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Young girl abducted

Feb 23 (CT) An individual who claimed to be her uncle in Mundalama had abducted a three and a half year old girl. The individual had claimed to be the girl’s uncle and the convinced pre-school teacher had let the child leave pre-school premises with the individual. The girl Sarathchandra Swastika of Karaththam Villuwa Mundala had been admitted to the pre-school by her mother as her father is abroad. A three-wheeler driver had been responsible for the girl’s transportation more..

Protest against 'Western conspiracy'

Feb 23 (BBC) The govt has urged the general public to come to streets against what it called a “Western conspiracy” to topple Mahinda Rajapaksa administration. Addressing a cabinet press briefing, a group of cabinet ministers described the recent protests against the fuel price increase as an “NGO funded conspiracy” which was supported by the West. The conspiracy was clearly visible in Negombo and Chilaw while many other affected communities accepted the subsidy offered by the govt, they said. more..

Govt. to bring thousands to Colombo on Monday

Feb 23 (DM) The constituent parties of the govt today said it would bring hundreds of thousands of people to Colombo on Monday in support of the govt to thwart the US, UK and Canada led attempt to pass a resolution against Sri Lanka at the annual UNHRC sessions in Geneva. Minister Susil Premajayantha said the two month long strategy at local and international level will start on Monday and will come to an end with the Sinhala-Hindu New Year celebrations in April. more..

Sri Lankan domestic worker kills employer

Feb 23 (DS) A Sri Lankan housemaid stabbed to death her employer at the latter's house near Beirut airport Thursday, security sources said. They said the woman, identified by her first name Habiba, smashed a vase over her employer’s head before stabbing her several times. Nehmat Munzir, 67, died of severe bleeding at her house in Burj Barajneh, added the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Police arrested Habiba, who confessed to committing the crime.

Sri Lanka bourse at 2-week high on foreign buying

Feb 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's stock market surged more than 2 percent in high turnover on Thursday on foreign buying in Aitken Spence PLC and other large blue chip purchases, while the rupee fell on importer dollar demand. The main share index rose 2.14 percent in early trade, but ended 1.6 percent or 86.63 points firmer at 5,507.60, highest since Feb. 8. It has risen 9.93 percent over the last six sessions from an 18-month low, once shares dropped into oversold territory. more..

Norway backs UN resolution against Sri Lanka

Feb 23 (NN) Norway has joined other nations in calling for an investigation into civilian deaths in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The UN resolution wants answers to questions about, among other things, what happened to the thousands killed in the last months of the war. When it finally ended in 2009, after 27 years, most of the leadership of the guerilla movement LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers, was killed. more..

Attack on TN Fishermen: HC Asks Govt to Submit Details

Feb 23 (PTI) The Madras High Court bench here today directed Tamil Nadu Govt to submit details of the cases registered by police regarding attack on Indian fishermen while fishing in the Palk Straits and Gulf of Mannar by Sri Lankan navy and the follow up action taken on it. Hearing a writ petition seeking to protect the rights of Indian fishermen in the traditional areas in Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait and a contempt petition against the Centre's more..

School van fees to go up from 1st March

Feb 23 (LT) The fares of school vans will have to be increased due to the increase in fuel prices says the President of All Ceylon School Transport Union Malsree de Silva. He said, despite promising a fuel subsidy for school vans, the govt has not taken any definite measures to provide such a subsidy and added that many owners of vans transporting school children have expressed the difficulty in continuing their trade. School vans are registered in provincial councils as more..

Preview: Australia v Sri Lanka

Feb 23 (CI) As Australia deal with the ramifications of Ricky Ponting's removal from the ODI team, Sri Lanka have established a strong run of performance to leap from the basement to the penthouse of the triangular series standings. Both sides have enjoyed comfortable victories over a faltering India, and now meet in Hobart to provide an indicator of which team is tracking most strongly as the series edges towards the best-of-three finals. more..

Mahela warns Thirimanne over backing-up too far

Feb 23 (CI) Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene has warned the batsman Lahiru Thirimanne to keep a check on how far he backs up in Friday's match against Australia. However, Thirimanne might be free to indulge his habit of gaining ground after Australia's captain, Michael Clarke, said he did not believe it should be legal for a bowler to mankad a batsman. Thirimanne was lucky to be given a reprieve in Tuesday's game against India, when he was mankaded by more..

