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931 ex-LTTE cadres to be reunited soon

Feb 26 (SO) The rehabilitation authorities hope to implement a comprehensive post monitoring system to help former ex-LTTE cadres who were reintegrated into the mainstream society, newly appointed Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Brig. Dharshana Hettiarachchi said. He said that there were only 931 ex-LTTE cadres still undergoing rehabilitation and they would be reunited with their families before the end of this year. “Under the new system the more..

Sri Lanka expects 10% drop in its Iran crude buys

Feb 26 (Reuters) Sri Lanka expects crude imports from Iran to drop by at least 10% this year due to a range of inflation-fighting policies that should cool demand, potentially helping it find a way around US sanctions, a govt official said yesterday. The Indian Ocean island nation is facing one of the biggest squeezes from the impending sanctions, despite being a small player in the world crude market, since its sole refinery can only process Iranian crude and a handful of others. more..

Geneva: Good news and bad news

Feb 26 (Island) Tomorrow will be D-Day in Geneva with the US sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka due to come up for discussion at the 19th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council. This will be the second time that Sri Lanka has had to face a vote at the UN-HRC. In May 2009, the Western powers tried to get a resolution passed against Sri Lanka and they failed. This is the second great test. There’s good news and bad news in this regard. more..

GMOA to discuss ‘critical issues’ today

Feb 26 (Island) Amidst moves by certain influential sections within the govt to persuade doctors to call off the planned strike action at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) on February 27 "at a crucial time the world is taking a closer look at Sri Lanka", the General Committee, the highest decision-making authority of the Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) is scheduled to meet today to "discuss matters of critical importance", medical officials said yesterday. more..

Listen to Sri Lanka in an impartial, fair and balanced manner – Dr. Nonis

Feb 26 (Island) The Conservative Foreign and Commonwealth Council members applauded the progress made by Sri Lanka in the post-conflict era, the comprehensive LLRC Report, its recommendations and implementation programme. This was revealed when Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London Dr. Chris Nonis addressed the Conservative Foreign & Commonwealth Council, chaired by Sir Ronald Halstead, in the House of Lords building of the British Parliament last week. more..

Grease yakas a big hoax conclude forensic experts

Feb 26 (Island) The "Grease Yaka" phenomenon which created quite a furore last year was a vast hoax according to a scientific paper presented yesterday at the Academic Sessions of the College of Forensic Pathologists of Sri Lanka. Doctors Tikiri Gunathilake and Vidanapathirana said in a paper that the "victims" examined bore injuries "not compatible with their stories" with such injuries being either self-inflicted or caused by a "friendly hand." more..

Safety and security tightened for Katchatheevu feast

Feb 26 (TOI) The Sri Lankan govt, as well as the Indian authorities have tightened safety and security measures for the pilgrims visiting Katchatheevu islet to celebrate St Antony's Feast. Indian fishermen have been instructed not to bring any cooking cylinders unlike the past. "The fishermen can bring processed food. But they will not be allowed to cook food in the island," said Micheal Raj, Parish Priest of Verkottu, Rameswaram, one of the organisers of the feast. more..

Deadline issues, gaps in agreement raised at pre-bid Mattala airport meeting

Feb 26 (ST) Investors are likely to face a rude shock on submitting proposals to the Hambantota International Airport after it was discovered that international airlines are yet to have firm discussions with the state on flying to Mattala. During the pre-bid meeting of investors conducted by Airport and Aviation Services of Sri Lanka held at the airport site on Wednesday, investors were presented with the plans and targets set for the construction of the new more..

Stage set for David vs. Goliath battle in Geneva

Feb 26 (Island) The stage is now set for an excruciating David vs. Goliath style battle at the 47-member UNHRC with the US alleging that the LLRC had failed to address accountability issues in the wake of Sri Lanka’s triumph over LTTE terrorism. Sri Lanka defeated the LTTE on May 19, 2009 on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon in the Wanni. The US, EU and a leading EU member state, UK are spearheading the campaign in which influential international human rights more..

Blunt word barrage for U.S. in Geneva

Feb 26 (LB) Even as supportive elements of govt plan to get on the streets to protest against perceived US interference in Colombo and other parts of Sri Lanka, here in Geneva, the tone and the content of the Sri Lankan campaign against a US backed resolution targeting the country, seems to get increasingly blunt, even shrill. Yesterday, Minister G.L. Peiris told the so called like-minded group of nations that the contemplated US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka at the upcoming more..

