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Govt should positively respond to the voice of the people instead of staging bogus protests – IHR

Feb 27 (LT) “The alleged war crime and human rights violations in the final stage of the civil war in 2009 are now in memories of the history. The govt instead of taking prompt action against responsible parties and responding positively on the national and international allegations protected the culprits and continued human rights violations in all parts of the country limiting the democratic freedom of the people by various means. more..

Sri Lankan court releases Tamil Nadu fishermen

Feb 27 (PTI) A court in Sri Lanka on Monday released the 22 Tamil Nadu fishermen, who were arrested by the island nation's naval personnel. According to a communication received by Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF), Mannar Court Judge Jeevarani Karuppaiah ordered to release the fishermen, when they were produced before the court today. The fishermen will be handed over to Indian Coast Guard by Sri Lankan navy at the International Maritime Boundary more..

Govt. covering mistakes - UNP

Feb 27 (CT) UNP spokesman Gayantha Karunathilaka charged that the govt had forced state-sector workers and samurdhi holders to participate in the pro-govt protest today. He charged that the very same govt had banned protests from taking place previously, as it inconvenienced the general public, but it now launched one of its own. He said the govt had failed to make use of the golden opportunity to develop the country after the war heroes more..

Ravaya: twenty-five years in the political firmament

Feb 28 (NS) The Sinhala weekly Ravaya celebrates its silver jubilee on February 28, this year. Launched during a period of political turbulence, the publication has faced many an obstacle includig financial difficulties but has been determined not to be undone by commercial viability concerns. It has carved a niche for itself as a paper that privileges political issues and is considered a must-read by even those who are in disagreement with the ideological preferences more..

Women, Peace and Security

Feb 28 (NS) Statement by Ambassador Palitha T. B. Kohona, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Feb 23, 2012. “The widespread abuse of women and children in conflict situations has caused much revulsion in civilised minds. Humanity was compelled to take action to deal with this appalling reality. Sri Lanka is thankful that the Security Council has adopted these proactive measures. Even though the devastation more..

Colombo 9 and 10: When the Baseline Road became the star

Feb 27 (CT) It is said that Dematagoda begins, where Borella ends and runs along Baseline Road towards Grandpass. While Maradana begins at the De Soyza Circus Roundabout where Cinnamon Gardens ends, and stretches north of Colombo 7 alongside Ward Place towards Dematagoda, Colombo 9. For the purpose of postal services Dematagoda has been assigned as Colombo 09 and is surrounded by the suburbs of Maradana, Maligawattte, Borella, Grandpass. more..

When a Prophet speaks: Stephane Hessel on Sri Lanka

Feb 28 (CT) A prophet spoke at the UNESCO in Paris this week, though he joked that having lived for 90 years, he had written thirty pages and found he had been turned into ‘a rock star’. Stephane Hessel, born in Germany in the year of the Russian revolution, is 95 years old. Anti-Nazi Resistance fighter, concentration camp survivor, diplomat and writer, he was 93 when he wrote a political essay of 13 pages, which grew into a booklet of only thirty pages, called Indignez–vous! more..

The oil price shock

Feb 28 (CT) With recent hikes in the price of distillates and resultant protests, a pertinent question to ask is who is affected most by them. Athula Naranpanawa and Jayathileka Bandara of the University of Griffith in Australia, in a recently published paper, suggest that low income households followed by low income rural households are most affected. And, those energy intensive sectors such as manufacturing also suffer. Sri Lanka’s distillates subsidies accounted for 2.1 percent of GDP. more..

TNA leader R. Sampanthan interviewed by Namini Wijedasa

Feb 28 (DBS) I wrote last week in these columns about how the meeting between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and TNA leader and Trincomalee district MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan at “Temple Trees” aimed at breaking the deadlock in Govt-TNA talks ended inconclusively and abruptly. Senior Journalist Namini Wijedasa interviewed the veteran Tamil leder where Mr. Sampanthan explained what had occurred with the President. He also spoke about current issues and more..

Editorial: Pity the giant

Feb 28 (Island) The much-advertised resolution the US has undertaken to move against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC has the trappings of an attempt to kill several birds with one stone, though it is being made out, in some quarters, to be a move to protect human rights. It is an act of diplomatic aggression to frighten a country which has stood up to western coercion into submission. Sri Lanka has not only eliminated terrorism in spite of pressure from Washington, London, Paris etc but more..

Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons: Plagiarism and the fate of LTTE surrendees

Feb 28 (GV) When I first read Shamila’s piece posted on 24 February, I had the strange feeling that I had read it before as it seemed very familiar. A moment later I realized that not only had I read it, I had actually written much of it. Shamila has both paraphrased, and quoted verbatim, a section of my piece titled Jaffna and the Vanni today: The reality beneath the rhetoric, posted on 17 March 2011, without giving due acknowledgement. more..

'People can deal with price increase without becoming completely incapacitated'

Feb 28 (TC) Sri Lankans are not undergoing economic hardship and are spending more than ever, says Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal. Excerpts from the interview. Q: How would you respond to public anger against fuel and electricity price hikes? A: In the last 36 months, inflation has been in single digits. We have never (in history) had a period where inflation was in single digits for as long as 36 months. more..

Wealthy hotelier’s tryst with death

Feb 28 (SO) The proprietor of the Biyagama Village Hotel was a wealthy man who owned several estates in Pugoda and Kirindiwela in the Dompe district. It became routine for Ebert Bernard Jayaratne (65) to wake up early in the morning and to visit his estates in Dompe that he managed personally. Jayaratne had a close rapport with his workers employed in his estate. He had the habit of inquiring about people who lived in the villages from his employees. He was immensely popular more..

'Vehicle population to double, investments in roads key'

Feb 28 (FT) Though the birth rate may be static, the country’s vehicle population is tipped to double in the next decade necessitating urgent expansion in road network lest the motorists get choked in traffic. As per forecasts made by the Ministry of Transport, the current vehicle population is 130 vehicles per 1,000 people and this is estimated to double to 270 by 2021. The current vehicle population of 130 comprises of 70 cars and 60 three wheelers and motor bikes whilst more..

Exchange rate hits record low of Rs. 121.30/50

Feb 28 (Island) Currency dealers said the rupee would continue to weaken against the dollar unless credit demand was contained as soon as possible with import demand still ‘severe’. The rupee fell to an all time low against the greenback on Monday with the Central Bank continuing not to intervene in the foreign exchange market. The exchange rate opened the day at Rs. 119.90/120.20 to a dollar and importer demand drove down the value of the rupee more..

Foreign net inflow tops Rs. 3 billion

Feb 28 (FT) Locals may be having fears of the Geneva outcome but the very investors from the West are continuing to be bullish with net inflow topping the Rs. 3 billion mark by yesterday. Foreigners were net buyers to the tune of Rs. 224 million increasing the net inflow under just two months of the year to Rs. 3.16 billion. Though small it is a record high and significant since for three years beginning 2009, the Colombo Bourse has seen a consecutive outflow. more..

Commonwealth young leaders exchange MoU inked

Feb 28 (DN) A MoU for Commonwealth Young Leaders Exchange was signed yesterday between the Sri Lanka National Youth Services Council (NYSC) and Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council - UK to strengthen relationship between youths of UK and Sri Lanka and develop their leadership capacities, said NYSC chairman Lalith Piyum Perera. “Through this MoU, the NYSC hope to raise awareness of Commonwealth values including mutual respect, democracy, more..

'Internationalizing SL issue could derail reconciliation'

Feb 28 (DN) ‘Internationalizing an issue which is internal to Sri Lanka, by any initiative through the HRC at present would only lead to derailing the reconciliation process launched by the govt of Sri Lanka, Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said in a letter to the Rev. Desmond Tutu, Chair, The Elders Foundation of London. ‘External interventions without the consent of the country concerned do not achieve the envisaged sustainable peace but continue more..

Duleep disputes Nishantha’s claims

Feb 28 (Island) Former cricket captain and CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Duleep Mendis has in a letter to SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga disputed several claims made by the latter in his right of reply that appeared in yesterday’s The Island. Mendis in his letter to Nishantha, says that he was not offered a new contract by the previous Interim Committee as claimed by Nishantha. "May I respectfully submit that I was never offered a new contract by Sri Lanka Cricket following the termination of my previous contract." more..