Trishaw driver sentenced for procuring duplicate license

Feb 23 (DM) The Colombo Traffic Court today fined and jailed a trishaw driver who was guilty of obtaining a new driving license from the Department of Motor Traffic after his driving license was impounded by Court. On November 24, 2011 the accused was produced before the Traffic Court by Welikada Police on charges of having caused an accident after the consumption of liquor. He was then fined Rs.6,000 and his driver’s licence was suspended for six months. more..

LLRC report inadequate in some areas but still essential - UK

Feb 23 (AD) The UK govt expressed its ‘abhorrence’ at some of the events that concluded the war in Sri Lanka while adding that it however recognized the govt’s ability to make progress through implementing measures set out by the LLRC. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Alistair Burt, participating in a debate on the situation in Sri Lanka in the House of Commons yesterday stated that there were more..

Man who married 5 women in 8 months nabbed

Feb 23 (DM) A 28-year-old man who had allegedly married five young women during a period of eight months and lived with them was arrested today by the Chilaw police. He had led a lavish lifestyle and was allegedly addicted to drugs. The suspect who had posed as a landed proprietor, had deceitfully obtained about Rs.3.2 million by pawning the jewellery of the wives. The police had recovered two marriage certificates and jewellery worth about Rs.400,000 pawned by him. more..

7.4 kg of banned crystal seized in Abu Dhabi

Feb 23 (E24|7) Abu Dhabi airport customs authorities seized 7.4 kg of crystal methamphetamine with two passengers who tried to smuggle the drugs to Sri Lanka. Customs men had suspected a passenger who could not hide his confusion when he was told to open his bags. After searching the bag, they found around five kg of crystal methamphetamine concealed expertly in a secret part of the bag, Alittihad newspaper said. Nearly an hour later, customs men discovered more..

Sugar companies to resume operations

Feb 23 (DM) The state owned sugar companies at Sevenagala and Pelwatte will resume operations on March 5 after the take-over from private ownership, Minister Lakshman Seneviratne said today. Minister Seneviratne after paying an inspection tour to the two sugar factories vowed that the loss making ventures would be turned into viable commercial establishments and therefore, the assistance and dedication of 7,000 workforce is extremely vital. more..

A note to Amnesty’s John Argue

Feb 24 (NS) It was good to see you operating from your ‘Home Base’, to me which was the “pseudo-Tiger Den’. Thank God, I didn’t emerge out of the place with blackened eyes beaten up by John Argue and Alex Neve. I know from your body language, you were bowled-over by Pakiasorthy’s talk this afternoon. But here are my observations and I want you to consider them too. I claim to be honest, as I am a Buddhist, and I don’t lie. The format did not give us an opportunity to more..

Prices and vices

Feb 24 (NS) “You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” - Warren Buffet.When the govt raised petrol prices, it hit everybody. Everyone is unhappy and many people are protesting in the streets. The broad shape of the protests is ‘not me’, ie, interests groups asking for subsidies. The bus owners want subsidised petrol, the fishermen, etc. This is somewhat natural, but also part of the problem. The most efficient way out is for people to say ‘not us’, and tackle the waste and more..

Diverse voices in harmony

Feb 24 (SO) Inter-faith dialogue, perhaps, is a sine qua non for a vibrant multi- ethnic polity particularly at a time when the nation is celebrating its hard-won peace and national reconciliation. If young members of the nation are the heir to its wealth and the hard-won peace, they naturally, are the beneficiaries of the peace dividends. There is no other fitting tribute to peace and to those who laid their lives to win it than to celebrate it more..

A Criminal Monk To The Police Commission

Feb 24 (CT) Highlighting concerns raised when the Eighteenth Amendment was passed, the recent appointment of the Police Commission shows just how unacceptable the new framework for independent bodies is. The appointments to the new Police Commission includes the Buddhist monk Elle Gunawanse. It is difficult to imagine someone more unsuitable to serve in the Police Commission, of all things. Truth, sometimes, is really stranger than fiction. more..

Victor Rajakulendran’s tirade at the exposure of Pirapaharan’s admiration for Hitler

Feb 24 (CT) When one of the early LTTE fighters of the period 1974-to-1984, namely, Chinniah Rajeshkumar whose nom de guerre was Râgavan revealed to the world the processes leading to Tamil militancy in the 1970s and elaborated upon the early activities of the Tamil Tiger underground organisation, one snippet of information was a revelation. Pirapâharan, he said, “had with him a copy of Mein Kampf” and derived “the idea of eliminating the other” from Hitler more..