Another gem area found?

Feb 26 (SM) There have been reports of another finding of gems at Thammennawa in Kataragama - this time in a jungle area. Kataragama Pradeshiya Sabha chairman Amila Rangana said a large gathering of people is digging the area. He said he visited the place this morning (Feb. 25) along with police and Gem and Jewellery Authority officials. Director general of the Authority Nimal Bandara said he too, went to the location along with the environment ministry secretary. more..

‘Rally round President to protect Motherland’

Feb 26 (SO) All Sri Lankans irrespective of religious, political or racial differences should express their displeasure over the resolution to be moved tomorrow by the USA against Sri Lanka at the UNHCR sessions in Geneva, said the Most Ven. Niyangoda Sri Vijithasiri, Anunayaka Thera, Malwatta Chapter and the Most Ven. Galagama Atthadassi Anunayaka Thera, Asgiriya Chapter. The Anunayaka Theras in a statement said that this would be an ideal more..

Buns, rolls, kottu prices to go up soon

Feb 26 (LB) Bakers are biding their time for the price of LP gas to be increased shortly by around Rs 200 per 12.5 kilo cylinder to raise the price of tea buns, fish buns, fish rolls and all other bakery products. When bread went up Rs 5 per 450 gram loaf midnight Friday last, the All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA) advised bakers to increase the prices of buns and other flour-based pastries only if they are faced with a loss, President ACBOA, N.K. Jayawardena said. more..

CEB spends Rs. 4.5 million for stall

Feb 26 (SL) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) spent a staggering Rs. 4.5 million for a stall made out of cardboard at the Deyata Kirula 2012 Exhibition in Anuradhapura earlier this month, CEB sources revealed. According to sources the money was officially handed over to the Deyata Kirula organising committee based at the Govt Information department on Thursday. The CEB stall was earlier scheduled to be made out of bricks but was later made using cardboard, more..

Will India vote for Sri Lanka in Geneva?

Feb 26 (Island) Policy-makers here are facing a serious dilemma: Should India vote for or against Sri Lanka if a resolution does come up against the island-nation in the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) during the session that begins on Monday, Feb 27? India has so far stood like a rock behind Sri Lanka and opposed moves in Geneva and elsewhere to censure Colombo for its acts of commission and omission during the last stages of the Eelam War 4. more..

Bank profits to tumble this year?

Feb 26 (NS) The recent increase in policy rates by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka coupled with the directive for commercial banks to moderate their credit disbursements to 18% from a high of 34% last year is expected to dent the profitability of the banking sector this year. According to a sector analyst, however, the recent initiative would, on the other hand, create a level playing field for both larger and smaller players in the industry. “It will definitely affect the profitability of the sector for this year. more..

Two TNA members in Geneva

Feb 26 (CT) Two members of the TNA namely Suresh Premachandran and M.A Sumanthiran have been nominated by the party to attend tomorrow’s session in Geneva as observers. At present the TNA members headed by R. Sampanthan are in India trying to pressurize India to support the resolution brought against Sri Lanka by the U.S. The TNA team left for Tamil Nadu last Friday to meet top politicians to convince them to mount pressure on Delhi to vote against Sri Lanka at tomorrow’s UNHRC session.

TNA staying out of Geneva to avoid "further tensions"

Feb 26 (TC) The Sri Lankan Question will figure prominently at the above sessions. Two Reports – the report of the Experts Panel appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations and the report of the LLRC appointed by the Govt of Sri Lanka – have addressed issues of grave violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Laws, the causes of the conflict, the need to evolve an acceptable Political Solution as the means to more..

Colossal loss incurred by Mihin

Feb 26 (LB) Mihin Lanka has recorded a loss of Rs 6600 million since its inception in 2007 to March 31, 2011. The loss made from Mar 31, 2011 to Jan 31, 2012 is Rs 1700 million, SriLankan CEO Kapila Chandrasena said. “But Mihin’s quantum of loss is less because it has two aircraft against 26 aircraft of SriLankan. The network is 1/10 of SriLankan. But again, Mihin business is good business. Mihin also carries 80% plus passengers. As a low cost airline, it carries many passengers, especially Sri Lankans.” more..

TNA absence in Geneva timely - Basil

Feb 26 (NS) TNA’s decision to not to attend the Geneva session is a timely decision. Otherwise they have to answer to the destruction that took place in the country in recent past, said Minister Basil Rajapaksa commenting on the TNA’s statement over the UNHCR sessions in Geneva. “TNA’s behavior was a proxy to the LTTE and they are answerable for what the LTTE did”, Minister claimed. He further said the Govt had nothing to worry as it had kept all the pledges given to the public. more..

