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The Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka

June 20 (DBS) A statement issued on June 13th 2012 by Amnesty International for the UNHRC sessions in Geneva from June 18th-July 8th 2012. Sri Lanka is not fulfilling many of its international human rights obligations. Impunity remains the norm for gross violations of human rights, including alleged war crimes. Gross and systematic human rights violations continue to take place. Sri Lanka’s armed conflict ended in 2009, but its legacy of unlawful more..

Standard certifications for coconut related products

June 20 (DN) The Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development Ministry has taken measures to issue Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) or Standard Certifications for coconut related products, said Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development Minister Jagath Pushpakumara. Participating in the MOU signing ceremony between the Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development Ministry and the Sri Lanka Standards Institute on Monday at the Mahaweli Centre, more..

War on terror revisited: The Batticaloa revolt

June 20 (Island) In the wake of Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan’s defection in March 2004, people living in the Batticaloa District gradually turned against the LTTE, with the majority throwing their weight behind the dissidents. Those supportive of Karuna’s move portrayed the situation caused by the split as a battle between the LTTE’s Kilinochchi leadership and the group’s fighting formations which hailed from the Batticaloa and Ampara districts. The loss of Batticaloa, too, contributed to the ultimate downfall of the LTTE more..

Imminent dissolution of Eastern PC: CA allows move to amend prayers in petition

June 20 (FT) The Court of Appeal yesterday allowed the move by the Petitioner to amend the prayers in the Writ application challenging the imminent premature dissolution of the Eastern Provincial Council. The Bench comprising Justices S.Sriskandarajah (President C/A) and Deepali Wijesundera fixed the matter to be supported on July 11 with the amended prayers. A voter in the Eastern Province filed a Writ application in more..

N’Eliya water supply illegally tapped for 15 years

June 20 (ST) Nuwara Eliya is facing a serious water shortage as a result of the islandwide drought. But the drought is not entirely to blame. Illegal water tapping, it was confirmed yesterday, has been depriving residents of their rightful share of water for at least 15 years. An official team from Nuwara Eliya, comprising the Mayor, Municipal member M. Faleel and others, trekked two kilometres through rough terrain and thick jungle area to find out the truth of a complaint more..

Arrest all suspects involved in Katuwana killings – Tissa

June 20 (Island) The evidence was glaring in the face, but all suspects in last Friday’s killing of two persons attending a JVP rally in Katuwana, Hambantota were not being arrested due to govt pressure, the UNP said yesterday. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that the IGP had called for evidence, but there was more than enough of it to arrest all those involved. Focusing on a particular individual was not sufficient, since a well organised more..

Sri Lankan radio amateurs renew offer to help national disaster

June 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s amateur radio operators have renewed their call to be included in communication work during national disasters, after the defence authorities relaxed rules on clearing equipment. Popularly known as “ham radio” enthusiasts, amateur radio operators use a designated radio frequency spectrum to communicate non-commercial messages, private recreation, wireless experiments and more..

CAA earns Rs.50 m in fines from errant traders

June 20 (DN) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) had earned around Rs.50 million in fines from errant traders following islandwide raids conducted from Jan 1 to June 15, Minister Johnston Fernando said. “In all ,16,788 business establishments had violated rules and regulations of the ministry. In 2011, the CAA conducted around 40,000 raids,” the minister said. “These efforts are not to put the traders into trouble, but, to provide a good service for the local consumers," he added. more..

MR meets Che Guevara’s wife

June 20 (CT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the end of his official tour to Cuba met Aleida March Guevara, the second wife of renowned Latin American revolutionary leader Ernesto Che Guevara, at her residence in Havana on Monday. President Rajapaksa remembered the visit of Che Guevara to Sri Lanka in 1959 during his meeting with Aleida March Guevara. President Rajapaksa also told her and other members of Ernesto’s family that Che planted a Mahogany tree to mark his visit to Sri Lanka in Horana more..

Sittings suspended as verbal battle erupts over Katuwana killings

June 20 (Island) Parliamentary sittings were suspended for five minutes yesterday to bring the House under control when Opposition and Govt lawmakers engaged in verbal battles over the Katuwana killings, where two JVP members were killed last Friday. Govt rank members opposed JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake speaking on his slain comrades and demanding justice while participating in more..