Batticaloa singing a new song

Feb 24 (CT) Over sweet tea, a Batticaloa man Meera Mohideen an old fishing hand and his friends reminisce about the 500kg turtle that got caught in his nets last year and the shoal of whales that were seen out in the ‘deep seas’ early that morning. Diesel engines disappearing from fishing boats moored off Kattankudy Beach and a barbed wire fenced beachfront is only, part of the story that Meera Mohideen has to tell about the ups and downs of life more..

A road to reconciliation in Sri Lanka: Will we take it?

Feb 24 (GV) Despite the many limitations and criticisms levied at the final report of the LLRC, it must be recognized that in the presentation, the report reached a level of professionalism, objectivity and breadth in scope, within the relatively short period of time mandated to the Commission. The much talked about Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa was not without its critiques. Many felt that the TRC was “weighted in favour of the perpetrators of abuse.” more..

Female ex-combatants of LTTE in post-war Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (GV) With the defeat of the LTTE, many female combatants and women who – willingly or unwillingly – worked with the LTTE surrendered to the Sri Lankan military. Initially, it was extremely difficult to get their details. However, in the last few months, the Government has released many “ex-combatants” after “rehabilitation.” Their reintegration back into the community has become a critical concern for women’s groups in the north. Many ‘surrendees’, as they are called, more..

Lankan composer scores big with Hollywood set

Feb 24 (ST) BERLIN is where Lakshman Joseph de Saram should have been on Friday, Febr 16 – to attend the world premiere of the Hollywood movie “Bel Ami”, for which he wrote the music. This was a red carpet event, at the Berlin International Film Festival, with some of the biggest names in cinema in attendance. Instead, the Sri Lankan musician and composer spent the day in Colombo, in his usual way – with his family, among fellow musicians and colleagues, more..

Deployment of war heroes against Sinhala demonstrators and strikers will intensify

Feb 24 (TC) Braggarts end, with egg on their faces and blood on their hands. Last week, at a press conference in Colombo, US Under-Secretary of State Maria Otero announced Washington’s decision to support a resolution on Sri Lanka, at the February-March UN Human Rights Council sessions. This stunning pronouncement was greeted with an eerie quiet; there were no outraged shrieks by Buddhist monks, no effigy-burning demonstrations by the JHU and no ‘fasts unto death’ by more..

Editorial: Libyan crisis - Patient bleeding, surgeons missing

Feb 24 (Island) Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was a tyrant of the first order who did not tolerate dissent in any form. He had to go. But his violent ouster and subsequent execution have not helped deliver Libyans from their suffering. It is being claimed in some quarters, as we said in these columns the other day, the situation used to be somewhat better under Gadaffi. Following the Bolshevik revolution, cynics say, Russia, having got rid of the Tsar, had to contend with Commissars. more..

Direct discussions between President Rajapaksa and TNA leader Sampanthan to revive talks end in failure

Feb 24 (DBS) Direct discussions beween President Mahinda Rajapaksa and TNA leader R. Sampanthan to revive stalled talks between the ruling regime and the TNA ended in failure. A meeting held at “Temple Trees” on Tuesday February 21st between the President and the senior TNA Trincomalee district MP aimed at breaking the current impasse ended inconclusively without any tangibe result. more..

A government not bound by the law

Feb 24 (ST) Does the Govt of Sri Lanka need a 'roadmap' to implement the existing law in Sri Lanka? From where does this curious logic arise? These are two fundamental questions that should be directed towards the Presidency downwards. The LLRC's recommendations were, in many respects, a reiteration of the basic duty on the part of the Govt to implement the existing law and the Constitution. Those recommendations that go outside that boundary and call upon legal reforms are more..

Changing economic scenarios: Continuity with change 1994-2004

Feb 24 (ST) In the story of Sri Lanka's changing economic scenarios since independence the change of govt in 1994 was very significant. For the first time since independence, despite a change of govt, a continuity of economic policies was assured. The new govt announced its commitment to continue market friendly open economic policies and characterized its strategy as "Open economic policies with a human face". In contrast to the economic policies of previous SLFP-led govts, more..

HSBC Colombo Fashion Week starts today

Feb 24 (FT) The much anticipated fashion event for the year, HSBC Colombo Fashion Week will start its three day journey today evening at Hilton Colombo. Everything is ready for an event that has reached the ‘tier two’ in fashion, on par with the famed Barcelona and Madrid Fashion Weeks CFW President Ajai Vir Singh told the Daily FT yesterday. Calling it a ‘fashion project’ for the industry, Singh acknowledged that the CFW has only gotten bigger more..