Showdown in Geneva: Hate-campaign in Lanka

Feb 26 (ST) The special SriLankan Airlines flight had rolled off the runway at BIA in the morning of Friday, February 10. On board were President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his entourage on an official visit to Pakistan. He was still in the air, somewhere between Colombo and Islamabad, when a crucial meeting of a Cabinet Sub Committee was under way in Colombo. It was discussing costs of fuel imports and how the new pricing structure should be formulated. more..

Weerawansa’s ministry composes an anthem at high cost

Feb 26 (SL) Spending over Rs. 400,000/- for performing artists and their respective helicopter rides, a national housing anthem was composed by Ministry of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities. The composition of lyrics and the melody for this national housing anthem is the brainchild of Minister Wimal Weerawansa. Classifying it as a cost incurred for publicity and information dissemination, the bills for this waste of public funds were more..

22 Tamil Nadu fishermen held by Sri Lankan Navy

Feb 26 (PTI) Twenty—two Tamil fishermen and their five boats were taken into custody by Sri Lankan naval personnel when they were fishing near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) off Arichalmunai in this island early on Sunday. The Sri Lankan naval men alleged that the fishermen had crossed the IMBL while fishing, official sources said. Though two more boats were missing, it was not immediately known whether these had also had been commandeered by more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Feb 26 (ST) Inner City Press' Matthew Russell Lee, who has continued his relentless attacks on the Rajapaksa administration, has gained notoriety for firing pointed questions relating to war crimes charges against Sri Lanka at virtually every UN media conference without missing a beat. As a result, he has not only incurred the wrath of the Sri Lanka Mission in New York but has also been described as "an LTTE agent" in the payroll of Tiger supporters. more..

Cost factor — a critical issues faced by Sri Lanka’s IT industry

Feb 26 (Island) Sri Lanka‘s IT literacy rate is developing rapidly but the inadequacy of high bandwidth connectivity and lack of basic IT infrastructure such as a strong fibre optic network backbone in rural areas is a stumbling block to promoting IT literacy, a top specialist in the field said last week. "At present, Sri Lanka’s IT bandwidth connectivity is not high in most parts of the country, which needs to be addressed as soon as possible to more..

Attack on SL in UNHCR places other countries also at risk

Feb 26 (Island) An influential section of the UNHRC has agreed with Sri Lanka’s assertion that the ongoing US-EU-UK diplomatic campaign could have far reaching impact not only on Sri Lanka, but many other countries as well as those not on the good books of Western powers, too, could be victims. This transpired at a meeting on Friday attended by representatives of those countries supportive of the Colombo government more..

SJGH Deputy Director’s exit thwarted: Employees to resort to trade union action

Feb 26 (Island) It was confusion confounded at the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital (SJGH) last week after the Chairman "accepted" the resignation of the deputy director more than two months after it was initially submitted, but barely 48 hours later, the Board of Directors - in a dramatic development — intervened to stall the move. The drama began to unfold after SJGH’s Chairman Nimal Bandara wrote to more..

US Hilton to be asked to run Colombo Hilton

Feb 26 (ST) Colombo’s Hilton Hotel will be managed by its parent organisation in the United States and re-furbished to accommodate VVIPs when Commonwealth leaders meet for their summit in 2013, if a proposal now before the Cabinet is accepted. It was barely four months ago that Hotel Developers Limited, the owning company, was taken over as an “underutilised” or “underperforming” venture in terms of a controversial law. Thereafter, a Competent Authority, who was appointed to oversee more..

Ranil wants consensus on implementing LLRC report

Feb 26 (ST) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday called upon the Govt to work with the opposition to begin implementing the LLRC recommendations that have already received the approval of the opposition parties. "A Parliamentary Select Committee was established in the background of the Govt-TNA talks. We are not parties to that discussion. Nevertheless, we have offered to participate in the Select Committee if more..

'People suffer while President and entourage enjoy life'

Feb 26 (ST) The JVP has vowed to continue its public protests until the Govt brings down oil and electricity prices. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that his party was calling on the people to join in these protests against the Govt, to have a greater impact.“The people are made to suffer, while the President and his entourage are enjoying life to the fullest,” said MP Dissanayake. He said that the JVP will protest and demonstrate until the people of more..

