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International Women's Day: Business as usual for female deminers in Sri Lanka

Mar 8 (AN) International Women’s Day, 8th March, is like any other for MAG Sri Lanka’s Mine Action Team “MAT 10”, whose eight deminers, medic and deputy team leader are all female. The team is working in the conflict-affected village of Devapuram, Mannar district, clearing the landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) that threaten lives and limbs, and prevent inhabitants from farming their land. “The work is hard, but this job means I can look after my family and more..

Sajith prepared to learn

Mar 8 (DM) UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday admitted he lacked the maturity to be party leader but assured he would work towards achieving the necessary leadership qualities. He said this in response to a statement made by the Maha Nayake Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter on UNP leadership. “I will accept the Ven. Maha Nayake Thera’s advice and will work towards achieving the qualities necessary for a mature leader,” Mr. Premadasa told journalists. more..

'We weren't given a chance of getting anywhere'

Mar 8 (CI) Sri Lanka came, Sri Lanka competed, Sri Lanka injected life into the one-sided Australian summer, Sri Lanka won some hearts, but fell at the last hurdle after having restricted Australia to a below-par 231. The Man of the Series came from their side, as did the highest run-getter and highest wicket-taker. Mahela Jayawardene, the captain, admitted even he did not believe the side could fashion such a performance after the drastic changes to more..

Sri Lanka bashing - Geneva - Drug cartels - and highjacking Arab Spring

Mar 9 (NS) We in the Arab world can claim to understand best the sinister and ulterior motives and open double standards of the Western powers now active in Geneva planning to destabilize Sri Lanka for the "sin" of defeating the world's most ruthless terrorist outfit that plagued Sri Lanka and even India for over thirty years. It may be a ruse to cover up their human rights violations in Middle East including Palestine and Afghanistan and Pakistan, but it is a crime to more..

Lanka’s emerald earth laments without you! Piyal Parakrama(1960 – 2010)

Mar 9 (CT) Just about two years ago, on March 3rd 2010, at the age of 49, perceptibly not an age to bid farewell to dear life, another outspoken, sharp-tongued, yet tender-hearted, intrepid, strong-minded Sri Lankan, who did not represent the Colombo elite, which occasionally patted lightly on environmental concerns at times of leisure, as well as a supplementary means of recognition in society, but instead devoted a career that spanned over three decades more..

Abortion: women’s rights vs child’s rights

Mar 9 (NS) Deputy Minister of Child Development and Women’s Affairs, MLAM Hizbullah told The Nation last week that authorities were studying a proposal to legalise certain abortions, particularly in respect of underaged victims of rape. According to the minister, the move was being contemplated due to reports regarding the large numbers of illegal abortions taking place in the country on a daily basis. Abortion has always been a highly charged and more..

Asian Liberals in Colombo

Mar 9 (CT) Delegates of 10 political parties will assemble in Colombo on the 8th of March 2012 as members of Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) to appoint their new Chairman for the next two years. As at present, Liberal Party of Sri Lanka holds the chairmanship. Sam Rainsy Party, major opposition in Cambodia will take the chairmanship of CALD for next two years. According to CALD publication “A DECADE OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY IN ASIA”, Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats more..

Fighting the good fight for Feminism

Mar 9 (TC) Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai is a well known blogger who specializes in covering Tamil events and issues. Coming from a supportive family who made her believe she could do anything she set out to do, she was in for a rude surprise when she plunged into her first job as a journalist in a Tamil newspaper. That was back in 1993, when she was just 21 years old. The country was in the middle of a long drawn out war, she came from the ethnic minority that was more..

Worship of gods in Sri Lanka

Mar 9 (SO) Sinhala Sandesha poems ascribe a paramount importance to gods popularly held in great esteem in the traditions of Sinhala and Tamil people. The Sandesha Kavyas were composed solely to invoke gods to offer healing support for someone in a problematic situation. Most writers of the Sandesha poems have identified invocations to god 'Upulvan' as their primary duty. Worship of gods which is fundamentally a Hinduistic concept, has gradually merged more..

Forging a culture of mutual tolerance among Sri Lankans: A path to reconciliation?

