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Sharing in Sri Lanka: Part III

Feb 24 (CTV) CTV Calgary's Karen Owen went with a team from World Vision to Sri Lanka to meet some of the people who have benefitted from its programs and even more who need our help. In part three of her series, Karen focuses on poverty and nutrition and the issues facing thousands of families living in the rural countryside. A family of three lives in a little mud home in the middle of the jungle. Their kitchen is pretty typical of the rural homes in Sri Lanka. more..

Draft USA Resolution on Sri Lanka to be presented at UNHRC session

Feb 24 (TC) Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights, and other relevant instruments. Reaffirming that States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, as applicable, Noting the Report of Sri Lanka’s LLRC and more..

National Hospital docs strike on Monday

Feb 24 (Island) Over thousand doctors of the Colombo National Hospital will stage a 24-hour strike on Monday (27) demanding the Rs. 29,000 Disturbance, Availability and Transport (DAT) allowance as promised by the Treasury in 2007. Vice President of the GMOA Branch Union, Dr. S. Senaratne said that doctors in the country had agreed to a personal request made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the time to accept a monthly DAT allowance of Rs. 10,000 owing to the war at the time. more..

'UNP to join PSC if LLRC report discussed'

Feb 24 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that his party was willing to participate in the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee aimed at finding a political solution to the national question, if the LLRC report was discussed at the select committee. Responding to an allegation made by Chief Govt Whip Dinesh Gunawardene that Mr. Wickremesighe was a proxy of the international community, the opposition leader said his party did not accept more..

JVP rallies unions for combined action to pressure govt.

Feb 24 (Island) Combined action is being planned by trade union leaders to force the govt to grant a special monthly allowance of Rs 3,000 for both, the public and private sector workers burdened by the rising cost of living, triggered by the recent unprecedented fuel price hike. President of the National Trade Union Centre and JVP trade union wing leader K.D. Lalkantha said that talks held on Wednesday, among trade union leaders from more..

Govt. tapping phones -Mangala

Feb 24 (CT) Govt is tapping private telephone lines without any authorization, UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera alleged in Parliament. Samaraweera said the private conversations are being listened to as a result of govt tapping telephone lines. He charged that the invasion on individuals’ privacy is a violation of human rights. He alleged, though terrorism was wiped off from Sri Lanka three years ago the govt taps telephone lines claiming it to be due to security reasons. more..

US temporarily lifts ban on Lankan coir exports

Feb 24 (Island) In a new boost to Sri Lanka’s geo-textile industry and Sri Lanka’s standing as the world’s largest exporter of coir fibre, a top US govt agency has cleared the way for Sri Lankan made geo-textiles for two projects, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce announced yesterday. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has waived its restrictions on use of foreign coir mats in US for Sri Lankan mats. The general restrictions for foreign coir mats have been imposed more..

Sri Lanka writes to UNHRC member states to counter US claims

Feb 24 (Island) The Sri Lankan govt yesterday accused a section of the international community of trying to distort the situation in Sri Lanka to undermine the post-war reconciliation and recovery process. A senior spokesperson for the Sri Lankan delegation, yesterday said that the US-led moves were unethical. Such actions would only help the LTTE rump, operating in the US and other parts of the world, the official said, more..

Nurses call off threatened strike

Feb 24 (Island) A threatened strike by the Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU) was called off following discussions between Health Ministry officials and representatives of the PSUNU headed by its Chief, Ven. Muruttetuwe Ananda, Ministry spokesman W. D. Wanninayake said yesterday. He said the allowance paid to lecturers in nursing schools had been increased by Rs. 5,000. They were paid an allowance of Rs. 5,000, it was increased to Rs. 10,000. more..

‘Subsidies worth Rs.140 b granted to various sectors’

Feb 24 (DN) The govt is spending Rs140 billion annually for subsidies for various sectors of the public, said Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. Addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing yesterday, he pointed out that the total revenue of the govt is Rs 1000 billion per year, and of this amount Rs 140 billion is given as subsidies. He observed that there is no need for the public to take to the streets in protest because the govt has already been addressing their problems. more..

