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Free education politicised

Feb 26 (SL) Free education has now been politicised with school text books issued by the Education Ministry carrying extracts of a message from President Mahinda Rajapaksa which he delivered at the Hambantota port in 2010. The school text books, issued free to students attending govt schools, now carry the message of the President and also one from Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena. In his message President Rajapaksa says Sri Lanka was lagging behind in development while more..

'LLRC recommendations must be adopted without external pressure'

Feb 26 (GDI) Sri Lanka has progressively already adopted a broad range of measures to facilitate reconciliation after the May 2009 end of its conflict against terrorism, Sri Lankan Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya told a gathering of the Serendipity Group of retired U.S. diplomats, and international pressure might make it difficult to enact the LLRC’s recent recommendations. Ambassador Wickramasuriya stated that Sri Lanka stood strongly against more..

GCE A/L students in a quandary re uni admissions

Feb 26 (LB) Hundreds of thousands of the 2011 GCE A/L students who had applied for recorrection are dismayed and confused by the UGC request apply to universities instead of waiting till the final results are known. Although 140000 students (the highest number and percentage in history), have applied for recorrection the UGC had stuck to the Feb 21 deadline for applications for university entrance. “Of the 240000 who sat for the exam 140000 had applied for recorrection but more..

Not so majestic end for Majestic Praba?

Feb 26 (LB) The unidentified group armed with T-56 rifles that had abducted businessman Murugan Prabakaran on February 11 from his residence in Wellawatte has demanded for Rs 100 million for his release. This is the largest amount of money known to be demanded as ransom in Sri Lanka. Murugan Prabakaran, popularly known as Majestic Prabakaran, is the owner of an electronics outlet in the Majestic City shopping mall. He was abducted a mere two days before the Supreme Court more..

Govt responsible for the issue – JVP

Feb 26 (LB) The situation where organizations and foreign countries are trying to intervene in the affairs of the country is a creation of the govt as its moves and anti people policies it adopts has allowed a situation where foreign countries and organizations could pressurize the country states the JVP. The JVP MP Anura dissanayake said “We, as the JVP, would not approve the attempt to put forward war crime charges against Sri Lanka at the summit of more..

Marie Colvin and Sri Lanka war crimes

Feb 26 (BBC) Her iconic figure with a black patch over the left eye reporting from global conflict zones has been seen by hundreds of thousands around the world. Marie Colvin killed in Syria, alongside award winning photojournalist Remi Ochlik, lost her eye in Sri Lanka when shot at by the military while entering govt territory after filing a report to the Sunday Times from restricted Tamil Tiger held territory in April 2001. Paying tribute to Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, of more..

Police to take stern action against Big Match hooligans

Feb 26 (DM) The police stated that they will be taking stern action against school boys who act in an uncivilised and unruly manner during the big match season. Police officials will be posted in civil attire and in uniform to arrest any person involved in travelling in vehicles in an unruly manner, behave violently, abuse and insult women and school girls, consume liquor and loiter in public places. Persons who act in this manner will be bought before the law without taking more..

Sri Lanka contradicts UN on civilian death toll during war

Feb 26 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has contradicted the United Nations on the civilian death toll during the final stages of the war between the military and Tamil Tiger rebels in the north of the country. In a report made public on Sunday the Sri Lankan govt said that around 8,000 civilians had died during the final few months of the battle in 2009 and not nearly 40,000 as claimed in a UN report last year. The Department of Census and Statistics more..

JVP to re-publish ‘Lanka Sunday’

Feb 26 (NS) The JVP has secured the right of publishing the party’s newspaper ‘Lanka Sunday’. Publishing of the newspaper was suspended in October last year due to an injunction obtained by some dissidents of the party. Following the split in the JVP, the dissidents continued to print the Lanka newspaper amidst objections from the party leadership. However, following a complaint lodged by the publisher and two directors of the newspaper, the printing of the newspaper was stopped and more..

Sri Lankan beauty has Bollywood aflutter

Feb 26 (E24|7) Gamya Wijayadasa is the new foreign import in Bollywood. And the girl has already sent the temperatures soaring with her item dance 'Chadhti Jawaani' in the Bollywood film 'Aalaap', which has tunes set by the top rock band Agnee. The film directed by Manish Manikpuri is set in Chattisgarh with Amit Purohit and Pitobash providing the acting quotient about the film. When the film started Gamya couldn’t speak a word of Hindi. And now we are told that the actress more..