Mar 9 (GV) I recently learned that intervening in favor of a “[...] modernist, inclusive Sri Lankan nation that transcends narrow, parochial ethno-cultural identities” (cf. Asanga Welikela’s recent intervention) may unfortunately present you as a Jacobin; especially if you happen to be educated in France; which is apparently by essence revolutionary. One can only imagine my Great Terror after reading such a comment. I still wonder whether Welikela’s approach more..

Women’s Rights: How far have we come and how much further to go?

Mar 9 (CT) The concept of feminism is a live wire for most people. Especially in the South Asian context where patriarchy is the norm and the concept of ideal womanhood has always centered around the self sacrificing, self effacing but hardworking wife and mother. The role of wife and mother has long defined a woman in our culture for centuries; to call this into question would still cause bristled feathers across many a layer of society. more..

'Sri Lanka personal laws based on respective cultural norms of ethnic groups'

Mar 9 (TC) Clustered Interactive Dialogue with: The Special Rapporteur on the right to food and – The Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, 19th meeting 19th Session of the Human Rights Council. Reports of the 19th Session – Deputy Solicitor General – Mr Shavindra Fernando, presenting the Sri Lankan statement, 6 Mar 2012. Madam President, We take note of the report by the special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to more..

Tamil Language Rights in Sri Lanka – Part II

Mar 9 (Island) This part consists of Recommendations made over 13 years ago to the Official Language Commission (OLC) by a team headed by the writer and appointed by the OLC to conduct an Audit on the Use of Tamil as an Official Language in provinces outside the NorthEast. Although the Audit did not research the North or East, the Recommendations relate to the whole Island and include the use of Sinhala in the North and East. The recommendations dated 30 December 1998 more..

Tamil language rights in Sri Lanka – Part I

Mar 9 (Island) Sinhalese Language rights have been largely secured since the Official Language Act of 1956. I will therefore focus mainly on Tamil Language rights and, to a less extent, on English Language rights. It would be useful to begin with a brief historical outline. English was the Official Language through the British period and in to the first decade after independence. The agitation for the use of National Languages in the administration and Education was led by more..

First women’s BPO debuts today in Jaffna

Mar 9 (FT) Fresh with the thoughts of International Women’s Day, the ICT Agency (ICTA) will today launch the first women’s rural BPO. It is also the third rural BPO to be launched and the Jaffna District venture is being launched in partnership with the Foundation for Advancing Rural Opportunities. This latest initiative is not only the very first in the Northern Province but it is also the very first women’s BPO in the country, a senior ICTA spokesperson said. more..

Editorial: Why blame media for guarding guards?

Mar 9 (Island) UN Special Rapporteur on human rights workers, Margaret Sekaggya, in her address to the UNHRC on Monday fired a broadside at Sri Lanka's national media. She accused it of carrying out a smear campaign against human rights workers. Her job is to protect human rights activists, but before making such sweeping statements at an international forum she should have got her facts right. True, certain NGOs flaunting various causes have drawn heavy flak from more..

Sharing in Sri Lanka: Part IV

Mar 9 (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 four of her series, Karen talks to the family of a little girl who is gravely ill and can't afford to pay for the treatments she needs. Nethuni is 18-months old and still doesn't walk. In fact, she can't even stand. The little girl has Osteogenesis Imperfecta which is a genetic condition more..

Boston Lanka News: March 8, 2012

Banks short on liquidity sell dollars, strengthens rupee

Mar 9 (Island) A severe rupee liquidity shortfall in the market forced banks to sell their dollar holdings which strengthened the rupee against the dollar with exporters seen converting their positions as well. The rupee strengthened against the greenback closing at Rs. 121.10/30 after opening the day at Rs. 121.45/55, but not before weakening to Rs. 121.70 during the day on import demand. "Importer demand drove down the rupee at the beginning of the day but more..

CMC to set up its own Children’s welfare unit

Mar 9 (Island) Steps would be taken to establish a Children’s Welfare Unit, for the underprivileged in Colombo to look into their problems and needs, in collaboration with the National Child Welfare and Protection Authority (NCWPA), Colombo Mayor A. J. M. Muzammil said yesterday. The City Father told The Island that the groundwork to implement a special scheme to investigate and report on Children’s Homes and Day Care Centres in Colombo too would be initiated. more..

