. more..

Sri Lanka extends expressway

Feb 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's southern expressway linking the capital Colombo with the south is to be extended to link the eastern port town of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka Ports Authority chairman Priyath Wickrama said. The move is part of a plan to improve the transport infrastructure to give manufacturers fast connectivity, he told a tea convention in Colombo. "Manufacturers expect fast connectivity. In the next 10 years you will see many expressways more..

Some extra honesty about ‘Sri Lankaness’ and ‘Sri Lankan identity’

Feb 3 (NS) Sometimes, certain sentences lodge in my head until I have to exorcise them by an act of writing. The following are from an essay titled ‘Back to Basics: The Need for an Honest Conversation About ‘Sri Lankanness’ and ‘Sri Lankan identity’ by Achcharya published in Groundviews last year. “But when those who take part in the Sinhala Buddhist hegemonic project assert ‘Sri Lankanness’, as Rajapaksa did in his end-of-the-war speech (the no-minorities in more..

The team grows Our studio is ‘born’

Feb 3 (NS) The Embassy of France in Sri Lanka is at 89, Rosmead Place, Colombo 7. This was once a quiet and shady tree-lined avenue bereft of the high rises and commercial establishments it has today. I was told that, once upon a time, it had played home to Rose Meadows and hence the name ‘Rosemead’. I don’t quite know its veracity, but I often tried imagining the fragrance emanating from rose meadows fusing with the aroma of Cinnamon from the Gardens nearby ….. aromathérapie la Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka, India fishing in troubled waters

Feb 3 (SL) South Indian fisherman M. Jegadeesh (30) was among the fishermen who were stoned allegedly by Sri Lanka Navy personnel while fishing near the Kachchatheevu island in Sri Lankan waters last week. Jegadeesh speaking to The Hindu newspaper in India had said a sharp stone hit him. He had received injuries on his right leg. The boat’s windshield had also been damaged in the incident. “When we were fishing near Kachchatheevu, the Sri Lankan Navy men more..

Sinhala Buddhists should accept the crimes they committed against Tamils

Feb 3 (CT) We would like to appeal to the Sinhala Buddhists first of all to acknowledge the crimes that they committed against their own Tamil sisters and brothers and ask for forgiveness from the Tamils. Rejoicing at the war victories, when thousands have been killed, ‘disappeared’, maimed, raped and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and detained, is totally against the dhamma. After all, forgiveness in Pali is apaya – no fear – we should more..

Elections, Sovereignty, Democracy and Freedom: Confronting a burning dilemma

Feb 3 (CT) These are much discussed and debated topics presently in Sri Lanka and in international forums. The discourse is highly polarized. Some have argued that the system of international relations operating in a globalized world have bound all states into abiding norms and conventions regarding the conduct of governance. No State can claim sovereignty to stand above these international norms and laws. They argue that State sovereignty is subordinate to the sovereignty of more..

South Asian think tank IPCS researcher critiques LLRC Report

Feb 3 (DBS) The Report released by the LLRC has been receiving mixed responses. The latest critique that I read was from the South Asian Think tank – Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) in New Delhi ,India.It is written by an ICPS staff researcher J.Jeganaathan based in Delhi who is their Sri Lanka specialist. The IPCS website describes itself thus- “The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank more..

Governance of our universities

Feb 3 (Island) Before I address the issue of governance of universities, let me make a few general remarks on the governance of the country’s public sector organisations. Sri Lanka has two systems of public sector organisations other than ministries – one referred to as departments and the other the so-called semi-govt organisations. In the case of a govt department, its administration rests solely on a single person serving as the Head of the Department who is also its CEO. more..

Editorial: Of that wildcat strike

Feb 3 (Island) The only thing railway workers are capable of doing on time is downing tools. Their wildcat strike on Wednesday brought the train service to a grinding halt countrywide and kept stranded commuters gnashing their teeth. The strikers are cock-a-hoop, having railroaded the govt into granting their demands. Railway employees are trying to justify holding the public to ransom at the drop of a hat. Workers' right to trade union action must be recognised and respected, but more..

'Reconciliation problem in North is Law and Order'

Feb 3 (LB) Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, advisor to the president on Reconciliation, has spoken openly and more emphatically on the need for the govt to do more for people in areas affected by the war. Excerpts from the interview. Q: You are one of the few members of the govt still talking actively about reconciliation. How would you define the term? A Reconciliation is a situation in which all people of this country are not only at more..

The King is naked and Fonseka’s 'Lion Cubs'

Feb 3 (SL) The King is naked!” shouted the boy. An awkward hush fell across the crowd as excited murmurings ceased. Faces turned first to the youth sitting on his father’s shoulders and then to the Monarch. The child was triumphant. He had been the first to see, or at least to say, the remarkable truth. The king visibly stiffened at the small piping voice. The King’s guards faltered at their reins and their horses reared causing the great palanquin to halt momentarily before lurching ahead. more..

All hail the young dramatists of Labuduwa

Feb 3 (SL) While Sri Lanka’s literati were paying their ‘salaams’ to the visiting literati and glitterati at the Galle Lit festival, our ‘Salaams’ go to a group of intrepid schoolboy actors of a school at Labuduwa, not far from Galle town, where the international literary festival was held. The school, Labuduwa Sri Dhamma Vidyalaya a ‘national school’ with around 3000 students on roll was drawing close to end of term and the teachers were busy correcting term examination more..

Vanishing traditional foodstyles of Adhivasi people

Feb 3 (SO) The traditional meals and typical foodstyles of wild tribes of Adhivasi Veddah people (Vannialaththo) have undergone pronounced changes under the process of persistent industrialisation. Truly but less obviously, Veddah parents are superbly conscious of their responsibilities to provide their children with best food they could get. Above all, the social life of Veddah people in a community bore all marks of higher integrity. more..

Do not kill Sri Lanka Football!

Feb 3 (Island) Ever since Mahindananda Aluthgamage assumed duties as the Minister of Sports, sports lovers of this country have witnessed an intolerable interference in the activities of sports controlling bodies. This interference has manifested itself in the form of ‘Politicization'. The ugly specter of politicization of Sri Lanka cricket has caused the fall of Sri Lanka cricket from the pinnacle to rock bottom. Against this background, the recent adverse observations about more..

‘Getambe Jones’ and the lost Railway halt

Feb 3 (ST) I suppose, as usual, it all started off in my childhood. As a youngster, amongst other things, I wanted to be an explorer. At that time explorers were celebrities. One of the famous, some might say notorious, explorer-archaeologist was Howard Carter. Carter discovered and plundered the late boy-King Tutankhamen’s pyramid. Then there was Hiram Bingham who “discovered” and plundered the “Lost City” of Macchu Picchu in Peru and is now immortalised in having a touristy and more..

Central Bank, IMF showdown today

Feb 3 (Island) Money market players are at the edge of their seats as the Central Bank and IMF are expected to release key statements today (3). Dealers said they expected little change in the status quo but did not rule out some dramatic changes, going by recent statements made by the Central Bank Governor. Dealers said the Central Bank could not go on defending the exchange rate with import demand continuing to be a severe strain on the country’s more..

Cut down to size

Feb 3 (FT) The decision by the Govt to reduce allowances paid to governors, provincial chief ministers and provincial ministers in respect of their telecommunications facilities, fuel and vehicles will come as a welcome change to most people. In most instances the people are fed up of the excesses and corruption of elected politicians that use thug power and influence to waste public money. Trimming the privileges they get to ‘serve’ the people will not only reduce the unfairness of disparity, more..