Police nab Nigerian conman behind defrauding of Lankans

Feb 26 (ST) An African syndicate behind a spate of cheating cases in the country was busted this week, following the arrest of a Nigerian national at a plush hotel in the city suburb, a police official said. He said the gang, with possible local links, had been operating in the country for a considerable period of time, and had successfully gained access to the bank account numbers of several individuals, mainly businesspersons and other prominent persons. more..

Traffic Intelligence: A new police unit in the offing

Feb 26 (LB) The Police Department is considering setting up a Traffic Police Intelligence Unit in order to compile traffic offence related data. A senior policeman said that this had come up in the wake of the recent media expose of a school van driver who had only one arm. The driver was subsequently nabbed by the police. He further stated that they have apprehended a large number of disabled drivers. He added that the new unit will track all traffic offenses that take place island wide.

US issues protest warning to citizens

Feb 26 (ST) The United States embassy has sent out an emergency message to US citizens warning them about tomorrow’s pro-government demonstration against the US-sponsored resolution at the UNHRC. The message, meant particularly to those US nationals not registered with the embassy, urges them to closely monitor local media for reports of protests and avoid coming to the embassy when there is a protest in the area. “If protests occur outside the embassy, more..

Sri Lanka seeks to block UN resolution demanding probe into alleged war crimes

Feb 26 (ANI) Sri Lanka is reportedly working to block a UN resolution demanding the country to fully investigate who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Tamil civilians during military operations against ethnic rebels. A resolution calling upon Sri Lanka to fully investigate the cause death of thousands of civilians during civil war and to establish genuine reconciliation is to be tabled during a meeting of the UNHCR, more..

Trials: Forget Olympics, search for young guns

Feb 27 (SL) Though billed as selections trial for the Asian Olympic qualifier in Kazakhstan, the ABA admits tomorrow’s three-day scrap is not so much a search for Olympic hopefuls as exposing promising young boxers to international competition. “Last November three of our boxers fought in the Asian Championships and all three were eliminated in the first round of the competition. So you have to say winning qualification for the Olympics is a far-fetched prospect,” more..

Of confidence tricksters and Ponzi schemes

Feb 27 (SL) This column dedicated to the notion of making Sri Lanka the wonder of Asia turns its spotlight today on confidence tricksters and ponzi schemes in order to prevent the Sri Lankan society from falling prey to such schemes. Recently a rich old lady residing in Colombo 7 had been duped by a con woman who pretended to be a rich owner of a business dealing in garment exports. The lady met this woman at the Hotel Hilton and soon developed a friendship. more..

CFA ten years later

Feb 27 (NS) The signing of the Cease-fire Agreement (CFA) facilitated by the Norway Government completed 10 years last week. It was cancelled by the Government of Sri Lanka on January 03, 2008. By now, the LTTE is defeated and no more visible. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe-led UNF is also no more and the UNP itself has internal issues. It was the UNF government that entered into the agreement with the LTTE leader Prabhakaran. more..

They Work for You

Feb 27 (NS) Sanjana Hattotuwa wrote in The Nation about the need for oversight of parliament by civil society in Sri Lanka. I covered a similar theme a few weeks back in an article on monitory democracy, a theme developed by Professor John Keane of Westminster University. Keane has written: “The new institutions of monitory democracy are further defined by their overall commitment to strengthening the diversity and influence of citizens’ voices and choices in decisions that affect their lives more..

Mahinda is going through toughest time since coming to power in November 2005

Feb 27 (TC) Agitation against fuel price hikes, the falling rupee against the dollar, and the removal of subsidies and welfare has created a new situation. We predicted that the policies of the govt dictated by the global powers will create this situation. Genocidal wars designed and promoted by them, was very costly and it devastated the Vanni area. Then came the so called development full of mega projects. To say the least, these infrastructure developments do not bring any more..

'Sri Lanka confident of majority support in 47 member UNHRC'

Feb 27 (TC) Minister of Plantation Industries and President’s Special Envoy on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe, in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Observer before he led the Sri Lankan delegation to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Sessions in Geneva, said Sri Lanka has progressed far better than many other countries which were battered by prolonged, brutal terrorism and the international community should recognise this positive fact. more..

Editorial: When war criminals champion human rights

Feb 27 (Island) The United States of America is going hell for leather to score a diplomatic win in Geneva. Some victory it desperately needs––even against a tiny state like Sri Lanka––having suffered a bloodied nose at the hands of Russia and China over Syria the other day. It is also reeling from a thundering slap it received last October in Paris, where the UNICEF accepted Palestine as a full member regardless of its protests and threats. It is all out to have a more..