Mahela wary of Tendulkar's last chance

Feb 28 (AFP) Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene says he is wary of what is shaping up to be Sachin Tendulkar's final chance in Australia to score his elusive 100th international century for India. Tuesday's tri-series one-day international in Hobart will be the Indian batting great's last innings in Australia unless his team can find a way to bring off a bonus-point victory over Sri Lanka to stay alive for the series finals. To date it has been a forgettable tour for the Indians, who lost all four Tests to Australia and have won just two of their seven matches in the tri-series. more..

UK for UN intervention to ‘support change’ in SL

Feb 28 (Island) The UK fired the first salvo at Sri Lanka at the 19th sessions of the UNHRC yesterday. UK’s Foreign Office Minister responsible for the human rights portfolio Jeremy Browne, MP, emphasized the responsibility on the part of the global community to intervene in Sri Lanka unless the government addressed accountability issues. Parliamentarian Browne called for UN intervention to support change in Sri Lanka. more..

National mechanisms of human rights are necessary: Jayatilleka

Feb 28 (DM) While Sri Lanka faces heat at the Geneva sessions the Former Sri Lankan Permanent Representative there Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka has stated that national mechanisms of human rights are necessary to finally put to rest the calls for an international mechanism of accountability. When asked whether Sri Lanka could put to rest the call for an international mechanism of accountability at the Geneva sessions the present Ambassador to France and Permanent more..

National Research Institute on Typhus Fever to be established

Feb 28 (DN) The Health Ministry will set up the National Research Institute on Typhus Fever and Leishmaniasis in Hambantota. Minister Maithripala Sirisena has already instructed health officials to set up the Institute within the next few months using the resources of Malaria Project which has been abandoned. The Malaria Project is not functioning and its resources will be used for the proposed National Research Institute on Typhus Fever and Leishmaniasis. more..

Fuel price hike and ongoing economic crisis

Bribery commission short of investigators to handle glut of complaints

Feb 28 (Island) Lack of investigators is hampering the work of The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption. Sources said that the number of investigators available was insufficient to carry out investigations into the large number of complaints received by the commission. Currently the commission had about 100 officers but it had received more than 2,500 complaints of bribery during the period of May 2011 to January 2012. more..

Election monitors concerned about North

Feb 28 (DM) Election monitors yesterday said that more than 3,000 eligible voters in IDP camps may not have the chance to vote at the upcoming local government elections in Mulaitivu and Puthukudiyiruppu next month since they do not have a proper identification card. People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said that they had written to Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya to inquire on whether the IDP’s could use their camp identity card to vote at the election. more..

'Govt. should apologise to people for compromising country’s security'

Feb 28 (Island) The UNP, while opposing external intervention in Sri Lankan affairs, said yesterday that the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime should apologise to the people for compromising the country’s security. UNP MP Gayantha Karunathillake said that they were opposed to any strictures that the UNHRC might pass against Sri Lanka based on a resolution moved by the United States of America, but the government could not be absolved of blame, because more..

SL Navy hosts Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)

Feb 28 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy hosts the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Operational Issues Workshop attended by representatives from 14 countries. Conducted under the theme of “Enhancing Operational Efficiency through Sharing of Information and Coordination”, the workshop will be held at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo from 28th to 29th February 2012. The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium was launched in 2008 as a regional maritime security initiative in recognition more..

Mahanayake urges unity to defend western challenge

Feb 28 (Island) Set apart political and other difference and unite to defeat threats from the Western powers, urged the Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkita Mahanayaka Thera of Asgiriya at the ‘Adistana Pujawa’ in front of the Sri Dalada Maligawa yesterday. The ‘Pujawa’ was organised to invoke the blessings of the Sacred Tooth and guardian deties to vanquish any moves at the UNHRC meeting against Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka’s dead and missing: the need for an accounting

Feb 28 (ICG) Nearly three years since the end of the war, there’s a growing need for an accounting of – and for – those killed and missing in the final months of fighting in northern Sri Lanka in 2009. Members of the UNHRC, opening its 19th session in Geneva today, should be ready to press the Sri Lankan govt for real answers. Instead of grappling with the many credible sources of information suggesting tens of thousands of civilians were killed more..