US urges 'concrete' reconciliation steps by Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (AFP) The United States said Thursday it wanted Sri Lanka to take "concrete steps" on reconciliation as the Colombo govt vowed mass protests against US-backed calls for a UN censure on human rights. Sri Lanka has faced strong international criticism over the bloody finale of its civil war in 2009 but has avoided censure at the UNHRC amid hopes overseas that Colombo would come up with a domestic plan. more..

Raids on power pirates help rake in Rs. 21.5 million to CEB in January

Feb 24 (Island) The Power and Energy Ministry has raked in Rs. 21.5 million through the CEB’s Special Unit after raids on power pirates in January this year. Of the Rs. 21.5 million raked in, Rs. 3.6 million came by way of court fines. The latest raid was carried out during the last week of January. In January alone, 331 persons had been nabbed obtaining electricity illegally. Ministry sources said that due to power piracy, the CEB incurred heavy financial losses. more..

CMC security blamed for loss of bulldozer parts

Feb 24 (Island) Investigations conducted by the Commissioner of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Mrs. Bhadrani Jayawardene have revealed that the loss of certain parts from CMC bulldozers should be blamed on the security and not on the engineers contrary to claims by the CMC Flying Squad, which was disbanded by Mayor A. J. M. Muzammil recently. CMC sources told The Island that the loss had been discovered by the Work Shop Committee and not the Flying Squad which more..

Vasu vs. President on Public Petitions: ‘Executive is not supreme’

Feb 24 (LB) Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara denies having a heated argument with the president over the Parliament Public Petitions Committee, as reported in some newspapers. Speaking to our staffer Ranga Jayasuriya, he says “Parliament is supreme but, the executive is not supreme.” Q: It was rumoured that there had been a heated argument between you and the president when you proposed to more..


Feb 24 (SL) Ramasamy Prahaharan (43), owner of three electronic shops at Majestic City spent that Saturday morning in Battaramulla where he was trying to get possession of a house he had given on rent. “We had to go to the police because the tenant who earlier agreed to vacate the house was now demanding compensation to vacate. He had also complained to the police that my husband had threatened them,” said Shiromani Prahaharan, speaking to The Sunday Leader. more..

'Govt. ready to legislate HR action plan'

Feb 24 (DM) The Govt informed Parliament yesterday that it was ready to move a legislative amendment to give life to the National Action Plan for Protection and Promotion of Human Rights. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena who made this point in response to a question raised by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in the House on Wednesday, urged the UNP to join hands to take the country forward towards new horizons of progress. more..

'We never fire at Indian fishermen'

Feb 24 (TOI) Sri Lankan high commissioner in India, P Kariyawasam, said that the Sri Lankan navy never fires at Indian fishermen, who sometimes wander into their boundary. Kariyawasam was in the city to attend an HR conclave organized by Federation of Gujarat Industries to mark 150th birth anniversary of Sayajirao Gaekwad III. "We never fire at the fishermen. If they cross international boundary while fishing they are released later," more..

‘Tamil Diaspora numbering over 300,000 a powerful inducement’

Feb 24 (Island) The UK continued to play politics with SriLanka’s national reconciliation process, govt officials, now in Geneva for the 19th sessions of the UNHRC, said. They alleged that a group of British MPs, too, was campaigning against Sri Lanka at the behest of the LTTE. The officials were responding to a British onslaught directed at President Rajapaksa’s govt at Wednesday’s private member’s motion debate more..

Ganeshan wants LLRC report presented to UNHRC

Feb 24 (Island) The govt has failed to take other political parties into its confidence through its decision not to present the LLRC report at the UNHRC sessions, scheduled to begin on February 27 at Geneva, leader of the DPF Mano Ganeshan said. Presenting the LLRC report at the UNHRC sessions would have been the ideal response by the govt of Sri Lanka to the world about the alleged human rights violations and more..