New wave of abductions and dead bodies in Sri Lanka

Feb 27 (GV) In the past 5 months – Oct 2011 to Feb 2012 – there has been a disturbing rise in the number of abductions, especially in and around the capital, Colombo. Out of 29 abductions and 3 missing persons reported in media, most have not returned to their homes and families, rendering them ‘disappeared’ persons. The manner of these abductions has sent alarm bells ringing within the Sri Lankan human rights community, recalling the twin phenomena of the ‘white van’ and more..

Nishantha Ranatunga replies

Feb 27 (Island) We refer to the article titled ‘Resolution passed nominating Nishantha for ICC meetings’, written by Rex Clementine and published in your newspaper on 23rd February 2012, wherein he has made several unfair allegations against the Hony. Secretary Mr. Nishantha Ranatunga. At the outset, please be informed that in the lead up to the election, Mr. Dharmadasa did not at any stage promise that only the CEO and not the Secretary would more..

In Memory of Marie Colvin

Feb 27 (GV) A few days ago, I was in a conversation with a fellow journalist and a human rights activist with regard to establishing an initiative in response to the unfolding developments in Sri Lanka. We discussed which journalists, experts and academics we could call to help us in our struggle. A name that immediately came up was Marie Colvin. While taking a reflective walk after the discussion, I decided to contact Marie Colvin through another foreign journalist, and I more..

Geneva and Medamulana Statecraft

Feb 27 (AT) Pushed against the wall at Geneva, the Rajapaksas, in self-defence, have unfurled the banner of patriotism. Again. The familiar patriotic rhetoric was in abeyance in previous weeks, as the regime busied itself with unleashing a price-hike tsunami on the Lankan masses. Having got itself into a financial bind (through a combination of profligacy and idiocy), the regime tried to escape by heaping economic burdens on the people. As Minister Champika Ranawaka himself admitted, more..

Sri Lanka-US: A catch 22 situation

Feb 27 (SL) In the run up to the 19th session of the UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland, Sri Lanka and the US have commenced heavy lobbying amongst the diplomatic community. The US is lobbying for support and a sponsor to present the motion on Sri Lanka being backed by the country. Sri Lanka on the other hand is on an aggressive campaign to explain the Sri Lankan govt’s cause to the countries represented in the Council. Nevertheless, it is a Catch 22 situation for more..

Sunanda Saga, states of denial and NGO accountability

Feb 27 (CT) One common thread runs through the many different stories of denial: people, organizations or whole societies are presented with information that is too disturbing, threatening or anomalous to be fully absorbed or openly acknowledged. The information is therefore somehow represented, disavowed, pushed aside or reinterpreted. Or else the information ‘registers’ well enough, but its implications – cognitive, emotional or moral – are evaded, neutralized or more..

Analyst: ‘Take bold steps to provide accurate forecasts rather than trying to hide the obvious’

Feb 27 (Island) An equities market analyst says the Rs. 1 billion net inflow of foreign investment into the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has lifted moods in a market desperate for change. The All Share Price Index closed 1.07 percent higher on Friday to 5,566.30 points, continuing on a positive run after weeks of sharp declines. "The market has moved from being extremely pessimistic to moderately bullish towards the end of the week. more..

Will India vote for Sri Lanka in Geneva?

Feb 27 (DBS) Geneva is the name of the game as Sri Lanka prepares to face and possibly overcome the threat posed in the form of a resolution initated by the USA at the 19th sessions of the UNHRC scheduled to commence on Monday February 27th 2012. The important question on the minds of those concerned is whether Sri Lanka would be able to muster enough votes to defeat such a resolution if put to the vote in the 47 member UN Human Rights Council. more..

Private sector borrowings top Rs. 500 b in 2011

Feb 27 (FT) Private sector borrowing last year had swelled by an unprecedented Rs. 511 billion or 34%, thereby seeing the cumulative amount top the Rs. 2 trillion mark, as per latest Central Bank data. The half a trillion in borrowing last year was a record high and the 34.5% growth was on top of the 25% increase seen in 2010 over 2009. The combined value of credit of the private sector in the full two years since the end of the war amounts to a staggering Rs. 811 billion. more..