Sri Lanka's time to bloom has come

June 20 (NST) THREE years after the end of a brutal 30-year separatist war, the country is emerging to make the fruits of peace a reality to all its citizens in its 1 Sri Lanka project. That a new era has dawned is evident to everyone living or visiting the country, life has indeed picked up, particularly in the north and east where the people suffered the trauma of the war more than elsewhere in the country. Schools are being rebuilt, as are hospitals, roads and places of worship. more..

Sri Lanka v Pakistan ODIs review

June 20 (CI) Azhar Ali may not take too kindly to being labelled a 'Test player' anymore. With a reputation for being a patient, stodgy batsman, Azhar had played just four ODIs and opened once before the tour of Sri Lanka. He managed to make fifty in his first outing as an opener, in the UAE against England, but didn't look an automatic choice for the starting line-up, with ODI specialists already identified for that position. An average of 33.25 in four innings was good enough to more..

Where have all the tourists gone?

June 20 (DM) All newspapers carried headlines a few days ago stating that May 2012 tourist arrivals have increased by 17.5% from last year. It is reported that the May arrivals of 57,506, were higher than even that of April, which showed only a 9% increase YOY. So far, the total arrivals for 2012 up to end May is 327,627, which is almost an 18.2% increase over last year. However, most hotel industry professionals are of the opinion that May 2012 occupancies have been very poor. more..

Public servants’ housing scheme in Mullaitivu

June 20 (DN) A housing scheme is being constructed in Omanthai for public servants in the Mullaitivu district in line with the govt’s Jana Sevana housing project. Under this project, the construction of 640 houses is in progress. Construction commenced on September 24 last year with the assistance of several ministries including the Economic Development Ministry. Each beneficiary is offered a plot of land of 40 perches by the govt free of charge for the construction of the house. more..

Jayalalithaa silent on Tamil fishermen issue: Karunanidhi

June 20 (PTI) DMK chief M Karunanidhi today charged the Jayalalithaa govt with remaining a "mute spectator" to Sri Lankan naval personnel reportedly chasing away Tamil Nadu fishermen in the high seas. "It is condemnable...despite the Sri Lankan Navy chasing away the fishermen, they (state govt) have not opened their mouth. Those who criticised our party's rule have now become mute spectators," he said to reporters' queries on a recent incident involving the SL navy. more..

Almost anarchy - Ranil

June 20 (CT) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that the blatant violation of rules and regulations by political authorities has effectively reduced Sri Lanka to a lawless state. “There is no law and justice prevalent in the country. Armed gangs have dominion in the North, South, East and West. Disappearances and abductions continue to take place,” Wickremesinghe told Parliament while making a special statement. more..

Father who abandoned toddler nabbed with public help

June 20 (Island) Public vigilance helped capture a 22-year-old father who abandoned his one year and two-month old child, in a three wheeler that was parked near a bank in Yatiyantota town on Monday, police said. Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said that the suspect had abandoned the child with a view to marrying another woman while his wife was working abroad. The incident had taken place around 1.30 p.m. A Yatiyantota police source said that the father of the child had more..

'A massive agitation by CEB employees today'

June 20 (LT) A massive agitation will be held opposite the head office of the Ceylon Electricity Board today at 12.00 noon against arbitrary moves by the authorities to deduct salaries of employees, transfer trade union leaders and the repression being carried out in the CEB. This action by the authorities is going against regulations that should be followed regarding a pre-informed strike says Committee Member of the CEB Joint Trade Union Alliance Ranjan Jayalal. more..

President Leaves for Brazil after visit to Cuba

June 20 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, left for Brazil after concluding his two day official visit to Cuba, President Rajapaksa ratified his country´s support during a meeting on Monday at the Cuban Friendship Institute. He said his country has maintained a firm position in support of the Cuban people. News from Havana reveals that the Sri Lankan head of state describing his visit to Cuba said that his recent meeting with President Raul Castro was very fruitful. more..

New laws to corner errant job agencies defrauding EPF, ETF benefits

June 20 (Island) Labour Minister Gamini Lokuge yesterday warned that many manpower companies, which were supplying employees to different organisations, such as textile factories, industrial complexes, supermarkets and large and medium scale enterprises, were evading the payment of Employee Provident Fund (ETF) and Employee Trust Fund (ETF) benefits to their employees on a regular basis. The Labour Ministry had found that though some employers had been more..