Sri Lanka Shangri La hotel construction starts

Feb 24 (LBO) Hong Kong-based leisure group Shangri-La has begun construction work on its first hotel in Sri Lanka which is experiencing a boom in tourism after the end of its 30-year ethnic war. Minister Basil Rajapaksa broke ground Friday for work on the 661-room Shangri La Colombo hotel. The hotel is to be built on 10 acres of land facing the Galle Face Green promenade in Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka bracing itself to meet Geneva challenge

Feb 24 (Hindu) Barely a few days ahead of the opening of the session of the UNHRC in Geneva, Sri Lanka has begun a no-holds barred attack on its “enemies,” is making fervent appeals to countries it considers friends, and is galvanising support back home in a bid to cash in on siege mentality it is trying to create. The issue at the Rights Council relates to Sri Lanka’s unwillingness to admit to civilian deaths during the more..

Govt. will protect Fonseka: Wimal

Feb 24 (DM) If war crime charges were brought against former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, the govt would undoubtedly protect him without any hesitation but pardoning him or setting him free is entirely a different issue, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said. Responding to a query on the UNHRC sessions in Geneva next week he said it is the responsibility of all patriotic Sri Lankans to extend their support to the govt notwith standing their political, more..

Govt. denies claim Gen. Shavendra barred from UN peacekeeping panel

Feb 24 (Island) A top diplomatic source in New York last night blasted the Canadian Chairing the UN peacekeeping committee Louise Frechette of behaving like an outrageous white supremacist after she unilaterally issued a statement stating that Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the world body, who was appointed to the panel by the Asia-Pacific group, was dropped from the committee. more..

Editorial: Army camps in North that US did not know

Feb 24 (DM) In the run-up to the 19th session of the UNHRC the United States was seen intensifying its shuttle diplomacy to Sri Lanka with renewed calls for what it called ' justice' for 'war victims' and 'demilitarization' of the North. The last of the contentious demands by the US came in the form of a request made by Maria Otero, the Under Secretary for Democracy to Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa that Sri Lanka should remove army camps in the Northern Province. more..

Sri Lanka shares end up 1.0-pct

Feb 24 (LBO) Sri Lankan shares closed higher Friday on thin turnover with sharp gains seen in some illiquid stocks, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed up 1.07 percent at 5,566.30, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.02 percent to close at 4,802.78. Turnover fell to 508 million rupees. Harishchandra Mills was the top gainer, up 49 percent or 815 rupees to 2,475 on just one trade. Central Investments & Finance was the most actively traded stock, more..

WikiLeaks: Mahinda produced Upali Tennakoon to justify his claim

Feb 24 (CT) “Rajapaksa produced a recently published interview with Mr. Upali Tennakoon, President of the Sri Lanka Editor’s Guild, in which Tennakoon stated he had never experienced pressure from the Govt but that the UNP was exerting considerable pressure on the media to publish pro-opposition stories. Boucher expressed appreciation to Rajapaksa for bringing the article to his attention and stated the Embassy’s willingness to investigate the matter further.” more..

IFC Executive Vice President meets Minister Basil Rajpaksa

Feb 24 (GDI) A high-profile delegation led by Mr. Lars H. Thunell, Executive Vice President and CEO of IFC (International Finance Corporation), met minister Basil Rajpaksa, recently at the parliament premises. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is working with policymakers and private sector players to help meet Sri Lanka's ongoing development agenda through public-private partnerships. Sri Lanka is a focus country for IFC’s programme in South Asia. more..

Sri Lanka fisheries protection seen needed to maintain market access

Feb 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka needs an effective fisheries protection programme to implement the sustainable policies that are required to ensure continued market access for its fish exports, a fisheries and maritime security expert has said. A fully integrated fishing vessel monitoring and fisheries protection programme to fight poaching would also enable Sri Lanka to increase earnings and attract foreign investments in to the industry, said John Church. more..

'TNA answerable for HR violation'

Feb 24 (GDI) Minister Basil Rajapaksa yesterday said that the TNA will have to answer for the human rights violations carried out by the LTTE terrorists, if it participates in the UN Human Rights Council's sessions in Geneva. Minister Rajapaksa said that the TNA in their election manifestoes in 2001 and 2004 have mentioned that they are the sole representatives of LTTE terrorists who killed thousands of people including the leaders of the Tamil community. more..

Undergrads banned from Uni premises

Feb 24 (CT) A ban was imposed on some senior undergraduates attached to Sri Lanka Institute of Advanced Technological Education after they were found guilty of ragging juniors and assaulting a lecturer. According to Higher Education Ministry Officials the undergraduates are barred from entering the campus premises indefinitely. The Higher National Diploma in Engineering (HNDE) students have been charged after ragging freshmen and assaulting a lecturer last Wednesday, more..