Tough laws to rein in errant Treasury officials

Feb 26 (ST) Sri Lanka is introducing tough new laws to hold all ranks of Treasury officials accountable with penalties and possible jail terms if guilty of fraud or misappropriation. This is through the proposed Public Finance Act which will also include new Financial Regulations to be introduced in April, replacing the existing regulations introduced by the British colonial administration. A new Audit Act is also to be introduced which would specify the duties, powers and responsibilities of more..

Debt trap: More loans to repay existing loans

Feb 26 (ST) Cash flow problems have forced the government to raise a further loan of US$ 600 million this year through Development Bonds. This money will go to repay previous loans as well as interest on loans for the current year. The Cabinet on Feb 8 approved a proposal by the Acting Finance Minister Gitanjana Gunawardena, for this purpose. The minister in charge of the subject, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was away on an official visit to Pakistan. more..

Sri Lanka official records reveal 11000 deaths in north in 2009

Feb 26 (GDI) Sri Lanka has officially released a report on the deaths occurred in the Northern Province during the last four years of the war that ended in May 2009. The Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) conducted the Enumeration of Vital Events (EVE)-2011 during the months of June/ July 2011. The Main objective of the EVE- 2011 is to provide the government with important information concerning the population and more..

Australia in finals after 87-run win over India

Feb 26 (CI) India succumbed meekly to the pressure of a chase of 253 - a chase they were required to nail to remain in serious contention in the triangular series - and were bowled out for 165 by an Australia side that eagerly grabbed the chance to seal its own spot in the competition deciders. Short of a bonus-point victory in their final match against Sri Lanka and a subsequent loss to the hosts by Mahela Jayawardene's flourishing side, India will fly home earlier than more..

Phone hacking: Mangala to reveal all

Feb 26 (SL) UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera says he will soon reveal in parliament a list of persons whose mobile phones and email are being tapped or hacked by the govt. Samaraweera had told parliament last week that 887 mobile phones, land phones and emails are are being monitored by intelligence officers. He said that during the war the govt had sought the expertise of two Chinese telecommunication agencies to monitor telephone and email conversations of some individuals. more..

Sri Lanka arrests foreigners over exotic animals

Feb 26 (AFP) Sri Lankan authorities arrested six foreign nationals on charges of illegally holding amphibians and reptiles only found on the island, an official said. Wildlife department inspectors arrested the men on Saturday and they were later released on bail of 50,000 rupees (ê430) each and ordered to appear in court on Wednesday. The official said the men from Australia, Belgium, Germany and Venezuela visited the Singharaja rain forest, more..

Sri Lanka expropriated land may be used for private hospital: report

Feb 26 (LBO) Land expropriated from a private firm through a controversial law that violated property rights of citizens, may be given to another private group to develop a hospital. Land owned by Lanka Tractors Ltd in the Narahenpita, will be used for an 850 million rupee hospital, The Sunday Times newspaper said quoting an un-named govt official. The report said Lanka Orix Leasing Company and Browns, has expressed interest to build a hospital at the 5-acre site. more..

TID recovers fuel tanks with explosives in Kilinochchi

Feb 26 (DM) The Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) recovered a large number of fuel tanks of lorries and other vehicles laden with explosives during a major search operation in Udayanagar, Kilinochchi. The fuel tanks of two Ashok Leyland lorries, an Isuzu lorry, two Toyota lorries and two trishaws were found buried in the Munigillaru forest area in Udayanagar. They were found buried within the premises of the former LTTE Neelawan Base which was more..

'We are looking at India’s decision'

Feb 26 (DM) JHU MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera said that the country is looking at the decision India will make when the resolution against Sri Lanka will be presented at the UNHRC session tomorrow in Geneva. “Their decision will be very crucial. Still we do not know whether they will side with the western nations led by the US, but we think for them Sri Lanka is a very important country for them in many ways,” the Thera said. more..

Fowzie assures Rs.25,000 Hajj deposit can be refunded

Feb 26 (SL) Minister A.H.M. Fowzie said the deposit of Rs. 25,000, that Hajj pilgrim applicants are being charged this year, is to curb certain malpractices taking place when applications are made. Clearing doubts about this fee, Fowzie, who is currently in charge of Sri Lanka’s Hajj Affairs, assured that the deposit could be refunded. He said that “All those who apply will be accommodated according to the visas we get. All those who are going, will get their deposits back. more..