Cairn Lanka floats tender for semi-submersible oil rig

Mar 9 (Island) Cairn Lanka has commenced the second phase of oil exploration in the Mannar Basin and oil wells are likely to be drilled in 2013 after another round of seismic studies. Cairn Lanka, the wholly owned subsidiary of Cairn India Limited successfully completed the first phase of the exploration campaign on Sri Lanka’s side of the Mannar Basin on Block SL-2007-01-001 and has delivered two back to back discoveries. more..

SLT launches Liyasevana for women

Mar 9 (DN) Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel introduced an exclusive package "Liyasevana" for Sri Lankan women as a tribute to their remarkable contribution to society in line with the International Women's Day yesterday. This special package will empower the women with easy access to information relating to Child Psychology, Cerebral Palsy, Maternal and New Born Health and Cancer Awareness. The launching ceremony was held at Temple Trees under the patronage of more..

Five ex-LTTE members abducted since Feb 27

Mar 9 (TN) Five former members of the LTTE, who were released last year by the occupying SL forces for integration with their families after the SL military's ‘rehabilitation’ programme, have been reported missing last week. On 27 Feb, two armed men, who came in a vehicle, asked for Mr. Muthaiah Subramaniyam and took him in their vehicle saying that he was being taken for an inquiry and that he would be released. The abduction took place around 9:00 p.m. in Ki'linochchi. more..

Over 8,787 schools headless, House told

Mar 9 (Island) Over 8,787 govt schools do not have principals, Parliament was told yesterday. Deputy Minister of Education Vijith Vijayamuni Soysa told Parliament that his ministry had initiated a programme to fill those vacancies but the process was time consuming as it was necessary to select qualified and competent persons for those posts. Currently, 8,767 schools are managed by acting principals, the minister said more..

US-resolution binds Tamils to less than the 13th Amendment

Mar 9 (TN) A draft resolution that appears in media reports as has been tabled by the USA at Geneva UNHCR, while specifying the ‘constructive’ LLRC recommendations that has to be implemented, talks of only de-militarizing the North but not the East and confines the model of political solution to undefined devolution of powers to the provinces and not to the North-East homeland of Eezham Tamils. While internationally binding Tamils to further dilution of the already more..

Rosy wants three seats reserved for women on party PR Lists

Mar 9 (Island) While Women’s International Day was marked in Sri Lanka as well yesterday, UNP MP Rosy Senanayake said that women were not adequately represented in the country’s local, provincial and national legislatures. As a first step all political parties should be required to include the names of three women in their PR lists for local government elections, she said adding that it should be done without any further delay, since amendments to the Local Authorities more..

SC rejects IGP’s motion to vary order on SI promotions

Mar 9 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday rejected the motion, filed by the IGP, seeking to vary a Supreme Court ruling of Jan 19, which ordered the Police Department and the IGP to promote 634 Sergeants, to the rank of Sub Inspector, with effect from Feb 15. The Police Sergeants had filed a fundamental rights violation application, in the Supreme Court, complaining that they had secured the necessary grading at the selective tests, but were not promoted. more..

Cops alert Lanka over woman with cocaine

Mar 9 (GT) The Dubai Police have forwarded confidential information to the Sri Lankan authorities about an Asian passenger, identified as DT, to be arrested upon her arrival at the Colombo airport. She was coming from Brazil, and when searched she was found with 1.5 kilogrammes of cocaine. The suspect had hidden the narcotics in four plastic boxes containing 138 chocolate pieces in a handbag. Sri Lankan authorities thanked the Dubai Police in an official letter and more..

Don’t’ comment on UNHRC sessions–Ranil

Mar 9 (DM) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday asked his MPs to refrain from commenting on the ongoing sessions of the UNHRC or referring to them in any way at the present time. He said it was a subject that it was up to the govt to handle. During a meeting with his MPs, Mr. Wickremesinghe briefed his party members on how Sri Lanka had become a subject of discussion at the UNHRC from time to time since 1987. He described how the govts of the time had overcome these more..

Sri Lanka is not a failed state – UK

Mar 9 (CT) British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka John Rankin has said that Sri Lanka is not a failed state and that the country has an overall successful economy. The British High Commissioner made this observation during the ‘Ask the High Commissioner’ series. The British High Commission, in Colombo published the seventh video in the ‘Ask the High Commissioner’ series yesterday. In this video, John Rankin, the British High Commissioner more..