Amare’s arrest will not be the end of the process – Tilvin Silva

June 20 (LT) Arresting Joolampitiya Amare would not end the wrongdoings said the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. He said this speaking after an agitation held today to protest against the double murder committed when a meeting of the JVP held at Katuwana in Hambanthota District was attacked by thugs on the 15th. He said people in the country are prepared to send home the govt that doesn’t take any legal action against thugs it has nurtured but allow them to roam about more..

Court tells J’pitiya Amare to get his men to surrender with arms

June 20 (Island) Tangalle High Court Judge yesterday told Geeganagamage Amarasiri, alias Julampitiye Amare, who surrendered to Court through a lawyer, to ask his henchmen to surrender with their weapons. Julampitiye Amare, who the JVP accused of organising last Friday night’s Katuwana double murder, surrendered to the Tangalle High Court through his counsel, attorney-at-law Nishantha Sandabarana, the former more..

Erroneous lab reports could lead to disaster

June 20 (Island) The wrong choice of a laboratory and erroneous or inaccurate reports could cause fatality. A spokesman for the Sri Lanka Accreditation Board (SLAB) said yesterday that the need for assurance regarding the reliability and credibility could be ensured through accreditation according to the accepted quality management principles applicable to medical /clinical laboratories. The spokesman said that the SLAB had carried out timely scheme for more..

Govt warns of rice price hike from January

June 20 (Island) The price of rice would be increased next January if the country does not receive rains in the next few weeks, Agriculture Ministry Secretary W. A. Sakalasooriya said. He said the delay in rains for over six weeks had affected the major and minor irrigation systems in the dry zone and in the Kurunegala District. Paddy lands in the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts had been severely affected by the drought. 5,000 hectares of paddy land in the more..

Regular detainees - but does lack of 'process' make them 'political prisoners?'

June 20 (LB) On May 24, the govt assured fasting Tamil Tiger detainees, who had launched a hunger strike demanding their release that they would either be released or served with indictments within a month. As the one month deadline draws closer, the detainees and their lawyers complain that the govt assurance has turned out to be yet another hollow promise. “There are no new convictions, no new indictment papers more..

High risk Negombo facing shortage of vital staff

June 20 (ST) With a massive dengue disaster engulfing the country, there is disillusionment in health circles that no Medical Officers (MOs) have been designated for dengue at the Negombo District General Hospital in the post-intern vacancies advertised by the Health Ministry on Friday. Even though a Dengue High Dependency Unit (HDU) is to be set up shortly in a renovated old, disused ward at the Negombo Hospital, with the Ministry more..

UL chairman with undeclared millions under his pillow

June 20 (SL) It is typical. Not the 8 million rupee theft. But the cover-up which has followed. Both police and SriLankan Airlines of which Nishantha Wickramasinghe is Chairman have collectively or perhaps it is a national maladay – effectively shut-up. Closely connected to the first family – brother of First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, a former planter and currently General Manager Estates at Finlays, more..

UNP invites Fonseka to join in toppling Govt.

June 20 (Island) While the former army commander General Sarath Fonseka was speaking in parables, the UNP invited him to join it, if he really wanted to topple the ‘corrupt and dictatorial’ Rajapaksa regime. Fonseka, at his first press conference, since his release from two and half years in prison, said that he did not intend clinging to the elephant’s tail to capture power. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that a divided opposition would only strengthen the govt. more..

Sri Lanka thermal power generation up

June 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's thermal power generation had picked up sharply in the first quarter of 2012 with total generation up 8.8 percent from a year earlier while hydro generation fell steeply. Total generation rose 8.8 percent to 2,956 GigaWatt hours indicating strong demand in the quarter. State-run CEB's own hydro generation fell 70 percent to just 475 GWh in the period from 1,625 a year earlier. Thermal generation rose to 958 GWh from 298 a year earlier. more..

Gold objects unearthed at Deegavapi during excavations pilfered

June 20 (Island) Chief incumbent of Deegawapi Raja Maha Viharaya Nandapurawe Buddaratne Thera alleges that some gold Buddha statues and ‘Ranpath’ found during excavations at the Deegawapi site, have been pilfered. Nandapurawe Buddaratne Thera told The Island about the missing archeological findings when the media toured the Deegawapi Raja Maha Viharaya in Ampara with the Army recently. more..