GMOA wants child’s death probed

Feb 24 (Island) The GMOA had asked the Health Ministry to hold an impartial inquiry into the incident at the Polonnaruwa Hospital where an infant died while the doctor treating it was forcing the father to worship him and the staff. GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that the claim that a two-months-old baby died due to non-provision of medical treatment was not true, but there was a case of a relative of the child who was under treatment at the Polonnaruwa hospital earlier more..

Heavy import demand drives down rupee further

Feb 24 (Island) Without the Central Bank to defend it, the rupee fell 0.6 percent against the dollar yesterday amidst heavy import demand, currency dealers said. The rupee commenced the day trading at Rs. 118.80/90 and soon came under pressure with importers demanding dollars. "The demand was purely for trade and oil bills have not yet come to the market. The rupee closed at Rs. 119.45/60 against the dollar," a dealer said. The rupee has been fluctuating both ways against more..

Keheliya to sue Aussie hotel over injuries

Feb 24 (Island) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, who injured both his legs following a fall from a third floor balcony of a hotel, where he was staying in Melbourne, plans to initiate legal action against the hotel management. Minister Rambukwella, who is undergoing treatment at Albert Hospital in Melbourne, Australia said that he had been accidentally locked out when he was on the balcony of his room of the Como hotel in South Yarra, but there were no more..

'Leadership grounding should be the aim of education institutions'

Feb 24 (DN) The final aim of all education institutions should be to turn out young men and women to take over the leadership of the country, said Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunge participating in the launching ceremony of the National School of Business Management (NSBM) at Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo on Tuesday. He said that education institutions should not be limited to academic purposes. Knowledge alone is not power. more..

Army shoots two jumbos

Feb 24 (CT) Environmentalists have voiced their concern over the army shooting two wild elephants in Bundala yesterday. However wildlife officials are yet to find out how the army got involved in chasing and shooting wild elephants in that area. An official from the Department of Wildlife and Conservation (DWLC) said one elephant was shot in the head and had fallen on the ground while the other was injured. He said Wildlife Veterinary surgeon Dr Vijitha Perera had rushed to the scene more..

'Opposition Leader working towards secret agenda'

Feb 24 (DN) “The country knows that the leader of the Opposition works on a secret agenda to vilify the govt. But in doing so, he in effect is tarnishing the image of Sri Lanka in the eyes of the international community”, Chief Govt Whip Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday. “If he is a true democratic leader, he should be commending the timely action taken by the govt. We know why the Leader of the Opposition wants to raise all these now” more..

Non–academics paralyse universities

Feb 24 (Island) Universities throughout the country were paralysed yesterday due to a token strike by the non-academic staff, including administrative officers against the govt’s delay in rectifying anomalies in their salaries. All examinations had to be postponed. President of the Inter University Trade Union Federation R. M. Chandrapala told The Island that their trade union action had been very successful and all universities including Jaffna had supported the strike. more..

Inhuman ragging suspects further ordered to be held in custody

Feb 24 (Island) The three undergraduates of the University of Peradeniya, held in connection with inhumanly ragging and sexually assaulting a fresher male student, were yesterday further ordered to be held in custody till March 8 by the Kandy Chief Magistrate Ravindra Premaratne. The three senior undergraduates are being held by the CID. The trio are held for alleged torture and sexual assault on Rajith Lakshitha of Beliatte. more..

Gem rush expected today

Feb 24 (Island) Thousands of gem dealers are expected to descend on Kataragama to acquire blocks of what has come to be called the largest blue sapphire deposit in the country. The recently discovered gem deposit in the Thammannawa area in Kataragama will be auctioned today at 10.00 am at the Kataragama Pradeshiya Sabha. The three-and-half-acre land area had been surveyed and divided into 49 blocks each encompassing about 10 to 14 perches, more..

Appearances were deceiving for unlucky trader

Feb 24 (DM) A retail trader, who was accused of selling cigarettes to an under-aged boy at an outlet in Galle Road, Colombo 3, was ordered to pay a fine of Rs.1,500 by the Colombo Fort Magistrate yesterday. The accused was arrested by police officers while he was engaged in the act of selling the cigarettes to a person who was identified as being under the stipulated legal age of twenty-one. Producing the trader in Court, Kollupitiya Police alleged that the accused had committed more..