Every effort must be made to defeat int’l conspiracies against President - Azwer

Feb 27 (DN) “This house is of the opinion that every concerted effort must be made to defeat the national and international conspiracies hatched against the President who has been twice elected by popular mandate and the govt of Sri Lanka, said MP AHM Azwer at themonthly adjournment motion speech in Parliament on Friday. The speech: An extensive media blitz should be launched globally to enlighten the international community of the massive development programmes more..

Govt. loans from Central Bank balloons, fuels BOP crisis

Feb 27 (Island) Excessive growth was the main reason behind the current balance of payments crisis with the Central Bank putting off the inevitable for nearly six months before stepping in to raise interest rates, slap an 18 percent ceiling on commercial bank credit growth and float the rupee. While the Central Bank has pointed the finger at excessive private sector credit growth it has printed a huge amount of money for the govt, more..

Over 300 foreign employment agencies vie for Excellence Awards

Feb 27 (DN) The contributions made by Sri Lanka’s best and top foreign employment agencies to the growth of the country’s labour migration sector would be appreciated, at the ‘Excellence Awards – 2012 to be held at the Waters Edge hotel, Tuesday. The event would be jointly organised by the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment(SLBFE). The ceremony to appreciate the productivity of the employment agents is more..

Trip to Kachchatheevu to be monitored

Feb 27 (Hindu) Close on the heels of intelligence inputs that “some elements and cadres of a few fringe political parties” in Tamil Nadu, who are fighting for the retrieval of Kachchatheevu from Sri Lanka, may hoist Indian flag during St. Antony's Church festival in Kachchatheevu on March 3 and 4, the Indian security agencies have made a blanket ban on pilgrims or fishermen to carry Indian flag in any form. Commander Anirudha Sohini said there was absolutely no problem in allowing the pilgrims to visit Kachchatheevu. more..

Certain elements trying to stifle country's progress - DEW

Feb 27 (DN) "Certain local and foreign elements are trying to retard and stifle Sri Lanka's progress by making various baseless accusations", Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara said. He was addressing a special press briefing at the Mahaweli Centre yesterday. The minister said these foreign elements are making false accusations about human rights violations by Sri Lanka during the last stages of the humanitarian mission during the terrorist conflict. more..

JHU wants nation galvanised into facing any eventuality

Feb 27 (Island) The nation should be lined up to face any eventuality coming out from attempts by few Western nations to bring a resolution against Sri Lanka at the 19th UNHRC sessions in Geneva today, the JHU said. JHU National Organiser Nishantha Sri Warnasinha, addressing a party rally held at Galle on Saturday said that Sri Lanka should not kneel down before the pressure of Western nations led by the US. "Instead we should get ready to face the worst possible outcome and more..

Non-academic staff agitation emboldens varsity dons

Feb 27 (Island) In the wake of university non academic staff successfully staging a 48 – hour token strike on Feb. 23 and 24, university teachers again threatened an all out strike from March 15 if the govt failed to resolve their grievances shortly. President of the Federation of University Teachers Associations Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself had broken the promise to grant their salary increments through the budget 2012. more..

GoSL welcomes US stand on ‘accountability’

Feb 27 (Island) The Sri Lankan govt says that those talking of moral obligation on the part of the US and its allies to intervene in Sri Lank have conveniently turned a blind eye to the position taken by the US at the first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the world’s solitary superpower before the UNHRC on Nov. 5, 2010. GoSL sources said that the decision to move a resolution against Sri Lanka was contrary to US position articulated by more..

Children’s, Young Person’s Ordinance to be strengthened

Feb 27 (DM) Amendments are to be introduced to strengthen the existing laws pertaining to children and the young and to enhance punishments for offenders of the law and adopt a mechanism to register all orphanages in the country on a set of standards for the purpose of regulating orphanages. Justice Ministry Secretary, Kamalini de Silva said that the Ministry of Justice was at present working towards considering necessary amendments to the legislation more..

Sri Lankan musicians thrill audience

Feb 27 (OT) MUSCAT The Sri Lankan community in Muscat were treated to a musical night, as Nalin Perera, Corrine Almeida and their team of musicians performed live on Friday. Huge crowds rushed to the show sponsored by the Seylan Bank and held at the Hotel Muscat Holiday, Al Khuwair. Nalin Perera (lead singer), Shivantha Fernando (vocals) and Corrine Almeida (female lead singer) mesmerised the audience with their Sinhalese music and a host of Hindi and English classics. more..