Army denies abuse allegations

June 20 (CG) The army today denied allegations raised by a European human rights group of women being abused by the military in the north and east. Army Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya said the allegations are baseless and there are no police reports to back such claims. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), in a press statement, said it has had discussions with three Special UN Rapporteurs as well as a Working Group of the United Nations on the plight of more..

Lankan minister's remarks anger DMK, asks PM to intervene

June 20 (NDTV) A controversial remark reportedly made by Sri Lankan Minister Champika Ranawaka has touched a raw nerve in Tamil Nadu. In a fax to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, DMK Chief Karunanidhi says the minister "threatened that one Mullaivaikal was enough and that no one should try to get hundred more". Mullaivaikal is a seashore area in Sri Lanka where human rights groups estimate 40,000 Tamil civilians were massacred in the final months more..

Colombo clearance for helicopters

June 20 (Island) The government has finally granted approval for private helicopter operators to conduct flights into the city of Colombo. With tight security imposed on the capital city during the war, helicopter flights into Colombo was strictly limited to those operated by the Sri Lanka Air Force. The recent relaxation of the rules is seen as an effort to ensure a level playing field between the commercial arm of the SLAF and other helicopter operators. more..

'Boys more likely to be forced into prostitution in SL'

June 20 (AD) The US State Department which released its annual report into human trafficking Tuesday, claims that in Sri Lanka women and children are subjected to sex trafficking in brothels and that boys are more likely than girls to be forced into prostitution in coastal areas for domestic child sex tourism. The report also states children are being subjected to bonded labor and forced labor in dry-zone farming areas more..

Editorial: Rio Summit - Small steps to save Sri Lanka

June 20 (DM) Going from country to country for various reasons including astrological precautions, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is in Brazil for the much-awaited Rio environmental summit where the issues discussed and consensus reached could make or break the future of the earth. In Sri Lanka, global warming and environmental pollution caused mainly by the excessive emission of carbon dioxide from vehicles and factories are causing more..

Sri Lanka's May tea output falls 8.4 pct yr/yr

June 20 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's tea production fell 8.4 percent in May from a year earlier, the fourth straight month of lower output, state-run tea board, and analysts attributed the decline to irregular rain. Sri Lanka's May tea output was 30.81 million kg compared with 33.65 million kg in the same month a year ago. Production in the first five months dropped 3.8 percent to 135.63 million kg from 140.92 million compared with the same period in 2011. High grown tea output, which accounts for about a fourth of production, more..

Crate law breakers to be fined on the spot

June 20 (DM) Minister Johnston Fernando said yesterday that he has instructed the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) to fine traders on the spot if found not using plastic crates in transporting certain commodities. “I have instructed the CAA to implement spot fines on traders who do not abide by the law on plastic crates,” he said. The Minister said he had come to the conclusion that it was a hassle and inconvenience for the courts as well as the traders who had been charged with more..

NTC to prosecute owners of 114 rogue buses

June 20 (Island) The National Transport Commission (NTC) will institute legal action against 114 private buses which were operating without the licenses from their respective Road Passenger Transport Authorities. The NTC, which commenced sudden raids on buses on May 25 had detected the errant buses during such inspections. It was absolutely illegal to operate buses without the necessary route licenses. Operating without relevant route permits and licenses was a punishable offence, more..

'Perera reminds me of Klusener'

June 20 (CI) Graham Ford, the Sri Lanka coach has said that Thisara Perera reminded him of former South Africa allrounder Lance Klusener. Perera's outstanding performances with the ball in the ODIs against Pakistan earned him the Man-of-the-Series award. "The way he hit the ball the other day he reminded me very much of Lance," Ford said. "He is only 23 and is going to develop and get better and more effective. The more times he handles situations the better he will be. more..

Fishing restrictions lifted in Eastern Seas

June 20 (SLN) In order to uplift the livelihood of the fishing community in the Eastern Province, the fishing restrictions, which were in force in the Eastern seas for security reasons, have been lifted with effect from today. The fishing industry in the Eastern Province had suffered many setbacks due to LTTE terror and the fishermen had to eke out their living with limited access to the fishing grounds. With the lifting of the restrictions, more..