Sri Lanka spent $ 360m to resettle IDPs

Mar 9 (FT) The Sri Lankan Govt has spent US$ 360 million to resettle the persons internally displaced when the 30-year armed conflict against the Tamil Tiger terrorists in the North and East came to an end in May 2009. The Govt has resettled nearly 98 per cent of the 290,000 IDPs housed in welfare centres at the end of May 2009 and only 6,647 IDPs were remaining to be resettled at the end of 2011, the Deputy Solicitor-General of Sri Lanka Shavindra Fernando said at more..

Stricter laws needed to combat women, child abuse - Minister

Mar 9 (DN) Laws should be amended and given more teeth since child and women abuse is rapidly on the increase. Child and women abusers must be punished severely without being given a general amnesty, Child Development and Women's Affairs Minister Tissa Karalliyadde said. "Discussions are underway to reform laws to sentence rapists to life imprisonment. The ministry has taken a number of direct and indirect measures to eradicate this from the country," he added. more..

Govt. refuses to answer question on KP

Mar 9 (CT) The government today refused to answer a question by UNP Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake seeking an oral answer from the Prime Minister with regard to LTTE chief financier K. Pathmanathan alias KP. The MP asked whether the Premier would state as to why the government allows KP to perform political activities even to the extent of forming a political party and whether he has travelled on state expense by helicopter. more..

Demand accountability from Sri Lanka

Mar 9 (IE) The time has come for India to be bolder and more confident on human rights at the international level. Its growing stature in international affairs demands this leadership position. The current session of the UNHRC presents India with an excellent opportunity to move towards a foreign policy that truly befits the world’s largest democracy. It should seize the opportunity and vote in favour of accountability in Sri Lanka. In 2009, when the UNHRC called an emergency session in response to the human catastrophe in Sri Lanka, more..

Public Petitions chairman resigns over officials’ failures

Mar 9 (Island) The Chairman of the Committee on Public Petitions in Parliament had resigned from his position following his displeasure and frustration over inaction of relevant officials to provide redress to the grievances of public. The Committee on Public Petitions comprises all parties represented in Parliament and UPFA MP Janaka Bandara was its Chairman. When Parliament resumed sittings yesterday two members rose and presented two public petitions more..

Pro-Tamil groups target Lankan academic at Indian university seminar

Mar 9 (TOI) Close on the heels of chief minister J Jayalalithaa writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking to discourage frequent visits of Sri Lankan delegates to Tamil Nadu, activists of various pro-Tamil movements disrupted an international conference and forced the organisers to send away a Sri Lankan academic, on Thursday. The members of Naam Tamizhar Iyakkam, May 17 Movement, more..

Over Rs. 5 bn spent to print currency notes

Mar 9 (Island) The Govt spent Rs 5,189 million to print 1,145.5 million currency notes to the value of Rs 451,899 million during the past six years, Parliament was told yesterday. Minister of International Monetary Cooperation Dr. Sarath Amunugama. responding to a question raised by DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Parliament said that Thomas De La Rue Lanka Currency and Security Print Lanka Pvt. Ltd situated in Biyagama, Malwana had printed the money. more..

King Rajasinghe’s walking stick seized

Mar 9 (DM) An ornamental walking stick believed to have been used by Sri Lanka’s last King Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe, was seized by the police when a person from Menikhinna was trying to sell it for Rs. 500,000. The walking stick studded with precious stones, made of an unidentified variety of metal is about 3 ½-feet long and weighs about ten kilos. The bulbous structure in the centre of the walking stick has been carved with designs. The raid was carried out by a team of CDC Investigations Unit officers who disguised more..

Kahawatte double murder: Police look for Minister’s aide

Mar 9 (Island) The Police yesterday cast a huge net for the arrest of Godakawela Pradeshiya Sabha Member H.L. Dharmasiri, who is one of the principle suspects in the Kahawatte double murder of a mother and daughter in the Kotakathena area at Kahawatte on or about Jan 31. Police investigations have so far revealed that the double murder had been caused by Dharshana Lokugamhewa, alias Raju, the brother of the Pradeshiya Sabha member more..

Satellite phone found in Magazine Remand Prison

Mar 9 (Island) The Colombo Magazine remand prison, which drew national and international attention early this year when remandees rioted and set several buildings ablaze, threw up further surprises on Wednesday night. A raid had helped net a satellite telephone and 12 other cell phones, Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera said. He said the satellite phone would have been used by those involved in international drug smuggling operations and further investigations more..