'Govt must respond constructively towards Sampanthan’s gesture'

Feb 28 (TC) TNA leader Sampanthan has shown the political gesture towards the govt by deciding against the proposal of going to Geneva. Now, the Tamils and all peace loving people of this country look forward to reciprocative action by the govt based on certain LLRC recommendations says DPF leader Mano Ganesan. The disturbing danger today is that some of the partners and supporters of the govt are completely dismissing the LLRC report and recommendations. more..

Fraud suspect given bail

Feb 28 (CT) A man, who was in remand for defrauding Rs 191 million from ‘LECO’ a subsidiary of Ceylon Electricity Board was released on cash bail of Rs 5 million and three personal bails of Rs 2 million each by Fort Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne. On a complaint made by the Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy that the accused had cheated the company in a sum of Rs 191 million in a land deal valued at Rs 250 million, he had been arrested by the CID and remanded. more..

CAA Chief says will not allow milk price increase

Feb 28 (DM) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) yesterday (27) said that the request for a price increase on milk powder had only reached them last Friday (24) and it will deliver its decision within 30 days as per the law. CAA Chairman Rumy Marzook re-iterated that the authority does not respond to threats and would not let milk powder importers give them time frames for a decision to be made and said he would give them his decision in due course. more..

Thailand declared its support to Sri Lanka

Feb 28 (AT) Thailand yesterday publicly declared it support Sri Lanka. Thailand also said that it values Sri Lanka’s efforts to consider how to best implement the recommendations of the LLRC. Thailand Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Surapong Tovichakchaikul addressing the UNHRC, said, “We support the Sri Lankan Govt’s voluntary engagement with the international community. We also value its efforts to consider how to best implement the recommendations of the LLRC.” more..

LSSP leader calls on people to defeat conspiracy

Feb 28 (Island) General Secretary of the LSSP, Minister Prof. Tissa Vitharana yesterday called upon the people to unite to defeat the American conspiracy against Sri Lanka. "As regime changes through elections is not an immediate prospect in Sri Lanka, these capitalist countries have ganged up like in 1971 and in 1988/89 and the JVP is being used by the CIA as the channel to install a government of their choice in our country. more..

Sri Lanka kicks off 14th population and housing census from the President’s House

Feb 28 (IL) The 14th Census of Population and Housing conducted by the Department of Census and Statistics of the Ministry of Finance and Planning was inaugurated yesterday at the President's House with the participation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The official 2012 Census kicked off with the counting details from the country's First House and First Citizen President Rajapaksa and his family at Presidential Palace. more..

SriLankan Air plans Asia expansion as European tourism slows

Feb 28 (BN) SriLankan Airlines, seeking a return to profit in two years, plans to focus expansion on Asian routes as European travelers pare spending on vacations. “We are taking a cautious approach in Europe and an aggressive one in Asia,” Chief Marketing Officer G.T. Jeyaseelan said in a Feb. 23 interview in Colombo. The strategy is driven by “economic reality,” he said. The state-owned carrier plans to boost services to cities including Tokyo, Beijing and more..

TNA divided over Geneva decision

Feb 28 (CT) TNA leader R. Sampanthan’s decision to keep away from Geneva has come under severe criticism from several senior members of the party. TNA spokesman and the Jaffna District MP Suresh Premachandran and MP P. Ariyanenthiran have opposed Sampanthan’s decision saying it was a unilateral stance and that the party had not been properly consulted over the Geneva issue. Premachandran, who was away in Chennai when Sampanthan made public the party’s decision regarding attending more..

'We genuinely aspire stable and sustainable peace'

Feb 28 (SL) The Sri Lankan govt informed the UNHRC in Geneva today that it is committed to a mechanism for gathering and assessing factual evidence relating to some episodes which occurred during the war, buttressed by a strong investigative arm. The Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, told the 19th session of the council that the findings thus arrived at will form the basis of a decision on whether criminal proceedings can be instituted. more..

CP Governor condemns Western plot to disturb peace

Feb 28 (Island) People of Central Lanka in particular do have special reason to express their vehement concern over the partisan attempt by some Western powers to fix Sri Lanka at a crucial meeting of the UNHRC yesterday, Governor Central Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa says in a statement referring to the meeting of the UNHRC. Central Province has reasonable grounds to raise objections to the unsubstantiated accusations leveled Western powers to find fault with Sri Lanka engaged in more..