'Country's economy strengthening'

Feb 24 (GDI) Despite the voices of certain elements resonating with opinions from time to time that the country is heading towards an economic collapse, the current indicators suggest that the country's economy is going from strength to strength, the Media Ministry Research Unit said. They pointed out that while negative sentiments were expressed by elements with vested interests, the true state of the Sri Lankan economy was portrayed in the economic indicators, which told another story. more..

Politicians galore at ‘gem pit’ auction

Feb 24 (LT) Representatives of govt politicians including Minister Johnston Fernando and Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Dicksen Daala and MP Premalal Jayasekera (Choka Malli) are bidding for plots at the auction being held at Tammannawa in Katharagama where gems have been found in abundance. However, plots marked 49,50 and 51 have been already reserved for Rajapaksas say reports. The first 13 plots were auctioned for Rs.190 million. more..

Price of bread up from tonight

Feb 24 (LT) The price of a loaf of 459 gram bread will be raised by Rs.5.00 from midnight today (24th) states the General Secretary of All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association Nimal Perera. He said the decision to increase the price of bread was taken due to the increased cost of production and transport costs due to the increased fuel prices and electricity charges. He said government authorities have been informed regarding the decision to raise the price of bread. more..

Milk powder importers threaten Govt.

Feb 24 (DM) Milk powder importers threatened to stop imports unless Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) did not permit to increase a packet of 450 gram milk powder by Rs.15 by next Wednesday. Addressing a news briefing, CEO of the Maliban Lukshman Weerasuriya said the decision was a collective one as all milk powder importers that represent 95% of the local milk powder market find it extremely difficult to engage in the milk powder trade as it has become a loss making exercise. more..

Sri Lanka take top spot with record chase

Feb 24 (CI) Sri Lanka sure know how to keep things interesting. On a day when Peter Forrest announced himself as Australia's new No.3 with his maiden one-day century, Mahela Jayawardene and Dinesh Chandimal helped Sri Lanka complete a record ODI chase in Hobart, where Australia's 6 for 280 wasn't enough to book them a place in the finals. Sri Lanka jumped to the top of the points table with their three-wicket victory, which came with four balls to spare. more..

Doctor and Minor employee released

Feb 24 (DM) The Medical Officer and a minor employee of the Sevenagala government hospital who had been on remand for poisoning the water storage tank in the Chief Medical Officer’s official quarters were released today by Embilipitiyia Magistrate Roshantha Sanjeewa Jinadasa on a cash bail of Rs.35,000 and personal bail of Rs.3.5 million. However, Sevenagala Police conducting further inquiries into the incident objected to the release of the suspects. more..

'Govt. fully behind Shavendra'

Feb 24 (DM) The Govt is fully behind Sri Lankan Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Major General Shavendra Silva the govt informed Parliament today. This assurance was given by Deputy Minister of External Affairs Neomal Perera in response to a question raised by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera in the House today. Mr. Jayasekera raised this issue during the oral question sessions. Mr. Perera said the govt is doing all what it could on behalf of Major General Silva. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 24.02.2012

Batticaloa: men of a village missing for three years

Feb 24 (AN) Vanished into thin air for nearly three years. This the fate of the husbands, sons and brothers of 12 Catholic and Hindu women of the village of Thumpalachcholai, which since the end of thirty years of ethnic conflict have not heard anything of their men. The constant petitions of these women, to central and local govts have received no answer, or economic aid. "Our first loss - some of them tell AsiaNews - is precisely this silence from the authorities. more..

Sri Lanka Singapore hotel investments under Thai brand

Feb 24 (LBO) A joint venture between Singaporean and Sri Lankan investors has begun work on a hotel in the island's capital Colombo with plans for up to six hotels with initial investments of 4.5 billion rupees. The 150-roomed OZO Colombo hotel is located on the corner of Clifford Road and Marine Drive, a road along the coast in Colombo. The 3.5 star hotel will not have spas or up-market restaurant, catering to a mid-market, adventurous type of traveller, and more..